Sunday, December 30, 2012

White Chocolate Dipped Sugar Doodles

It's almost like these cookies were designed specifically for Nate. He loves white chocolate, cinnamon-sugar flavored things, and vanilla. I knew these cookies would be perfect for him. Nate says he'd even enjoy these cookies plain. I saw this recipe over at Sweet Treats and More. I followed her recipe almost exactly. So if you haven't had quite enough sugar this holiday season, give these a try. Enjoy!

1/2 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup light brown sugar, packed
1 egg
2 Tbsp. heavy cream (or milk)
2 tsp. vanilla extract
1 3/4 cups all purpose flour (give or take. I almost always have to add more flour to my cookies to get the right texture because of where I live)
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. cinnamon (we love McCormick's Saigon cinnamon)
1/4 tsp. salt
white chocolate or almond bark

In a stand mixer, beat butter until smooth and creamy. Add the sugars and continue beating on medium-high speed until well combined and creamed together.
Scrape the sides of the bowl down, then add egg, heavy cream, and vanilla. Beat until light and fluffy (3-5 minutes).
Stop, scrape down sides of the bowl again, beat on low speed and gradually add flour, baking soda, cinnamon and salt. Mix until just combined.
Chill dough for 3 hours.
Preheat oven to 350. Roll dough into small balls and place on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Bake for 8-10 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool completely.
Once cooled, melt white chocolate in a microwave safe bowl on low heat and stirring every 30 seconds. Continue until completely melted. Dip one half of cookies in the white chocolate then place on waxed paper or foil until chocolate is set. Yields 18-24 cookies depending on size and if you need to add more flour.

Friday, December 28, 2012

Steak, Egg, and Bacon Breakfast Pizza

This may be our favorite breakfast ever! It was so so good. After we hosted the gift exchange party for Nate's family on Sunday night, Aaron, Yang, Amelia, and Jake slept over at our house. This is what we served them for breakfast on Christmas Eve morning. Everyone gobbled it right up. I was so glad I made two pizzas. It is definitely going to making many repeat appearances at our breakfast table. I used leftover steak and prepped a lot of the things ahead of time to make it so easy that morning. You'll definitely enjoy this pizza.

2 refrigerated pizza doughs (I cheated and used Pillsbury)
1 lb. bacon, cooked and crumbled
6-8 oz. leftover steak, thinly sliced
8 eggs, seasoned and scrambled
1/2 small onion, diced
1 small green pepper, diced
1 Tbsp. butter
salt and pepper
shredded cheese

Roll out pizza dough onto prepared baking sheets. Par-bake your pizza crusts until they start to get a light golden brown and then remove from oven. You want the crusts mostly cooked before you top them or else your eggs will dry out. Ours took about 8 minutes (I think the temp was 400 F degrees). While crust is cooking, make your scrambled eggs and set aside. Also melt your butter over medium heat and then saute diced onion and green pepper, season with a bit of salt and pepper, and also add the sliced steak. Cook 3-4 minutes or until the vegetables are a nice tender/crisp texture. After crusts have par-baked, top with pizza toppings. Put on scrambled eggs, steak, bacon, and veggies. Top with a bit of shredded cheese and return to oven. Bake until cheese is melted, another 6-8 minutes. Slice and serve immediately with some hot sauce or salsa to top if you'd like.

Slow Cooker Asian Pulled Pork

Okay, this is pork is so good! Nate rated it an 11 on a scale of 1-10. This is definitely a new crock pot favorite at our house. We love Asian food and I can think of lots of dishes to use this pork in. We ate ours over basmati rice. I am going to use some of our leftovers to make some pot stickers this week. It would also be great over some Asian noodles or even as a sandwich on a sesame seed hamburger bun with some Asian slaw. You will love this! I saw this recipe over at The Recipe Critic. I had never used oyster sauce before and was nervous it would taste fishy. There was no fishy taste, it seemed to really enhance the rest of the flavors and give the pork this great umami flavor. Really, make this soon!

2-3 pound pork roast (my roast was nearly 4 lbs. so I upped the water by a 1/3 cup and doubled the sauce portion)
1 cup water
1 tsp. Better Than Buillion chicken base
1 yellow onion, cut into large chunks
1/4 cup low-sodium soy sauce
1 Tbsp. Worcestershire sauce
1 tsp. minced garlic
1 Tbsp. brown sugar
2 Tbsp. oyster sauce

Get crock pot heating on low. Boil the water. Add the chicken base and whisk well to incorporate. Boil for a couple minutes and then remove from heat. You could also substitute 1 cup chicken broth instead of making your own. I would use a low sodium kind though. I let my chicken base mixture cool while I chopped up the onion. Once the crock pot is warm add the chicken base mixture. Put in the pork roast. I rolled it around to coat in the chicken broth. Have the roast fat side up. Add the onions around the roast. Cover and cook on low for 7-10 hours. Remove and let sit for 10-15 minutes. Shred pork and return to crock pot. I left a bit of the chicken broth and some of the onions in the bottom. Combine soy sauce, Worcestershire sauce, garlic, brown sugar, and oyster sauce. Pour over the meat and stir. I doubled the sauce since I had a larger roast. Cook on low for another 30-60 minutes. Serve warm over some hot cooked rice. Enjoy!

Friday, December 21, 2012

Brigadeiros - Brazilian Chocolate Balls

Nate ate these at Christmastime while living in Brazil. He tells me they make these brigadeiros all the time for holidays. To keep the festive spirit I decided it was high time I made them! Nate loved them. He already wants another batch made for New Year's Eve. I saw this recipe at Mmm...Cafe but I found this video to be really helpful for the technique of making these treats. Add these to your holiday dessert table.

4 Tbsp. unsalted butter
2 Tbsp. heavy cream
2 (14 oz.) cans sweetened condensed milk
3 oz. semisweet chocolate, finely chopped
1 Tbsp. unsweetened cocoa powder, sifted
chocolate sprinkles (I had a 10 oz. container and used the majority of it)

Bring butter, cream, and milk to a boil in a 4-qt. saucepan over medium heat. It's important to use this size of pan. You want a nice large surface area of heat. If you use a smaller saucepan your mixture will take forever to get to the right consistency. Add chocolate and cocoa powder, and reduce heat to a low/medium-low; cook, stirring constantly, until mixture is the consistency of thick thick batter. This is where watching the video comes in handy. You want to be able to drag your spoon across the bottom of the pan and have the chocolate take a sec to fill in. You want to be able to get a scoop on your spatula, turn it upside down in the air and have it take a sec to fall of the spatula. This will take at least 15 minutes, perhaps longer. Be sure and stir constantly, taking care to scrape the sides and bottom of your sauce pan. Nate and I took turns stirring. Once it's at the right consistency, transfer to a bowl and let cool. Chill in the refrigerator until set. I let mine set in the bottom of a 9x13" glass dish for a bit over an hour. When you're ready to shape, take a little bit of butter and rub on the palm of your hands. Using a tablespoon, portion out fudge and roll into balls. Roll each ball in chocolate sprinkles until evenly coated. Chill until ready to serve.

This made about 50 brigadeiros.

Easy Blender Salsa

Okay, salsa has to be one of the greatest inventions ever! I don't know anyone who doesn't like salsa. Cute Brittany made this and I told her we had to put it on the recipe blog. Aunt Kathleen is one of the best hostesses/cooks I know and it looks like Brittany is following right in her footsteps. Enjoy!

1- 14 oz can diced tomatoes
1- 10 oz can original Rotel
1/2 small onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, peeled and smashed (or minced from the bottle if you're lazy like me)
1/2-1 jalapeno, seeded (depends on how spicy you like it)
1 teaspoon honey
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
small to medium size handful of cilantro, washed
juice of 1 lime

Put it all in the food processor (or blender) and blend until desired consistancy!

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Enchilada Cups

This is such a fun variation on enchiladas. Nate loved it and was really excited to have leftovers for lunch today. We've been so unbelievably busy the last few weeks, last night we didn't even eat dinner until 10 pm (as you can probably tell by the horrible picture). These enchilada cups really hit the spot. You can fill these with any enchilada filling you like. You could use beef, chicken, or pork, or even go vegetarian. Nate really wants to try them filled with chile colorado. Use whatever you like! Enjoy.

2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts that have been cooked and shredded (I use this rub on my chicken and it is so so good!)
1/2 small yellow onion, diced
1 green pepper, diced
1 Tbsp. butter
1/2 - 1 cup green enchilada sauce
9 small flour tortillas
hot, cooked refried beans
shredded cheese
broken tortilla chips, optional (you want them crumbled but not powder fine)

Spray a muffin tin with some non-stick cooking spray. This recipe makes 9 enchilada cups. Now cut some circles out of your tortillas. I used the top of one of those hospital mugs and just cut around it with a knife. You want your tortilla circles to line the muffin tin like a baking cup, so it lines the bottom and the sides, but if they are really over sized you might get some burnt tortillas. I left just a little bit of overhang so it would hold all the filling. I hope that makes sense. In a skillet, melt butter over medium heat. Once hot add the diced onion and green pepper. Season with a bit of salt and pepper and saute until veggies are tender, 4-5 minutes. Once veggies are cooked, add in shredded chicken and enchilada sauce. I don't like my filling super saucy, you feel free to add as much or as little as you like. Cook until chicken and sauce are hot, taste and adjust seasoning as you need. If you like, you can even add some shredded cheese to the filling mixture. Spoon a small amount of refried beans into the bottom of each tortilla cup. Then spoon in some of the chicken mixture on top of that. Next, sprinkle some of the broken tortilla chips on top of each enchilada cup. Bake in a 350 degree F oven for 20 minutes. Remove enchilada cups and top each one with some shredded cheese. Return to oven and bake for another 10 minutes or until cheese is nice and melted. My enchilada cups popped right out of the muffin tins no problem. Serve hot and enjoy!

I shared this over at High Heels and Grills.

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Salsa Rice

I made this rice as a side dish to these crock pot chicken fajitas. It was part of a dinner taken to Nate's cute aunt who recently had a baby. I know she's a big fan of Mexican food and it doesn't seem like you can go to most Mexican restaurants without getting a side of rice. I saw this recipe over at Life as a Lofthouse. This is a really easy and tasty rice recipe. If you use mild salsa, it makes a nice mild rice dish which is nice for spice wimps like me. Try this out next time you have Mexican night. Enjoy!

1 cup uncooked long grain rice (I always use basmati rice)
2 cups chicken broth (I make my own low sodium broth using Better Than Bullion brand chicken base)
1 Tbsp. butter
1/2 cup salsa
1 tsp. garlic salt
1/2 tsp. ground cumin

Add broth, butter, salsa, garlic salt, and cumin to pot. Stir and then add rice. Bring mixture to a boil, cover and reduce heat to low. Simmer the rice for 25 minutes. Remove from heat (keep lid on) and let stand for 5-10 minutes. After standing, fluff rice and serve as a side to your favorite Mexican dish!

Photo updated 06/13/13.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Beef Burgundy

This dinner is one of my all-time favorites. Seriously, it is so good, it's on my top ten list. I wish you could smell the picture, it's pure comfort food for me. It's perfect for a cold winter's night. The title is a bit of a misnomer I guess, I don't use any burgundy wine in the dish. My mom made this dish on occasion growing up. I wrote down her recipe but tweaked several things. This was the first time I'd ever made it and I have to admit, it was the best beef burgundy I've ever had. The sauce is rich and the beef just falls apart in your mouth. I'm really proud of this dish. The seasonings are my best guestimate, taste the broth as it simmers and adjust accordingly. You must make this dish!

2 lbs boneless beef chuck roast, cut into 1" cubes
8 slices bacon, cut into 1" pieces
3-4 Tbsp. all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cups low-sodium beef broth (I like to use the Better Than Bullion brand beef base. You generally use 1 tsp. per cup of water, for this recipe I did 1 1/2 cups water and 2 tsp. of the beef base)
1 clove garlic, minced
1 bay leaf
1 1/4 tsp. kosher salt
1/4 - 1/2 tsp. marjoram
1/4 - 1/2 tsp. pepper (we love Lawry's brand seasoned pepper)
1/2 - 1 tsp. steak rub (we love the rub found in Weber's Real Grilling book, we just omit the cinnamon)
1 large yellow onion, sliced into half moons
2 Tbsp. butter
hot, cooked egg noodles to serve beef burgundy over

Cook and crisp bacon pieces in a dutch oven over medium-high heat. Remove bacon, drain on paper towels, and reserve in the refrigerator. In a gallon size ziploc bag add beef pieces and flour. Coat the beef well, you want it all coated but not caked on. Sear the beef in the hot bacon fat until you get a nice little crust on all sides. You may need to do this in a couple batches depending on the size of your dutch oven. Once all the beef is browned, drain the excess fat from the dutch oven. Add the beef back in and pour in the beef broth to de-glaze the bottom of the dutch oven. Use a wooden spoon and scrape up all those brown bits on the bottom, that's where you get tons of flavor! You want the liquid to come about 2/3 - 3/4 up the beef. You will probably need to add a bit of water. I added about 2/3 cup of water. You don't want the beef completely submerged, but you want most of it covered. Stir in your minced garlic, bay leaf, salt, pepper, marjoram, and steak rub, mixing well. Heat to a boil, stir well and reduce heat to a gently simmer. Cover and let simmer until beef is tender, about 1 1/2 hours. I peeked at the beef and stirred it just 2 or 3 times. After the hour and a half, melt the 2 Tbsp. of butter in a pan over medium heat. Add the onions and saute until tender, about 4 or so minutes. Add the cooked onions and half of the reserved bacon to the beef mixture. Taste the beef mixture and adjust seasoning as needed. Cover and continue to simmer for another 20-30 minutes. Once finished cooking, remove bay leaf and serve. Serve beef burgundy over some hot, cooked egg noodles and garnish with the remaining reserved bacon. It's great with some french bread too so you can mop up the sauce. I love this dinner!

Snowflake Rolls

This is such a fun and festive way to dress up regular old dinner rolls. Anything holiday makes me happy! I love being to make an everyday dinner just a bit more special. I saw the idea online today at Plain Chicken just in time to get my rolls defrosting for dinner. I was so glad! I got better at the snowflakes the more I made them, I think next time I make them they'll look a lot better. Enjoy!

12 Rhodes frozen bread roll dough
4 Tbsp flour
4 Tbsp butter, softened
1 tsp hot water
1/4 tsp garlic powder (optional)

Lightly spray a round 9" cake pan with cooking spray. Arrange 12 rolls in the pan. Cover and let rise in a warm place until double in size. Mine usually take 3.5-4 hours. Combine flour, butter, hot water and garlic powder. Transfer to piping bag fitted with #4 tip. I don't have a piping bag so I just used a sandwich sized ziploc bag and snipped the corner. Pipe snowflake design on top of each roll. One finished piping, put the rolls in the fridge while the oven heats to 350 degrees F. Bake for about 20 minutes or until the rolls are a nice golden brown and cooked through.

Next time I will pipe the snowflakes a little thinner so they turn out a bit better looking.

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Roasted Smashed Red Potatoes

So good! I've been meaning to make these for a long long time. I'm bummed I waited so long to do it, we could have been enjoying these potatoes for a while now! They have this great crispness on the outside and are yet still soft on the inside. This recipe is adapted from America's Test Kitchen, which always has awesome recipes. They only need a couple of ingredients too, which is always great in my book. Potatoes are such comfort food for me, I'm sure you will enjoy these as much as we did.

2 lbs. small red potatoes (try and get ones all about the same size)
6 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
kosher salt or seasoning salt
freshly ground black pepper

Put your oven rack at the top and bottom positions. Heat oven to 500 degrees F. Place your potatoes on a rimmed baking sheet. Make sure your potatoes are all right around the same size. I had a mix of small and big so I cut the big ones in half to match the size of the smaller potatoes. Pour 3/4 cup of water into the baking sheet and then tightly wrap the sheet with tin foil. Cook the potatoes on the bottom rack until fork tender, about 25-30 minutes. Remove the foil and let cool for about 10 minutes. If you have any remaining water, blot it dry. I didn't have any water left. Drizzle 3 Tbsp. of olive oil over the potatoes and then roll to coat. Use another baking sheet (or a potato masher) and press down firmly to flatten potatoes to about 1/3 - 1/2 inch thick. Generously season potatoes with salt and pepper and then drizzle the remaining 3 Tbsp of olive oil over the top. Bake potatoes on the top rack for 15 minutes or until they get a nice crisp crust and then transfer to the bottom rack for another 10-15 minutes to crisp up and brown the bottoms. Serve immediately. ATK instructs you to remove the potatoes from the baking sheet as soon as they are done browning—they will toughen if left too long.

This picture is from the America's Test Kitchen site.

Rolo Cupcakes

Again, chocolate and caramel are a favorite combination of Nate's. He really enjoyed these cupcakes and requested to have them again. It's a super simple variation on a boxed cake mix, can't get easier than that! Enjoy!

1 boxed yellow cake mix, plus the water, oil, and eggs it requires
ice cream topping caramel topping (Nate prefers Mrs. Richardson's brand)
chocolate frosting
mini rolos

Prepare the cake batter as instructed. Once your cupcake liners are filled, top with a teaspoon or so of caramel. It's easiest if you warm the caramel a bit first. Take a butter knife and swirl the caramel around in the cupcake batter, like you would if you were making a marble cake. Bake the cupcakes as instructed on the box. Once cooled, frost with chocolate frosting. Warm some more caramel and drizzle over top of the frosted cupcakes and then top each cupcake with a rolo candy.


You really need to make this dough. It is honestly the best homemade pizza dough I've ever had. Everyone I make it for loves it too and wants the recipe. I always make a double batch of dough, which yields 4 balls of dough, and have some in my freezer. It's perfect for busy days, especially during this holiday season! The frozen, thawed dough tastes as good as fresh too. I've used the dough for pizza, breadsticks, pizza bread, ham and cheese roll ups, and calzones. The options are really endless!

1 ball amazing pizza dough (makes 4 good sized calzones)
pizza sauce
freshly shredded mozzarella cheese
garlic bread seasoning
pizza toppings of choice, we love Hormel's turkey pepperoni, green peppers, onions etc.

Cut your pizza dough into 4 even sized pieces. Roll and stretch each piece of dough out into a thin circle. Spoon some pizza sauce into the middle of the circle, being sure to leave a nice perimeter of plain dough. Add pizza toppings of your choice and some cheese on top of the sauce. Don't go too overboard, you want your cheese to melt nicely. Fold the dough in half and seal tightly, make sure the entire thing is pinched tightly together so your filling doesn't ooze out. Make a couple small slits in the top of your dough to allow the steam to escape while baking. Sprinkle some garlic bread seasoning on top of each calzone and some mozzarella if you like. Bake in a 500 degree oven for 8-12 minutes or until golden brown and the dough is cooked through. I recommend using a pizza stone or a metal pizza pan that has the holes in it. I also like sprinkling a tiny bit of cornmeal on your stone or pan so the calzones don't stick. Enjoy!

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Rotel Chicken Tortilla Soup

I love soup, Nate, not so much. I suggested trying a chicken tortilla soup since he loves Mexican food so much. I sent Nate a couple of links to recipes and this is the one he picked. I adapted this recipe from Food Network and it comes from Rotel. He really loved this soup. We'll definitely be making it again.

2 (10 oz.) cans mild Rotel tomatoes and green chilies, undrained (it was a bit spicy for me so next I'll do one can of Rotel and one can plain diced tomatoes
5 cups chicken broth
1 (16 oz.) can refried beans (I used fat free)
1 - 1 1/2 cups frozen corn
2-3 cups shredded cooked chicken (I made my chicken using this rub, so good!)
shredded cheese
tortilla strips or chips

Combine tomatoes and broth in medium saucepan. Stir in beans and bring to boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer 5 minutes, stirring frequently. Add chicken and corn and cook until they're heated through. I cooked my soup an additional 30 minutes stirring occasionally, just so the flavors could marry. Serve topped with tortilla strips and cheese, if desired.

Garlic Soy Broccoli

Nate only enjoys broccoli two ways; covered in alfredo sauce, or tasting like soy-such as in a stir-fry. That's it. Otherwise, he is not interested. I however really love broccoli. I'm not a huge fan of it raw, but I love it cooked to a nice tender crisp so it's not soggy and still has a little bite to it. I was craving some broccoli and figured this recipe might work for the both of us. It was a success. I saw the idea over at Recipes We Love, they also have the option for doing a foil packet of broccoli on the grill. We will definitely be trying that! I didn't make tons of broccoli for just the two of us, so you will need to adjust accordingly if you are making more broccoli. Enjoy!

3 small heads of broccoli
1 Tbsp. butter
1/4 tsp. garlic powder
1/2 - 1 Tbsp. low sodium soy sauce

Wash and cut your broccoli into bite sized pieces. In a pan melt butter over medium heat. I go just barely above medium heat. Add broccoli, pepper, and garlic powder making sure everything gets evenly coated. Pour a small amount of water over broccoli. Pop the lid on your pan and let the broccoli cook/steam for a few minutes until it's near the done-ness you like, stirring frequently. Add the soy sauce and finish the last minute or so of cooking. Serve warm and enjoy!

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Italian Chicken, Potato, and Green Bean Bake

Talk about comfort food! This totally hit the spot tonight. It it so simple takes just minutes to throw together too. This would be perfect for a cold winter weeknight meal. I found the idea on Pinterest. I tried to find the original site this came from, but I couldn't, sorry, I'd love to give credit where credit is due. Nate is super excited to have leftovers for work this week. We will definitely be making this again and again!

3-4 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves
6 red potatoes
1 can green beans, drained
4 Tbsp. butter, melted
1 packet Italian dressing mix

Lightly spray a 9x13" glass baking dish with cooking spray. Place chicken breasts down the middle of the dish. Drain the green beans and pour them on one side of the chicken. Chop the potatoes into bite sized pieces and put them on the other side of the chicken. Sprinkle the whole dish with a little salt and pepper, then pour the melted butter over the top. Finally sprinkle the Italian dressing mix over everything. Bake at 350 degrees for 60-70 minutes or until chicken is done and potatoes are tender. I stirred my vegetables halfway through the cooking time to to make sure things were evenly seasoned. Once finished cooking, let the chicken rest for 5-10 minutes before serving. Enjoy!

I shared this over at High Heels and Grills.

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