Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Sweet & Sour Chicken

I'm the kind of girl who would literally make a new recipe every night of the week.  Partly to try new things and partly because my husband is incredibly ambivalent towards most things.  If you ask him "did you like this?" his reply will most likely be short and sweet and 1 word, "sure".  Well that tells me nothing so off I go on a quest to find a recipe that wows him.

This recipe for Sweet & Sour Chicken wow'ed him.

This recipe for Sweet & Sour Chicken wow'ed me.

It was so tasty I've already made it two more times.  That's saying something ;)

It's the right mix of sweet and tangy with a nice crust on the chicken.  I served it over Trader Joe's Frozen Brown Rice at the suggestion of a friend who first made this and it was a good accompaniment and super easy to make (hello 3 minutes in the microwave!).  This last time I steamed up some fresh broccoli to add to the bulk and veggie intake and it was a success too.

This recipe is easy enough to throw together for a weeknight supper but fun enough to serve for guests, it's a recipe I will make again.  (I had to put that in print so the husband can hold me to it ;)).


Sweet & Sour Chicken
(adapted from Made It. Ate It. Loved It.)

3 chicken breast
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1 cup cornstarch
1 cup all purpose flour
2 eggs, beaten
1/4 cup milk
1/2 cup canola oil

Rinse chicken, trim off fat or extras and then cut into 1 inch cubes. season with salt and pepper.
Mix cornstarch, flour, salt & pepper together.
Mix eggs and milk together.
Set up a breading station and dip chicken into flour-cornstarch mix, then eggs, then back into the flour-cornstarch mix.
Heat oil in large skillet and cook chicken until browned.
Place browned chicken into a 9x13 baking dish.

3/4 cups sugar
4 Tablespoons ketchup
1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
1 Tablespoon soy sauce
1 teaspoon garlic powder

Whisk all ingredients together until smooth.
Pour sauce evenly over chicken and turn the pieces so the sauce gets on both sides.
Bake at 350 degrees for 15 minutes.
At the end of 15 minutes, turn chicken and then cook for an additional 15 minutes.
Serve over rice with a side of steamed broccoli.

Friday, October 19, 2012

Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Pretzel Cookies

Sure the title is a mouthful to say but trust me when I tell you that when you bite into these, the heavens literally open up and start singing.  Yes they're that good.

I love love love anything sweet & Salty and these cookies are the perfect juxtaposition of this flavor profile.  Sweet from the soft cookie and chips, and salty from the crunchy pretzel bits (which , may I add, stay crispy after baking which absolutely amazed me).

These will absolutely making an appearance on my holiday cookie trays this year!


Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Pretzel Cookies
(adapted from Sugar Cooking)

1 1/2 cups of all purpose flour
1/2 tsp. of table salt
1/4 tsp. of baking soda
1/2 cup of softened butter
1/2 cup of tightly packed light brown sugar
1/3 cup of granulated sugar
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup milk chocolate chips
1/2 cup peanut butter chips
1/2 cup broken up pretzel pieces
sea salt for topping

In a medium bowl, sift together the flour, baking soda, and table salt. Set aside.

In a larger bowl, beat the butter and sugars together on medium speed until light and fluffy (about 2-3 minutes). On low speed add the egg and vanilla extract. Beat to combine, scrape down the sides of the bowl.

Add the flour mixture and beat just until there are no more streaks of flour. Stir in the chocolate chips, peanut butter chips, and preztels. Cover and refrigerate for an hour.

Preheat the oven to 350F. Line baking sheets with parchment paper. Scoop out well rounded tablespoonfuls of the dough and smoosh them down a little.  Place the cookies on the parchment, leaving approximately 2 inches between and sprinkle with salt.

Bake for 10-12 minutes (mine were perfect at 11 minutes). Allow the cookies to cool on the baking sheet for a few minutes before removing.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Chicken Salad Cucumber Cups

Another Pinterest gem, these Cucumber Cups were easy to make and fill with deli prepared chicken salad making them a recipe I'll reach for again and again.

You could easily stuff these cups with more exotic fillings but the creamy chicken salad (tuna salad would be fab too!) contrasted quite nicely against the crisp cucumber.


Chicken Salad Cucumber Cups

2 large English cucumbers
1 pound deli chicken salad

Cut ends off of your cucumbers and then cut them into 1 inch slices. 
Using a small melon balls, carve out some of the cucumber flesh and discard, leaving enough in the bottom to create a base for your chicken salad.
Fill cups with salad and serve immediately or chill until serving.

Antipasti Skewers

In my search for delicious, easy, and quick appetizers, I headed straight to Pinterest (would you expect any less from me?!) and spotted these antipasti skewers.  You can put anything on a stick and it instantly becomes 1,376,271x's better so why not take all the yummy pieces of an antipasti platter and skewer it?!

I made 40 skewers but you can switch this recipe up and make as little or as many as you need.  And you can always hit the gourmet olives and cheese section of your local grocery store to mix up what's on your skewers.  The possibilities are really endless.


Antipasti Skewers

9 ounces uncooked cheese tortellini
20 slices deli salami, cut in half
20 slices deli pepperoni, cut in half
40 pitted kalamata olives
40 green olives with pimentos
40 small fresh mozzarella balls
3/4 cup Italian dressing

Cook your tortellini according to package instructions.  Drain and toss with Italian dressing.  Allow to marinate for up to 2 hours.
Skewer your pasta with the salami, pepperoni, olives, and cheese in any order you choose. Serve immediately or keep chilled until serving.

Jack Daniels Meatballs

I hosted a little get together this past weekend in the form of a Pampered Chef party.  I scoured the internet for some yummy and easy appetizer recipes that would feed my crowd and I stumbled upon this recipe for meatballs from a friend of mine.

Let's be honest here... anything with Jack Daniels & brown sugar and I'm so in.  These meatballs have a sweet, unexpected heat to them and were perfect to eat straight from the slow cooker (but I was happy to have leftovers because I froze them in anticipation of sliders sometime next week :)).


Jack Daniels Meatballs

100 frozen meatballs
16 oz jar Grape Jelly
1 cup ketchup red ketchup
1 ½  cups of Jack Daniels Original # 7 Whiskey
½ cup Worcestshire sauce
¼ cup Tabasco sauce
¼ cup Brown Sugar
2 tbsp Nature’s Seasoning
Salt & pepper to taste

Take a large pot, place over medium heat. Add the Jelly, stir and allow to liquefy (about 2-3 minutes). Add the ketchup and stir to combine. Allow to come to a boil. Add the Worcestshire, Tabasco, Nature’s Seasoning, Brown Sugar and 1 cup of whiskey.  Bring back to a boil. Stir occasionally over the next 10 minutes over medium-low heat.

Empty all meatballs into the pot. Don’t worry about any frost or ice falling into the sauce… you will want this to happen. You will notice
that there are more balls then there is sauce. No worries… try your best to scoop some sauce from the bottom of the pot and coat all balls. (And as a side note... I've never said "balls" so many time without making an inappropriate joke.  You're welcome).

Once all the meatballs have been coated, you can cover and keep on medium-low for another 20 minutes. Stir and mix halfway through the twenty
minutes to help keep everyone happy and coated in sauce.

After twenty minutes, add the remaining whiskey, put heat on low, keep covered and cook for another 90 minutes. Stir every so often minutes to keep the bottom from burning.

Serve immediately or add them to a crock pot. You can make these the day before and leave them in the crock pot overnight and heat them on high for 3 hours before serving.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Grilled Cheeseburger Wraps

My husband loves red meat.  He would eat it 7 days a week and be the happiest man in the world.  

Sadly for him, he married a chicken and seafood obsessed woman who couldn't care less if I ever ate red meat again (Unless it's a peppercorn blue cheese filet.  Then talk to me). 

When I spotted this wrap recipe on Pinterest (I told you - I am obsessed), I figured I'd give it a whirl.  I was pleasantly surprised at a) the ease of the recipe and b) the end result.  I liked it so much, I made it the following week.  

This is one of those recipes that you can totally customize - adding whatever burger toppings you prefer right into the wrap.  For me, it was cheese, pickles, onions, tomatoes.  For my better half is was cheese, pickles, and mustard.  Everyone wins! YAY!

Enjoy :)

Grilled Cheeseburger Wraps
(adapted from Semi Homemade Mom)

1 lb ground beef
1 1/2 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
2 tablespoon ketchup
1 teaspoon onion powder
1 teaspoon garlic powder
salt & pepper to taste
4 large flour tortillas
shredded cheddar cheese
sliced tomatoes, yellow mustard, pickles, sliced onions - basically any burger toppings you fancy!

Brown ground beef in large skillet and drain. Add Worcestershire sauce, ketchup, onion, garlic and salt and pepper to the beef and simmer for 5 minutes.
Sprinkle shredded cheese down center of each tortilla.
Add a quarter of the beef mixture on top of the cheese and top with burger toppings of your choice.
Roll up tortilla burrito-style and place wraps on preheated indoor grill (I used my Cuisanart Griddler until the tortilla is browned.

Blue Cheese Macaroni & Cheese with Chicken & Broccoli

Hearty and delicious, this macaroni & cheese dish had just a little tangy surprise with the addition of blue cheese to the mix.  The husband and I love blue cheese so it was no surprise that we devoured this for dinner and excitedly ate the leftovers for lunch the following day.


Blue Cheese Macaroni & Cheese with Chicken & Broccoli
(adapted from The District Domestic)

1 pound penne pasta
2 tbsp butter
1/4 cup flour
2 cups whole milk
1 cup whipping cream
3 cups cheddar cheese, grated
2 cups blue cheese, crumbled
2 chicken breasts, cooked and cubed
2 heads of broccoli, blanched and shopped

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter a 13×9 baking pan.

Cook pasta in a large pot of salted boiling water until tender, but still al dente. Drain and leave in strainer until the sauce is ready.

Melt butter in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add flour to make a roux and stir constantly to let the flour cook, but not burn.

Gradually whisk in milk and cream. Simmer until mixture thickens, whisking constantly. Reduce heat to low and add grated cheddar cheese (reserving 1/2 cup for sprinkling on top before baking) and crumbled blue cheese. Whisk until cheese melts, about 2 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Add cooked pasta, chicken, and broccoli to sauce, stir to coat. Transfer mixture to prepare baking pan and sprinkle with remaining cheddar cheese. Bake until golden brown on top (sauce will begin to be bubbling), about 25 minutes.

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Pumpkin Streusel Bread with Brown Sugar Glaze

Three words to describe this recipe are as follows:
1) Yum
2) Yummy
3) Yummiest

I found this recipe while perusing my addiction (aka: Pinterest) and knew it would be the perfect fall wonder to send off to my secret baking exchange recipient.  Before I share the recipe with you I want to let you in on a little secret... the deliciousness you see before you was made with the use of a boxed yellow cake.  And trust me, unless you tell people that is how it's made, they'd be none the wiser because it is an incredibly moist and delicious cake.

This recipe is set up to be a coffee cake sort of thing, being made in a 9x13 pan.  But since I didn't want to ship a 9x13 pan, I decided to make it in a loaf pan, which will make for easier shipping.

And that, my friends, the only real adaption I made to this recipe  A bonus to making this recipe as a bread versus coffee cake - it makes two loaves :) You can choose to gift one to a friend and I'd encourage doing so unless you want to eat both of them by yourself.

This bread is quite delicious but I wish I had added some chopped pecans to the streusel topping - I think that would really make this recipe quite perfect.  Guess I'll just have to make it again.  Aw shucks... ;)


Pumpkin Streusel Bread with Brown Sugar Glaze
(adapted from Pretty. Good. Food.)

1/3 cups water
15 oz can pureed pumpkin (NOT pumpkin pie filling)
2 whole eggs
1 tbsp vanilla extract
2 teaspoons Pumpkin Pie Spice
1 box yellow cake mix
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 cup brown sugar, divided
1/2 cups flour
4 tbsp butter, melted
1/4 cups granulated sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 cups heavy whipping cream

Preheat the oven to 350F.

In a large bowl mix together the water, pumpkin, eggs, 1 tbsp of vanilla, and pumpkin pie spice until well combined. Add the cake mix and baking soda and mix until combined.

Prepare two loaf pans by spraying with cooking spray (I like the one made specifically for baking - it has flour in it to help remove the baked good from the pan after) and pour half of mixture into each.

In a small bowl mix together 1/2 cup of brown sugar, 1/2 cup flour and melted butter. Use your fingers to sprinkle over the top of the cake. Bake at 350 for 35 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean.

For the glaze, combine the other 1/2 cup brown sugar, granulated sugar, 1 tsp vanilla, and heavy cream in a saucepan and bring to a simmer. Remove from heat and stir until all sugar is dissolved.

When cake is finished baking, poke holes in the top with a toothpick. Pour glaze over the cake, making sure to cover all surfaces. Serve cake warm or at room temperature.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Taco Noodle Bake

Going for a walk together with the kids, running down to borrow sugar, a quick wave of the hand in the morning, and swapping recipes are all perks of having awesome neighbors.  Our amazing friend, neighbor and Paige's god-mom, Melissa, shared this recipe with us that is a twist on the traditional tacos.

So wait... we're combining pasta and tacos?  I knew we had to try it.

I'm a taco feign and cannot get enough of all things Mexican so I was excited when this recipe turned out to be just as tasty as Melissa promised.

Per usual, I made some adjustments to the original recipe in regards to spices and the amount of meat added.  What we ended up with was a hearty dish that both Jim and I devoured.


Taco Noodle Bake
(adapted from Taste of Home)

12 ounces egg noodles
1 pound ground turkey or beef
1-8 ounce can tomato sauce
3/4 cup water
1-4 ounce can chopped green chilies
1 envelope taco seasoning
1 teaspoon onion powder
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
1/2 cup taco sauce
sour cream, lettuce, tomatoes, black olives for garnish

Cook noodles according to package directions. Meanwhile, in a large nonstick skillet, cook the meat over medium heat until no longer pink; drain. Stir in the tomato sauce, water, green chilies, taco seasoning, onion powder, cayenne pepper and garlic powder. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat; simmer, uncovered, for 5 minutes.
Drain noodles; place in an 11-in. x 7-in. baking dish coated with cooking spray. Spread the meat mixture over the top. Sprinkle with cheese. Bake, uncovered, at 350° for 10-15 minutes or until cheese is melted.
Spread taco sauce over top of the cheese. Top with sour cream, lettuce, tomatoes, black olives.