{Good Eats} RIDICULOUSLY good cookies!

I don’t even know what to say about these cookies, except that they are RIDICULOUSLY GOOD! I was in a bit of a cookie rut.  I’m not gonna lie, normally my cookies get some pretty positive reviews…however, I think the last 2 or 3 (12….) times I just kept missing the mark. Stupid things like doubling half the recipe and not the other half, using Tablespoons instead of teaspoons of salt, miss measuring the brown sugar….I mean this has gone on and on and on. I was certain my brain was telling me YOU SHOULD NOT BE EATING COOKIES, therefore I WILL MAKE IT IMPOSSIBLE for you to bake them.

But Sunday I had to give it a go again.  Jenny over at Picky Palate is pretty much a dessert goddess.  If it is coming out of her kitchen you just know it’s going to be good.  I had seen her Oreo Stuffed Chocolate Chip Cookie weeks ago and it’s been haunting me to bake it.

Then last week Jenny did a post on ALL of the stuffed cookies she has come up with this year. HELLO!?!?  Now HOW am I supposed to resist THAT I ask you!?!?

But I’m lazy.

And with the track record I’ve had, I just figure “STUFFED” was not something I should attempt. These days, I would likely set the oven on fire. So instead I planned to just throw a sleeve of Oreos in the mixer and cut back the chocolate chips to 1/2 of what Jenny suggests.

But then…..

Yep, you know there had to be a “But then…..”

I was getting all the ingredients set up when Hubs walks in the kitchen.

Hubs: “Bummer, there were some kids selling candy bars out of a cooler, and I didn’t have any cash on me.”

Me: “What?  Where did they go?  I’ve got cash!!”

And out Miss Piper and I went running to the neighbor’s house to catch them on their route.  We scored 6 beautiful Caramello Bars!!!  That would be little pockets of caramel wrapped in milk chocolate. Oh YUM!

NOW I was going to have to make stuffed cookies.

I followed Jenny’s recipe making the following changes:

  1. I used 1/2 the chocolates chips (using only milk chocolate chips)
  2. I threw a sleeve of Oreos in the mixer. Just let the mixer break em up.
  3. I placed a scoop of cookie dough on my parchment lined cookie sheet, then placed a Caramello square on top of the dough, placed my second scoop of dough on top of the Caramello square, then pushed down the sides just a bit to seal.
  4. I baked mine 9-10 minutes. I also baked single scoop (unstuffed) cookies along side the big daddies. They baked in the same time without issue. Figured smaller cookies were better for the little Punks around here.

And YES, that is caramel DRIPPING down the cookie….oh.my.goodness.  RIDICULOUSLY GOOD!!! Enjoy!

(I also froze some of the little ones to add to ice cream later this week…just sayin’…)

{Good Eats) Watcha eating this weekend?

So where are you all going this weekend??  Us?

Absolutely nowhere.nothing.nada.zilcho.not going anywhere.not leaving the house.

But we are going to see a few friends this weekend, or rather, they are going to come and see us, because we are going….

Absolutely nowhere.nothing.nada.zilcho.not going anywhere.not leaving the house.

And I like it that way!

So yes, ME who finds it too strenuous sometimes to pack up all 3 of our kids, the Hubs and myself, has selfishly asked our friends with 4 kids, and our friends with 3 kids to pack up THEIR bags and come to our house.

I figure if I’m going to do that, then I better have a nice meal waiting for them.  And I should probably use paper plates too so no one has to wash anything. And I should have wine.

Lots of it. Yep, that sounds about right.

Here’s what I’m considering…..

I’m thinking I may go all cold and hot on them to start.

(Photo: Eat, Live, Run)

Simple Gaucamole, the more basic the better for me. Love loads of lime and avocado…Jenna at Eat, Live, Run has a nice one. For the kids I keep the jalapenos to a minimum. This is the “cool” app after all.

For the “Hot” side, the Pioneer Woman’s Jalapeno Poppers we made for Dad’s birthday were so fabulous that I just may need to do these again. I loved that I could make them ahead of time and then just pop em in the oven!  In her cookbook, she includes 1 green onion, sliced, and 1/2 cup cheddar cheese to the cream cheese. She also brushes them with BBQ sauce just before placing in the oven. I concur 100%. F.A.B.U.L.O.U.S.

Then for dinner…

(Photo: Eat, Live Run)

I’ve been dying to try this Hawaiian BBQ Chicken Sandwich since I first saw it….looks like Heaven and since it takes 2.2 seconds of effort, it sounds perfect! I would probably serve as little sliders with Hawaiian Sweet Rolls.

But I’m also still totally in love with this inspired Bacon Turkey Burger Slider, and OH MY was it as easy, as it was good, to make!

Grilled Corn is always a cinch to make, and a two-fer that the kids love it too! (And the world wont end if you make this REALLY easy on yourself, and wrap these in foil with butter instead of using the husk, I promise!)

(Photo: Cheeky Kitchen)

Of course, if I don’t serve grilled corn, I could just add corn to a big green salad.  I saw this Fresh Corn & Cherry Salad with Sweet Cucumber Vinaigrette on Cheeky Kitchen’s site. How good does THAT look and sound!?!  {BTW – if you have never read Brooke’s site before, you should start…HILARIOUS mom with a fabulous whit and the sweetest personality to match.}

I kind of like the idea of a salad since that’s a one stop shop for greens, veggies and fruit AND I can make it ahead of time and store in the fridge.  I bet the little kiddos would dig the cherries too….

Mind you, I COULD go 1/2 over achiever and grill the corn before adding it to the salad….hmmmm…gonna need to ponder that.  I also really like fennel in every salad…I’m a bit addicted, might be an add on.

Then of course there is dessert….

Thinking a few options here as well. I COULD….

Make homemade ice cream again. Because I can do it the day before, or morning of. Super simple with very few ingredients. Until you get to the “add-ins”. Now those numbers can mount up….our current faves ~ leftover buttercream frosting, pretzels, peanut butter swirls, and any candy bar that we can find in the secret hiding places of the kitchen (freezer, tool box, snack jar, ???) ~ Yes, ALL of that in the same ice cream. Why do you ask?

Could also go with simple vanilla ice cream and a fruit cobbler. (Easier than a pie in my book, but just as tasty…)

(Photo: Two Peas and Their Pod)

This Strawberry Rhubarb Cobbler from Two Peas and Their Pod looks divine! And makes me very glad I have Rhubarb (and strawberries!) growing in our garden this year. I’m NEVER upset about making Maria’s recipes.

However if I want to be a SERIOUS overachiever and keep the kids & grownups alike REALLY happy (though I firmly believe that both options above would as well)….I could also go for cookies.

(Photo: Picky Palate)

And Jenny at Picky-Palate knows how to bake em. If you have not seen this Oreo Stuffed Chocolate Chip Cookie, you may be the only one on the internet. I think it went virtually viral the week she posted it!  I know Jenny, and I know Jenny’s cookies. Both are exceptional!

So there you have it. Hopefully our friends will get to eat some sort of combination of the above…and if they don’t, well, that’s only because I got lazy and decided grilled “gourmet” hot dogs, a bag of chips, watermelon, and a box of ice cream sandwiches sounded just fine!!

Have a great weekend!

{Good Eats} Bacon & Burgers! FAVORITES!

Earlier this week, The Pioneer Woman published this post about wrapping hamburger sliders in bacon. (This is the printable recipe on Tasty Kitchen).

Can I say that first part again??

Literally, WRAPPING BACON AROUND A BURGER, and then cooking them.  I’m just going to go right out and say it, GENIUS!

So here’s the thing. I had defrosted some ground turkey and planned to make our favorite Turkey Burger Sliders this week, but then when I read that post, I KNEW I needed to kick things up a notch.  I basically did my exact recipe, then wrapped my sliders in bacon as Ree suggests, and baked them in the oven.

2 simple little changes that quite simply, rocked my world!

I strongly urge you to do the same this weekend. SUPER EASY, NO STRESS, CROWD PLEASER!! I didn’t even have all our usual fixings, and honestly they were amazing as is!!

What I also liked about Ree’s recipe is that she bakes her sliders in the oven on a broiler pan.  GENIUS again!  I always use a grill pan on the stove top for our turkey burger sliders. But one of the ingredients that makes them so yummy is the grated cheese IN the burgers. Since there is A LOT of cheese, I find that they dont work well on the grill and the oozing cheese can sometimes burn a bit in the pan.  WHY OH WHY have I never thought to make these in the oven?  So easy and less complicated!

I ended up doing some with the wrapped bacon, and some without to see how the oven method would work.

At 400 degrees, the unwrapped were perfectly cooked at 25 minutes.  The bacon wrapped were perfect at 30 minutes.

I will forever and ever, from last night forward, make my sliders this way. Amen.

A few things I didn’t do:

  1. I did not return the bacon wrapped patties to the fridge. (But I had prepared my ground turkey mixture earlier in the day and just pulled it from the fridge).
  2. I did not try the jalapenos, because I didn’t have any, but I know Hubs would have loved this.
  3. I did not try the BBQ sauce, well, because I forgot about it.

I few things I did do:

  1. I did use Sweet Hawaiian Rolls as we always do for sliders…the best!
  2. I did eat 3 sliders all by myself.
  3. I did serve them with watermelon and Trader Joe’s Sweet Onion Rings
  4. And my kids and Hubs did gobble them all up.

And one more thing.  You know the old story about being able to cancel out calories…you know, diet coke & chocolate cake??  How they don’t count when eaten together??  I think the same is true for ground turkey and bacon.

At least that’s what I’m going to keep telling myself!!

Enjoy!

{Good Eats} Super Easy Tri Tip in the Oven

I first published this recipe in February last year (2010). It really is so ridiculously easy and impressive!  I think we make a Tri-Tip once a week and I get 2 0r 3 dinners from it.  I’ve been told by out of state friends that a “Tri-Tip” is a trendy California cut, and not commonly found. So definitely ask your butcher if you don’t see it.  We love that is fairly inexpensive, full of flavor, and very versatile. I get ours at Costco.

The other thing I ALWAYS use is Lindberg Snider Porterhouse & Roast Seasoning. There is nothing in the world like that seasoning!  We use it on everything from our bloody mary rims, to this steak.  Locally I buy a big bottle from Bristal Farms. It is WORTH IT to add this to your pantry, I promise! For this recipe alone…

Ingredients:

1 tri tip
Lindberg Snider Porterhouse & Roast Seasoning
olive oil

Directions:

  1. Season both sides of a tri tip with Porterhouse Seasoning, liberally!!
  2. Heat olive oil in an oven proof pan.  (Any All Clad type pan will work, I use a grill pan).
  3. When pan is hot, brown both sides of tri tip for 3-4 minutes each.  You are not cooking it, only sealing the sides. Feel free to stand it on its sides too if you want all 4 sides browned.
  4. When all sides are brown, place entire pan in a preheated 350 degree oven for about 20-25 minutes. (I usually take mine out at exactly 22 minutes).
  5. Remove from oven and let rest, tented with foil for about 5 minutes, slice and serve!

I know all that sounds really complicated…OR it sounded far easier than it possibly could be, so here’s a few pictures from our dinner Tuesday night.

Always bring meat to room temperature before cooking. I usually take it out about 20 – 30 minutes before I plan to make dinner. The world wont end if you forget to do this though.

Season both sides liberally Lindberg Snider Porterhouse & Roast Seasoning. I mean you probably shouldn’t if you don’t want to change your life, but if you do want to taste the best seasoning on this earth, then go ahead and pour it on.

Heat a little olive oil in a grill pan (that you will be able to transfer to the oven. You can use a regular old frying pan. Not to worry).  Then season the second side of the Tri-Tip.

Now here is the important part. If you’re going to cook this while also entertaining your Littles, make sure it’s a REALLY good game of “Peek!”.  And do your best not to throw your hip out while you carry your 14 month old, all the while trying not to kill your camera (do you all remember that post? I can’t find it, oh well!)…

Lay that bad boy in the pan and brown each side for 3-4 minutes.  I’m usually flipping it just shy of 4 minutes.

“Peek!!!”

“Really?!!?  You’re bored already?  I’m only 2 minutes into the first side??? Work with me!!

Check on the other Littles….

OK! 4 minutes!!  Nice and brown, flip it to the second side.

“Peek!” Seriously Piper, you could at least TRY to look like you’re having fun….

While you’re waiting on that second 4 minutes. Pull this handy dandy deal out of your drawer. If you don’t have one, get one now. You will not want to make this recipe without one. TRUST me and everyone else that ever thought they didn’t need it, and ended up branding their hand with a frying pan handle….I bought mine at Sur La Table. You slide it over the handle when you take the pan out of the oven. TRUST me, that handle is HOT!!

OK, second side is done, so throw the whole pan in the oven at 350 degrees for 20-25 minutes. (Mine is EXACTLY 22 minutes).

Now go do a little art project with your kids while you smell the Heaven in the oven…

20-25 minutes later, slide that little pot holder over the handle…

And take the steak out of the oven.  Looks goooood huh!!???!

Loosely tent while you throw together a salad. I like to tent for about 5 minutes.  I prefer my steak closer to medium and Hubs likes his medium rare. Because of the triangle shape of a Tri-Tip you can definitely keep everyone happy!

Photos never really do meat justice, but this is perfectly cooked!

You can place it back in the pan to keep warm and soak up the juices.

I threw this one over a quick salad ~ Fresh garden lettuce, cucumber, apples, feta, yellow peppers, Marcona almonds, Girrards Light Champagne Vinaigrette.  Doesn’t hurt to serve a little Trader Joe’s Garlic Naan on the side either.

Leftovers can be used for dinners the rest of the week. I might use it in fried rice, or steak bowls, quesadillas, paninis, so many, many ways to use it up!

Seriously, this is so easy and yummy, you must make it this week! Enjoy!

A Twist on Tradition ~ Caramel Pecan Cookies

My youngest sister has been married a year. She is one of the most creative human beings I know, and she not only loves to throw a party, but she also loves to find over the top recipes. (And since she doesn’t have any Littles underfoot yet, she has a little more time to find the good stuff!)

Last Thanksgiving as we had all just been together for their wedding in October, rather than fly home, she and her new husband joined friends for dinner. And as is customary, my sister found a MEMORABLE and AMAZING dessert.

Though I wasn’t there to eat them, just hearing these cookies talked about, I hope I can persuade her to make them for us this year.  I love a great Pecan Pie, but I love a little twist on tradition too, especially if it gives me all the same yummy goodness!

So surprise your guests, or your hosts, on Thursday with a new treat…just don’t forget the ice cream!!

Caramel Pecan Cookies
From Epicurious.com

Ingredients:

For the crust:

2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 sticks (3/4 cup) unsalted butter, softened
1 cup sugar
1 large egg
1/2 teaspoon vanilla

For caramel pecan topping:

1 1/2 cups sugar
1 cup heavy cream
3/4 stick (6 tablespoons) unsalted butter, cut into bits
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 cups pecans (1/2 lb), toasted , cooled, and coarsely chopped

Directions:

Make crust:

Grease a 13- by 9-inch metal baking pan, then line with foil, leaving a 2-inch overhang on both ends, and grease foil.

Follow recipe for basic butter cookies to make dough (do not chill), then press dough evenly onto bottom of baking pan, using plastic wrap on top to prevent dough from sticking to your fingers, and chill until firm, about 20 minutes.

While crust chills, put oven rack in middle position and preheat oven to 375°F.

Bake crust until golden brown, about 30 minutes. Cool in pan on a rack 20 minutes. (Leave oven on.)

Make topping while crust cools:

Cook sugar in a 2 1/2- to 3-quart heavy saucepan over moderate heat, undisturbed, until it begins to melt. Continue to cook, stirring occasionally with a fork, until sugar is melted to a deep golden caramel. Tilt pan and carefully pour in cream (caramel will harden and steam vigorously). Cook over moderately low heat, stirring, until caramel is dissolved. Remove from heat and stir in butter, vanilla, salt, and pecans.

Immediately spread topping over cooled crust and bake until bubbling, about 20 minutes. Cool completely in pan on rack, about 2 hours.

Run a heavy knife under hot water, then wipe dry and cut confection into 2-inch triangles, diamonds, or squares.


perfect sunday dinner ~ gingermen sandwich cookies

Sunday Dinner.  In our family growing up, that translated to “Family Night”.

And I loved it.

All the way down to how my amazingly creative and stylish mother would set the table.

But then she would bring out dinner. “Dinner fit for the Queen” as my dad used to say. (If he wasn’t saying. “You all should come over more often, we never get to eat like this”.  Riiiiiight…..good thing we knew he was kidding!)

When I met Pam and Maggy of Three Many Cooks, I could feel “family” from the first “Hello!”.  I had been reading the Three Many Cooks blog and feeling as though I already knew these awesome women.

But theeeeen I read a post about hotdogs.

And it inspired me to write a post about hot dog buns.

And then Maggy Tweeted, “We’ll be in LA next week, let’s do lunch!”

And I loved them even more. And haven’t looked back since.

(Me and Maggy)

Needless to say, when I received Pam’s newest cookbook Perfect One-Dish Dinners ~ All You Need for Easy Get-Togethers I couldn’t wait to try it!  It’s arranged a little differently than most in that the recipes are grouped as an entire meal, but the beauty is Pam gives you little “Instant Alternatives”.  So when you’re looking at menu for A, B, & C and don’t think you can do A or B, she gives you an easy alternative that wont sacrifice the meal.  I just love that she has done the dinner menu for you! One less thing on my busy mom brain!

So I decided to try out her Chicken Pot Pie Dinner Menu:

Appetizer: Perfect Spinach-Artichoke Dip
Instant Alternative: Smokehouse Almonds

Salad: Mixed Green with Shredded Carrots and Dried Cranberries

Dinner: Chicken Potpie with Green Apples and Cheddar Biscuits

Dessert: Gingermen Sandwich Cookies
(This was actually an “Instant Alternative” for her Chili Dinner, but they sounded too good to pass up!)

Yeaaaaah, you really can’t get mad at this Spinach Artichoke dip.  I almost did my own “Instant Alternative” old faithful Trader Joe’s frozen Spinach Artichoke, but in the end I went for the homemade and am sooooo glad that I did.  It will stay as a favorite in my cookbook and will be made OFTEN.  My babes went crazy for it too! Absolutely delicious. I have never tasted one like it…of course what’s not to like when cream cheese is involved??

Chicken Potpie….it should be renamed, ” Where have you been all my life Potpie?”. I say this because I was more than skeptical of the ingredients.  I was raised on traditional potpie with veggies.  It’s the potpie I cook today and friends and family love.

This is not that potpie.  This has apples and leeks.

You saute them in butter. And well, frankly, butter can make everything taste perfect. Don’t you agree?

I certainly do now if I didn’t before.

I used the kids’ nap time to make all the dishes for dinner. But the one thing  I could not do early was the biscuit topping. So instead I measured out all the dry ingredients, and grated the cheese.  The only thing left to do was add the frozen butter (say what???) and buttermilk.

Now the salad I figured would be the wall flower of the dinner and basically just show up. But oh no! It made it’s presence known!

Pam suggested adding thinly sliced red onion if you wished, and we did, wish that is.  However I’m not a huge fan of onion that “bites”. My sister taught me a trick to soak your red onion in balsamic vinegar and then take the onions out and add to your salad when you’re ready to eat.  Because this salad called for a Balsamic Vinaigrette this was one way to cut out steps.  The salad was prepped in the fridge and I added the “marinated onions” with a splash of olive oil when we sat down for dinner.  YUUUUUUUUM! Salad was a hit!

Not a bad looking dinner huh??  And I made THE ENTIRE dinner while the girls napped!  OK, to be truthful, my 2-1/2 year old decided not to go to sleep, so she was in and out of the kitchen. And my 7 mos old “helped” while I made dessert. So a TASTY, DELICIOUS dinner like this is totally doable for a busy mom!

Every dish was a hit at dinner and will be making a return visit.

(That’s a “Clap-clap, YUM, Mama”. In case you needed translation…)

But now I need to back up.

Piper was my “helper” for dessert.

Piper: “Oh Mama, these look good!”

Me: “Not yet, baby…”

Piper: “Awwwwe, Mama!!!!”

Me: “We need to add a few more ‘scant tablespoons’ to these little men”.

Piper: “Oh that’s a gooood idea, Mama!”

Piper: “Standing ovation, Mama! Yippee!”

My Friends, these are good.

You should make them.

Soon.

But I warn you….

They may make a 2-1/2 year old witch run wild around the dinner table.

And a 1-1/2 year old dazed and confused cat may ask…

What WAS that Grampa????

And basically I have no words for this….

But I do for this.

Sunday Dinners, Family Nights, or “Hey you, come and eat”.

The name doesn’t matter.

What does matter is that when you get together with family and friends, it’s going to be fun.

It will leave you with wonderful memories (and full bellies if Pam Anderson has anything to do with it!)

I can’t wait to try more of the Pam’s recipes!  The following are a list of friends of Three Many Cooks. We were all invited to share a Sunday dinner with you this Monday.  Check out what everyone did!! I know many on this list ~ amazing people, photographers, foodies, and friends…every post should entertain and show you a little more of Pam’s beautiful and scrumptious book.

*** AND, I would love to share a cookbook with you!  Leave a comment below and tell me what your favorite thing is about a Sunday Dinner.  I’ll pick a random name on Wednesday and send you copy of this fabulous book! ***

DadCooksDinner.com
RecipeGirl.com
ArtofGlutenFreeBaking.com
KitchenGadgetGirl.com
MyBakingAddiction.com
Wenderly.com
BluebonnetsandBrownies.com
TheSensitivePantry.com
WhatsCookingBlog.com
TwoPeasandTheirPod.com
WhatsGabyCooking.com
Bellalimento.com
SmithBites.com
MyFavoriteEverything.com
FoodForMyFamily.com
SavoringTheThyme.com
Ivoryhut.com
DineAndDish.net
GlutenFreeGirl
Picky-Palate.com
TickledRed
SheWearsManyHats.com
WhatWereEating.com
ThisWeekForDinner.com
SugarCrafter.net
GoodLifeEats.com
LaFujiMama.com
HowTo-Simplify.com
RookieMoms.com
TLCSteamyKitchen.com
LaPommedePortland.com

Gingermen Sandwich Cookies
Pam Anderson ~
Perfect One-Dish Dinners ~ All You Need for Easy Get-Togethers

Ingredients:

2 – 5oz packages Pepperidge Farm Gingermen Homestyle Cookies
6 oz softened cream cheese
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/2 cup confectioners sugar
1/4 cup crystallized ginger

Directions:

Beat cream cheese with butter until smooth and fluffy.  Beat in confectioners sugar and ginger.  Smear a scant tablespoon frosting on one side of 16 gingermen cookies. Top with remaining 16 gingermen. (Cookies can be prepared up to 2 hours ahead of time.  After that, the cookies start to soften, but they are perfectly fine that way too. ~ I agree! We had ours soft!!)

BLT Pizza ~ Pure, mad, goodness!

This could quite possibly be one of the most delicious pizzas I’ve ever made. Hubs and I were devouring it last weekend!  Sunday we were able to move back into our house.  I say this loosely as it really meant we were able to walk on the floors, not move furniture back in….but baby steps are good!

Not only did we miss our house, but our garden missed us.  We had a TON of tomatoes waiting for us when we got here.  We still have our summer beef steak planted.  It wasn’t feeling it this summer, but it’s feeling it now, so far this Fall we’ve had some very flavorful tomatoes!  On Sunday, I was trying to be creative…

Me: “Hon you want a Margarita pizza for lunch or a BLT?”

Hubs: “BLT!”

Hubs: “Wait. No, the pizza”.

Hubs: “Wait. No, the BLT”.

Hubs: “OK, whichever is easier…”

I knew there was a little inner battle going on for him.  He really doesn’t care what we eat, but he LOOOVVVVES fresh tomatoes.

So I got creative and made a BLT pizza. HOLY MAN (as my mother-in-law would say) I could eat one everyday!!! It was that good and oh so very easy.

  1. I like to use Bridgeford bread loaves for pizza dough.  It tastes like homemade, I can keep it in my freezer until I need it, I just need to leave it on the counter to defrost and rise, and if I’m in a pinch I can defrost in the microwave.  Really, you can’t go wrong. Not to say that I don’t make dough from scratch sometimes too, but with the 3 babes running around, easier is better sometimes.
  2. I left a frozen loaf on the counter in a bowl while I went off with 1 of the babes to run errands.  Got back around noon and it was defrosted.
  3. Preheat your oven to 400 degrees.
  4. Cut the loaf in half and roll each half out on a floured surface.
  5. Once it’s rolled out, place it on a cookie sheet sprinkled with cornmeal (makes it tons easier to get the pizza back off when it’s done!)
  6. I brushed a little olive oil over the top then popped it in the oven for 20 minutes.
  7. While that’s baking, cook up some bacon bits, dice a tomato (or 3 in our case), chop some Romain, and get your ranch dressing ready.
  8. When the crust is done baking, smear a few tablespoons of ranch over the surface, throw on the cooked bacon bits, lettuce, and tomatoes.  Salt & Pepper to taste.
  9. NOW GO FORTH, EAT AND BE MERRY! This will make your whole day!!

Enjoy!

real simple ~ chocolate fondue

I know I’ve been re-posting a few things lately.  But I’m doing it for a couple reasons.

1.) I’m living out of a suitcase with my babes at my parents house while they are out of town and our floors are being re-done.  Read = THIS IS NOT FUN.  I am thankful we had a place to go, but having your life split between 2 houses and not having all that you need in one place + having kids that are NOT SLEEPING, all equals a not so great time…

And 2.) MFE has a much different readership number now than it did back when I originally posted some of these favorites.

And, honestly, they are favorites that I think you really need to know about.  This Chocolate Fondue is SO EASY!  I would give my left arm to have this right now!  With all the fun holidays coming up, this should be on your “Make This” list for sure! I’m making it the moment we move back into our house, I promise you…at this point I might eat the whole thing by myself…

Here is the original post….

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

I have to give complete credit to my sister for finding this recipe in Real Simple. We were both pregnant at the same time over New Years in 2007/08.  We opted for a mellow night in with our hubbies in Tahoe.  She cooked an amazing dinner for us, and then we splurged on this for dessert…SOOOOO YUMMM! We actually sent the boys to the market to get us the chocolate and told them not to come back with anything but the GOOD stuff….well they took us seriously, because they brought back Lindt Milk chocolate.  We seriously died and went to Heaven that night.

Since that night, I have made this NUMEROUS times.  It’s a super easy crowd and party pleaser.  Great conversation starter too.  Don’t be surprised if everyone asks for the recipe after.

(Image: Real Simple)

Ingredients:

3/4 cup heavy cream
1 pound milk or dark chocolate, broken into pieces (I use milk chocolate)
1 pint fresh strawberries
1  store-bought angel food cake, cut into 1-inch pieces (optional)
8 ounces dried fruit, such as pineapple slices and figs (optional)
(1 like to use: blackberries, banana slices, green apples & caramel cookies from Trader Joe’s)

Directions:

1. In a small saucepan, over low heat, warm the cream and chocolate. Stir until the chocolate melts. Transfer the fondue to a serving bowl. (I like to put a little bit into a few different ramekins and place at all sides of the dining or coffee table, you can also use a dessert fondue pot, but you don’t have to.)

2. Serve immediately with forks and foods for dipping strawberries, angel food cake, etc..

favorite salad ~ crunchy romaine toss

I love this salad.

For those that know me in person, you know this is HUGE to say.  I’m just not a big salad eater.  I really wish I was, but it’s just not my thing…{bizarre too since I have one sister who is a vegetarian and the other who CRAVES veggie sandwiches like I do pizza…}

But me?

Yeah, I’m all about meat, cheese, potatoes…..yep, that stuff.

Kinda wish I craved  salad every now and then.

So when I find a salad recipe that makes my skirt twirl, it’s bound to be good.  It just needs good “stuff”.  A good dressing, and/or good things in it.  Otherwise it’s just all a bowl of paper to me.

Sorry.

This salad will make you twirl ’til you’re dizzy.  It’s super simple, very few ingredients, and a great mix of salt and sweet.  The dressing is so dang good I just keep it in a mason jar to enjoy all week.  It’s not the healthiest dressing, but a little goes a long way, so enjoy the treat.

On Tuesday this week I did my once every 3 months venture over to the AWESOME Whole Foods Market by our house.  Grabbed a couple DELICIOUS smoked chicken quarters (let me say that again ~ DELICIOUS), and whipped up this salad for dinner….

Throw some walnuts, crushed ramon noodles, and butter in a pan (did I say butter? Yep, there is BUTTER) in this…

While that’s getting all tasty on the stove top, I mix up the dressing….

Go back and check those super tasty buttery morsels.  They are probably done about now, so turn them off to cool.

Give some attention to the chicken you picked up at the market this AM.  I used smoked chicken breasts because it just sounded good.  Obviously this salad can go with anything.

Dump the now cooled buttery goodness into a bowl with lettuce (yes I use the packaged spring mixes, variety helps me…), chopped broccoli, and green onions.

Save the crunchies you don’t use in a container in the fridge for the next day.

Pour on a little dressing and toss it up (remember, a little dressing goes a long way…)

Yum, yum, yum!

Hubs asked for his chicken cold on the side

I shredded mine and tossed it in (the kids ate chicken taken from both of our pieces with some fruit & mac and cheese ravioli)

Yep.

It’s good.

We had the leftovers the next night.  Hubs grilled a flank steak, and then I mixed together the same spring mix, the crunchy buttery bits, cucumber, feta, leftover whole wheat pasta, and the dressing. Honestly, you could add anything with this dressing and those crunchies, the world just ends up perfect when you do.

Yum all over again!

Click this for the recipe and make this soon.  Take it to a potluck. Your friends will love ya (and your skirts will twirl!)

(Haaaa, just noticed the name says “romaine toss”, I normally use spring mixes…. just sayin’).

A whole new take on fried chicken

I love fried chicken.  When I lived in Dallas, my sophamore year at SMU, I lived across the street from Bubba’s.  If you live in Dallas, you KNOW what I’m talking about.  To this day when I visit Dallas I have a certain food circuit that must occur, and one of the stops is at Bubba’s for fried chicken tenders, mashed potatoes, green beans, and a biscuit with honey.  HELLO, roll me over and stick a fork in my heart, I’m done!

All that is to say, I have a weakness for fried chicken.

Well, I’ve been making my way through Rocco Dispirito’s, “Now Eat This!!” cookbook, and I was excited to see a recipe for “Flash Fried Finger Lickin’ Chicken“.

Ohhhhhh

This could be a winner.

Now stick with me.  It may seem complicated, but it really is not. I think this whole process took me 35 minutes TOTAL.  And mind you, my favorite guy was not home from work yet, and I was running back and forth from the kitchen to the front room trying to keep the kids from entering the hole in the wall contstruction zone.  All that to say, I probably could have done it in under 35 minutes.

While the kids took their nap I mixed up the flour mixture in a Ziplock – flour, paprika, celery salt, black pepper, salt and cayenne.  Then when I was ready to make this in the evening, I dumped it into a shallow dish.

As with any recipe, when you’re ready to make everything, in order to make the process go smoothly and quickly, definitely get EVERY POSSIBLY ingredient, untensil, pot, bowl, dish, etc out and in one place in the kitchen.  You will be AMAZED how much faster the whole process goes!

Once it’s all out and waiting for ya, then you can get started…

I cut the chicken breast into little nuggets (more kid friendly than the thighs the recipe calls for).  Added the chicken to a pot with broth and brought it to a simmer to poach (if you said poach for anything else, my face would turn green and I would have to turn my head. But I went with it, and am so glad that I did!).  While the chicken was simmering, I poured the oil into a pot to start heating up.  Once the chicken was cooked, about 15-20 minutes for nuggets, I dumped em all into a bowl with the buttermilk.

Addie was a little intrigued by this step….

Addie: “How come mama, how come?”

Mom: “You’re guess is as good as mine Punkin!” (I say this as it’s totally reverse from most fried chicken recipes.  You would normally marinate in buttermilk, often overnight, then bread, THEN fry/cook, but not in this case.).

Grab each chicken piece, dunk it in the bread mixture (the one I made during nap time and had now poured into a shallow bowl). Dunk it back in the buttermilk, and then back in the bread mixture, and then onto a cookie sheet.

Once all the chicken has been breaded, the oil should be plenty hot.  I set a plate with a paper towel next to the stove top.  I’m showing you the photo below so you can see the pot I chose to fry in.  The recipe called for a pot with tall sides, but this worked fine for me, I think I had 2″ of oil that I had heated on med-high.

Now here is the awesome part of this recipe.  It will take you about 2 minutes to fry up all the chicken. You literally drop the chicken in and in about 5 seconds you take it out and place it on the paper towel.  Remember the chicken is already cooked, all you’re doing now is getting that outer super yummy crunchy layer.  So you place it in the pot and the minute it’s golden, you take it out. (This also cuts the fat WAAAAY down!) My Fave guy came home at about this point and was popping them into his mouth like candy.  We both agreed that the chicken was super juicy and VERY tasty!  This will become a regular one for us.  I want to try it next time using other bread coatings too.  This one was great and we all loved it (kids had it with a side of ranch), but the recipe seems easy enough to be able to adapt with different flavors and breading options.

The photo below is only to show you the pot.  We did make the Faux mashed potatoe recipe (which uses Cauliflower) but it didn’t go over well with either us (I’ve had a better one, from the South Beach Diet I think).  In the end we decided we would rather cut the calories in the chicken, but eat real mashed potatoes!

Seriously, do not be afraid of this recipe or the steps.  It’s easy and tasty, AND good for you! (and if I WAS making mashed potatoes for this, I would have put them on to boil in the beginning when poaching the chicken, and then drained them and set aside just before I started frying the chicken.  When the chicken flash frying was done (2 minutes later) I would have prepared the potatoes which would give the chicken a chance to cool for the kids mouths.  Then everything would be ready, with no time wasted!

In the words of Yo Gabba Gabba, “Try it!  You might like it!”

Flash Fried Finger Lickin’ Chicken
Adapted from ~ “Now Eat This!
” Rocco Dispirito

*** TIP: If you want to print this recipe (or any other on this site), click the “Share It” link at the bottom of the post, then scroll to “printer friendly”, then print!  This is something I’m hoping to make easier in the updates, but that should help you for now!

Ingredients:

3 cups low fat, low sodium chicken broth
Salt
4 skinless, bone in chicken thighs (I used 2 skinless, boneless chicken breasts)
2 quarts grapeseed oil (I used 1 quart canola oil)
1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
1 Tablespoon sweet paprika
1 1/2 teaspoons celery salt
1 Tablespoon freshly ground pepper
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
2 cups low-fat buttermilk

Directions:

  1. Heat the chicken broth in a medium sauce-pot over high heat, seasoning it generously with salt.  Add the chicken to the pan and bring the broth to a simmer.  cover and reduce the heat to low.  Simmer gently until the chicken is tender, about 40 minutes (for thighs, I used breasts cut as nuggets and it was about 20 minutes).
  2. While the chicken is cooking, pour the oil into a large pot and bring it to 400 degrees over high heat.  Set a plate with a paper towel (or a wire rack) for draining chicken next to pot. In a shallow dish combine, the flour, with the paprika, celery salt, black pepper, 1 teaspoon salt, and the cayenne.  Use a whisk to thoroughly combine the ingredients.
  3. When the chicken is cooked, remove from the liquid and pat dry (I bypassed this step and lifted the nuggets straight from the pot and dropped them in the buttermilk bowl). Cover with buttermilk, then dredge in the seasoned flour mixture.  Dip them back in the buttermilk, then back in the flour mixture.
  4. Fry the chicken, I did about 5 nuggets at a time, in the hot oil until golden brown.  Drain and serve immediately.

Happy Frying my Friends!!