Monday, January 2, 2017

Stuffed Bell Peppers:

I remember my mom making stuffed peppers when I was little, and I always loved them!
I have no clue what it is about them, they're just good!!
I know there's a million ways to make them, but this is the very traditional way.
Except cut in half, instead of left whole!
They do take a little bit of prep-work and time, but it's totally worth every minute!!!

I hope you give them a try and love them as much as we do!!!!!


6 medium-size bell peppers, any color
1 pound ground beef or ground turkey
1/4 cup chopped onion
1 teaspoon minced garlic
1 cup cooked rice
1 can (15 ounces) tomato sauce
1 & 1/2 cups shredded cheese

Start by preparing the peppers:
Bring a large stockpot of water to a boil. Meanwhile, cut each pepper in half lengthwise.
Remove the stem and seeds.
Place in the boiling water, and cook for 5 minutes.
Drain on a kitchen towel; set aside.

In a large skillet, brown the ground beef and onion until meat is no longer pink; drain.
Add garlic, rice, 1 cup of tomato sauce, and 3/4 cup of cheese. Stir until well combined.

Place pepper halves, cut side up, in a greased baking dish.
Divide the meat mixture between all the peppers. Press down with the back of a spoon, so make sure the mixture is tight in the peppers.
Spread the remaining tomato sauce over each pepper.

Cover, and bake at 350 degrees F for 40 minutes.
Uncover, and sprinkle with remaining cheese.
Bake 8-10 minutes longer or until peppers are fork tender and cheese is melted.
Serve!!!


Monday, December 19, 2016

{Chocolate Chip Skillet Cookie}

Merry (week of) Christmas!!!

I am so excited for Christmas this year!
I mean, I'm always excited for Christmas, but this year is going to be a whole new ball game for me! That honestly makes me quite nervous to a point, but still excited!!
It's mine and Bradley's first Christmas together married, which is very exciting!
We're looking forward to celebrating the holidays with both of our families, and of course, each other!

There are usually already way too many desserts everywhere you go over the holidays, so why not add one more, right?! Christmas cookies are always a good idea, and how can you go wrong with one giant cookie?!

The more I use them, the more I fall in love with these cast iron skillets!
Especially after this little dessert.
The pictures in no way do it any amount of justice, it was so yummy!!!!!
I read a lot of different recipes trying to figure out which one to make first.
I found that a lot of them have you mix up cookie ingredients and then bake them in a skillet.
I settled on a version of this recipe, because I liked the idea of how everything was melted, mixed and baked all in the same pan.
I think it gives a flaky, pastry like crust, with all the goodness of a gooey, chocolate chip cookie in the center.
I don't really know how to give it enough credit!
I hope you try it out!!!


 


1 cup (2 sticks) butter
1 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup sugar
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 cups + 2 tablespoons flour
1 teaspoon xanthan gum
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 & 1/2 cups chocolate chips or chunks
Vanilla Ice Cream, optional

In a 10 or 12 inch cast iron skillet, begin melting the butter over medium heat, stirring often.
Once completely melted, reduce heat to low, and whisk in sugars. Stir continually until mixture is smooth and glossy.
Remove from heat, and chill in the refrigerator for 15 minutes (pan and all).
Add eggs and vanilla and mix well.
Stir in flour, xanthan gum, baking soda and salt. The mixture will be thick and sticky, so this may take a bit of elbow grease and some time, but be patient, it will eventually get all mixed in!
When the flour is pretty much incorporated, add chocolate and mix until well combined.
Spread the mixture evenly over the skillet.


Bake at 325 degrees F, for 25-30 minutes. The edges should be lightly golden brown, but the inside in the center should be slightly gooey still.
Let stand 5 minutes before cutting. 
Slice and serve with a scoop of vanilla ice cream, if desired!

Note:
-It's important to let the mixture cool lightly before adding the eggs, otherwise you will have slightly sweet scrambled eggs, which will not taste fantastic with chocolate chips.


Monday, December 12, 2016

Cheddar Potato Soup:

Hey everyone!
I've had this recipe on the blog for a while.....well, a few years, actually!!!!
Over time, I've added and taken away a few things from the original recipe to make it better and better, so I wanted to share the new and improved recipe with you!!
It's super easy and super yummy!
I was never the biggest fan of potato soup, but I thoroughly enjoy this one!
Thick and creamy and flavorful...totally comfort food!

I hope you give it a try!!



6 cups potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch cubes
Water
1 & 1/2 tblsp. butter
1 small onion, chopped
1 & 1/2 tblsp. cornstarch
1/8 tsp. black pepper
1/2 tsp. garlic powder
1 & 1/2 cups chicken broth
2 & 1/2 cups milk
1/2 cup bacon, fried and chopped
1 & 3/4 cups cubed, White Queso Velveeta Cheese
2 teaspoons dried parsley flakes

Place the potatoes in a large saucepan. Add enough water to just cover the potatoes. 
Bring to a boil and cook just until a fork sticks through them. Drain in a colander; set aside.
In the same saucepan, saute onion in butter over medium-high heat until onion is tender.
Whisk in cornstarch, pepper, and garlic powder until smooth.
Add chicken broth and milk.
Cook and stir until mixture barely begins to boil.
Reduce heat to medium.
Stir in potatoes, bacon, and cheese. Stir continually until cheese is melted.
Garnish with parsley.
Serve!!!

Note:
-Check out my "Recipe Index" for some great muffin or bread recipes to serve with this potato soup!


Monday, December 5, 2016

Pepperoni Pizza Chicken Rolls:

And I'm back for our second round of stuffed chicken!
If you haven't seen my post on Jalapeno Popper Stuffed Chicken, you can check it out HERE.

You can't really go wrong with a good ole' pepperoni pizza.
I love pizza as much as anybody, and just thinking about all the different variations of pizza out there, is just amazing!
But sometimes, I just crave some classic thin, crispy crust, extra sauce, perfect amount of cheese, lots of pepperoni piece of pizza!!!! There is just no substitute!
You know what? I have been married for over 6 weeks, and I have yet to make a pepperoni pizza, come to think of it! Definitely adding that to the menu for next week, because now that's all I can think about!!!

Anyways!!
This recipe is in no way a substitute for an old-fashioned pepperoni pizza,
BUT
it was very, very good! We loved it!
It was so, so fun to make, and the flavors were awesome!
It's perfect as is, but it would also be fantastic to pump it up too!!
Think some spicy pepperoni, some sauted peppers, onions, mushrooms, some chopped black olives....the list could go on and on!!!

So no matter whether you're feeling classic and traditional, or adventurous, I hope you try this out!!




4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1 cup marinara sauce
2 teaspoons Italian seasoning
1/2 cup chopped pepperoni
12+ whole pepperonis
3/4 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese

Butterfly each piece of chicken, and then pound them out to make sure it's all flat and even; set aside.
In a small bowl, stir together 1/2 cup of the marinara sauce, Italian seasoning, chopped pepperoni, 1/4 cup shredded cheese, and the Parmesan cheese. Mix until well combined.
Divide the sauce mix between all 4 pieces of chicken. Spread out over the chicken breast, to within 1/4 inch of the edges.
Gently roll up each piece as tightly as you can, like a burrito. Secure with toothpicks.
Place, seam side down, in a greased baking dish.
Pour the remaining sauce over the chicken and spread out to evenly coat each piece.
Bake at 400 degrees F for 50 minutes, or until meat thermometer reads almost 155 degrees F.
Sprinkle with remaining shredded cheese, and top with whole pepperoni.
Bake for 10-12 minutes more or until cheese is melted and bubbly.
Let stand for 5 minutes. Remove toothpicks.
Serve!!!

Monday, November 28, 2016

Baked Ranch Chicken Tacos:


tattoos tacos and tequila - Google Search: Sometimes the tacos win.: as sick as I am about all these "keep calm and..." posters, I couldn't help but like this:

Oh my goodness, I just love tacos!!!!!
I don't know if I could seriously, honestly nail down a specific favorite food, 
but it would definitely be a toss up between tacos and Japanese. 

Actually, maybe it would be tacos and something else Mexican. 

No, it would be tacos and that Cuban restaurant that Bradley currently has me addicted to.

Or it could be tacos and peanut butter............never mind, I'm not willing to make that choice.


Well, whether you're a taco-addict such as myself, or quite possibly a hater, I definitely hope you give these fantastic, awesome, incredible tacos a try!
They are quite unbelievable, and quite unlike any other taco I have had.
I don't know how to explain them, to help convince you!!
It's a creamy, chicken taco, basically!!
With Fireworks!!!

I don't know, I just hope you try them out and enjoy them as much as we did!

And you could totally use this mix in a bunch of different ways! 
If you aren't a fan of the hard-shell tortillas, try:
-in a soft tortilla wrap
-on a taco salad
-shred the chicken and use it as a dip for tortilla chips
-in a quesadilla

And the sky's the limit, when it comes to the topping choices!
Enjoy!!



2-3 large chicken breasts, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 package (1/4 cup) taco seasoning
1/2 cup prepared ranch dressing
12 taco shells
Shredded cheese
Taco toppings of your choice

Heat oil in a medium skillet, over medium-high heat. Add chicken. Cook and stir until lightly browned, and chicken is cooked through. Drain off any excess liquid.
Return to the heat, and sprinkle taco seasoning over the chicken. 
Cook and stir until the seasoning has completely coated all the chicken
(DO NOT ADD ANY WATER).
Add the ranch dressing, and cook and stir until evenly coated and heated through.
Stand taco shells up in a baking dish. 
Divide the chicken mixture evenly between the shells.
Sprinkle with cheese.
Bake at 400 degrees F for about 8 minutes, or until cheese is melted and everything is heated through.
Serve with your favorite taco toppings!!!


Monday, November 21, 2016

Baked BBQ Chicken Nachos:


Happy Thanksgiving week, y'all!!!!!!

I'm so excited for this week! 
Yes, because this is mine and Bradley's second thanksgiving together, 
and first thanksgiving being married!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
And we have soooooo much to be thankful for!!!! 
But, also I'm excited because.............................

I GET TO SEE MY FAMILY THIS WEEK!!!!!!!!!!!!!

It's been about 9 & 1/2 weeks since I have seen them (apart from FaceTime), and I CAN'T wait!!!!
Bradley's family is awesome, and they have been so sweet to me and have welcomed me in!
They have definitely helped me make the transition from Maryland to South Carolina a lot easier, but I am still excited to see my family again!

Anyways!!!!
This is not your traditional "thanksgiving" menu item, I know. But sometimes it's nice to break away from all the leftovers the day after Thanksgiving or sometime, and throw together something super fun, super easy, and super yummy for your guests. Or even just yourself!!
Honestly, we totally ate this for dinner, the first time!
But it would be awesome anytime!

I love nachos!! Plain ole' chips and cheese or fully loaded....I'm all in!!
After Bradley and I closed on our house in July, we went out to eat dinner with his family to celebrate. It was this super cool BBQ place, and of all the amazing things on their menu, the BBQ nachos totally jumped out at me!
And they were sooooooo good! Oh my goodness, I was in heaven!

So, I've been thinking about them ever since, and knew I had to make them!!
I looked at a lot of recipes, and they were pretty much all missing the one key ingredient.
Not the chicken.
Not the chips.
But the white queso. 
I'm telling you, it's what TOTALLY makes BBQ Chicken Nachos!!! 
After combining like 4 different recipes, I think I finally got it!! They were really, really good!

So whether its for a super quick dinner, or an awesome appetizer/snack, I hope you try them out!!!


Note: All amounts are just approximate. Feel free to add/take away anything/as much as you want!

3/4 of a (13 oz) bag of tortilla chips, any shape you want
2 cups shredded BBQ chicken
1 large onion
5 ounces white Velveeta Queso cheese
2 teaspoons pickled jalapeno peppers, diced
2 tablespoons juice out of the pepper jar
2 cups of shredded cheese, any kind
Additional diced jalapenos and sour cream for garnish, if desired

Cut onion in half, and slice thin. Saute in a skillet with about 1 teaspoon of butter, over medium-high heat, until tender, and beginning to caramelized; set aside.

Cut white queso cheese into small chunks. Add the diced jalapenos and the juice. 
Place in a small microwave safe dish,
Heat for 30 seconds, stir. Continue heating & stirring in 30 second intervals, until cheese is melted. Set aside.

I used a huge cast iron skillet, but you could use a large plate or serving tray, or a 9x13 baking dish, or cookie sheet, or seriously whatever you want! Just so it's oven safe!
Arrange half of the chips on the bottom of your serving dish.
Add a thin layer of shredded cheese over the chips.
Top with the remaining chips.
Drizzle the melted white cheese all over the chips.
Top with the chicken, and then caramelized onions.
Sprinkle with additional diced jalapenos and remaining shredded cheese.
Bake at 375 degrees F for about 15 minutes or until everything is nice and hot and cheese is melted.
Enjoy!!!!!!!



Monday, November 14, 2016

Tater-Tot Breakfast Skillet:



My mother-in-law had this huge set of awesome cast-iron skillets that she didn't want anymore, so she gave them to me!!! I had always wanted some, but when I lived at home, we had a flat-surface stove, and whereas I LOVED that stove, you couldn't use cast-iron on them, because it's too heavy.

But! When I moved into my home now, we still have an awesome stove, but it has regular burners.
So I have lots and lots of things I want to try in these awesome skillets now!

This is the first thing that I made in them, and stay tuned, because more will definitely be coming your way!!

This was super fun, and really yummy!
Tater-Tots are always a good idea, and to use them for a crust is genius!
This recipe is really flexible too! It calls for sausage and bacon, but you could definitely just use one or the other if you prefer.
Of course, any kind of cheese you wanted to use would be fantastic!
And add whatever you want to your eggs! I threw in some diced bell peppers and onions, garlic powder, salt and pepper. 
But you could add in so many different things, depending on your taste...mushrooms, spinach, jalapeno peppers, etc., etc.,....the list could go on and on!!!

I hope you give it a try, and enjoy it as much as we did!
Dad, you would love this!!! I can't wait to make it for you!

P.S.
FYI: Breakfast for dinner is what I'm all about, but this also heated up great for breakfast the next day!


1 (32 oz) bag frozen Tater Tots
6 eggs
salt and pepper to taste
2 cups shredded cheese
3/4 cup cooked, crumbled sausage
3/4 cup fried, chopped bacon

(I used a cast iron skillet for this, but I'm sure you could use any skillet or even a pie plate or something...just so it has sides, and is oven safe!)

Line the tater tots in a single layer across the bottom of a greased skillet. Then line the outside edges of the pan (which will make a double layer, just around the outside).

Bake at 425 degrees F for 15 minutes.
Meanwhile, whisk together eggs, salt and pepper. Add a tablespoon of water.
Heat a skillet to medium heat, and scramble the eggs, cooking just until set, because they can finish cooking later. 
Remove the potatoes from the oven. Using the back of a spatula, measuring cup, glass...whatever you have that's flat, gently press the potatoes down, making a more solid, flat layer, like a crust. Make sure to get the ones on the sides too, pressing them into the side, not down. 
Sprinkle with one cup of cheese.
Add eggs and spread out as evenly as you can.
Sprinkle the sausage over the eggs, and cover with the remaining one cup of cheese.
Top with bacon.
Return to the oven and bake for 10 minutes.
Let stand 3-5 minutes before slicing.
Enjoy!!!


Monday, November 7, 2016

Italian Turkey Meatballs:

So, since I've gotten married, my cooking style has changed a little.
You know, families tend to have their style and preferences of food. 
I don't know really what my family's food style is, because we have so many people in our family, we have so many different preferences! What one person loves, three other people hate!!

Bradley and I have very similar food styles and preferences, and that has been awesome! 
I don't necessarily know what our style is called, but we'll call it "our" style for now! 
Just like with pretty much every area in life, we have taken pieces of our lives as individuals in separate families, and brought them together and now we're making our own "family style"!
And it's been awesome!!!

So, one thing we have tried that is different for both of us, is Turkey Burger. 
Bradley is not the biggest fan of beef because, especially in hamburger, it tends to be really greasy and that can be really gross sometimes!
I had tried turkey burger once or twice before, and really liked it.
Now, I pretty much love it!!!
It's completely interchangeable with ground beef. 
But, it's so much lighter than ground beef, and you don't have that greasy feel or taste. 
Also, I feel like you can flavor turkey burger a lot better too. 
Ground beef is already very strong, and it takes a lot of seasoning to really get a good flavor.
Turkey burger is pretty much flavorless to begin with, so it really actually screams for any kind of flavor you want to give it! It can be subtle, it can be bold, it can be spicy, it can be sweet! 
The choice is yours!!
These meatballs are pretty much a happy-medium and a blank canvas, just waiting to be "personalized"! 
They are really, really good. Super soft and light, very flavorful and hold together nicely. 
We loved them!
I tossed them in some marinara sauce, and baked them until they were heated through.
Very yummy!

I hope you give them a try!!!!




2 lbs. ground turkey
4 teaspoons Italian seasoning
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1 teaspoon black pepper
dash of salt
2 teaspoons minced garlic
1 cup quick oats
1 cup Parmesan cheese
2 eggs
3 tablespoons milk

Mix together all ingredients in a large bowl, until thoroughly combined - 
your hands are probably going to be your best tools here!

Use a cookie baller/scoop to keep all the meatballs the same size.
Roll the balls in your hands, to make a nice round shape.
Place on a greased cookie sheet, 1/2 to 1 inch apart (you don't want them to touch).
Bake at 350 for 30-35 minutes, until golden brown in color, and no longer pink in the center.

(Note:
-My turkey was very lean, so there was no need to drain them after they were baked. But if there is any amount of grease in the bottom of your pan, you will  want to place the cooked meatballs on a layer of paper towels for a few minutes, before you use them.)

Use immediately, or place on a clean baking sheet, and freeze for 3-4 hours. 
Remove from the baking sheet to a ziplock bag and store in the freezer until ready to use!
In most recipes, you can use the meatballs frozen...no need to thaw before adding them to a sauce to bake or simmer, or throwing them in the crockpot!


Monday, October 31, 2016

Jalapeno Popper Stuffed Chicken:

Something about stuffed chicken always looked so cool and "fancy" to me!
Like something you would make for a special occasion
(I have no clue why I thought this!)!!

When I really looked into them, I realized that they were actually not all that hard to make at all.
In fact, they are actually really easy! 
And relatively fast!
AND very fun!
AND a great stress-reliever, because you get to pound out chicken!

Anyways, so since being married, I have tried a couple different stuffed chicken recipes.
This is the very first one I tried, and we loved it!
It is a little spicy, but I mean, "Jalapeno" is in the title, so I'm sure you already guessed the spicy part! But it's really good, and the inside is so creamy, and just good!

Now, these don't look fantastic, but they really were good!
We used Turkey bacon, but you can use whatever you want.
We baked ours, but you could grill them instead. That would add an awesome smokey flavor, and great color too!!

Hope you try it out! 





4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
2 tablespoons diced, pickled jalapenos
1/4 cup (2 oz.) cream cheese, room temperature
4 slices pepper jack cheese
8 slices bacon

You can either butterfly the chicken, or pound the chicken into 1/4 - inch thickness; set aside.
In a small bowl, mix together cream cheese and jalapenos - I use a hand mixer with a whisk attachment, just to make sure they are thoroughly mixed, and the cream cheese is as smooth as possible.
Place a slice of pepper-jack cheese onto each chicken breast.
Divide the cream cheese mixture into fourths. Place 1/4 onto each piece of chicken, in the center on one side (just like a burrito or something).
Carefully roll up like a tortilla - fold in the sides, and roll from top to bottom as tightly as you can.
Secure the end of one piece of bacon with a toothpick, and wrap the rest of it around the chicken, securing the other end with another toothpick. Repeat with another piece of bacon.
Repeat this process with the rest of the chicken and bacon.
Place on a baking sheet (I lined mine with parchment paper, but that's optional), seam side down.
Bake at 400 degrees F, for 30 minutes, or until a meat thermometer reads 160 degrees F in the chicken. Place under the broiler for a few minutes, if you want the bacon to be more crispy.
Let stand 5 minutes before serving!
Enjoy!

Note:
-Grill over medium heat for 20-30 minutes or until the chicken reaches an internal temperature of 160 degrees F.
-You can also get these totally ready up until the baking stage earlier in the day. Refrigerate until ready to cook!



Monday, October 24, 2016

Martha White Gluten-Free Mixes:


Image result for Martha gluten free muffin mixImage result for Martha gluten free muffin mix

 

I don't know how everyone else is, but when it comes to trying new gluten-free products,
I am the whimp of WHIMPS!!!

I am generally pretty adventurous when it comes to food...I just enjoy food and will at least try most everything once.
So, it's weird that gluten-free products scare me away! 
I think it's because when I first went gluten-free, my family tried a lot of different types of flours, and mixes, etc., and to be perfectly honest - they were GROSS!!!!

I literally got to the point that I didn't care whether I had another cookie, piece of bread, or cracker again in my life. If they were going to taste like that, I could DEFINITELY live without.

And so we did.
For a long time.
It just wasn't worth it.

However, that was over 10 years ago now. 
And a lot has changed in the gluten-free world during that time! 
Thank goodness!!!

I love seeing all these different, new, awesome things on so many grocery store shelves now, and knowing that there are so many more options out there!

But I'm still scared!!!!!!

Before we got married, we were FaceTiming one night (well, I mean, not just one night, we did it every night, but anyways!), and Bradley was eating these delicious-looking, little blueberry muffins that he had just made. And he was like "oh yeah, these are so good. And they're from a gluten-free mix you know."

Ummmm, NO! I did not know! 

He showed me the mix that he used, and I had never heard of it before.
Turns out they are a relatively popular brand that has been around for a long, long time, and now have gluten-free options as well!!!

I am a sucker for muffins, and when he said they were good, I felt brave all over, and couldn't wait to try them!!

So, that is literally the very first thing we made in our house when we got back from our honeymoon. 
We made the Blueberry mix and the Chocolate mix.
Both are incredible!!
And just FYI: spread a little peanut butter on top the chocolate ones while they are hot...
OH MY GOODNESS!!!!!!

So in case you haven't heard about this brand before, 
I wanted to tell you that it's out there, 
it's amazing, 
and I hope you try it out!!

Where I am living now, I have seen them at Walmart and Bi-Lo grocery stores.
They are on Amazon as well.
And be sure to check out the Martha White website, as well!
You can purchase online there, and also read their cool story!