Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Creamy Basil Tomato Soup

I love tomato soup.  I actually didn't like it until I was an adult.  I don't know why, I just didn't.  Then one day I had it again and fell in love.  Especially if I can have a grilled cheese with it.  This is a great, quick and simple tomato soup recipe.  I think it's my new favorite! This recipe is from Unsophisticook

4 tbsp butter
2 onions (chopped)
4 garlic cloves (minced)
2 (28 oz) cans whole tomatoes
3 cups chicken stock
salt and pepper
1/2 cup fresh basil (chopped)
1/2 cup heavy cream

Melt the butter in a pot over medium heat.  Add the onion and saute until for 2 minutes.  Add the garlic and continue to saute until the onions are translucent.  Add in the cans of tomatoes, chicken stock, salt and pepper.  Bring to a boil and then let simmer for 10 minutes.  Put half of it in the blender and blend then blend the remaining half with the basil.  Add all of the soup back to the pot and whisk in the cream.  

Monday, October 28, 2013

Copycat Cracker Barrel Fried Apples

We love cracker barrel's apples. There is a place back home that also makes apples like this, they call them skillet apples.  Either way, they are so yummy and this recipe is an easy way to make them at home.  Maybe not the most healthy way but not nearly as unhealthy as I thought they would be.  This recipe is from Macaroni and Cheesecake.

2 tbsp unsalted butter
4 large apples
2 1/2 cups apple juice (divided)
1 tsp apple pie spice
6 tbsp flour
4 tbsp sugar small
pinch of salt

Cut the apples into 1/2 inch slices.  Melt the butter in a skillet of medium heat. Add in the apples, apple juice and apple pie spice and stir, making sure most of the apples are covered with the juice.  Bring to a simmer and let cook for 10 or 15 minutes or until they are fork tender.  In a small bowl whisk together 1/2 cup of apple juice, flour, sugar and a pinch of salt.   With a slotted spoon remove the apples from the skillet and place in a bowl.  Add the flour mixture to the remaining liquid and whisk together.  Let the mixture heat up and thicken then pour over the apples.  Serve right away. 

Friday, October 25, 2013

Football Friday: Boneless Buffalo Wings and Blue Cheese Dipping Sauce

I really don't even know what to say about this recipe.  They were good. Really good.  Gray and I devoured this whole plate in just minutes.  I have a feeling we are going to be using this recipe a lot in our house!  This recipe is from The Taste Tester.  For real y'all, I think I might text my husband and ask him to pick up some chicken on the way home so we can have these for dinner! They were THAT good.

3 large boneless skinless chicken breasts
2 cups flour
2 tsps salt
1/4 tsp pepper
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp onion powder
2 eggs
1/2 cup milk
2-3 cups vegetable oil
1 (12 oz) bottle Frank's Red Hot Buffalo Wing Sauce (they have several levels of heat!)
Some sort of container with a tight lid for tossing in the sauce

Heat oven to 200.  Line a cookie sheet with tin foil.  In a medium size bowl combine the flour, salt, pepper, cayenne, garlic powder and onion powder.   In a separate bowl whisk together the eggs and milk.  Cut the chicken breasts into cubes.  First dunk them into the flour mixture, then the egg mixture and then the flour mixture again.  Continue with each chicken piece, placing them on a plate as you go. Heat the oil in a nonstick skillet over medium high heat.  You want the oil to be at least 1 inch thick.  When the oil is ready, drop several pieces of the chicken into it.  Fry for 3 to 4 minutes on each side.  Remove and drain on a plate lined with paper towels. After they have drained for 3 or 4 minutes place them onto the cookie sheet and put them in the oven.  Continue until all the chicken is fried.  Place the chicken into the container with 1/2 cup of wing sauce.  Place the lid on top and shake until the chicken is coated, add more sauce if necessary.  Serve right away.

Blue Cheese Dipping Sauce

1/4 cup blue cheese crumbles
1/4 cup sour cream
1/4 mayonnaise

Mix all of the ingredients together, use a fork to break up the blue cheese crumbles until you get it at your desired consistency.  Refrigerate for at least 2 hours before serving. 

Monday, October 21, 2013

Creamy Baked Spaghetti

My mom used to make something similar when we were growing up and when I saw this recipe I knew I wanted to try it.  Gray was pretty unsure about the whole sour cream, cottage cheese, cream cheese part but it was delicious.  It was even better the next day as leftovers!  This recipe is from Buns In My Oven.

1 pound spaghetti noodles (cooked al dente and drained)
1 pound ground beef (browned and drained)
1 jar spaghetti sauce
8 oz cream cheese (room temperature)
1 cup sour cream
1 cup cottage cheese
1 cup grated cheddar cheese
salt and pepper to taste

Heat the oven to 350. Grease a 9x13 baking dish with butter. After the ground beef is cooked and drained, add the spaghetti sauce to the pan and stir them together.  In a medium bowl beat together the cream cheese, sour cream and cottage cheese until smooth.  Add salt and pepper to taste. Place half of the cooked pasta in the bottom of the baking dish.  Top with half of the cream cheese mixture, smoothing it out as well as you can.  Layer with half of the spaghetti sauce mixture.  Add the remaining pasta, then top with the rest of the cream cheese mixture and the spaghetti sauce.  Sprinkle the cheddar cheese on top.  Bake for 20 or 30 minutes or until the pasta dish is hot and bubbly. 

Friday, October 18, 2013

Football Friday: Spinach Artichoke Dip

This is one of the best spinach dips I have ever had!   It's different from your typical spinach dip recipe but so delicious!  I took this to our small group one night and it was a huge hit. It would be the perfect pre-game snack. This recipe is adapted from Get Off Your Butt and Bake.

3 tbsp Butter
1 Small Onion (finely chopped)
1 Clove Garlic (chopped)
2 tbsp Flour
1 cup Heavy Cream
1 (10oz) box frozen chopped spinach (thawed and squeezed dry)
Sea Salt & Pepper to taste
1 (8oz) jar artichokes hearts (chopped)
1 (10-ounce) can Rotel
1 cup Shredded Mexican Cheese Blend
1/4 shredded Parmesan cheese

Heat oven to 350. In a medium size saucepan melt the better, when the butter is melted add the onion and garlic.  Saute for 3 minutes or until it is soft. While stirring, add in the flour and cook for several minutes. Slowly stir in the cream then add in the spinach.  Let it simmer for several minutes or until it starts to thicken up, add in artichokes, rotel, 1/2 cup of mexican cheese blend and parmesan cheese. Stir until the cheese is melted. Pour into a baking dish and top with the remaining cheese.  Place in the oven and cook until the top layer of cheese is melted. Remove from oven and serve with pita chips or tortilla chips. 

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Apple Cream Cheese Bread

We went to the apple orchard this weekend, it was rainy and gross but we still managed to have a great time and bring home more apples than we could ever possibly eat.  Lots of cooking with apples has commenced in this house so be prepared to see lots of apple recipes! I have been eyeing this recipe for a while and was happy to finally make it, it's adapted from My Retro Kitchen.

For the Bread
2 cup apples (small diced)
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 cup sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla
1 1/3 cup flour
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp cinnamon
1 pinch nutmeg

For the Cream Cheese:
6 oz. cream cheese (softened)
1/2 cup sugar
1 egg

Heat oven to 350 and spray a loaf pan.  In a large bowl mix together the apples, vegetable oil, sugar, eggs and vanilla extract.   Without mixing top with the flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon and nutmeg. Fold in the flour mixture to the wet ingredients.  Pour into the greased loaf pan.  In a medium bowl combine the cream cheese, sugar and egg with a hand mixer.  Pour the mixture on top of the bread mixture. With a knife swirl the cream cheese into the bread batter.  Cover loosely with foil and bake for 20 minutes. Remove the foil and continue baking for 20 to 30 minutes or until the bread is cooked through. Use a tooth pick to test the bread. Remove from oven and let the bread cool for 5 to 10 minutes before removing from pan. 

Monday, October 14, 2013

Pinto Bean Burger Melts

These were a great creation from when I forgot to buy hamburger buns one night.  Sometimes the best recipes come from when you just have to figure it out.

Tex Mex Pinto Bean Patties  (cooked)
8 slices of Texas Toast
4 slices of Pepper Jack Cheese
4 tbsp of butter (softened)

Once you have cooked the pinto bean burgers prepare to make the melts. Spread 1/2 tbsp of butter on each piece of bread. Place on slice down on a skillet over medium heat. Add the pinto bean patty and pepper jack cheese then top with another slice of bread.  Flip and grill on the opposite side once it is starting to brown. Continue with each sandwich. Serve warm. 

Friday, October 11, 2013

Football Friday: Philly Cheesesteak Sliders

We had these on Saturday night while watching some football and they were just perfect! My husband devoured them.  These would be perfect to take to a party or tailgating. Easy to make and easy to pick up and eat. Recipe is from the Hungry Harps.

2 tablespoons olive oil
1 green bell pepper (chopped)
1 small onion (chopped)
11/2 tbsp garlic (chopped and divided)
1/2lb deli sliced roast beef (chopped)
12 Pack Original Hawaiian Rolls (we used the Savory Butter Flavor)
1/2 cup mayonnaise
6 slices provolone cheese (quartered)
1/2 cup butter (melted)

Heat over to 350.  Heat olive oil in a skillet over medium heat.  Add the bell pepper and saute for several minutes. Add the onion and continue to saute.  Stir in the 1 tablespoon of garlic and add the roast beef.  Cook for several minute or until the liquid has evaporated, you might need to drain the meat if the liquid is heavy. Set to the side. Slice the Rolls in half and place the bottom layer in a baking dish. Spread the mayonnaise on bottom layer.  Place a piece of the quartered provolone on top of the mayonnaise layer.  Add the roast beef mixture then top with another quarter of cheese and top with the bun.  Stir the melted butter with the remaining 1/2 tablespoon of garlic. Brush the top of the rolls with the butter mixture.  Wrap with foil and bake for 20 to 25 minutes. Remove the foil and continue baking for 10 additional minutes.

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Tomato and Spinach Pasta

This pasta was an easy and yummy dish to fix.  I saw the recipe over at Budget Bytes, it was also easy to double so that we would have extra for lunches.  Always a win in my book.

1 tbsp olive oil
1 small onion
2 cloves garlic
1 (15 oz.) can diced tomatoes
1/2 tsp dried oregano
1/2 tsp dried basil
pinch red pepper flakes (optional)
freshly cracked pepper to taste
1/2 tsp salt
2 tbsp tomato paste
1/2 cup water
2 oz. cream cheese
1/4 cup grated Parmesan
1/2 lb. penne pasta
1/2 (9 oz.) bag fresh spinach

Bring a pot of water to a boil and cook the pasta.  Drain the pasta when it's finished cooking.  While the pasta is cooking, heat the olive oil in a large skillet.  Add the onion and saute for 4 or 5 minutes then add the garlic and cook for about 30 seconds. Add the tomatoes, oregano, basil, red pepper flakes, salt and pepper. Stir then add in the tomato paste and water. Stir until the tomato paste is dissolved into the sauce.  Turn the heat down and add the cream cheese in chunks. Whisk the sauce until the cream cheese has melted. Add in the parmesan cheese and stir.  While stirring, add in the spinach.  Let the sauce cook for 3 to 5 minutes or until the spinach has wilted.  Stir in the pasta and serve. 

Monday, October 7, 2013

Pumpkin Oatmeal Scotchies

Oatmeal Scotchies are probably one of my favorite cookies of all times.  My mom made them a ton when I was growing up and they hold so many happy childhood memories.  When I saw the recipe for Pumpkin Oatmeal Scotchies I knew I had to have them.  Pumpkin plus my favorite!!!!  This recipe is from The Girl Who Ate Everything.

2 cups all purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pumpkin pie spice
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1 cup butter (slightly softened)
3/4 cup sugar
3/4 cup brown sugar
2 eggs
1 cup pumpkin puree
1 tbsp vanilla extract
3 cups old fashioned oats
1 (11 ounce) package butterscotch chips

Heat oven to 375.  In a small bowl combine the flour, baking soda, salt, pumpkin pie spice and cinnamon.  In a large bowl beat together the butter and sugars, add in the eggs, pumpkin puree and vanilla.  Slowly add in the flour mixture.  Stir in the oatmeal and butterscotch chips.  Chill the dough in the refrigerator for 30 minutes to 1 hour.  After the cookies have chilled take a spoonful of cookie dough and roll into a ball then press down to shape the cookie, repeat and bake for 8 to 12 minutes or until cookies are done.  Remove from oven and let the cookies cool for 2 minutes on the cookie sheet then remove from the cookie sheet and let the cookies finish cooling on a wire rack.  

Friday, October 4, 2013

Football Friday: Slow Cooker Three Bean and Beef Chili

This was our first pot of chili for the year!  It wasn't even that cool out but it's fall and we were watching football so chili must happen. This recipe was adapted from Joyful Healthy Eats.

1 lb lean ground beef
1 tbsp olive oil
medium onion (diced)
red pepper (diced)
28 oz. Crushed Tomatoes
15 oz. Fire Roasted Tomatoes
2 tsp cumin
2 tsp chili powder
1/4 tsp chipotle chili powder (optional)
1/2 tsp garlic salt
1 cup water
juice of 1 lime
1 can pinto beans
1 can black beans
1 can kidney beans
shredded cheese
sour cream

In a skillet at the olive oil and saute the onion.  Once the onion is transparent add the ground beef and brown.  Drain off the grease and place in the crock pot.  Stir in the red pepper, crushed tomatoes, fire roasted tomatoes, cumin, chili powder, chipotle chili powder, garlic salt and water.  Stir and let cook on low heat for 5 hours.  Drain off the cans of beans and add to the chili along with the lime juice. Stir and let cook for another hour.  Serve with shredded cheese, fritos and sour cream.

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Easy Thin Crust Pizza

I have been looking for a good thin crust pizza recipe for a while, after a few that weren't so hot I think we have finally found our one!!! Best part is, it's crazy easy! This is from One Sweet Appetite.

1 tbsp 1/2 tsp active dry yeast
1/2 tsp sugar
1 1/2 cups warm water
3 1/2 cups flour
1 tsp salt
olive oil

Heat oven to 450.  Combine the water with the yeast and sugar.  Let it sit for a few minutes, until it is foamy.  In a medium bowl combine 2 1/2 cups of flour and the salt.  Once the yeast mixture is foamy pour the center of the flour and stir.  The dough will be very sticky at this point, keep kneading and at flour 1/4 cup at a time.  You want the dough to be smooth a slightly sticky but able to hold it's form.  Once you get the right texture divide it in half and roll into 2 14 inch circles.  Turn oven down to 425 and bake for 5 to 7 minutes.  Remove from oven brush the outside rim of the crust with olive oil then add toppings.  Place back in the oven for 8 minutes.  If you would like the cheese to be more melted, flip on the broiler for a few minutes. Remove from oven and let cool for several minutes before slicing.