Monday, March 31, 2014

Bacon, Caramelized Onion and Spinach Risotto

Oh risotto, how I love thee!  When Cassie at Cassie Craves posted this recipe I knew I needed to make it as soon as possible.  It was everything I imagined it to be and more.  Am I raving too much?  Just make it.

1/2 pound bacon (chopped)
2 tbsp butter
1 large onion (sliced into thin rings)
Salt and pepper to taste
1 tbsp olive oil
3 cloves garlic (minced)
1 1/4 cups arborio rice
1/4 cup dry white wine
6 cups low sodium chicken broth
1 6-ounce bag baby spinach (chopped)
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese

Cook bacon in a large pan until the bacon is crispy.   Remove from pan leaving 2 tablespoons of the bacon grease.  Add the butter to the pan and saute the onions over low heat for 20 to 30 minutes or until nicely caramelized.  Remove the onions from the pan and cool. Heat the chicken broth in a pot over low heat. Pour the olive oil into the pan and add the garlic, saute for 30 seconds then add the arborio rice.  Stir to coat and allow to cook for 2 minutes.  Add in the wine and cook until absorbed. Once the wine is absorbed add the chicken broth, one ladle at a time letting each ladleful absorb in between.  Chop the caramelized onions and stir them in along with the spinach and half of bacon before adding the last ladle of chicken broth.  Turn heat off and stir in the 1/3 cup of parmesan cheese.  While serving top with the remaining parmesan cheese and bacon. 

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Cheesy Garlic Pizza Breadsticks

These breadsticks are amazing. They were super easy to make and a great addition to our pasta on the night that I made them.  They would also be fun to make on pizza night!  They were far more delicious than anything you could get at a pizza place.  This recipe is from Baked by Rachel.

1 cup water
2 1/4 tsp dry active yeast
1tsp sugar
2 1/2 cups flour
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1 tbsp unsalted butter
3 cloves garlic (minced)
1/4 cup parmesan cheese
2 cups shredded mozzarella

Dissolve the yeast and sugar in warm water.  Give the yeast 6 to 8 minutes to proof.  In a stand mixer combine the flour, salt and garlic powder.  Turn the mixer on low and slowly pour in the yeast mixture. Once the water has been added turn up the speed.  Keep mixing until the dough begins to pull away from the sides.  Move the dough to a lightly greased bowl, cover and allow it to rise for roughly 1 hour. Once the dough has risen, heat the oven to 425 and lightly grease a sheet pan.  Roll the dough to desired thickness.  Melt the butter in a small dish and stir in the garlic.  Brush the dough with the butter mixture. Sprinkle with parmesan cheese then top with mozzarella cheese. Bake for 12 to 15 minutes or until the breadsticks are done.  Remove from oven and allow them to cool for 5 minutes before cutting.

Monday, March 24, 2014

Chicken and Guacamole Tacos

First of all, I just need to say that there was not nearly as much sour cream on those tacos as it appears.  At least that's what I'm going to tell myself as it does look like a bit much.  These tacos were awesome. I had been craving tacos like crazy so they totally hit the spot! This recipe is adapted from Amy's Cooking Adventures.

2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 lb boneless skinless chicken breasts
1/4 cup onion (minced)
2 cloves garlic (minced)
1 (8oz) can tomato sauce
1/4 cup chicken broth
1 tbsp lime juice
1 tsp white vinegar
1/4 tsp honey
2 tsp chili powder
1/2 tsp cumin
1 cup guacamole (homemade or store bought)
crunchy or soft tortillas

Heat olive oil over medium heat in a skillet and place the chicken in the skillet.  Add in the onion and cook for several minutes, flip to the opposite side and continue to cook the chicken.  Whisk together the tomoato sauce, chicken broth, lime juice, white vinegar, honey, chili powder and cumin.   Add the garlic to the chicken and cook for 30 seconds.  Pour the sauce over the chicken and lower the heat, cover and cook for 10 minutes.  Once the chicken is cooked through, shred the chicken and cook for 10 more minutes on low heat while covered.  Remove from heat and build your tacos with guacamole and other toppings as desired.

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Chunky Broccoli and Cheddar Soup

Broccoli and Cheddar Soup is by far one of my favorite kinds of soup to eat! It's one of my comfort foods.  I already have this creamy and smooth broccoli cheddar soup but I was excited to make this chunkier version! It was a keeper for sure.  This recipe is adapted from The Hungry Hedgehog.

1 tbsp butter
1/2 cup chopped onion
1/4 cup melted butter
1/4 cup flour
2 cups half & half
2 cups chicken broth
1/2lb fresh broccoli
1/2 cup carrot (finely chopped or grated)
2 cups grated cheddar cheese
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper

Melt 1tablespoon of butter in a large pot and saute onion until translucent.  Remove from pot and set to the side.  Melt 1/4 cup of butter then whisk in the flour and cook until it starts to bubble then turn the heat down and cook for 2 to 3 more minutes. Whisk in the half and half and then the chicken broth. Bring to a boil then reduce to a simmer and cook for 20 minutes. Add the broccoli, carrots and onion to the pot and cook over low heat for 30 minutes.  Stir in the salt and pepper.  Using a potato masher, mash the broccoli to break up the big chunks.  Add in the cheese 1/2 cup at a time and stir until melted. Continue until all of the cheese is melted. 

Monday, March 17, 2014

Cinnamon Roll Donuts

I was excited to use my donut pan again for a new recipe.  There are so many donut recipes I want to try but just haven't gotten to yet.  We had another unexpected snow day so donuts were just what we needed on a cold morning.  This recipe is slightly adapted from Buns In My Oven.

For the donuts:
1 cup flour
1/4 cup plus 2 tbsp white sugar
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup plus 2 tbsp buttermilk
1 egg
1/2 tsp vanilla
1 1/2 tsp vegetable oil

Cinnamon topping:
2 tbsp butter
2 tsp cinnamon
5 tbsp brown sugar
1 tsp milk
1 tsp cornstarch
1 tsp vanilla

For the glaze:
1/4 cup powdered sugar
1 tbsp plus 2 tsp milk

Heat oven to 325.  Grease donut pan.  In a small saucepan melt the butter then stir in the cinnamon, brown sugar and cornstarch.  Bring the mixture to a boil then remove from heat and stir in vanilla.  Pour evenly into the bottom of each donut well.  In a mixing bowl combine the flour, sugar, baking powder, cinnamon and salt.  In a small bowl whisk together the buttermilk, egg, vanilla and vegetable oil.  Pour the buttermilk mixture into the flour mixture and stir until combined.  Carefully spoon the batter into the donut pan.  Bake for 10 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool for 2 minutes before removing the donuts.  Let the donuts cool for 5 more minutes before making the glaze.  In a small bowl whisk the milk into the powdered sugar. Pour into a small ziplock bag and cut the tip off and drizzle across each donut.  Serve right away or let cool longer.

Friday, March 14, 2014

Buffalo Chicken Chili

If there are two things my husband loves it's buffalo sauce and chili, combine them and he would be thrilled. He was!!!   He loved every bit of this recipe and I enjoyed it as well, plus it was pretty easy!  This recipe is adapted from She Wears Many Hats.

2 tbsp olive oil
1 large onion (diced)
1 rib celery (diced)
1 large carrot (peeled and diced)
3 cloves garlic (chopped)
5 tbsp chili powder
2 tso ground cumin
1 pound chicken (cooked and shredded)
1 16 oz can kideny beans (drained)
2 15.8 oz can white beans (drained)
2 15 oz cans tomato sauce
1 15oz can crushed tomatoes
1/4 cup Franks Hot Suace
4 oz cream cheese (softened)
blue cheese crumbles or dressing for topping

Heat oil over medium heat and saute onion, celery, carrots and garlic until tender. Add the chicken, kidney beans, white beans, tomato sauce, crusted tomatoes and simmer for 25 minutes. Stir in the hot sauce and bring to a simmer.  Stir in the cream cheese until melted. Serve with blue cheese crumbles or dressing if desired. 

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Funfetti Sheet Cake

I remember being in elementary school and feeling like we hit the jackpot every time someone brought in funfetti cupcakes. They were the best! And remember the rainbow chip frosting...I hate that stuff out of the jar in middle school and high school.  That's also when I weighed maybe 110lbs....pretty sure if I looked at that jar now I would gain 5lbs.   Anyways, when I saw this recipe I new I had to find a fun occasion to make it.  I was originally going to make it for a friend's birthday but then our plans got canceled because of snow so I held off and made it a few weeks later when we got together next.  Everyone raved about it.  This recipe is from Eat Cake For Dinner.

1 cup unsalted butter
1 cup water
2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
2 cups sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 cup sour cream
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla
6 tbsp sprinkles (and more for garnish)

1 cup unsalted butter
6 tbsp evaporated milk
4 1/2 cups powdered sugar
pinch of salt
2 tsp vanilla

Heat oven to 375.  In a small pan combine the water and butter, stir until the water has melted.  In a medium mixing bowl combine the flour, sugar, salt and baking soda.  Stir in the butter mixture. Whisk in the eggs, sour cream and vanilla.  Fold in the sprinkles.  Pour into a greased 12x17 sheet pan.  Bake for 20 to 24 minutes or until the cake is cooked through.  Remove from oven and let cool for at least 45 minutes before making the icing.  Once the cake is cooled place the powered sugar in a medium mixing bowl.  In a saucepan combine the butter and evaporated milk.  When the butter is melted whisk it into the powdered sugar until smooth.  Add the sat and vanilla while whisking.  Pour over the cake and let set for 5 minutes before topping with sprinkles. 

Monday, March 10, 2014

Roasted Garlic Brussels Sprouts

Brussel Sprouts were always this scary weird vegetable to me...until I had them.  Slowly I started having them out at more and more restaurants and now I really do love them.  This was my first time making them at home and they were easy and delicious.  This recipe is adapted from Table for Two.

2 pounds brussels sprouts
1/4 cup olive oil
3/4 tsp garlic powder
1/4 tsp salt

Heat oven to 400.   Cut each brussels sprout in half.  Toss in a bowl with olive oil, garlic powder and salt.  Place on a sheet pan without them overlapping.  Bake for 30 minutes, flipping halfway through.  

Friday, March 7, 2014

Mushroom Spinach Tortellini

I really love tortellini, it's on of those pastas that I could eat every day. When I saw this recipe I knew it would be something Gray and I would enjoy.  It was a great deal, I slightly adapted it from The Food Charlatan.

1 (20 oz) package cheese tortellini
3 tbsp olive oil
1 cup chopped onion
8 oz fresh sliced mushrooms
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
2 cloves garlic (minced)
2 (14.5 ounce) can diced tomatoes with basil and garlic
3 tbsp flour
3 cups half and half
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
2 cups fresh spinach

Boil the pasta according to the directions.  While the pasta is boiling heat the olive oil over medium heat and saute the onions and mushrooms for 4 to 6 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Add in the garlic and stir, cook for 30 seconds.  Stir in the diced tomatoes and bring a boil, reduce heat to a simmer.  In a small mixing bowl whisk the flour into the half and half.  Add the half and half mixture to the tomatoes and stir in the parmesan cheese. Heat through then reduce to a simmer. Cook for 2 to 5 minutes then add the tortellini and spinach.  Serve once the spinach has wilted.

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Bacon, Caramelized Onion and Cheddar Sliders

Sliders are the best! I love that you can eat a few and customize them differently,  For my two I put mayo and avocado one one and mayo, mustard, pickles and tomato and on the other.  Gray stuck wit his traditional ketchup and pickles on all of his.  So boring ;)   This recipe is slightly adapted from Cassie Craves and they are the most delicious little burgers ever!

1/2 pound bacon (chopped)
4 tbsp butter
1 large sweet onion (thinly sliced)
Salt and pepper to taste
1 lb ground sirloin
1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
1/2 tsp Lowery's seasoning salt
1/4 tsp garlic Powder
1 1/2 cups shredded sharp cheddar cheese (divided)
Slider buns
Toppings of Choice

Fry the bacon in a pan, remove and drain on paper towels leaving 2 tablespoon of grease in the pan. Place the butter in the hot pan, add the onions.  Season with salt and pepper and cook over medium low heat for while stirring frequently.  Cook for 10 to 12 minutes or until onions are caramelized.  Set to the side and let cool for about 3 to 5 minutes.  Chop the caramelized onions.  Mix together the ground beef, onions, bacon, 3/4 cup cheddar cheese, Worcestershire sauce, Lowery's seasoning and garlic powder. Form 12 slider patties.  Cook the sliders in a large skillet over medium-high heat until they are cooked to your desired temperature.  Top with the remaining cheese and cover with lid until the cheese has melted.  Remove from skillet and place on slider buns with the toppings of your choice. 

Monday, March 3, 2014

Buffalo Popcorn

Popcorn and buffalo flavors are two of our favorite things!  Flavored popcorn has become super popular recently so I decided to try my hand at some buffalo flavored popcorn.  This wasn't really spicy at all, it just had a nice taste of buffalo to it.

1 tbsp Canola Oil
1 tbsp Butter (melted)
1 tbsp Frank's Buffalo Sauce
1/4 cup Pop Corn Kernels

Heat the oil over medium-high heat in a pot.  Melt butter in a dish and stir in the buffalo sauce. Test a kernel and when it pops, add the remaining popcorn and cover with the lid.  Shake back and forth while the popcorn heats up and begins popping.  Once the popcorn is fully popped, pour in the butter mixture and toss the popcorn.