Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Pot Pie Soup

Even though the weather is warming up there are still random days of cold and rain.

"April showers bring May flowers." Am I right?

So for those cold days, where you are craving a warm pot pie with flaky crust, but are too lazy to wait an hour for it to bake, this soup is for you.

It has all of the flavors of a pot pie and is amazing dunked with these pie crust "crackers".

For the Soup:
4 Tablespoons butter
1/4 cup onion, diced
1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
dash of garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
3 cups 2 % milk
1 cup heavy cream
1 cup water
2 Tablespoons chicken bullion
2 cups cooked chicken (I used 2 breasts), diced
2 cups potatoes, peeled and diced
2 stalks of celery, diced
2 carrots, diced
1/4 cup frozen peas

For the Pie Crust:
1 cup all purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup plus 1 Tablespoon shortening
3-4 Tablespoons cold water

Start by making the pie crust:
In a large bowl, whisk together the flour and salt. Cut in the shortening until the size of peas. Slowly add in water, 1 Tablespoon at a time, until the dough comes together. Wrap in plastic wrap and place in fridge until ready to use.

In a stock pot or dutch oven, melt butter over medium heat. Add onions and cook until softened. Add the seasonings to the onions and cook for 1 minute.
Add in the flour and whisk until bubbly, usually 2 minutes.
Gradually whisk in milk, heavy cream, and water until the lumps are smoothed and incorporated.
Add in the chicken bullion and continue to whisk until liquid comes to a simmer. Turn heat to low and add in the chicken and veggies. Continue to simmer, over low heat, for about 20-30 minutes or until the potatoes are tender and soup is thickened.

While the soup is simmering, remove pie crust from the fridge and preheat oven to 400 degrees.
On a lightly floured surface, roll out pie crust to 1/4" thickness.
Cut out circles of the crust with cookie cutters, fun little shapes, or simply slice into squares with a pizza cutter.
Lightly grease a large cookie sheet and place cut pie dough on top.
Bake in preheated oven for 10-13 minutes or until golden and crisp.
Remove and allow to cool slightly.

Scoop bowl fulls of soup and top or serve with pie crust "crackers".

Enjoy this warm and filling soup... An ode to pot pie!

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Apple Fritter Bread

You know the Cookie Monster right? That cute little blue monster who demolishes cookies in an almost violent manner? Well yeah, that's my family with donuts.

First: My boys bite off the tops of the chocolate donuts and put them back (totally sacrilege)
Second: If they're glazed, they will polish off 2 in a sitting
And Third: If its cream filled anything I will eat two before the box is even set on the table.

I have no shame.

When I was pregnant with my first son though, and still working, I would stop every afternoon before work and pick up an apple fritter. Have you tried them from 7-11? Best apple fritters you will ever have... trust.

I've fallen away from my everyday love affair of them (my thighs say AMEN) but when I stumbled across this recipe (I even posted it on my Facebook) I knew I wanted to make it. ASAP.

It comes out more cake-like than bread-like but the cinnamon/sugar mixture paired with apples mimics an apple fritter perfectly. It just isn't fried.... So there's probably like only 20 calories a slice, am I right or am I right!?

For the Cake:
1/3 cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 apple, peeled and diced then coated with 1 Tablespoon sugar and 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
2/3 cup granulated sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
2 large eggs
1 1/2 cups flour
1 3/4 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 cup milk

For the Frosting:
1 cup powdered sugar
1 Tablespoon milk

In a small bowl mix together the brown sugar and cinnamon, set aside.
In another small bowl, mix together the diced apple with 1 Tablespoon sugar and 1/2 tsp cinnamon, also set aside.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees and line a 9x5" loaf pan with parchment paper, spray with cooking oil, and set aside. You should now have bowls and loaf pans piling into a shunned corner of your kitchen.
In a large bowl, beat the sugar with softened butter with your hand mixer just until smooth and creamy. Add in the vanilla and mix to combine. Beat in the eggs, one at a time, until incorporated. 
Add in the flour and baking powder and beat just until the flour is mixed in. Stir in milk.

Take half of the batter and pour it into your prepared loaf pan. Top with half of the apple mixture and half of the cinnamon/brown sugar mixture. Top with remaining batter, smoothing the top. Press the remaining apples lightly into the batter and sprinkle with remaining brown sugar mixture. Swirl gently with a skewer.
Bake in preheated oven for 50-60 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool completely on a wire rack. 

In a small bowl, whisk together the powdered sugar and milk until combined. Adding more powdered sugar or milk to achieve desired consistency.
Drizzle over the top of the cooled bread.
Slice and serve. 

The flavors mimic an apple fritter and the cake is soft and moist. Enjoy with a cup of hot coffee!

*recipe adapted from Rumbly In My Tumbly 

Sunday, April 6, 2014

Homemade Cookie Crisp Cereal

Little cookies that can be counted as breakfast? Yes please.

After I tried my hands at homemade Cinnamon Toast Crunch, I knew there were other cereals I wanted to give a go at home. I found both recipes, and adapted them, from Half Baked Harvest.

And instead of just miniature sizing regular cookie dough, these feature Oats, so they are healthy... I promise.

They bake up crisp and hold up well throughout the week when sealed in an airtight container. The last sip of chocolate-y milk with little leftover cookie crumbs is so, so delicious.

You will need:
1/2 cup butter, softened
1/8 cup sugar
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 large egg
1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
1/2 cup old fashioned oats
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 cup chocolate chips (I used regular sized, although mini might be better for this recipe)

In a large bowl, whisk together the wheat flour, oatmeal, baking soda, and salt. Stir to combine and set aside.
In the bowl of your stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat together the butter, sugars, and vanilla until creamy, about 3 minutes. Add in the egg and mix until combined. Slowly beat in the flour mixture until incorporated. Stir in the chocolate chips.
Divide the dough in half and on a large surface of wax paper, roll the dough into a 2 foot log, about 1 inch thick. Continue with other half of dough.
Seal both logs up in plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator for 30-45 minutes, or just until the butter has solidified.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Remove from the fridge and unwrap. Slice log into 1/4" pieces. If you like thinner cookies, place the sliced rounds on a parchment lined cookie sheet (this is what I did) or roll into balls and press lightly on to the cookie sheet for rounder-puffier cookies.

Bake in preheated oven for 10 minutes or until cooked through and lightly golden.
Cool completely before transferring to an airtight container.

Serve in a bowl with ice cold milk or crumbled on top of yogurt or ice cream.

The little cookies are packed with flavor and taste amazing as cereal! Enjoy!

Friday, April 4, 2014

Easter and Spring Link Party

It's time for another link party and we thought it would be fun to have an Easter ~ Spring themed one so we not only get holiday ideas but ideas for the season too.
Crafts, Cakes, and Cakes                                   Michelle's Tasty Creations
Facebook                                                          Facebook
Pinterest                                                            Pinterest
    Hot Eats and Cool Reads                                  MorningNooNight
    Facebook                                                         Facebook
    Pinterest                                                           Pinterst

Here's what your hostesses have been up to lately
starting with the top left we have ~ 

Lemon & Asparagus Orzo Salad from: Hot Eats and Cool Reads
Springtime Spritz Cookies from: Crafts, Cakes, and Cats
Easter Cupcakes from: Michelle's Tasty Creations
Lemon Brownies from: MorningNooNight
Easter Basket Cookie Bars from: Michelle's Tasty Creations
Simple Lemony Asparagus from: Hot Eats and Cool Reads
M & M Sugar Cookie Bars from: Michelle's Tasty Creations
Fresh Strawberry Bread with Strawberry Cream Cheese Glaze from: MorningNooNight
Strawberry Cream Puffs from: Crafts, Cakes, and Cats
Meyer Lemon Crumb Muffins from: MorningNooNight
Trying to Fly with the Butterflies Cupcakes from: Crafts, Cakes, and Cats
Bacon & Asparagus Breakfast Pizza from: Hot Eats and Cool Reads

~A few things to remember~

Please only link up Easter/Spring  recipes, crafts, DIY, tutorials, printables, etc. that YOU have created.
Please don't link up any Etsy shops, giveaways, or other link parties.
By linking to this party you give us permission to share your post on our blogs and other social media.
Please share this party by linking back to us in your post or by adding this party to your party page.

Be sure to stop by and visit a few of the other blogs that have posted; we all love to see sweet comments.

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

The Peanut-ty Pig Burger

Let's flash back to 2008 for a minute... Life sans children....

Cue Wayne's World flashback noise *doodleedoo doodledoo doodleedoo*

It was myself and my husband and we had just moved to Reno, into a cute little apartment, both had jobs and... No responsibilities. (Can we raise the roof on that!?)

He used to work for Enterprise, which was right down the street from a little dive bar and restaurant. Not only did they have a great Happy Hour, Scooby Snacks for $3 and a pitcher of beer for $5, they have some of the BEST burgers I've eaten.

Delicious soak-up-all-the-alcohol burgers.

Classic cheese burgers are a must, but one day I stumbled upon their Skippy Burger.
Peanut butter on a burger? Totes disgusting, right?

But I was adventurous, and hungry, so I ordered it.

Are you kidding me? Are YOU KIDDING me!?

A perfectly cooked burger, sandwiched between a soft grilled bun, and topped with crisp bacon and drip-down-your-arm peanut butter. It was rich. It was nutty. And it was so damn good.

How easy are they to make at home? Too easy. Let's get cooking shall we? I paired mine with homemade crispy french fries and an ice cold beer... (Like there was any other option?)

You will need:
1 1/3 pounds 80/20 ground beef
seasoned salt and pepper
8 strips bacon, cooked crisp
4 Tablespoons Creamy Peanut Butter
Burger Buns

In a large bowl, combine the ground beef with seasonings.
Heat up a large skillet or flat top grill over medium-high heat (never EVER grill burgers on a grate. Wanna know where the moisture goes? Drippy-drip bye-bye on to your coals or through the grates. Then your coals are taking a delicious grease bath while your chomping down on some desert-taste bud inducing burgers). OK!?
While the pan is warming, shape the seasoned beef into 1/3 lb patties.
Cook burgers for 4 minutes on each side (to achieve medium done-ness).
Remove from heat and rest on a platter.

Place peanut butter in a microwave safe dish and heat on high, in your microwave, for 30 seconds.
Time to assemble.
*By the way, I lurve toasting my buns on the grease left over from the burgers until toasty and golden brown.

Burger assemblage, go:

  • Bottom Bun
  • Burger Patty
  • Spoon peanut butter on top, pushing over the edge (while your taste buds go with it)
  • 2-3 slices of bacon (or 5)
  • Top Bun

Squish ever so slightly and shove into your mouth.

She will be mine... Oh yes, she will be mine...

"Recipe" tips: 
1. Do not use cold, straight-outta-the-fridge ground beef
2. No grill, no grates. Flat top, always.
3. Don't press the life out of the burger while cooking, or flatten it with your spatula like a mad (wo)man. That sizzling sound? It's the life screaming out of your burger.
4. If making homemade fries, soak peeled and cut fries in cold/salted water for 15 minutes prior to frying (and always dry off before placing in oil... No one likes a grease volcano. Especially your toes.)
5. Enjoy yo'self. Burgers are little presents of deliciousness.

Which flavor of burger is your favorite?

Monday, March 31, 2014

Gooey Macaroni and Cheese

We are a bit of Macaroni and Cheese addicts in this house... My kids even like the stuff from the blue box (not hating... I just wouldn't eat that stuff with a 10 foot fork). Honestly, anything my son agrees to eating a whole bowl of will end up on the table in a heart beat though.

This Mac recipe uses real heavy cream and sharp cheddar cheese. The greatest thing about mac and cheese is you can make it yours by switching up noodles (I sometimes like to use Penne) or cheeses (Gruyere is to DIE for inside, if y'know, breaking the bank on cheese is your forte). Just please, please don't use bagged shredded cheese. That rubber taste? Yep, that's what's coating your cheese.... blehhhhh.

Here is the recipe for my version, slightly adapted from Shugary Sweets.

You will need:
1 (16 ounce) box large elbow macaroni
4 Tablespoons unsalted butter
2 cups 2% milk
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
2 cups heavy cream
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoon fresh cracked pepper
1/2 teaspoon ground mustard
1 Tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
2-3 dashes hot sauce
1 1/2 pounds extra sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
1 sleeve Ritz crackers

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
Fill a large pot with salted water and set over high heat to boil.
While that is starting, in a large sauce pan, add in the butter and 2% milk. Set over medium heat until the butter is completely melted and the milk begins to simmer but not boil. Slowly, whisking vigorously, add in the 1/2 cup of flour. Cook over medium heat for 2 minutes until the mixture is very thick and bubbly.

Slowly whisk in the 2 cups of heavy cream. Sprinkle with seasonings, Worcestershire sauce, and dashes of hot sauce. (Remember, its always better to start with less. You can always add more but it's really hard to take away... Kind of like when you gain weight...) Reduce heat to low and continue to cook, whisking, for 5 minutes.

*At this point your hot water should be at a rolling boil, dump box of noodles inside and cooking, stirring occasionally, according to package instructions.

(it's like hot sauce fireworks, y'all)

When the 5 minutes are up, add in the shredded cheese (reserving 1/2 cup for the top) and stir until completely melted.

When noodles are al dente, drain, and combine the noodles and cheese mixture. Pour mac into a 9x13" baking dish.

Sprinkle with reserved cheese.
Taking 5 crackers at a time (or however many you can fit in your palm) crush and sprinkle over the top of the mac and shredded cheese.

Bake in preheated oven for 25-30 minutes or until the top is golden and the cheese is bubbly.
Cool slightly and serve.

I love this Mac and Cheese guys, I just LURVE it!

Saturday, March 29, 2014

Boston Cream Donuts

This is my 200th blog post! I almost can't believe it! I just want to say thank you to everyone who has liked, commented, or read one of my recipes... YOU are the ones that make this possible. But enough with the mushy stuff, let's get to some donuts shall we?

These are my absolute FAVORITE flavor of donut. The hot buttery dough, chocolate-y ganache topping and ooey gooey vanilla cream center. Yum, Yum, and Yum!

These bad boys whip up in less than 30 minutes so you can have hot donuts on your table in the morning in no time (I haven't quite decided if that's a good thing or bad thing though... Who am I kidding? It's amazing!)

So sit back, read this quick recipe, and run to your kitchens to make these donuts today!

You will need:
1 can Pillsbury Grands biscuits
1 (4 ounce) box of Vanilla Pudding
2 cups cold milk
1 cup heavy cream
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
2 Tablespoons butter, unsalted

Vegetable oil for frying

Heat 2 inches of oil in a large stock pot until it reaches 375 degrees. Drop biscuits in the hot oil and fry for 2-3 minutes or each side until golden and cooked through. Continue method until all biscuits are cooked. 
Place biscuits on a paper towel lined plate, immediately push a skewer almost all the way through the donuts and using a circling motion to open a hole large enough to fit your tip. Cool donuts  to the touch.
In a large bowl, mix together the vanilla pudding mix and 2 cups of cold milk until thickened. Placed in fridge while you make the ganache.

In small sauce pan, simmer the milk until scalded but not boiling. Place chocolate chips in a heat proof bowl and pour the warm milk over the top. Allow the mixture to sit for 5 minutes before stirring and the chocolate chips are melted and smooth. Add in the 2 Tablespoons of butter, stirring until smooth. Set aside.

Remove pudding mixture from the refrigerator and stir. Place filling in a piping bag fitted with a 1" tip. Push piping bag into the donut, swirling back and forth until the filling begins to spill out. Continue until all donuts are filled.

Once finished, dip the tops of each donut into the ganache and set on a cooling rack. Wait until the ganache has hardened and serve!

I just die for the creamy vanilla filling and frosting like topping! Don't feel guilty when you find 3 or 4 of these have disappeared....