Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Carne Asada Fries

If you've ever lived or visited Southern California (specifically San Diego) you will know all about Carne Asada fries. Any good Mexican (ok, Mexican AMERICAN) food location will have them. And if you don't know, let me explain them to you...

Sub out the tortilla chips for fries in your favorite nacho recipe and boom... Carne Asada fries.

This recipe features tender homemade Carne Asada, crispy fast food style fries, and cheese.... LOT'S O' CHEESE!

The options for toppings are endless, but here's how I made mine...

For the Steak:
1 1/2 lbs Flank or thin cut steak
1/3 cup olive oil
1/4 cup freshly squeezed lime juice
1/4 cup orange juice
3 Tablespoons rice wine vinegar
1 teaspoon honey
1/2 cup red onion, diced
1/4 cup cilantro, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 fresh jalapeno, diced
1 teaspoon chili powder
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon ground paprika
dash of salt and pepper

Your favorite bag of fries (or homemade if you're ambitious)

1/2 cup shredded Monterey jack and cheddar cheese blend
diced red onion
pickled jalapenos
sour cream
freshly made guacamole

Start by making the marinade: In a large bowl whisk together the olive oil, lime juice, orange juice, vinegar, honey, red onion, cilantro, garlic, jalapeno, and seasonings. Pour into a baking dish or large Ziploc bag and place the steak inside. Place in the refrigerator to marinate for 3-4 hours, turning or mixing every 1 hour.
When time is up, remove steak from the fridge and heat up a grill or grill pan (being sure to spray lightly with oil).
Remove steak from marinade, allowing access liquid to drip off and place on hot griddle. I cooked my steak for 4-5 minutes on each side to receive a medium done-ness. Otherwise, cook the steak to your liking depending on the thickness.

Set cooked steak on a plate and allow it to rest for 5-10 minutes, covered with aluminum foil, while you make the fries.
Fry in hot oil carefully or bake in the oven depending on your liking. Season with salt and place in a baking dish or oven safe plate.
Dice up carne asada in cubes.
Sprinkle fries with cheese and the diced steak.

Place under broiler or oven left heated from making the fries and cook just until the cheese melts.

Sprinkle fries with diced onion, pickled jalapeno, sour cream, guac, and salsa.

Enjoy this amazing dinner or snack! This would be the PERFECT addition to your Super Bowl table. The steak is super tender, the cheese oozy, and you get the little kick from the salsa and jalapenos.... MMMMM!

Sunday, January 26, 2014

Tres Leches Cake

I am such a fan of tres leches cake! After I posted these cupcakes, I knew I wanted to make a whole cake.
I searched the Internet and found a mix of recipes but I knew I wanted a dense spongecake to soak up the three milks.
This recipe is perfect.The cake is moist but not soggy and I love the hint of cinnamon in the cake.
This cake is easily addictive so make sure you either share or make it for a crowd. If you like moist cakes... This one is for you.

For the cake:
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 stick unsalted butter
1 cup milk
4 large eggs, room temp
2 cups sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

The milks:
1 (14-ounce) can sweetened condensed milk
1 (12-ounce) can evaporated milk
1 cup heavy cream

1 cup heavy cream
3 Tablespoons powdered sugar
splash of dark rum (optional)

Heat oven to 325 degrees and grease and lightly flour a 13x9" baking pan. Set aside.
In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, salt, and cinnamon. Set aside.
In a small saucepan over medium-low heat, combine the 1 stick of butter and cup of milk. Heat until butter is completely melted and set aside.
In a large bowl using a hand mixer, or a stand mixer fitted with your whisk attachment, beat eggs on medium speed just until light and fluffy. Slowly add in sugar and increase speed to medium high and mix until egg-sugar mixture is thick and glossy, about 5 minutes. Reduce speed to low and add in the butter/milk mixture and vanilla. Mix just until combined. Add in the flour mixture, in three additions, until fully incorporated.
Use a rubber spatula to scrape down the sides throughout and stir at the end. Pour batter into prepared pan and bake in the preheated oven until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, 35-45 minutes* when cake is finished, remove from oven and place on wire rack to cool for 15 minutes.

*While the cake is baking, prepare the milk mixture. Pour sweetened condensed milk into a small bowl and place in your microwave. Heat in 3 minute increments until the sweetened condensed milk is darker in color and fragrant (around 9 minutes). Pour into a larger bowl and whisk in the evaporated milk and heavy cream. Set aside to cool to room temp.

After cake has cooled for 15 minutes, poke holes about a 1/2 inch apart all over the cake. Slowly pour the milk mixture over the top, small batches at a time,to allow the cake to soak up completely. After all the milk has been absorbed cover and place in the refrigerator for 4 hours and up to overnight (the longer the better!)

30 minutes before you would like to serve the cake, remove from the fridge and set on counter top while you make the frosting.
In a large bowl, place cold heavy cream, powdered sugar, and dash of rum (if using). Beat with a hand mixer on medium speed until stiff peaks form.
Spread over the top of the cake, slice into 2-3 inch pieces, and serve.

Enjoy this moist, flavorful, cake!

*recipe adapted from Sweet Peas Kitchen

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Chubby Hubby Cookie Bars

I love me some Ben and Jerry's... Who am I kidding, I like all kinds of ice cream! But, Ben and Jerry's is more compact so I don't feel as guilty eating the whole thing.

Some of my favorite flavors are Banana Split, Phish Food, and always... ALWAYS Chubby Hubby.

There's just something about the pairing of sweet and salty that rocks my world.

So, I thought I would throw all of the flavors of the ice cream into these delicious cookie bars...

So. So. SOOOO good!

You will need:
(makes 16 bars)
2 sticks unsalted butter, melted
1 cup packed light brown sugar
1/2 cup sugar
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 bag Reese's minis, chopped (about 1 cup)
1/2 cup chopped pretzels

For the top:
1/2 cup whole or halved pretzels
1/2 cup chocolate chips
1 teaspoon vegetable oil

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and line an 8" square baking dish with parchment paper, spray with cookie spray, and set aside.
In a large bowl (or your stand mixer) beat together the butter and sugars until light and fluffy. Add the eggs and vanilla. and beat until incorporated.
Add in the flour and salt and beat just until combined, do not over mix.
Stir in the chopped Reese's and pretzels.

Spread the cookie dough into the prepared pan and top with the whole/halved pretzels, pushing lightly to set on the top.

Bake in the oven for 35-45 minutes or until the center is set, the top lightly golden, and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

Allow the cookie bars to cool completely in the pan. Melt chocolate and oil together in your microwave or double broiler until smooth and shiny. Drizzle over the top of the cooled bars.
Slice into about 16 bars and serve!

Enjoy these delicious chewy bars that have a kick of sweet and salty flavor. PS: What's your favorite ice cream?

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Homemade Cinnamon Toast Crunch

We are cereal junkies in this house! Guaranteed we have about 6-8 boxes on the top of our fridge as we speak...

Granted, about 4 of them probably have less than a bowl in them... Cuz y'know, when it gets down to the bottom it's inedible (right?)

To be fair though, they're mostly healthy flavors. Cheerios (of all kinds, typically honey nut or multi-grain), Honey Smacks, and granola (yum). My boring old-people-cereal flavors pale in comparison to my childhood favorites, though.

Those were typically Fruity Pebbles, Cookie Crisp, Reese's Puffs, Lucky Charms, and always... ALWAYS... Cinnamon Toast Crunch.

On a side note though, does anyone realize how creepy the cereal mascots were? Trix are just for kids with a rabbit that was most likely on speed? Lucky Charms, magically delicious leprechaun? Creepsville. It isn't just me is it?

But who was the Cinnamon Toast Crunch mascot? No one. No creepy rabbit, or a howling wolf/dog, just delicious cinnamon-sugar cereal that spoke for itself and loved milk... I can get behind that!

However, since cereal is laden with sucro-godknowswhat, I thought I would attempt a homemade version (cuz I'm totally a health conscious mom...pfff just kidding!)

P.S: This recipe could totally be turned vegan with a simple replacement of soy or almond milk!

You will need:
1 1/4 cups whole wheat flour
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1/3 cup coconut oil (softened if necessary)
1/3 cup brown sugar
1/8 cup granulated sugar
1 Tablespoon vanilla extract
2 Tablespoons honey
1/2 cup cold milk (plus 1-2 Tablespoons)

For the topping:
1 Tablespoon coconut oil, melted
1/8 cup granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

In a large bowl, whisk together the flours, baking soda, and cinnamon. With a pastry cutter, blend in the coconut oil, brown sugar, granulated sugar, vanilla, and honey until the dough is crumbly and about the size of peas. Add in the 1/2 cup of cold milk and stir until the dough starts to form a ball, this is when you may add 1-2 Tablespoons extra milk if the dough still seems too dry.
Divide the dough ball in half.
Working with one dough piece at a time, lightly flour a surface and roll out until 1/8-1/4 inch thick.

Brush the rolled out dough with half of the Tablespoon of melted coconut oil. Combine the 1/8 cup sugar and 2 teaspoons of cinnamon in a bowl and sprinkle the top of the dough with cinnamon-sugar mixture.
Using a sharp knife or pizza cutter, cut dough into 1/2 inch squares and prick the tops once or twice with a fork.
*Make sure to flour your surface throughout the rolling out process to prevent sticking.*
Preheat oven to 350 degrees and line a large cookie sheet with parchment paper and place the cereal squares on top, leaving some space in between each.


Bake in the preheated oven for 10-13 minutes or until lightly browned and crispy. Remove and let cool completely before serving. Store in an airtight container.

This cereal is amazing by itself but even better in a bowl with ice cold milk... The last sip of cinnamon-sugar laced milk is the BEST! Bomb.com, y'all!

Keep your eyes peeled for more homemade cereals in the future, that's for sure!

*recipe adapted from the amazing and so talented Half Baked Harvest

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Warm S'mores Dip

OK, so I might be on a bit of a dip kick lately. How can you not like dips though? Typically convenient, packed with flavor, and can be sweet or savory, healthy or... Not so healthy.

This dip is true to dessert dip and is sweet and ya know, not so healthy.

But you will want to make this dip... No, you NEED to make this dip. Gooey chocolate, crispy soft (is that contradictory) marshmallows, and graham crackers for dunkin'. 

Summer in a dip. And while its still Winter, you can eat the whole pan and not feel guilty about having to show off your  notsobikini bodies.

You will need:
1 cup mini semi-sweet chocolate chips
2 cups marshmallows
2 Tablespoons milk

Graham crackers and fingers for dippin'

Place a small saucepan  over medium heat. Place 1 cup of chocolate chips, 1 cup of the marshmallows, and 2 Tablespoons of milk in the sauce pan. Heat, stirring continuously, until the chocolate and marshmallows have melted completely. Remove from heat and pour into a small pan that is lightly greased with cooking spray. Sprinkle the top with remaining 1 cup marshmallows and place under the broiler in your oven for 1 minute or until the marshmallows are toasty and golden. 

Remove from the oven and serve with graham crackers.

Enjoy this gooey S'mores heaven!

Saturday, January 11, 2014

Buffalo Chicken Crock Pot Dip

Oh, this dip is good, this dip is so good...

I'm kind of a dip connoisseur (not really, I've always just wanted to say that word.)

But I love shoving most dips in my face... if that counts.

Be it spinach-artichoke, queso, 7-layer, salsa... I could easily make dip a 4th meal (screw you, Taco Bell).

I made this dip for a work Birthday pot luck and it was gone in 15 minutes, no joke...

I used my cute like 1 quart crock pot for it but a 1.5 quart would be a little better fit.

You will  need:
1 lb chicken breast, cooked and chopped
3/4 cup buffalo wing sauce (I used Frank's)
1/2 cup ranch
8 ounces softened cream cheese
1 cup shredded fiesta blend cheese (pepperjack and cheddar combo)

Place all of your ingredients in the crock pot and stir to combine. Place on low and allow it to cook for 2 hours, stirring often to make sure everything is well mixed and melted.
Serve dip hot with crackers or celery sticks.

This spicy dip has the familiar taste of buffalo wings but is so creamy and cheesy. It would be the perfect addition to your Super Bowl Sunday!

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Brown Butter Funfetti Sugar Cookies

Ever since I made these Brown Butter Snickerdoodles I was hooked. I mean, how amaze is brown butter? Its nutty and rich and jazzes up plain old boring butter... Not that I have anything against regular butter but it's just there. All smug acting like, "pf, your cookies would be nothing without me". Cocky little bugger...

But I think it might be jealous of its snazzier French cousin... And don't judge my thoughts of brown butter being French. I just think it is... Seriously, don't judge.

Anyways, let's make some cookies! These cookies are great... Nutty from the brown butter, crunchy and sugary from the dough and sprinkles! YUM.

You will need:
1/3 cup vegetable shortening
1/3 cup unsalted brown butter
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1 large egg
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 Tablespoons sprinkles

In a medium sauce pan, slice your 1/3 cup of butter and place over medium heat. Stir with a spoon until it melts completely. Watch the butter carefully, stirring continuously, until the butter starts to foam and turns dark yellow in color. Remove from heat, pour into a separate bowl and allow it to cool completely.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees and line a large cookie sheet with parchment paper.
When butter is cool add it to your stand mixer along with the shortening and sugar. Mix on medium speed until blended and fluffy. Add in the egg and vanilla and mix. Add in all of the dry ingredients (flour, powder, and salt) and mix just until combined.
Stir in the 3 Tablespoons of sprinkles.
Scoop about 2 Tablespoons worth of dough into a ball and drop onto your prepared cookie sheet, flatten slightly.
Bake for 10-12 minutes or until puffed and the slightly golden. Remove from heat and transfer to a cookie sheet to cool completely.

Enjoy this fun take on sugar cookies!

*recipe adapted from Baking with Blondie

Saturday, January 4, 2014

Nutella Swirled Banana Bread

Oh man, this bread is good! Honestly you could probably put Nutella on cardboard and it would taste amazing. Not that I would KNOW this... my house isn't filled with piles of half eaten cardboard, promise.

I'm always looking for something new to do with bananas though. Because when you're a food blogger making boring ol' banana bread just doesn't cut it.

The best thing about making banana anything is its usually ridiculously easy and ridiculously moist. This bread was no exception and the Nutella adds a melted chocolate swirl... Amazing!

You will need:
2 cups all purpose flour
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 large bananas, mashed
1/4 cup sour cream
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
5 Tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
1/2 cup Chocolate Hazelnut Spread

In a medium bowl, whisk together the dry ingredients (flour, sugar, baking soda, and salt) and set aside.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and grease a 9x5" loaf pan, set aside.

In a large bowl, whisk together the bananas, sour cream, eggs, and melted butter until combined. Slowly add in the dry ingredients and stir until incorporated.

Pour half of the banana bread batter into your prepared loaf pan.

Place chocolate hazelnut spread into a microwave safe bowl and microwave on high for 20-25 seconds or until the spread is smooth and slightly runny.
Drizzle half of the spread onto the top of half of your banana batter in the pan and swirl.

Cover with remaining banana bread batter and drizzle the remaining chocolate spread over the top. Swirl for effect.

Bake in your preheated oven for 55-60 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean (melted Nutella aside).
Let cool completely in the pan before inverting onto a cooling rack or serving platter.

Slice, serve, and enjoy! This bread is amazing by itself or topped with a slight schmear of cream cheese! YUM!

Thursday, January 2, 2014

Creamy Harvest Chicken Salad

I am an honest to goodness chicken salad FANATIC! I love how this salad mixes a creamy dressing in with savory chicken, crunchy pecans, sweet grapes, apples, and tart cranberries.

People sometimes call this "Waldorf" chicken salad, but I consider mine a harvest chicken salad because you can throw whatever you want into it. Sub the pecans for almonds, add in pears instead of apples, red onion instead of green... This salad is yours for the making!

Girl, clean out your pantry and fridge and make you some of this chicken salad...

For the salad:
1 1/2-2 lbs of Chicken Breasts, cooked, cooled, and chopped
1 cup chopped green grapes
3 green onions, diced
2 stalks celery, diced
1/2 of a Gala apple, diced
1/3 cup dried cranberries
1/3 cup chopped pecans

For the dressing:
1/3 cup mayonnaise
1/4 cup low fat sour cream
juice of 1/2 a lemon
dash of salt
dash of seasoned pepper
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder

Finely dice all of the salad ingredients so they are roughly the same size. Place in a large mixing bowl and set aside while you prepare your dressing.

In a medium bowl, combine the ingredients for your dressing. *You may sub Greek yogurt for the mayo as a low cal option! Also, add more or less seasonings based off of your desired taste... ANY thing can be substituted here.

Drizzle the dressing over the salad. Start with only half as you may not like as much as we do. Stir to fully incorporate the dressing into the salad!

Eat this creamy salad by itself, on a roll, over a nice bed of mixed greens, or as an appetizer with whole grain crackers... Delish!