Saturday, June 30, 2012

June in Review

I really enjoy doing these monthly wrap ups - you can find January {here}, February {here}, March {here}, April {here}, and May {here} by clicking the links!


 
The Recipes
Favorites are noted with an asterisk!

Beverages
Breads
Desserts
Main Dishes
Side Dishes
Snacks

I talked about Food Network Magazine, and Taste of Home Cooking School for my Fantastical Feature this month.

I participated in both the Crazy Cooking Challenge and Secret Recipe Club this month. I posted Blueberry Cheesecake Milkshake for CCC and Spicy Jack Bacon Jalapeno Cheeseburgers for SRC. I'm also very happy to announce that I am now a Secret Recipe Club hostess. Group D love!!

I also did a little blog swap this month. You can find Mrs. White from Little Homemade Housewife {here} and links to her blog where I posted. We both talked about menu planning.

I want to revisit my resolutions again and update on how well/awful I'm doing on them:
  • Drink more water - I'm finally crossing this one off. It's my go-to drink!
  • Eat more fruit - We ate lots of fruits this month. I hope to continue :)
  • Get on a schedule - Doing much better here.
  • Catch up on adding the printable feature to old recipes. - I really need to work on this.
  • Work on emptying bookmarked recipes. - and work on this.
  • Leave reviews {comments} for recipes I've tried where I got them. - I did go through a few pages of my index and commented on some recipes I've tried :)
  • Look for duplicate recipes in the ones I have in the binders - Oy. Gotta do this too.
  • Update Blog Love page. - I swear I did stuff this month. LOL
  • Use breadmaker, cake pop maker, and KitchenAid pasta attachment - AND my waffle iron. - I still need to get the missing piece for my breadmaker. I didn't use the pop maker or pasta attachment. But I did use my waffle iron!! :)
  • Organize kitchen cabinets. - Worked on this a little. Will really hit it hard when I get back from vacation!!
If you missed them, you can find Sunday Social, Oh, How Pinteresting Weds., and Tasty Thursdays (formerly known as Twisted Thursdays) by scrolling all the way down and finding the little label cloud. Click on whichever you want to see :)

Friday, June 29, 2012

Funfetti Blondies


Honestly, I'm the worst for reading directions for the first time in the middle of making recipes. Even worse than that is while I'm typing up the recipes to post, I realize why something was off. This time, my blondies were a little hard to get out of the pan, even though I greased it. This may also be because I failed to read the "line your pan with foil" part. Whoopsies. Despite my little pan-preparation error....these were super delicious! My first time having and making blondies - I brought them to our monthly FRG meeting. Everyone who tried them liked them. They are convinced I sneak crack into my goodies :) SHHH!

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Lasagna Soup


We made some slight modifications to this recipe.
1) I can never find cool pastas...it's pretty lame. So I used some leftover rigatoni.
2) I won't can't eat ricotta, so I used a mixture of mozzarella and 5-cheese Italian mix with the Parmesan. You could also use cottage cheese, but my husband never would have eaten it if I used it.

Brenda suggests to cook the pasta separate. I find this to be easier and then your noodles don't get bloated and overcooked. It's a great tip that I will be using in noodled pastas to come!

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Updated Beef Wellington


This is another recipe I've had for over 5 years. To be honest, I hadn't made it because I was nervous. It seemed like an intimidating recipe. However, it really wasn't. It was incredibly easy. These are individual beef wellingtons and everyone loved them. I had to explain to my husband that I thought these would be hard to make when he jokingly complained about this recipe just sitting around for years. We will definitely be making these more often. The only change I made to this recipe was that I used onions instead of mushrooms. My family isn't big on mushrooms.


Monday, June 25, 2012

Secret Recipe Club: Spicy Jack Bacon Jalapeno Cheeseburgers

Secret Recipe Club
I was so happy when my assignment came in this month. I have the pleasure of making a recipe from Nicole of The Daily Dish.

I love the set up on The Daily Dish. It was easy to find recipes and to follow her blog in every which way possible and also to navigate around. I decided upon Nicole's Spicy Jack Bacon Jalapeno Cheeseburgers almost instantly. While looking at the recipe, I saw avocado fries and decided to make them as well because it'd be a perfect side for this spicy burger! And just because...I will be making this chicken scampi when I'm on vacation next week because my sister-in-law loves scampi! :)

These burgers were the bomb diggity!! Yes, I had to pull out 90's lingo to describe them! They were probably one of the better burgers I've assembled - they grilled nicely and stayed together. They were full of flavor and my husband couldn't get over the crumbled cheese inside the burger. The avocado fries weren't as big of a hit as I thought, but both kids ate a few and I liked them. I especially liked the dipping sauce :)


(Print)
**I upped the original recipe to make around 8 to 10 burgers
What you need:
  • 2 lbs. ground beef
  • Salt & Pepper
  • 1 block cheddar cheese, crumbled
  • 4 jalapenos, deseeded and chopped
  • 1 egg
  • Sliced Pepperjack
  • Bacon, cut in half and cooked
  • Pickled Jalapenos
  • Mayo mixed with Tabasco or Buffalo Sauce
  • Hamburger buns
Directions:
Mix together ground beef, salt, pepper, cheddar cheese, jalapenos, and egg.


Form into patties and grill!

To assemble: Bottom Bun, Slice of Pepperjack, Burger, Slice of Pepperjack, Bacon, Pickled Jalapenos, Top Bun (that has spicy mayo or buffalo on it).





Recipe from The Daily Dish

A peek at my past SRC recipes: Brisket & Veggies, Banana Custard Cream Pie, Chicken Egg Rolls, Hamantaschen, Lemon Fettuccine, Crispy Buttermilk Baked Chicken, and Coffee Toffee.

{Click here to see what blog hops I participate in}

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Roasted Broccoli & Cauliflower

These were a fantastic, quick side dish! I loved the sweetness of the honey and the little bite of the vinegar.



(Print)
What you need:
  • 4 cups cauliflower florets
  • 4 cups broccoli florets
  • 2 tbsp. olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/8 tsp. pepper
  • 2 tbsp. cider vinegar
  • 2 tbsp. honey
Directions:
Combine florets in a large bowl. Toss with oil, salt, and pepper.
Place on an aluminum-foil lined baking sheet.

Roast for 15 minutes at 400*
Combine vinegar and honey in a small bowl.

Remove veggies from oven and drizzle vinegar mixture over veggies.
Roast for 5 more minutes.

Recipe Source Unknown

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Friday, June 22, 2012

Fruit Nachos

Here's yet another recipe I've had for quite possibly a decade, but never got around to making. As per my 2012 "resolutions" - I want to eat more fruit. I thought that this would be an "eh" recipe, but it turned out to not only be completely epicly delicious - it was also really easy to make. Really quick too!

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Buffalo Chicken Calzones

My first attempt at calzones didn't really turn out that aesthetically pleasing, however, they did taste bombtastic and I will try again to not fail at making them. Word to the wise, have your circle ON your baking sheet before you load it up. I think I may have to use my whole dough recipe, rather than only half. But seriously, even if you mess it up royally, it still is the best thing to ever get in my belly.

You can serve this with ranch dressing or blue cheese dressing, but we're hardcore in this house and eat it just like it is. And by hardcore, I mean we don't eat either of those - blech!



(Print)
What you need:
  • 1 lb. pizza dough {used my favorite}
  • 1 lb. chicken breasts, diced
  • 2 tsp. plus 1/2 cup hot pepper sauce, divided
  • 3 tbsp. butter
  • 1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 1 cup pizza sauce {used homemade}
Directions:
Melt butter in a hot skillet and cook chicken.

Once chicken in cooked, reduce heat and add 1/2 cup hot pepper sauce. Stir well. 
Simmer for 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, mix together pizza sauce and 2 tsp. hot pepper sauce.

Divide pizza dough in half and roll into circles.

Top each circle with half pizza sauce, half the chicken, and half the mozzarella cheese.

Fold circle in half and crimp with fork to seal.
Bake at 450* for 15 to 20 minutes, until golden brown.

Recipe from Erin's Food Files

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Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Herbed Potato Wedges

I made these on a whim for my husband's birthday. I've had some various Mrs. Dash seasoning mixes in my cabinet for a while and my favorite is definitely the Onion & Herb. It's salt-free, so never forget to salt your food! :)

(Print)
What you need:
  • 3 to 4 baking potatoes, rinsed to remove dirt
  • Nonstick cooking spray (I use olive oil in my Misto)
  • Mrs. Dash Onion & Herb seasoning
  • Seasoning salt
Directions:
  1. Slice potatoes in half. Then cut into wedge-like shapes.
  2. Place on an aluminum foil-lined baking sheet that has been lightly greased.
  3. Spray the potatoes with nonstick cooking spray.
  4. Sprinkle with a good amount of Mrs. Dash and seasoning salt.
  5. Bake at 400* for 25 to 30 minutes or until crispy and golden brown.

Original Fantastical Recipe

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Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Crusty Steak Pie

This was basically a beef stew meets a beef pot pie and it was awesome.

I didn't do the extra puff pastry strip around the edges and I should have. I also didn't do the egg wash. It was still very good and gets a thumbs up from everyone in my family! Oh and the puff pastry totally made the recipe! :)


(Print)
What you need:
  • 1/3 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 tsp. salt, divided
  • 1/2 tsp. pepper, divided
  • 1 lb. beef round cubes
  • 3 tbsp. olive oil
  • 2 cups beef broth
  • 2 stalks celery, sliced
  • 2 carrots, peeled and sliced
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 2 tbsp. chopped fresh parsley
  • 1 sheet ready-made puff pastry
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • Fresh thyme, optional
Directions:

Place flour, 1/4 tsp. salt, and 1/4 tsp. pepper in a resealable plastic bag. 
Add beef cubes and shake to coat.
Heat olive oil in a large skillet and saute beef until it's all browned.

Add broth, celery, carrots, garlic, and remaining salt and pepper. Bring to a boil and then reduce heat, cover, and simmer for 20 minutes. Stir in parsley.

Lay pastry on a floured surface and place your pie dish on top. Trim and set aside.

Ladle meat mixture into pie plate.
Cut a thin strip from the leftover pastry and place around dish's edge. Brush with egg and place the circle of pastry on top. Push down to seal. Cut slits to vent. Glaze with egg and sprinkle with thyme.
Bake at 375* for 25 minutes.

Recipe Source Unknown
Although I suspect it is Pepperidge Farm or one of the bigger names like General Mills, Campbell's, etc.

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Monday, June 18, 2012

Nacho Bake

I used to make this recipe all the time when I was first married. It's been brought to the company for FRG meetings. It's been served to friends. It's been recommended to friends. But I hadn't blogged it until now. I actually hadn't made it since 2008 because I was a bit burned out from eating it all the time. But we made it - this time using medium heat salsa - and it was just as good as I remember it being!



Saturday, June 16, 2012

Fantastical Feature: Taste of Home - Cooking School

Taste of Home: Cooking School Cookbook: 400 + Simple to Spectacular Recipes

Much like the Fine Cooking Italian cookbook, the Taste of Home Cooking School cookbook was very simple, colorful, and easy to read. The recipes were easy to comprehend, easy to execute, and just in case there were any issues, the cookbook is full of mini tutorials, like how to stuff chicken.

We tried...

Sparkling Strawberry Lemonade from p. 32
This one was super simple to make and it went perfectly with a little grillout that we had. 
Everyone loved it.

Buffalo Chicken Wraps from p. 43
As most of my readers know, I am a huge buffalo fan. I'm sure it surprises no one that I made a buffalo recipe :) This one also has bacon in it. Buffalo + Bacon = A win in my book every single time!

Pizza Carbonara from p. 64
Another bacon recipe! I liked that creamy sauce and the crispy bacon and green onions together.


Southwest Stuffed Chicken from p. 145
These were GREAT! They are rolled in butter and coated in seasoned bread crumbs. They are stuffed with cheese and green chiles. There was a little margin instructional on how to do roll ups right next to the recipe that came in handy!

Fabulous Taco Salad from p. 151
I have been craving tacos and fajitas and all kinds of delicious Americanized Mexican food. This really hit the spot. You use ground turkey as well, which I've been trying to do more often. Clearly, it's a healthier alternative to ground beef.

Family-Favorite Baked Beans from p. 217
This was my first time making homemade baked beans and I tell you what, I could eat these every single day of my life and I could never get enough of them! Three different kinds of beans, molasses, ground beef, and bacon made this recipe out of this world!

and...

Cherry & Almond Crispy Squares from p. 285
I've been eating dried fruit and nuts in yogurt, oatmeal, etc. Basically anything that they could be added to, I've been adding them to! I really liked the idea of making krispie treats with nuts and berries and they were very good!


Taste of Home: Cooking School gets 5 utensils from me!

I am hoping to get my hands on a copy soon because there were so many recipes in it that I want to try. If you like the food you see on my blog, you'd definitely love this book. If you are a beginner in the kitchen or you like visual aids, this cookbook is for you!

A special thank you to NetGalley and Reader's Digest for the opportunity to review this cookbook!

Friday, June 15, 2012

Pineapple Mango Salsa

I tried a fruit salsa recipe a few weeks ago and fell in love with it. I've been hankering for some more and especially with the weather being warm - it's the perfect time to grill something to serve up with it! So I grilled up some thick pork chops that had been marinated in Italian dressing. The salsa went perfectly with it.

I still need to practice on my mango-cutting skills though. I also got my first pineapple splinter. It was not fun.


Thursday, June 14, 2012

Easy Pizza Pasta Casserole



This is definitely one of my new favorite pasta dishes - my husband gobbled it up. When I mentioned it was basically baked spaghetti with pepperoni on top, he dismissed it. He is not a fan of baked spaghetti - which is honestly a mystery to me. I don't know. Anyways, he liked this a lot. The kids liked it a lot. I thought it was one of the best baked spaghetti-esque recipes I've had, so it's a keeper!

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Summer's Bounty Smoothies

I've never been big on eating fruit. It's not that I don't like the flavors - it's that durn texture that gets me every time! Smoothies are my favorite way to get my fix of fruit and they are especially nice to have during the hot days of summer.


Our produce is so funky up here - for weeks we didn't have peaches (my husband's favorite) in stock, just nectarines. So when I knew this recipe would use nectarines, I was all stoked, only to go to the grocery store and find no more nectarines and only peaches. LOL. I have the worst luck! I ended up using kiwi instead of the nectarine because we had some in the house I needed to use up!

Oh and this was my first time eating froyo! I loved it!

(Print)
What you need:
  • 2 ripe bananas, peeled and cut into chunks
  • 2 kiwis, peeled and diced
  • 10 large strawberries, cut in half
  • 1 cup strawberry frozen yogurt
Directions:
  1. Combine all ingredients in blender and blend on high until smooth.
  2. Pour into 4 glasses; serve immediately.

Recipe adapted from Betty Crocker

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Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Jalapeno Popper Egg Rolls

I guess it comes as no surprise that I'm sharing yet another jalapeno-dominant recipe. I really love jalapeno poppers and these went really well with the buffalo chicken rolls and baked cheese sticks!


(Print)
What you need:
  • 1 pkg. egg roll wrappers
  • Water
  • 8 oz. cream cheese
  • 1/2 cup Mexican blend shredded cheese
  • 6 fresh jalapenos, seeded and diced
  • 2 green onions
  • 8 slices bacon, cooked and crumbled
  • 1 tsp. ground cumin
  • 1/4 tsp. garlic powder
  • Salt and pepper
Directions:

Combine cream cheese, shredded cheese, jalapenos, onions, bacon, and spices.

Place water into a cup. Place 1 to 2 tbsp of mixture onto a wrapper.

Fold up the bottom, then the sides.

Dip your finger in the water and trace the top edge and out from the corner.
Fold tightly to seal. Repeat until mixture is all gone. Place on greased baking sheet.

Bake for 12 to 14 minutes.


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