Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Chinese Green Beans with Ground Turkey over Rice

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This addictive meal is not only tasty but incredibly easy to make - and ready in under 30 minutes.
Chinese Green Beans with Ground Turkey over Rice | This addictive meal is not only tasty but incredibly easy to make - and ready in under 30 minutes #recipe #greenbeans #turkey #easy

Each week, I try to make a variety of foods. We have our themed nights: Crockpot/Quick Meal Monday, Taco Tuesday, Soup Night Wednesday, Throwback Thursday, All American Friday (Pizza or Burgers), and then Sundays which I reserve for meals that may take some time that I don't have throughout the week. I often forget to make an Asian-style dish and it drives me banana sandwich because I love Asian foods. It actually may be a good thing that we don't have them as often because I have NO self-control at all with it. This recipe included.

Chinese Green Beans with Ground Turkey over Rice | This addictive meal is not only tasty but incredibly easy to make - and ready in under 30 minutes #recipe #greenbeans #turkey #easy

I always go into recipes without expecting much - I mentioned this recently...I know I have. I don't expect them to be bad, but I don't expect them to be super amazing either. I just don't have expectations at all. I do hope they are delicious, amazing, unforgettable...I absolutely do. So I get really excited when they ARE super amazing, delicious, and unforgettable. I loved how flavorful the ground turkey was and thoroughly enjoyed the crunch of the green beans with. It was perfect over a bed of rice and I will have to double the recipe next time because it disappeared very quickly!

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Brown Butter Very Blueberry Muffins

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Normal blueberry muffins will never be the same again after you try these brown butter blueberry muffins!
Brown Butter Very Blueberry Muffins | Normal blueberry muffins will never be the same again after you try these brown butter blueberry muffins! #breakfast #blueberry #muffins #recipe

Back in the day, I used to participate in a fun monthly blog group called Crazy Cooking Challenge. We were given a theme each month and we chose any recipe from a blog, website, or cookbook to post on our blogs. I saved a ton of recipes from each posting date and I'm still making recipes from those days even though the group stopped posting years ago (our last month was November 2012). I honestly really miss it. It was so much fun. If any fellow bloggers would be interested in something like that, leave me a note. I wouldn't be opposed to creating a group and managing it - as I already do something like that. I'm a pretty good project manager. :)

Anywho, the reason I bring it up is that one month our theme was blueberry muffins. I saved this particular recipe (never having tried brown butter anything) because Nick likes muffins with streusel and I knew he would like these. I like a crumb/streusel topping too, so I was excited to make these. When I pulled up the recipe, I was happy to see it was a fellow Secret Recipe Club member's blog. I do love supporting my fellow SRC members! They are all so amazing. Andrea's recipe is the bomb dot com. Brown butter is everything, guys. It is life. The crumb topping is wonderful and there are so many blueberries!

Brown Butter Very Blueberry Muffins | Normal blueberry muffins will never be the same again after you try these brown butter blueberry muffins! #breakfast #blueberry #muffins #recipe


Monday, April 25, 2016

Menu Plan Monday - April 25, 2016

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 Menu Plan Monday on Apr 25, 2016 | My week of meals and grocery list! #menuplan #groceries

Another month has come and gone...the school year is almost out. Around end of January, I was really wanting Spring Break to come along because I was so over the kids getting sick and bringing it home and getting me sick, but then Spring Break happened and I just wanted school to start up again. So...let's just hope that summer break goes easy on me LOL. I'm making two desserts out of the Our Best Bites cookbook that I got 6 year ago...and also remaking two recipes we loved to get better pictures and remember the process because I changed it up a little.

Monday
Slow Cooker Cashew Chicken
chicken breasts, soy sauce (1/2 cup)?, rice wine vinegar*, sweet chili sauce, brown sugar (2T), cashews, brown rice?

Lemon Chicken Stir Fry #SecretRecipeClub

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http://secret-recipe-club.blogspot.com/

It's time again for Secret Recipe Club reveal day for my group, Group D! It will also be the last Group D reveal for a while. We have dwindled down in numbers over the past few years, so we are condensing down to three groups again until we need a fourth group again. So what is Secret Recipe Club? It's a bunch of food bloggers separated into four three groups that post once a month on a designated Monday. Each month, we are paired with another foodie from our group secretly (hence the name). We then pick a recipe (or two or more) from that blog and make it. On our reveal day, we reveal whose blog we had and what recipe(s) we chose all at the same time. It's like a Secret Santa every month, but with food and blogs! It's a great deal of fun :)

This month, my assignment was Nicola's blog: Lemon and Cheese. Nicola is a London librarian who loves simple recipes with fresh ingredients. She is brand new to Secret Recipe Club, so I was excited to get her blog before all the Group D members disperse among the other three groups. Guess what her favorite foods are? If you guessed lemon and cheese, you are SO right! When I told Nick that was her blog name, he immediately smiled and said he really liked that name. We, of course, love lemons and cheese, too.

Lemon Chicken Stir Fry | Chicken stir fry has never been better with this lemony recipe #SecretRecipeClub #maindish #stirfry #lemon #chicken #recipe

I had quite a few recipes saved and wasn't sure what I was going to go with. Then my month escaped me and I knew I was going to have to go the main dish route. I ended up choosing her Lemon Chicken Stir Fry because I wanted to pay homage to her blog name. It was absolutely the right choice. In her blog post, Nicola mentioned that she had made the original recipe with more lemon in it. So I took her recipe and doubled the lemon juice and I would have to say that it was just the right amount for us! We just loved it. I do hope that I can try her Thai Chicken Stir Fry, Potato & Leek Gratin, and Tandoori Chicken soon too.

Lemon Chicken Stir Fry | Chicken stir fry has never been better with this lemony recipe #SecretRecipeClub #maindish #stirfry #lemon #chicken #recipe

Sunday, April 24, 2016

Copycat Hattie B's Hot Chicken #SundaySupper

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Today's Sunday Supper event is hosted by Sue of Palatable Pastime. Our theme is REGIONAL SPECIALTIES. I am super duper excited about it because I love trying new cuisines.

Copycat Hattie B's Hot Chicken | This Nashville specialty is spicy and perfect with a side of collard greens and mac and cheese #southern #Nashville #hotchicken #chicken #recipe

I spent 11 years in Minnesota before moving down to Tennessee. I lived here for about 7 years before moving to Georgia for 6 months and then up to New York for about 7 years. I've basically been all over on the east side of the United States. Out of the three regions I lived in, I have to say that Southern cuisine is my favorite. The comfort food is just out of this world and even in the south, there are so many different regions of different cuisines. So you get a little bit of everything and it's just straight awesome. I love living down here. For today's event, I figured I would stay true to my "new roots" (as I have no plans to live in any other state other than Tennessee ever again) and share a recipe that Nashville is known for: hot chicken.

This particular recipe is a copycat from a Nashville eatery called Hattie B's. At Hattie B's, you can order your chicken "Hot!", "Damn Hot", or "Shut the Cluck Up" - I would love to make a trip to Nashville in the near future and stop by to eat the real deal...especially if it is anything like this copycat recipe. I got this recipe from one of my Food Network magazines and decided to serve it up with mac and cheese and collard greens because that is two of the sides pictured in the magazine. This was definitely super spicy, but it was so tasty. It is very high ranked on any sort of spicy recipe I've ever made and eaten.

Copycat Hattie B's Hot Chicken | This Nashville specialty is spicy and perfect with a side of collard greens and mac and cheese #southern #Nashville #hotchicken #chicken #recipe

What is unique to this recipe is that you dry brine the chicken, then do the typical dip and dredge before frying. Afterwards, you have a spicy coating that is basted onto the freshly fried chicken. It's a seriously dangerous combination of flavors. I've really had nothing like it before, but can say that I want it over and over and over again. I would totally eat this every day if I could!

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Sausage, Potato, and Spinach Soup

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Spicy sausage, red potatoes, and baby spinach make for a wonderful soup for cold winter nights or rainy summer ones.
Sausage, Potato, and Spinach Soup |  Spicy sausage, red potatoes, and baby spinach make for a wonderful soup for cold winter nights or rainy summer ones. #recipe #soup #sausage #potato

So this will probably be my last soup recipe that I share until the fall. I realize that not everyone enjoys soup in the summertime and now that it's nearly May and summer is almost upon us, soup is out. Although, we will still most likely eat soup throughout the summer. We love our weekly soup nights!  I am basically obsessed with sausage and potato soups. It's so funny to me because I used to hate sausage. Like I wouldn't eat it at all and would not make anything at all that contained sausage. Now I absolutely love it. I've made a lot of sausage and potato soups with kale, so I liked that this was slightly different with some spinach in it. Unlike the other soups I've made in the last year, it doesn't have any cheese in it and it certainly doesn't need it. It's fabulous by itself. I am hoping for a few rainy Wednesdays during the summer because that is the best time to have soup. :)


Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Copycat Quesarito

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 It's a quesadilla, it's a burrito...no, it's a quesarito! These copycat quesaritos are one-of-a-kind!
Copycat Quesarito | It's a quesadilla, it's a burrito...no, it's a quesarito! #TacoBell #copycat #recipe

One of my favorite things to do is make copycat Taco Bell recipes at home. We love the homemade chicken quesadillas and nachos bell grande. I make them all the time. Every once in a while, I will see if Taco Bell has anything new on their menu since we rarely eat out. I found the quesarito and was immediately convinced that it was my next copycat recipe to come up with. A quesarito is a combination of quesadilla and burrito. Yes, a combination of the two. Heaven, right?!

So what you do is you take a cheese quesadilla, top it with seasoned beef, rice, sour cream, and chipotle sauce, and roll it up like a burrito. Taco Bell uses nacho sauce in theirs as well, but I skipped on that, thinking it may be too much cheese. It's actually a fairly filling burrito and it's just so awesome. I definitely rank this high on my list of copycat recipes I've tried and made. It is the perfect recipe for a Taco Tuesday (like tonight!).

Copycat Quesarito | It's a quesadilla, it's a burrito...no, it's a quesarito! #TacoBell #copycat #recipe


Monday, April 18, 2016

Menu Plan Monday - April 18, 2016

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 Menu Plan Monday on Apr 18, 2016 | My week of meals and grocery list! #menuplan #groceries

Don't look at me like I'm crazy when you see it...yes, I am making a pumpkin dessert in April. I love love love pumpkin. I hate that "pumpkin season" is only in the fall. I will eat it all year. Also making a few things out of the Our Best Bites cookbook, Bobby Flay's Throwdown cookbook, and Diners, Drive-ins, and Dives cookbook once again. UPDATE: I got back from Ohio a little later yesterday than expected so I am making last night's planned dinner tonight and I switched in a Secret Recipe Club recipe for Thursday.

Sunday, April 17, 2016

One Pan Spicy Lemon Chicken with Tomatoes #SundaySupper

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Lemon, chicken, tomato, and pasta make this one pan dish incredible.
One Pan Spicy Lemon Chicken with Tomatoes | Lemon, chicken, tomato, and pasta make this one pan dish incredible #recipe #chicken #pasta #SundaySupper

Good morning, everyone. I'm back for another Sunday Supper event. This one is hosted by Renee of Renee's Kitchen Adventures and our theme today is: WELCOME SPRING. I chose to share this recipe because of the lemon in it. When I think of spring, I think of lemons and asparagus when we're talking food. Lemon and asparagus in everything pleaseeee! It took me a while to agree upon lemon in anything, but it started out with lemon in main dish foods via Nick's request. Over the last year or so, I've been more willing to try lemon desserts and hopefully, my fellow Sunday Supper bloggers will have some lemon-y desserts for me to save in my ever-growing collection of recipes.

When I went to make this recipe, three things stood out to me that made me really excited about it. First, it's made in one pan. I cannot tell you how much I love one pan/pot meals. I really cannot. There are no words to describe my love. Second, SPICY. Another thing that over the course of my marriage I have begun to crave all the time! I was raised on bland foods (not gross ones, just underseasoned ones), so spicy foods were definitely a work in progress for Nick over the years because he will tear up some spicy foods. And lastly, it's pasta. Ohhhh, my love for pasta definitely surpasses that of my love for one pan/pot meals.

One Pan Spicy Lemon Chicken with Tomatoes | Lemon, chicken, tomato, and pasta make this one pan dish incredible #recipe #chicken #pasta #SundaySupper

And it was a winner winner, chicken dinner. I think that it definitely could have used more of a punch to it. It wasn't very spicy and I'm still typically good at gauging heat because I do have three little ones who have varying degrees of handling spiciness. It was still a great meal and I loved the lemon and tomatoes together.

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Little Nicky's Burgers

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This over-the-top burger is nestled between 2 pieces of spicy Popeye's chicken!
Little Nicky's Burger | This over-the-top burger is nestled between 2 pieces of spicy Popeye's chicken! #copycat #recipe #burger

This recipe is long overdue to show up on the blog and it's one that I find just so ridiculous, but I love my husband and I can't NOT post this recipe. When it comes to burgers, Nick would rather have a larger meat-to-bun ratio...really with any meal ever...he wants more meat than anything else. He's not a picky eater by any means, but he likes to eat fewer carbs if he can. While he was in New York getting ready to "final out" and move down to Tennessee, he went to a few "Hail and Farewells" - that's what the army does when they say goodbye to soldiers and welcome new ones. Don't quote me on this because it's been so long now, but I believe this particular night was his Hail and Farewell.

They went to a local restaurant and he got a burger that had two chicken patties as the buns. He begged me for months to make a burger like that and we put our heads together and came up with a burger with our own twist on it. We decided to make copycat Popeye's spicy chicken for the buns and we stuffed our burger with onion and green bell. There is also Vermont sharp cheddar, lettuce, bacon, and buffalo sauce on them. In the restaurant they served it with chips and salsa, but we chose to do onion rings.

Little Nicky's Burger | This over-the-top burger is nestled between 2 pieces of spicy Popeye's chicken! #copycat #recipe #burger

Naming it was fun because the original is called the "Little John" burger. We thought about Little Nick's but then decided upon Little Nicky because of the Popeye's chicken...reference to Adam Sandler's movie, Little Nicky. This burger was going to be so good it would feel like your brother hit you in the face with a shovel. And there you have it...this heart attack on a plate. It is a lengthy recipe and it was a process to make it. It's definitely not something I will ever make on a regular basis. Personally, I prefer bread to chicken patties for a bun, but I HAD to share this recipe because it's over-the-top and I know somewhere out there, someone will make it. And because Nick absolutely loved it and has been begging me to make it again. It's probably going to get made for his birthday and I'm okay with that. Once a year is more than enough for this one ;)


Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Blueberry Banana Bread

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 Blueberry and banana are the perfect pair in this scrumptious banana bread recipe!
Blueberry Banana Bread | Blueberry and banana are the perfect pair in this scrumptious banana bread recipe! #recipe #banana #bread

Today is supposed to be quite chilly for April in East Tennessee. Chilly days make me crave a good book cuddled up with a warm blanket. But I also love to bake on chilly days because it's so much better to be in a warm kitchen when it's cold than when it's hot. Baking bread - whether it be banana bread or not - always fills the home with such an amazing smell and I love it. Someone needs to sell that smell for the plug-ins because I would have it going 24/7. Errr...maybe not though because I would be hungry ALL.THE.TIME.

Blueberry Banana Bread | Blueberry and banana are the perfect pair in this scrumptious banana bread recipe! #recipe #banana #bread
 
I love traditional banana bread and have made so many different recipes, but I have also found that I love making new banana bread recipes with different ingredients in them. I've had Biscoff and Reeses banana bread, both of which I loved. I definitely want to make a banana bread/carrot cake hybrid soon. But I just have to say how much I really enjoyed this banana blueberry bread. I think it could easily be made with raspberries or blackberries too, if they are more your thing :)


Monday, April 11, 2016

Menu Plan Monday - Apr 11, 2016

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 Menu Plan Monday on Apr 11, 2016 | My week of meals and grocery list! #menuplan #groceries

I didn't realize I made this week so fatty, but I am not too mad about it. I do suppose I will be all unhealthy food-ed out next week and not want anything greasey at all. This week I'm using my Our Best Bites cookbook and my Bobby Flay's Throwdown cookbook. I'm also doing a little bit of recipe developing too.

Monday
Grilled Stuffed Zucchini (OBB cookbook)
4 medium zucchini, Italian turkey sausage, red onion, tomato, fresh basil, Italian cheese

Wednesday, April 06, 2016

Chipotle Chicken & Cheese Quesadillas

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Very simple quesadillas with creamy chipotle cheese and topped with pineapple pico de gallo.
Chipotle Chicken & Cheese Quesadillas | Very simple quesadillas with creamy chipotle cheese and topped with pineapple pico de gallo. #recipe #quesadilla #pineapple

If I choose to make a recipe, it's typically based on a picture. Much like how I am a cover judger with books...I'm a picture judger with recipes. I don't do this 100% of the time - lots of times I pick from just text recipes with no pictures because it sounds appealing. Because I choose things that look appealing..I go in with about the same expectations for all the recipes. I expect them to be good and that I'll like them. Sometimes we have recipe flops (either because of this gal's human error --or just something we didn't care for)...and lots of times, recipes blow me away with how darn good they are!

Chipotle Chicken & Cheese Quesadillas | Very simple quesadillas with creamy chipotle cheese and topped with pineapple pico de gallo. #recipe #quesadilla #pineapple

This was a recipe that totally took me by surprise. I expected it to be good - what's not to like about a chicken and cheese quesadilla?! But I highly underestimated the Laughing Cow Queso Fresco Chipotle cheese. Like a lot. The creaminess added the best best best texture to these quesadillas. I added a little shredded cheese on top of the chicken because I love cheese. What really takes the cake is this delicious quesadilla TOPPED WITH the incredible Pineapple Pico de Gallo (I posted the recipe yesterday). Altogether, it's easily my favorite quesadilla of all time and it's easy to make it. Doesn't take much effort at all!

Chipotle Chicken & Cheese Quesadillas | Very simple quesadillas with creamy chipotle cheese and topped with pineapple pico de gallo. #recipe #quesadilla #pineapple

Tuesday, April 05, 2016

Pineapple Pico de Gallo

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This fruity pico de gallo is perfect on chicken and pork -- or even chips for a snack!
Pineapple Pico de Gallo | This fruity pico de gallo is perfect on chicken and pork -- or even chips for a snack! #recipe #pineapple #appetizer

Pico de gallo is the perfect "accent" for so many dishes. It's great on fajitas and tacos. It's the bomb on a plate of nachos. It goes well on grilled chicken or slow cooked pork. You can also dig in with a cracker or chip and enjoy it that way. This pico de gallo also contains arguably the best fruit ever..PINEAPPLE. I used grape tomatoes instead of dicing up some tomatoes (mostly out of laziness). We used the pineapple pico de gallo as a topping for chipotle chicken and cheese quesadillas - I am posting that recipe tomorrow. :) So whether you enjoy it on quesadillas or eat it by the spoonful - this is a fabulous recipe! UPDATE: here is that link to the Chipotle Chicken & Cheese Quesadillas recipe.


Monday, April 04, 2016

Menu Plan Monday - April 4, 2016

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 Menu Plan Monday on Apr 4, 2016 | My week of meals and grocery list! #menuplan #groceries

I'm cooking through my cookbooks again. This time I am looking at Bobby Flay's Throwdown, Our Best Bites, and Diners, Drive-ins, and Dives: An All-American Road Trip. I'm, of course, curious to see how it all turns out, but I have high hopes.

Monday
American Chop Suey (DDD cookbook)
butter (3T), yellow onion, green bell pepper, ground beef, diced tomatoes (14.5 oz), tomato sauce (14.5 oz), tomato paste, tomato juice (2/3 cup), elbow macaroni*

Sunday, April 03, 2016

Fast Faux Baked Ziti #SundaySupper

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This ziti can come together in under 30 minutes and will have everyone fooled that it took longer!
Fast Faux Baked Ziti | This ziti can come together in under 30 minutes and will have everyone fooled that it took longer! #SundaySupper #pasta #under30min

Good morning, all! It's time for another round of Sunday Supper. This week's event is Italian Fest hosted by Manuela of Manu's Menu. I am so excited to join in and have the perfect recipe to boot. Last year, I traded in a bunch of regular books for store credit at a local used bookstore - that is very dangerous for me to go into. I looked for some books that I was wanting, but had no luck, and decided to venture into the cookbook aisle.

I found a few Rachael Ray cookbooks and a few Bobby Flay cookbooks and called it a day. I still have a little store credit leftover, so I may be making a trip soon to find some more cookbooks...that I don't need. I decided to pick up Rachael Ray's Cooking 'Round the Clock cookbook, which is one of her 30-minute meal cookbooks and I am so glad that I did. I love love love this Fast Faux Baked Ziti recipe. It is so quick and you can literally stick it under the broiler and fool everyone into thinking you have slaved over it for hours in your kitchen...and it tastes like that too!!

Fast Faux Baked Ziti | This ziti can come together in under 30 minutes and will have everyone fooled that it took longer! #SundaySupper #pasta #under30minFast Faux Baked Ziti | This ziti can come together in under 30 minutes and will have everyone fooled that it took longer! #SundaySupper #pasta #under30min

I am not a true Italian by any means, but this definitely felt more authentic than any other dish I've ever made. The bechamel sauce was to die for!! It was just so rich and creamy. I don't think I've ever had anything quite like it.