Chocolate Caramel Pretzel Bars

Posted on

If you’re not tuned in to the sports world, here’s a PSA for you: the Super Bowl is Sunday.

I will fully admit that I’m just not into it this year. I’m not crazy about the teams playing. I’m over the drama of deflategate. And compared to the excitement of last year when it was held in our backyard, I’m just feeling meh about the whole thing.

But, football food. Eating during the Super Bowl is like it’s own special event. An it’s all that awesome snacky stuff that’s hard to justify on a regular night. Like chocolate caramel pretzel bars. They’re exactly as indulgent as they sound and a super perfect grab-and-go snack for during the game.

Or, you know, during the commercials.
ChocolateCaramelPretzelBars

Chocolate Caramel Pretzel Bars
(adapted from this recipe)
Makes 1 9×13″ pan

1 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs
4 Tbsp. butter, melted
1 can sweetened condensed milk
1/2 cup broken pretzel pieces
3/4 cup mini chocolate chips
3/4 cup caramel bits

Preheat the oven to 350F degrees. Grease a 9×13″ pan and line with parchment.

Mix together the graham cracker crumbs and melted butter until well combined and press into the bottom of the pan. Drizzle the sweetened condensed milk evenly over the graham cracker crust. Sprinkle pretzel pieces, chocolate chips and caramel bits over evenly. Press gently into sweetened condensed milk.

Bake for 30 minutes, until lightly browned around the edges and starting to pull away from the pan. Remove from oven and let cool completely before removing  from the pan and cutting.


Southwest Bean Soup

Posted on

This soup was my contribution to the Soup Swap Party. It’s one my Mom has been making for years – it’s really easy and really good.

I generally expect soup recipes to take a while, but this one is super quick. The bulk of this soup is canned beans and canned tomatoes so the faster you open cans, the faster this makes it to the table. It took me about twenty minutes total, because I’m generally a terrible can-opener and was juggling the baby. I’m fairly certain you would be faster.

I eat mine without toppings (cornbread on the side is my go-to!) but it would be good with tortilla strips, cheddar or sour cream.

SouthwesternBeanSoup

Southwest Bean Soup
(from Taste of Home)
Makes 3 quarts

1 large onion, chopped
1 tsp. canola oil
2 cans black beans, rinsed and drained
2 cans diced tomatoes with garlic and onion
2 cans vegetable broth
1 can dark red kidney beans, rinsed and drained
1 can white kidney beans, rinsed and drained
1 1/2 cups frozen corn
4 cloves of garlic, minced
1 1/2 tsp. cumin
1 1/2 tsp. chili powder
1/4 tsp. hot sauce

In a large pot, heat the oil to shimmering and cook onion until translucent. Stir in the garlic and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Stir in the remaining ingredients and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer until heated through, about 5 minutes.


Soup Swap Party

Posted on

On Saturday, I hosted one of the most fun get-togethers I’ve had in a while – a soup swap party. It was like a cookie swap, but more appropriate for January weather. Everyone brought 4 1-quart containers of soup for swapping and then some extra to sample.

As everyone arrived, I noted their soup on a chalkboard right outside the kitchen for everyone to see.

807

To go along with the soup, I set up a DIY grilled cheese bar for lunch. It was super easy and super fun.

818

Since things were super causal, I just laid out ingredients on a disposable table cloth and made quick notes to explain the flow of things and label ingredient choices.

1) Grab some bread – I had out wheat and white.

804

2) Add some cheese – there was a choice of American, Jalapeno Cheddar and Swiss.

3) Top it off – personalize your sandwich with regular mayonnaise, garlic mayonnaise, sriracha mayonnaise, ketchup, tomato slices, roasted red peppers, pickles, caramelized onions, pear slices, bacon and ham.

805

4) Heat it up – I had out two panini grills for toasting the creations.

And 5) Grab some soup. We heated up some of everyone’s soup and divided them into shot glasses. Add mini spoons and they were perfect for sampling!

813

After we’d eaten, we voted on soup awards and the winners took home mini bags of chocolates as recognition.

800

For favors, I found microwavable soup mugs at my favorite dollar store. I added mini loaves of homemade bread too, since they seemed like the perfect soup accompaniment.

810

For the kids that came, I filled their soup mugs with baby Goldfish crackers and picked out some fun coloring books.

811

At the end, we divided up the soup so everyone left with 4 quarts of soup.

It was such a fun way to spend a snowy afternoon – I’m already looking forward to next year’s soup swap!


Rattlesnake Pasta

Posted on

My Mom and Mother-in-law both got me vintage Pyrex pieces for Christmas. Since then, I’ve become mildly obsessed with casseroles. Because when you’re using dishes from the ’50s, is there anything more appropriate to make than a casserole? I think not.

My new casserole dish is small – perfect for 2-3 servings, so I’ve been using it a lot and freezing extra portions for busy nights.  I can’t wait to break this one out again!

Rattlesnake Pasta
(adapted from The Oland Girls Craft)
Serves 6

12 oz. whole wheat pasta
1 26 oz. jar Alfredo sauce
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 cup grated Parmesan
1/2 lb. bacon, cooked and crumbled
1/2 lb. dice, cooked chicken
1 small can diced green chilies
1 cup shredded cheddar

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Spray a casserole dish with nonstick spray.

Cook pasta according to package directions.

In a large bowl, combine the cooked pasta, Alfredo sauce, garlic, Parmesan, bacon, chicken and chilies. Stir until thoroughly combined. Transfer to prepared casserole dish. Top with shredded cheddar.

Baked for 20 minutes. Let stand for 10 minutes before serving.


Thai Veggie Burgers

Posted on

For some reason, Thursdays are my power day. I always feel the most together and most ambitious on Thursdays. It’s also the day I make my meal plans for the next week – which is both a good and a bad thing. Bad because I’m often more ambitious with the plans than I feel like being when I actually get around to cooking dinner. Good because when I power through the plans, I often get some pleasant surprises.

When I started making these, I had a what-were-you-thinking?! moment. We don’t generally eat a lot of Thai food. Mark isn’t crazy about peanut sauce. Veggie burgers are pretty hit-or-miss around here. Why did I think these would be a good thing to try mid-week?

Luckily, they were a huge hit. I served leftovers for lunch the next day – bun-less, on a bed of slaw – and they were even better. And we froze a few to break out for lunches during Lent. I already can’t wait.

Thai Veggie Burgers
(slightly adapted from Annie’s Eats)
Makes 6

1/2 cup uncooked quinoa
2 tsp. olive oil, divided, plus additional for cooking
1 cup vegetable broth
1 15 oz. can of chickpeas
3/4 cup old fashioned oats
1/2 cup cornmeal
1 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. paprika
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp. sesame oil
1 egg
1/2 red bell pepper, diced
1/2 red onion, diced
3 cups cole slaw mix
1/2 cup creamy peanut butter
2 Tbsp. honey
1 Tbsp. soy sauce
1 tsp. freshly grated ginger
1/2 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes
2 Tbsp. lime juice
2 Tbsp. water
Chopped peanuts
Burger buns

Rinse and drain the quinoa. Heat 1 tsp. of oil in a small saucepan over medium-high heat, until shimmering. Add the quinoa and cook, stirring frequently, for 2-3 minutes to lightly toast. Stir in the vegetable broth and bring to a boil. Cover and reduce heat to a simmer. Let cook for 15 minutes, then remove from heat and let stand for 5. Remove the lid, fluff and set aside to cool.

In a food processor, combine the chickpeas, oats, cornmeal, salt, paprika, garlic and sesame oil until well blended. Pulse in the egg. Add the mixture to a large bowl and stir in quinoa, red pepper, onion and remaining 1 tsp. olive oil. Stir together until evenly mixed, divide into 6 equal balls and roll into patties.

In a small bowl, whisk together the peanut butter, honey, soy sauce, ginger, red pepper flakes, lime juice and water until smooth. Set aside.

Heat a generous drizzle of olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat, until shimmering. Add the patties and cook until both sides are browned and cooked through, about 3-4 minutes per side.

Serve the patties on buns topped with slaw, peanut sauce and chopped peanuts.

 


Pulled Pork Pizza

Posted on

So, you know how blogging around here was pretty slow around here towards the end of the year? I’m sure most people figured it was because of the baby but it was actually much more embarrassing – I filled up my hard drive. As in, I couldn’t put another thing on it without deleting something else. I quit taking pictures of things I was making because getting them onto the laptop was such a pain. (Well, I guess you could blame the baby – I’d filled it up with baby pictures…)

This was a pizza I made during that unintended blog break – and remade last week just so I could share it. I whipped it up to use up some leftovers and it turned out awesome – even my Mom, whom swears she hates spicy things, loved it.

And I finally bought a new computer so transferring pictures should be easy-peasy going forward.

Pulled Pork Pizza
(a Kate’s Recipe Box original)
Makes 1 12″ Pie

1 lb. pizza dough
1/3 cup barbecue sauce
1 Tbsp. chipotle Tabasco sauce
1 cup pulled pork
2 Tbsp. chopped red onion
1 cup mozzarella cheese
1 cup cheddar cheese

Roll out dough into a 12″ circle.

In a small bowl, whisk together the barbecue sauce and chipotle tabasco sauce. Spread over the crust. Top with pulled pork, red onion and cheeses.

Bake at 425 until the crust is golden, about 20 minutes.


Crispy Black Bean and Rice Burritos

Posted on

We recently did something we’ve been talking about since we moved into the house – we bought a chest freezer! I’m really more excited about it than I should be. The day it got delivered I plunked the few things I could in there and I’ve slowly been trying to fill it up.

I cooked up these burritos for dinner one night and froze the rest for nights I need something quick. I wrapped them in foil and then stuck them in a freezer bag. To reheat, I baked them, still in the foil, at 350 degrees for 20 minutes.

Crispy Black Bean and Rice Burritos
(from Brunch Time Baker)
Makes 6-8

 1 can of black beans
1/2 can of canned corn
3/4 cup mozzarella cheese
3/4 cup cheddar cheese
1 cup cooked rice
1/2 red bell pepper, chopped
1/2 onion, chopped
1 Tbsp. butter
1 tsp. oil
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. black pepper
1 tsp. cumin
Juice of half a lime
6-8 medium flour tortillas

In a large skillet, melt the butter then add the onion, bell pepper, black beans, corn, salt, pepper, cumin and lime juice. Cook until onion and pepper are soft.

Spoon 1/4 cup of the black bean mixture into each tortilla. Top with 2 Tbsp. of rice and 2 Tbsp. of cheese and wrap tightly. Brush an electric grill or grill pan with oil and grill the burritos until crisp. Serve with sour cream and salsa.


Cinnamon Rolls

Posted on

I love lists. I make a lot of them. Probably too many. One of my current favorite lists is for the Day Zero Project – a challenge to tackle 101 goals in 1001 days. I’m currently on my second list – and I’ve only got about five months left. Hello, crunch time!

One of the things on my list was to make cinnamon rolls and I finally tried them out for Christmas this year. Since two dozen were a lot for us, we delivered some to our parents and neighbors too. I’m pretty sure making them for everyone is going to be an annual tradition from now on! So, so happy to have these under my belt.

Cinnamon Rolls
(as seen on Sugar & Spice by Celeste)
Makes approximately 2 dozen

2 cups whole milk
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1/2 cup sugar
2 1/4 tsp. yeast
4 1/2 cups flour
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tablespoon salt
1 cup melted butter, plus more as needed
1/8 cup ground cinnamon for sprinkling
1 cup sugar, plus more as needed

In a saucepan, combine the milk, vegetable oil and sugar. Scald and then let cool for 45 minutes.

Sprinkle yeast over the warm milk mixture and let stand for 5 minutes. Stir in 4 cups of the flour and transfer to a large bowl. Cover and let rise in a warm place for an hour, until doubled in size.

Stir in the additional 1/2 cup of flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt.

Sprinkle your work area generously with flour and roll the dough into a large rectangle. Spread melted butter over the dough, sprinkle with sugar and cinnamon. Roll up from the long side and pinch the seams together to seal up the rolls. Cut the log into 1 1/2″ rolls.

Place 1 Tbsp. melted butter in the bottom of each pan you’re using (a little more for larger pans) and arrange the rolls. You’ll get about 4 8″ round pans with 6 rolls each.

To bake now: Let rest for 20-30 minutes and then bake at 375F degrees for 13-17 minutes, until golden.

To freeze for later: Cover pans with foil and freeze. Thaw in the refrigerator overnight and then follow the “bake now” directions.


Queso Blanco

Posted on

Every once in a while, I have a meal I’m really excited about that ends up un-bloggable. This queso was part of one I made recently. It was one element of the burritos I was making. I made this ahead and really liked it – so much so that I was worrying all my chip-dipping wasn’t going to leave enough for the meal. I figured I’d photograph it quickly just in case.

And wouldn’t you know, the burritos kind of sucked. But they were drenched in this queso, so decent, but not worth blogging. Or making again. The queso, though? Totally something I’ll make again.

Queso Blanco
(from Center Cut Cook)
Makes about 3 cups

1 lb. white american cheese, shredded or finely chopped
1/2 cup half and half
1/2-1 tablespoon oil
1 jalapeño, seeded and diced
1/4 of a small red onion, diced
1 roma tomato, diced
Black pepper to taste

In a medium saucepan, heat the oil until shimmering and then add the jalapeno and onion and cook until the onion is translucent. Add the cheese and stir until almost completely melted. Stir in half and half until desired consistency is reached (you may use more or less than 1/2 cup, depending on your preference). Season to taste with pepper. Transfer to a serving bowl and top with diced tomato.


Almond Crusted Pork Chops with Mustard Sauce

Posted on

It’s super cliché, but we’re totally on holiday detox around here. I love indulging in all the holiday goodies, but by December 26th I just wanted a big salad. Does that officially make me old?

Either way, I’ve been mixing in some healthier meals during this last week. This has been one of those meals. These pork chops were pretty much everything I want in a dinner lately – quick, easy and super flavorful. Mark walked in the door from work and I handed off the baby for a diaper change. By the time he’d ditched his work clothes, changed the baby and made it back downstairs, I was plating them. Win all around!

Almond Crusted Pork Chops with Mustard Sauce
(from On My Way to Skinny)
Serves 2

2 pork chops, trimmed of fat and pounded to 1/4″ thickness
1/2 cup almond meal
1/2 cup fat free half and half
1/2 tsp. dijon mustard
1 1/2 tsp. almond meal
Salt and pepper to taste
1/2 tsp. oregano
1 1/2 Tbsp. olive oil

In a large skillet, heat the olive oil to shimmering. Season pork chops with salt and pepper and dredge in almond meal. Fry for 4-5 minutes per side, until golden brown. Remove to a plate and cover to keep warm.

In the same skillet, whisk in the half and half, Dijon mustard, almond meal and oregano. Bring a boil, whisking constantly, and cook for 2 more minutes, until slightly thickened. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Serve sauce over pork chops.