Peanut Butter Yogurt Fruit Dip

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My snacking recently has been out of control in the worst way. You don’t even want to know how much chocolate I downed on Valentine’s Day. Seriously. And since I have to fit in a bridesmaid dress in about two months, I’m making more of an effort to curb the junk food and reach for healthier snacks.

This was a healthier snack/dessert that went over really well. It’s just the right amount of sweet without being loaded up with sugar. I really loved this with sliced up bananas!

PeanutButterYogurtFruitDip

Peanut Butter Yogurt Fruit Dip
(from Food, Fun & Life)
Makes about 1 1/2 cups

1 heaping cup plain Greek yogurt
1/2 cup natural, unsweetened peanut butter
2-4 Tbsp. honey, to taste
1/4 tsp. cinnamon
Fruit, for serving

Mix together yogurt and peanut butter. Stir in honey, starting with 2 Tbsp. and adding more until it suits your taste. Stir in cinnamon. Refrigerate until serving.


Buffalo Chicken and Potato Casserole

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It seems that the colder it gets outside, the hotter my cooking gets. We’ve had more hot/spicy dinners in the last few weeks than we’ve had in probably the last six months  combined. Maybe I’m subliminally trying to combat the -2 degree weather with hot sauce?

Casseroles are such a comforting dinner on frigid nights. I roasted the potatoes for this during afternoon nap so come actual dinner prep time I only had to do some minimal assembly and pop it in the oven. It worked like a charm! And, warmed us up nicely.

BuffaloChickenCasserole

Buffalo Chicken and Potato Casserole
(adapted from Life Love Larson)
Serves 3-4

2 large boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into large, bite-sized chunks
3-4 medium potatoes, cut into 1/2-inch cubes 
1/4 cup olive oil
3/4 tsp. salt
1 1/2 tsp. pepper
1 1/2 tsp. paprika
1 Tbsp. garlic powder
3 Tbsp. Frank’s buffalo sauce
1 cup cheddar, shredded
4 slices of bacon, cooked and crumbled
3 green onions, sliced
Ranch dressing, for serving.

Preheat the oven to 500F degrees and line a baking sheet.

In a large bowl, whisk together the olive oil, salt, pepper, paprika, garlic powder and buffalo sauce. Toss the potatoes in the sauce. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the potatoes to the prepared baking sheet, leaving behind as much sauce as possible. Roast, stirring every 10-15 minutes until cooked through and crispy on the outside, about 45 minutes. Remove potatoes and reduce oven temperature to 400F degrees.

Place the cooked potatoes in the bottom of a casserole dish (I used a 9×6″). Toss the chicken with the remaining sauce and place on top of the chicken. Bake until chicken is cooked through, about 20 minutes. Top with cheese, bacon crumbles and green onions and return to oven until the cheese is bubbly.

Serve with ranch dressing.


Kung Pao Chickpeas

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Part of Lenten obligation is to abstain from meat on Fridays – so for the Fridays during Lent, I’ll be sharing some delicious meatless meals. Whether you’re abstaining from meat for Lent or just looking to add some new meatless meal ideas, I hope these posts give you some inspiration. I’m so excited to kick off this year’s Lenten dinner series with this recipe because it’s a real winner!

Chinese takeout is one of my favorite Friday night meals – but unlike pizza, it’s harder to do during Lent. Chickpeas aren’t on the menu at our local place but it turns out they make a pretty fantastic substitute for chicken. This meal was one of those times you don’t miss the meat – it was flavorful and filling. Even the often-skeptical husband was a fan!

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Kung Pao Chickpeas
(adapted slightly from She Knows)
Serves 2-3

2 Tbsp. soy sauce
2 Tbsp. rice wine vinegar
2 Tbsp. lime juice
1 Tbsp. honey
1 Tbsp. coconut oil, melted
1 Tbsp. cornstarch

2 Tbsp. coconut oil
1 14oz. chickpeas, drained and rinsed
1 cup kung pao sauce
2-3 garlic cloves, minced
1 inch knob of fresh ginger, grated
1/2 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes

Steamed rice and steamed broccoli, for serving

In a small bowl, whisk together the first six ingredients. Stir in chickpeas, cover and refrigerate for at least an hour to let marinate.

When ready to cook, heat the remaining 2 Tbsp. coconut oil in a large pan. Drain and discard the marinade and add the chickpeas to the pan, along with the kung pao sauce, garlic, ginger and red pepper flakes. Saute for 6-8 minutes, until the chickpeas begin to brown slightly. Serve with rice and broccoli.


Blueberry Quick Bread

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What's Baking Logo

 

I’m a one-note baker when it comes to quick breads. And that one note is banana bread. I honestly can’t remember the last quick bread I made that wasn’t banana. When Heather picked breads as the theme for this month’s What’s Baking? challenge, I knew it was the perfect excuse to finally try something else.

This bread was awesome – a nice crunch to the crust while being soft and fluffy inside. It’s not too sweet so it could pass for a breakfast bread but it’s just sweet enough to be dessert, too. Also, it makes for some pretty amazing French toast. I’m sure this will be making several repeat appearances during blueberry season!

You can check out the roundup of the breads made by other bloggers at Heather’s blog, Hezzi-D’s Books and Cooks, later this month!

 

BlueberryQuickBread
Blueberry Quick Bread
(slightly adapted from Crunchy Creamy Sweet)
Makes 1 loaf

2 cups flour
1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. salt
1 1/2 cups fresh blueberries
3/4 cup buttermilk
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1/4 c. vegetable oil
1 large egg, slightly beaten
1 cup sugar

Preheat the oven to 350F degrees. Line a 9×5″ loaf pan with parchment and grease the parchment.

In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Mix in blueberries.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the buttermilk, vanilla, oil, egg and sugar until thoroughly combined. Add wet ingredients to dry ingredients and mix until just combined – it’s fine if it’s slightly lumpy.

Pour batter into prepared, lined pan and bake for 40-50 minutes, until golden on the outside and a toothpick inserted comes out clean.


9 More Meatless Dinner Ideas for Lent

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Sharing meatless meals on Fridays during Lent has become my favorite blog series over the years. I love finding new things to try and love hearing that the ideas help others break out of the stereotypical pizza or pasta with tomato sauce rut. And the annual Ash Wednesday post rounding up some of my favorite meatless meals from the previous year has been some of the most popular posts on my blog.

Today is Ash Wednesday so, of course, I’m sharing the annual round-up. And Friday will kick off the Lenten dinner series for this year.

If you’re looking for additional dinner ideas, check out my previous posts: 16 Meatless Dinner Ideas for Lent and 16 More Meatless Dinner Ideas for Lent.

9MoreMeatlessDinners

Bang Bang Cauliflower

Caprese Quiche

Thai Veggie Burgers

Vegetable Minestrone

Crisp Black Bean and Rice Burritos

Sweet Potato, Black Bean and Quinoa Jar Salads

Grilled Pizza

Eggplant Parm Burgers

Black Bean Fajitas


Freezer Meal Ideas

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On Saturday, Eat at Home is hosting a Virtual Freezer Cooking Party on Facebook. So fun! This is a great excuse to try out some new recipes, fill up your freezer and get to chat with other people while you do it. We stocked the freezer before Jake was born and it was so, so helpful that I’ve kept it going. The last few weeks have been busy so we’ve depleting our stash fast. I’m so excited for this excuse to restock!

I haven’t narrowed down exactly what I’ll make for this party, yet, put I did pull together some of my favorite freezer-friendly recipes on the blog for inspiration. If you’re looking for some new or different freezer recipes, this should give you some ideas!

50FreezerFriendlyRecipes

Dump-and-Freeze Crockpot Recipes
For all of these, you can add all the ingredients straight to a gallon freezer bag and pop in the freezer. They can go straight from the bag to the slow cooker!

Drip Beef
French Dip Sandwiches 
Crystal’s Pulled Pork
Asian Style Pulled Pork
Chicken Caesar Sandwiches
Café Rio Chicken Tacos
Chicken Gyros

Freezable Casseroles
Casseroles are just perfect for the freezer. Prep up until the final baking step, then toss in the freezer.

Rattlesnake Pasta
Stuffed Shells 
Baked Ziti with Sausage
Chicken Spaghetti
Pepperoni Pizza Casserole
Homemade Manicotti 
Lazy Lasagna Bake
Taco Stuffed Shells
Pizza Cobbler
Chiles Rellenos Casserole
Enchilada Casserole

Freezable Burritos and Enchiladas
Tex-Mex is my go-to freezer food cuisine. Enchiladas I’ll divide into smaller pans with 2-3 servings. Burritos I’ll wrap individually in foil and then group in a gallon freezer bag. Many of these start with cooked, shredded chicken – it’s easy to throw in the crockpot and cook the night before so you have less to do during your big freezer-cooking day.

Garlic Beef Enchiladas
Bean and Rice Burritos
Roasted Vegetable and Black Bean Burritos 
Spicy Bean and Rice Burritos
BBQ Pork Enchiladas
Buffalo Chicken Enchiladas
Potato Enchiladas
Baked Chicken Mole Enchiladas 
Baked Chicken Burritos
Honey-Lime Chicken Enchiladas

Burger Patties and Sandwiches You Can Make and Freeze
I often freeze extra burger patties so we can enjoy the meal again later. I will prepare the patties, wrap them in freezer paper individually and then place them in sandwich or quart size bags. Buns go into another bag – as will any sliced cheese or other freezable toppings. I’ll group all of these bags into one gallon bag so that the whole sandwich stays together in the freezer.

Hawaiian Hula Pork for Sandwiches
Barbecue Chicken Burgers
Chicken Parm Burgers 
Kickin’ Chicken Burgers
Teriyaki Chicken Burgers
Chicken Caesar Burgers
Jalapeno Popper Burgers
Black Bean Burgers
Greek Turkey Burgers

Freezable Breakfasts
These can all be baked and frozen – reheat for an easy morning meal.

Baked Oatmeal 
Mini Broccoli Bacon Quiches
Peanut Butter Banana Muffins
Strawberry Banana Baked Oatmeal
Apple Cinnamon Raisin Baked Oatmeal
Zucchini Quiche

Easy-Freeze Sweets
Get these baked or prepped and package them by individual servings before freezing for easy treats.

Brownies
Chocolate Caramel Pretzel Bars
Mini Chocolate Thin Mint Cookie Pies
“Fried” Ice Cream
No-Bake Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Granola Bars
Monster Magic Cookie Bars 
Perfect Chocolate Chip Cookies


Chocolate Peanut Butter Magic Cookie Bars

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I know, I know. Another chocolate peanut butter dessert. I think they’re coming close to being their own category on the blog there’s so many of them – but this was too good and too easy not to share.

Magic cookie bars have become a go-to since Jake was born because they’re just so darn easy to throw together. Now that I’ve got the basic recipe memorized, I’ve been playing with all different flavor combos and this one is a particular winner. It’s sort of like an oatmeal chocolate chip cookie. With peanut butter. And none of the cookie-dough scooping. Can you say win? These also freeze great, so they’re a great one to make if you want to make dessert ahead (or force portion control!)

ChocolatePBMagicBars

Chocolate Peanut Butter Magic Cookie Bars
(a Kate’s Recipe box original)
Makes 1 9×13″ pan

1 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs
4 Tbsp. butter, melted
1 can sweetened condensed milk
1/2 cup old fashioned oats
3/4 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
3/4 cup peanut butter chips

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

Mix together the graham cracker crumbs and melted butter. Press into the bottom of the pan. Drizzle the sweetened condensed milk evenly over the crust. Sprinkle on the oats, chocolate chips and peanut butter chips. Pat the toppings down so they sort of stick into the sweetened condensed milk.

Bake for about 30 minutes, until the edges are golden and pulling away from the pan. Let cool completely before removing from the pan and cutting.


Oreo Cupcakes

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Valentine’s Day is all about showing love. We have a very untraditional tradition: a basketball game and a bar for munchies. It started at some point before we were married – a game my husband really wanted to go to just happened to fall on February 14. I thought agreeing to go made me a super-awesome girlfriend, but the truth is I enjoyed it so much we’ve kept it going. Doing something he really enjoys – instead of just the stereotypical girl-pampering – has always felt like a great way to say I love you/I love us. Of course, life got busy and we didn’t end up getting tickets for a game this year.

I still want to do something, though, so I’ve been looking for some other inspiration. And, when I need inspiration I end up baking. Usually something sweet. Like cupcakes. I pink-ed these out so I could call them Valentine’s Day cupcakes but they’re really just “hey, I needed a cupcake in my life today cupcakes”.

I mean, showing love is coming home to freshly baked cupcakes, right?

OreoCupcakes

Oreo Cupcakes
(adapted from Cupcakes From The Cake Mix Doctor)
Makes about 2 dozen

For the cupcakes:
20 Oreos
1 package plain white cake mix
1 cup sour cream
1/2 cup vegetable oil
3 large eggs
1 tsp. vanilla extract

For the icing:
1 cup butter, softened
3 cups powdered sugar
1 tsp. milk
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1/8 tsp. salt
10 Oreos, finely ground
Optional: Food coloring

Preheat the oven to 350F degrees and line a cupcake pan.

Crush Oreos into medium-sized crumbs. Set aside.

Beat together the cake mix, sour cream, oil, eggs and vanilla for 2 minutes, scraping down the side as needed. Fold in crushed Oreos.

Fill the each well of the prepared cupcake pan about 2/3 of the way. Bake for 18-20 minutes, until cupcakes are lightly golden and they spring back when lightly pressed.

Remove cupcakes to a cooling rack and cool completely before frosting.

To make the frosting, beat the butter in a medium bowl until smooth. Add the sugar 1/2 cup at a time, beatining until well blended after each addition. Add in the milk and vanilla and beat for another 3-5 minutes, until very smooth and creamy. Add food coloring as desired and beat until incorporated evenly, scraping down the bowl as needed. Fold in the finely ground Oreos.

Frost cupcakes and enjoy!


Vegetable Minestrone

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You’d think after the soup swap I’d be pretty much soup-ed out, but nope. The weather here is just too perfect for soup and I’ve been craving it like crazy.

This is a copycat of the Olive Garden minestrone – and it’s a good one. Serve along with a loaf of crusty bread and it’s the perfect snow-day lunch.

VegetableMinestrone

Vegetable Minestrone
(adapted from Cooking Classy)
Serves 6

4 cups vegetable stock
1 1/2 cups water
2 cans diced tomatoes
1 cup diced celery
1 cup diced carrots
1 cup diced yellow onion
1 tsp. parsley
2 tsp. basil
1 tsp. oregano
1/2 tsp. thyme
1/2 tsp. rosemary
2 bay leaves
1/2 tsp. sugar
Salt and pepper, to taste
1 1/3 cups diced zucchini
1 1/3 cups small shell pasta
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 can dark red kidney beans
1 can cannellini beans
1 can green beans
2 cups spinach

In a large pot, stir together the vegetable stock, water, tomatoes, celery, carrots, onions, parsley, basil, oregano, thyme, rosemary, bay leaves and sugar. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer, covered, for two hours.

Add zucchini, pasta, garlic, kidney beans and cannellini beans to the pot and stir to combine. Cook until pasta is tender, about 30 minutes. Stir in the green beans and spinach and cook a few minutes, until heated through. Serve warm.


Pork and Apple Hotpot

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Every once and a while I make something that cooks all day and makes the house smell awesome and think, why don’t I do this more often? This is one of those dishes. Pork chops and onions and bacon and apples simmering for hours before dinner? Yes. Please.

I’ve made this several times, and it never disappoints. It’s making it’s first appearance on the blog, though, because it’s one of those meals that’s terrible to photograph. It’s ugly, plain and simple. But it’s delicious and you should make it anyway.

 

Pork and Apple Hotpot
(slightly adapted from Nigella Kitchen)
Serves 4-6

3 Tbsp. olive oil
3 onions, peeled, halved and sliced into half-moons
1/2 lb. bacon, cut into small pieces
1/3 cup whole wheat flour
1 tsp. apple pie spice
Salt and pepper, to taste
6 boneless pork chops
4 Granny smith apples, peeled and thinly sliced
3 cups apple cider

Preheat the oven to 325F degrees. In a large skillet, heat the oil until shimmering. Add the onions and cook until translucent, about ten minutes. Remove to a bowl and set aside. Add the bacon pieces and fry until cooked but not crispy. Remove to the bowl with the onions and mix together.

In another bowl, whisk together the flour, apple pie spice, salt and pepper. Coat each of the pork chops in the flour mixture. Add 3 at a time to the pan and sear. Remove to a plate when finished. Whisk any remaining flour into the pan. Add in the apple cider and bring to a boil, whisking often.

In a dutch oven, layer as follows: bacon and onion on the bottom, 3 pork chops, apple slices, onion and bacon, 3 pork chops, apple slices, onions and bacon, and then the remaining apple slices. Pour the apple cider mixture evenly over everything.

Cover and bake for 3 hours.