Cookies and Cream Popsicles

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We had a really lovely Memorial Day Weekend. Mark’s been working long hours the last few weeks and his CFA exam is only a few weeks away so things have been generally crazy around here. Having three days of him home with no real plans was glorious.  We played in the baby pool with Jake, had a picnic with friends, walked over to the town parade – such a perfect, laid-back weekend.

And I spent a lot of time in the kitchen, which is something that’s been hard to do lately. I got to try out a whole bunch of summery recipes I’m super excited to share – but figured that kicking off summer with popsicles was a sweet way to start.

Oreos are a favorite around here so these were a big hit. I got four popsicles out of the recipe but my molds are fairly large so I think you’d get six with most others.

CookiesAndCreamPopsicles

Cookies and Cream Popsicles
(from WonkyWonderful)
Makes 4-6

3/4 cup milk
1/2 frozen whipped topping, thawed
2 Tbsp. sugar
6 Oreos

In a blender, combine the milk, whipped topping an sugar. Add the Oreos and pulse until they are small bits.

Freeze in popsicle molds until solid.

 


Chocolate Chocolate Chip Bundt Cake

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Supporting organizations that deal with hunger issues is near and dear to my heart. To me, there are few things as important as making sure those in your community are fed. We have a local organization here that has a few different anti-hunger programs (among other great programs!) – and my favorite is their holiday meal service. On Thanksgiving, Christmas and Easter they set up a big, free meal for anyone who feels they need it. They usually end up serving around 400 people.

Everything is funded through donations so when I saw that they were looking for people to make some cakes for them to serve on Easter, I jumped on it. Jake and I whipped up this quick-but-delicious bundt cake for their dessert spread. I’ve been too busy to share the recipe before this, but never too busy to help out a good cause!

ChocolateChocolateChipBundt

 

Chocolate Chocolate Chip Bundt Cake
(from The Cake Mix Doctor Returns!)
Makes 1 Bundt Cake

1 package plain chocolate cake mix
1 package chocolate instant pudding mix
4 large eggs
1 cup sour cream
2/3 cup water
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips

Preaheat the oven to 350F and grease a bundt pan.

In a large bowl, beat together the cake mix, pudding mix, eggs, sour cream, water, vegetable oil and vanilla until well combined, about 2 minutes, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed. Fold in the chocolate chips and transfer batter to the prepared pan.

Bake for 55-60 minutes, until it springs back when lightly pressed. Let cool for about 20 minutes before removing from pan. Let cool completely before decorating.


Chili Cornbread Waffles

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I’m sort of terrible at reading magazines. I subscribe to a lot of them and usually just end up flipping through them once. And then every once I find an article I keep coming back to. When I picked up the April issue of Family Fun and saw there was a whole feature on waffles? Instantly obsessed. Waffles are one of my go-to dinners for busy nights and they’re just happy food – which is exactly what we’ve needed around here lately. April was a doozey!

These were really good. A fun take on chili with the flavor without the spoon – like a loaded up cornbread. And they’re one of those meatless meals where you just don’t miss the meat. The leftovers got happily gobbled up the next day for lunch – next time I’ll be doubling the recipe so they last longer!

ChiliCornbreadWaffles

Chili Cornbread Waffles
(from the April 2015 issue of Family Fun Magazine)
Makes 4-5

1 1/4 cups yellow cornmeal
3/4 cup flour
2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. garlic powder
1 tsp. onion powder
1/2 tsp. salt
2 eggs
1 1/2 cups buttermilk
1/4 cup canola oil
2 Tbsp. tomato paste
1 cup kidney beans, rinsed and drained
1 cup grated cheddar cheese, plus additional for serving
1 red bell pepper, diced
1 cup frozen corn
1 jalapeno, seeded and minced
4 scallions, thinly sliced, for serving
2/3 cup sour cream
Half an avocado
Juice of half a lime

In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the cornmeal, flour, baking powder, garlic powder, onion powder and salt. In a separate bowl, stir together the eggs, buttermilk , oil and tomato paste until well combined. Stir the wet ingredients into the dry until well blended. Fold in kidney beans, cheddar, red bell pepper, corn and jalapenos.

Heat a waffle iron on high and spray with non-stick spray. Pour 1/2 cup of the batter into the heated iron and cook until golden brown. Repeat until the batter is all used up.

While the waffles cook, whisk together the sour cream and avocado until smooth.

Serve the warm waffles topped with avocado cream, cheddar and scallions.


Baked Ham and Cheese Sandwiches with Caramelized Onions and Bacon

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I’ve got these filed under “easy enough to throw together with a super fussy baby in tow”. Because that’s totally a file in our house right now. Teething, man.

As simple as these are, they took all day to make. I caramelized the onions during the first (30 minute) nap. Fried up the bacon during the second (20 minute) nap. Assembled and wrapped them in foil while I wore him on my back and then threw them in the fridge until ready to bake. It was just one of those days.

On another note, every time I make caramelized onions I have an oh-goodness-I love-these-so-much moment. I’m thinking I need to start just keeping caramelized onions in the fridge so I can put them on, like, everything.

BakedHamandCheese

Baked Ham and Cheese Sandwiches with Caramelized Onions and Bacon
(slightly adapted from Pinch of Yum)
Serves 3

1 large yellow onion, sliced into thin rings
4 Tbsp. butter, divided
6 slices of bacon
2 tsp. Dijon mustard
1 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
1 package of King’s Hawaiian sub rolls (6 rolls)
1 lb. deli-sliced ham
6 slices Swiss cheese

In a frying pan over medium-low heat, melt 1 Tbsp. of butter and then add onions. Cook, stirring occasionally, until caramelized. When done, transfer to a bowl and wipe out the pan. Cook the bacon in the same pan, removing to a paper-towel lined plate when done.

In a microwave-safe bowl, melt the remaining butter. Whisk in the mustard and Worcestershire.

To assemble the sandwiches, brush some of the mustard mixture on the cut side of each roll. Divide ham between rolls and top with caramelized onions, a slice of bacon and a slice of cheese.

Wrap assembled sandwiches in foil. Bake at 350F degrees for 10 minutes or until warm and melty.


Buffalo Chickpea Burgers

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Since the meatless Friday series is over, how about a meatless Monday post?

I had full intentions of making these as one of our Lenten Friday meals. I must have had the ingredients hanging around for a full two weeks and something else kept coming up. I finally got around to making these last week and they’re sort of amazing.

Meatless burgers are a little hit-or-miss for me. I make a lot more than a share here. For me, it has to feel like a burger to be worth sharing – and boy, this one totally fits the bill. I think it may be the most “meaty” meatless burger I’ve made. And it’s smothered in buffalo sauce so it has that going for it, too.

It’s meals like this that make me think I could actually be a vegetarian.

BuffaloChickpeaBurgers

Buffalo Chickpea Burgers
(slightly adapted from Once Upon a Cutting Board)
Makes 4

1/4 cup uncooked quinoa
1 can of chickpeas, drained and rinsed
1/2 cup old fashioned oats
1/4 cup minced shallot
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/4 cup buffalo sauce, plus additional for serving
1 egg, lightly beaten
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. pepper
1/4 cup breadcrumbs
4 hamburger buns
Blue cheese, for serving

In a medium saucepan, bring 1/2 cup water to a boil. Add quinoa, reduce heat and let simmer for 15 minutes or until all water is absorbed. Fluff with a fork and set aside.

In a food processor, pulse the chickpeas until they resemble crumbs. Transfer to a large bowl. Add oats to the food processor and pulse a few times until they are a finer crumb. Add to the large bowl with the chickpeas. To the bowl, add in the quinoa, shallot, garlic, buffalo sauce, egg, salt, pepper and breadcrumbs. Mix by hand until everything is well incorporated and divide into four equal sections. For each section into a patty.

Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Drizzle with oil and cook patties for 8-10 minutes, turning halfway through. Serve patties on buns, topped with blue cheese an additional buffalo sauce.


Mint Chocolate Chip Krispie Treats

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So, I’ve gotten pretty good at time managing holiday prep with Jake around. I didn’t offer to make anything overly ambitious – a fruit tray, a veggie tray and some cupcakes. I planned out things a few days in advance and figured out how to get everything made with plenty of time to spare. What I didn’t account for? How much two days of Easter parties would mess up the poor kid’s schedule. He’s currently taking his first decent nap all week, which is why I’m finally getting around to a blog post.

I debating not even posting these because I feel like they’re too simple – I just added some mint extract and chocolate chips to the classic recipe. But, I’m appreciating simple things more and more – and for not a lot of time or effort, these make a mighty addicting dessert.

MintChocoleChipKrispieTreats
Mint Chocolate Chip Krispie Treats

(adapted from Kellogg’s)
Makes 1 9×13″ pan

3 Tbsp. butter
1 10 oz. package marshmallows
1/2 tsp. mint extract
Green food coloring
6 cup Rice Krispies
2/3 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

Grease a 9×13″ pan and set aside.

In a large saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat. Add marshmallow and stir until melted. Stir in mint extract and enough food coloring to reach desired color until well combined. Stir in Rice Krispies until well coated. Stir in chocolate chips until evenly distributed.

Press the mixture into the pan evenly and let sit for several hours before slicing and serving.


Guinness Pizza Dough

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I never make it through Lent without doing one pizza Friday so it seems fitting to finish out this year’s Lenten meal series with a pizza. I originally started this series to get away from just ordering a pizza every Friday – it was a bad habit and something we’d do so often it didn’t feel like anything special. Things have really swung the other way – breaking out this Friday pizza was such a treat.

My go-to pizza recipe is on the plain side. It works perfect on the grill or paired with lots of toppings (which we usually load on) but falls a little short for a plain, oven-baked pie. I ran across this recipe when we still had a bottle of Guinness left from St. Patrick’s Day so it was meant to be. The beer adds just the right amount of flavor to this dough to make it perfect for a more plain pie.

GuinnessPizza

Guinness Pizza
(from Baked By Rachel)
Makes 1 12″ pizza

1/2 cup Guinness
1/2 tsp. active dry yeast
1/4 tsp. granulated sugar
1 1/4 cups flour
3/4 tsp. salt
1 Tbsp. olive oil

In a small saucepan, heat the Guinness to 115F degrees. (I used a candy thermometer to keep track.) Stir in the yeast and sugar until dissolved and let stand for five minutes.

In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine the flour and salt. On low, mix in the Guinness, followed by the olive oil. Add additional olive oil or flour as needed to get a dough ball to form.

Transfer the dough to a greased bowl, cover and let rise until doubled, about an hour.

To bake: spread into a 12″ circle, top as desired and bake for 20-25 minutes in a 425F degree oven.


Balsamic Pork Chop Skillet

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You know what I currently have a lot of? Cell phone videos of my kid gagging on green vegetables. Peas and green beans were both an epic fail, so when we got around to trying asparagus with him, I only made a few spears – I knew there would be lots of disgusted faces and spitting it out. To be fair, I don’t know if I’d be a huge fan of plain, steamed asparagus either.

The asparagus in this dish, though, was awesome. My husband said it was his new favorite way to eat it. And a one pot dish = less to clean up, so this was a win all around.

Another win this past week? Getting Jake to eat broccoli without gagging. I mixed it with sweet potatoes and he happily gobbled it up. Why didn’t I think of that before?!

BalsamicPorkSkillet


Balsamic Pork Chop Skillet

(adapted from Cooking Light)
Serves 2

2 boneless pork chops
Salt and pepper, to taste
1/4 cup  olive oil, divided
12 oz. red potatoes, cut into chunks
3 Tbsp. balsamic vinegar
1 tsp. tomato paste
1 1/2 tsp. herbs de Provence
1 small red onion, chopped
8 oz. asparagus spears
2 Tbsp. Gorgonzola cheese, crumbled

Preheat your oven to 425F degrees.

On the stovetop over high heat, heat a heavy, oven-safe skillet. Add 2 Tbsp. of the oil and heat until shimmering. Sprinkle pork with salt and pepper. .Add pork to pan and cook until browned, about 3 minutes per side. Remove to a plate and cover with foil. Reduce heat to medium-high and add the potatoes to pan and cook for 2 minutes, tossing occasionally. Remove pan from heat.

In a small bowl, whisk together the remaining 2 Tbsp. oil, vinegar, tomato paste and 1/2 tsp. pepper. Take 2 tbsp. of this mixture and toss with herbs de Provence, onion, and asparagus in a bowl. Add this mixture to the potatoes and stir to combine.

Bake for 25 minutes, stirring about halfway. Place the pork chops over vegetables and bake until the pork is cooked through, about 15 minutes. Top pork chops with additional balsamic mixture and Gorgonzola cheese before serving.


General Tso’s Cauliflower

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Another Lenten dinner, another vegetarian take on Chinese takeout. I actually liked this a little better than the Kung Pao Chickpeas I shared few weeks ago for one reason – it’s a from scratch sauce. There is nothing that annoys me more than finding a bottled sauce you like only to have the company discontinue or change the recipe a few months later. Falling in love with a from-scratch sauce is easier. It will never desert you.

I’ve tried a few General Tso’s sauces before, but this one comes closest to the Chinese takeout we’re used to. I’ll definitely be trying this again with chicken at some point.

GeneralTsoCauliflower

General Tso’s Cauliflower
(from Bakeaholic Mama)
Serves 3

1 large head of cauliflower, cut into florets
2 tsp. sesame oil
1 egg
1/3 cup corn starch
3 Tbsp. soy sauce
Oil for frying

2 1/2 tsp. minced ginger root
3 cloves of minced garlic
1 1/2 cups vegetable stock
1/3 cup soy sauce
2 Tbsp. cornstarch
2 tsp. garlic chili sauce
1/4 cup brown sugar, loosely packed
1 Tbsp. sesame oil
1 Tbsp. olive oil
White rice, for serving
Green onions, for garnish

In a large bowl, whisk together the 2 tsp. sesame oil, egg, 1/3 cup cornstarch and 3 Tbsp. soy sauce until well combined. Add the cauliflower florets and toss until thoroughly coated. Set aside to marinate for about 20 minutes.

After marinating, heat 2 Tbsp. oil in a large skillet and add cauliflower. Fry cauliflower until evenly browned on all sides. Remove from heat and set aside.

In a separate pan, add the 1 Tbsp. sesame oil and olive oil. Over medium-high heat, sauté the garlic and ginger until fragrant, about a minute. Add in the vegetable stock, 1/3 cup soy sauce, 2 Tbsp. cornstarch, chili garlic sauce and brown sugar. Cook until it comes to a low boil and has thickened.

Add the sauce to the cauliflower and toss to coat evenly. Serve over rice, topped with green onions.


Pecan Streusel Muffins

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I don’t think I’ve mentioned it here, but in January I officially became a stay-at-home Mom. It wasn’t something I was really planning on doing so the last few months have been a bit of a scramble to figure out how I’m going to fill my days now. My best find so far? The local moms club.

We’re hosting some new friends for a playgroup this morning. Tomorrow, we’re meeting up for stroller club. Wednesday is a tiny-person-friendly hike at a local park. Thursday, there is a playground play date. And Friday is mom’s night out – we’re going to take a wine glass painting class. I can’t tell you how much saner I feel when I get out of the house so having all of these things to do is pretty much heaven-sent at this point.

It’s also a new audience to bake for. I made up these quick muffins for one of our meetings and I loved them. I’m planning to make another batch for Easter breakfast!

PecanStruselMuffins

Pecan Streusel Muffins
(from The Cake Mix Doctor Returns!)
Makes about 1 1/2 dozen

 1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
2 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 cup chopped pecans
1 package yellow cake mix
2 Tbsp. flour
1 cup sour cream
1/3 cup vegetable oil
1/4 cup water
3 large eggs
1 tsp. vanilla

In a small bowl, combine the brown sugar, cinnamon and pecans. Set aside.

Preheat the oven to 375F degrees. Line a cupcake pan with papers.

In a large bowl, whisk together the cake mix and flour. Add in the sour cream, oil, water, eggs and vanilla and mix until well combined.

Spoon a heaping tablespoon of batter into each well. Cover with a teaspoon of the streusel. Top with remaining batter. Sprinkle remaining streusel over the tops.

Bake until golden, about 25 minutes. Let cool in the pan for five minutes and then remove to a wire rack to cool for at least 20 minutes before serving.