February 24, 2012

Food Link Friday: Funky Chicken

Slow Cooker Honey Sesame Chicken
This looks like it has so much flavor and looks so easy, too!

P.F. Chang's Lettuce Wraps
I LOVE P.F. Chang's Lettuce Wraps. Hope these are winners!

Sweet 'n' Sticky Drumsticks
Those dark, crispy patches are calling my name!

Chicken Bacon Ranch Rolls
Love these so I gotta try this combination. Oh my!

Brown Sugar Butter Roasted Chicken
I have a feeling I would consume all of the skin off of this bird by myself!

February 18, 2012

Croque Monsieur Pockets

I found this recipe in my Food Network magazine and have to say that it's the best thing I've eaten in a long time. Croque Monsieur is just fancy French for a ham and cheese sandwich. The flavor of this sandwich is fantastic and I could honestly eat these every day. So yummy. Try it now!

Croque Monsieur Pockets
Makes 4 pockets
1 cup grated cheddar cheese
1 cup deli-sliced ham, chopped {I used Land O'Frost Bistro Favorites Black Forest Ham}
2 tsp. dijon mustard
1/8 tsp. nutmeg {optional}
Pinch of cayenne pepper
11-oz. tube refrigerated French bread dough or pizza dough
1 large egg

1. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. Mix the cheese, ham, mustard, nutmeg and cayenne in a bowl until combined. Squeeze the mixture together with your hands to make it compact.
2. Brush a baking sheet lightly with vegetable oil. On a floured surface, roll out the dough and fill the dinner pockets by following these step-by-step instructions.
4. Place the pockets seam-side down on the prepared baking sheet. Beat the egg and 1 Tbsp. water in a small bowl; brush the pockets with the egg wash.
5. Bake until golden brown, about 15 minutes.

February 17, 2012

Food Link Friday: Breadbasket

Homemade Asiago Cheese Bagels
I honestly could eat an asiago bagel every day of my life and never need anything else. These make me drool!
Cheesy Garlic Breadsticks
Garlic, cheese and bread? Yes, please.
Parmesan Pretzel Bites
I LOVE soft pretzels and these look so simple to eat.
Frieda's Light Wheat Bread
Don't you just want to bite a hunk out of this bread right this minute?
Homemade Baguette

I'm not gonna lie, I'd feel cool if I made this. Chances are it probably won't look like this at all.

February 16, 2012

Sugar Cookies

So I'm always up for trying new sugar cookie recipes because well, they're easily my favorite kind of cookie. I failed to make Halloween or Christmas cookies this past year so I was determined to make some for Valentine's Day. I really liked this recipe and the best part of all was I learned two new baking tricks. Thank you Our Best Bites for teaching me something new!
1. How to properly measure flour to avoid making a a dry cookie. *See below
2. How to easily roll out dough without all the mess. LOVE this tip. *Also see below

Sugar Cookies
1 cup butter at room temperature (put wrapped butter in microwave for 10 seconds to soften if necessary)
1 cup sugar
1 egg (make sure to use a large or extra large egg)
1 1/2 tsp. vanilla or almond extract
3 cups flour, lightly spooned into measuring cups and leveled (don’t scoop it!)
1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt

1. Cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy- about 2 minutes. Add in egg and extract and mix to incorporate.
2. In a separate bowl combine flour, baking powder and salt. A very important note: It’s important to correctly measure your flour or you will end up with dry, crumbly dough. Never, ever use your measuring cup to scoop up the flour. Use a regular sized spoon and spoon the flour into the cup and then level it off with a knife.
3. Slowly add the flour mixture to the butter mixture and mix until completely combined.
4. When your dough is made, immediately roll it between 2 sheets of waxed or parchment paper and then place on a flat surface in the fridge. Chill for about 20-30 minutes and then start cutting out shapes. 
5. Bake at 350 degrees for 8-12 minutes. The baking time really depends on how you like them. If you like them really soft and slightly chewy, about 8-9 minutes does it. If you like them slightly crisp and buttery, then go for 10-12 minutes.
6. Don’t forget to frost and decorate! {Or just eat them plain like I do.}

February 15, 2012

Vegetarian Minestrone Soup

I've never been a huge fan of tomato-based soups, but minestrone is a different story. I love the variety of the ingredients and the simpleness of the soup. The really reason this soup hit the spot though is because I've been fighting off a cold for the past few days. Nothing cures the cold blues like some hot soup. Oh and did I mention the flavor's great?

Vegetarian Minestrone Soup
Adapted from A Bountiful Kitchen
3 Tbsp. olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped (yellow or sweet)
2 cups chopped carrots
1 clove garlic, minced=tsp. minced garlic
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. pepper
2 cups chopped fresh tomatoes
14 oz. can chicken broth
1 cup water
1 cup "ditalini" pasta or other small pasta shape
2 cups chopped zucchini or fresh spinach (optional)*
2 Tbsp. tomato paste
15 oz. can Great Northern beans, drained and rinsed
½ Tbsp. dried basil
additional water, if needed

1. Using a large, heavy stock pot, saute onion and carrots in olive oil on medium heat about 4-5 minutes. Add garlic and continue to cook for another minute.
2. Season with salt and pepper.
3. Add fresh tomatoes, fresh zucchini or spinach, chicken broth and water. Bring to boil. Add pasta and cook for 7-9 minutes until al dente.
4. Stir in tomato paste, beans and basil.  Cook just until combined.
5. If needed, add a little more water to the soup.
6. Serve immediately with freshly grated Parmesan cheese.

*You can add a variety of vegetables to this soup. Adding one to two cups of whatever is in your fridge, such as zucchini, other squash, spinach works well.

Note: I didn't have tomato paste, but I did have a small can of tomato sauce that I used instead. I used 3 Tbsp. of it, but I'm planning on trying tomato paste next time.

February 10, 2012

Food Link Friday: Sweet Tooth et Chocolat

Homemade Snicker Bars
Excuse me while I die a satisfying Snickers death.

Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Cupcakes with Cinnamon Sugared Chip Frosting
That cinnamon sugared chip frosting sounds fantastic!

Cinnamon Cookie Crunch Popcorn

A popcorn that resembles the taste of chocolate-covered cinnamon bears? Yes and yes.
Strawberry and Chocolate Nachos

So decadent and sweet.
Chocolate Chip Lava Cookies
I want this right NOW.

February 8, 2012

Cheddar-Broccoli Soup with Potatoes

So like I've said before, I love broccoli cheddar soup. It's honestly my favorite. This recipe is once again from the Our Best Bites cookbook and I have to admit it beats out what was my "favorite" broccoli cheddar soup recipe. This recipe is much lighter and tastes great. Plus, I got to use my immersion blender for the first time that Jordan got me as a college graduation present last May... so I guess I've been scared of using it or something. Who knows? But now I'm addicted.
Cheddar-Broccoli Soup with Potatoes
Adapted from Our Best Bites
1 1/2 Tbsp. butter
1 tsp. onion powder or flakes
2 tsp. minced garlic
2 (14.5 oz) cans chicken broth
1 large baking potato, peeled and diced into 1/2-inch cubes
2 medium heads broccoli, chopped (about 4 cups florets and stems)
3 oz. cream cheese
2 cups milk
6 Tbsp. flour
2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. pepper
2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
1 Tbsp. dried parsley

1. In a large stockpot, heat the butter over medium-high heat. When hot, add onion and garlic. Saute for 1-2 minutes.
2. Add the chicken broth and potato and bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat and simmer for 10 minutes. Add the broccoli. Continue to simmer with the pot covered for about 5 more minutes or until both the potatoes and broccoli are tender.
3. While the soup is simmering, combine cream cheese, milk and flour in a blender and process until smooth. When potatoes and broccoli are tender, add the milk mixture to pot. Season with salt and pepper.
4. Simmer for about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally until thickened. Remove from heat and stir in cheddar cheese and parsley. If desired, use an immersion blender to blend until desired consistency is reached. You can also pulse it an a blender. {I like to pulse about half of the broccoli and potatoes and leave the rest as chunks.}