September 26, 2014

Food Link Friday: Pumpkin Party

Let me start out by saying that Food Link Friday is nothing new on this blog, just something I stopped doing. (See the Food Link Friday link on the side.) It took a little bit of work and I wasn't sure anyone was looking at the posts so I gave it up.

Then, a couple of years later, some of my Food Link Friday posts are the most popular on the blog.

If you're like me, I love finding new recipes on food blogs so I figured I'd help you out by categorizing and picking some new ones to try.

Pumpkin season is in full swing and I just can't get enough of all of the ways to use a can of pumpkin.

Check these out!
Pumpkin Waffles with Caramel Syrup
I love the idea of incorporating pumpkin into breakfast! And that syrup sounds to die for!

Pumpkin Oat Chocolate Chip Pancakes
Man oh man these are on top of my must-make pumpkin recipes! They look incredible!

Honey Butter Pumpkin Dinner Rolls
I honestly can't even imagine what these would taste like, but they look amazing! I've got to try these!
Baked Pumpkin Cream Cheese French Toast
Pumpkin + Cream Cheese + Baked French Toast = A Breakfast Dream Come True
Pumpkin Cinnamon Pull-Apart Bread with Vanilla Glaze
Doesn't this sound like the best idea ever??
There is just something enticing about pull-apart bread, but to add pumpkin to the mix...genius!
For Love of Food Link: 3 Ingredient Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies

September 24, 2014

Trader Joe's Product Review No. 5 - Some Staples

Man, it's been a long time since I've done a review on some Trader Joe's goods. Over a year to be exact. This picture is from months ago, but I definitely remember how good all of this food was because we've bought it again and again since then.

1. Cinnamon & Sugar Grinder: ****
This fun grinder is inexpensive and fun to use. Since you are grinding cinnamon it has a whole different flavor than the cinnamon spice you're used to using. I put this in my son's oatmeal, on toast, etc. Definitely worth the price!

2. Marinated Artichokes: *****
I am a huge artichoke lover and whether it be in pasta, on pizza, or in dips, it doesn't matter to me. I love these artichokes because they are a good price and super flavorful. A win/win.

3. Roasted Yellow & Red Peppers: ****
I usually only buy Trader Joe's Roasted Red Peppers and the only reason I bought these was because the clerk convinced me they didn't sell the only peppers anymore...It didn't matter though because these still tasted great in my favorite pasta.

4. Roasted Coconut Chips: *****
Oh man you guys! These are bad news. They are so addicting and melt in your mouth! They are buttery, crunchy, pure coconut milk goodness. We buy these almost every time we go to Trader Joe's. A definite must try!

5. Chicken Potstickers: ***
I have grown-up eating potstickers so I was excited to try these because they were a decent price. They're definitely good and make for a great side, but I wasn't totally blown away with the taste. I have definitely had better frozen potstickers.

6. Mandarin Orange Chicken: ****
This chicken is really good! I saw rave reviews about it beforehand so I was excited to try it. The chicken pieces are dark meat so they're totally different than you're average frozen chicken nuggets. The sauce is delicious and when served over rice, this makes an easy, yummy dinner.

7. Soft & Juicy Mango: *****
Oh boy oh boy! These are my favorite and most purchased item at Trader Joe's. We always buy at least 3 bags when we go because we don't make it there very often. They have the best chewy texture, are perfectly sweet and just addicting! (As you can tell by the half eaten bag.) I usually hate dried fruit so this is saying something! You must, must try these!

September 22, 2014

Coconut Crusted Chicken with Apricot-Mustard Sauce

You all might be thinking I've lost my mind after seeing this image and recipe title since I just recently posted an Apricot Chicken recipe. But no fear, this is completely different, except for the apricot part of course. And dare I say better?
We fell in love with this chicken in its glorious sauce at first bite. The coconut crusted chicken was perfectly crispy, but tender on the inside and the sauce. Oh the sauce. So different with mustard mixed in. I just can't say enough. I need to make this again. ASAP.

Coconut Crusted Chicken with Apricot-Mustard Sauce
Source: Seeded at the Table
1 egg
1 cup sweetened coconut flakes

1/2 cup flour

1/2 tsp. garlic powder

1/2 tsp. salt

1/4 tsp. black pepper

4 boneless chicken breasts

1/4 cup unsalted butter, melted
1/4 cup apricot preserves

2 Tbsp. Dijon mustard

1. Preheat the oven to 400˚F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
2. Lightly beat the egg in a medium bowl; set aside. Mix the coconut, flour, garlic powder, salt and pepper in a shallow bowl.
3. Working with one chicken breast at a time, dip the chicken in the bowl with the beaten egg and then coat with the coconut mixture. Place on the baking sheet. Once all chicken breasts are coated and on the baking sheet, evenly drizzle with the melted butter, if desired.
4. Bake for 30 to 40 minutes, flipping once halfway.
5. To prepare the apricot sauce, mix the apricot preserves and the Dijon mustard in a small bowl. Chill in the refrigerator until ready to serve.
6. Serve chicken over rice and drizzle apricot sauce on top of each serving.

September 19, 2014

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Bundt Cake with Chocolate Ganache

This cake...OHHH this cake. If you are only going to make only one pumpkin baked good this fall, THIS needs to be it. I am completely obsessed and am pretty sure I will be making it again.
The cake was ooey, gooey, chocolately, had the perfect pumpkin flavor and was just to die for.

And the chocolate ganache?? Wow. And who knew how easy it was to make ganache? Not this girl.
Doesn't this look so good??

I was actually surprised with how easy this entire cake was to make and I'm not much of a baker. 
Please tell me that you'll make this cake. At least twice.

And MAYBE share it with some friends, which is what I did so now I need my very own.
It's technically the start of the "holiday" season right? So bring on the baked goods!

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Bundt Cake with Chocolate Ganache
Slightly Adapted from Averie Cooks
2 eggs
1 cup canned pumpkin puree
1 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup oil
1/4 cup sour cream (Greek yogurt may be substituted)
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1/4 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. allspice
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp. baking soda
pinch salt
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

Chocolate Ganache
2/3 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
1/4 cup half-and-half
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease and flour a 12-cup Bundt or tube-cake pan; set aside.
2. In a large bowl combine eggs, pumpkin puree, sugar, oil, sour cream, vanilla extract, cinnamon, pumpkin pie spice, allspice and whisk to combine until mixture is smooth and silky.
3. Add the flour, baking soda, salt and stir until just combined (don’t overmix or the gluten will over-develop and cake will be tougher).
4. Fold in the chocolate chips and pour batter into prepared pan, smoothing it lightly with a spatula if necessary and give it a slam on the counter to release any air.
5. Bake for 38 to 42 minutes, or until top has set and is golden or a cake tester, toothpick, or blade of a knife comes out clean (due to the chocolate chips, you may hit some chocolate patches). Allow cake to cool in pan for about 15 minutes before inverting and releasing cake from pan and placing it on a rack to finish cooling. While cake cools, make the ganache.
Chocolate Ganache
1. Place chocolate in a medium microwave-safe bowl and heat on high power for 1 minute to soften chocolate; set aside.
2. In a small microwave-safe bowl or measuring cup, heat the half-and-half on high power just until it begins to bubble and show signs of boiling, about 30 seconds to a minute. 
3. Pour hot half-and-half over chocolate and let stand 1 minute. Whisk vigorously until chocolate has melted and mixture is smooth and velvety. Add vanilla and whisk to combine. Set bowl aside for about 5 minutes, allowing ganache to cool and thicken a bit.
4. Whisk mixture briefly before preparing to drizzle it over the cake. Ganache will set up a bit with time, but remains quite viscous and drippy.

*Cake will keep for up to 5 days in an airtight container at room temperature.

September 17, 2014

Grilled Peaches with Cinnamon Sugar

Man, peach season is coming to an end and I couldn't be more sad about it. I'm trying to eat as many as I possibly can before they are long gone.

Grilling a peach is something I've always wanted to try and wasn't sure if it would be worth it or not.

Turns out, it's worth it.

There are so many toppings you could put on a grilled peach, but we kept it simple. A little butter, cinnamon and sugar.

Before we knew it, Jordan and I had both consumed a peach and a half each in a couple of minutes. They were perfectly juicy, warm and easy to eat. I think it would be amazing topped with ice cream and a streusel of some kind. Just saying.

Grilled Peaches with Cinnamon Sugar
Fresh large peaches with peel, halved and pitted
cinnamon sugar

1. Preheat grill to medium-high heat.
2. Lightly oil the grill grate. Place peaches on the prepared grill, cut side down. Cook for about 5 minutes, or until the flesh is caramelized.
3. Transfer the peaches to a plate and spread butter over tops of the peach flesh. Sprinkle with cinnamon sugar and enjoy!

September 15, 2014

Pasta with Creamy Tomato Sauce

This recipe reminds me a lot of my Roasted Red Pepper Alfredo. And while I love that dish, I don't always have roasted red peppers on hand. In comes this recipe that is loaded with pantry stocked items. This obviously does not have the kick of the red pepper alfredo, but it has plenty of flavor to stand on its own.
I couldn't believe how good this was. The sauce was so simple with only a couple of ingredients, yet so dang tasty.
It really was one of the easiest pastas I've ever made. If you don't believe me, try it for yourself.

Pasta with Creamy Tomato Sauce
Adapted from The Pioneer Woman
3/4 lb. fettuccine
1 Tbsp. oil
1 Tbsp. butter
1/2 medium onion, diced
2 tsp. minced garlic
1 (15 oz.) can tomato sauce
salt and pepper
dash of sugar
1/2 cup half and half
1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
basil, dried or fresh

1. Heat butter and oil over medium heat. Add onions and garlic and sauté for a minute. Pour in tomato sauce and add salt, pepper, and sugar to taste. Stir and cook over low heat for 25 to 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.
2. In the meantime, cook pasta according to package directions. Drain, reserving 1 cup of pasta water.
3. Remove sauce from heat and stir in half and half. Stir in Parmesan. Combine with pasta and thin with pasta water if needed. Top with basil and serve immediately.

September 12, 2014

Stuffed Honey-Ham and Cheese Biscuits

You all know I'm a sucker for ham and cheese by now so what's one more recipe? I love Pillsbury's Flaky Layer biscuits and they are even better with some ham and cheese stuffed inside.
These are perfect for a quick and easy lunch or dinner. Serve them with a veggie on the side and you've got a meal!
Stuffed Honey-Ham and Cheese Biscuits

Source: Pillsbury
1 can (16.3 oz) Pillsbury™ Grands!™ Flaky Layers refrigerated biscuits
8 slices Swiss cheese
8 slices deli cooked ham

1. Heat oven to 350°F. Spray cookie sheet with cooking spray.
2. Separate dough into 8 biscuits. Cut slit on 1 side of 1 biscuit, forming a deep pocket. Place 1 slice of cheese inside pocket. Top cheese with 1 slice of ham and 1 tsp. honey.
Press dough over filling, sealing edge of biscuit; place on cookie sheet. Repeat with remaining biscuits, cheese, ham and honey.
4. Bake 15 minutes or until golden brown. Remove from cookie sheet to serving plate. Serve immediately.

September 10, 2014

Easy Homemade Garlic Bread

I am a garlic bread lover through and through. I seriously cannot get enough of the stuff. What's not to love? Yummy, thick, crisp yet soft bread smothered with some glorious garlic butter? Come on people. And why have I never made my own simple spread before this? Who knows?
If I wanted to gain 30 pounds I would make this at every meal, but alas, I don't. This is so easy to put together and takes no time at all! You've got to try it!

Easy Homemade Garlic Bread
1 fresh loaf French bread, cut in half
1/4 cup salted butter, at room temperature
1 tsp. finely minced garlic
1/2 tsp. garlic powder
1/2 tsp. dried basil
1/2 tsp. dried parsley
 2 Tbsp. grated parmesan cheese
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
2. In a bowl, mix together the butter, garlic, spices and Parmesan until combined.
3. Divide the butter mixture and spread generously onto each bread half.
4. Bake the garlic bread on a baking sheet butter side up for 10 to 15 minutes until the butter mixture melts.
5. Broil for 1 to 2 minutes if desired. Serve warm.

September 8, 2014

Roasted Eggplant Parmesan

I honestly surprise myself with the recipes I end up choosing to use sometimes. This was not only the first time I have ever used eggplant in a recipe, this was the first time I had ever eaten eggplant. And eggplant drowned in tomato sauce??? I don't even know myself anymore!

Eggplant has always been quite mysterious to me, but I figured since I like cooked zucchini I would most likely enjoy eggplant.

It went on sale at my local grocery store a couple of weeks ago and after seeing this recipe the day before I went shopping I decided to buy some. The only issue is once I cut those suckers open I thought for sure they had gone bad.

Turns out, there is a ring of seeds throughout the bottom of the eggplant that are supposed to be there. As long as the eggplant skin doesn't indent when you press on it and it's not mushy, you're good to go. Just thought I'd let any of you eggplant newbies, like myself, in on a couple of secrets.
Anyway, the point is, this was simply delicious and I'm salivating just looking at these pictures. I want more. 

And don't forget to make your dreams come true by serving this alongside some homemade garlic bread (recipe coming) and a green salad.

Roasted Eggplant Parmesan
2 large eggplants (about 3 lbs. total), sliced into ½-inch thick slices
Extra virgin olive oil, for brushing
Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper
15 oz. can tomato sauce
2 cups shredded mozzarella
¾ cup freshly grated Parmesan
Fresh basil, for garnish (optional)

1. Preheat the oven to 375˚ F.
2. Lay the eggplant slices out on baking sheets in a single layer. Brush lightly with olive oil, season with salt and pepper, flip and repeat on the other side of all the slices. Roast, flipping halfway through the baking time, until slightly soft and golden brown, about 35 minutes total. Increase the oven temperature to 400˚ F.
3. Spread half of the tomato sauce into a casserole dish or large sauté pan. Layer half of the eggplant slices evenly in the pan. Sprinkle with half of the grated Parmesan and half of the mozzarella. Spread the other half of tomato sauce over the cheese, add the remaining eggplant slices, and the remaining Parmesan and mozzarella. Bake for about 30-35 minutes or until the cheese is browned and bubbling.
4. Remove from the oven and let cool 15 minutes. Garnish with fresh basil and serve warm.