November 28, 2014

Food Link Friday: Soup For You

Soup season is in full swing and there are so many fun new recipes to try!
Be sure to check these out!
Broccoli Cheese Soup
I've always been a sucker for broccoli cheese soup and this recipe looks like another good one to try!
Chicken Cordon Bleu Soup
This is one of the best ideas I've ever seen! The flavors of chicken cordon bleu in a soup?? Genius!
Copycat Olive Garden Zuppa Toscana
Who doesn't love Olive Garden's Zuppa Toscana?? This copycat looks amazing!
Philly Cheesesteak Stew
I love me a good Philly Cheesesteak so this stew is right up my alley.
Check out all that gooey cheese and that perfect bread bowl!
Slow Cooker Creamy Tomato Basil Tortellini Soup
This flavorful soup has been on my to-make list for weeks now! Hopefully I'll get around to making it soon!

For the Love of Food Link: Creamy White Bean Chili

November 25, 2014

Ham and Cheese Waffles

You all know by now that waffles are my go-to dinner and this is my all-time favorite recipe. But after a while, it's good to change up the pace. When I saw a recipe for these SAVORY waffles that involve my favorite dynamic duo, ham and cheese, I had to make them immediately.

And they did not disappoint.

They are crisp, chewy and have such a rich flavor. Ham and cheese in every bite? Now what's bad about that?
To make them into a meal, simply serve a fried egg over top. You can also serve these as a side of bread, which is genius! (Excuse the slightly massacred fried egg...perfect eggs are not my forte.)

Anyhow, these are a great addition to my waffle recipe collection and I will be making them frequently!

Ham and Cheddar Waffles
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup cornstarch
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. table salt
3/4 cup shredded cheddar cheese
1/2 cup chopped deli ham
1 heaping Tbsp. thinly sliced green onions
1 cup buttermilk**
1/2 Tbsp. yellow mustard
1/3 cup vegetable oil
1 egg

**If you don’t have buttermilk, place 1 tablespoon white vinegar in a measuring cup and fill with milk until it reaches 1 cup. Let sit for a few minutes before using.

1. Whisk together flour, corn starch, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Add cheese, ham, and onions and lightly toss.
2. In a separate bowl whisk buttermilk, mustard, oil and egg. Add wet ingredients to dry and stir until everything is incorporated. Don’t over-mix. If you have time, allow to sit for 20-30 minutes before cooking, the waffles will be a bit fluffier. If you’re in a time crunch, go ahead and cook them.
3. Heat a waffle iron. Ladle batter into machine and cook according to your waffle iron’s instructions until just golden. All waffle irons will vary. 

4. Serve hot and fresh. To reheat, pop in toaster until heated through.

November 17, 2014

Soft and Chewy S'mores Cookies

Now we all know that everyone is obsessed with making s'mores desserts right now. S'mores cakes, s'mores pies, s'mores muddy buddies, s'mores ice cream, etc. You get the picture. While these are all very enticing to me, the one s'mores dessert that always sounds amazing are s'mores cookies.
I have seen recipe after recipe floating around the internet, but none of them ever enticed me as much as these bad boys did. And for good reason.
Not only did Averie from Averie Cooks find a way to incorporate actual graham crackers and chocolate into these s'mores cookies, she also found a way to make it so the cookies didn't turn into one globby marshmallow mess by using Mallow Bits. Genius!
I do have to warn you that these are as amazing as they look and you will not be able to control yourself from not only eating the raw dough (which I try not to do), but also eating 10 cookies in one sitting. They are THAT good! Totally reminiscent of an actual s'more with the gooey chocolate, marshmallow and added graham cracker crunch. These are dangerous people. DANGER-OUS! My husband came home, ate 4 without thinking about it, and then "hid" them on the top of of our cabinets. Ha!
So don't say I didn't warn you or recommend that you plan on sharing these with someone or you will quite possibly make yourself sick...and incredibly happy. ;)

*The dough does need to be chilled for at least 2 hours so be sure to plan ahead. I chilled mine overnight and they worked out great.

Soft and Chewy S’mores Cookies
Slightly Adapted from Averie Cooks
Yields: 25-35 cookies
3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
3/4 cup light brown sugar, packed
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 large egg
2 tsp. vanilla extract
1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
2 tsp. cornstarch
1 tsp. baking soda
pinch salt, optional and to taste
1 cup coarsely chopped graham crackers, about 4 full-size cracker sheets
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 1/4 cups Mallow Bits (Found next to the hot chocolate)

1. In a stand mixer, combine butter, sugars, egg, vanilla, and beat on medium-high speed until well-creamed, light and fluffy, about 5 minutes (or use a hand mixer and beat for at least 7 minutes).
2. Stop, scrape down the sides of the bowl, and add the flour, cornstarch, baking soda, optional salt, and mix until just combined, about 1 minute.
3. Add the graham crackers, chocolate chips, marshmallows and beat momentarily to incorporate, less than 1 minute, or fold in by hand.
4. Using a medium 2-inch cookie scoop, form heaping two tablespoon mounds. Place mounds on a large plate, flatten mounds slightly with your palm, cover with plasticwrap and refrigerate for at least 2 hours, or up to 5 days, before baking. Warm dough will make cookies flat and thin.
5. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F, line a baking sheet with a Silpat or spray with cooking spray. Allow mounds to sit at room temperature for 10 minutes and then place 12 mounds at a time on prepared baking sheet.
6. Bake for 8-10 minutes, or until edges have set and tops are just beginning to set, even if slightly undercooked, pale and glossy in the center. Allow cookies to cool on the baking sheet for about 5 minutes before removing and transferring to a rack to finish cooling.

*Store cookies airtight at room temperature for up to 1 week, or in the freezer for up to 3 months.

November 14, 2014

Food Link Friday: Thanksgiving Menu

I thought it would be a fun idea to link up a some tasty recipes for a quick Thanksgiving Menu.
Hope it helps with your meal planning!
Spinach and Artichoke Stuffed Mushrooms
Need a fun appetizer? These look and sound incredible! A definite must-try!
Green Bean Casserole Cups
I am loving this twist on such a classic Thanksgiving side. Who's with me?!
Loaded Sweet Potato Casserole
This may not be the healthiest way to eat sweet potatoes but it might be the best way!
Slow Cooker Turkey with No-Fuss Gravy
I love the idea of this no-fuss bird and gravy. Doesn't that turkey look mouth-watering?
The Great Pumpkin Pie Recipe
And let's end with some classic pumpkin pie. Isn't it beautiful?? Sally is a baking guru so I would love to try this recipe out!

For the Love of Food Link: Sweet and Spicy Cranberry Cream Cheese Dip

November 12, 2014

Crunchy Taco Hamburger Rice

I made this months ago and am barely getting around to posting the recipe, but it's a good one. This is one of those easy to throw together, tastes great and crowd-pleasing type of recipes. With only a few ingredients and short directions, you're sure to love it!
This dish is not only total comfort food, but you can switch up the flavor with all sorts of toppings. And you know how much I love toppings!

Crunchy Taco Hamburger Rice
1 lb. lean ground beef
1/2 small onion chopped
1 recipe *homemade taco seasoning or 1 taco seasoning packet
1/2 cup salsa
1-3/4 cup chicken broth
1 cup long grain white rice
1 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese
Toppings: crushed tortilla chips, salsa, sliced avocado, sour cream

*Homemade Taco Seasoning
2-1/2 tsp. chili powder
3/4 tsp. cumin
1/4 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. paprika
1/4 tsp. pepper
1/8 tsp. garlic powder
1/8 tsp. onion powder
1/8 tsp. red pepper flakes
1/8 tsp. oregano

1. Brown ground beef with onion in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Drain, then return to the skillet. Add taco seasoning, salsa, and chicken broth, then bring to a boil.

2. Add rice, then place a lid on top and reduce heat to medium-low. Simmer for 15-20 minutes or until rice is tender then remove from heat and stir in cheddar cheese until melted. Place lid back on the skillet then let sit for 5 minutes before serving with toppings.

November 10, 2014

Everything Hummus and Homemade Toasted Pita Chips

I don't have them very often, but I do love "Everything" bagels. You know, the bagels loaded with onion flakes, sesame seeds, poppy seeds, garlic, etc. So much flavor going on with one bagel. I will always remember grabbing an everything bagel smeared with cream cheese at the Old Post Office Pavilion in Washington, D.C. with my friends. What an incredible view of the city from the top of the tower!
This hummus has all the flavor of an everything bagel spread throughout a yummy white bean base. I was a little skeptical with the first bite, but then I was addicted.
And how easy is it to make your own pita chips! I love the texture of baked pita chips and the possibility of seasoning them however you would like.
This really does make the perfect afternoon snack! 

Everything Hummus
Adapted from How Sweet It Is
3 cups cooked cannellini/great northern beans (or 2 cans, drained and rinsed)
6 Tbsp. olive oil + more for drizzling
2 Tbsp. sesame oil
2 tsp. garlic, minced
1/4 tsp. salt

Everything Seasoning
1 Tbsp. dried minced onion
1 Tbsp. toasted sesame seeds
1/2 Tbsp. poppy seeds
1/2 Tbsp. dried minced garlic
1/2 tsp. kosher salt
1/8 tsp. black pepper

1. In a small bowl, combine dried onion, sesame seeds, poppy seeds, garlic, sea salt and black pepper. Toss to mix and set aside. 
2. Add beans and roasted garlic to a food processor and pulse and blend until combined the beans begin to puree, about 2-3 minutes. With the processor still going, stream in olive oil and sesame oil, blending continuously for a few minutes (and scraping down the sides if needed) until as smooth as desired. Add salt and taste, adding more if desired but remember - all of the seasoning will go on top.

3. Add hummus to a bowl and mix in half of the everything seasoning. Drizzle with extra olive oil. Pour the rest of the seasoning overtop and serve immediately.

Homemade Toasted Pita Chips
Source: Ina Garten
1 package pita bread
olive oil
kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
2. Cut each pita bread in quarters and each quarter in half to make 8 triangles. Place them in a single layer on a sheet pan and sprinkle lightly with olive oil, salt and pepper.
3. Bake for about 10 minutes, until crisp, turning once.

November 5, 2014

Savory Black Bean Soup with Cilantro-Lime Rice

Now while this may seem like a pretty simple and possibly flavorless soup, it is quite the opposite. And although Jordan refers to this as a poor man's soup (since it is only beans and rice) he does love the flavor. As do I.
For some reason, that I cannot pinpoint, this soup is comfort in a bowl. It has perfect texture, spice and the cilantro-lime rice is incredible. The rice is so good that I could easily eat a bowl full of it.
The best part is you can dress this soup up however you'd like with all sorts of toppings. My personal favorites are sour cream, cheddar cheese and crushed tortilla chips. Oh and another squeeze of fresh lime juice. Yum!

Savory Black Bean Soup with Cilantro-Lime Rice
Slightly Adapted from Iowa Girl Eats
Serves 4
1 Tbsp. olive oil
1/2 small onion, minced
2 tsp. garlic, minced
salt and pepper
2 tsp. chili powder
1/4 tsp. cumin
2 cans seasoned black beans, drained but not rinsed
1-1/2 cups water
1 1/2 cups chicken broth
4-5 dashes green Tabasco sauce (optional)
Toppers: sliced avocado, salsa, sour cream, cheese, cilantro, crushed tortilla chips, lime juice

For the Cilantro-Lime Rice:
1 cup long grain white rice
2 cups water
1 Tbsp. canola or vegetable oil
1/2 tsp. salt
juice of 1/2 lime
3 Tbsp. chopped cilantro

1. Heat oil in a large soup pot over medium heat. Add onion, season with salt and pepper, then saute until soft, about 10 minutes. Add garlic and saute for 30 more seconds, stirring constantly. Add chili powder and cumin then saute for 30 more seconds.
2. Add drained beans, water, and chicken broth, bring soup to a boil, then lower heat slightly and simmer for 15 minutes. Scoop 2 ladle-fulls of soup into a blender or food processor then blend until almost smooth. Alternatively use a hand-held immersion blender to process 1/3 of the beans in the soup pot. Add blended soup back into the pot then add hot sauce and stir to combine.
For the Chipotle-Lime Rice: While soup is simmering, bring water, oil, and salt to a boil in a saucepan. Add rice, place a lid on top, then turn heat down to medium-low and simmer until rice is tender, about 15 minutes. (You could also use a rice cooker.) Stir to fluff then add lime juice and chopped cilantro.

To serve, scoop cooked rice into bottom of bowls then top with hot soup. Top with sliced avocado, salsa, sour cream, cheese etc.

November 1, 2014

Chex Caramel Chocolate Drizzles

Now I know we all love a good Chex Mix, or any kind of "Muddy Buddy" you can find. There's nothing better than an addicting, crunchy, sweet treat to snack on, am I right?
I have seen plenty of different varieties of Chex Mix, but since we can't have nuts in our house it limits it just a little bit.
So a couple of weeks ago I decided to look on the backside of a good old Chex box and found this recipe. No nuts, only a few ingredients I already had in the pantry and some free time was all I needed.
These Chex drizzles are sweet, crunchy, salty and completely addicting. As in, make sure you share or you will eat the entire batch in 30 minutes or less.

All the recipe takes is a bit of microwaving and you have yourself a delicious treat in a matter of minutes.
While I used semisweet chocolate chips like the recipe called for, I think these would be even better with milk chocolate chips. The semisweet were a little too bitter for me in this recipe.

But either way, I still finished off the batch with no problem!

Chex Caramel Chocolate Drizzles
Source: Chex
6 cups corn or rice Chex cereal
1/2 bag (14-oz size) caramels (about 25)
2 Tbsp. butter
2 Tbsp. milk
1/4 cup semisweet or milk chocolate chips

1. Pour cereal into a large microwavable bowl.
2. In medium microwavable bowl, microwave caramels, butter and milk uncovered on High 2 to 3 minutes, stirring after each minute, until caramels are melted and mixture is smooth. Pour over cereals; gently stir until evenly coated.
3. Microwave on High 3 to 4 minutes, stirring after each minute, until just beginning to brown. Spread on waxed paper to cool.
4. In small microwavable bowl, microwave chocolate chips uncovered on High about 1 minute or until chocolate can be stirred smooth. Drizzle over snack. Refrigerate until set. Store in airtight container.

*For easy drizzling, spoon the melted chocolate into a small food-storage plastic bag. Snip off one tiny bottom corner and squeeze the chocolate over the cereal mixture.