March 23, 2015

Broccoli and Cheese Sauce for Baked Potatoes

Broccoli and cheese go together like peanut butter and jelly. If that makes any sense?? What I mean by that is I absolutely LOVE anything broccoli and cheese. It's my absolute favorite soup and I've always loved broccoli and cheese sauce served over baked potatoes. Think Wendy's, but WAY better. And not processed.
This is the easiest recipe/idea for a meal or side and you can make the sauce as cheesy as you want depending on how much broccoli you stir in. I had extra broccoli so I made a heartier sauce, but it was still delicious.

Broccoli and Cheese Sauce for Baked Potatoes
Adapted from: Cooking Classy
4 medium Russet potatoes, baked
2 Tbsp. butter, diced into 4 pieces
2 Tbsp. all-purpose flour
1/4 tsp. onion powder
1/8 tsp. garlic powder
1 cup milk
Kosher salt and black pepper
1 cup shredded cheddar
1-2 cups broccoli florets, chopped and steamed (size of florets can vary depending on preference)

1. In a small or medium saucepan melt butter over medium heat. Add onion powder, garlic powder and flour and cook, whisking constantly, 1 minute. While whisking pour in milk, season with salt and pepper to taste and allow mixture to cook, stirring constantly, until boiling and mixture has thickened. Reduce to low heat and stir in cheddar cheese. Stir until cheese has melted, then stir in steamed broccoli. Serve warm over baked potatoes.

March 19, 2015

Iced Lemon Cake Mix Cookies

 I'm back with yet another cake mix cookie recipe because we all know I love cheater dessert recipes. And cake mix cookies are always soft and delicious. They always turn out, too. I swear.
These lemon cake mix cookies would be great on their own, but the addition of white chocolate chips and a tart lemon icing drizzled on top really make them perfect.
I'm someone that likes lemon, but I usually prefer something chocolate or vanilla. But with these cookies, I'm all in! Once you start eating them you literally cannot stop. They are so addicting!
I love how easy they are to whip together, too, without a lot of measuring. Because I'm all about easy baking!
These are a must make for your next get together and would also be a perfect springtime treat for Easter!

Iced Lemon Cake Mix Cookies
Slightly Adapted: Six Sisters' Stuff
1 (15.25 oz) lemon cake mix
½ cup vegetable oil
2 eggs
1 cup white chocolate chips

1 cup powdered sugar
2 Tbsp. lemon juice

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
2. In a large bowl, mix together dry cake mix, vegetable oil and eggs. Fold in white chocolate chips.
3. Using a 1 1/2-inch sized cookie scoop, drop balls of dough onto cookie sheet and bake for 7-10 minutes, until cookies look firm.
4. Remove cookie sheet from oven and let sit 5 minutes before placing on wire rack to cool completely.

5. Mix icing together in a small bowl and drizzle over cooled cookies.

March 17, 2015

Creamy Roasted Cauliflower Carbonara

Cauliflower has always been that one vegetable. The one everyone avoids on the veggie tray. The one everyone thinks is pointless to eat. But cauliflower cooked, better yet roasted? That's a whole other story. It transforms from a crumbly, bland mess to a soft, flavorful side dish.
And carbonara? It's one of my favorite pasta dishes. I don't think I've actually had "authentic" carbonara, which is just eggs and Parmesan, but this recipe is one of my favorites. Why not add some half and half to make it a truly creamy dish?

I really just can't believe how well the cauliflower complemented the carbonara. I also can't why either, but it was delicious just the same. And I want more. And I think you'll love it. Even if you aren't a big cauliflower fan.

I promise.

Creamy Roasted Cauliflower Carbonara
Adapted from How Sweet It is and Our Life in the Kitchen
6 slices thick-cut bacon, cooked and chopped
1 large head cauliflower, chopped
2 Tbsp. olive oil
1 tsp. black pepper, divided
8 oz. fettuccine
1 tsp. minced garlic
2 eggs
3/4 cup half & half
1/2 cup grated Parmesan

1. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. Place the chopped cauliflower on a baking sheet. Toss olive oil with cauliflower and sprinkle with 1/2 tsp. pepper.
2. Roast for 20 to 25 minutes, tossing occasionally, until the cauliflower is charred and golden. While the cauliflower is roasting, boil the water for the fettuccine and cook it according to box directions.
3. Whisk together the garlic, eggs, half & half, cheese and 1/2 tsp. black pepper.
4. As soon as the pasta is done, drain it and add it to back to its pot. Pour the half & half mixture over the top and cook, tossing it all together over low heat. {Make sure the eggs get cooked, but not overcooked. The sauce will be done once it thickens.}

5. Add the bacon, cauliflower and stir together just until it’s mixed. Serve with additional Parmesan on the side and enjoy!

March 13, 2015

Panko Crusted Chicken with Lemon Alfredo Sauce

Ohhhh this chicken! This is my absolute favorite way to prepare a chicken breast and I don't do it often enough! Pounded, butterflied and breaded in a crispy, delicious coating. Oh and then smothered in an amazing lemon alfredo sauce??? Count me in!

This dish was so good and it can be served with so many different sides. We put it over rice, which made it a total comfort dish, but pasta or mashed potatoes would be perfect, too. This is something you're going to want to try right away because it is that good! This will definitely be added to our meal rotation!

Panko Crusted Chicken with Lemon Alfredo Sauce
Adapted from Oh Sweet Basil
2 large chicken breasts
1 1/2 cups panko bread crumbs
1/2 cup parmesan cheese, shredded
zest of 1/2 lemon
1/3 cup flour
1/2 tsp. kosher salt
1/4 tsp. fresh black pepper
1 egg, slightly beaten
olive oil
unsalted butter

1 Tbsp. butter
1/2 tsp. garlic, minced
1 Tbsp. all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cups half-and-half
1/4 tsp. kosher salt
1/8 tsp. pepper
1/4 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
zest of 1 lemon
juice of 1 lemon

1. Place beaten egg in a shallow dish. In another dish combine the flour, salt and pepper. In a third dish combine the panko, zest and Parmesan cheese.
2. Place the chicken between two pieces of plastic wrap or a Ziploc bag and pound to 1/4-inch thick. Remove the breasts and slice them diagonally creating 4 chicken breasts instead of 2. Heat a skillet over medium-low heat and add 1 tablespoon of olive oil and 1 tablespoon of butter.
4. Dredge the chicken in the flour mixture, then egg and lastly the panko. Add two breasts at a time to the skillet and cook 3-4 minutes per side or until golden and cooked through, adding more oil and butter to the pan as needed. Repeat with last 2 chicken breasts.
1. Meanwhile, make the sauce by melting butter in medium pot over low heat. Add garlic; cook, stirring, 30 seconds. Stir in flour. Gradually whisk in half-and-half until smooth.
2. Bring to boil, whisking. Cook, whisking, until beginning to thicken, 2-3 minutes. Stir in Parmesan, salt and pepper. Add the lemon zest and lemon juice. Continue to whisk until everything is well incorporated.

3. Remove from heat and serve over the chicken alongside rice, pasta or mashed potatoes.

March 11, 2015

Roasted Parmesan & Garlic Shrimp

Although I am not usually a seafood fan, I do love shrimp. Probably because they don't taste "fishy" to me. I think I need to move to a coastal city to really enjoy FRESH seafood. Just saying.

Anyway, my mom used to cook shrimp every once and a while and I always thought it took a lot of work. I mean, I guess it can if you have to peel and devein every little shrimp, but the good news is they sell it prepared for you in the meat department!
I was a total newbie when it came to buying shrimp, as I am with most meat, but it was easy to find and purchase.

When I came across this recipe, I knew I had to make it soon and my husband was equally excited. We both fell in love with this recipe and I can't believe how easy it was. And seriously, as a newbie, I had no idea how quickly shrimp cooks! Like ridiculously quick.
These little guys would make a perfect appetizer at a party or a great addition to a meal served with a roasted veggie or pasta.

It's always fun to try new things in the kitchen and I'm glad I can say I've conquered cooking shrimp!

Roasted Parmesan & Garlic Shrimp
Slightly Adapted from: Inspired by Charm
1 lb. medium raw shrimp, peeled and deveined
2 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
1/4 cup grated Parmesan
4 tsp. garlic, minced
1/2 tsp. dried oregano
1/2 tsp. dried basil
1/2 tsp. kosher salt (or to taste)
1/4 tsp. black pepper (or to taste)
Juice of 1/2 lemon
Cocktail sauce (optional)

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Coat a baking sheet with oil or nonstick spray.
2. Place shrimp in a medium bowl and toss with olive oil, parmesan, garlic, oregano and basil until evenly distributed.
3. Place shrimp in a single layer on baking sheet. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

4. Bake for 7-9 minutes until shrimp are just pink, firm and cooked through. When done, sprinkle with lemon juice and serve with cocktail sauce if desired.

March 9, 2015

Strawberry Granola Pancakes

I know, I know. Another pancake recipe. I think I'm losing my mind. But man, once you figure out how amazing pancakes are when you make them from scratch, there's no holding back. And this combination?? Incredible.
I knew that I would love this combo. I've already made strawberry pancakes before, but adding granola? Pure genius.
These are a new favorite and are so easy to make. As are all pancakes really. They would be a perfect way to brighten up breakfast.
And the granola bits hidden inside?? Talk about amazing. They soften right up, no matter how big they are, and add the perfect surprise to every bite. Can you tell how much I love these?

Strawberry Granola Pancakes
Adapted from The Pioneer Woman and AllRecipes
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
3 1/2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. salt
1 Tbsp. white sugar
1 1/4 cups milk
1 egg
3 Tbsp. butter, melted
5 whole strawberries, chopped
1/2 cup granola
extra chopped strawberries for topping
extra granola for topping

1. In a large bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, salt and sugar. Make a well in the center and pour in the milk, egg and melted butter; mix until smooth.
2. Stir in chopped strawberries and granola. (Don’t worry the granola will soften while cooking.)
3. Heat a lightly oiled griddle or frying pan over medium high heat. Pour or scoop the batter onto the griddle, using approximately 1/4 cup for each pancake. Brown on both sides and serve hot.

4. Top with strawberries, granola, yogurt syrup or powdered sugar if desired.

March 5, 2015

Gooey S'mores Bars

Ok, these have been on my "to bake" list for months now. I mean what's not to love? Chocolate and marshmallow creme sandwiched between two layers of a graham cracker cookie crust?? Is this real life?
And this is what happens when you don't wait for them to cool...but there's nothing wrong with that.
I mean look at how simple these are to make. ^^ You whip together a graham cracker cookie dough, spread half on the bottom of an 8x8" pan, layer two XL bars of chocolate on top, spread a whole jar of marshmallow creme over the chocolate and then finish it off with the rest of the dough.
Let's just say that these bad boys maybe should be renamed "Special Occasion Bars" because man are they rich!! But in a good way. The graham cookie crust is salty enough that it balances the chocolate and marshmallow creme. But they're still rich...and worth every bite!
Do yourself a favor and bake these for someone you love and be sure to share with a crowd! But if you can eat an entire pan by yourself, more power to ya!

*I didn't let these cool completely so they are gooier than normal, but still just as delicious!

Gooey S’mores Bars
Slightly Adapted from Cooking Classy
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
*3/4 cup fine graham cracker crumbs (About 7 whole graham crackers)
1/4 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. salt
1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
1/2 cup packed light-brown sugar
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 large egg
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 (4.4 oz.) milk chocolate XL Hershey Bars
1 (7 oz.) jar marshmallow creme

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter and 8 by 8-inch baking dish and line with two sheets of parchment paper, leaving a slight over hang on each side, and butter paper (if you don't care to lift the bars out in one, for easier cutting, you can just butter the baking dish without lining).
2. In a mixing bowl whisk together flour, graham crack crumbs, baking soda and salt until graham cracker crumbs are evenly distributed, set aside.
3. In the bowl of an electric stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, blend together butter, brown sugar and granulated sugar until creamy. Mix in egg and vanilla extract. With mixer set on low speed, slowly add in dry ingredients and mix until combined.
4. Divide dough in half and press one half of the dough into an even layer in the bottom of prepared baking dish. Place chocolate side by side over dough layer. Top chocolate with marshmallow creme, spreading into an even layer.
5. Take about golf ball size pieces of remaining dough and flatten into small rectangles and layer side by side over marshmallow creme (and work to keep any of the creme from showing through).
6. Bake in preheated oven 27-30 minutes until top is lightly golden brown. Cool completely on a wire rack before cutting into squares (use parchment overhang to lift bars from pan before cutting.) Cut just before serving as the filling will begin to run a little. Store in an airtight container. (Cool in fridge if short on time.)

*I crushed the whole graham crackers in my blender and it worked great.

March 3, 2015

Slow Cooker Creamy Chicken Enchilada Soup

If you live in the west, namely northern Utah, you know that this has been a DRY winter. So dry it only snowed for Christmas and hasn't snowed since. Until today that is. And I'm loving it. Feels like Christmas all over again. And it's supposed to get back up to 60 degrees next week so no one better complain about the snow. ;)
Anyway, I thought I'd post a spicy soup recipe to warm you right up. It's creamy, smooth and has a ton of flavor. It's so easy to throw together in a crock pot and forget about it for a few hours. This recipe makes enough to feed a small army so feel free to half it if you have a small family like I do. Be sure to add plenty of cheese and tortilla chips on top for an added crunch!

Slow Cooker Creamy Chicken Enchilada Soup
Adapted from Creme de la Crumb
Servings: 8-10
2 boneless skinless chicken breasts
3 cups chicken broth
1 Tbsp. cumin
2 tsp. garlic powder
2 tsp. onion salt (or sub onion powder and salt)
2 cans black beans, drained and rinsed
1 can creamed corn
1 (30 oz.) can enchilada sauce
1 (14 oz.) can tomato sauce

1/3 cup water or chicken broth + 3 Tbsp. flour
1 cup sour cream
Toppings: Tomatoes, shredded cheese, tortilla chip strips, avocados, cilantro

1. Add chicken, 3 cups broth, cumin, garlic powder, onion salt, black beans, corn, enchilada sauce and tomato sauce to a slow cooker. Cover and cook on high for 3-4 hours or on low 7-8 hours.

2. About 10-15 minutes before serving, shred the chicken with 2 forks (It’s easier to remove chicken and shred on a plate.) Whisk remaining ⅓ cup chicken broth (or water) and flour in a small bowl. Add to slow cooker and stir until thickened. Stir in sour cream and serve warm with additional toppings as desired.

March 2, 2015

Buttermilk Banana Pancakes

Ohhhh man were these pancakes good...A definite new favorite in our house! While I've made several varieties of banana pancakes, these don't even compare.
They are dense, fluffy and have the perfect banana flavor. The cinnamon adds the perfect amount of spice and keeps you coming back for more.
If you either love pancakes or on the fence about them, these are the perfect ones to try! You will not be disappointed!

Buttermilk Banana Pancakes
Slightly Adapted from Two Peas and Their Pod
1 1/2 cups flour
1 Tbsp. light brown sugar
2 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
1 cup buttermilk
1 large egg, slightly beaten
3 Tbsp. butter, melted and cooled
1 Tbsp. honey
1 tsp. vanilla extract
2 ripe bananas, mashed (about 1 cup mashed banana)

1. In a medium bowl, whisk flour, brown sugar, baking powder, salt and cinnamon. Set aside.
2. In a small bowl, combine buttermilk, egg, melted butter, honey, vanilla and mashed bananas.
3. Add the banana mixture to the dry ingredients and stir until just combined. The batter will be lumpy.
4. Heat a griddle or pan to medium low heat. Coat with cooking spray. Drop about a 1/3 cup of batter onto heated skillet. Cook until surface of pancakes have some bubbles and a few have burst, 1 to 2 minutes. Flip carefully with a spatula, and cook until browned on the underside, 1 to 2 minutes more. Continue making pancakes until the batter is gone.
5. Serve pancakes with sliced bananas, butter and maple syrup, if desired.