May 22, 2015

Cookies 'n Cream Sheet Cake

We finally celebrated both of my boys' April birthdays last weekend, yes a little late, with our family and I am so excited to share this awesome cake with you! This is one of those desserts that is absolutely dangerous to have a whole pan of sitting in your fridge so I suggest sharing it with a large crowd. It is so addicting that you'll find yourself continually cutting off little sections thinking that you're barely making a dent. Soon you'll find you've eaten a fourth of the cake. It is that good!

This recipe has a chocolate sheet cake with chopped Oreos mixed in, a cream cheese frosting and more chopped Oreos on top. Sounds amazing right? And who doesn't love Oreo desserts?? Apparently we're big fans since I made a similar cake for my son's birthday last year. Ha.
My 3-year-old is obsessed with the movie Cars, but mostly Lightning McQueen, so my husband whipped up this road out of pureed Oreos and sixlets. It was simple and my son was so excited to add The King and Chick Hicks to his ridiculous Cars collection. And yes I now know all the names of every car he has.
We added some simple Cars candles on one corner of the cake (for spitting on of course) and covered the rest with chopped Oreos. All of it was amazing, even the Oreo road pieces. So yummy. I wish I still had some in my fridge this minute...

Cookies ’n Cream Sheet Cake
For the Chocolate Sheet Cake:
2 cups granulated sugar
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
1/2 cup buttermilk
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 cup unsalted butter
1/4 cup cocoa powder
1 cup hot water
1 cup chopped Oreo cookies

For the Cream Cheese Frosting:
1 (8 oz.) package cream cheese, at room temperature
1/2 cup butter
4 cups powdered sugar, sifted
1 tsp. vanilla extract

Oreo cookies, chopped-for topping the cake

To make the sheet cake: Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a sheet pan with cooking spray and set aside.
In a large mixing bowl, whisk together sugar, flour, baking soda and salt. In a separate bowl, whisk together eggs, buttermilk, and vanilla extract. Set aside.
In a small sauce pan, melt the butter on medium-low heat. Whisk in the cocoa powder and hot water. Turn up the heat to medium-high and bring the mixture to a boil. Add the melted butter mixture to the dry ingredients and mix until smooth. Stir in the egg mixture and mix until ingredients are combined. Stir in the chopped Oreo cookies.
Pour the batter into the prepared sheet pan and tap on the counter a few times to distribute the cake batter evenly. Bake the cake for 18 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean when inserted in the center.
While the cake is baking, make the cream cheese frosting. In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat the cream cheese, butter, sifted powdered sugar, and vanilla together. Beat with the beater blade until smooth and creamy.

When the cake is completely cool, frost the cake with the cream cheese frosting. Sprinkle the cake with chopped up Oreo cookies. Cut into squares and serve.

May 20, 2015

Creamy BBQ Fruit Salsa Chicken Taquitos

Oh man I don't even know where to begin with these!! I LOVE the recipe I have for taquitos, they've always been a winner, but THESE taquitos?? I think they win. By far.
Such a different flavor and vibe to them, but I love the addition of BBQ sauce. And a sweet salsa. It makes them so much more interesting. They are creamy, flavorful and addicting! 
Top these bad boys off with some sour cream, extra fruit salsa and cilantro and you've got yourself one of your best meals yet! But seriously, they're that good! And did I mention how easy they are to throw together? Yummy taquitos for the win!

Creamy BBQ Fruit Salsa Chicken Taquitos
2 cups shredded cooked chicken (About 1-2 chicken breasts)
1 cup grated cheddar cheese
3 Tbsp. chopped cilantro
7-10 small flour tortillas
kosher salt
cooking spray or olive oil

BBQ Fruit Salsa Sauce
1/2 cup sweet BBQ Sauce
1/4 cup fruit salsa (peach, mango, pineapple, etc. I used Private Selection’s Peach and Mango)
4 oz. cream cheese, softened
1/2 Tbsp. garlic powder
1/2 tsp. onion powder
1/4 tsp. paprika
1/2 tsp. salt
1/8 tsp. pepper

1. Heat oven to 425 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with foil and lightly coat with cooking spray. Set aside.
2. Add BBQ Fruit Salsa Sauce ingredients to a blender and blend until smooth. Place shredded chicken in a medium bowl and pour sauce over chicken, stirring until combined. Mix in cheddar cheese and cilantro.
3. Place 2-3 Tbsp. of chicken mixture on the lower third of a tortilla, keeping it about 1-inch from the edges. Roll up tortillas and place seam down on a baking sheet, not touching one another.
4. Spray lightly with cooking spray, or lightly brush with olive oil and sprinkle lightly with kosher salt.
5. Place pan in oven and bake for 15-20 minutes or until crisp and the ends start to get golden brown. Remove from oven and let cool slightly before serving.

May 15, 2015

Cinnamon Burst Pancakes

I've been waiting to share this recipe with you guys for months now because I never had enough lighting to take a good picture. Ha. Now that we have more light at dinnertime (when I usually make breakfast foods), I get to share this amazing recipe!

I hope everyone has tried Cinnamon Burst bread at least once in their life. Especially from Great Harvest. It's delicious. But these pancakes might be even better!

The pancake batter is incredible on its own, but the drops of pure cinnamon goodness put it over the top! They caramelize like nobody's business and leave you begging for more.
Perfectly golden and delicious!

These pancakes are easy to make, taste fantastic and are the perfect way to spice up a simple breakfast!

Cinnamon Burst Pancakes
Adapted from Oh Sweet Basil
Makes 12-15 Pancakes
Cinnamon Burst Mixture
2 1/2 Tbsp. brown sugar
1/4 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 Tbsp. butter
1/4 tsp. flour
2 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon kosher salt
2 tablespoons sugar
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
2 eggs, whisked slightly
1/4 teaspoon vanilla
2 tablespoons butter, melted
2 cups buttermilk
1 Tbsp. milk

1. In a small bowl, combine the cinnamon, brown sugar, butter and flour. Set aside.
2. In a medium bowl, add flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, cinnamon and sugar. Whisk to combine. In a separate bowl, whisk together the eggs, vanilla, butter, buttermilk and milk. Gently stir the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients until almost combined.
3. Heat a greased griddle to medium heat. Pour a 1/3 cup batter onto griddle for each pancake. Quickly drop several clumps of cinnamon burst mixture using a 1/4 teaspoon all over the tops of each pancake. Allow to cook until bubbles begin to form, flip and finish cooking until lightly golden. Serve immediately.

May 8, 2015

Hawaiian BBQ Pizza

We make pizza all the time at our house, almost every week, and I never get sick of it. I love trying new toppings and flavors out. And who doesn't love pizza, anyway? ;)
I've always wanted to try this flavor combination because Hawaiian-style and BBQ are some of my favorite flavors. It really was incredible.
You could totally switch up some of these toppings as well and add more or less of what you like. There is so much to choose from!
I could go on and on about this pizza flavor combination, but I won't. I'll just tell you to do yourself a favor and make it this week. Your family will love you.

Hawaiian BBQ Pizza
pizza dough (This is my go-to recipe)
1 cup BBQ sauce (use less or more)
1 1/2-2 cups mozzarella cheese
1/4 cup feta cheese
1/2 red onion, sliced
1/2 cup sliced ham
1/4-1/2 cup canned pineapple, drained

1. Preheat oven to 475 degrees F. Make dough and roll out to desired size. Spray pizza pan or baking sheet. Spread dough with the palms of your hands until it fills the pan and so there is a raised edge for the "crust" as pictured above. 
2. Place dough in oven for 3 minutes. (This is to ensure the dough is thoroughly cooked.)
3. Remove and spread BBQ sauce over dough. Sprinkle on mozzarella and feta cheese. Top with red onions, ham and pineapple. Bake for 15 minutes. Garnish with cilantro and serve.

May 6, 2015

Deconstructed Greek Platter

Alright everyone, I think I found my perfect meal. The last meal I would eat on earth if I had the choice. I'm serious here.
I saw this delicious idea on none other than good old Instagram and HAD to try it. I am obsessed with Greek food and could not believe how simple and amazing this dish is.
What's not to love about yummy seasoned grilled chicken, crisp cucumbers, fresh tomatoes, salty feta, flavorful tzatziki and crispy homemade pita chips. Man I'm getting hungry.
This dish honestly takes no time at all to whip up and you will not be disappointed! This meal screams summer and I can't wait to eat it for every meal. ;)

Deconstructed Greek Platter
2 large chicken breasts, butterflied
1-2 Tbsp. olive oil
sprinkle of oregano, thyme, dill, kosher salt, pepper, etc. (About 1/4 tsp. of each)
2 roma tomatoes, chopped
1 large cucumber, chopped
feta cheese, crumbled

1. Combine olive oil and desired spices in medium bowl. Place chicken breasts in oil/spice mixture and stir to coat. Let marinade in fridge for at least 15 minutes.
2. Heat a grill or frying pan over medium heat and cook chicken breasts until they are opaque on one side and flip. Cook the other side until it is no longer pink in the center. Slice or cube chicken and serve alongside tomatoes, cucumber, feta, pita chips and tzatziki sauce.

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.

Quick Tzatziki Sauce
1 1/2 cups plain Greek yogurt
1 tsp. garlic, minced
1-2 tsp. lemon juice
1 tsp. dried dill weed
kosher salt and pepper to taste

1. Combine ingredients in a small bowl and season with salt and pepper, to taste. Store covered in refrigerator up to 3 days.