February 24, 2017

Italian Parmesan Chex Mix

Ever since I made this ranch Chex mix a few months ago, I am obsessed with homemade savory Chex mix. It's so easy and tastes so much better than the bagged stuff!
I made this Italian Parmesan Chex Mix for the super bowl and we loved it! It was so addicting and flavorful. And so easy to make! You could totally mix up the cereal or crackers, but I love this flavor combination. And since we're a no-nut family because of allergies, I nixed the nuts, but they would be a great addition.
This would make a perfect after-school snack, picnic side or a snack on-the-go. But be careful because you won't be able to stop eating it!

Italian Parmesan Chex Mix
Adapted from Carlsbad Cravings
6 cups Chex cereal (corn, rice, or wheat)
2 cups mini pretzels
2 cups oyster crackers
2 cups Cheez-Its

Herb Butter Sauce
5 Tbsp. unsalted butter, melted
1/3 cup olive oil
2 Tbsp. balsamic vinegar
1 Tbsp. Worcestershire sauce
1 tsp. garlic powder
1 tsp. garlic salt
1 tsp. dried basil
1/2 tsp onion powder
1/2 tsp. dried parsley
1/2 tsp. dried oregano
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1/2 cup grated Parmesan

1. Preheat oven to 250 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with foil and lightly spray with nonstick cooking spray Set aside. Add the chex cereal, pretzels and crackers to a large bowl.
2. In a small bowl, whisk together all of the Herb Butter Sauce ingredients then evenly pour over cereal/cracker mix. Toss until mix is evenly coated. Spread mix out into an even layer on the baking sheet.
3. Bake for 1 hour and 15 minutes, stirring every 15 minutes.
4. Remove from oven and sprinkle with 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese. Toss until evenly coated. Let mix cool completely.
5. Store in an airtight container for up to three days then refrigerate if desired. (Parmesan does not have to be refrigerated immediately due to its low moisture content.)

February 18, 2017

Skinny Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies

I am so excited to share these cookies with you today! I have already made them several times because I am hooked! If a dessert is going to be considered "skinny" it better be good, right?? I honestly could not believe how good these are, especially right out of the oven.

And the best part is there is NO sugar other than the chocolate chips, which you could leave out (if you're crazy.) These cookies are so fluffy, but chewy and have the most satisfying flavor.
I also suggest you go buy yourself a 5-lb. container of honey from Costco like I did so you can have them anytime you want. They are that good!

Skinny Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies
Adapted from The Food Charlatan
Yields: 16 cookies
1 cup quick oats
3/4 cup whole wheat or all-purpose flour, spooned and leveled
1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
1 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
scant 1/2 tsp. kosher salt
2 Tbsp. butter, melted and cooled
1 tsp. vanilla
1 large egg
1/2 cup honey
1/2 cup chocolate chips, dark or milk

1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper or a Silpat.
Pull out 2 medium bowls, one for dry ingredients, one for wet.
2. In one bowl, whisk together the oats, flour, baking powder, cinnamon and salt.
3. Melt the butter in the other bowl. You don't have to melt it all the way, if there are a couple lumps it's okay. Let cool slightly.
4. Whisk in the vanilla, then the egg. Whisk in the honey.
5. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and use a wooden spoon to stir until it has just come together (don't overdo it).
6. Fold chocolate chips into the dough.
7. Refrigerate the dough for about 30 minutes or freeze for 15 minutes.
8. Using a cookie scoop, scoop 16 balls of dough onto prepared pans about 2 inches apart.
9. Bake in the preheated oven for about 12-13 minutes or until they have just started to brown on the edges.
10. Let cool on the pan for a few minutes before removing to a cooling rack. 

February 16, 2017

Tortellini Minestrone Soup

I am all about soup season and I absolutely love trying new soups. And while I have a minestrone recipe on my blog, I loved the addition of tortellini in this one.
This soup was so hearty and flavorful. It was healthy, too, which I loved. There's nothing better than being able to throw a bunch of vegetables in a pot and being able to call it dinner.
Also don't forget to sprinkle on some parmesan and serve it with a side of my Foolproof No-Knead Artisan Bread from my last post. You won't be disappointed!

Tortellini Minestrone Soup
Adapted from Gimme Some Oven
Yields: 8 servings
2 Tbsp. olive oil
1 medium white onion, peeled and diced
3 tsp. garlic, minced
2 carrots, peeled and diced
4 cups chicken broth
1/4 cup tomato paste
2 (14.5 oz.) cans diced tomatoes
1 (15 oz.) can great northern beans
2 zucchini, diced
1 tsp. Italian seasoning
2 handfuls fresh spinach
1 (10 oz.) package of refrigerated or frozen cheese tortellini
salt and pepper, to taste

1. Heat oil in a large stockpot over medium-high heat. Add onion and sauté for 3 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add garlic and carrots and continue sautéing for 5 more minutes, stirring occasionally.
2. Add the broth, tomato paste, tomatoes, kidney beans, zucchini and Italian seasoning, and stir until combined. Bring the mixture to a simmer, then reduce heat to medium-low, cover, and simmer for 10 minutes.
3. Stir in the spinach and cheese tortellini and cook according to package instructions until al dente (usually about 5-6 minutes).
4. Salt and pepper according to taste. Serve immediately.

February 14, 2017

Foolproof No-Knead Artisan Bread

This is something that made me so excited and proud that I actually made it, I feel like I need to tell everyone about it. Like I can't believe it actually turned out and it was even more amazing that I envisioned.
I give you this Foolproof No-Knead Artisan Bread that is so simple, you won't believe how incredible the result is.
Granted this recipe does take a lot of TIME, you aren't involved much in the process. You mostly have to remember to throw the dough together the night before you want to make it and you're good to go. Plus it only requires FOUR ingredients. FOUR. Amazing.
The crust was perfectly crisp and the inside, oh man the inside, is fantastic. So soft, fluffy and airy. It's like you're basically eating a cloud. ;)
I'm pretty sure I'm never going to buy another loaf of artisan bread ever again because this one was so much better than any I've ever had. No lie.
And if I haven't convinced you enough already, you can get an enamel-coated dutch oven like the one I have for $40 or less here or here. It will change your life.

Foolproof No-Knead Artisan Bread
Slightly Adapted from Pinch of Yum
Dough Prep Time: 12 1/2 hours (overnight) Baking Time: 40 minutes
3 cups all purpose flour
1 1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. instant yeast
1 1/2 cups room temperature water

PREP
1. In a large mixing bowl, whisk the flour, salt and yeast until combined. Stir in the water until a chunky, thick dough forms. If it needs a little more water, add a few more tablespoons, just enough to get it barely wet throughout. (It won’t be a smooth dough.) Cover the mixing bowl with plastic wrap and let it rest for 12-18 hours at room temperature.
BAKING
2. When you're ready to bake, preheat the oven to 450 degrees F. Stick a 6-quart enamel-coated cast iron dutch oven in the oven for about 30 minutes to heat. At this point, the dough should puffy and almost bubbly. Gently scrape the dough out onto a well-floured surface. Gently shape (not knead) it into a ball with flour on the outside. Set on a piece of parchment paper and cover with plastic while your pan heats up.
3. Remove the plastic from the dough. Lift the dough and parchment together into the pan so the parchment lines the bottom of the hot pan (be careful not to touch the pan since it's very hot). Bake, covered, for 30 minutes. Remove the cover and bake another 10-15 minutes to get the exterior nice and golden brown and crispy.

February 10, 2017

Sprinkle Sugar Cookies

I'm not quite sure there are many things happier than sprinkles. They make everything prettier. They also make a fun addition to cookies.
These sugar cookies not only have sprinkles on the outside, but there are also some mixed in. The perfect amount, too.
Aside from the sprinkles, these are some of the best sugar cookies ever. No rolling pin or cookie cutters required, which makes for one easy treat. They are so soft and fluffy, too!
And if you're feeling extra sweet, be sure to add Hershey's limited edition Cupcake Kisses. They seriously make the best addition to these cookies. You can either add them right after the cookies come out of the oven or wait until they cool a little. We personally loved them melted on.
And there you have it, some delicious sprinkle sugar cookies to brighten up your day.

Sprinkle Sugar Cookies
Adapted from Friday Cake Night
Makes about 16 cookies
1/2 cup butter, softened
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
1 egg
1 1/2 cups flour
1 Tbsp. cornstarch
3/4 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. salt
1/2 cup sprinkles, divided
Hershey’s Cupcake Kisses, optional

1. In a stand mixer with the paddle attachment, combine the butter and sugar until smooth. Add the vanilla and egg.
2. Mix in the flour, cornstarch and baking soda, then add in 1/4 cup of the sprinkles.
3. Place remaining 1/4 cup of sprinkles in a small bowl; set aside.
4. Using a cookie scoop, form the dough into balls and dip one side into the sprinkles. Place the balls of dough on a plate, sprinkle-side up, and cover with plastic wrap. Chill in the fridge for an hour.
5. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Place dough, sprinkle-side up, on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper or a Silpat. Bake cookies for 10 minutes and let stand for 5 minutes before transferring to a cooling rack. 
6. Place a Hershey’s kiss on each cookie, if desired. Store in an airtight container.

February 6, 2017

Roasted Strawberry Muffins

So I love a good muffin. They are one of my favorite baked goods to snack on throughout the day and they're usually fairly healthy, too.

And while these Roasted Strawberry Muffins have fruit in them, they are basically a cupcake. And I'm here to say there is NOTHING wrong with that.
These muffins are dense, moist and perfectly sweet. The roasted strawberries add so much flavor and are perfect for this time of year.
Doesn't that look amazing??
Your family will love you even more if you bake these tasty muffins for a midday snack. Because who doesn't need a sweet little pick-me-up during the week? I know I do.

Roasted Strawberry Muffins
Adapted from Annie’s Eats
1 lb. strawberries, rinsed, hulled and quartered
1 cup sugar, plus a pinch for roasting
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 cup + 2 Tbsp. milk
1/2 cup low-fat greek yogurt or sour cream
2 large eggs
2 tsp. vanilla extract
8 Tbsp. (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted and cooled slightly

1. Preheat the oven to 400˚ F. Line a baking sheet with foil. Spread the berries out on the baking sheet, sprinkle with a pinch of sugar and toss gently to mix. Roast, stirring once or twice, until the berries are tender and have released most of their juices, about 20-22 minutes. Place a colander or strainer over a bowl or liquid measuring cup and strain the berries. 
2. Lower the oven temperature to 350˚F.  Line muffin pans with paper liners. 
3. In a medium bowl, combine the sugar, flours, baking powder and salt. Whisk to blend. In a large mixing bowl, combine the milk, greek yogurt, eggs and vanilla extract. Whisk until smooth. Whisk in the melted butter. Add the dry ingredients to the bowl with the wet ingredients and whisk just until combined and no dry streaks remain. Fold in the strawberries with a spatula.
4. Divide the batter between the prepared muffin liners. Bake, rotating the pans halfway through, until the muffins are set and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, about 18-20 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack and let cool.

February 2, 2017

Fresh Strawberry Lemon Pie

I've found you the perfect Valentine's Day dessert for the whole family and also the perfect dessert to remind you of warmer days...this Fresh Strawberry Lemon Pie.
I seriously fell in love with this pie because it was perfectly sweet, a little tangy and so addicting. My husband and I finished it off in less than 2 days and I didn't feel guilty one bit. ;)
This pie is so easy to throw together and has the best result. I love the bright red for Valentine's Day and think it would make the perfect holiday treat.
Don't miss out on this one! It's a keeper. 

Fresh Strawberry Lemon Pie
Adapted from Let’s Dish Recipes
1 prepared pie crust (I used a Kroger one)
2 lbs. fresh strawberries, stemmed and quartered
1/2 cup water
2/3 cup sugar
3 Tbsp. cornstarch
2 tsp. lemon zest, divided
whipped cream, optional

1. To prepare the glaze, combine 1 1/2 cups of the strawberries and the water in a blender. Blend until smooth.
2. In a medium saucepan, whisk together sugar and cornstarch. Add the strawberry puree and mix well.
3. Cook and stir over medium heat until the mixture is thick and bubbly. Cook and stir for about 2 minutes more. Remove from heat and stir in 1 teaspoon lemon zest. Cool for 10 minutes without stirring.
4. In a large bowl, combine the remaining strawberries and the glaze, tossing gently to coat strawberries. Transfer the strawberry mixture to the prepared pie crust.
5. Chill pie for 1-2 hours, or until set. Before serving, garnish with remaining lemon zest. Top with whipped cream if desired.