Thursday, October 31, 2013

Happy Halloween

Happy Halloween!!!

Wishing you a day of tricks, treats and fun!

and a few scary movies!


Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Spooky S'Mores Brownies

One more day till Halloween! 

I have seen these babies floating around Pinterest for a few weeks and decided that I needed to give them a try. This is the recipe from Home is Where The Boat Is I found on Pinterest and this is the brownie recipe I used from Kitchen Concoctions.  I was drawn to the brownie recipe because of the tagline of one bowl.  Busy week night and one bowl brownies? Score!  The brownie recipe was absolutely delicious and I can't wait to make it again- Peeps or not.  My picture is not great and does not do justice to how use these guys are.  I loved the idea of using Peeps for a holiday feel to traditional s'mores flavors. Think this would also be fun to try with the different Peep marshmallows released around Christmas! 


Ingredients

1 1/2 cup crushed graham crackers
1 stick unsalted butter, melted
1 tsp sugar
1/4 tsp salt
¾ cup sugar 
½ cup all-purpose flour 
1/3 cup cocoa powder 
¼ teaspoon baking powder 
¼ teaspoon salt 
1/3 cup plus 1 tablespoon vegetable oil 
1 teaspoon vanilla 
2 eggs 
2/3 cup mini chocolate chips (reserve 18 to use for the eyes)
1 package of Ghost Peeps (you could use pumpkin or cat too)


Instructions

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

In a large bag, crush graham crackers to equal 1 1/2 cups. Add butter, sugar and salt. Mix with hands until evenly incorporated. Press graham crackers into the bottom of a greased 8x8 baking dish.  Bake crust for 5 minutes. Remove from oven and reduce heat to 350 degrees. 

While the crust is cooling prepare the brownies batter.  Add flour, coca powder, baking powder, salt, oil vanilla and eggs into a large bowl of stand mixer. Mix until all ingredients are well combined. 

Spread brownie batter over cooled crust. Bake 20 minutes.  Top with chocolate chips and bake an additional 2-3 minutes. 

Remove from the oven and arrange Peeps on top.  Broil briefly to brown the marshmallow.  Remove from oven and place remaining chocolate chips on the Peeps to make eyes. 

Allow brownies to cool. Slice and enjoy with a glass of cold milk. 

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Jack-O-Pizza

Since it is getting close to Halloween we like to celebrate with a few different Halloween inspired dishes at our house. Since Ron and I are both pizza lovers, I thought a pumpkin shaped pizza was perfect to start off our week. I used a pizza dough from our local bakery, but you could easily prepare your own. We opted for pepperoni and sausage with a few green peppers and black olives to garnish, but you could use anything that tickles your fancy. I used a sauce recipe I found on AllRecipes.com and it was great! I only slightly modified it by decreasing the amount of honey and adding a little extra hot pepper flakes. 

Anyone have any spooky food plans in store for Halloween? 


Ingredients

Pizza Dough of Choice (enough to make a 14 inch pizza)
1 cup pepperoni (we used turkey)
1/4 lb Italian sausage (I bought 1 lb and froze the rest)
A few slices of green bell pepper
1/4 cup sliced black olives
2 cup grated mozzarella cheese


Instructions

Remove pizza dough from the fridge and allow it to rise 45 min- 1 hour.

Pre-heat over to 400 degrees.   On a pizza pan (I *very* lightly sprayed mine with cooking spray) stretch and roll pizza into an oval and shape into a pumpkin.  To keep the stem in place give the dough a slight twist. 

For a crispy crust, bake crust for 6 minutes and remove from oven (if you prefer softer skip this step). 

Spread sauce evenly over the pizza. Evenly spread one layer of pepperoni over the sauce (reserve some for on top of the cheese). 

Top pizza with cheese. Pinch sausage around the sides of the pizza and fill with pepperoni. Use green peppers for vines and black olives for eyes, nose and mouth. 

Bake till crust is golden and cheese is melted.  Allow pizza to cool a bit before cutting. 

Monday, October 28, 2013

Beer and Bacon Carbonara

October 27th is American Beer Day and, in honor of this holiday (yes, holiday!), I am so pleased to guest post for Coleen, The Redheaded Baker (this was previous posted on her site on 10/25). I was very excited to have an opportunity to develop a beer recipe because it is honestly one of my favorite things. My regular readers know that I am a Wisconsin girl....more specifically from Green Bay and we love our beer.  I have made many dishes with beer from tacos to bruschetta to mac & cheese. Beer bring a great flavor to a dish and can change a flavor profile dramatically (in a good way).   One of the things Coleen asked us to focus on is an American Beer and I decided on my all-time favorite, Spotted Cow. Spotted Cow is brewed by the New Glarus Brewing Company in New Glarus, Wisconsin. It a a fantastic ale that is probably one of the most popular local beers in the area. The brewery describes Spotted Cow as a "farmhouse ale" with a hint of corn. 

It was easy to pick the beer I wanted to use, but developing a recipe was both fun and challenging! I ultimately decided on a carbonara.  Most carbonara recipes use white wine and when paired with egg and cheese the results are rich, creamy and a slight tang from the wine. I decided that Spotted Cow would work just as well and even give a slight bittersweet flavor to the dish. I also decided to thrown in a bit of Wisconsin sharp cheddar in place of a traditional Parmesan. 

My husband and I absolutely adored this pasta. The smoky and salty flavors from the bacon worked wonderfully with the slight bittersweet (thanks to those corn flavors!) beer flavor and the cheddar cheese gave a lovely rich tang to the pasta. 

Thank you to Coleen for inviting me to her spot and supporting the delicious flavors of American beer.
Support your local brewers and enjoy a frosty cold one!


Ingredients

1 lb bacon, cut into 1/2 inch pieces
1 small white onion, diced
1 cup light ale or pilsner (I use Spotted Cow)
3 egg yolks
1/2 cup cream
1/2 cup grated cheddar
2 Tbl grated Parmesan cheese
1/4 tsp black pepper
1 lb spaghetti


Instructions

In a large rimmed skillet cook bacon till crisp over medium heat. Transfer bacon from skillet to a towel lined plate. Drain all but 2-3 Tbl of bacon grease and add onion. Allow onion to cook till tender. Add beer and slowly simmer to reduce for about 10-12 minutes. 

While the onion and beer are cooking cook pasta according to package instructions.  Drain and set aside. In a medium bowl whisk together eggs, cream, cheddar, Parmesan and pepper. Set aside. 

Add onion and beer mixture to the hot pasta. Toss to coat. Mix the egg and cheese mixture into the pasta and toss to allow the sauce to thicken. Gently stir in the bacon. 

Devour. 

Weekly Meal Plan 10/28 - 11/3

It is almost Halloween!!

Halloween is my favorite holiday and I love going all out for the holiday. We carved our pumpkins before the Packer game (Woooohooooo- go Pack!) and they turned out awesome. I have our niece and nephew's treat bags all set for Thursday and our house is decorated for the occasion....fake blood on the windows and all!  The only thing missing is some fun cooking and baking this week.

This past weekend Ron and I went out with my sister and brother in-law for a little adult Halloween fun. Ron was a Scottish man with a surprise under the kilt (men) and I was a pirate. We had such a blast and am already plotting my costume for next year after seeing so many cool ones this year. 

I am really excited to bring Kellen Trick-or-Treating this year! I can only imagine that as time goes on this holiday will get more and more exciting! 


Monday:  Pumpkin Pizza w/ Exquisite Pizza Sauce
Tuesday: Gingerbread Spiced Meatballs with Onion Ale Gravy, Mashed Potatoes and Candy Corn Parfaits
Wednesday: Out for Volleyball
Thursday: Happy Halloween! Jack O'Lantern Stuffed Peppers, Mummy Dogs and Salad
Friday: Recipe Swap, Bacon and Eggs
Saturday:  Sriracha Mac and Cheese, Grilled Chicken Sausage and Salad
Sunday: Roasted Chicken, Mashed Potatoes, Gravy, Greek Yogurt Creamed Spinach and Corn

Treats: Jack Skeleton Cupcakes, Pumpkin Patch Brownies and Ghostly Hot Chocolate

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Pan -Seared Salmon with Creamy Sriracha Sauce

When I was pregnant with Kellen you could not get me near any type of fish. It was so out of the norm for me because I usually love fresh fish and seafood.  After having Kellen it actually took me awhile to get my taste for fish back again. Now, thankfully, my love of fish (esp. salmon) has come full circle.  Unfortunately, Ron is not a big fan of salmon and I am always trying to find a recipe be will like so I can fix it more often.  I saw a recipe for Sriracha salmon on my cooking board from  Katie's blog So Tasty, So Yummy.  Ron absolutely loves Sriracha and I knew I needed to give this a try. I kept the recipe pretty much the same except with a small increase of soy sauce. My sauce was a little thinner than Katie's, bit I attribute that to a pretty large and juice lime.  I absolutely loved this dish. The sauce is absolutely delicious with the salmon and the pan-sear give a wonderful crust. The other fantastic thing was that Ron actually liked it! I think the sauce was his favorite part, but I will take what I can get.  Thanks for a great recipe Katie! 

In other news, I realize I forgot to post my meal plan! I really didn't have anything exciting this week so I will have to make up for it with Halloween and pumpkin goodies next week!  This past weekend we went to the Zoo Boo and Kellen got to wear this Halloween costume. He is a pony and it is sooo adorable.  This week on AMC there has been a Halloween movie marathon on each night much to my delight and Ron's annoyance (I love scary movies and he does not), but thankfully he lets me control the t.v.  This weekend we are going to carve pumpkins and go out with my sister and brother in-law for a little adult fun!


Ingredients

1/2 cup mayonnaise
2 tablespoons Sriracha 
juice from half a lime
1 teaspoon low sodium soy sauce

1-11/2 lb salmon, portioned into 4 filets
2 tablespoons olive oil
salt and pepper


Instructions

In a small bowl, whisk together the mayonnaise, Sriracha, lime juice and soy sauce. 
Refrigerate until ready to serve.

Rub the salmon with olive oil and  season with salt and pepper. Heat a skillet over medium high heat, add the salmon to the pan skin side down and sauté for 3 to 5 minutes. Flip the salmon over and sauté for and additional 3 to 5 minutes. 

Plate the salmon and spoon the Sriracha sauce over the top.

Monday, October 21, 2013

Weekly Meal Plan 10/21 - 10/27

I forgot to post this earlier this week! 

Here is what is on tap this week: 

Monday:  Chicken Enchiladas, Rice and Black Beans
Tuesday: Southwest Corn, Chorizo and Potato Chowder
Wednesday: Out for Volleyball
Thursday: Chili from the Freezer
Friday: Greek Skillet Lasagna and Salad
Saturday: Out for Thai
Sunday: Meatballs with Gingerbread Spiced Gravy, Mashed Potatoes and Green Beans

Friday, October 18, 2013

Recipe Swap: French Dip Sandwiches

Time for October Recipe Swap!


The theme for this month was lunch and I submitted my recipe for Southwest BLT Sandwiches. This month I received Alison of Sparks from the Kitchen's recipe for a French Dip Sandwich.   I love french dip sandwiches, but have never made them at home. I loved the idea of the toasted bun with the cheese, but Ron is not a fan of Swiss so I opted to use Havarti in place.  The original recipe also used Mrs. Dash and I did not have this, but used oregano and garlic in it's place. Ron and I both thought these sandwiches were delicious!  The au jus was delicious and the beef was so good with the onions and melted cheese. I served this with a toss salad and potatoes wedges for dinner, but the leftover were fantastic for lunch!

Thank you Alison for one delicious sandwich!

Big thanks to Sarah of A Taste of Home Cooking for putting together our swaps! 


Ingredients

1 large other sweet onion, cut in half and sliced to 1/4 inch slices
11/2 tsp olive oil
1 clove garlic, minced
1 tsp oregano
2 1/2 cups beef stock, divided
1 lb thin sliced roast beef from the deli counter
4 kaiser rolls, cut in half horizontally
8 slices Havarti cheese


Ingredients

Heat oil in a medium non-stick skillet over med heat and add the onion. Stir to distribute evenly and saute till onions are tender and golden brown. Add garlic and 1/2 cup beef stock. Scrape brown bits from the pan and remove from heat. 

While the onion is cooking combine the stock and oregano in a sauce pan large enough to hold the liquid and the roast beef. Cook the stock until hot. Remove the pan from the heat and add the roast beef, pushing it down into the broth and let it stand while you prepare the rolls.
Place the bread cut side up in the toaster oven (or broiler in a regular oven), top one side (or each if you prefer) with a slice of cheese. Toast to desired doneness.
Using tongs pick up some of the beef and let the broth drip back into the pan. Place the beef on the bottom of the prepared roll and top with onions.  Serve immediately with a side of broth if desired.

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Applesauce Cake with Cinnamon Cream Cheese Frosting

Time for October's Improv Cooking Challenge! 

The theme for this month was cake and frosting.  I recently made a batch of unsweetened cinnamon applesauce and was hoping to use some of it for a this challenge. I searched around for an applesauce cake and came across this recipe from Gourmet.  The recipe was just what I was looking for and looked to be easily adaptable for using my homemade applesauce. The recipe recommended using a square cake pan, but I opted for my springform and it worked perfectly. I also left the walnuts out of the cake and used them for a crunchy topping.  The frosting was so easy to make it was almost a crime and the flavor was delicious. This cake had all the cravable fall flavors- heavy on spice, dense and moist.  The creamy spiced frosting and perfect crunch and nutty taste from the walnuts made this a delectable treat.  I can't wait to make this again and curl up on a chill fall day with a slice and a warm cup of cider. 

Big thanks to Kristen of Frugal Antics of a Harried Homemaker for organizing the challenge. If you want to join the fun (next month is cardamom and orange) stop by her blog and join the fun! 


Ingredients

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1 stick unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 1/2 cups unsweetened applesauce (I used my homemade unsweetened cinnamon applesauce)
  • 1/2 cup walnuts (optional)
  • Frosting:
  • 5 oz cream cheese, softened
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
  • 1/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 cup confectioners sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon


Instructions


Preheat oven to 350°F with rack in middle. Butter an 8- or 9-inch square cake pan (I used a spring form round cake pan with no problems).

Cake:
Whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and spices.
Beat butter, brown sugar, and vanilla with an electric mixer at high speed until pale and fluffy, 2 to 3 minutes. Add eggs 1 at a time, beating well after each addition, then beat in applesauce. At low speed, mix in flour mixture until just combined.
Spread batter evenly in pan and bake until golden-brown and a wooden pick inserted into center comes out clean, 40 to 45 minutes. Cool in pan 15 minutes. Remove cake from the pan or spring form (you could leave it in and cut from the pan if you wish). 

Frosting:
Beat cream cheese, butter, and vanilla with an electric mixer at high speed until fluffy. Sift confectioners sugar and cinnamon over cream cheese mixture, then beat at medium speed until incorporated.
Spread frosting over top of cooled cake. Top with walnuts. 

Monday, October 14, 2013

Weekly Meal Plan 10/14 - 10/20

I swear the weekend is fast than a normal two weekdays....there is no other explanation as to why it goes so fast!  We had a really wonderful lazy weekend. Ron and I watched The Purge (have you seen it?? Freaky!) and I did a little Halloween decorating. I also watched the season primer of Walking Dead.  I have been looking forward to Walking Dead pretty much since season 3 wrapped up. I have mixed emotions about the season primer because I think the character changed a lot and a lot of the development was skipped unlike previous seasons. I have not decided if this is a good thing or a bad thing.... I think time will tell.  The Packers win this weekend was celebrated in our house, however the game itself was a little stressful. 

This week we are pretty busy. We have a political fundraiser for a friend and former co-worker tonight and volleyball on Wednesday. This weekend we are going to Zoo Boo with our family, later I am going out with a few girlfriends and possible tailgate on Sunday....whew! 

Here is what is on tap: 

Monday:  Out for Mexican
Tuesday: 7-Up Pork Chops, Wild Rice and Salad
Wednesday: Out for Volleyball
Thursday:  Tatertot Casserole and Green Beans
Friday:  Crockpot Buffalo Chicken Sandwiches and Potato Wedges
Saturday:  Zoo Boo with our family and dinner with girlfriends
Sunday:  Possibly Tailgating....but maybe just pizza and the Packer game

Sunday, October 13, 2013

French Onion Salisbury Steak

Time for October Secret Recipe Club!

Secret Recipe Club

This month I received Rebekah's blog Family, Food and Fun.  Rebekah has tons love delicious baked goods on her site, but I am not much of a baker and generally prefer a savory dish. I came across a recipe for French Onion Salisbury Steak and thought it sounded like a delicious perfect weeknight meal. The recipe is very easy to put together and captures the rich savory flavors of french onion soup. My phone is not the best, but do not let it fool you- this meal is wonderful. Thank you Rebekah for a delicious new recipe! 


Ingredients

French Onion Salisbury Steak:

1 1/2 lbs ground beef 

1/2 cup plain breadcrumbs (I used homemade whole wheat)
1 egg
1/4 cup fresh parsley,  minced
1/2 tsp onion powder
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp black pepper
2 Tbl all-purpose flour
2 Tbl olive oil
2 cups onions, sliced
1 tsp sugar
1 clove garlic, minced
1 Tbl ketchup
1 tsp flour
2 cups beef stock 
3/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp dried thyme leaves


Cheese Toasts:
4 slices French bread or baguette, cut diagonally (1/2″ thick)
2 tablespoon butter, softened
1/2 tsp garlic powder
Pinch of paprika
1/4 cup grated Swiss cheese 
1 Tbl grated Parmesan cheese


Instructions

Combine meat, breadcrumbs, egg, parsley, onion powder, salt and pepper. Divide evenly into desired number of patties. Place 2 tablespoons flour in a shallow dish; dredge each patty in flour.

Heat 2 tablespoons oil in a saute pan over medium-high heat. Add patties and saute 3 minutes on each side, or until browned. Remove from pan.

Add onions and sugar to pan; saute 5 minutes. Stir in garlic and ketchup; saute 1 minute, or until paste begins to brown. Sprinkle onions with reserved flour; cook 1 minute. Stir in stock then add the salt and thyme.

Return meat to pan and bring soup to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low, cover and simmer 20 minutes.

Serve steaks on Cheese Toasts with onion soup ladled over. 

For the Cheese Toasts

Preheat oven to 400º F.

Place bread on baking sheet.

Combine butter, garlic and paprika and spread on one side of each slice of bread. Combine cheeses and sprinkle evenly over butter. Bake until bread is crisp and cheese is bubbly, 10-15 minutes.

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Weekly Meal Plan 10/7 - 10/14

I forgot to post our weekly meal plan! I apologize because I am sure you were gripping your seat in anticipation....  

This past weekend was really nice. Ron and I had an awesome kid free evening with my sister-in-law and brother-in-law.  This week is pretty low key and I am working on a few new recipes and am excited about trying out a few new things.  

Kellen is growing leaps and bounds these days! He is walking along the furniture and it is crazy that my little guy is almost a year....where does the time go?!

Monday:  Pan Seared Salmon with Sriracha Cream Sauce, Wild Rice and Green Beans
Tuesday: French Onion Salsbury Steak, Mashed Potatoes and Broccoli
Wednesday: Out for Volleyball
Thursday: Philly Cheesesteak Spaghetti and Salad
Friday: Bacon and Beer Carbonara
Saturday:  Grilled Steak, Parmesan Pumpkin Broccoli Risotto and Salad
Sunday: Spinach, Feta and Mushroom Stuffed Chicken, Roasted Potatoes and Green Beans

Treats: Caramel Apple Bread

Thursday, October 3, 2013

No Bake S'mores Bars

I can't figure out where I found this recipe.... I think it was originally Pinterest, but I am having trouble locating the blogger... if it is your recipe I apologize! 

I love s'mores and have been so sad that I did not eat a single one all summer! Every time we had a fire I thought of it and told myself to remember to buy stuff for s'mores at my next shopping trip. 
Did I remember? No. 

I saw these bars and thought they looked delicious and perfect for a tailgating party. The original recipe calls for mini marshmallows and I accidentally grabbed a bag of regular size. I would recommenced using the mini marshmallows to get the lovely fluffy marshmallow chunks in your bar. It worked fine with the large ones, but they were to hard to chop and I just melted them all. 

My friends and I loved these bars and they were a perfect tailgating treat- no fridge needed! I can't wait to make these again, but will make sure to grab a bag of mini marshmallows! 


Ingredients

1 box golden grahams cereal (12 ounce box)
1 bag mini marshmallows
1 bag milk chocolate chips
5 tablespoons butter


Instructions

Place chocolate chips in the freezer for 30 minutes prior to making the bars. 
In a sauce pan, melt butter over medium low heat. Once melted, add 5 cups of marshmallows. Stir into butter until marshmallows have melted. Remove from heat and transfer to a large mixing bowl.
Add cereal to bowl, stir to coat cereal in the marshmallow mixture. Add chocolate chips and remaining marshmallows. Continue to stir until chocolate chips and marshmallows are evenly distributed.
Press s'mores mixture evenly into a 9 x 13 pan. Refrigerate for one hour, then cut into squares.