Tuesday, December 31, 2013

My Favorite Top 13 of 2013

Happy New Year's Eve! 

We are staying comfy and cozy from our house this year.  I hope the 2014 brings you family, fun and food! 

Here are my favorites from 2014:

13. Lactation Cookies
I ate ton of these for milk supply....they are so delicious.


12. Mexican Meatballs
This was inspired by a recipe swap and Swedish meatballs- the result was one of our favorite meals.


11. Curry Risotto with Carrots, Peas and Shrimp
A result of an Improv Cooking challenge for peas and carrots....The flavors are awesome.


10. Warm Roasted Red Pepper, Feta and Basil Dip
I made this dip for a cookout and the flavors are so unique, rich and amazing.


9. Chipotle Bacon Ranch Burgers
Ron's new favorite burger. Spicy and delicious.


8. Greek Lasagna Skillet
An awesome twist on an old favorite. I love the addition of the kalamata olives.


7. Sriracha Beef Tacos
I made this recipe after eying it up on a few other blogs....they are spicy and awesome. the sauce is so good!


6. Brat and Beer Mac and Cheese
I love beer, brats and cheese. This is my trio of deliciousness.


5. Red Velvet Cheesecake
A special treat for my sister's birthday. I love the frosting with the cheesecake!


4. Pan-Seared Salmon with Creamy Sriracha Sauce
So simple, but so wonderful. This might have been the year of Sriracha.


3. Beer and Bacon Carbonara
I made this for a guest post for a beer week. I used Spotted Cow....my absolute favorite beer.


2. Italian Chicken Green Bean and Potato Bake
A Pinterest find and a perfect easy weeknight meal.


1.  Crab Cake Sandwich
So delicious.....we are actually having mini crab cakes for New Years using this recipe


Monday, December 30, 2013

Most Popular of 2013

This year I wanted to put a list together of the recipes made popular by my readers! I have a post tomorrow of my personal favorites, but today I wanted to take a look at what the most popular recipes were in 2013. 

In no particular order:





























Weekly Meal Place 12/30 - 1/5

2014 is almost here and what a wonderful year it has been. My family is thankful for so many things.  I hope your year has been wonderful and wishing you a wonderful 2014!

Here is what is on tap:

Monday: Out to Dinner
Tuesday: Happy New Year Crab Cakes, Steak and Mac and Cheese
Wednesday: Subs!
Thursday: Spaghetti with Meat Sauce
Friday: Out with Family for Steaks
Saturday: Girls Night!
Sunday: Go Pack Go! Beef Chili w/ All the Fixings! 

Monday, December 23, 2013

Weekly Meal Plan 12/23 - 12/29

Happy Holidays!!!

Here is what is on tap this week: 

Monday: Pizza
Tuesday: Christmas Eve Celebration with My Family
Wednesday: Christmas Day Celebration with Ron's Family
Thursday: Italian Chicken Potato and Green Bean Bake
Friday: Crockpot Beef and Broccoli w/ Egg Rolls
Saturday: Date Night
Sunday: Chicken and Dumpling Soup

Friday, December 20, 2013

White Chocolate Roasted Garlic Mashed Potatoes

Time for December Crazy Ingredient Challenge


The theme for this month is garlic and white chocolate. Yes, you read it right- garlic and white chocolate. Jutta (our host) of  Hungry Little Girl likes to sneak a curve ball in and he did it with flying colors this month.  When the ingredients were announced I was racking my brain at what I could make with these two ingredients.  

Cookies- no.  Marinade- eh.  Cheesecake- ew.  Mashed potatoes- hmmmmm..... my interest was perked. 

I thought melted white chocolate could be used in mashed potatoes.  Normally, I use milk, butter and cream cheese, and while these ingredients are not sweet they produce the creaminess one could get from using chocolate.  I thought that roasting garlic and adding it to the potatoes would work perfectly to cut some of the sweetness from the white chocolate. 

Before making this I had never roasted garlic before!  I can't believe that I waited this long to do it because it was so delicious and easy to do! If you are interested in joining the challenge check out Jutta's blog. It is really fun because the ingredients truly get the creative juice flowing, and result in some yummy results! 

Tonight is my family's pre-holiday celebration and I am so excited to spend time with my family (and have a Tom and Jerry!).   Tomorrow, my cousin and I will cook up and storm and we will start all over again! 


Ingredients

2 1/2 - 3 lb russet potatoes, peeled and quartered
1/2 cup milk (we use 2 %)
2 Tbl salted butter
1/4 cup white chocolate chips
2-3 medium hard garlic heads (you can adjust this depending of size of garlic heads)
Olive oil
Salt and Pepper


Instructions

roasted garlic:
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Cut off  top of garlic heads. Drizzle olive oil into a small baking dish. Place garlic in baking dish. Drizzle garlic with oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Cover baking dish with foil and roast until tender, 45 minutes-1 hour. Cool slightly and squeeze out garlic cloves. 

Boil potatoes till tender. Drain and place in a large bowl. Melt white chocolate in 10 second intervals, stirring in between.  Add butter, chocolate and milk to potatoes and mash till they react desired smoothness. Season with salt and pepper and stir in the roasted garlic. 

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Peanut Butter Snickers Cookies

Snow, snow and more snow in Wisconsin! The holiday baking bug has bitten me and I am trying all different types of cookies.  I have been wanting to try Smitten Kitchen's Peanut Butter Cookies and I am so happy I did because they do not disappoint. The only change I made was to add chopped candy bar over peanut butter chips.  Ron and I loved these super simple cookies!  I have made a few peanut butter cookies, but I think these take the cake! 


Ingredients

1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
1 cup peanut butter at room temperature (I used smooth)
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
1 large egg, at room temperature
1 tablespoon milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup chopped Snickers bars
1/2 cup chocolate chips

For sprinkling: 1 tablespoon sugar, regular or superfine


Instructions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a large bowl, combine the flour, the baking soda, the baking powder, and the salt. Set aside.

In a large bowl, beat the butter and the peanut butter together until fluffy. Add the sugars and beat until smooth. Add the egg and mix well. Add the milk and the vanilla extract. Add the flour mixture and beat thoroughly. Stir in the peanut butter and chocolate chips. 

Place sprinkling sugar on a plate. Drop by rounded teaspoonfuls into the sugar, then onto ungreased cookie sheets, leaving several inches between for expansion. Using a fork, lightly indent with a crisss-cross pattern, but do not overly flatten cookies. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes. Do not overbake. 

Cool the cookies on the sheets for 1 minute, then remove to a rack to cool completely.

Monday, December 16, 2013

Weekly Meal Plan 12/16 - 12/22

Well we made it through the birthday party madness and it was a huge success!

Kellen loved his party, but was a little overwhelmed by all the commotion. He certainly loves all of his new toys! He received many lovely things and was so lucky to have so many people come to celebrate his first year earth-side. 

Here are a few photos of our Tailgating theme:





This week we celebrate Christmas with my extended family.  I love spending time with family and can hardly wait for the holidays to get officially underway! 

Here is what is on tap:

Monday: Brat Cheese and Cracker Mac and Cheese
Tuesday:  Slow Cooker Red Wine BBQ Pork Roast, White Chocolate Roasted Garlic Mashed Potatoes and Beans
Wednesday: Leftovers
Thursday: Out to Dinner
Friday:  Dinner with my Family
Saturday: Ramaker Family Christmas
Sunday: Go Pack Go! Beef Chili w/ All The Fixings

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Double Dark Chocolate Cookies

Time for December Secret Recipe Club

Secret Recipe Club

This month I received the blog Bizzy Bakes. My first thought was, what a perfect assignment for the holidays!  There were lots of delicious treats to choose from, but I ultimately decided to make Double Dark Chocolate Cookies because I knew my husband would absolutely love them (he is the chocolate lover in our house!).  I loved the rich chocolate flavor of these cookies and, as I predicted, Ron loved them. They were gone in about 2 days.....what are the holidays for!?  I think that these cookies will have to make another appearance this holiday season! 

Thanks for a new tasty treat! 


Ingredients

¼ cup salted butter, softened

¼ cup canola oil 

½ cup packed brown sugar 

¼ cup granulated sugar 

1 egg 

1 tsp vanilla 

1 cup all-purpose flour 

¼ cup unsweetened cocoa powder 

½ tap baking powder 

1/8 tap salt 

4 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped (I used dark chocolate chips)


Instructions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line cookie sheets with parchment paper. 

In a large mixing bowl beat butter with an electric mixer on medium speed for 30 seconds. Beat in oil, brown sugar, and granulated sugar until well combined. Beat in egg and vanilla until combined. 

In a medium bowl whisk together flours, cocoa powder, baking powder, and salt; beat into sugar mixture. Stir in chocolate chips.

Drop dough by slightly rounded teaspoons 2 inches apart onto prepared cookie sheets. 

Bake about 12 minutes or just until edges are set. Let cool 1 minute on cookie 

Friday, December 13, 2013

Recipe Swap: Chewy Ginger Molasses Cookies

Time for December Recipe Swap!


This month I received the blog  Jey of Cooking. I have made a few of her recipes before for previous swaps such as, tilapia in tomato bacon butter and quinoa crusted chicken . Both were delicious and I was excited to try something new.   I love molasses cookies and when I came across her recipe for Chewy Ginger Molasses Cookies I was sold (perfect for the holidays as well!).  This recipe is so easy and the flavors are delicious. I love the spice from the ginger with the flavors from the molasses....yum!  

Thank you for an awesome new recipe....I ate a bunch fresh from the oven and I think I need to make another batch!  Thanks also go to Sarah of A Taste of Home Cooking for organizing our swaps! 


Ingredients

3/4 Cup Butter, softened
 2 Cups Sugar (and a little extra for sprinkling at the end)
2 Eggs, beaten
1/2 Cup Molasses
2 tsp Vinegar
3 3/4 Cups Flour
 1/2 tsp. Baking Soda
1 Tbsp Ground Ginger
1/2 tsp Cinnamon
1/4 tsp Ground Cloves


Instructions

Preheat oven to 325.  Beat together butter and sugar until light and fluffy.  Add eggs, molasses and vinegar and beat until well combined.

In a separate bowl, combine flour, baking soda, ginger, cinnamon and clove.  Add flour mixture a little bit at a time to the wet mixture until fully combined.  Using a cookie scoop, drop balls onto a parchment lined baking sheet.  Sprinkle lightly with sugar.

Bake 9-10 minutes.

Monday, December 9, 2013

Weekly Meal Plan 12/9 - 12/15

Happy Monday and whooooohoooo for a Packer win! 

The week has finally come. My baby is turning 1 in two days. I know I have been talking about this a lot lately, but I am feeling a bit sad that he is getting bigger. I can see the baby going away and the toddler emerging a little more each day.  Kellen has also learned the word "no".  He doesn't seem to know what it means, but loves running around the house yelling "no, no, no, no!".  We have decided to make a conscious effort not to say it around the house as often. 

This week we are busy busy....mainly party prepping and (to me) that is fun busy.  We got our tree finished this weekend, shopping is almost done and Christmas cards are all addressed.  I am actually feeling ahead this holiday and am so thankful.....last Christmas was so hectic and this is a happy change for our family.  I am also really excited to cook Christmas dinner for the family. Last year Kellen was in the NICU and my sweet family cooked in my place. I was so thankful, but am looking forward to getting in the kitchen this year. 

Monday: Out to Dinner with my Dad
Tuesday:  Chicken Broccoli Cheese & Cracker Casserole and Salad
Wednesday: Volleyball and Take Out Thai and a cupcake for Kellen's birthday
Thursday:  Lighter Lasagna Soup and Bread
Friday:  Rootbeer BBQ Pork Sandwiches, American Fries and Green Beans and prep for Kellen's party
Saturday: Kellen's Birthday Party and leftovers for dinner
Sunday: Go Pack Go! Beef Chili with all the fixings


Friday, December 6, 2013

White Chicken Enchiladas

Do you ever see a recipe and have it on your back burner forever, finally get around to making it and kick yourself for waiting so long!?  I do! 

This recipe from Joyful Momma's Kitchen went around Pinterest like a firestorm and I knew I wanted to try it because I love enchiladas and it was something different than our usual. I really loved the flavor of these enchiladas and they reminded me of enchiladas suzias.  The recipe is really easy to put together and I love broiling the cheese at the end to give it a nice brown crust.  Kellen gave these a try and really enjoyed them. I love that he is still so willing to try different meals! 

This morning Kellen was visited by St. Nick. He left his little shoe out and it was filled with a cutie and an Elmo smartphone toy.

Tonight we are headed to my friend Heather's 30th birthday party. Heather is one of my oldest friends and am so excited to celebrate with her and her family.  On Saturday, Kellen and I are going to have breakfast with Santa with a few friends.  After breakfast we are going to Ron's family's house to make peppernuts and have dinner. Sunday we are going to watch the game.....I hope they win....seriously.... and have take-out with my Dad (my mom, sister and nephew are in Mexico- lucky). 

Have a great weekend!


Ingredients

10 soft taco shells
2 cups cooked, shredded chicken
2 cups shredded Monterey Jack cheese
3 Tbsp butter
3 Tbsp flour
2 cups chicken broth
1 cup sour cream
1 4 oz can diced green chilies


Instructions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly spray a 9x13 pan. 

Mix chicken and 1 cup cheese. Roll up in tortillas and arrange in baking dish.

In a sauce pan, melt butter, stir in flour and cook 1 minute. Add broth and whisk until smooth. Heat over medium heat until thick and bubbly.

Stir in sour cream and chilies. Do not bring to boil, you don't want curdled sour cream. Pour sauce over enchiladas and top with remaining cheese.

Bake 25 min and then  broil for 3 min to brown the cheese.

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Italian Chicken Potato and Green Bean Bake



I have seen this recipe floating around Pinterest and a few blogs I follow for awhile and only now have gotten around to making it. I literally put this together in 5 minutes and into the oven it went. Ron, Kellen and I absolutely loved this meal. The chicken was so juicy and tender and the potatoes cooked perfectly.  We were both surprised that everything cooked evenly and was done at the same time.  All of the recipes I saw have slightly variations and we made a few of our own. I used 2 packets of Italian seasoning mix (we like a little extra punch) and decreased the amount of butter. The result was great and I can't wait to make this meal again!  Since Kellen goes to bed around 7:30 a quick meal is very appreciated so he is able to eat with us before he tuck in for the night.  

Less thank a week till he turns 1.....eeek! 


Ingredients

3 generous cups red potatoes, quartered
2 cans cut green beans (you could use frozen)
1-1 1/2 lb chicken breasts (4 chicken breasts)
3/4 stick butter, cut into pieces 
2 Italian dressing seasoning/mix packets


Instructions

Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees. 

Line one side of the pan with green beans. Cut potatoes up. Line opposite side of pan with the potatoes. Line the chicken breasts down the middle of the baking dish. Cut butter up and layer over the green beans, potatoes and chicken. Sprinkle Italian dressing over the entire pan. Cover with foil. Bake 1 hour. 

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Pork and Ramen Stir-Fry

A family friend makes delicious homemade egg rolls and we were lucky enough to purchase two dozen. I thought they would be perfect for dinner alongside Pork and Ramen Stir-Fry from Julie's Eats & Treats. I can't tell you the last time I purchased ramen noodles (probably is college), but it was fun to look at all the flavors again and remember what a staple they once were.  This recipe was really simple to put together and tasted wonderful. I  used a broccoli slaw mix over a traditional coleslaw cabbage mix and I thought it worked really well. My only complaint is that the pork becomes a little chewy with this cooking method. The flavors are fantastic, but I think I would like to try adding shrimp next time or maybe chicken. 

Kellen's birthday cake is ordered! I decided on a tailgating theme and can't wait to see how everything comes together! 


Ingredients

1/4 c. reduced-sodium soy sauce
2 Tbsp ketchup
2 Tbsp Worcestershire sauce
2 tsp sugar
1/4 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
3 tsp canola oil, divided
1 lb boneless pork loin chops, cut in 1/2 in strips
1 1/2 cup broccoli florets
4 cup coleslaw mix (I used broccoli slaw mix)
1 can  bamboo shoots, drained
4 garlic cloves, minced
2 pkg  Ramen noodles


Instructions

Whisk the first five ingredients together in a small bowl.

In a large skillet, heat 2 tsp oil over medium heat. Add pork and cook until no longer pink. Remove from pan and set aside.

Add remaining oil to pan and cook broccoli for 3 minutes. Add coleslaw mix, bamboo shoots and garlic. Stir Fry 3-4 minutes or until broccoli is crisp-tender. Stir in soy sauce mixture and pork. Heat through.
Meanwhile, cook noodles according to package directions. Discard seasoning mix from Ramen noodles. Drain and then add noodles to the pork mixtures.
Toss to combine.

Monday, December 2, 2013

Weekly Meal Plan 12/2 - 12/8

I have to say I was really looking forward to December this year. Kellen was so young during the holidays this year and it is nice that he will get to enjoy it! His first birthday is right around the corner as well! This month is shaping up to be pretty busy, but I am loving all the different holiday celebrations! 

This pas weekend we went to Blue Harbor with my family and Kellen had a blast. I think the lazy river was his favorite. He quickly fell asleep in Grandma's arms by the second time around the river! 

This week we are making peppernuts with Ron' family and Kellen is going to meeting Santa for breakfast in the morning on Saturday. The evening before we are celebrating my friend  Heather's 30th birthday and Sunday will bring us the Packer game.....and hopefully a win! 

Monday: Chicken Green Bean and Potato Bake
Tuesday: Million Dollar Spaghetti,  Garlic Bread and Salad
Wednesday: Out for Volleyball
Thursday: Crockpot Chicken and Salad
Friday:  My friend Heather's Birthday Celebration
Saturday: Breakfast with Santa and Peppernuts with the Leckers!
Sunday: Go Packer Go! Sriracha Burger, Potato Wedges and Salad

Treats: Double Dark Chocolate Cookies