Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Steak Nachos with Wholly Guacamole Nacho Cheese Sauce & A Giveaway

Yesterday I shared Wholly Guacamole's Nacho Cheese Sauce recipe with you as part of their HOMEGATING possibilities and as I said yesterday, today I will share the nacho recipe I made.

But first, a quick re-cap.

HOMEGATING is when you can relax and watch the game with your friends in the comfort of your own home instead of at the stadium. And obviously, being the good friend that you are, you're going to serve some food to your friends. At the homegatinghq.com website, you can find recipes, how-to videos, football trivia and much more.

Wholly Guacamole asked me if I would be interested in sharing a recipe for HOMEGATING Headquarters. I chose to use one of their current recipes, the Nacho Cheese Sauce and make my own style of nachos with it. Yesterday, I also shared ten other things you could do with these cheese sauce.



Steak Nachos with Nacho Cheese Sauce 
Source: Wholly Guacamole & Cookaholic Wife
Servings: 6
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Ingredients:
    • 2 lb. flank steak
    • 1 tbsp. chipotle chile powder
    • 1 tsp. garlic powder
    • salt and pepper 
    • 1 bag tortilla chips
    • Nacho Cheese Sauce
    • 1 cup guacamole cream
    • 1/2 cup diced tomatoes
    • 1/2 cup pickled jalapenos 
    for the guacamole cream:
    • 4-6 oz. sour cream
    • 12 oz. Wholly Guacamole (in any flavor)
Directions:
1. Preheat a grill or skillet to high heat. Season both sides of the flank steak with chipotle chile powder, garlic powder, salt and pepper.
2. Cook steak for 3-5 minutes on each side or until it reaches desired level of doneness. Transfer to a plate to allow to cool.
3. Once cooled, slice against the grain into strips.
4. In a small bowl, whisk together the sour cream and guacamole until combined.
5. Divide tortilla chips among plates. Ladle Nacho Cheese Sauce on top. Divide steak among plates and then top each with diced tomatoes, pickled jalapenos and large dollop of the guacamole cream.

Delicious! I opted to use the Hatch Chile Guacamole to add in some extra heat to this recipe.

Just like last time, the Wholly Guacamole people have offered to give one reader a cooler of various guacamole flavors and other promotional products (including the squishy avocado!). I'll be honest, I immediately tore into the box the second I got it and completely forgot to take a picture, but I received at least 6 different guacamole samples, a coupon and another squishy avocado!

To enter the giveaway, please use the Rafflecopter below!


a Rafflecopter giveaway

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Wholly Guacamole: Nacho Cheese Sauce

Last month I told you that I'd be working with the cool people at Wholly Guacamole again this month and now the time has finally come.

Let's start at the beginning. Whether you are a fan of it or not, it is football season and during football season the fans are doing two things - either going to games and tailgating in the parking lot, or having their friends over to watch the game at home and serving food there. Wholly Guacamole opted to call that HOMEGATING and a new thing was born. HOMEGATING is all about making cool recipes for your friends to eat at your house while you watch the game and avoiding the craziness at the stadium.

They even created a separate website solely for this HOMEGATING phenomenon. You can find party planning tips, recipes, how-to videos, football info AND a coupon! You totally should go visit the site: homegatinghq.com You'd be surprised at what you could learn. (Like it was 1943 was the last year that a football game ended with a 0-0 score...who knew?!)

But let's get to the recipe portion of this post, since I'm sure that's why you're here. Right? I opted to make the Nacho Cheese Sauce because it is so versatile. Now you have 3 ways to get this recipe.

First, you can go to their website: Nacho Cheese Sauce 



Or if you're more of a visual learner, they made a how-to video for this recipe, that you can find on YouTube. (I really should try that sometime!)

The third way is to read the recipe below.

Wholly Guacamole: Nacho Cheese Sauce
Source: Eat Wholly 
Yield: 3~ cups
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Ingredients:
2 tbsp. unsalted butter
2 tbsp. all purpose flour
2 cups whole milk
1 1/2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
1 1/2 cups shredded monterey jack cheese
2 tsp. chile powder
1 tsp. chipotle chili powder
1/2 tsp. cayenne

Directions:
1. In a medium saucepan, melt butter over medium heat. Add flour and whisk until no lumps remain and the mixture is a golden brown color.
2. While whisking slowly pour in some of the milk. Once the milk has been absorbed fully, add the rest of the milk and continue to whisk until the mixture thickens.
3. Reduce to low heat and stir in the shredded cheeses and spices. Whisk until there are no lumps of cheese. Remove from the heat.

Now there are quite a few things you could do with Nacho Cheese Sauce.

Obviously, the first option would be to use it for nachos (and I'll share that recipe with you tomorrow) but you could also:

1. Pour it over 2 cups cooked pasta then bake for 30 minutes in a 350 degree oven for a nacho-flavored mac and cheese.
2. Dip soft or hard pretzels in it.
3. Use as a cheese sauce for tacos or enchiladas.
4. Pour over cooked lasagna noodles in a 9x13 pan. Top with browned ground beef, diced tomatoes and jalapenos, and repeat layers for a Mexican lasagna.
5. Ladle onto a tortilla and top with shredded chicken, diced tomatoes, shredded lettuce, and guacamole for an open-faced quesadilla.
6. Pour over any steamed broccoli, cauliflower, carrots, etc.
7. As a topping for a baked potato.
8. Combine with 2 cups boiled potatoes, 3/4 cup chicken/beef/vegetable stock, and heat, stirring until combined. Top with a dollop of sour cream and guacamole and cooked crumbled bacon for a loaded baked potato soup.
9. Pour over a burger and top with salsa and guacamole. (No seriously, you need to do this one)
10. Drink it.

Okay maybe I'm kidding about the last one but it really all depends on how strongly you love cheese sauce. If you wanna slurp it down by the ladle-full, I'm not going to judge you. And I think if you balanced it out with some guacamole and chips, the nice people at Wholly Guacamole wouldn't judge you either.

So check back tomorrow for my nachos recipe using the Nacho Cheese Sauce and also a chance to enter another giveaway!

Disclaimer: HOMEGATING is a registered trademark of Wholly Guacamole. I did not receive financial compensation for this post, however I was provided with guacamole samples. The Nacho Cheese Recipe is not my own, nor is the above image or Youtube video, it was created by Wholly Guacamole and with their consent, posted on this blog. The ideas presented for the nacho cheese sauce are my own. Written consent from both parties agreed for this post to be shared on either party's social media sites. 

Monday, November 17, 2014

Salted Caramel Apple Pie

Apple pie was one of my first successful baking adventures. I got the idea in my head that making an apple pie from scratch couldn't possibly be that difficult so I set out to do it. I made two batches of the dough because I was convinced one of them wouldn't work out. I peeled the apples and then had to cut them with a steak knife because we didn't even have a chef's knife in the house. (This should tell you a lot about my mother's cooking skills)

By some culinary miracle, I kept all my fingers and the pie was delicious. I've made one almost every year since then. This time I wanted to shy slightly away from your standard apple pie and add in some salted caramel. I'm sure to some people 'salted caramel' was so five years ago but it is still one of my favorite flavor combinations.

Salted Caramel Apple Pie
Source: Brown Eyed Baker
Servings: 9
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Ingredients:
for the crust:
2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
2 tsp. sugar
1 tsp. salt
1 1/4 cup unsalted butter, cubed and chilled
1/3 cup ice water
for the filling:
5 apples, peeled, cored and sliced
3/4 cup lemon juice
2/3 cup sugar
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/8 tsp. nutmeg
1/3 cup salted caramel, homemade or store-bought

Directions:
1. Make the pie crust by combining the flour, sugar and salt in the bowl of a food processor and pulse to combine. Add in the butter and pulse until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Add in the water, a tablespoon at a time, and pulse just until the dough comes together.
2. Remove dough from the processor and form into two evenly sized discs. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 2 hours.
3. Remove one disc of dough and roll out into a 13-inch circle on a lightly floured surface. Drape the dough over a 9-inch pie plate and gently press into the bottom and sides of the pans. Return to the refrigerator for 30 minutes.
4. Prepare the filling by tossing the apples together with the lemon juice in a large bowl. Place in a colander and allow to drain thoroughly. Mix together the sugar, cinnamon and nutmeg in a small bowl. Return the apples to the large bowl and toss with the cinnamon sugar mixture.
5. Remove the dough-lined pie pan from the refrigerator and use a slotted spoon to make an even layer of apples. Drizzle with the salted caramel. Repeat another layer of apples and caramel until all are used.
6. Remove the remaining disc of dough from the refrigerator and roll out to 1/4-inch thick on a lightly floured surface. Cut 1-inch strips of dough. Place over the pie in an alternating fashion to create a lattice top. Trim away excess dough and/or press into the edges of the pie to crimp.
7. Freeze the pie for 30 minutes.
8. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
9. Place the chilled pie on a rimmed baking sheet. Brush lightly with an egg wash (egg and water whisked together). Bake for 30 minutes or until the crust is golden brown. Cover the edges with a pie ring or wrap with foil and return the pie to the oven for an additional 30 minutes.
10. If the crust is much lighter, remove the ring and cook for 5 minutes more to get an even color over the pie.
11. Cool on a wire rack to room temperature. Covered pie can be kept at room temperature or refrigerated for 2 days.


Salted caramel is by far one of the best things you can add to an already delicious apple pie. This may just be my new favorite way to make it! 

Friday, November 14, 2014

2014 Thanksgiving Menu (with Free Printable To-Do List!)

Thanksgiving, already!? I swear, if it weren't for the Canadian Thanksgiving being in October, the thought of planning my menu would pass right on by in my head. So, a special thank you to my Canadian friends for always providing that reminder.

Thanksgiving last year was a little bit crazy. As in, I hosted for 20ish people in my 1200 square foot apartment where I have a pub style dining table that seats four. We did bring in a long folding table and chairs so there was some additional seating, but it was only enough for half of us to sit. I think I may have sat on the floor to eat. 

It was also a complete whirlwind of an event. With that many people, there was a ton of food and I spent more time working on the food than I did spending time with everyone. I'd prefer not to go that route this time and I've tried really, really hard to limit the amount of food I'm going to make. 

My guest count is still up in the air. My cousin is due on December 6th and no one thinks she's giving birth anywhere near her due date and will end up much earlier. If that happens, I'll be down 4-5 adults and a toddler. 

I've also spent a lot of time watching Ina Garten on the weekends in hopes that her simple but fancy appetizers and very laid back party planning will rub off on me. I'll let you know how it goes. 

I haven't spoken to my other aunt yet to see what she plans on making, so this is subject to change, slightly. 

2014 Thanksgiving Menu 

Appetizers:
rosemary cashews
stuffed mushrooms
mini cheese balls
pancetta pear crisps
veggies and dip

Main and Sides:
turkey
crock pot mashed potatoes
gravy
honey-pear cranberry sauce
individual twice baked sweet potatoes
cheesy green bean casserole
celery and onion stuffing
dinner rolls

Desserts:
turtle cheesecake
pumpkin pie
sweet potato pecan pie mini tarts

It's still way too much food for the amount of people that will probably show up, but it is actually cut down over the previous years. The cashews and cranberry sauce can be made far in advance. Almost everything else will be made the day before so Thanksgiving will really be about cooking, re-heating and plating. 

Wow, writing the year in front of the menu really hit me. This will be the sixth year I've hosted Thanksgiving. That's just crazy! I've got it all down pat by now, but if this is your first year hosting and you're looking for some recipes and tips, check out what I've said in other years:

Thanksgiving 2013

And guess what else! You can have a free printable! Remember the other week or so when I mentioned internet friends? Well one of them is starting her own printables business and emailed me to see if I'd be willing to share her printables on my blog. Of course I said yes and the timing was perfect. She made a Thanksgiving To-Do list for you! 


Look at that turkey! Isn't he adorable?! To print a copy without the watermark, simply click here

And then head on over to the Bound for Keeps Facebook page and tell Jennifer "thanks!" 

Guess what else  --- I'll have more printables to share with you in the very near future! 

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Paleo Shrimp Fra Divolo

I haven't been able to find shrimp the grocery store for an affordable price in so long. We used to eat shrimp almost once a week and then the prices skyrocketed and I've spent the time ever since missing seafood. Usually I am not a fan of red sauces with shrimp but this just looked so good that when I found some shrimp on sale, I knew this was what I needed to make.


Paleo Shrimp Fra Divolo
Source: Home Sweet Jones
Servings: 2
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Ingredients:
    • 3/4 lb. peeled and deveined
    • 28 oz. can whole tomatoes
    • 2 tbsp. olive oil
    • 1 cup chicken stock
    • 4 cloves garlic, minced
    • 1 tsp. red pepper flakes
    • 1 tsp. dried oregano
    • 1 tbsp. anchovy paste
    • 1 pickled pepper, minced and 1 tsp. juice
    • 1/4 cup fresh parsley, chopped
    • 1/4 cup fresh basil, chopped
    • salt and pepper
Directions:
1. Drain tomatoes in a colander, saving the juice.
2. Add olive oil to a skillet over medium heat. Add garlic and cook for 1 minute, then add chicken stock, red pepper flakes, oregano, anchovy paste and bring to a simmer.
3. While the liquid is simmering, lightly mash the tomatoes. Once the chicken stock mixture has reduced by half, add the tomatoes and 1/2 cup of the tomato juices.
5. Cook for 5 minutes.
6. Add the shrimp, pickled pepper and brine. Cook until shrimp are pink and cooked through.
7. Garnish with parsley and basil. Add salt and pepper to taste.


I changed the recipe up a little bit for the sake of time. The original calls for browning the shrimp shells and then simmering them in the wine. That would create more of a seafood/brine flavor and the way I chose to do it lessened that. You could easily add in a clam juice or reduce the juice from the canned tomatoes if that was the flavor you were looking for and didn't have time to simmer the shells either. 

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Crock Pot Maple Chile Pork

You know what? Pork cooked in the crock pot is not easy to photograph on its own. It's much easier when you're going the pulled pork sandwich route and piling that porky goodness on top of a bun. But regular old shredded pork? Not so much.

So work with me a little bit and pretend that these are at least decent pictures. I can tell you though, that the taste more makes up for its less than stellar photography skills.


Crock Pot Maple Chili Pork
Source: A Year of Slow Cooking
Servings: 4
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Ingredients:
    • 2 lbs. pork tenderloin, quartered
    • 2 tbsp. all natural maple syrup
    • 1 tbsp. chile pepper sauce (see below)
    • 1 tsp. five-spice powder
    • salt and pepper 
    Chile Pepper Sauce:
    • 1 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes
    • 2 garlic cloves, minced
    • 1 tsp. white vinegar
    • 1/2 tsp. coconut palm sugar
Directions:
1. Place the quartered pork in a 4 quart slow crock pot.
2. Combine the maple syrup, chile pepper sauce, five spice powder, salt and pepper. Pour over the pork.
3. Cook on low for 7-8 hours.

I was really concerned about cooking pork tenderloin for that long in the crock pot because with little fat on it, it tends to dry out very quickly. I was pleasantly surprised to find that it was still very moist and cooked perfectly. In a way, it was slightly overdone since I couldn't pull the quartered pieces out without them starting to shred on their own, but taste wise you couldn't tell at all.

*If you don't wish to make your own Chile Pepper Sauce, you can use Sambal Oelek, but it is not Paleo since it contains sugar. ** Most people in the Paleo lifestyle consider coconut palm sugar as an alternative to other sugars and will still use it, even if it is 'sugar'.



Monday, November 10, 2014

Pumpkin Roll Cake

Making a cake into a log will always be intimidating I think. I got the cake part down and I even know what type of towel to use and how much powdered sugar to put down so the cake doesn't stick, but for some unknown reason I almost always get a break in my cake in the first roll over.

One day I'll get this right, but until then you'll just have to enjoy pumpkin roll cake. Terrible fate, huh?


Pumpkin Roll Cake
Source: All Recipes Magazine, Oct/Nov 2014
Servings: 9
Printer Friendly

Ingredients:
    • 3/4 cup all purpose flour
    • 2 tsp. cinnamon
    • 1 tsp. baking powder
    • 1/2 tsp. salt
    • 1/4 tsp. nutmeg
    • 3 eggs
    • 1 cup sugar
    • 2/3 cup pumpkin puree
    • 1 tsp. lemon juice
    • 1 cup walnuts, finely chopped
    • 6 oz. cream cheese, softened
    • 4 tbsp. unsalted butter, softened
    • 1 cup powdered sugar, plus more for dusting
    • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
Directions:
1. Preheat oven to 375. Spray or grease a jelly roll pan (15x10 rimmed baking sheet). Line with parchment paper and spray or grease that. Sprinkle with flour and shake to coat all of the parchment paper.
2. Combine the flour, cinnamon, baking powder, salt and nutmeg together in a small bowl.
3. In the bowl of your stand mixer (or with an electric mixer) beat the eggs on high speed for 5 minutes, then slowly beat in the sugar until the mixture is a pale yellow color. Add in the pumpkin and lemon juice.
4. Add the flour mixture to the mixer a little at a time until fully combined.
5. Pour batter onto the prepared jelly roll pan and spread smooth with a spatula. Sprinkle chopped walnuts evenly over the batter.
6. Bake for 15 minutes or until the cake springs back when lightly touched.
7. Dust a large linen or cotton kitchen towel with powdered sugar. Loosen the cake edges with a knife and quickly invert over the towel. Peel off the parchment paper and quickly roll the cake up in the towel starting with the short end. Allow to cool for at least 1 hour.
8. Beat the cream cheese and butter together on medium speed. Once combined, slowly add in the powdered sugar and vanilla. If frosting is too sweet at a pinch of salt.
9. Carefully unroll the cake and spread the cream cheese frosting almost to the edges of the cake. Roll up again and chill until ready to serve.

If the ends of your cake aren't pretty, slice off a thin layer with a serrated knife before serving.


Saturday, November 8, 2014

Girl's Night Menu

My friend Shannon suggested that we have a old-school girls night one evening soon. We ended up choosing today and I offered to host so I could plan another menu. The last thing I really need to be doing is planning another menu when my Thanksgiving one isn't fully prepared yet, but my priorities aren't always in line.

I'm assuming we're going to spend the night watching movies, eating junk food and talking. This menu probably wasn't my most genius invention to create during a Whole 30 since I can't enjoy most of it, but at least it allows me to use up some extra stuff in the freezer I otherwise wouldn't be able to make, right?

Girl's Night Menu 

veggies and dip
pulled pork nachos
fruit salad
brownies 

Shannon is bringing the veggies and dip and Kayleigh offered to make brownies. I have mac and cheese in the freezer and the soft pretzel bites so I should be able to pull it all together rather quickly. 

I am most looking forward to the pulled pork nachos, which I saw being made last week on the Cooking Channel. I'll have to edit the recipe a bit to make them without sugar but otherwise I think I'll do okay with just the veggies, pulled pork (in a lettuce cup for me) and the fruit salad. 

Friday, November 7, 2014

OUAT: Dwarf Dip (Spinach Dip)

This will be the final Once Upon A Time recipe that I'm sharing with you. I did make others, but not everything turned out nice enough to photograph the first time around so I'll just have to make some of these again without the OUAT theme.

The Seven Dwarves are a part of Once Upon A Time just as they are in the story of Snow White. In this version, you learn that there was actually an eighth dwarf that died an untimely death. You also find out that dwarves are hatched from eggs and do not know what love is. Their names are given to them when they first touch their pick axe. In the case of Grumpy, you find that their names can change. The dwarves make friends with Snow White when she is on the run from the evil queen and even give Prince Charming a hard time when he and Snow finally get together.

In Storybrooke, the dwarves are basically handymen, skilled in just about everything from crops, mining and electricity.

This dip really has nothing to do with dwarves, but since it's a spinach dip I decided dwarves would eat spinach dip for strength, just like Popeye would. And since they are dwarves, who are kind of rustic, it would only make sense that they would eat their spinach dip in a pumpernickel bread bowl.



Dwarf Dip (Spinach Dip)
Source: Knorr Recipes
Servings: 10
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Ingredients:
    • 10 oz. box chopped spinach
    • 16 oz. container sour cream
    • 1 cup mayo
    • 1 package Knorr vegetable recipe mix
    • 1 pumpernickel bread bowl
    • crackers or vegetables, for dipping
Directions:
1. Thaw spinach and cook according to package directions. Drain excess water and let cool.
2. Whisk together sour cream, mayo and vegetable recipe mix in a large bowl until well combined, then stir in the cooked spinach.
3. Let dip cool for 2 hours.
4. Cut a large circle in the top of the bread bowl, leaving a 1-inch rim. Use a spoon to dig out the inside of the bowl so all of the dip will fit inside. Cut up or tear pieces of the scooped out bread to use for dipping.
5. Transfer the chilled spinach mix into the bread bowl and put on a plate with bread pieces and additional crackers or vegetables for dipping.

There are many ways to make this recipe and you can decide on how much effort you want to put into making your version. This is the most involved, aside from making your own bread bowl (which is totally a possibility). You could also purchase a frozen spinach dip, cook that and then serve in the bread bowl, or if you wanted to put the least amount of effort into it, there is a rather tasty spinach dip served in a jar in the chip section. Just saying...



Thursday, November 6, 2014

OUAT: Belle's Bookies (Brownie Cookies)

In the show, Belle is one of the few characters that kept her name in both the Enchanted Forest and Storybrooke. There was a bit of a time where she went by the name of Lacey, but that had to do to a memory spell put on her by Regina.

Belle's story somewhat follows the typical story of Beauty and the Beast, where in this case, Rumplestiltskin also serves as the beast. Her father needs Rumple's help for a war (I think?) and the trade is that she comes to be his maid. Almost from the beginning Belle realizes that Rumple is not quite the monster he appears to be and tries to bring out the good in him. Being Rumple, he is not willing to give in to the lighter side of things and prefers to hold on to the darkness and his magic. They have a very rocky relationship throughout the seasons.

Like in the story, Belle is known to be a bookworm which made this recipe all too fitting. I know they're called "bookies" because they're a combination of brownies and cookies, but it was just perfect that they also played to one of her biggest interests. In Storybrooke, Belle is the librarian.



Belle's Bookies
Source: various Pinterest images
Servings: 16
Printer Friendly

Ingredients:
Directions:
1. Follow brownie box directions to preheat oven.
2. Prepare brownie batter and spread into a 9x13 baking dish.
3. Drop rounded teaspoons of chocolate chip cookie dough over the brownie mix.
4. Bake according to box directions (usually 28-32 minutes).
5. Use a cookie cutter to cut out circles of bookies.



You can't go wrong with a cookie baked into a brownie, ever.