Firecracker Chicken

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Ah, finally. The recipe that eluded me for close to a month before I was finally able to make it. To be honest, I was getting kind of embarrassed typing it on the menu each week. I knew I needed to make it on a Sunday because it needed to bake for an hour.

The first Sunday I wasn't feeling well and it ended up being a fend for yourself kind of night. The second Sunday, I had come home with a whole pizza the night before that I didn't really want to throw out. I was tired from making the freezer meals that day and Tom said he was fine with eating pizza. So it got put off again.

Last Sunday, I had one of those days in the kitchen where I almost gave up and decided cooking was too dangerous for the evening.

First, I hate coating chicken in cornstarch. Nine times out of ten the chicken becomes gummy. There is a very particular ratio of cornstarch to chicken that I managed to get correct once, by accident. So I opted to use a flour/cornstarch mixture, which honestly isn't any better. So I had my Ziploc bag of flour/cornstarch coated chicken sitting next to the stove with my pan of hot canola oil. I grabbed some chicken pieces with the tongs and as I was moving my hand the 3 inches from the bag to the pan, I heard something clatter on the floor. It was only when I let go of the tongs that I realized it was the screw, holding the tongs together.

Do you know what happens when there isn't a screw to hold tongs together? They entirely fall apart, splashing into the hot oil which managed to take a flying leap out of the pan and land directly on the area of my arm where the cat had decided to scratch me only minutes before.

I wasn't too badly burned, but it was a painful hindrance all the less. I decided to forge on with the meal though.



Firecracker Chicken
Source: The Recipe Critic, adapted from Mel's Kitchen
Servings: 4
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Ingredients:
    • 4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into bite sized pieces 
    • salt and pepper
    • 1/4 cup canola oil
    • 1/2 cup flour
    • 1/2 cup cornstarch 
    • 2 eggs
    • 1/3 cup hot sauce
    • 1 1/4 cup packed brown sugar
    • 1 tbsp. water
    • 2 tsp. apple cider vinegar
    • 1/4 tsp. red pepper flakes
Directions:
1. Preheat the oven to 325. Spray a 9x13 baking dish with non-stick cooking spray.
2. Add canola oil to a large skillet and heat over medium heat.
3. Season the chicken with salt and pepper.
4. Lightly beat the eggs in a shallow dish. In a Ziploc bag, combine the flour and cornstarch together.
5. Coat the chicken pieces in the egg, then coat with the flour/cornstarch mixture.
6. Place the chicken in the skillet and cook for 2-3 minutes until its browned on all sides then transfer to the prepared baking dish.
7. In a small bowl, combine the hot sauce, brown sugar, water, apple cider vinegar and red pepper flakes. Pour over the chicken and stir to coat all of the pieces.
8. Place the chicken in the oven and bake for 1 hour, tossing the chicken every 15 minutes to coat with sauce.
9. Serve over rice.



Well, at least the chicken was absolutely delicious to make up for the burns on my arms. I really, really enjoyed this dish. It provided just enough heat and spice. If you aren't a fan of spicy, you can easily adjust the amount of hot sauce you use.

I plan on making this again, sans injuries hopefully. 

Green Eggs and Ham Frittata

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I rarely have time to make breakfast during the week that is anything more substantial than a pre-made muffin, oatmeal or a parfait so anytime I get a craving for breakfast food, I plan a night to make it for dinner.

This was no exception, other than I had somehow managed to miss the large carton of eggs in the fridge and ended buying another one. I needed a relatively quick recipe that could use up a lot of those eggs at once, and it never hurts when the recipe is healthy too!



Green Eggs & Ham Frittata
Source: Eating Well, March/April 2010
Servings: 6
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Ingredients:
    • 8 eggs
    • 2 tbsp. olive oil
    • 4 green onions, diced
    • 5 oz. baby spinach, chopped
    • 1/2 cup cooked ham, diced
    • 3/4 cup shredded Muenster cheese
    • salt and pepper 
Directions:
1. Preheat the oven to 450.
2. Whisk the eggs together with salt and pepper in a medium bowl.
3. In a large ovenproof non-stick skillet, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the green onions and cook for 1 minute. Then add the spinach and ham and cook, stirring frequently, until the spinach is wilted.
4. Pour the egg mixture into the skillet and cook, lifting the edges so the uncooked eggs can flow through. Sprinkle with the cheese.
5. Transfer the skillet to the oven and bake for 6-8 minutes. Let rest for 5 minutes before serving.


I had to make some adjustments to this recipe, since I couldn't find dill or leeks at the store, but overall I thought it still turned out pretty well. Of course, Tom was upset that they weren't actual green eggs in the recipe. I guess you can't win them all. 

Parmesan Roasted Fingerling Potatoes

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Pretty much since we started going to Wegman's I always stopped by the table which held these cute little packaged bags of fingerling potatoes, but I never picked them up.

I noticed that I kind of cook in trends. When I first started cooking, potatoes were my main side dish. It was rare if we didn't have mashed, roasted or baked potatoes more than once in a week. Now I hardly cook with potatoes anymore and tend to gravitate towards rice and pasta as starchy side dish. I never got sick of potatoes, so I really have no idea why this happened.

But the last time I was planning out recipes for the week, a potato recipe caught my eye. It called for baby dutch or fingerling potatoes. I specifically planned out the rest of the menu and our shopping trip to be at Wegman's to pick up these potatoes. And when I got there, there was a bag of mixed white, red and purple fingerling potatoes and a bag of white baby potatoes. The pretty colors of the mixed potatoes just called to me.



Parmesan Roasted Fingerling Potatoes
Source: Blissfully Delicious
Servings: 4
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Ingredients:
    • 1 1/2 lb. fingerling potatoes, halved
    • 3 large garlic cloves, minced
    • 2 tbsp. olive oil
    • 1 tbsp. kosher salt
    • 2 tbsp. fresh parsley, chopped
    • 3 tbsp. fresh grated Parmesan
Directions:
1. Preheat the oven to 450. Line a large rimmed baking sheet with foil and spray lightly with non-stick cooking spray.
2. Place potatoes in a large bowl. Add garlic, olive oil and salt and toss to coat. Pour onto the prepared baking sheet in an even layer.
3. Bake for 15 minutes, then toss and bake for another 15 minutes or until potatoes are browned and fork tneder.
4. Transfer to a serving platter and sprinkle with parsley and Parmesan.



Happy, happy things happen in your mouth you when eat these potatoes. They have the crispy outer shell, a soft center and the Parmesan gives a salty cheesy bite. I could have easily had a plate of these for dinner and nothing else. Actually, I think I might do that sometime.

While I was slicing the potatoes, I kept thinking how pretty and vibrant the purple potatoes are. They got darker while cooking and I really wish I'd taken a picture before I cooked them to share that color with you. 

Old Bay Burgers

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A couple of weeks ago, ground beef was on sale. This was also at the time where I was in a freezer-meal making kind of craze and filled our entire freezer with meals. This just so happens to be one of the recipes that I made.

Burgers, even not previously made, are a pretty quick weeknight meal, especially if you have an indoor grill like a Foreman or a griddler. Sure, you don't get that delicious charcoal flavor, but they are pretty convenient and most even have easy clean up with removable plates.

I always search for new burger recipes to try, but this one I came up with just because I happened to have the Old Bay sitting on the counter next to the ground beef. Both ingredients were parts of separate meals, but it just made too much sense to combine them.



Old Bay Burgers
Source: A Cookaholic Wife Creation
Servings: 6
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Ingredients:
    • 1 1/2 lbs. ground beef
    • 1 small onion, diced
    • 1 slice of bread, torn into tiny pieces
    • 1 egg, lightly beaten
    • 3 tbsp. Old Bay seasoning
    • 3 tbsp. fresh parsley, chopped
    • 1 tsp. prepared mustard
    • 1 tsp. Worcestershire sauce 
Directions:
1. Combine all of the ingredients together in a large bowl.
2. Form into 6 evenly sized patties.
To Freeze: Wrap each patty in a sheet of wax paper and place on a baking sheet. Flash freeze for one hour, then transfer to a sealable bag, discarding wax paper. Can be stored for 3 months.
To Cook Immediately: Heat a grill to high heat. Place the burgers on the grill and cook for 3-4 minutes on each side or until cooked through.
To Cook from Frozen: Place burgers in the refrigerator up to 24 hours before you want to cook them. Allow them to fully thaw before grilling as listed above.



You could probably go even heavier on the Old Bay seasoning in these burgers. The flavor didn't come through as nicely as I expected it to, but they were still really tasty burgers. I served them topped with a slice of American cheese, lettuce and tomato. 

S'Mores Brownies

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I made these to take to my mom's house on Saturday and my friend Shannon has been talking about them on Facebook ever since. Her son really, really liked them. So I've had quite a few people inquire as to what s'mores brownies are.

Not wanting to keep the masses (haha, yeah right) waiting, I decided I would share these with you right away.



S'Mores Brownies
Source: Stick a Fork In It as seen on Prevention RD
Servings: 16
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Ingredients:
    • 1 family-sized box brownie mix
    • (brownie ingredients: eggs, water, oil)
    • 2 cups mini marshmallows
    • 5 graham crackers, crumbled
    • 1 pack of 8 snack-sized hershey bars
Directions:
1. Preheat oven to 350. Spray an 8x8 baking dish with non-stick cooking spray.
2. Prepare and bake brownies according to package directions.
3. Set the oven to broil.
4. Sprinkle the mini marshmallows over the brownies in an even layer. Top with the crumbled graham crackers. Break each snack-sized Hershey bar into blocks and place on top of the marshmallows.
5. Broil for 30 seconds -2 minutes or until marshmallows are lightly toasted.
6. Let cool slightly, then cut into bars.



These are really delicious. A little hard to cut through, but totally worth it in the end. I made these in a 9x13 dish like the recipe called for, but I ended up with really thin and flat brownies. I think I'd prefer an 8x8 better, but its really up to you and your brownie preferences. 

Weekly Menu 8/25 - 8/30

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I have been the queen of procrastination this weekend. We went to my mom's yesterday and I knew about it way in advance, yet what did I do all weekend? Friday we went to the grocery store and I should have gotten some of the cleaning done, but I was tired. Saturday morning before going to my mom's I did manage to clean. I did have to make a pot of impromptu crab soup last night, but that is another story.

Today, I knew that I had nothing blogged for the week, a time consuming dinner scheduled for today and nothing baked. So what did I do? I went to the pool for 2 hours, read a book for an hour, took a leisurely shower, and messed around on the internet. So here it is, almost 7 PM and I've only started dinner and still have nothing blogged.

I'd also like to go to the beach next weekend even though its Labor Day weekend and should be incredibly nightmarish with traffic. We've only been once so I figure I might as well use this last three day weekend wisely, right?

Sunday - Firecracker chicken over rice with corn on the cob

Monday - Maryland Crab Soup

Tuesday - Rum and Spice Glazed Pork with baked potatoes and green beans

Wednesday - Queso Nachos

Thursday - Chicken Fajitas with Jalapeno Cream Cheese Rice

Friday - Pizza 

Yes, that is the same firecracker chicken that has been on the menu for like a month now. However, its currently in the oven so at least you know I've stopped just adding it to the list. The nachos are also a repeat (again) even though I did make them last week. Just, we really liked them and they weren't picture worthy so I decided to try again.

Breakfast this week is another round of green smoothies and lunch is a spicy basil beef salad.

I had intended to make whoopie pies, but got as far as making the cookies. So we just have 2 dozen cookies instead. I also planned on a peach galette but that didn't work out either, so we're lacking in the desserts department this weekend! 

Recipe Swap: Roasted Veggie and Orzo Salad

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The theme for this recipe swap is summer salads. As I've said probably a hundred times in the years I've been blogging, it bothers me that every summer I find tons and tons of salad recipes I want to make, but I always have to make them just for me because Tom isn't interested in eating them.

Instead of halving recipes, like potato or macaroni salad, I tend to just not make them, which is why I really like when swaps like this come along. It forces me into making something I typically wouldn't. Since this is a refrigerated dish, I decided to halve the recipe and have it for lunches this week.

This recipe comes from Stacey, one of the members on our cooking board. She has a blog, but I'm guessing she just hadn't had a chance to share this recipe there yet, so no links.



Roasted Veggie and Orzo Salad
Source: Stacey, adapted from Veranda Interiors
Servings: 4
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Ingredients:
    • 1 red pepper, diced
    • 1 red onion, diced
    • 1 zucchini, diced
    • 1 eggplant, diced
    • 1 tsp. garlic powder
    • salt and pepper
    • 2 tbsp. olive oil 
    • 4 oz. orzo
    • 1/2 cup pine nuts, toasted
    • fresh basil, thinly sliced
    Dressing:
    • 1 1/2 tbsp. olive oil
    • 1 1/2 tbsp. pesto 
    • 1 tbsp. red wine vinegar
    • 1 tbsp. lime juice
Directions:
1. Preheat the oven to 425. Line a baking sheet with foil.
2. Dice all vegetables to evenly sized pieces and place in a large bowl. Add olive oil, garlic powder, salt and pepper and toss to coat. Spread out vegetables evenly onto the prepared baking sheet.
3. Roast vegetables for 35-45 minutes, tossing every 10-15 minutes.
4. Meanwhile, cook the orzo according to package directions.
5. Prepare the dressing by whisking together all ingredients in a small bowl. Pour over hot orzo.
6. Stir roasted vegetables into orzo. Refrigerate until ready to serve.
7. Plate salad and top with garnish with toasted pine nuts and fresh basil.

The recipe also calls for feta or goat cheese to be added before serving, but I completely forgot to pick any up. I did have a little bit of fresh mozzarella left over that I added to the salad one day which was a nice addition as well.

I actually preferred this recipe warm to cold, but it was still good both ways. Like Stacey said, you could easily add some grilled chicken or shrimp to this to make it a full meal. 

Blueberry Banana Oat Muffins

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A large container of blueberries happened to be on sale at the grocery store and they were just too tempting to pass up. I'm not a fan of plain blueberries on their own, but I absolutely love baking with them in the summer. I had nothing planned when I picked them up, but some bananas also caught my eye at the store and I figured there had to be a good combination of these two ingredients somewhere out there.

As I was putting away groceries in the pantry, my eyes fell on the bag of rolled oats sitting all alone in the back of the pantry. It had been quite some time since I had used oats in anything and I immediately knew I wanted to make an oat muffin with blueberries and bananas.



Blueberry Banana Oat Muffins
Adapted from: All Recipes
Servings: 12
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Ingredients:
    • 1 cup whole wheat flour
    • 1 cup all purpose flour
    • 1 cup rolled oats
    • 1 tbsp. baking powder
    • 1/2 tsp. baking soda
    • 1/2 tsp. cinnamon 
    • 1/2 tsp. ground ginger
    • 3 ripe bananas, mashed
    • 1 egg
    • 1 cup brown sugar
    • 4 oz. unsweetened applesauce 
    • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
Directions:
1. Preheat the oven to 350. Line a muffin pan with liners.
2. In a large bowl, combine flours, oats, baking powder, baking sofa, cinnamon and ginger.
3. In a medium bowl, whisk bananas, egg, brown sugar, applesauce and vanilla until fully combined.
4. Stir the wet ingredients into the dry with a wooden spoon until combined, but lumpy.
5. Divide the batter into the muffin pan.
6. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
7. Transfer to a wire rack to let cool completely.



I accidentally made these in a cupcake pan instead of a muffin pan which is why they are so short, but they turned out delicious all the same. 

Asian Spaghetti and Meatballs

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When I saw this recipe my first thought was "well that's an interesting combination". Spaghetti and meatballs is obviously a pretty classic Italian (and American) dish that we're all very familiar with, but just like sausage, meatballs are a common recipe among many difficult cuisines.

So why this was the first recipe I found with an Asian take on it is beyond me, but I am definitely glad I found it as it was a nice combination of your traditional Asian stir-fry and your traditional red spaghetti sauce and meatballs.


Asian Spaghetti and Meatballs
Source: Elly Says Opa
Servings: 6
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Ingredients:
Meatballs:
    • 1 lb. ground pork
    • 1/3 cup Panko
    • 2 green onions, sliced
    • 2 cloves garlic, minced
    • 1 egg
    • 1 1/2 tbsp. soy sauce
    • 1 tbsp. fresh ginger, minced
    • pinch of crushed red pepper
    Sauce:
    • 2/3 cup chicken broth
    • 1/3 cup soy sauce
    • 2 tbsp. oyster sauce
    • 1 tsp. Sambal Oelek (chile paste)
    • 1 tbsp. cornstarch 
    Pasta and Veggies:
    • 1 lb. lo-mein noodles
    • 2 tbsp. canola oil 
    • 1 bunch green onions, sliced (greens and whites separated)
    • 8 oz. sugar snap peas, trimmed
    • 8 oz. oyster mushrooms, sliced
    • 1 red pepper, diced
    • 3 cloves garlic, minced
    • 2 tsp. fresh ginger, grated
    • 1 tbsp. toasted sesame oil 
Directions:
1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Line a baking sheet with foil and top with a wire rack. Spray the rack with non-stick cooking spray.
2. In a large bowl combine the ingredients for the meatballs and form into 20-25 meatballs. Place each meatball on the wire rack.
3. Bake for 12-15 minutes or until cooked through.
4. Meanwhile, combine the sauce ingredients in a small bowl. Set aside.
5. Prepare the lo-mein noodles according to package directions. Drain and set aside.
6. Heat the canola oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the whites of the green onions, peas, mushrooms, pepper, garlic and ginger. Cook for 5-7 minutes or until vegetables are tender-crisp.
7. Add the sauce to the skillet and stir frequently until it begins to thicken, then stir in the sesame oil.
8. Stir in the noodles and serve noodles and vegetables with meatballs on top. Garnish with the green onions.

I know this looks like a lot of ingredients and a lot of steps, but this came together fairly quickly. If you needed it for a quick weeknight meal, you could easily assemble the meatballs (and even cook them) beforehand. The lo-mein noodles cook in just a few minutes as do the vegetables, so the meatballs are really the longest and most time consuming part of this dish.

I really like the way all of the flavors paired together.



Peach Crumb Bars

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The smell of ripe peaches in the grocery store will stop me in my tracks. I rarely each peaches alone, since it's not what I call a work-friendly fruit. I don't like the skin, so I have to remove that, plus peach juice dripping down your chin isn't necessarily something a look you want to share with your coworkers. But baking with peaches? I'm all over that. 

As proof by this recipe, and all of the others I've made. 


Peach Crumb Bars
Source: Macaroni and Cheesecake as seen on Smitten Kitchen
Servings: 16-20
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Ingredients:
Crumb Mixture:
    • 3 cups all purpose flour
    • 1 cup sugar
    • 1 tsp. baking soda
    • 1/4 tsp. salt
    • 1 egg
    • 2 sticks butter, cold 

    Filling:

    • 1/2 cup sugar
    • 4 tsp. cornstarch
    • 1/2 tsp. vanilla 
    • 1/4 tsp. apple pie seasoning 
    • 4 large peaches, peeled and diced 
Directions:
1. Preheat the oven to 375. Spray a 9x13 baking dish with non-stick cooking spray.
2. Prepare the crumb mixture by combining the flour, sugar, baking soda and salt into a large bowl. Use a pastry cutter to cut in the butter and eggs until the mixture is coarse and crumbly. If necessary, use your hands to reach the desired texture.
3. Press half of the mixture into the prepared dish.
4. In a medium bowl, combine the sugar, cornstarch, vanilla and apple pie seasoning.
5. Add in the peaches and toss to coat.
6. Spread the peach mixture evenly into the pan.
7. Top with the remaining crumb mixture and bake for 45-50 minutes, or until lightly golden.
8. Cool completely on a wire rack. Transfer to the refrigerator to chill before slicing into squares.


I think my peaches were more on the medium size than large. Unfortunately this means you can't see that delicious middle layer of gorgeous baked peaches as well as you could have had I used larger (or more) peaches. You'll just need to believe me when I tell you that the peach flavor still came through nicely. I would like to re-make this dish and double the amount of peaches just to see if it makes it even better.

This post linked at: Inside BruCrew Life

Skinny Poolside Dip

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It's kind of ironic to be typing up a poolside dip recipe while its gray with a 60% chance of rain today. However, when I made this dish a few weekends ago, it was a perfectly nice and sunny summer day.

I made this to take to my mom's house when she was having a bunch of people over. Even though it is a skinny dip, I didn't want to make this to keep at home since I'd be the only one to eat it.


Skinny Poolside Dip
Barely Adapted From: Buns in my Oven
Servings: 8-10
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Ingredients:
    • 1 brick reduced fat or fat free cream cheese, at room temperature
    • 1 packet ranch seasoning 
    • 1 jalapeno, minced
    • 1 red pepper, finely diced
    • 15 oz. canned corn, drained
    • 7 oz. black beans, rinsed and drained 
    • crackers, baby carrots, celery, etc. for dipping


Directions:
1. In a large bowl combine the cream cheese and ranch seasoning. Stir until fully combined, then stir in red pepper, jalapeno, corn and black beans.
2. Serve immediately or allow to sit in the refrigerate until ready to serve. The longer this dip sits, the more water the vegetables will release, making it creamier.



This is SO good! I enjoyed quite a bit of this poolside, with some carrots and celery. The crackers I used were one of the healthier Special K varieties, trying to keep in tune with the "skinny" part of the dip.

You could just as easily make this with a full fat cream cheese but while sitting in a bathing suit, I like to at least pretend I eat healthy 100% of the time.


Sweet Anne Designs - Sweet Sharing Monday 

Weekly Menu 8/18 - 8/22

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So I've kind of given up on making dinners on Friday nights. Out of the 4 that I've planned, we've ate one and only because I didn't do any of my usual stuff that night like clean or go to the grocery store. Since that's a pretty pathetic track record, I'm putting Friday night dinners on a hiatus until the winter when maybe I'll be more interested in eating dinner than running to the store. You know, since it will be cold and dark and I hate winter.

This week is going to have two repeats of previous recipes because I never got to make them. The chicken, because we got home too late from the beach last weekend (not exactly a bad thing) and had Taco Bell for dinner (a very bad thing for the waist line) and the nachos because they were planned for a Friday and you know how that's been going and also because after eating those incredible queso burgers, I thought the same sauce on top of nachos would just be damn heavenly.

Sunday - Firecracker Chicken over Rice 

Monday - Rum and Spice Glazed Pork with Baked Potatoes and Green Beans

Tuesday - Old Bay Burgers, Corn on the Cob, Fries

Wednesday - Jerk Shrimp & Pineapple Skewers with Jalapeno Rice 

I'm sticking with the green smoothies for breakfast this week and lunch will be a salad and some soup.

I'm also making a blueberry coffee cake and possibly some fudgesicles, depending on the space in the freezer.

I made another batch of freezer meals (and again, forgot to take pictures) which included:


  • honey chipotle turkey meatballs
  • zesty turkey burgers
  • Asian turkey burgers
  • cranberry Dijon pork tenderloin
  • herbs de provence chicken 
  • stewed chicken 
  • bloody Mary flank steak
When blogged all of the recipes will include freezer instructions, but once I get a few of them made I'll do a recap post with multiple recipes. I've made a few from the first batch of freezer meals, but not everything turned out nicely enough to blog. :( 

Improv Challenge: Baked Chocolate Doughnuts with Vanilla Glaze

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When I received the email from Kristen saying that our time frame for the Improv Challenge this month was a short one, my first thought was "uh oh!" I typically make my recipe the first week of the month but I completely forgot about it. Then we spend this past weekend at the beach and didn't get home until Sunday evening.

But I really really wanted to participate in this challenge, so I decided I would make my recipe Sunday night after we got home from the beach. I had muffins to make for breakfast, so what was another recipe?

Delicious. That's what it was. But first let me back up. I've gained some new readers recently so I figured it only time to make sure you're aware of what the Improv Challenge is. So, Kristen, our lovely leader created this challenge where each month we have two ingredients, which typically follow a theme. We can make any recipe that we want including these two ingredients and then we all share it on the same day at the same time via a link up. Cool, huh?

The two ingredients for this month were chocolate and vanilla. I know, most people immediately think of ice cream or cookies, but I wanted to make something different. Something I hadn't made in a while. Something where I could let both ingredients shine.

And then I remembered that way back in March on a visit to DC, I purchased a full-sized doughnut pan from Sur La Table and I'd never used it! I immediately went on the hunt for a doughnut recipe. I found a few yeast-based ones that were really tempting, but I just didn't have the time for that kind of doughnut for this challenge. Then I found these doughnuts which fit my time requirements perfectly.



Baked Chocolate Doughnuts
Source: Buns in My Oven
Servings: 1 dozen
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Ingredients:
    • 6 tbsp. sour cream
    • 1/4 cup milk
    • 1/8 cup vegetable oil
    • 1/8 cup unsweetened applesauce
    • 1 egg
    • 1/2 tsp. vanilla bean paste (or vanilla extract)
    • 1 cup flour
    • 1/2 cup sugar
    • 1/4 cup cocoa powder
    • 1/4 cup mini chocolate chips
    • 1/2 tsp. baking soda
Directions:
1. Preheat the oven to 375. Spray a doughnut pan with non-stick cooking spray.
2. In a medium bowl, combine sour cream, milk, vegetable oil, applesauce, egg and vanilla.
3. In a larger bowl, combine flour, sugar, cocoa powder, chocolate chips and baking soda. Use a wooden spoon to stir the wet ingredients in to the dry until just combined.
4. Fill each section of the doughnut pan a little less than full.
5. Bake for 8 minutes or until the tops spring back when touched. Let cool in the pan a few minutes before turning out onto a wire rack to continue cooling.

Vanilla Doughnut Glaze
    • 1/2 stick unsalted butter
    • 1 1/2 cup powdered sugar
    • 2 tsp. vanilla bean paste (or vanilla extract)
    • 2-3 tbsp. evaporated milk
    • sprinkles, if desired
1. In a small saucepan, melt the butter over low heat. Then whisk in powdered sugar and vanilla until smooth. Add in the evaporated milk 1 tablespoon at a time until the glaze reaches your desired consistency.
2. Dip doughnuts directly into the glaze, quickly turn counterclockwise and lift up to let any excess glaze drip off. Add sprinkles if desired. Place on a plate to let the glaze fully set.



I probably should have went with a vanilla doughnut with a chocolate glaze in order for you to better see how I used both ingredients of the challenge, but these were delicious all the same.

Vanilla bean paste is something I finally picked up at Wegman's. It's on the expensive side, but its more concentrated than vanilla extract (and you can still see the flecks from the bean) and when you compare the price of a vanilla bean to the paste, it's more than worth the cost. 

Queso Burgers

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Have you ever had recipe that was so good you just wanted to throw all manners and etiquette out the window and just stick your face directly into it? No? Well, you might want to give these burgers a try to see if that changes your mind.

I saw this recipe and couldn't hardly wait to make them. Queso + burgers. How could you go wrong?



Queso Burgers
Source: The Recipe Critic
Servings: 6
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Ingredients:
    • 1 1/2 lbs. ground beef
    • salt and pepper
    • 10 oz. can Rotel 
    • 6 oz. Velveeta cheese, cut into pieces
    • 6 hamburger buns
    • Optional: lettuce, tomato 
Directions:
1. Preheat a grill to high heat. Form the ground beef into 6 patties and season both sides with salt and pepper.
2. Add Rotel and Velveeta cheese to a small saucepan over low heat. Stir with a wooden spoon until melted, about 5 minutes.
3. Place the patties on the grill and grill for 3-4 minutes on each side or until cooked through.
4. Spoon desired amounts of queso sauce on to each burger bun, top with the burger and any additional condiments like lettuce and tomato.



The lettuce and tomato is completely not necessary on this burger. I honestly feel like it gets in the way of the incredibly tasty queso. If you are a big queso fan and are serving fries with this burger, I'd add in a little more Velveeta so you can have some extra queso to pour over your fries. It probably wouldn't be a bad idea to toast your burger buns before piling them high with queso as well.

Oh, and make sure you have plenty of napkins in the house before serving this recipe. Silly me also served corn on the cob with this, so it was one of the messiest (but best) meals we've had in quite a while. 

Shrimp Tacos with Corn Salsa

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We had some leftover shrimp in the freezer and I was going through my recipe binder looking for a quick recipe I could make. I came across this and immediately knew it was what I wanted to make. I was slightly hesitant to make it because Tom isn't a big fan of avocado, but I figured I could always give him more shrimp and go lighter on the salsa for his tacos.

The best part about this recipe is how quickly it came together. I had broiled the corn and sliced it off the cob the day before and just put it in a bowl in the fridge, which definitely cut down on my prep time. You could also use canned corn and opt not to roast/broil them if you are really short on time.



Shrimp Tacos with Corn Salsa
Source: Cooking Light
Servings: 4
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Ingredients:
    • 2 ears corn on the cob
    • 1 tsp. olive oil
    • 2 tbsp. green onions, thinly sliced
    • 2 tbsp. cilantro, chopped
    • 3 tbsp. lime juice, divided
    • 1 avocado, peeled and chopped
    • salt and pepper
    • 1 lb. shrimp, peeled and deveined
    • 2 tsp. honey
    • 1/4 cup sour cream
    • 8 corn tortillas
Directions:
1. Preheat the oven to broil. Slice the corn kernels off the cob. Toss in a bowl with the olive oil, then place on a foil-lined baking sheet. Broil for 6 minutes or until lightly browned.
2. Transfer corn to a bowl, add green onions, cilantro, 1 tbsp. lime juice and the avocado. Toss to combine. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
3. Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat and spray with non-stick cooking spray.
4. In a medium bowl, combine the honey and a tablespoon of lime juice. Add the shrimp and toss to coat. Place the shrimp in the skillet and cook 1-2 minutes per side or until pink.
5. In a small bowl, combine the last tablespoon of lime juice with sour cream.
6. Warm the corn tortillas in the microwave and assemble the tacos by dividing the shrimp among the tortillas and topping with the corn and avocado salsa. Serve with the sour cream on the side.



Delicious, simple and quick, which has been my kind of meal lately. I really enjoyed these tacos and ate the rest of the corn salsa as a side dish. 

Coconut Chocolate Bars

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The temperatures haven't quite felt like a usual Maryland summer. Typically as soon as July rolls around we get an oppressive amount of humidity that makes it hard to even want to be outside. This typically lingers straight on through mid-August and then we return to a much more normal summer where you can actually stand to be outside.

This year, we've had random breaks in the humidity and lower temperatures that leave you looking at your calendar and saying "nah, it can't be July. It's too cold for that!" So I needed to make something to remind me of the super warm temps we were currently missing and these coconut chocolate bars were a great choice.



Coconut Chocolate Bars
Source: Chef in Training
Servings: 20
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Ingredients:

    • 1 box Devil's Food Cake Mix (dry)
    • 1/3 cup softened unsalted butter
    • 2 eggs, divided
    • 14 oz. can sweetened condensed milk
    • 1/2 tsp. vanilla
    • 1 1/2 cups sweetened shredded coconut, divided
    • 1 cup pecans, chopped
    • 1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
Directions:
1. Preheat the oven to 350.
2. Lightly beat one of the eggs and add it to a large mixing bowl, along with the Devil's Food Cake mix and butter. Mix together until the mixture is crumbly.
3. Press evenly into a 9x13 baking dish.
4. In the bowl of your stand mixer, combine the sweetened condensed milk, vanilla and remaining egg. Beat on low speed for 3 minutes, then add 1 cup coconut, the chopped pecans and chocolate chips.
5. Spread evenly over the cake mixture and then sprinkle with the remaining 1/2 cup of shredded coconut.
6. Bake for 25-30 minutes then cool completely on a wire rack before cutting.



This recipe is so simple and easy to make but has SO much flavor. It's really hard to eat just one of these! I had Tom take some into work and one of his coworkers who is from Trindad said that it reminded him of the islands. I think that's the best compliment you could receive on such a simple and tasty bar like this! 

Weekly Menu 8/11 - 8/16

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This is going to be a short, sweet and to the point post. We came to the beach yesterday and against my usual logic of getting everything done before having fun, I left the apartment dirty and I don't have a single thing blogged to share with you this week. So while Tom is still sleeping, I've stolen his laptop and here I am trying to get as much ready for you as possible.

As I've mentioned before, we hadn't been to the beach at all which was making summer seem really weird. Tom builds computer for fun and his brothers recently died. So Tom built him a computer and we decided to come down here just for the night to drop off the computer.

Realistically, this should have meant that I would spend Friday night cleaning, grocery shopping and getting any blogging or food making done before we came down. So what did I do? Well we went to the grocery store and then I sat on my ass the rest of the night messing around on the internets. Oops?

Anyway, we got here yesterday late morning and Tom set up the computer for his brother. Then we went out on the boat with some of their friends and headed over to a restaurant at Dewey. The place was nice but they weren't pushing out food quickly enough and it was beginning to look like rain. So, some appetizers and a drink later, we headed back out on the boat and returned to brother's house. They started cooking out on the grill and we played Cards Against Humanity for the first time. If you haven't played yet, you need to go purchase the game right away. It's hilarious. We're going to pick one up soon.

After that we headed over to Tom's parents house and met them for dinner at a local place. Then we just talked and I got talked into watching the first episode of Downton Abbey. Looks like I have a new show I'm hooked on!

And onto the menu since I said this would be short.

Sunday - firecracker chicken over rice

Monday - Queso Burgers, Corn on the Cob, Fries/Salad

Tuesday - Dragon Noodles

Wednesday - Jalapeno Quesadillas

Thursday - Garlic Herb Pork Tenderloin, roasted Parmesan fingerling potatoes, garlicky green beans

Friday - Crock Pot Spaghetti and Meatballs

For breakfast this week I'm going to finally jump on the green smoothie train and try those out. Lunches will be prosciutto, peach and mozzarella sandwiches. If I have enough time when we get home today to do any baking, I have some whole wheat cinnamon muffins and baked chocolate doughnuts planned. 

Peach Basil Ice Cream

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August is national peach month! I absolutely love peaches and wish that they were available year-round, but since this isn't the case, I go absolute peach crazy as soon as they start appearing in the stores.

After last months Improv Challenge, I went on a pinning spree marking all of the recipes that I wanted to try. (I think it might have been ALL of them) As we were currently ice cream-less in the freezer I knew I wanted to make this right away.



Peach Basil Ice Cream
Source: Teaspoon of Spice
Servings: ~ 1 quart
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Ingredients:
    • 2 1/2 cups 2% milk
    • 1 tbsp. + 1 tsp. cornstarch
    • 1 1/2 oz. 1/3 less-fat cream cheese, softened
    • 1/4 tsp. sea salt
    • 3/4 cup heavy cream
    • 2/3 cup sugar
    • 1 1/2 tbsp. corn syrup
    • 1/2 cup fresh basil leaves, torn
    • 1 large peach, peeled and chopped
    • fresh peaches, for serving 
Directions:
1. Mix 2 tablespoons of the milk into the cornstarch in a small bowl. Make sure no lumps remain.
2. Whisk cream cheese and salt together in a medium bowl until smooth.
3. Combine the remaining milk, cream, sugar and corn syrup together in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Bring to a rolling boil for 4 minutes, stirring frequently. Remove from the heat and gradually whisk in the cornstarch mixture.
5. Whisk 1/2 cup of the milk mixture into the cream cheese until smooth. Then add remaining milk and basil. Cover tightly with plastic wrap. Use a fork or a knife to make small punctures in the plastic wrap. Refrigerate for 2 hours or until fully chilled.
6. Strain out basil and pour into your ice cream maker. Process according to manufacturers directions.
7. Stir in peaches at the end. Freeze according to directions.
8. Serve topped with fresh peaches.



For whatever reason my peaches didn't completely incorporate into the ice cream. They mainly stayed at the top, which means instead of my OCD method of scooping even layers of ice cream from the top, I have to dig down to actually get some ice cream and now just frozen peaches.

If you are not a huge fan of basil, I would significantly decrease the amount of it in this recipe. The smell of it mixed with the ice cream puts off an odd smell but the flavor isn't really affected. 

Coconut Shrimp with Mango Dipping Sauce

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I used to always find bags of frozen shrimp on sale for really reasonable prices at the grocery store. We used to eat a lot of shrimp because of this. I think at one point we were averaging at least one shrimp dish per week. And then, the sales stopped.

I had a bunch of non-shrimp related recipes to make so I didn't really think anything of it until I needed some shrimp for a recipe and damn near fell over in the store when I saw the price tag. $13 for ONE pound of frozen shrimp? I used to pay that for 2 pounds! Ironically, an internet friend had mentioned the high prices of shrimp as well or I would have thought I was just going crazy.

Then Giant, which I really need to start shopping at again, had 1 lb. bags of frozen shrimp for $8. I know I've mentioned it like 6,000 times here, but good lord do I need a deep freezer! I would have bought out the entire row for that price!



Coconut Shrimp with Mango Dipping Sauce
Source: Brown Eyed Baker
Servings: 4
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Ingredients:
    For the Shrimp:

    • 1 lb. large shrimp, peeled and deveined
    • 1 cup all purpose flour
    • 1/2 tsp. paprika
    • 1/2 tsp. pepper
    • 1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper
    • 1/4 tsp. salt
    • 1/4 tsp. sugar 
    • 2 eggs
    • 1 tbsp. water
    • 1 cup unsweetened shredded coconut
    • 1 cup Panko bread crumbs
    • vegetable oil, for frying

    For the Mango Dipping Sauce:

    • 1 fruit cup diced mango, drained
    • 1/2 cup mayonnaise
    • 2 tbsp. honey
    • handful of fresh cilantro, minced
    • 1 tsp. lemon juice
    • 1-2 tsp. Sriracha (to taste)
Directions:
1. Prepare the mango dipping sauce by combining all ingredients in a food processor or blender and mixing until smooth. Transfer to an airtight container and refrigerate until ready to use.
2. Set  out three shallow dishes. In the first dish, whisk together flour, paprika, pepper, salt and sugar.
3. In the second dish, lightly beat eggs with water. In the third dish, combine the shredded coconut and Panko.
4. Heat the vegetable oil in a large pot over medium-high heat. Attach a thermometer.
5. Place a wire rack over a cookie sheet.
6. Working with a few shrimp at a time, dredge through the flour mixture, shaking off the excess, then dip into the egg mixture. Shake off excess egg and place in the coconut-Panko mixture, pressing gently to ensure it adheres to the shrimp. Place on the wire rack and repeat with remaining shrimp.
7. Once the oil reaches 350 degrees, use tongs to drop half of the shrimp into the oil and fry for 1 minute per side, making sure all shrimp have turned lightly golden brown. Use a slotted spoon to remove shrimp, drained excess oil and return to the wire rack.
8. Repeat with remaining shrimp.
9. Serve along with the chilled mango dipping sauce.



Another thing I've said 6,000 times on here is that I'm not a big fan of fried foods but I sometimes have to give in and make something I know Tom will like. This would be one of those cases. More than the shrimp, I was very hesitant about the sauce because I am not a big mango fan, but I found the sauce to be even better than the shrimp! 

Lighter Creamy Garlic Pasta

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This was incredible.


Cheesy.


Garlicky.


Pasta-y.


And even moderately healthy.

This should become your new number one comfort food. It's better than mac and cheese. Yes, I said it. It's better than mac and cheese. It's better than brownies. It's better than ice cream. Okay, well maybe that is pushing it, but you need to make this.



Lighter Creamy Garlic Pasta
Source: Stephanie Cooks, heavily adapted from The Cheese Pusher
Servings: 4
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Ingredients:
    • 1 tbsp. butter
    • 4 cloves garlic, minced
    • 1 tsp. olive oil
    • pinch of salt and pepper each 
    • 3 cups fat-free low sodium chicken broth
    • 3/4 cup 1% milk
    • 1/2 lb. linguine (angel hair and fettuccine work as well)
    • 1 cup Parmesan cheese, grated
    • fresh parsley, minced
Directions:
1. Heat the butter, garlic and olive oil in a large pot over medium heat. Stir frequently so the garlic doesn't burn.
2. Once the butter has melted fully, add the salt, pepper, chicken broth and milk. Bring to a boil.
3. Add the linguine and allow to cook according to package directions, stirring frequently so the mixture doesn't boil over.
4. Once fully cooked, stir in the cheese then remove from the heat and stir in the parsley.



Okay, so not only is this like the best comfort food ever, but it takes minutes to prepare. I served this along with a Cajun seasoned chicken breast that I cooked on the Griddler and I had dinner done and plated within 30 minutes. Now that is my kind of meal! 

Pineapple Cupcakes with Coconut Cream Cheese Frosting

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I saw an image for a pineapple cupcake on Pinterest and immediate pinned it because I've never had a pineapple cupcake before. Of course, when the time rolled around to actually make the recipe, Pinterest had deleted the link for whatever reason and I couldn't find an actual recipe for it.

I searched for some recipes but didn't find any that looked overly appealing so I decided to create my own recipe. I make a lot of things from scratch and for the most part, I prefer it to be that way. But there are just some times where convenience wins out and in those cases, I keep a few boxes of boxed cupcake mix (the small ones that only make 12 cupcakes) in the pantry. I've never been able to find these in the regular grocery store, only in the Dollar Tree which is kind of weird. But, the expiration dates are far away and the boxes aren't damaged and why wouldn't you spend $1 to make 12 cupcakes?



Pineapple Cupcakes 
Source: A Cookaholic Wife Creation
Servings: 12
Printer Friendly (frosting too)

Ingredients:
    • 9 oz. box yellow cake mix and ingredients to make them
    • 4 canned pineapple rings, minced
Directions:
1. Preheat the oven to 350 or the temperature listed on the box.
2. Line a cupcake pan with 12 paper liners.
3. Combine cake mix and necessary ingredients to form a batter. Divide into the cupcake liners.
4. Drop about 1 tablespoon of the minced pineapple into the center of the cupcake.
5. Bake 16-18 minutes or as directed on the package.
6. Transfer to a wire rack and let cool completely.

Coconut-Cream Cheese Frosting
Adapted from: All Recipes

Ingredients:
    • 8 oz. cream cheese, softened (fat-free works)
    • 2 - 2 1/2 cups powdered sugar
    • 1/2 cup sweetened shredded coconut
    • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
    • 1/2 tsp. salt 
    • 2-3 tbsp. heavy cream 
    • 3 pineapple rings 
Directions:
1. Add the cream cheese to the bowl of your stand mixer. Beat until smooth.
2. Add in the shredded coconut, vanilla and salt. Then add in the powdered sugar 1/2 cup at a time until fully combined.
3. Pour in heavy cream 1 tablespoon at a time to thin out frosting as needed.
4. Transfer frosting to a piping bag fitted with your desired tip.

Pipe frosting onto cupcakes. Slice pineapple rings into quarters and place on top of the frosting. If frosting is too soft, refrigerate cupcakes for 1-2 hours. Only add pineapple quarter before serving.




These were so quick to make and SO summery. I opted not to include toasted coconut on top of the cupcakes as well, but I think it would have been a nice addition. The coconut in the frosting gets a little bit lost and that would have pulled it out nicely.

This post linked at: Tuesday Talent Show, Tuesday's Table and Time to Sparkle

SRC: Chicken Cheesesteak Subs

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When I was a teenager there was a sub shop by our house that made the absolute best chicken cheesesteak subs. I didn't even know that chicken cheesesteaks existed until I had one from there and I was instantly hooked.

The chicken was moist and the sub was super cheesy. Back then, calories didn't matter and I'm pretty sure I had one almost every Friday night that summer. (What a good use of my babysitting money...)

I've never tried to make a chicken cheesesteak at home before, which is a real shame. I wish I would have found this recipe sooner. Actually, I'm glad I found it when I did since I was able to choose and make it for this month's Secret Recipe Club.

I was assigned to Biting Life. Miranda has a lot of healthy recipes and I almost debated on making a smoothie as my recipe for this month, but the ooey gooey-ness of a cheesesteak just won me over. Calories be damned! :-)



Chicken Cheesesteak Subs
Source: Biting Life, as seen on How Sweet Eats
Serving: 6
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Ingredients:
    • 2 lbs. boneless, skinless chicken thighs
    • 2 tbsp. olive oil
    • 1 tsp. salt
    • 1 tsp. pepper
    • 1/2 tbsp. unsalted butter
    • 1/2 tbsp. all purpose flour
    • 2/3 cup half and half
    • 8 oz. white cheddar cheese, shredded or grated, divided 
    • 6 sub rolls
    • lettuce, tomato, caramelized onions
Directions:
1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Cut 6 sheets of foil and place on a baking sheet.
2. Heat a large oven-safe skillet over medium-high heat. Add 1 tablespoon of oil.
3. Meanwhile, season the chicken with salt and pepper. Place the chicken in the skillet and sear for 2-3 minutes per side, until golden.
4. Transfer the skillet to the oven and bake for 15 minutes then remove from the oven. Reduce the temperature to 300.
5. Meanwhile, heat butter in a small saucepan. Whisk in flour until the mixture is golden. Slowly pour in the half and half and stir until bubbling. Reduce the heat to low and stir half in the cheddar cheese until melted.
6. Once the chicken has slightly cooled, shred it.
7. Assemble the sandwich by spreading the cheese sauce on both sides of the roll. Top with shredded chicken, lettuce, tomato, mayonnaise, caramelized onions, and then divide the remaining shredded cheese between the subs.
8. Wrap each sub up in the piece of foil, place on the baking sheet, and bake for 5 minutes.



I know most people eat cheesesteaks with peppers and onions, which I do enjoy, but here they are most commonly served with lettuce, tomato, caramelized/fried onions and hots. I skipped the hots but went the lettuce and mayo route.

I really enjoyed these subs as they were similar to the ones I had as a teenager, but next time I want to try the peppers and onions version. I also didn't bake my subs for as long as directed in the recipe because baked lettuce and tomato just isn't that tasty.


Weekly Menu 8/4 - 8//9

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I have a problem. 


It's kinda serious. 


...



I think I'm addicted to baking. And cooking, but mostly baking. 

Last weekend I spent a few hours in the kitchen making a bunch of freezer meals that we could easily make during the week. This weekend, there was a plan to go over my mom's house yesterday and hang out by the pool. Except, it started raining and my kitchen held me hostage. 

Knowing that I'd be spending today at my mom's and that coming home after a day at the pool leaves me generally useless, I decided I would get everything done yesterday. Except everything kind of snowballed. 

Here is what I made:
  • another loaf of blueberry beer bread for Tom to take to work 
  • banana blueberry oat muffins for breakfast this week
  • ricotta gnocchi and vodka cream sauce for dinner later this week
  • homemade pretzel rolls for dinner that night 
  • coconut chocolate bars
  • pineapple cupcakes with coconut-cream cheese frosting
I wanted to make sorbet, but I found that the freezer is full. That's going to need to wait until next weekend. I also wanted to make potato gnocchi because we have a few potatoes left, but again, there is no room in the freezer for them. 

This is kind of ridiculous. But the even more surprising part is I got the majority of everything made within an hour. The bread, muffins, bars and cupcakes all shared oven space. The vodka cream sauce was simmering away on the stove while I was rolling out the gnocchi and the pretzel rolls were rising while the coconut-cream cheese frosting was being made then piped onto the cupcakes. 

I don't even have a good reason for making all of this stuff other than it looked tasty. Tom sure is going to have a lot of things to bring into work this week...

But speaking of this week, the reason why you are all here, the menu:

Saturday - Bacon Ranch Chicken Burgers with Fries

Sunday - picking up something on the way home 

Monday - Ricotta Gnocchi with Vodka Cream Sauce

Tuesday - Crock Pot Honey Sesame Chicken over Rice with Corn

Wednesday - Shrimp Tacos with Corn Salsa

Thursday - Pineapple Ginger Flank Steak with Stir Fry Veggies and Rice

Friday - Nachos

The banana blueberry oat muffins mentioned above are for breakfast and turkey and cheddar sandwiches are for lunch. 

Since the pretzel rolls take time to make, I opted to make dinner last night and just pick up something today. 

Buttermilk Blueberry Breakfast Cake

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I've never been a fan of raw blueberries but they are my absolute favorite fruit to put into a baked good. They just go so nicely in so many recipes that it's hard not to want to make blueberry everything! 

The blueberries I used for the Blueberry Beer Bread I shared with you on Monday came from the same carton as these. I have this habit of choosing a recipe that uses fresh blueberries and then not using all of them in the recipe. This time it worked out perfectly. 



Buttermilk Blueberry Breakfast Cake
Source: Blissfully Delicious
Servings: 8
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Ingredients:

    • 1 stick unsalted butter, at room temperature
    • zest from 1 lemon
    • 3/4 cup + 2 tablespoons sugar
    • 1 egg, at room temperature
    • 1 tsp. vanilla
    • 2 cups all purpose flour
    • 2 tsp. baking powder
    • 1 tsp. kosher salt
    • 2 cups fresh blueberries
    • 1/2 cup buttermilk 
    • 1 tablespoon sugar


Directions:
1. Preheat oven to 350. Spray a 9x9 or 8x8 baking dish with non-stick cooking spray.
2. In the bowl of your stand mixer with the paddle attachment, cream butter, lemon zest and sugar together until light and fluffy.
3. Add the egg and vanilla and beat until combined.
4. Separate out 1/4 cup of all purpose flour and toss the blueberries in it.
5. In a large bowl, add the remaining flour, baking powder and salt. Add the flour mixture to your stand mixer a little at a time, alternating with the buttermilk, until fully combined. Fold in blueberries with a spatula.
6. Spread batter into the prepared pan. Sprinkle with the tablespoon of sugar.
7. Bake for 35-45 minutes or until golden brown and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Let cool on a wire rack for 15 minutes before serving.


I opted to have this for breakfast last week and it was quite delicious! Probably not the healthiest choice I could have made, but the lemon zest shined through nicely (and always pairs so well with blueberries) and it was really filling.


Peanut Butter Chocolate Banana Muffins

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Words go here.

I type that out when I have a recipe I want to share but can't think of a relatable story to share with you first. I usually save the recipe as a draft and push it out until finally the words come to me. This has sat in my drafts folder for over a month now.

Some would probably say that means I should just scrap the recipe because what is the point in sharing a recipe that doesn't have a story? Others would say, who cares? I'm just here for the food anyway.


I'm going to have to go with the others, because look at that picture up there. Don't they look tasty? I think all tasty recipes should be shared, even if the writer is experiencing a strange case of recipe-related writers block.

Peanut Butter Banana Chocolate Chip Muffins
Source: Baked Perfection
Servings: 12
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Ingredients:
    • 2 ripe bananas, mashed
    • 1/2 cup peanut butter
    • 1/4 cup brown sugar
    • 1/4 cup sugar
    • 1/4 cup unsalted butter, melted
    • 1 egg
    • 1 tsp. vanilla
    • 1 1/2 cups all purpose flour + 1 tablespoon
    • 1 tsp. baking powder
    • 1 tsp. baking soda
    • 1/2 tsp. salt
    • 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
    • 1 cup chocolate chips
    • 1 tbsp. sugar in the raw/turbinado sugar
Directions:
1. Preheat the oven to 375. Line a muffin pan with liners.
2. In a large bowl, combine bananas peanut butter, sugars, butter, egg and vanilla. Mix until well combined.
3. In another bowl, combine 1 1/2 cups flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and cinnamon.
4. Fold the flour mixture into the banana mixture until no flour lumps remain.
5. In a small bowl, toss the chocolate chips with the remaining 1 tablespoon of flour. This will stop the chocolate chips from sinking.
6. Gently stir the chocolate chips into the batter, then divide into the muffin cups. Sprinkle the sugar in the raw/turbinado sugar over the tops of the muffins.
7. Bake for 12-15 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

I always forget how filling peanut butter is until I put it in a muffin. I usually complain that while muffins are my go-to breakfast choice, they don't keep me full until lunch time but when they have peanut butter, they do. 
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