Quadruple Chocolate Pudding Cookies

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I saw this recipe and immediately thought of Tom. As I believe I've mentioned on here before, he is a complete chocoholic. I'm pretty sure you could put chocolate in front of a room of PMSing women and the same amount of chocolate in front of Tom and both would be devoured equally.

To put his chocolate addiction into perspective, I purchased 12 Lindt bars for him for Christmas. They're gone already. This also doesn't include the other chocolate items he's ate since then.

So since I hadn't ordered any more chocolate and there was actually not very much left in the house, I knew I should get right on making this recipe in case he experienced any severe chocolate cravings.



Quadruple Chocolate Pudding Cookies
Source: Averie Cooks
Servings: 18
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Ingredients:
    • 1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter, softened
    • 3/4 cup brown sugar
    • 1/4 cup sugar
    • 2 eggs
    • 2 tsp. vanilla
    • 2 cups all-purpose flour
    • 3.7 oz. packet instant chocolate pudding mix
    • 1/4 cup cocoa powder
    • 1 tsp. baking soda
    • 1/4 tsp. salt
    • 1 cup chocolate chips
    • 3 oz. dark chocolate, chopped
Directions:
1. Combine butter and sugars together in the bowl of your stand mixer with the paddle attachment affixed. Beat on medium speed until fully combined. Add in the eggs one a time, then add in the vanilla.
2. In a medium bowl, combine flour, pudding mix, cocoa powder, baking soda and salt. Add into the mixer in thirds until each portion is combined.
3. The dough will be very thick and dry. Use a wooden spoon to stir in the chocolate chips and dark chocolate by hand.
4. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and form the dough into 18 equally sized cookies. The dough can overlap or be pressed against each other. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 2 hours, but up to 5 days.
5. Preheat the oven to 350. Line another baking sheet with parchment paper and space out the cookies so you have 8-10 cookies per baking sheet. Bake for 10 minutes or until the edges have set. The centers should still be jiggly or glossy.
6. Allow to cool on the baking sheet for 5 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.



These cookies really do deliver on the quadruple chocolate portion. Chocolate chunks and chocolate chips probably could have been enough for your average chocolate lover, but by adding in chocolate pudding mix and cocoa powder it really takes these to a completely different level of chocolate-love.

I know less than 2 dozen cookies might not seem like much to some of you out there, but let me tell you, you don't need any more of these! For a cookie, it's really filling and really rich, meaning eating more than one is really a struggle.

Chicken Pot Pie Soup

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A message board that I'm part of will share what we're making each week for dinners and right after this recipe came out, practically everyone there was making this soup and raving about how good it was.

Since winter refuses to ever end and mother nature is a real beast, I opted to jump on the bandwagon and make this soup right away in hopes of chasing away the chilly temperatures.

While I've done nothing to change the weather, the soup was warm and filling, so I'll take that.


Chicken Pot Pie Soup
Source: SkinnyTaste
Servings: 9
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Ingredients:
    • 1/4 cup all purpose flour
    • 2 cups water, divided
    • 4 cups fat-free milk
    • 10 oz. frozen mixed vegetables
    • 8 oz. mushrooms, sliced
    • 1 small onion, diced
    • 1 celery stalk, chopped
    • 2 chicken bouillon cubes
    • 2 potatoes, peeled and cubed small
    • 1/4 tsp. thyme
    • 1/4 tsp. pepper
    • 2 large chicken breasts, cooked and shredded
    • salt, to taste
Directions:
1. Combine flour with 1/2 cup water in a small dish and whisk until combined. Set aside.
2. Pour remaining water and milk into a large stock pot over medium-high heat and bring to a boil. Add the mixed vegetables, mushrooms, onion, celery, bouillon cubes, potatoes, thyme and pepper and cook for 20 minutes or until softened.
3. Add the chicken to the stock pot, then slowly whisk in the water-flour slurry.
4. Cook for 3-4 minutes or until the soup thickens. Season with salt to taste.


I wasn't really sure how this was going to turn out since slurries usually don't thicken up properly for me when they are in a soup. This didn't get nearly as thick as it could have, so I think I'd like to make it again and allow it to thicken more. Regardless, this does taste pretty much just like chicken pot pie, just sans the "pie" portion of the crust. 

Cheddar Garlic Biscuits

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I rarely make a recipe with the exact sides that it calls for, but this is one of those times I went against the grain and did just that.

I've mentioned before I'm part of a few message boards and it just happened that everyone was talking about the Skinnytaste Chicken Pot Pie soup. I really like chicken pot pie and we've had great success with turning meals into soup (the lasagna soup and gwumpki soup that we really enjoyed) so I figured this would easily slide into the equation.

As much as I'd like to, I just don't make a lot of bread and for some reason biscuits never register in my head as an acceptable side dish with dinner, even with soup. So when I looked up the soup recipe and found that they were served with these cheddar-garlic biscuits, I couldn't wait to go against my usual routine and actually make the whole recipe.

Stop back on Thursday to see the soup recipe.



Cheddar-Garlic Biscuits
Barely adapted from: SkinnyTaste
Servings: 12
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Ingredients:
    • 2 tbsp. unsalted butter
    • 2 cloves garlic, minced
    • 3 tbsp. fresh parsley, chopped and divided
    • 2 cups Bisquick
    • 2/3 cup low-fat milk
    • 2/3 cup shredded Cheddar cheese 
Directions:
1. Preheat the oven to 400 and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
2. In a small skillet over medium-low heat, melt butter then add in garlic and cook for 1 minute or until garlic is fragrant. Stir in half of the parsley. Set mixture aside.
3. In a medium bowl, whisk together the Bisquick and milk until a lumpy dough forms, then stir in the cheese and remaining parsley.
4. Drop heaping tablespoon-sized dollops of the dough onto the prepared baking sheet. Bake for 10 minutes.
5. Brush the biscuits with the melted butter mixture and return to the oven to bake for another 5 minutes or until they are golden brown.



I really need to start utilizing items like Bisquick more often since I almost always feel rushed to make dinner now. These biscuits were tasty and quick and definitely went along nicely with the soup. 

Mozzarella Stuffed Meatball Sliders

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 The other week I was going through the fridge to see what random ingredients we had hanging around that were quickly approaching their expiry date. I found an open jar of pizza sauce and about 4 ounces of fresh mozzarella cheese.  We had ground beef in the freezer and Hawaiian slider rolls were on sale 2 for $5 so there was an extra package of those in the pantry. A dinner was born!



Mozzarella Stuffed Meatball Sliders
Source: A Cookaholic Wife Creation
Servings: 12
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Ingredients:
    • 1 1/4 lbs. lean ground beef
    • 1/2 cup bread crumbs
    • 1/4 cup onion, diced
    • 1 garlic clove, minced
    • 1 tsp. Italian seasoning
    • 1 tsp. salt
    • 1/2 tsp. pepper
    • 4 oz. fresh mozzarella cheese, broken into 12 pieces
    • 1/4 cup pizza sauce
    • 12 slider rolls
Directions:
1. Preheat the oven to 350. Line a baking sheet with foil and place a wire rack on top. Spray the rack with non-stick cooking spray.
2. Combine ground beef through pepper together in a large bowl. Form into 12 large meatballs. Make a large indent with your finger and place the mozzarella cheese there. Fold the meat around the cheese to seal within. Repeat with remaining meatballs.
3. Place meatballs on the wire rack and bake for 25 minutes or until cooked through.
4. Meanwhile, warm up the pizza sauce in the microwave or in a small saucepan over low heat. Toast the Hawaiian rolls.
5. Assemble the sandwich by spreading a little bit of the pizza sauce on the slider roll and topping with a large meatball. Serve hot.



For an easy recipe, these were pretty tasty. If you aren't a fan of stuffed meatballs, you could easily make regular meatballs and just melt the mozzarella on top of the slider rolls instead. Or if you're cheese addict, you could have cheese in the meatball and also melted on the bread. 

Weekly Menu 2/23 - 2/27

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Guess what I (we) did last night!!

We went to the Alton Brown Live show! It seems like forever ago that I bought the tickets and aside from the pictures that Alton tweets at the show, I hadn't really heard much about it so I didn't know what to expect.



"Awesome" is what I should have expected. The side of Alton you see on television is not the only side to him. I spent the majority of the night blinking back the tears from laughing so hard. His 10 Things I'm Pretty Sure I'm Sure About Food list was not only accurate, but funny. Trout really does not belong in ice cream, ever. (Any Iron Chef fans know what I'm talking about?) There are two cooking demonstrations and our pizza one was made even more adorable by a little girl in the front row.

Alton shows off the pizza he made and then you hear this adorable, sweet childlike voice say "Can I have some pizza?" and the camera pans to this little girl in a dress and tights. While the audience was collectively "awww-ing", Alton sat down, brought her up on stage and had her sit on his lap while she took a bite of pizza. I usually don't think the things kids do are incredibly cute but this just topped everything. Alton retweeted the pic, if you're curious.

While I already have a copy of Good Eats 3, this came signed and even though it isn't personalized, I still had to get it.


I also picked up this shirt, because hey, who doesn't want an Alton Brown Live shirt?


I would absolutely go to see the show again but I would definitely splurge on the VIP tickets where you get to meet him and also sit much closer.

The meals for this week are pretty simple, two of them are from the freezer meals I made last week, one is a 20 minute meal using Vivi the Vitamix, one is a crock pot meal and the other is a 20-minute meal from Cooking Light. The theme for this week is convenience.

Sunday - Spicy Shepherd's Pie 

Monday - Bacon Cheddar Potato Soup

Tuesday - Gouda-Bacon Stuffed Pork Tenderloin, Baked Potatoes, Corn

Wednesday - Chicken in Tomato-Caper Sauce

Thursday - Beef Tips in Mushroom Sauce

Breakfast this week will be a bell pepper and spinach fritatta and lunch will (hopefully) be a baked orzo with veggies and mozzarella dish.

"Hopefully" because it is still in the oven and doesn't look the way it does in the picture, although I followed the recipe pretty closely. It's just been a morning of food fails which is why it's 3:30 and I'm only now sharing this post with you. My first attempt for breakfast ended up in a cinnamon-sugary mess of a muffin pan and I'm not confident the pie I made turned out either.

At least there's Downton Abbey to look forward to tonight!

Chocolate-Cherry Cookie Cups

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I was going through the freezer to see what we leftover and I found leftover dough for cookie cups. Around the holidays, I had made a recipe for turtle cookie cups that didn't turn out pretty enough to blog. Thinking I would just make them again, I saved half of the dough and put it in the freezer.

Then I was going through the refrigerator and found that we had opened a can of cherry pie filling. I have no idea why this was even open but I didn't want to leave them in the refrigerator for long, so I began brainstorming up recipe concoctions that could use cherry pie filling. I don't actually like cherry pie filling so I needed to make something that Tom would enjoy.

I began to wonder how cherry pie filling would taste in a cookie cup and figured there was no time like the present to try things out.



Chocolate-Cherry Cookie Cups
Source: A Cookaholic Wife creation/Hezzi-D's Books and Cooks
Servings: 24 mini cups
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Ingredients:
for the cookie cups:
    • 1 stick unsalted butter, softened
    • 1/2 cup brown sugar
    • 1/4 cup sugar
    • 1/2 tsp. vanilla
    • 1 egg
    • 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
    • 1/2 tsp. baking soda
    • 1/4 tsp. salt 
for the chocolate-cherry filling:
    • 1/3 cup mini chocolate chips
    • 1/2 cup cherry pie filling 
    • 1/8 cup powdered sugar 
Directions:
1. Preheat the oven to 350. Spray a mini-muffin pan with non-stick cooking spray.
2. Add butter and sugars to the bowl of your stand mixer and beat until combined. Add in vanilla and egg until fully combined.
3. In a medium bowl, combine flour, baking soda and salt. Slowly add flour mixture into the stand mixer until a dough has formed.
4. Roll the dough into quarter-sized balls and place each one into the well of a mini-muffin pan. Bake for 10 minutes and remove from the oven.
5. Use the rounded side of a teaspoon to press an indentation into each cookie cup. Working quickly, fill each cookie cup with a pinch of mini chocolate chips. Return to the oven for 1 minute.
6. Using a fork to remove excess glaze, scoop up cherries from pie filling and place 1-2 cherries on top of the chocolate chips, then return to the oven for 1 more minute.
7. Sift powdered sugar over the chocolate-cherry cookie cups before serving.



Adding the mini chocolate chips was a last-second decision but I'm so glad I decided to do so. Tom loved these and scarfed them down pretty quickly. Even though I'm not a fan of cherry pie filling, I can't not eat my own creations so I tried one and found that in this capacity, cherry pie filling isn't so bad! 

Caramelized Sea Scallops

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Back when I first started cooking on a regular basis, the grocery store had sea scallops on sale and we picked some up. I'd only had scallops at restaurants before and I had no idea how to make them. Back then, Food Network and Allrecipes were my go-to locations to find recipes.

I ended up on Food Network and found this recipe by Paula Deen. I showed the recipe to Tom who said that it looked delicious and we agreed that my first foray into scallops would also be my first time making a Paula Deen recipe. 



Caramelized Sea Scallops
Source: Paula Deen
Servings: 4

Ingredients:
    • 1/4 cup + 3 tbsp. sugar, divided
    • 2 tbsp. water
    • 1 tsp. corn syrup
    • 4 tbsp. unsalted butter
    • 2 tbsp. vegetable oil
    • 12 large sea scallops 
    • pinch each of salt and pepper 
Directions:
1. Combine 3 tablespoons of sugar, water and corn syrup together in a small saucepan and heat over low heat. Bring to a simmer and allow to thicken, then remove from the heat and set aside.
2. Rinse the scallops and pat them dry. 
3. Add butter and vegetable oil to a large skillet over medium heat and allow to melt. 
4. Place the remaining 1/4 cup of sugar in a small dish. Season both sides of the scallops with salt and pepper, then roll each scallop in sugar. 
5. Place scallops in the prepared pan and cook for 3-4 minutes on each side or until golden brown. 
6. Divide scallops among 4 plates and drizzle with the reserved sauce. 



Now at first glance, I totally understand if you think sugar and scallops is a disgusting combination, but I can promise you that it is not. First, it doesn't make the scallops sweet, like candy-sweet. It just provides enough sugar to create this crunchy caramelized coating on both sides, which again, isn't super sweet. 

We ate this over browned rice with Parmesan roasted green beans. 

Pork Sauerkraut and Mashed Potato Pizza

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On New Year's Day, Tom has the tradition of eating pork and sauerkraut made in the crock pot alongside mashed potatoes. While I am not a big fan of this dish, I oblige and make it every year. This year we had quite a bit of leftovers and a few days later I had pizza on the menu.

I asked Tom if he wanted me to throw out the leftovers or when he was planning on eating them. He looked at the menu (which is always on a small sheet of paper, held to the fridge by a magnet) and declared that he wanted the leftovers put on top of his pizza. Usually I am the one trying crazy toppings on pizza, but he did have a pierogi pizza once, so I figured he was feeling the need to branch out in pizza world again.



Pork, Sauerkraut and Mashed Potato Pizza
Source: A Cookaholic Wife Creation
Servings: 14-inch pizza
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Ingredients:
    • 1 pizza dough, homemade or store-bought 
    • 1 tbsp. butter, melted
    • 1/8 cup grated Parmesan cheese
    • 1/2 tsp. garlic powder
    • 1/2 tsp. Italian seasoning 
    • 1 cup mashed potatoes, warmed
    • 3/4 cup shredded pork, warmed
    • 1/2 cup sauerkraut, warmed
    • 1 - 1 1/2 cups Italian blend shredded cheese 
Directions:
1. Preheat the oven to 450.
2. Form dough into a circle on a pizza stone or other baking sheet.
3. Brush the dough with melted butter, then sprinkle with Parmesan cheese, garlic powder and Italian seasoning.
4. Pre-bake the dough for 5-7 minutes or until just cooked through and barely golden.
5. Remove the pizza from the oven and spread mashed potatoes over the dough. Sprinkle with shredded pork and sauerkraut, then top with the shredded cheese.
6. Return to the oven to 8-12 minutes (depending on the thickness of your dough) until browned and cooked through.

I wasn't really expecting to like this as at since I'm not really a fan of the original dish, but whomever said 'cheese makes everything better' was right on the money for this dish. I could have easily eaten more than one slice but someone was not interested in sharing.



I'm definitely planning to make sure we have leftovers of pork and sauerkraut now so we can make this pizza again. I might even be convinced to make the dish at a time other than NYD. Now that's really saying something!


Weekly Menu 2/16 - 2/20

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Romantic beings that we are, Tom and I decided to go to Costco after work on Friday to pick up some items for our new deep freezer. I hadn't planned to do this quite so soon and ended up rushing around to write a grocery list and pick out what freezer meals I was going to make. Which resulted in me needing to visit the grocery store Friday, Saturday and today. That's definitely not going to happen again.

So, I only planned on a few meals but something happened when we were at Costco and things kept showing up in the cart and then we checked out significantly poorer than when we entered the store. Now I know most people go to Costco and load up on foods and spend hundreds of dollars. However, I've never managed to go over $175 and thought we would be in the same range. Uh no. We weren't even close.

However, we did end up with quite a few non-meats items, such as a 5 pack of deodorant for Tom  and one for me, a new cordless phone, strawberries, two pizzas for dinner, green beans, ziploc bags in a variety of sizes and 42 pounds of cat litter. I'm glad I was able to talk myself out of chicken stock, honey, and rice considering I quickly found that I have absolutely no pantry space left either to store these things.

I'm starting to think Tom is right when he says we don't need to buy a house, we need to buy a restaurant with an apartment attached. :/

I spent ALL day Saturday making freezer meals and ended up with quite the impressive list. Oh, and our plans to only partially fill the freezer? Yeah that completely went to shit because the freezer is full and the freezer attached to the fridge is 3/4 full.

First, a list of all the freezer meals I made:
Ground Beef: soy-balsamic burgers, herbed meatballs, asian meatballs, shepherd's pie, 1.5 pounds plain ground beef
Eye Round Roast: chipotle-pepper crusted roast, plain roast
Pork: Indonesian pork tenderloin, dijon-herb pork tenderloin, cardamon-crusted pork tenderloin, gouda-bacon stuffed pork tenderloin
Ground Turkey: turkey-scallion burgers, turkey bacon cheeseburger meatloaf cups, two individual packages of ground turkey
Meatless: 28 oz. vodka cream sauce, 4 pizza dough, 2 ricotta-spinach calzones and 2 pepperoni calzones

I haven't done anything with the chicken yet and we also bought a large package of pierogi and a large package of spicy Italian sausage.

I definitely plan on making a freezer meals post soon!

And now for the menu this week,

Sunday: Parmesan-herb chicken tenders, bang bang cauliflower, corn 

Monday: stuffed flank steak, soy-cilantro roasted red potatoes, sauteed spinach 

Tuesday: barbecue turkey meatballs, mashed potatoes, green beans 

Wednesday: shrimp bisque

Thursday: chili 

For breakfast this week I'm having orange-cranberry bread again. Lunch will be a veggie pasta and desserts for the week include salted caramel bark and quadruple chocolate pudding cookies.


Snow Cream

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First, Happy Valentine's Day!

Second, you probably fall into one of three categories when it comes to Snow Cream.

1. Awesome! I love when we get enough snow to make this!
2. Snow Cream? What is this stuff you speak of?
3. You mean you really eat snow? Don't you know the government has poisoned it with plastic/acid/toxins/dead children/etc.!!!!

Since I made it, I obviously fall into the first category. As for those of you in the 2nd, I'm sorry you've never had a chance to try out this childhood favorite of mine. To those of you in the third, look, I've made it 28 years eating snow that has fallen from the sky and I'm still alive. My parents ate it and they're in their 50's. Plus, if I have to die of something random, snow is kind of a cool choice.

Now that we have all that covered, let's move on. So this has been an unusual winter. Maryland has a routine where we go every 5 years and then have a really bad winter. We've reached the 5th year again and I've seen more snow since November than I really care to see in another lifetime. However, starting Wednesday night we were hit with our largest snowstorm of the season. I woke up Thursday morning to find 12 inches of the heavy white stuff covering everything. Then the sleet and ice showed up and came on and off throughout the day. The roads were finally plowed, just in time for the second round of evening snow to start again.

Snow Cream is something I've had since I was a kid. My father showed me how to make it during the blizzard of 1993 before it turned into an ice storm. From then on, I made this tasty treat every time we got enough snow to do so. While I loathe all things snow-related, this is my only exception and absolutely the only thing in the world that makes multiple inches of snow bearable.



Snow Cream
Source: family recipe
Servings: 1
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Ingredients:
    • 1 1/2 cups fresh (clean), packed snow
    • 1/2 cup milk (skim, soy, almond, its your choice)
    • 3-4 tbsp. sugar, to taste
    • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
    • optional: sprinkles 
Directions:
1. Pour milk, sugar and vanilla over snow and stir to combine. Top with sprinkles!

I've also heard of using sweetened condensed milk instead of regular milk, which I haven't tried out yet, but plan to do so soon. (I filled a large tupperware container with snow so I could have this for a few days.)


Recipe Remake: Stuffed Shells

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Recipe Remake: While this stuffed shells recipe is not super popular, I couldn't pass up taking a new picture the last time I made it since the first one is so terrible! 


Stuffed Shells
Source: A Cookaholic Wife Creation
Servings: 4-6
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Ingredients:
    • 24 jumbo shells
    for the filling:
    • 16 oz. cottage or ricotta cheese
    • 1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
    • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
    • 1/4 cup fresh parsley, chopped
    • 1 garlic clove, minced
    • 1 tsp. salt
    • 1 tsp. black pepper
    • 1/2 tsp. crushed red pepper 
    • 2 eggs, lightly beaten
    for the sauce:
    • 8 oz. mushrooms, diced
    • 2 cups spaghetti sauce, store-bought or homemade 
    for the topping:
    • 1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
    • fresh parsley, chopped
Directions:
1. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add jumbo noodles and cook for 9-11 minutes or until al dente. Drain and set aside.
2. Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 350.
3. In a large bowl combine the ingredients for the filling. In a medium bowl, combine the ingredients for the sauce.
4. Spoon a layer of the sauce mixture onto the bottom of a 9x13 baking dish.
5. Fill each shell with 1-2 tablespoons of the filling mixture and lay open side down in the baking dish. Repeat with remaining shells.
6. Cover the shells with the remaining sauce and then sprinkle 1 cup of shredded mozzarella cheese on top.
7. Bake for 35-40 minutes or until heated through and the cheese has melted. Divide shells among plates and garnish with fresh parsley.

Original Recipe: 10/3/10

Now that the weather has finally changed to fall I go into a bit of overdrive with making "wintery" foods. The bad part about this is I usually die out of different things to make somewhere around January and start dreaming of fruits and lighter meals.

I remember the first time that my dad made stuffed shells. We rarely ate anything more Italian that spaghetti so I remember thinking "what in the world is a stuffed shell?" He made them with ricotta cheese and ground beef. I took one bite, tasted the ricotta cheese and thought they were completely disgusting. Almost 20 years later, I still don't like ricotta cheese all that much, but I learned that you can easily substitute cottage cheese for ricotta. I make lasagna with it too. 

Costs:
jumbo shells $1.29, cottage cheese $1.79, mozzarella cheese $2.00, eggs $0.30, mushrooms $1.79, spaghetti sauce $2.39 = $9.56 


Weekly Menu 2/9 - 2/13

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Have you ever had one of those times where you are so busy and there are so many things going through your mind that you're pretty much operating on auto-pilot? That's how I've felt for the last few weeks and unfortunately I don't think it's going to go away any time soon.

Between work being incredibly busy and hectic, trying to finish up the part-time work I do for Tom's brother and just general life stuff like oil changes and grocery shopping, I'm feeling totally overwhelmed, but since I don't even have time to process those feelings or dwelling on them, I'm in this weird auto-pilot state where I'm just drifting through the days getting as much done as I can but not actually remembering anything.

Hopefully everything will die down in a few more weeks and I'll get back to normal. So, this Friday is Valentine's Day. Are you doing anything to celebrate? We're not doing anything on the actual day, but we're going out to get sushi on Saturday. After we get our taxes done, because we're super romantic like that. ;-) The following Saturday is something I'm really excited for...Alton Brown! He's putting on a show at the Hippodrome here and we've had the tickets forever that I can't believe it's actually so soon. I follow him on twitter and from the pics posted of the shows, it looks like it's going to be an amazing time!

Since I don't typically cook on Friday and have been relatively exhausted, I didn't even plan anything special for Valentine's Day. Oops? I've wanted a veggie white pizza lately so maybe we'll order one of those. It's funny though since I have two recipes on the menu this week that would be great on Valentine's Day, but I'd rather just get pizza.

Sunday - filet roast, mushroom risotto, salad

Monday - adobo chicken sandwiches, chips, pickle

Tuesday - caramelized scallops over brown rice with sauteed green beans 

Wednesday - tacos

Thursday - french toast, bacon, fruit 

For breakfast I'm having baked oatmeal with cooked pears and lunch is tuna salad in a pita pocket.

I don't feel as though I've been very creative in recipes and meal planning lately which I really miss. I'm hoping for a weekend soon where we have no plans at all and I can just hang out in the kitchen trying out new recipes.

OH! So how long have I been talking about wanting a deep freezer? I'm pretty sure it wasn't long after I started this blog, which will be 5 years old this fall. So almost 5 years of saying that I really wanted to get this common appliance and would you finally believe that I actually have one now!?
Tom had brought up getting one again, so I hopped online and started doing my research to see what was out there. I found one at HH Gregg with great reviews and a great price. The only downside is it wasn't at our local store, it was about 40 minutes away. Regardless, I told Tom we were going to get it soon. Then I just happened to be talking to an old coworker about vodka cream sauce and how I wanted a deep freezer so I could make huge batches of it. Turns out he had a 5 cubic foot one that he wasn't using at all anymore and only wanted $50 for it! We were only looking to get a 3 cubic foot one but it was $150 so I figured more space for less money was the way to go.

The freezer is definitely bigger than the space we have for it, and it looks a bit opposing hanging out in the kitchen next to the cat food, but whatever, I finally have my deep freezer and I can't wait to fill it with freezer meals and soups. (And apparently Hot Pockets, according to Tom) And when we host the holidays it will serve as a great drink station.


Recipe Swap: Taco Bread Twist

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Have I mentioned before that I'm not exactly the most patient person in the world? The category for this recipe swap was Game Day foods and I easily could have waited until closer to the Superbowl to make this dish, but I just couldn't. My impatience won out and mere days after Sarah of Taste of Home Cooking sent me my link to Kate's Recipe Box, I picked out a recipe and made it. 

Kate has lots of recipes that would be great for game days or parties. I had a hard time choosing, but Tom is a serious lover of all things taco so  I knew he would appreciate this recipe.



Taco Bread Twist
Source: Kate's Recipe Box
Servings: 4
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Ingredients:
    • 1 tsp. olive oil
    • 1 lb. ground chicken 
    • 1 small red pepper, diced
    • 2 chipotle peppers, diced
    • 2 tbsp. taco seasoning
    • 3 tsp. adobo sauce 
    • 2 tbsp. cilantro, chopped
    • 2 (11 oz.) tubes refrigerated French bread
    • 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
    • 1 egg, lightly beaten
    • 1 tsp. dried oregano
    • salt and pepper, to taste
Directions:
1. Preheat the oven to 375. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or foil.
2. Heat olive oil in a large skillet. Add ground chicken, bell pepper, chipotle peppers, taco seasoning and adobo sauce. Cook for 5-6 minutes or until chicken is browned. Stir in cilantro, salt and pepper.
3. Use a serrated knife to cut lengthwise down each french bread roll. Gently spread apart the dough until you have a 4-inch well in the center. Repeat with the other roll.
4. Divide the cheese and sprinkle down the center of each well, then divide the chicken mixture into each well. Bring the sides up and over of each roll and pinch to seal the seams.
5. Place each roll seam side down on the prepared baking sheet and fold the roll over each other, creating a twisted look. Brush both rolls with the egg wash.
6. Use the serrated knife to cut small slits in the dough to allow steam to escape. Sprinkle the rolls with the oregano.
7. Bake for 30 minutes or until golden brown. Allow to rest 5 minutes before slicing.

I didn't pull my French bread quite far enough apart so I had some leftover chicken mixture so make sure to really spread the dough. This was an easy to make dish that would obviously be great for a game day!



Tom and I both ate this dipped in taco sauce but you could skip the sauce entirely or use salsa, pico de gallo, guacamole, etc. The options are pretty endless.

40+ Valentine's Day Recipes

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Now that the Super Bowl is over, many people are beginning to think about Valentine's Day. Tom and I have decided we are going out for sushi on Saturday the 15th as our celebration, but there have been quite a few years where we opted to stay home instead and I went on the hunt for a special recipe to make.

If you plan on staying in this year, or are just looking for some tasty treats to make for the holiday full of sappy cards and paper hearts, I've compiled quite the list of recipes here for you. From breakfast to side dishes, main entrees and dessert, I think I've got it all covered! So pick out your favorite recipe, grab a bottle of wine and have a lovely Valentine's Day celebration.

P.S. There's only 8 business days left to order flowers, send cards, etc. if you're into that sort of thing!



Breakfast
Strawberry Nutella Poptarts
Strawberry Doughnut Shortcake
Eggs Benedict 
Herbed Cheese Souffle

Beef
Filet Mignon with Gorgonzola Sauce
Filet Mignon with Onion-Bleu Cheese Sauce
Peppercorn-crusted Filet with Gremolata
Individual Beef Wellington
Beef Bourguinon

Chicken and Pork 
Prosciutto Wrapped Chicken Marsala
Alice Springs Chicken
Penne with Vodka Sauce
Pork Tenderloin with Cherry Salsa
Bacon Wrapped Pork Tenderloin with Cherry Sauce 

Seafood
Lobster Fettuccine
Bacon Wrapped Scallops with Chile Butter
Shrimp and Grits
Seared Ahi Tuna
Scallops with Green Bean Salad
Maryland Crab Cakes
Shrimp Scampi
Cream of Crab Soup 
Jambalaya
Shrimp and Asparagus Risotto

Appetizers or Side Dishes
Nichole's Famous Crab Dip
Shrimp Bruschetta
Twice Baked Cheddar-Chive Potatoes
Crispy Parmesan Asparagus
Mushroom Risotto
Roasted Green Beans with Mushrooms 
Roasted Parmesan Fingerling Potatoes
Sugared Asparagus
Blue Cheese and Apple Mashed Potatoes
Oven Roasted Red Potatoes
Prosciutto Wrapped Asparagus

Desserts
Creme Brulee
Salted Fudge Brownies
Chocolate Souffle
Sopapilla Cheesecake Bars
Biscoff and Chocolate Bars
Chocolate Torte with Strawberries and Ganache
Deep Dish Cookie Pies
Chocolate Covered Strawberries
Strawberry Cookie Pizza





SRC: Strawberry Doughnut Shortcake

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I missed participating in the Secret Recipe Club last time because for the first time ever, I completely forgot to respond to the participation form! I have no idea how I forgot, but I couldn't believe that I did. Anyway, I made super to sign up on the first day available this time so I wouldn't forget!

I was assigned The Weekend Gourmet, which is written by Wendy. She has a lot of tasty looking recipes, but I opted to choose one that could be served for Valentine's Day since the holiday is quickly approaching. I chose these Strawberry Shortcake Doughnuts because they could be a breakfast choice or a dessert and some of my favorite recipes are interchangable like that!



Strawberry Doughnut Shortcake
Source: The Weekend Gourmet
Servings:  12 full sized doughnuts or 24 mini
Printer Friendly

Ingredients:
for the doughnut:
    • 1 cup all-purpose flour
    • 1/2 cup sugar
    • 1 tsp. baking powder
    • 1/4 tsp. salt 
    • 6 oz. strawberry Greek yogurt
    • 1/4 cup milk
    • 1 egg
    • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
    • 1 tsp. lemon zest
    • 1/2 cup fresh strawberries, chopped
for the strawberry topping:
    • 1 cup fresh strawberries, chopped
    • 2 tbsp. sugar
    • 1 tsp. lemon juice
for the whipped cream:
    • 1 pint heavy whipping cream
    • 2-3 tbsp. powdered sugar 
    • 1 tsp. vanilla
Directions:
1. Preheat oven to 375. Spray a doughnut pan with non-stick cooking spray.
2. In a large bowl, stir together the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt. In a small bowl, whisk together the yogurt, milk, egg, vanilla and lemon. Combine the wet ingredients into the dry and then gently fold in the fresh strawberries.
3. Fill the doughnut pan and bake for 20-25 minutes or until cooked through.
4. Transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
5. Meanwhile, make the strawberry topping by tossing strawberries, sugar and lemon juice together in a bowl. Allow to sit for 20 minutes for juices to form.
6. Combine ingredients for whipped cream in the bowl of your stand mixer with the beater attachment and beat on high speed until stiff peaks form.
7. To assemble, spoon a large dollop of whipped cream on top of the doughnut and top with the fresh strawberries.



I've never been a huge fan of the shortcake part of strawberry shortcake so this was a nice change. The strawberry doughnut was light and fluffy and you can never go wrong with whipped cream or strawberries!


Weekly Menu 2/2 - 2/6

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What a weekend!

Unfortunately I mean that in a good and bad way. There are multiple reasons why I'm just getting around to sharing the menu post with you after 7 PM on a Sunday, when I usually post it in the morning.

Let's start with the less pleasant reasons. Friday I ended up sitting in on interviews at work which meant my to-do list for the day didn't get done. I stayed late until 5:30 and then got that knowing twitch in my eye meaning a migraine was fast approaching. I decided to call it a night and come in super early Monday. Then I got the alert on my phone to expect 0-5 inches of snow Monday morning. So I amended my plans to come in over the weekend. I tossed and turned all night and barely slept so it was no surprise that Saturday I drove all the way to Mr. Tire before realizing I didn't have my phone (which I needed) so they held my appointment while I drove home, found the phone and drove back. Mr. Migraine reared his ugly head again after the appointment so instead of going to work I went home and attempted to nap, which also didn't happen.

Today, I finally made it into work after 5 hours of sleep last night. I spent 3 hours at work, stopped at Mr. Tire again for them to check the lug nuts then came home and did all of the cooking and baking for the week and the Superbowl. Which I'm not even going to watch, because I this is the first blog post I'm writing for this week and I still need to shower. And I still have a migraine.

The good - yesterday I went to the Jason Aldean, Florida Georgia Line, Tyler Farr concert with my friend Shannon. I haven't been to a concert in ages and I honestly forgot just how much fun it would be. I mainly went for Florida Georgia Line because I'm a bit in love with all their songs. They put on an amazing show. You know how some singers/groups/bands don't sound as good live as they do recorded? This is not the case with them. They sounded amazing, they had a huge energy that had the crowd really engaged and overall it was just completely awesome to see them in person. After the concert, the parking garage was a mess (as expected) and Shannon and I had a good laugh about the groups of teenagers and young 20-somethings having a dance party in the aisles since none of the cars were moving. We also agreed that going to concerts is going to be our new thing.

So now that all that was covered, let's get to the menu so I can move onto the other posts for this week. You'd like something to read, right? :-)

Superbowl Menu: ham and cheese sliders, Philly cheesesteak dip, lighter veggie dip, loaded baked potato soup, cupcakes and chocolate covered strawberries

Monday - garlicky Italian chicken over fettuccine with green beans 

Tuesday - stuffed flank steak with roasted red potatoes and sauteed spinach 

Wednesday - spicy shrimp tacos

Thursday - pizza 

I hope you've had a wonderful weekend!
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