Hot Cross Buns

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Does anyone else remember the flute-like instruments called recorders that you were given in second or third grade and you learned how to play music on them? Do they still give these to kids?

Anyway, I brought this up because when I think of Hot Cross Buns, I don't think of an actual food or even the fact that they're typically eaten on Good Friday. All I think about is learning how to play Hot Cross Buns on that darned recorder.      

I was looking around for Easter recipes and came across these. I knew right away they were going to on my Easter menu.

In other news, I am quite surprised to say that I included raisins in these. I strongly dislike raisins. I debated on putting them in the Irish Soda Bread Muffins earlier in the month and ended up putting them in there too. Which means I've put raisins in more recipes in the last 30 days than I have in the last 2 years.



Hot Cross Buns
Source: Food Network
Servings: 12
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Ingredients:
    • 1/2 cup whole milk
    • 1/2 cup water
    • 2 - 1/4 oz. packages active dry yeast 
    • 1/2 cup sugar, divided 
    • 1/3 cup unsalted butter, melted
    • 1 egg yolk
    • 1 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
    • 3 cups all-purpose flour
    • 3/4 tsp. salt
    • 1/2 tsp. nutmeg
    • 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
    • 1/2 tsp. ginger
    • 1/2 cup raisins 
    • 1 egg, beaten, for brushing 
for the glaze:
    • 2 cups powdered sugar, sifted
    • 2 tbsp. milk
    • 1/4 tsp. lemon zest
    • 1 tsp. vanilla 
Directions:
1. Combine the milk and water in a medium saucepan over low heat until it reaches 100 degrees. Remove from the heat and sprinkle the yeast and a pinch of sugar over the liquid. Set aside and allow to foam and rise for 30 minutes.
2. Whisk the butter, egg yolk and yeast mixture together.
3. Whisk together the flour, salt, nutmeg, cinnamon, and ginger together in a large bowl. Make a well in the center of the flour and stir in the yeast mixture with a wooden spoon until a shaggy and slightly sticky dough forms. Stir in the raisins.
4. Turn out the dough onto a lightly floured surface and knead until soft and elastic. Shape into a ball.
5. Brush a bowl with butter and place the dough in the bowl, turning to coat. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise at room temperature until doubled in size, about 1.5 hours.
6. Butter a 9x13 baking dish. Turn out the dough a pat into a rectangle about 16 by 8 inches. Use a pizza wheel or bench scraper to divide the dough into 12 equally sized portions, each weighing around 2 ounces.
7. Tuck the edges of the dough under to make rounded rolls and place them seam-side down into the prepared pan. Leave a little space between each roll. Cover with plastic wrap and allow to rise until doubled in size, about 45 minutes.
8. Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 375.
9. Remove the plastic wrap and brush over the tops with the beaten egg. Bake rolls for 25 minutes or until golden brown and fluffy. Remove from the oven and cool completely on a wire rack.
10. Prepare the glaze by stirring together the powdered sugar, milk, lemon zest and vanilla until smooth. Transfer to a pastry bag or plastic bag and cut off the tip. Pipe a cross over each of the buns, once fully cooled or glaze will run and melt.

                                         
                                                                                                                                                These didn't get as golden as I would have liked, but I had a bad feeling about putting them back in the oven so I opted to go with a barely golden variety of the hot cross bun.

I thought these were pretty tasty and Tom loved them. I saw another recipe that calls for adding cardamom to the flour mixture and I think I'll try that out when I make these again for Easter dinner.                                     

Weekly Menu 3/29 - 4/3

Sorry for not posting the meal plan last week. You'll find out why on Wednesday. (it's nothing bad)

I can't believe that it's almost April. That means my 1st 29th birthday ;) is quickly approaching and I really have made no plans for it. I have a blogger friend who celebrates her birthday for multiple days and I keep saying that I'm going to do this one year, but then it sneaks right up on me before I've had a chance to plan out what in the world I'd like to do. All I've decided for this year is that I'd like to go to Pairings Bistro for dinner.

I was super productive yesterday. Tom had to get up at 5 for work and I got up not long later, spend an hour on the treadmill at the fitness center, came back and cleaned the entire apartment, showered and went grocery shopping at 2 stores and was home by 11 am. A lot of my Facebook friends have been sharing the deals they are getting with coupons while going to Shop Rite. My friend Shannon and I decided to check out just what everyone is bragging about...

...and we realized we're no where near extreme couponers. So I think the first thing you need to do is only buy the stuff you have coupons for, not the stuff they have on sale that you could use but don't really need. Going off that theory, I would have spent around $13 for 4 Febreeze car things, a Colgate 360 toothbrush, 3 cans of albacore tuna, 4 boxes of Kleenex, a bag of frozen mixed veggies and a bag of soft pretzel bites. Which is pretty good. Except I picked up other stuff because I have a grocery store problem.

I also have  Food Bank problem. As in, if I see people standing outside of the grocery store asking for food bank donations, I somehow end up spending between $20 and $50 for them because apparently I think it is solely my responsibility to feed the hungry. Which really isn't a bad thing, but when you're trying to keep a cheaper grocery budget it surely blows it out of the water.

Anyway, the meals for this week are as follows,

Saturday - pork and shiitake pot stickers, steamed veggies

Sunday - dijon pork roast, baked sweet potatoes, roasted asparagus

Monday - turkey burgers, parsnip fries, roasted asparagus

Tuesday - steamed shrimp, sauteed zucchini and squash 

Wednesday - chicken noodle soup 

Thursday - either a frittata if I have a lot of left over veggies, or eggs & turkey bacon 

Breakfast for this week will be sweet potato turkey hash and lunches will be chicken & onion pitas with cucumber-orange salad 

I'm spending this weekend making up some recipes for Easter so check back soon to see what those will be! And next Tuesday I'm sharing 20+ recipes to make for Easter. 

Recipe Remake: Parmesan and Herb Chicken Tenders

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Recipe Remake: I wanted to re-make this recipe because I definitely did not do it justice the first time around. I am not a fan of anything breaded or fried, so Tom was thrilled when I decided to make this recipe. I'm so glad I tried it all those years ago because it is definitely one of my favorites and we actually eat this pretty often.

I've changed up the recipe a little bit each time I make them and while honey mustard is my go-to dipping sauce we've also had these with a sriracha ranch, a wing dip and even hummus.


Parmesan and Herb Chicken Tenders
Source: The Piggly-Wiggly adapted from Rachael Ray
Servings: 4-6
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Ingredients:
    • 1 lb. chicken tenders
    • 1 cup all-purpose flour
    • 2 eggs
    • 1/4 cup water
    • 1 cup Panko breadcrumbs
    • 1/2 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
    • 1 tbs. thyme
    • 1 tbsp. rosemary
    • 1 tbsp. parsley
    • 1 tbsp. minced garlic
    • 1/2 tsp. crushed rep pepper flakes
    • vegetable oil, for frying
    • salt and pepper
Directions:
1. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil. Preheat the oven to 350.
2. Heat a large skillet with oil over medium high heat.
3. Put the flour in a dish. In another dish, beat the eggs with water.
4. In another dish, combine the Panko breadcrumbs, Parmesan cheese, thyme, rosemary, parsley, garlic, crushed red pepper, salt and pepper.
5. Coat each chicken tender in flour, then egg, then the breadcrumb mixture.
6. Fry the chicken for 2-3 minutes on each side until golden brown. Transfer the chicken to the cookie sheet and bake for 5-6 minutes.



If you're cutting up chicken breasts instead of purchasing the pre-cut tenders, this does get a little long for a weeknight meal but you could always prep them in advance. I love how versatile they are. I'll eat the chicken tenders over a salad with ranch or honey mustard dressing. I'll eat them along with fries and corn. With bang bang cauliflower. With garlic mashed potatoes.

It doesn't matter what you serve them with, you just need to make them up and serve them!

Original Post: September 6, 2010
When I saw this recipe online I thought 'Oh neat, a fancy chicken tender.' These ended up being way better than I expected. I will definitely make these again.



I made a honey mustard dipping sauce for these by mixing 1 tbs. of spicy brown mustard and 1 tbs. of honey together.

Recipe Remake: Soy Cilantro Roasted Red Potatoes

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Recipe Remake: This recipe is probably the best accident I ever created, but I didn't even know it at the time. I first shared this recipe with you back in August of 2010 and then a few months later during a "blogger's choice" recipe swap, someone found these homely little mistakes of potatoes, thought they were intriguing and decided to make them. 

And they loved them! So some other people from the cooking board made them as well. As someone who hadn't been blogging or cooking very long at that point, I was elated at this and kinda upset that I didn't actually create this on my own. 

Yep, these potatoes were a complete and total accident and I still remember it like it was yesterday. Since I figured no one would be impressed with soy and cilantro on the potatoes, I didn't even own up to my mistake back when I first shared the recipe. 




But since these are some super tasty potatoes, I've decided to share what really happened that day and what has led to these potatoes being made multiple times. 

I was making ahi tuna for dinner for the first time and had planned to serve mashed potatoes with them (as stated in the original post), however once I cut up the red potatoes I decided I would roast them instead. I had the quartered red potatoes in one bowl, waiting to be tossed with oil and herbs, and the marinade for the ahi tuna in another bowl. 

Only, the bowls were the same size. And the ahi tuna marinade called for soy sauce. Which I prompted dumped over the potatoes and then said "Oh S----" since those were the last of the red potatoes. I figured I could just wing and see how it turned out. So I added oil and pepper and tossed the potatoes. After they roasted, I thought they needed some herbs to brighten them up and while I figured parsley would be a good choice, it had went bad and all I had in the fridge was cilantro. 

And now you know the story of how the accidental Soy Cilantro Roasted Red Potatoes were born. 

I've increased the original recipe to reflect better serving sizes. I hope with the new pictures and story/confession of how these potatoes came to be, you'll try them out soon! 




Soy Cilantro Roasted Red Potatoes
Source: A Cookaholic Wife Creation
Servings: 4
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Ingredients:
    • 1 1/2 lbs. red potatoes, scrubbed and quartered
    • 2 tbsp. olive oil 
    • 2-4 tbsp. soy sauce 
    • 1/8 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
    • salt and pepper, to taste
Directions:
1. Preheat the oven to 450. Line a baking sheet with foil and spray with non-stick cooking spray.
2. In a large bowl toss potatoes with olive oil and soy sauce. Season with pepper.
3. Spread potatoes out onto the prepared baking sheet and roast for 35-45 minutes or until potatoes are fork tender. Taste, and season with salt if needed.
4. Sprinkle fresh cilantro over the potatoes before serving.


Original Recipe: August 1, 2010
I was thinking about making teriyaki mashed potatoes to go with the ahi tuna but I changed my mind and came up with this recipe instead.


Recipe Remake: from the SRC: Fruited Bran Muffins

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Many many moons ago I first made this recipe for the Secret Recipe Club. While I have not adapted the recipe, I wanted to update the photo because these muffins are severely lacking the attention that they deserve. 


When you want a muffin but want to eat healthy, you want to go for this muffin. It's absolutely delicious and full of fruit!



Original Recipe: June 13, 2011
A couple of weeks ago I was going through all of the recipes in my Google Reader and noticed that Amanda of Amanda's Cookin' had started a new recipe swap called the Secret Recipe Club. I was immediately intrigued. I am ALWAYS looking for new recipes. I spent at least half of my lunch hour going through my Google Reader to find new recipes and then usually some time after dinner searching for more.

I was especially intrigued that as part of the Secret Recipe Club, you can choose any recipe that you like from the specified blog. While I really enjoy the recipe swaps that we have on the What's Cooking board because they are specified to a certain type of category of food and it gets me to try out new recipes, the thought of being able to pick any recipe that I like is definitely appealing. I thought it was also a great way to attract new people to my blog since I'm pretty crappy at getting it out there on my own.

If you're interested in finding out more information about the Secret Recipe Club, click HERE.

The blog assigned to us time is www.cookwithsara.blogspot.com. I immediately clicked on Sara's index and quickly realized that this will not be the only time that I visit Sara's blog to find new recipes. Anyone who bakes enough to have separate categories for coffeecake, cheesecake, cake, and pie is my kind of blogger. Even if it completely wreaks havoc on my diet. ;-)

I had a very hard time choosing between Fruited Bran Muffins and Caramel Macchiato Cheesecake. I love caramel about as much as I love Tom. Actually, its probably even. And even though I'm not a fan of Starbucks coffee, I am 100% addicted to their Caramel Macchiato ice cream and coffee creamer. After staring at the cheesecake for quite some time, my inner healthy girl subdued my inner fat girl long enough to make the Fruited Bran Muffins. However, I'm pretty sure the inner fat girl is going to win next weekend and I'll be making the cheesecake. Fair warning.

Fruited Bran Muffins
Source: Cook with Sara
Servings: 24 muffins
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Ingredients:
    • 1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
    • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
    • 1 tsp. baking soda
    • 1 tsp. baking powder
    • 1 tsp. cinnamon
    • 3 cups All Bran cereal
    • 1 1/2 cups buttermilk
    • 2 ripe bananas, mashed
    • 4 tbs. vegetable oil
    • 1/2 cup molasses
    • 2 eggs
    • 1/2 Granny Smith apple, diced
    • 1 cup frozen blueberries
Directions:
1. Preheat the oven to 350. Line muffin or cupcake pans with paper liners or spray generously with non-stick cooking spray.
2. In a large bowl, combine the flour, sugar, baking soda, baking powder, and cinnamon. In a medium-sized bowl, combine the All Bran cereal and buttermilk. Stir to coat the cereal.
3. In a small bowl, whisk the eggs. Add the bananas, oil and molasses. Stir until combined and then gently mix into the bowl with the flour. Add the cereal and buttermilk and stir just until you no longer see any lumps of flour.
4. Fold in the apples and the blueberries being careful not to mix too much and break up the blueberries.
5. Fill each muffin or cupcake cup 3/4 of the way full. Bake for 25 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.
6. Let the muffins cool on a wire rack for 5 minutes. Use a knife to gently dislodge the muffins from the tin and let them continue to cool on the wire rack.

Tom and I are using My Fitness Pal to track our calories and exercise each day. I assumed these muffins were healthy, but when I entered them into my recipes on My Fitness Pal, I was pleasantly surprised to find that they are just 112 calories each. They're also extremely filling. I've had one for breakfast each morning along with a half cup of strawberries and I'm stuffed until lunch time. Tom also really likes them and thinks they taste pretty similar to banana nut bread.

I'm definitely planning on making these again. I might used unsweetened apple sauce in place of the vegetable oil to make the muffins a little over 93 calories instead.



Recipe Remake: Jalapeno Popper Pizza

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Recipe Remake: There is absolutely nothing wrong with this pizza that it deserved to be remade at all, but I just wanted to share a slightly better picture and get this post back out there into the blogging world. 

It still is one of my favorite pizza recipes, ever, and if it was healthier, I'd eat it much more frequently. I've also found that if you want some but not all of the heat that a jalapeno packs, you can use the pickled jarred variety on this pizza as well. 



Original Recipe: June 28, 2012
Oh my. Delicious. Incredible. Spicy heat. Savory. Creamy. Cheesy. Mouth-watering. It doesn't matter what words I use to describe this pizza. None of them are good enough.



If you are a fan of jalapeno poppers, I can pretty much guarantee that you are 100% going to LOVE this pizza. If you couldn't tell by the jalapeno pepperjack burgers, jalapeno popper chicken, jalapeno popper dip, bacon and cream cheese jalapeno bites or the stuffed jalapenos, we're a fan of jalapenos around here, poppers or not. 

I could go on, but really, why make you wait any longer. I just need to tell you how to make this delicious concoction.



Jalapeno Popper Pizza with Jalapeno Ranch Dressing
Source: Closet Cooking
Servings: 1/2 cup dressing and 1 large pizza
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Jalapeno Ranch Dressing Ingredients:
    • 1 jalapeno, seeds and membranes removed
    • 1 green onion stalk, ends removed
    • 1 clove garlic
    • 1/2 lime, juiced
    • 1/4 cup buttermilk
    • 1/4 cup mayo
    • 1 tbsp. cilantro
    • salt and pepper

Directions:
1. Combine ingredients in a food processor or blender and blend until smooth.

Jalapeno Popper Pizza Ingredients:
    • 5 tbsp. Jalapeno Ranch Dressing
    • 3 tbsp. cream cheese, softened
    • 2 jalapeno peppers, thinly sliced (optional: seeds removed)
    • 1 batch pizza dough
    • 1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
    • 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
    • 4 slices bacon, cooked and roughly chopped

Directions:
1. Preheat the oven to 450.
2. Mix the dressing and cream cheese together until smooth.
3. Spread the dressing over the pizza dough. Sprinkle the mozzarella then cheddar cheese over the pizza. Top with jalapeno slices and bacon.
4. Bake for 10-12 minutes or until cheese has melted and its lightly golden brown. Serve hot.

You know that incredibly uncomfortable feeling you get on Thanksgiving after you've just shoved that last bite of pie in your mouth? I feel like that after eating this pizza because I ate way too much of it. It was just so amazingly good that even though I knew I should stop eating, I just couldn't do it and had to force in another slice.

Recipe Remake: Cheesy Cauliflower Mashed Potatoes

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Recipe Remake: When I first kicked off my recipe remake list, I put these potatoes on there not because they had a hideous picture (mashed potatoes are hard to photograph!) but because I wanted to see if I remembered these being as tasty as when I made them the first time. 

Plus I was feeling particularly sneaky and wanted Tom to eat more vegetables since he hadn't ate them in forever. I didn't really change the recipe other than to use chives this time around because we didn't have fresh parsley. 



Cheesy Cauliflower Mashed Potatoes
Source: Cookaholic Wife Creation
Servings: 4
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Ingredients:
    • 1/2 small head cauliflower, leaves removed and roughly chopped
    • 3 fingerling potatoes, scrubbed and diced
    • 3 tbsp. milk
    • 1 tbsp. butter
    • 1/4 cup shredded cheddar cheese
    • 1 tsp. garlic powder
    • salt and pepper to taste
Directions:
1. Fill a medium sized saucepan half way with water. Add cauliflower, potatoes and a few sprinkles of salt. Bring to a boil.
2. Boil potatoes and cauliflower until they are fork tender. Drain the water.
3. Add the milk, butter, cheese, and garlic powder. Mash until desired consistency. Season with salt and pepper to taste.



Original Post: June 15, 2011
When Tom told me that he didn't like the roasted cauliflower I was immediately determined to find another way for him to try it. I figured he (and practically everyone else) loves mashed potatoes so I might as well add cauliflower to that and see how it goes.

The cheese was a last minute addition by Tom but it turned out great.

If you're looking for a way to trick someone into eating cauliflower, I highly recommend this. You couldn't taste the cauliflower in it at all. If you're cooking for two, I'd suggest halving the cauliflower, this made a ton for just us. I'd consider this a complete success; $1 for the cauliflower at the farmers market and Tom likes it.

Garlic-Herb Swirled Bread

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So yesterday I mentioned that I made a recipe for February's Improv Challenge but ran out of time to blog it before the due date. I figured there was no better of a time to share it with you than now.


Garlic-Herb Swirled Bread
Source: Stick a Fork In It
Servings: 1 loaf
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Ingredients:
    for the bread:
    • 1 tsp. dry active yeast
    • 1/2 cup warm water
    • 1 tbsp. unsalted butter, melted 
    • 1/2 cup milk 
    • 1 tbsp. white sugar
    • 1/2 tsp. salt
    • 3 1/2 cups all purpose flour
    for the garlic-herb swirl:
    • 2 tbsp. unsalted butter, at room temperature
    • 2 garlic cloves, minced 
    • 1 tbsp. dried parsley
    • 1 tsp. dried oregano
    • 1 tsp. dried basil 
    • pinch of kosher salt 
Directions:
1. In the bowl of your stand mixer, add the water and then sprinkle the yeast on top. Allow to stand for 5 minutes until the yeast has dissolved.
2. Use the paddle attachment to stir in the milk, sugar and salt. Add in 1/2 cup of flour and mix on low speed.
3. Transfer to the dough hook and continue to add in flour, 1/2 cup at a time until the dough forms.
4. Turn out the dough onto a lightly floured surface and continue to knead by hand until smooth and slightly tacky. The dough should spring back when poked. Grease a bowl and transfer dough to the bowl, turning once to coat. Cover with plastic wrap or a kitchen towel and allow to rise until doubled in sized, about 1 hour.
5. Meanwhile, combine the butter and herbs together. Set aside.
6. Turn out the dough onto a lightly floured surface. Roll the dough into a large rectangle. Spread the garlic-butter mixture generously around the dough. Starting at a short end, roll the dough up into a log and place into a loaf pan.
7. Cover the dough again and allow to rise again, about 1 hour.
8. Preheat the oven to 425. Place the loaf in the oven, reducing the temperature to 375. Bake for 30-35 minutes or until golden.
9. Remove bread from the loaf pan and allow it to cool completely on a wire rack before slicing.


I thought this bread was absolutely delicious! Especially when warmed up with some butter spread on it....oh boy was that super tasty! 

Improv Challenge: Pizza alla Vodka

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I had every intent of participating in the Improv Challenge last month. The ingredients were bread and butter. I even went as far as to make a delicious bread (that I'll share with you tomorrow) and a butter for it, but the time to sit down and post the actual recipe just got away from me and I woke up that Thursday morning and rushed into work. It wasn't until I got home that night did I realize that I never blogged the recipe. :(

You'd think that I would have made my recipe for this month pretty far in advance given what happened last month, but in true procrastinator form, I only made this last weekend. For as organized as I am, it still baffles me on a regular basis that I can be a procrastinator as well.

But enough about me. Let me talk to you about this pizza. You need this pizza. And if you can't agree with me on that point, you at least need this sauce. Vodka sauce is an amazing creation and I am very sad to think that I spent many of my almost 29 years on this planet without it. Before making this pizza, I had two large batches of vodka sauce in the freezer and now, after this, I have those plus 7 "pizza" sized ones because I never want to used canned sauce again. And why should I when this is so easy to make and so incredibly tasty!?

The two ingredients for the Improv Challenge this month are sausage and mushrooms. While I am not a big fan of sausage, I do love mushrooms. Mushrooms on pizza is one of my favorite toppings. So when I was searching for a recipe to make for the challenge, I went through Pinterest and saw I had pinned the pizza recipe. While it doesn't call for mushrooms, I was sure there would be no harm in their addition.



Pizza Alla Vodka
Source: Pink Parsley
Servings: 8 slices
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Ingredients:
    for the vodka sauce:
    • 1 tbsp. butter
    • 1/4 onion, minced
    • 2 garlic cloves, minced
    • 2 tsp. tomato paste
    • 1/2 tsp. crushed red pepper flake 
    • 28 oz. crushed tomatoes 
    • 1/2 cup vodka
    • 1/2 cup cream 
    for the roasted tomatoes:
    • 1 cup grape tomatoes, halved
    • 1 tbsp. olive oil
    • pinch of sugar
    • pinch of kosher salt
    for the pizza:
    • 1 lb. pizza dough
    • 1/4 cup sausage, cooked and crumbled
    • 1/4 cup mushrooms, sauteed 
    • 1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
    • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
    • 2 tbsp. fresh basil, chopped
    • cornmeal
    • olive oil
Directions:
1. Melt butter in a small skillet over medium heat. Add the onions and cook for 5-6 minutes or until softened. Add the garlic, tomato paste and crushed red pepper flake and cook 1 minute more.
2. Stir in the crushed tomatoes and bring to a simmer. Allow to thicken slightly, about 5 minutes. Add the vodka and cook for 8 minutes more.
3. Remove from the heat and stir in the cream. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
4. Preheat the oven to 500. If using a pizza stone, place in the oven during preheating.
5. Toss cherry tomatoes with olive oil, salt and sugar and place on a rimmed baking sheet. Roast tomatoes while the oven is preheating, tossing every 5 minutes or so, making sure they do not burn. Tomatoes are done when browned and caramelized. Set aside.
6. Roll out the dough to fit the size of your pizza stone or baking sheet. Sprinkle cornmeal onto parchment paper Transfer the dough onto the parchment paper and brush with olive oil.
7. Spread a heaping 1/2 cup of the vodka sauce onto the dough. Sprinkle with mozzarella cheese, then sausage and mushrooms, roasted tomatoes and top with the Parmesan cheese.
8. Transfer the pizza on the parchment paper to your pizza stone or baking sheet. Bake for 5 minutes, rotate and bake for another 5 minutes.
9. Remove pizza from the oven and allow to cool slightly. Sprinkle with chopped basil, slice and serve.
*This will make more vodka sauce than you need for the pizza. You can either use it as dipping sauce, save it for when you make this pizza again tomorrow because it's so delicious, or freeze it for later use.*



As I expected, the mushrooms did nothing to take away from the scrumptious mingling of flavors on this pizza and only added to them. If you are having company soon and want to impress them with a simple meal, I'd totally suggest this. Everybody loves pizza and this sauce is something you'll never forget. The only change I'd make is to use a thinner crust as I feel like when you have an excess of crust it takes away from the other flavors in the pizza.

Recipe Remake: Chicken Burgers with Garlic-Rosemary Mayo

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Recipe Remake: I wanted to remake this recipe to get a better picture, but I didn't want to make any alterations to the recipe because it was part of a recipe swap I participate in. So, the recipe listed below is still the same one that I used this time, although I was able to pick up ground chicken at the store. 

It's interesting to me to look back on posts like these and see what has changed in the world of ingredients. Ground chicken was next to impossible to find less than 3 years ago and now I know exactly where it is kept in two grocery stores. 



 I am sad to admit, though, that we haven't had many chicken burgers after making this post. Only a few, but I'd definitely like to change that this summer. 




Original Recipe: July 29, 2011

The category for this week's Recipe Swap is chicken. Tom and I eat a lot of chicken, and while there are tons of ways to prepare it, I'm always searching for new ones because I feel like I'm making it the same way all of the time.

This recipe from Sarah at A Taste of Home Cooking was absolutely perfect for us to try. Neither of us have ever had a chicken burger before.

I completely forgot to check at the grocery store by work to see if they had ground chicken. I was pretty sure our grocery store near home wouldn't have it. While standing in front of the chicken options and realizing there was no ground chicken, Tom reminded me that I had the food grinder attachment for my Kitchenaid Mixer and I had never used it.

That night after grocery shopping, we decided to bust out the food grinder attachment and see how it worked. Three boneless, skinless chicken breasts cut into small chunks, a quick look at the directions and a few minutes later, I had my own ground chicken! I don't know why I was so hesitant to use the food grinder, it worked perfectly and the clean up was really easy.

Chicken Burgers with Garlic-Rosemary Mayo
Slighted Adapted from: A Taste of Home Cooking, originally from Giada De Laurentis
Servings: 5 patties
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Ingredients:
    • 1 lb. ground chicken breast
    • 1/2 tsp. salt
    • 1/2 tsp. pepper
    • 1/2 tsp. rotisserie chicken seasoning
    • 1/2 tsp. garlic powder
    • 1 cup mayo
    • 1/4 cup fresh rosemary leaves, chopped
    • 1 clove garlic, minced
    • 5 sandwich rolls
    • lettuce, tomato, onion (optional)

Directions:
1. Preheat the oven to broil and line a baking sheet with foil. Preheat your grill or Foreman.
2. In a small bowl, add the mayo, rosemary leaves and minced garlic. Stir until combined. Set aside.
3. In a medium bowl, add the ground chicken, salt, pepper, rotisserie chicken seasoning and garlic powder. Add in half of the mayo mixture and mix together. Form patties.
4. Spread the remaining mayo mixture onto both sides of the buns and place on the foil lined baking sheet. Broil until just lightly browned.
5. Cook the burgers until a thermometer inserted into the center reaches 170. This took about 5 minutes on the Foreman. Per Sarah's instructions, its about 7 minutes on each side on the grill.
6. Place the chicken burger onto the bun and top with toppings of your choice.

I had mine with lettuce, tomato and red onion. Tom decided the mayo wasn't enough for him and added some hot sauce to the remaining mayo mixture. We both thought these burgers were pretty tasty! It reminded me of a grilled chicken sandwich from Wendy's. Tom thought they'd be a bit less crumbly with some breadcrumbs mixed in but I thought they were great the way they are.

I'm excited to make some more ground chicken and figure out new toppings for chicken burgers! I'm thinking my next try will be a play on the chicken-bacon-ranch sub from Subway.

Country Beef and Bell Pepper Soup

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Apparently Spring-like temperatures are just not in the cards for us here  in Maryland so I'm going to get all of my colder-weather recipes blogged and shared with you in the coming days in hopes that will signify that I am done with winter and the weather will cooperate.

While not even a bit logical, this has been an extremely long winter for someone who hates cold temperatures and white stuff falling from the sky, and I am willing to try anything at this point.

I found this soup recipe in Clean Eating Magazine and I was intrigued at the amount of vegetables and how quickly it was to come together. For some reason, I just don't think of ground beef when I think of clean eating, so that made it even more appealing to me as we always have ground beef in the freezer.



Country Beef and Bell Pepper Soup
Source: Clean Eating Magazine
Servings: 6
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Ingredients:
    • 1 1/2 lbs. lean ground beef
    • 2  tbsp. olive oil
    • 2 bell peppers, diced
    • 1 onion, diced
    • 2 cups green cabbage, roughly chopped
    • 14.5 oz. can diced tomatoes, in juice
    • 1 cup frozen corn
    • 4 oz. green beans, trimmed 
    • 3 cups low-sodium beef broth
    • 2 tbsp. balsamic vinegar
    • 2 tsp. dried oregano
    • salt and pepper, to taste
Directions:
1. Heat a dutch oven over medium-high heat and brown ground beef. Drain any fat. Transfer ground beef to a plate.
2. Add 1 tbsp. of olive oil, the bell peppers and onion to the dutch oven and cook for 6-8 minutes or until vegetables are soft. Add the remaining olive oil, cabbage, tomatoes, corn, and green beans and cook for 5 minutes, stirring frequently.
3. Pour in the beef broth and balsamic vinegar. Add dried oregano and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low and allow to simmer, covered, for 20-30 minutes or until all vegetables are soft. Season with salt and pepper to taste.



It's actually the third time that I've made this soup. I can't remember why I never photographed it before but this is a really tasty soup that comes together in less than an hour. I had this for lunches last week and all of my coworkers commented on how delicious it smelled. And the best part: for a decent sized serving of 1 1/2 cups, it's under 200 calories!

Happy St. Patrick's Day: Irish Soda Bread Muffins

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Happy St. Patrick's Day! I'm wearing green and eating Reuben's today, but that's about as far as I go with the celebrations. I've never really been a fan of beer and adding food coloring to make it green is just really unappealing to me.

I've made Irish Soda Bread before but found that this year, the bread in a muffin form seems to be incredibly popular. I keep seeing recipes for it everywhere. I didn't want to spend all of the weekend in the kitchen (like that never ends up happening anyway) so I didn't want to tie myself down to making bread and waiting for it to rise, but muffins I can handle.

Side note: When Tom and I went to see Alton Brown, he did a list of 10 things he's pretty sure he's sure about food. One where I completely agree with him is that raisins are always optional. The only place I think raisins belong are in cinnamon raisin bagels or bread. Otherwise I can leave them out of any recipe and not miss them at all.

Since I recently cleaned out the pantry, I found a small box of raisins. I couldn't find anything on the packaging saying how long they are good for and since I'm pretty sure they're close to a year old, I opted to put raisins in these muffins.



Irish Soda Bread Muffins
Source: Recipe Girl
Servings: 12 muffins
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Ingredients:
    • 2 cups all-purpose flour
    • 3 tbsp. white sugar
    • 1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
    • 1/2 tsp. baking soda
    • 1/2 tsp. salt 
    • 4 tbsp. butter, cut into small pieces
    • 1 cup buttermilk
    • 1 egg, beaten
    • 3/4 cup currants or raisins 
    • 1/2 tsp. caraway seeds
Directions:
1. Preheat the oven to 375. Spray a muffin pan with non-stick cooking spray.
2. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Use a pastry cutter to cut the butter into the mixture until it resembles coarse crumbs.
3. Add the buttermilk and egg and stir to combine, then stir in the currants/raisins and caraway seeds.
4. Use an ice cream scoop to divide the batter into the muffin cups. Bake for 25 minutes or until barely golden.
5. Remove from the oven and allow to cool on a wire rack.



Tasty! I think these went pretty well with our dinner. 

Weekly Menu 3/16 - 3/20

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Hi there. I intended to post the menu this morning but realized I have quite a bit of food prep to do, seeing as we're celebrating St. Patrick's Day today, and decided I should get some of the stuff I needed to make out of the way.

Which resulted in a rather large cooking fail that means I now get to clean my oven. Since I'm not really interested in doing that at all, I decided to take some time away from the kitchen and get the rest of my blogging done for this week.

I'm not making anything new for St. Patrick's Day, we picked up a corned beef roast at Wegman's and it came with the spice packet so I'm just going to add cabbage, potatoes, carrots and water and boil it the same as before. Mashed potatoes and corn will be the sides. I'm lying actually...I kind of made something new. Instead of making an Irish soda bread again, I made them in muffin form, which I'll share with you tomorrow.

Sunday - corned beef and cabbage, mashed potatoes, corn 

Monday - Reuben sandwiches, chips and pickle

Tuesday - BBQ pulled chicken sandwiches, fries, coleslaw

Wednesday - Asian meatball stir fry

Thursday - breakfast risotto

I doubled the recipe for the pulled chicken and I'm going to have that for lunches this week. My breakfast is a granola bar and I'm not sure about another dessert for the week. I had plans to make an apple pie, but I can't make the pie until I clean the oven and I really, really, don't feel like cleaning the oven. 

Sugar Cream Pie

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I DID IT!  It only took me 5 years of blogging but I finally made a pie recipe, worthy of blogging, to share with you on Pi Day! I seriously deserve a medal for this or something!

So HAPPY PI DAY!

Making more pies was my "new years resolution" for this year. I put that in quotations because I fully accept that resolutions aren't something I do very well with keeping. And the other issue is, the pie. I can make them, but damned if they don't turn out too ugly to blog. Why does this keep happening to me?

Anyway, it means that this pie was even more special that it was 1. actually made. 2. made for Pi day. and 3. pretty enough to blog.



Sugar Cream Pie
Source: Taste of Home
Servings: 8
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Ingredients:
    • 1 9" pie crust
    • 1 cup sugar
    • 1/4 cup cornstarch
    • 2 cups 2% milk
    • 1 stick butter, cubed
    • 1 tsp. vanilla
    • 1/4 tsp. cinnamon

Directions:
1. Preheat the oven to 450.
2. Roll out the pie crust over the pie plate and trim to be 1/2 inch beyond the rim. Pinch pie dough to create a fluted edge.
3. Cover the pie with heavy duty foil and place pie weights or dried beans on top. Bake for 8 minutes then remove the foil and weights and bake 7 minutes longer or until light brown.
4. Allow to cool on a wire rack while the filling is prepared. Reduce oven temperature to 375.
5. Combine sugar and cornstarch in a large saucepan. Whisk in milk until smooth and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce the heat and cook, stirring constantly for 2 minutes or until the mixture has thickened and is bubbly.
6. Remove from the heat and stir in the butter and vanilla until fully combined. Transfer the mixture to the pie crust and sprinkle with the cinnamon.
7. Bake for 15-20 minutes or until the center has set. Cool on a wire rack then refrigerate until chilled.



I had no idea what to expect making this pie recipe but I was pleasantly surprised with the taste. The pie filling actually tastes kind of similar to creme brulee without the caramelized parts and I have no problems with that. Surprisingly this wasn't super sweet and I found I could actually eat and entire slice of pie. ...which is not a good thing.

Oranged-Glazed Turkey Breast

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I strongly think that turkey should be eaten throughout the year and not just around Thanksgiving. Luckily, my local grocery store has finally got on board with this idea and now sells turkey breast tenderloins throughout the year.

The ingredients in the recipe could either lean toward fall or spring, depending on what you serve it with. I actually served it with a cranberry orzo (to be shared later) so it had much more of a fall feeling to it than I intended, but it was still delicious.



Orange-Glazed Turkey Breast
Adapted from: Cooking Light, November 2013
Servings: 4
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Ingredients:
    • 1/3 cup orange marmalade
    • 2 tbsp. rice vinegar
    • 1 tbsp. soy sauce
    • 1/2 tsp. crushed red pepper 
    • 1 tbsp. peanut oil
    • 1 lb. turkey tenderloin 
    • salt and pepper, to taste
Directions:
1. Combine orange marmalade, rice vinegar, soy sauce and crushed red pepper together in a bowl. Set aside.
2. Preheat oven to 350.
3. Heat oil in a large oven-safe skillet over medium heat. Add the turkey tenderloin and brown for 1-2 minutes on each side.
4. Brush half of the mixture over the turkey and then place the skillet in the oven for 20-25 minutes or until a thermometer inserted into the thickest part reaches 165 degrees.
5. Slice turkey breast and serve with extra glaze mixture on top.



As I said above, I served this with a cranberry orzo mixture which paired really nicely with this. Tom thought it was a little too sweet, but I could easily add more rice vinegar next time or even less orange marmalade to even it all out. 

Barbecue Turkey Meatballs

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It makes me extremely happy that as much as Tom loves meat and isn't thrilled when I make meatless dishes, that I can use ground turkey, pork and chicken interchangeably with ground beef in practically any meal and he still enjoys it.

I am always on the lookout for ground turkey recipes and when I was adding in new recipes to my recipe binder, I found this one hidden away. I had completely forgotten about it but it's a simple recipe and I had all of the ingredients on hand so I added it to the menu right away.



Barbecue Turkey Meatballs
Source: Cooking Light, April 2013
Servings: 4
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Ingredients:
    • 14.5 oz. can diced tomatoes with green chiles
    • 2 1/2 tbsp. apple cider vinegar
    • 2 tbsp. brown sugar
    • 1 tsp. cumin
    • 1/4 tsp. paprika
    • 1/8 tsp. cloves
    • 1 1/4 lbs. lean ground turkey
    • 3 tbsp. Italian-seasoned bread crumbs
    • 1 tbsp. chili powder
Directions:
1. Combine the diced tomatoes through cloves together in a blender or food processor and mix until smooth.
2. In a large bowl, add turkey, bread crumbs and chili powder. Form into 16 evenly sized meatballs.
3. Spray a large skillet with cooking spray and heat over medium-high heat. Add the meatballs to the pan and cook for 2-3 minutes, making sure to brown them on all sides.
4. Pour the tomato mixture over the meatballs, bring to a simmer, then reduce the heat to medium low, cover and allow to cook for 6-7 minutes or until meatballs are cooked through.



Like Cooking Light suggested, I served this with some mashed potatoes to catch the sauce. I wasn't sure what Tom was going to think about this because he's very anti-vinegar but he was actually the one to mix up all of the ingredients and form the meatballs for me. He ended up really liking this meal and I did as well. For a quick weeknight dinner, this one sure was tasty. 

Lemon Poppyseed Muffins

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Nothing makes me think more of spring than a soft lemon poppyseed muffin. I've been waiting and waiting for Mother Nature to finally get her act together so I could fully believe spring is right around the corner after making these muffins, but she's taking her sweet old time and I just couldn't take it anymore.

So while we still have some time before the official first day of spring, Rita's is open, we had a day in the 60's and I'm full steam ahead on all things warm and summery.



Lemon Poppyseed Muffins
Source: Picky Cook, adapted from Dorie Greenspan
Servings: 12

Ingredients:
for the muffins:
    • 2/3 cup sugar
    • grated zest of 2 lemons
    • juice of 1 lemon
    • 1 stick unsalted butter, melted and cooled
    • 3/4 cup sour cream or plain Greek yogurt
    • 2 eggs
    • 1 1/2 tsp. vanilla
    • 2 cups all-purpose flour
    • 2 tsp. baking powder
    • 1/4 tsp. baking soda
    • 1/4 tsp. salt
    • 2 tbsp. poppy seeds
for the glaze:
  • 1 cup powdered sugar, sifted
  • 2-3 tbsp. lemon juice 

Directions:
1. Preheat the oven to 400. Line a muffin pan with liners or spray with non-stick cooking spray. 
2. In a large bowl, rub the sugar and lemon zest together with your fingertips until the sugar is moist. 
3. In a medium bowl, stir together the lemon juice, butter, sour cream, eggs and vanilla. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder and salt. 
4. Pour the wet ingredients over the dry and stir to combine. Do not over mix. Mixture should still be lumpy. Stir in the poppy seeds. 
5. Divide the batter into each well of the muffin pan and bake for 18-20 minutes or until lightly golden. 
6. Transfer to a wire rack and cool for 5 minutes before removing from the pan and cooling fully on the wire rack.
7. Mix the glaze by whisking together the powdered sugar with 1 tbsp. of the lemon juice. Slowly add in more lemon juice until the glaze reaches your desired consistency. Drizzle the glaze over the muffins. 

These were a little denser than I like in my muffin, but the lemon flavoring was spot on and quite tasty. I'm happy with my sunny little reminder of spring. 

SRC: Cinnamon-Sugar Waffles with Cinnamon-Sugar Apples

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Since getting the waffle plates for the Griddler, I'm pretty sure I've had more waffles in that time frame than I've had in my entire life. They are just so easy to make!

So when I was assigned Amanda's blog, Dancing Veggies  for this month's Secret Recipe Club, and found a waffle recipe, I knew I didn't need to look any further to decide what to make.



Cinnamon-Sugar Waffles 
Source: Dancing Veggies
Servings: 4-6 waffles
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Ingredients:
    • 1 3/4 cup all purpose flour
    • 2 tbsp. sugar
    • 1 tbsp. cinnamon
    • 3 tsp. baking powder
    • 1/4 tsp. salt
    • 1 stick butter, melted
    • 1 1/2 cups milk
    • 3 eggs
    • 1 tsp. vanilla 
    • cinnamon-sugar apples, recipe below 
Directions:
1. Preheat waffle maker.
2. Sift flour, sugar, cinnamon, baking powder and salt together in a large bowl.
3. Whisk together butter, milk, eggs and vanilla. Slowly whisk the wet ingredients into the dry, leaving lumps.
4. Ladle batter onto waffle maker and cook according to maker directions.
5. Top waffles with cinnamon-sugar apples and syrup.

Cinnamon-Sugar Apples
    • 1 apple, large dice
    • 2 tbsp. butter
    • 2 tbsp. sugar
    • 1/2 tbsp. cinnamon
Combine ingredients in a small saucepan and cook over medium-low heat for 10 minutes or until apples are soft and syrup has formed.



Amanda says this recipe makes 6 waffles on a regular waffle maker. On the Griddler version, it makes 3 4-part waffles and then a half waffle. These were quite tasty, especially with the apples on top. I didn't even add in extra syrup.

Weekly Menu 3/9 - 3/13

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Oh Daylight Savings Time, how I have never longed to see you more than right now.

Normally DST and I are barely on speaking terms since I lose a precious hour of sleep, but after this incredibly long and snowy winter, I'm willing to part with multiple hours of sleep for longer stretches of (non snowy) sunlight and the hope that spring really is around the corner.

Mother Nature teased us again yesterday with a wonderfully warm day, with highs into the 60's. I celebrated by rolling down the windows, blaring Florida Georgia Line, going to buy wine, getting a pedicure and some Rita's. Aside from that, I was an awesome combination of productive and lazy. We went grocery shopping at Wegman's, which I realized I hadn't been to since December (blasphemy!) and made it home by 10:30 am. That never happens. The rest of the day I spent watching My Cat From Hell, washing clothes, and blogging.

I'm most likely going into work early and staying late every day this week because of how incredibly busy we are, so I planned the menu around convenience. Freezer meals, 20 minute meals and stuff Tom can make on his own. Sound familiar from last week? Apparently it's going to be a theme around here.

Sunday - glazed chicken with szechuan noodle salad

Monday - crock pot chili with beans

Tuesday - garlic roasted shrimp over pasta

Wednesday - turkey-scallion burgers, fries, salad

Thursday - sausage & pepper sandwiches, fries 

For breakfast I'm taking a stab at making my own Kind bars and then a muffin guaranteed to make you think of spring. Lunches will be salads with a spicy grilled chicken. 

Recipe Swap: Biscoff Frozen Yogurt

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I know I'm behind the trends on a lot of things and Greek frozen yogurt is one of them. When Greek yogurt first became super popular I tried it and thought it was completely disgusting. Who wants to eat fruity yogurt that has the consistency of sour cream? The answer to that question is a lot of people, and almost 2 years later, myself included.

After seeing the Greek yogurt on sale for $1 each I picked up two of them to try it again and was pleasantly surprised that I really, really liked it. Not wanting to stop at just regular yogurt, I headed down the ice cream aisle and found that Ben & Jerry's carries quite a few flavors of frozen Greek yogurt. I tried the caramel honey vanilla first and immediately fell in love. Confession: I like it better than ice cream. (I know!)

So when I got to pick any recipe that I wanted for this month's recipe swap, and I found this frozen yogurt recipe on Laura's blog, I knew I was going to make it. Who cares if I'm currently hoarding 3 different flavors of the Ben & Jerry's variety in the deep freezer? I needed this one too!



Biscoff Frozen Yogurt
Source: Cooking with LT
Servings: 8-10
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Ingredients:
    • 1 cup + 2 tbsp. Biscoff spread
    • 3 cups plain Greek yogurt (2%)
    • 1 tsp. vanilla
    • 3/4 vanilla 
    • 1/8 cup milk (Vitamix directions only)
    • 3 cups ice (Vitamix directions only)
Ice Cream Maker Directions:
1. Beat vanilla and Greek yogurt together with a mixer until smooth. Stir in 1 cup of Biscoff spread and the vanilla until fully combined.
2. Chill for 30 minutes then process through your ice cream maker according to package directions. Swirl in the remaining 2 tbsp. of Biscoff at the end.

Vitamix Directions:
1. Add Greek yogurt, milk, sugar, Biscoff spread and vanilla in that order into the Vitamix. Top with 3 cups of ice.
2. Turn the machine on low speed, then increase to high and use the tamper to press the ingredients down. Allow to run for 30-60 seconds or until motor sound changes. Turn machine off. If the mixture is of soft-serve consistency, add another cup of ice and run on high for 30 more seconds, or transfer to a container and freeze for 2 hours until chilled.

Allow frozen yogurt to sit at room temperature for 10 minutes before serving.



Since getting the Vitamix and going through the recipe books I was incredibly curious to see how a "blender" could make ice cream. Tom has more than went through a ton of milkshakes but ice cream and frozen yogurt were beyond my brain capacity for this machine. Since not everyone has a Vitamix, I included Laura's directions to use an ice cream machine, which is what I typically would've done.

Big thanks to Sarah, out host for all of these recipe swaps!

Beef and Mushroom Stroganoff

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This is another one of those dishes that I feel like most people enjoyed during their childhood as quick and easy comfort food dish. Like many of those other dishes, it's also something I'd never had before.

I had this recipe saved from Cooking Light magazine for quite some time but never got around to making it. The last time that we bought a beef tenderloin (I cut it myself) I had an odd amount of beef left over that I quickly realized would be great to turn into beef tips. Going through my recipe binder looking for something to make with those beef tips resulted in finding this recipe first.


Beef and Mushroom Stroganoff
Source: Cooking Light, April 2013
Servings: 4
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Ingredients:

    • 5 oz. wide egg noodles
    • 1 tbsp. canola oil
    • 1 lb. beef tips 
    • 3/4 tsp. salt
    • 1/2 tsp. pepper
    • 1 cup leek, thinly sliced
    • 1 tbsp. fresh thyme
    • 2 tbsp. garlic, minced
    • 6 oz. shiitake mushrooms, sliced
    • 1 tbsp. all purpose flour
    • 1/2 tsp. paprika
    • 1 cup low-sodium beef stock
    • 1/2 cup light sour cream
    • 2 tbsp. fresh parsley, chopped
Directions:
1. Cook noodles according to package directions, drain and set aside.
2. Heat the oil in a large skillet over high heat. Add the beef and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Cook for 2 minutes on each side or until cooked through and browned on all sides. Remove from skillet.
3. Reduce the heat to medium and add in the leek, thyme, garlic, and mushrooms. Cook for 5 minutes or until lightly browned. Sprinkle the flour and paprika over the mixture and cook for 30 more seconds, stirring constantly.
4. Add in the beef stock and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and allow to simmer for 2 minutes or until the sauce has thickened. Return the beef to the skillet and stir in the sour cream. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
5. Serve over the noodles and garnish with parsley.


I really enjoyed this but Tom told me it didn't taste like any stroganoff he's ever had. I looked up a few other recipes and this seems pretty spot on, so who knows what he was eating! :) 

Bang Bang Cauliflower

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Yes, you read that right. Bang Bang Cauliflower. Like the sauce that goes on the famous shrimp from Bonefish Grill, only put on cauliflower after it's fried.

I'm not a big fried foods person. I'm also not a huge cauliflower fan, but after I saw this recipe on Mary Ellen's Cooking Creations and then on Taste of Home Cooking, it won me over and convinced me to make it.



Bang Bang Cauliflower
Source: Mary Ellen's Cooking Creations
Servings: 4
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Ingredients:
    • 1 small head cauliflower, cut into florets
    • vegetable oil 
    • 2 green onions, thinly sliced
Bang Bang Sauce:
    • 1/2 cup mayo
    • 1/2 cup Thai sweet chili sauce
    • 4 tsp. sriracha
for the batter:
    • 2 egg yolks
    • 1 1/2 cups cold water
    • 1 3/4 cup all purpose flour, sifted
Directions:
1. Whisk together sauce ingredients in a large bowl. Set aside.
2. Pour enough vegetable oil to be about 1/4 inch deep in a dutch oven or large heavy bottomed pan. Heat over medium-high heat.
3. Prepare the batter by placing the egg yolks in a large bowl. Slowly add in the cold water while whisking, then whisk in the flour, leaving lumps.
4. Dip the cauliflower into the batter then place in the hot oil. Cook for 1-2 minutes per side or until golden and crispy. Transfer to a paper towel lined plate to absorb excess oil.
5. Add cauliflower to the Bang Bang sauce and toss well to coat. Garnish with scallions.



This was good in a strange way. I'm not sure one would be able to guess what they were eating without knowing in advance it was cauliflower. The typically taste and texture of cauliflower is no longer there and instead it's almost pillow-like with the fried batter on it. The Bang Bang sauce was delicious, but I think everyone knows that. 

Orange-Cranberry Bread

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Not too long ago my coworker and I were talking about the orange-cranberry muffins that Dunkin Donuts used to serve. Quite a while back, I made orange-cranberry muffins in attempts to find a similar recipe to what they used.

Not wanting to make muffins again but looking for the orange-cranberry combination, I set out to find another recipe and when I saw this one from Sally's Baking Addiction I knew I didn't need to look any further.



Orange Cranberry Bread
Source: Sally's Baking Addiction
Servings: 1 loaf
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Ingredients:
    for the bread:
    • 2 cups all-purpose flour
    • 1 tsp. baking soda
    • 1/2 tsp. salt
    • 1 cup cranberries, dried (fresh or frozen works as well, but chop them up)
    • 1 egg, at room temperature
    • 1/2 cup brown sugar
    • 1/2 cup sugar
    • 1 cup buttermilk 
    • 1/3 cup vegetable oil
    • 1 tsp. vanilla
    • 2 tbsp. orange zest
    for the glaze:
    • 1 cup powdered sugar
    • 1 tbsp. orange juice
    • orange zest
Directions:
1. Preheat oven to 350. Spray a 9x5 loaf pan with non-stick cooking spray.
2. Combine the flour, baking soda, salt and cranberries together in a large bowl. In a medium bowl, whisk the egg, brown sugar, and sugar together until smooth, then whisk in the buttermilk, oil, vanilla and orange zest.
3. Slowly pour the wet ingredients into the dry and whisk until there are no more lumps, being careful not to overwhisk.
4. Pour into the prepared pan and bake for 55 minutes or until golden brown. Allow bread to cool completely in the pan on a wire rack.
5. Make the glaze by whisking together glaze ingredients in a medium bowl. Drizzle over the cooled bread.
* Glazed bread will keep in the refrigerator for 3 days. Un-glazed bread is good for 5 days at room temperature.



I used dried cranberries for this because I couldn't find any in the stores anymore and I think it still turned out great. The bread was still moist and perfectly dense even without the glaze. I enjoyed this for breakfast during the week. 

Philly Cheese Steak Dip

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I pin tons and tons of dip and appetizer recipes for all of these parties that I intend to have. Then the parties don't happen and the pinned recipes just hang around taunting me every time that I log into Pinterest. Since it wouldn't be polite to kidnap my friends and feed them, I opted to just make some of the recipes for us even if I wasn't having a party.

This recipe came about because I happened to see the Velveeta queso in the store and picked it up because it looked interesting. Then I was going through my recipes and saw that this one called for it and knew I should make it right away.


Philly Cheese Steak Dip
Source: Inside BruCrew Life
Servings: 10-12
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Ingredients:
    • 2 tbsp. olive oil
    • 1/2 cup bell pepper, diced (any color)
    • 1/4 cup onion, diced
    • 7 oz. deli roast beef, finely chopped
    • 4 oz. canned green chiles
    • 16 oz. Velveeta queso, cubed
    • 1/4 cup milk
    • salt and pepper
    • baguette slices, crackers, chips
Directions:
1. Heat olive oil in a medium skillet over medium heat. Add bell pepper and onions and cook for 5 minutes or until tender. Stir in the roast beef and green chiles until heated through. Set aside.
2. In a large saucepan, combine cheese and milk over medium heat and stir with a wooden spoon until melted. Stir in the beef and vegetable mixture until fully combined.
3. Transfer to a serving dish and serve with baguette slices, crackers, or chips.



I'm usually not a big fan of deli roast beef but in this cheesy goodness it was absolutely delicious. We really enjoyed this dip and I even put the heated up leftovers on toasted white bread for a completely unhealthy sandwich.

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