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Tuesday

Bacon Spinach & Tomato Sandwich with Avocado & Creamy Maple Balsamic Spread

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This sandwich....

See this?


Looks pretty simple, doesn't it?

Well....making the sandwich is...but definitely not the taste.

See the sauce dripping down between the avocado?


That's the ticket!

I mean...the peppered bacon, fresh baby spinach, creamy avocado and tomato 
is a fantastic start......but that sauce.

Seriously delicious!!!!

Linked with Weekend Potluck and Foodie Friday.


BACON SPINACH & TOMATO SANDWICH 
with AVOCADO & CREAMY MAPLE BALSAMIC SPREAD

Peppered Bacon 2-3 slices per sandwich
Baby Spinach
Sliced Tomato
Sliced Avocado, if slicing in advance, squirt on some lime juice to prevent browning
Toasted Bread of your choice

Creamy Maple Balsamic Spread

3/4 cup mayonnaise
2 tsp pure maple syrup
2 tsp balsamic
1 tbsp stone ground mustard or dijon
Pinch of salt and pepper

Heat oven to 400*

Bake bacon on a baking sheet 15-20 minutes or until desired doneness. Drain on a pepper towel lined plate.

While bacon is cooking, stir together spread ingredients.

Toast bread of your choice. Spread both sides of bread with prepared spread; layer on bacon, spinach, tomato and avocado. Enjoy!




Friday

Pecan Pie Bars

Love this variation of pecan pie.


And the fact that it sits on a shortbread type crust is a bonus. Love me some shortbread.

I added just enough dark chocolate chips that they didn't show up in every bite but just enough for that added extra something special. Totally optional.

Linked with Weekend Potluck and Foodie Friday.

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PECAN PIE BARS

Crust
1 1/4 cups flour
5 tbsp butter, cubed
1/4 cup sugar
Pinch of salt

Filling
1 1/4 cups corn syrup
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup white sugar
3 eggs, lightly beaten
3 tbsp butter, melted
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 tsp salt
1 3/4 cup pecan, chopped
1/2 cup dark chocolate chips, optional

Heat oven to 350*

Combine crust ingredients in a food processor and pulse until course crumbs. (Butter can also be cut into flour, sugar and salt mixture with a pastry cutter). Press evenly into a lightly sprayed 9 x 13 baking dish. Bake 14-18 minutes or until very lightly browned.

Mix together all filling ingredients except pecans and chocolate until combined. Stir in pecans and chocolate chips; pour on to baked crust.

Bake 25-30 minutes or until set. Cool. Cut into squares and serve. 

Tuesday

Creamy Chicken Corn Chowder

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I have no words. 



Seriously...I don't know what to tell ya.

It's amazing!

Linked with Foodie Friday and Weekend Potluck.


Creamy Chicken Corn Chowder

3 tbsp butter
1 onion, chopped
1 red pepper, chopped
3 slices bacon, chopped
3 tbsp flour
3 small potatoes, peeled & chopped into 1/2 inch pieces
2 1/2 cups chicken broth
2 bay leaves
1/2 tsp thyme
1 3/4 cups frozen corn
1 1/2 cups half & half, or half whole milk & half heavy cream
2 1/2 cups chicken, cooked and shredded
4 oz. extra sharp cheddar cheese, grated
Salt and pepper
Pinch of red pepper, optional

Melt butter over medium heat in a heavy pot. Saute onion and red pepper 2 minutes. Move to the sides of the pot creating a hole and add bacon to the middle. Cook stirring occasionally 2-3 minutes or until bacon starts to brown. Stir together and continue cooking 2-3 more minutes. Stir in flour and cook 2 minutes. Add potatoes and stir to combine.

Stir in broth, bay leaves and thyme. Simmer 5 minutes stirring occasionally.
Add corn and simmer until potatoes are tender 5-7 minutes.

Add half & half, shredded chicken and cheese; stir until cheese has melted. Taste for seasoning and add salt and pepper if desired, along with red pepper if using. Continue to simmer until chowder has thickened 10-15 minutes.

Wednesday

Glazed Lemon Loaf Cake

This Lemon Loaf Cake recipe is a keeper.

I've had this recipe for years and have never felt the need for any other one.
I think the secret is the lemon syrup that it soaks up prior to glazing.


Super moist with just the perfect crumb...not to mention the fresh lemon flavor.

Obviously excellent as dessert, or in my household...for breakfast with coffee.

Love it!

Linked with Weekend Potluck & Foodie Friday.


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Glazed Lemon Loaf Cake

1 1/2 cup flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup plain whole milk yogurt
1 1/3 cups sugar, divided use
3 xlarge eggs
2 tsp lemon zest, apprx. 2 lemons (I used 2 1/2 lemons for entire recipe)
1/2 tsp vanilla
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1/3 cup fresh lemon juice

Glaze

1 cup confectioners sugar
2 tbsp lemon juice
(Stir together)

Heat oven to 350*

Grease an 8 1/2" x 4 1/4" x 2 1/2" loaf pan. Line with parchment paper; grease and flour.

Sift together flour, powder & salt. In a separate bowl whisk together yogurt, 1 cup of the sugar, eggs, lemon zest & vanilla. Slowly whisk in dry ingredients. With a rubber spatula, fold the oil into the batter making sure to incorporate well. Pour the batter into loaf pan and bake 45-50 minutes or until toothpick inserted into middle of cake comes out with little crumb.

Cook 1/3 cup of lemon juice with remaining 1/3 cup of sugar until sugar is dissolved. Set aside.

Cool cake in the pan for 10 minutes. Slowly pour the lemon/sugar syrup over the cake and allow to soak in. Cool.

Remove cake to a baking rack set over something to catch drips; pour over glaze.

Layered Lettuce Salad


It sometimes surprises me how something so simple can produce something so amazing.

Like this Layered Lettuce Salad.


You simply throw a variety of vegetables in a bowl and cover them with a layer of Miracle Whip, cheese and bacon, then let it sit over night. Hours later, stir it up, and you have something really special.

I know most of you have either heard of it or tried it, but since the first time I made this (at least 30 years ago), it has been one of my very favorites.

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LAYERED LETTUCE SALAD

3/4 head of lettuce, I used mixture of iceberg and romaine
1/2 cup green onions, chopped
1/2 cup green bell pepper, chopped, I mixed green and red
1/2 cup celery, chopped
2 cups frozen peas
3/4 cup Miracle Whip
4 oz sharp cheddar cheese, grated
3/4 cup cooked bacon, chopped apprx. 6 slices

Layer in order of ingredients, cover in saran wrap and let sit overnight in refrigerator. Stir together and enjoy.

Tuesday

Chocolate Banana Brownies


I didn't plan on posting these "Chocolate Banana Brownies" but midway through 
eating a piece I thought, yep....I need to share.


They're super easy to make and bake in about 20 minutes.

While they're not a gooey brownie, they are really moist and with the chocolate chips 
being all melt-y....it was awesome! 

I was thinking a nice scoop of black walnut ice cream with it would be out-of-this-world delicious!

Linked with Weekend Potluck & Foodie Friday.



CHOCOLATE BANANA BROWNIES

1/2 cup butter, melted
1/4 cup cocoa
1 cup sugar
1 egg
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups mashed bananas, apprx. 2 lg
1 1/4 cups flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup bittersweet or semi-sweet chocolate chips, I use Ghirardelli 60% Cacao

Heat oven to 350*.

Melt butter in a medium bowl; whisk in cocoa. Add sugar, egg, vanilla and mashed bananas; whisk until combined. 

In a separate bowl; whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Add to chocolate mixture and stir until combined. Don't over mix. Stir in chips.

Pour batter into a greased 7x11 baking dish and bake 20 minutes or until knife/toothpick test comes out clean.



Wednesday

One Pot Stroganoff

Loved this version of stroganoff.



I especially liked that it's lighter than the norm.

I not only used ground turkey, but substituted yogurt for the sour cream. 
I also cleaned up the partial packs of pasta I had leftover which was multi-colored rotini and macaroni. Any kind will work as long as the cooking time is close.

The flavor was amazing. It was so creamy and just down right comforting to eat.

I listed beef broth in the ingredients because that's what I would normally use, but had some homemade chicken broth on hand that I needed to use up. It worked in a pinch. I think the beef broth would have given it a deeper color and flavor, but it was still excellent.

Linked with Weekend Potluck and Foodie Friday.

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ONE POT STROGANOFF

3 tbsp olive oil, divided use
8 oz. mushrooms, sliced
Salt and pepper
1 med. onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, chopped
1 lb ground beef or turkey
1 tbsp Worcestershire
2 tsp paprika
1 1/2 tbsp flour
4 c. beef broth
8 oz. rotini pasta, or pasta of choice
3/4 c. plain Greek yogurt
2 tbsp fresh chopped parsley

Heat 1 tbsp of oil over med. heat in a heavy bottom skillet or dutch oven. Saute mushrooms with a pinch of salt and pepper until tender, stirring occasionally. Remove and set aside.

Add 2 tbsp of oil and saute onion with a pinch of salt and pepper until tender, 3-4 minutes. Add garlic and cook 1-2  minutes. Add in ground beef and cook until no pink remains. Stir in Worcestershire, paprika and flour. Cook stirring often for 2-3 minutes.

Stir in broth and pasta; bring to a boil; cover and reduce heat. Simmer for 8-10 minutes or until pasta is al dente. Turn off heat and stir in yogurt, mushrooms and parsley. Taste for seasoning, adding salt and pepper if desired.

Sauce will tighten up as it sits for a few minutes.

Friday

Cheddar & Green Chile Bread

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This Cheddar & Green Chile Bread turned out just like I'd hoped.


Nice crust outside, a little soft and chewy in the middle, with huge flavor.

I also rubbed the top with some melted garlic butter right as it came out of the oven.
Can't lie.....it was a nice touch.


I was thinking that it would make an awesome panini, so that's what I'll be doing with it next. Will let you know how that turns out. I'm thinking pretty good.

Linked with Foodie Friday and Weekend Potluck.

Cheddar & Green Chile Loaf

3 cups flour
1 tbsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
1/4 tsp garlic powder
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
1/8 tsp pepper
4 oz cheddar cheese, cut into 1/4 inch cubes
4 oz can chopped green chiles, lay out on paper towels and pat dry
1 1/4 cups milk
3/4 cups greek yogurt
3 tbsp butter, melted
1 egg, lightly beaten

Topping:
2 tbsp butter, melted
1/4 tsp garlic salt
2 tsp fresh chopped parsley
(stir together topping mixture while bread is baking)

Heat oven to 350*. Grease a 9x5 loaf pan with butter.

In a large bowl, whisk together the first 6 ingredients. Stir in cheese and green chiles until coated in flour.

In another bowl, whisk together milk, yogurt, butter and slightly beaten egg. Fold into dry ingredients until just combined. Don't over mix. Spread dough into the loaf pan and bake for 45-50 minutes. I tested with a toothpick for doneness. Brush on topping and cool for 5-10 minutes; remove from pan. Cool another 20 minutes before slicing. 

Thursday

Blueberry Banana Muffins

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These "Blueberry Banana Muffins" were a hit for breakfast this morning.


Warm, right out of the oven and slathered with a little butter....yea, it took 
a little willpower to stop at one.

They're actually fairly healthy for you too. I used 1/2 white flour and 1/2 wheat with some oatmeal thrown in for good measure, and the oil I used was coconut. I used full fat yogurt and milk but you could easily substitute non-fat for both.


Definitely a keeper. 

Linked with Weekend Potluck and Foodie Friday.

Blueberry Banana Muffins
Makes 12 muffins

1 cup white flour
1 cup wheat flour
1/2 cup oatmeal, quick
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp cinnamon, rounded
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 cup coconut oil
1/4 cup honey
1/2 cup dark brown sugar
1 cup bananas, mashed (2 large)
1/4 cup greek yogurt
1 large egg, beaten
3/4 cup milk
1 1/4 cup fresh or frozen blueberries (do not thaw)

Preheat oven to 325*. Spray muffin pan with nonstick spray.

In a large bowl, mix together flours, oatmeal, soda, cinnamon and salt.

In another bowl, combine oil, honey, brown sugar, bananas, yogurt and egg.

Add wet ingredients into dry; stir gently until just combined. Add in milk and stir gently until milk is incorporated. Don't over mix. Gently fold in blueberries.

Fill muffin cups to the top. Bake for 17-20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the middle of the muffin comes out clean.


Tuesday

Brussels Sprout Spaghetti

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This "Brussels Sprout Spaghetti" is one of those super simple 
recipes that's packed with huge flavor.


Had it on the table in about 15 minutes.

You can use any loose pork sausage you want, but the hot sausage I used 
added the perfect amount of spice. I also added mushrooms in there because I had some hanging out in my fridge, but they're totally optional. It would be just as good without them.

Absolutely loved it (so much in fact, I just had some for breakfast).....so did the hubby.

Linked with Weekend Potluck and Foodie Friday.


Brussels Sprout Spaghetti

1/4 cup olive oil, plus more for drizzling
3 cups thinly sliced brussels sprouts
1/2 lb loose pork sausage, I used Jimmy Dean hot sausage
1/2 onion, chopped
4 oz can mushrooms, drained (optional)
Salt and Pepper
1 cup Panko bread crumbs
1/2 lb spaghetti, cooked
1 tbsp fresh chopped parsley
Fresh grated Parmesan, optional

Heat olive oil in a large non stick skillet over med-high heat. Cook sprouts, sausage and onion with a little salt and pepper, breaking up sausage with a spoon, until done, about 5 minutes. Stir in mushrooms and bread crumbs and cook 3-4 minutes, stirring often. Add in spaghetti and parsley, mix to combine. Taste for seasoning, adding salt/pepper if desired. Drizzle with olive oil and serve sprinkled with Parmesan (if using).

Adapted from Food & Wine magazine.

Salted Caramel Spiked Chocolate Cake

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This cake recipe is one of those oldies but a goody. 
So easy to make and so much to love about it.

First off, it is so chocolaty and super moist.
It doesn't use eggs, milk or butter.
You don't need a mixer, you just stir it together in one bowl.
And, it's the perfect size when you don't want sweets hanging around for long.


See how the caramel soaks down in the cake. 

Delicious!!!

Linked with Weekend Potluck and Foodie Friday.


Salted Caramel Spiked Chocolate Cake

1 1/2 cups flour
4 tbsp cocoa (unsweetened)
1 cup sugar
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp white vinegar
1 tsp  pure vanilla extract
5 tbsp vegetable oil 
1 cup water
1/2 cup salted caramel topping (I used Smuckers)
Chocolate Buttercream Frosting 

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Grease 8" square baking pan.  

Mix together first 5 ingredients. Add vinegar, vanilla, oil and water; stir together until smooth.

Bake on middle rack of oven for 30 minutes.  Check with a toothpick or knife to make sure it comes out clean.

While cake is still hot, use a knife or fork to poke holes all over top of the cake. Heat caramel slightly for easy pouring and drizzle over the cake, spreading out to cover the entire top. Let cool completely. Frost with your favorite buttercream frosting.

Monday

Spicy Ranch Mini Crackers

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What a tasty snack these Spicy Ranch Mini Crackers are, and so easy.


The first time I had them was on Christmas Eve at my sister's house.

Who knew something so simple could be such a huge hit.

My hubby likes to eat something crunchy and a little salty with his sandwiches 
and these are a great alternative to chips.

I actually halved the recipe using just over half of the ranch packet. Tasty good!

Linked with Weekend Potluck and Foodie Friday.

Spicy Ranch Mini Crackers

2 boxes Premium mini crackers
1 stick butter, melted
1 package Spicy Ranch dressing mix (dry)
1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
Fresh grated Parmesan cheese

Heat oven to 250*.

Place butter, ranch mix and pepper flakes in a gallon size plastic bag, squeezing around to mix well. Pour in crackers, seal bag and gently toss around until crackers are coated. I let mine sit for about 5 minutes, rotating/lightly tossing crackers in bag several times to mix.

Spread crackers out on a sheet pan and cook 15 minutes. Stir; finely grate Parmesan cheese over the top of crackers and bake for another 5 minutes.

Let cool. Store in an airtight container.

Friday

Cauliflower Cheese

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Anyone looking for a low-carb alternative to mac & cheese needs to try this. 
Even if your not looking for low-carb, you'll want to try it anyway.



It was AWESOME! So good it was hard to stop eating it. 
3 of us finished off the entire thing.

Not the best photo because I snapped it as an afterthought with my phone, but it turned out so good that I knew it needed to be posted.

I used 2 types of cheese in the sauce, then added fresh grated Parmesan 
on the top to give it a nice crust. Add some shredded chicken for a scrumptious main dish.

Tasted just like the real thing.

Linked with Weekend Potluck and Foodie Friday.

Cauliflower Cheese

1 head of cauliflower, medium
3 tbsp butter
3 tbsp flour
1 1/2 cup milk
1 1/2 tsp mustard powder
1/4 tsp garlic powder
1/4 tsp onion powder
Dash of red pepper
2 oz cream cheese
1 cup sharp cheddar cheese
1/4 cup fresh grated Parmesan cheese
Salt and pepper 

Cut/break cauliflower into florets. Par-boil in boiling salted water 5-8 minutes. Remove with a slotted spoon onto dish towel or paper towel to drain and dry some.

Heat oven to 400*

Melt butter in saucepan over medium heat; whisk in flour and cook 2-3 minutes. Whisk in milk in a steady stream until incorporated; cook whisking often, 3-4 minutes or until thickened. Stir in mustard powder, garlic powder, onion powder and red pepper.

Add cream cheese, stirring until melted; add cheddar cheese 1/4 cup at a time making sure it is melted before adding the next one. 

Taste for seasoning, adding salt and pepper if desired.

Place cauliflower in a 2 qt casserole dish and pour on the cheese sauce. Sprinkle Parmesan cheese over the top and bake for 30-35 minutes or until hot and bubbly and golden brown on top. 

Adapted from recipe by Smitten Kitchen.