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1.31.2013

BBQ Chicken Nachos



   The Super Bowl is this Sunday and everyone, well most everyone, is trying to find the perfect appetizers to serve. If you're still undecided, you should give these nachos a whirl. They are unbelievably good.

   One of my Facebook friends asked me a while back, what kind of cheese sauce I would use on BBQ Nachos?  My first thought was, 'BBQ Nachos?'.. That sounds like the yummiest thing in the world!' And then my next thought was...  'Google'.

   I typed in 'BBQ Nachos' and the first recipe that pulled up was Bobby Flay's. That man is a genius. I scoped out his recipe and loved everything about it. The sauce sounded amazing, so I responded back to her question on Facebook, and gave her the link to Bobby's recipe.

  When I was done, I quickly printed the recipe off for myself, and knew I would be making them ASAP. I made a few changes to the original recipe, and we totally loved the outcome. We were scarfing these down like animals! YUM!



BBQ Chicken Nachos
8-10 servings


2 pounds Corn Tortilla Chips
1 1/2 pounds cooked, shredded Chicken
1 pint BBQ sauce
1 quart Nacho Cheese/ Queso Sauce, recipe below


Nacho Cheese/ Queso Sauce:

1 pound pasteurized cheese (Velveeta)
4 ounces shredded Cheddar cheese
8 ounces shredded Monterey Jack cheese
1 (14 ounce) can tomatoes with green chilies (Rotel)
1 tomato, diced
1/2 jalapeno pepper, finely diced
1/2 red onion, finely diced
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
2 green onions, chopped (for topping)


Directions: Combine all ingredients in a medium saucepan, over medium heat. Stir until melted.

For Nachos: Arrange tortilla chips on a large serving platter, or on individual plates. Cover with the shredded chicken. Top with BBQ sauce, then smother with the Nacho Cheese/Queso sauce.  Enjoy! ♥



1.27.2013

Red Velvet White Chocolate Chip Cookies and a Surprise Virtual Baby Shower!


   Surprise! Some of my favorite blogging friends and I are throwing a Surprise Virtual Baby Shower for our friend Mandy, who blogs over at Mandy's Recipe Box. Mandy is due with her 4th child in just a few weeks, so we all wanted to celebrate and share some delicious food in her honor.

   I adore Mandy and am so happy I've got to know her through the yummy food blogging world. We first 'met' 2 years ago, when I came across one of her recipes over at Tasty Kitchen. I clicked on the link to her blog and instantly fell in-love with it! She had so many recipes I wanted to make.

   I decided to comment on one, and soon after we both started commenting back and forth on each others blogs. We became friends on Facebook and the rest is history! We have lot's in common. We both have 3 children. 2 girls and 1 boy (excluding her bun in the oven) and both named our youngest daughters Emma. We also share the same sense of humor, love of food, and religious beliefs. I know if Mandy and I lived closer to each other we'd be real BFF's  :)

   So to you, Miss Mandy, I want to say Congratulations and wish you the best of luck when your little one arrives. I wish we lived closer so I could help you out, bring you dinners, and babysit when you need a break... or a nap! ♥


Now, let's party! I brought the cookies....





Red Velvet White Chocolate Chip Cookies
Yields about 3 dozen

2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
2 1/2 Tablespoons cocoa powder
1 1/2 teaspoons cornstarch
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
7 Tablespoons butter, at room temperature
6 Tablespoons vegetable shortening, at room temperature
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
1 large egg
1 large egg yolk
1 teaspoon white vinegar
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 Tablespoon red food coloring
1 1/3 cups white chocolate chips, divided


Directions: Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. In a medium bowl, mix together the flour, cocoa powder, cornstarch, baking soda and salt. Set aside.

Add butter, shortening and sugar to the bowl of an electric stand mixer and mix on medium speed until very fluffy, about 3 or so minutes. Add egg, egg yolk and mix until combined. Then add vinegar, vanilla and food coloring. Mix until well blended.

Slowly add dry ingredients and mix until just combined. Stir in 1/2 cup white chocolate chips. Scoop dough out by the heaping Tablespoonful, and roll into balls. Place balls on a parchment lined baking sheet. Gently press about 4-5 more white chocolate chips into the top of each ball. Being careful not to flatten the balls.

Bake cookies for 8-9 minutes. Allow cookies to cool for a few minutes before transferring to a wire rack.

Enjoy ♥



Recipe adapted from: Cooking Classy





Below is a list of the other bloggers celebrating Mandy's baby shower:



Brandie @ The Country Cook
Amy @ Shugary Sweets
Jocelyn @ Inside Bru Crew Life
Nikki @ Chef In Training
Stephanie @ Back For Seconds
Ashton @ Something Swanky
Dorothy @ Crazy For Crust
Hayley @ The Domestic Rebel
Stephanie @ Macaroni and Cheesecake
Becca @ Crumbs and Chaos











1.23.2013

Mini Tomato and Mozzarella Tarts




   Looking for a knock-the-socks-off-your-party-guests appetizer? Than look no further, friends! These Mini Tomato and Mozzarella Tarts are finger-food party perfection, and will without a doubt impress.

   I planned on making these for our family's New Years Eve party, but my hubby was still sick, so there was no partying for us that night :(   Instead, I made them for lunch the next day and was in utter and complete bliss as I ate them. They were amazing!

   After I inhaled a few, I called my Mom and told her to get over to my house immediately, so she could try one. She declined because she didn't want Kale getting her sick, so we planned to have a family dinner soon, so I could make these for it.

  Our family dinner is this Sunday and I am SO excited for everyone to try them! That is, if I don't eat them all before we get there.....


Mini Tomato & Mozzarella Tarts

1 package (17.3 ounce) puff pastry dough, defrosted
olive oil
1 large yellow onion, thinly sliced
2 garlic cloves, minced
Kosher salt and black pepper
3 Tablespoons chicken broth
2 teaspoons minced fresh thyme leaves
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
4 ounces fresh Mozzarella cheese, cut into 1 inch cubes
2 Roma Tomatoes, thinly sliced
3 Tablespoons julienned basil leaves

Directions: Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Unfold one sheet of puff pastry onto a very lightly floured, clean surface. Roll out into a large square (about 10x10 inches). Using a 1 1/2 -inch biscuit cutter, cut 9 circles out of one sheet of pastry dough. Repeat with second sheet of pastry dough. You should have 18 circles of dough total.

Place the dough circles onto 2 parchment-lined baking sheets. Place in refrigerator until ready to use.

Heat 3 Tablespoons of olive oil in a large skillet, over medium-low heat. Add the thinly sliced onion, and minced garlic. Saute for 10-12 minutes, stirring frequently, until the onions are translucent and no moisture remains in the skillet.

Add 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, 1/4 teaspoon black pepper, the chicken broth and thyme to the onion mixture in skillet. Stir and continue to cook another 10 minutes, until the onions are lightly browned. Remove from heat.

Using a sharp paring knife, score a 1/4 inch wide border around each pastry circle. Prick the pastry inside the score lines with a fork and sprinkle a teaspoon of Parmesan cheese on each circle, staying inside the scored border.

Place one Tablespoon of onion mixture on each circle, on top of the Parmesan cheese. Place one tomato slice on top of the onion mixture, in the center of each tart. Brush with olive oil and then sprinkle with basil, salt and pepper. Place one cube of Mozzarella on top of each tomato. Repeat with all tarts.

Bake for 15-20 minutes, or until the pastry is golden brown. Serve warm and enjoy! ♥


Recipe adapted from: Barefoot Contessa


























1.21.2013

Menu Plan Monday #25

   Happy Martin Luther King, Jr Day ♥ 

Here's what I'm cookin' up this week...






Monday





Tuesday

Skinny Chicken Parmesan*
green salad




Wednesday





Thursday

Leftovers!




Friday

~Kitchen's Closed~
(Book Club!)




Saturday





Sunday

Family dinner at Mom's house :)







1.17.2013

Seven-Layer Dip



   Seven-layer dip is the greatest dip of all time. Well, I think so anyway. I am a Mexican food fanatic, and can never get enough of it. Whenever I'm around this dip, I usually have to ask someone to pry me away from it because I could eat it all in one sitting  : / 

Seriously.

   I like to use the 'freshest' ingredients possible when I make this. I use this homemade salsa for the salsa layer, and I recommend using fresh, grated cheddar cheese. Not the pre-shredded packaged stuff. I've never made my own guacamole (which is on my to-make list) so I use my grocery stores fresh guacamole they make daily. It is really good!



Seven-Layer Dip

1 (16 ounce) can refried beans
1 (1 ounce) package taco seasoning
1 1/4 cups fresh guacamole
1 (8 ounce) container sour cream
3/4 cup fresh, chunky salsa
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
1 small can sliced olives, drained
2 green onions, sliced

Tortilla chips, for dipping


Directions: In a small bowl, mix together the refried beans and taco seasoning until combined. Spread mixture evenly into the bottom of a 9-inch glass deep dish pie plate or a 8x8 glass baking dish.

Spread the guacamole evenly over the top of the beans. Then spread the sour cream evenly over the guacamole.

Use a slotted spoon to drain any excess liquid from the salsa, and then spoon salsa over the top of the sour cream. Sprinkle the cheese evenly over the salsa. Sprinkle the olives and green onions over the cheese. Cover with saran wrap and place in fridge for at least 2 hours to chill, before serving.

Serve dip with tortilla chips and enjoy! ♥


    

















1.13.2013

Crock Pot Cheesy Ravioli



   Pasta is a big deal in my house. We all love it, especially my kids (what kid doesn't love pasta?) and it can be made so many different ways. This Crock Pot Cheesy Ravioli is so delicious. It is family-friendly, comfort food at it's finest!

   I especially love that it's cooked in the crock pot, so my oven is free for other use ( like baking my favorite Carrot Cake for our weekly cheat-treat! )

   This recipe can be made with any type of ravioli. I think the meat one would be awesome to use instead of the cheese version, or you could try the spinach and mozzarella ravioli from Costco. Have you ever tried it? It is really, really good!

  
Crock Pot Cheesy Ravioli

1 large jar (45 ounces) of pasta sauce
1 can (14.5 ounces) diced tomatoes, drained
1 can (10 ounces) condensed cheddar cheese soup
2 teaspoons minced garlic
1 bag (25 ounce) frozen ravioli
1 cup grated mozzarella cheese
1 cup grated parmesan cheese


Directions: Spray the crock pot with non-stick cooking spray. In a separate bowl mix together the pasta sauce, diced tomatoes, cheddar cheese soup and garlic. Mix until combined.

Spoon 1/3 of the sauce mixture into the crock pot. Top with 1/3 of the ravioli. Sprinkle 1/3 of the cheeses over the ravioli. Repeat layers 2 more times, ending with the cheese.

Cover with lid and cook on High for 3-4 hours.

Serves 6-8

 *Every crock pot heats differently, so watch the time. Mine was done perfectly at 3 hours.








Recipe from: Barns and Noodles

1.11.2013

Caramel Pretzel Chocolate Chip Cookies





   At the Doctors office, where I work, there are Audiologists next door that have a cookie oven. Yes, you read that right. A tiny little cookie oven, that is super cute! I want to steal it, but that's another story...

   They bring us a box of freshly made cookies every Monday, and it takes all the will-power I have to not grab one, every time I walk into our break room. It's like cookie torture whenever I go to re-fill my water cup.

   Now that I've been working out and eating healthy, it does get a little easier to over look the cookies, but the thought of eating one still lingers in the back of my mind sometimes. I decided that on my 'cheat day' last Sunday, I better make some cookies to fulfill that cookie craving.

  I went with these salty-sweet Caramel Pretzel Chocolate Chip Cookies. Oh man, were they divine. Especially, warm! I ate two, which totally satisfied my craving. They are my new favorite cookie, without a doubt!




Caramel Pretzel Chocolate Chip Cookies

1 stick (1/2 cup) unsalted butter, softened
1/3 cup sugar
1/3 cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 large egg
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 cup pretzels, broken into small pieces
1/2 cup caramel bits
1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips


Directions: Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Cream butter and sugars together in a stand mixer or in a medium bowl, using a hand mixer, for 1 minute. Add vanilla and egg. Mix to combine, scraping sides.

In a seperate small bowl, combine flour, salt and baking soda. Whisk together to combine, and then gradually add to the wet mixture. Mix until just combined. Stir in broken pretzel pieces, caramel bits and chocolate chips.

Scoop tablespoonfuls of dough onto a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper. Spacing dough apart atleast 2 inches. Bake for 10-12 minutes, or until edges are slightly golden-brown. Remove from oven and let cool 5 minutes before transferring to a cookie rack.

Makes 24 cookies.

Recipe adapted from: Dessert Now Dinner Later











Linked up at: Weekend Potluck

1.07.2013

Oven Baked Chicken Fajitas




   Tis' the season of healthy meals, and attempts at weight loss. I have a few pounds to lose myself, so I'm wanting easy and waist-friendly recipes. These Oven Baked Chicken Fajitas sounded right up my alley. There's not much work to them. Just some slicing of veggies and chicken and then pop it in the oven and let it do the cooking for you.

   These Fajitas were so delicious! We wrapped ours inside small flour tortillas and added some low-fat sour cream and salsa. I devoured two in no time. I loved the flavors of the spices, and the chicken and vegetables were cooked perfectly. They will most definitely be added to the monthly dinner rotation!



Oven Baked Chicken Fajitas

3 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into thin strips
2 Tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon chili powder
1 teaspoon cumin
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1 (15 ounce) can diced tomatoes (drained)
1 large onion, sliced
1 red bell pepper, sliced (seeds removed)
1 green bell pepper, sliced (seeds removed)
12 small flour tortillas

Toppings:
cheese
cilantro
salsa
sour cream

Directions: Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Grease a 9x13 baking dish with non-stick spray.

Place chicken strips into the baking dish. In a small bowl mix together the olive oil, chili powder, cumin, oregano and garlic powder. Pour the mixture evenly over the chicken and stir to coat.

Add the tomatoes, peppers and onions to the dish and stir to combine.

Bake uncovered for 30-35 minutes or until chicken is cooked through and vegetables are fork tender. Serve with tortillas and you favorite toppings! Enjoy ♥

Recipe adapted from: Taste Of Home











1.01.2013

Egg Muffins


   Happy New Year to everyone! These egg muffins are a great way to start your new year off right. They're healthy, packed with protein and very delicious!

   I'm joining the bandwagon, as I do every January 1st, and vowing to lose a few pounds gained over the holidays. Another vow is to eat breakfast every morning. (Yep, I have been known to skip it, and turn into a big mean hungry grouch by 11 a.m) Plus, I know that eating breakfast is so important for a fast metabolism and will prevent over-eating later in the day.

   These egg muffins can be made with any type of veggies and meat you would like. Of course, you can add a little cheese too. I skipped out on the cheese this time, but think I'll definitely add some the next time.


Egg Muffins

8 large eggs
2 Tablespoons milk
1 cup diced Ham
1/4 cup chopped fresh chives
1/4 cup Red bell pepper, chopped
1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese (optional)


DIRECTIONS: Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a 12-cup muffin tin with non-stick spray.

In a medium bowl, whisk eggs and milk until just combined. Stir in ham, chives, bell pepper and cheese. Divide the egg mixture evenly to each 12 muffin cups. Bake for 20 minutes or until egg is set.

Let cool 5 minutes, then using a knife, loosen up the edges of each muffin and carefully remove. Serve and enjoy ♥

Makes 12 egg muffins. Serves 3-4