Sunday, September 22, 2013

Pumpkin Spice Cake Balls

These are delectable. Cake pops are a little tedious, but really easy. And since we are in the season of

Of course yummy pumpkin ones are needed.

You can use 3/4ths of a can of store bought frosting if you'd like, but I prefer homemade cream cheese frosting. *EDIT* for all that is holy and good, do NOT use store bought! I had to dump an entire recipe out because it tasted like the can. GROSS. Horrible. Awful. Don't do it

You can also use white chocolate almond bark if you prefer. I like regular chocolate

Pumpkin Spice Cake Balls


1 box spice cake mix
1 can pure pumpkin
1/2 cup vanilla yogurt

1 block 1/3rd fat cream cheese, room temp
3 tbsp butter, room temp
2 cups powdered sugar
2 tsp vanilla

1 package chocolate almond bark, divided
2 tbsp coconut oil, divided

1 tbsp sea salt
2 tsp cinnamon (vietnamese if you can find it)

Mix the cake mix, pumpkin, and yogurt (omit the box mix ingredients)

Cook it according to box instructions. Let cool completely

In a mixing bowl, whip frosting ingredients until well combined

Crumble the cake mix into the mixing bowl. With a large spoon or your hand, mix the cake into the frosting until it disappears.

Form into walnut sized balls. Place on parchment paper lined pan and freeze 1 hour, up to 3 days.

Melt half the almond bark in the microwave at 15-30 second bursts. Add 1 tbsp coconut oil and mix well. Mix the salt and cinnamon in a small bowl.

Using a fork, swirl the ball in the chocolate and scoop up with a fork. Tap the excess off and immediately sprinkle with a pinch of salt and cinnamon.

Let set on parchment paper until dried.

Keep chilled if using homemade frosting. 

Monday, September 16, 2013

Oven Baked Chicken Quesadillas

Sometimes waiting stuff to cook one at a time so you can start another is just plain annoying. Like pancakes and waffles. Then mama is always the last one to eat.

This way you can cook everyones quesadillas at once!

This is a fast and cheap meal. A great way to spread out some of the meat from cooking a entire chicken.

I like to serve with a side of equal parts sour cream and salsa mixed.

Another great thing is this is so easy to customize for taste. My son doesn't love peppers and onions, so we just put cheese and chicken on his.

Oven Baked Chicken Quesadillas

1-1 1/2 cup leftover chicken
1/2 cup salsa
1/2 red onion, diced
1 bell pepper, diced
1 tsp oil
1 cup cheese
6-8 8 inch tortillas
oil for brushing

Preheat oven to 425
Toss the chicken with the salsa.

Put the onion, pepper, oil, salt and pepper in a skilled that was heated over medium. Cook until softened.

Brush the baking sheet lightly with oil

Place all ingredients in half the tortilla, fold over, and place on baking sheet. Repeat for all.

Brush the tops with oil.

Bake for 5 minutes and flip gently. Cook for 5 more minutes

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Greek Salad with Cucumber and Zucchini "Noodles"

So, faux noodles have been a fad lately. One with which I decided to jump in with both feet. I made a veggie noodle side dish last week, and that inspired my husband to suggest making my greek pasta salad with zucchini noodles instead. I saw his zucchini noodles, and decided to raise him cucumber noodles.

The end result was amazing. Super fresh, light, and satisfying.

For these noodles,  you will need thisthisthis, or this. I have the first two. I used a mandolin this time. I used the thin julienne plate, and sliced the short way.

You can peel the veggies first if you wish. I peeled the cucumber, but not the zucchini.

Greek Salad with Cucumber and Zucchini "Noodles"

3-5 large zucchini, noodled
2 cucumbers, noodled
1 pint grape tomatoes, halved
2 tbsp chopped black olives
3 oz crumbled feta
1/4 cup olive oil
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
1 tbsp dijon mustard
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp onion powder
1 tsp dried basil
1 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp dried parsley
pinch of salt and pepper

Place the zucchini noodles in a strainer and toss with 4-5 pinches of salt (evenly spread) Let drain for 30 minutes.

Add cucumber noodles and gently squeeze excess water from veggies (don't go crazy. Just a few squeezes)

Place in bowl with tomatoes and feta.

In a container with a lid, add black olives, oil, vinegar, mustard, and seasonings. Close lid and shake well.

Toss veggies with dressing. Best if chilled a hour or two.

Friday, September 6, 2013

Classic Pot Roast, with a Twist

Everyone does pot roast their own way. I just thought I would share mine!

The most important part? Sear the meat before putting it in the crock pot.

Classic Pot Roast, with a Twist


1 3-4 pound pot roast
salt and pepper
1 tbsp oil
1 package onion soup mix (or make your OWN :) )
1 mini bottle of red wine (about 3/4 cup if you want to use a big bottle and drink the rest)
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
1/4 cup worcestershire sauce
4 carrots, peeled and 2 inch chunks
3 stalks of celery, 2 inch chunks
2 onions, peeled and quartered (or 1 leek, washed and cut into 1 inch rings)
2 parsnips, peels and 2 inch chunks (optional, but recommend)
1 pound new potatoes, halved (or gold/red potatoes quartered. I used yummy white avalanche)

Heat a skillet on high until piping hot. Add the oil. Generously salt and pepper all sides of the roast. Place in skillet and let sit 1-2 minutes to get nice and golden. Repeat on all surfaces.

Place roast in crock pot. Mix onion soup mix, wine, vinegar, and worchestershire and pour over roast. Cover and cook on high 2 hours.

Add veggies to the sides of the roast (as much as possible) and lower heat to low and cook 4-6 more hours.

If you want to make a gravy, strain out the liquid. Melt 2-3 tbsp butter in a skillet on medium. Add 2-3 tbsp flour and cook while stirring for 3 minutes. Whisk in as much liquid as needed to make the gravy consistency you want.

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

"Grilled" Cheese Stuffed Dinner Rolls

These rolls are easy and yummy, stuffed or not.

This makes a easy meal for a group. No more layering, flipping, burning sandwiches. Easy peasy.

These can easily be adapted for a pasta meal. Stuff with fresh mozzarella (and basil too!) and add italian seasoning to the brushed butter.

I tried 3 different types this time. American, cheddar, and a mix of american and cheddar. American had the most "classic" grilled cheese flavor, but I really liked the balance of the 2 types of cheese.

"Grilled" Cheese Stuffed Dinner Rolls


2 cups (a little more if needed) flour
2 1/4 tsp instant yeast
1 tsp sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup milk, warm
1/4 cup water, water
2 tbsp butter, melted

18 chunks cheese of choice (For american cheese, fold slices into a cube)
2 tbsp melted butter
1 tsp garlic powder
pinch of salt

Mix together the flour, yeast, sugar, and salt in a mixer bowl.

Mix together milk, water, and butter. Add to bowl.

Mix together until well combined, scraping bowl if needed. Put on dough hook attachment and turn on "2". Once the dough is a nice ball on the hook, let knead 8 minutes. If dough sticks to bottom in the middle, add more flour, 1 tbsp at a time.

Remove hook, cover, and let sit 10 minutes.

Divide dough into 18 pieces. (half. Each half into 3rds. Each 3rd into thirds)

Roll into a ball. Flatten into a disk. Place cheese into center and pinch to seal. Place seal side down onto a greased 9 inch round pan. 9 in each pan.

Place in cold oven. Turn on to 375. Once to heat, cook 20-25 minutes, until tops are a deep golden brown.

Remove from oven and brush with the butter (mixed with garlic powder and salt)

Let cool 5-10 minutes and serve

Easy Black Bean Soup

This meal couldn't be quicker, more flavorful, or easier. Its as simple as heating the ingredients. Goes fabulously with a fast cheese quesadilla

Some diced bell pepper would be a great addition if you have any on hand

Easy Black Bean Soup

 3 cans low sodium black beans, not drained
2 cups chicken stock
1 cup medium heat salsa
2 tsp cumin
salt to taste
(1 drained can Rotel or petite diced tomatoes would go well too)

optional toppings:
sour cream
crumbled tortilla chips
shredded cheese

In a sauce pan, heat beans, broth, salsa, and cumin. Taste and add salt if needed

*you can take half the soup, blend it, and combine it for a thicker soup*

Serve with any or all of the toppings listed.