Monday, September 2, 2019

Peach Cobbler Bars

We have really been enjoying the fruit this summer. But sometimes I buy more than we can eat in a reasonable amount of time. Surely I'm not the only one?

So, when that happens, I gladly turn the fruit into a baked good; or a baked GREAT. This was definitely a baked GREAT.

All the goodness of peach cobbler baked into a bar form, then covered with a delectable almond icing. This was the perfect dessert for Labor Day weekend, reminding us that summer is not over til September 21, people! But even if it feels more like fall, you will love the summer flavors in this dessert.

Find more great ideas at Inspire Me Monday, Inspire Me Monday 2, Fabulous, Hearth and Soul, Twinkly Tuesday.

Peach Cobbler Bars

1 1/2 cups flour
3/4 cup cold butter, cubed
1/8 tsp. salt
1/2 cup sugar

2 eggs
1/3 cup flour
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup sour cream
1/8 tsp. salt
2-3 cups peaches, peeled and finely diced

Almond Icing:
1 cup powdered sugar
5 Tbsp. heavy whipping cream
1 tsp. almond extract

For the crust, stir flour, salt and sugar together. Add butter and cut in with a pastry blender, two knives or your fingers until mixture resembles coarse sand. (Alternatively, combine flour, salt and sugar in the bowl of your food processor. Add the cubed butter and pulse until the mixture resembles coarse sand. You want to see some pieces of butter in the mixture.)

Reserve 1 cup crumbs.

Pour remaining crumbs into a greased 9x13 baking dish and press down firmly. Bake at 350° for 15 minutes.

While the crust is baking, prepare the filling. Whisk eggs, flour, sugar, sour cream and salt together. Fold in the peaches.

Pour peach mixture over top of baked crust layer. Sprinkle filling layer with remaining cup of crumbs. Bake at 350° for 1 hour or until set.

For the icing, combine the powdered sugar, cream and almond extract and stir with a spoon or whisk until smooth. After bars have cooled for 1/2 hour, drizzle top with the icing. Serve warm or at room temperature. Refrigerate leftovers.

Recipe Source: Can't Stay Out of the Kitchen

Monday, August 26, 2019

Fresh Strawberry Bread

The days are getting cooler, and everyone in our house is back to school, but I still want to hang on to summer! I need more lunches on the patio, dinners on the deck, time in the kayak, reading by the lake, getting into a sun baked car.... (am I the only one who loves getting into a HOT car? probably.)

Luckily, you can feel like it's still summer (and technically it IS!) with a delicious quick bread like this one. Strawberries are THE fruit of summer, and they are delicious baked up in this bread.

So wear your sunglasses and tank top and get this bread baking! And relish these last days of summer.

Get more great ideas at Hearth and Soul, Fabulous, Inspire Me, Inspire Me 2.

Fresh Strawberry Bread

2 1/2 cups flour
1 cup sugar
3 1/2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. salt
3 Tbsp. vegetable oil
1 cup milk
1 egg
1 tsp. vanilla
1 1/2 cups fresh sliced strawberries

Combine the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt in a large mixing bowl. Add in the oil, milk egg and vanilla and stir with a wooden spoon until combined. Fold in strawberries.

Pour into a greased loaf pan. Bake at 350 for 65-80 minutes or until top is golden brown and a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean.

Cool slightly, then loosen sides of loaf from pan and remove to wire rack to cool completely.

Recipe Source: Adapted from Lemon Tree Dwelling

Monday, August 19, 2019

Strawberry Rhubarb Cheesecake Bars

Strawberry Rhubarb is such a wonderful summer combination. I loved this treatment of the tangy and sweet fruit, layered between cream cheese and streusel.

It was a big hit at a summer picnic, with even kids requesting seconds!

Because of the several layers, this does take a little time to come together, and it's really best if you can let it sit overnight in the fridge before serving. It will be worth the wait!

Strawberry Rhubarb Cheesecake Bars

Crust and filling:
1/2 cup butter, softened
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 tsp. vanilla, divided
1 cup flour
1/2 tsp. salt
8 oz. package cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup, divided
1 egg
1 1/2 cups diced fresh rhubarb
1 cup fresh strawberries (about 10-11 strawberries), hulled and diced
1 tsp. cornstarch
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1 Tbsp. lemon juice

1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup oats
1/4 tsp. salt
1/4 cup butter, cold and diced

For the crust, combine butter and brown sugar using an electric mixer until creamy. Mix in 1/2 tsp. vanilla. In a small mixing bowl, whisk the flour and salt together. With the mixer on low speed, slowly add the flour mixture to the butter mixture and mix until combined. Press the dough evenly into a greased 8 or 9" baking pan. Bake at 350 for 12 minutes or until lightly browned. Set aside to cool.

For the filling, combine cream cheese and 1/4 cup sugar and beat together until smooth. Add the egg and 1/2 tsp. vanilla, and mix until combined. Pour over the partially-baked crust and spread evenly. In a medium bowl, stir together rhubarb, strawberries, 1/4 cup sugar, cornstarch, cinnamon, and lemon juice. Sprinkle evenly over cream cheese filling.

For the topping, combine flour, brown sugar, oats, and salt. Cut in the cold butter with a pastry blender until you have a pea-sized crumb-like mixture. Sprinkle topping over the fruit mixture. Bake again for 40-45 minutes or until filling is set. Cool completely on a wire rack. For best results, refrigerate for several hours or overnight before cutting into squares and serving. Refrigerate any leftovers.

Recipe Source: Adapted from Smorgaseats

Monday, July 8, 2019

Sticky Chicken with Pineapple Salsa

If you're anything like me, you're always looking for new recipes. For some reason, I am always looking for new chicken recipes! I have a lot that are family favorites, but chicken is so versatile that it's fun to find new treatments for it.

This sticky chicken is a great new way to prepare chicken, and the summery salsa that accompanies it puts it over the top. The chicken would be great on its own, but it's especially flavorful when paired with this pineapple salsa. It's a great summer meal, and you could easily grill the chicken instead of roasting it to save from turning on the heat in your kitchen.

This new recipe won rave reviews from everyone in my family. We loved it paired with rice pilaf and roasted broccoli.

Check out these other family favorite chicken recipes: BBQ Chicken and Grilled Pineapple Quesadillas, Chicken and Brie Flatbread, Chicken and Mushroom Stuffed Shells, Chicken and Vegetable Strudel, Chicken Lettuce Wraps, Chicken Marsala, Teriyaki Chicken, Island Chicken, Creamy Tuscan Chicken.

Sticky Chicken with Pineapple Salsa

1 pound boneless,skinless chicken thighs
1 pound chicken drumsticks
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. pepper
1/2 tsp. garlic powder
1/4 cup honey
2 Tbsp. soy sauce
1 Tbsp. brown sugar
2 tsp. apple cider vinegar

1 1/2 cups pineapple chunks
1/4 cup finely chopped red onion
1/4 cup chopped cilantro
1 lime, juiced
pinch of salt and pepper

For the salsa, combine the pineapple chunks, onion, cilantro, lime juice and salt and pepper in a bowl and stir well. Refrigerate until ready to use. (Can be made 1 day ahead.)

For the chicken, line a sheet pan with foil and spray the foil with nonstick spray. Place the chicken thighs and drumsticks on the pan and sprinkle with salt, pepper and garlic powder on both sides.

In a bowl, whisk together the honey, soy sauce, sugar and vinegar. Brush one layer of sauce on the chicken, then roast the chicken at 425 for 20 minutes. After 20 minutes, brush on more of the sauce and roast for 10 more minutes. Brush or spoon on any remaining sauce and roast for 15 more minutes, or until the inside temperature registers at 165 degrees.

Remove the chicken and serve immediately with the pineapple salsa. Serves 6.

Recipe Source: Adapted from How Sweet Eats

Monday, July 1, 2019

Cheesy Taco Pasta

Here's an easy, delicious, fast, one-pot dinner that will have your tastebuds singing. It's perfect for these summer evenings when you're running from one activity to another and your little soccer players need a good supper!

It's also perfect for a rainy summer day when comfort food is in order. Or any day that ends in "y" for that matter. This recipe takes all the good flavors of tacos (too many to name here, honestly) and combines them with pasta in a cheesy, tomato-y sauce.

This won rave reviews at my house, especially when topped with sour cream and guac. (As would anything.)

Cheesy Taco Pasta

3 cups small shell pasta
1 pound ground beef
1/2 cup onions, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 Tbsp. chili powder
1/2 tsp. garlic powder
1/2 tsp. onion powder
1/2 tsp. cayenne
1/2 tsp. oregano
1/2 tsp. paprika
2 tsp. cumin
2 tsp. salt
2 cups water
1 cup tomato sauce
1 cup shredded Mexican style cheese
fresh cilantro, guacamole, sour cream, tomatoes, olives for garnish as desired

Cook ground beef, onions and garlic in a large skillet over medium high heat until meat is no longer pink; drain fat. Stir in the tomato sauce, chili powder, garlic powder, cayenne, oregano, paprika, cumin, salt, water and pasta.

Loosely cover the pan, reduce heat to medium.

Cook for 5-10 minutes until the pasta is done, stirring occasionally.

Remove from heat and stir in cheese. Serve with additional garnishes as you like. Makes 4-6 servings.

Monday, June 3, 2019

Banh Mi Tacos

If you're like me, you love combining different food styles. I think fancy people call that "fusion." This is a great example of a Mexican and Vietnamese fusion - carnitas in flour tortillas are topped with pickled vegetables and a spicy sauce, replicating the famous Banh Mi sandwiches. These were so delicious that I'm making them again tonight. I love getting plenty of vegetables in a taco...and I love the combination of crunchy pickled vegetables with the spicy meat and sauce.

These flavors work best when they've had time to mingle, so try to make the sauce and veggies the morning of, or the night before.

I also added avocado as I thought, what's a taco without avocado? You can certainly omit to be more authentic. Or add other things to be even "more fusion."

Whatever you do, get these great Banh Mi tacos on your dinner rotation STAT!

Banh Mi Tacos

8 Flour tortillas
2-3 cups Carnitas
1 avocado, sliced

1 cup sour cream or Greek yogurt
2 Tbsp. lime juice
1 Tbsp. chili garlic sauce
2 Tbsp. sweet Thai chili sauce

Pickled Vegetables:
2 large carrots, peeled and cut into thin matchsticks
1 English/seedless cucumber, cut into thin matchsticks
1/2 red onion, thinly sliced
2 Tbsp. sugar
2 Tbsp. rice vinegar
1 tsp. sesame oil
1/2 tsp. coarse salt

For the sauce, whisk together the sour cream, lime juice, chili garlic sauce and sweet Thai chili sauce. Store covered in the refrigerator for up to 2 days prior to serving.

For the pickled vegetables, place the carrots and cucumber in a bowl. Place the onion in a second bowl. Whisk together the sugar, vinegar, sesame oil and salt. Pour over the vegetables in each bowl and toss to coat well. Cover and refrigerate for several hours, ideally.

Warm the tortillas in the microwave or in a hot skillet on the stove top. Fill with carnitas, avocado slices and pickled vegetables, then top with the sauce. Serves 4.

Monday, May 6, 2019

Sweet Potato, Brussels Sprouts and Chicken Sausage Sheet Pan Dinner

Well, after that celebration of 10 years of recipes, it's time to get started posting new ones again. We're trying to eat a bit healthier around our house as of late (it's an uphill battle, isn't it?) so I won't have many baked goods to share for awhile, but I have several amazing main meals just waiting for the spotlight.

This Sheet Pan dinner featuring chicken sausage, sweet potatoes and brussels is just one of those main meals!

I love the ease of sheet pan dinners and this one is wonderful. I'm sure that this would be more suitable in the fall, when brussels are in season and when we are eating more sweet potatoes, but sometimes the desire to try a new, fast, easy, delicious dinner trumps seasonality. I think there would be several good varieties of chicken sausage to choose from (flavor wise) when making this, but I liked Italian style. They had just enough kick to complement the herbs and spices in the veggies. And you can always make this milder by leaving out the cayenne.

Do yourself a favor and make this great (and easy! so easy!) dinner as soon as possible.

Sweet Potato, Brussels Sprouts and Chicken Sausage Sheet Pan Dinner

1 (12 oz) package Chicken Sausage
2 tsp. olive oil
1 pound Brussels sprouts, sliced in half
2 large sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1" cubes
1 large red onion, cut into quarters vertically
1 Tbsp. garlic, minced (3 cloves)
1 tsp. dry mustard powder
1 tsp. smoked paprika
2 Tbsp. brown sugar
1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper
1/2 tsp. kosher salt
1/2 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
1/2 tsp. rosemary

In a large mixing bowl, combine the prepared sprouts, onion and potatoes. Drizzle oil over, add minced garlic and toss to coat. Combine the mustard powder, paprika, brown sugar, cayenne, salt, pepper and rosemary, and then sprinkle over the vegetables and stir well so that everything is coated.

Transfer vegetables to a large sheet pan. Roast at 425 for 15 minutes. Cut each sausage link into thirds, and then add to the pan. Roast for an additional 10 minutes. Serves 4.

Friday, April 5, 2019

Favorite Recipes of the Last Decade (To be reminded of!)

So many recipes, so little time. That's the conclusion I have come to, after looking through 881 posts written in the last 10 years in order to pick out my favorites. In many cases, it was hard to whittle down my favorites because I like all the recipes I post, and I love most of them!

So today I'm sharing with you the recipes that I was glad to be reminded of. These are recipes that I don't make as frequently, but that deserve to be in the regular rotation. I am going to work to get these into my rotation, along with some of the 841 recipes that didn't make the cut in any of the posts this week!

Brownie Cake with Cookie Butter Frosting

If you haven't tried cookie butter yet, this is the perfect recipe to start with. A scrumptious brownie cake is topped with a fluffy cookie butter frosting. This cake was very popular in my house...

Spicy Pasta with Sweet Potatoes

When I first found this recipe, I thought I was being brave to try it since it was so different. (I'm much braver now, by the way!) I am so glad I tried it because it is SO delicious!!! If you go meatless on Mondays, or Fridays during Lent, or even if you love meat, you should try this amazingly yummy and fun pasta dish.

Chicken and Vegetable Strudel

This is a super fun dish for a luncheon, bridal/baby shower, or just for a regular weeknight dinner. I love that it's chock full of vegetables as well as chicken and cheese - and then all that is surrounded by bread. I don't think it gets any better.

Almond Poppyseed Bread

If you are a carb-aholic like me, you will adore this bread. It has just the right amount of sweetness, and the almond flavoring is so addicting. This is lovely for a brunch.

Israeli Couscous with Roasted Vegetables

This recipe has made the rounds in my extended family and often gets made by people other than me, which is great! This is a lovey salad full of roasted vegetables (you can use whatever you like!) with that fun Israeli (or pearl) couscous and a delicious garlic dressing. It's perfect for summer picnics.

Salmon with Mustard Cream and Cheesy Breadcrumbs

This is a great treatment for salmon - I often just broil salmon simply but when I want to get "fancy" this is the recipe I use.

Cherry and Almond Cornflake Bars

If you love Rice Krispie bars, you will simply adore these. They are chock full of dried cherries, sliced almonds and of course, delicious marshmallow "glue" that holds the cereal together.

Chicken Sausage Gyros

We love gyros and this is a great way to enjoy them at home. Chicken sausages have great flavor, and combined with fresh veggies and an easy tzatziki sauce, your taste buds will be singing!

Bowties with Bacon, Carrots, and Peas

My family adores anything that contains bacon, and this pasta dish is a fun one. I especially like it in the summer since it's a lighter pasta dish.

Spinach and Artichoke Pasta

This is another great pasta dish that's a little lighter and uses two great ingredients - spinach and artichokes.

I hope you've enjoyed this week of looking back on a lot of great recipes. Here's to ten more great years of cooking and eating!

Thursday, April 4, 2019

Favorite Recipes of the Last Decade (Not Main Dishes)

When I decided I wanted to pick my favorite recipes of the last decade to celebrate the 10th anniversary of this blog, I knew that I would probably have to put them in categories cause there's so many to choose from! In ten years, there are 881 posts, and that's a lot of recipes. So, Tuesday was main dishes and today I am featuring recipes that aren't main dishes! I thought about doing a whole post on desserts, but let's be honest, that would be way too difficult.

So here's a nice mix of breakfast, appetizers, desserts and salads. None of them disappoint! I hope you'll try one or two and enjoy them as much as we do.

2009: Oat Waffles

Waffles are made at least twice a month in our house, and this is my favorite variety. I make these so often that I have the recipe memorized. The oats add great texture and fiber. Everyone is excited when it's waffle time!

2010: Molten Chocolate Cakes

Molten chocolate cakes are such an impressive dessert, and this version is SO easy to make. They are even better to eat, especially with a little ice cream...

2011: Berry Mandarin Tossed Salad

We eat a lot of salad, so having several, or many, varieties is important to stave off salad boredom. This one has a tangy dressing and lots of color from the oranges and strawberries. No one is bored with this salad on the table!

2012: Salsa

This. This salsa. This salsa is probably the recipe I make most often. Not kidding. If we have an extended family gathering, I'm asked to bring the salsa. And my family doesn't mean the jarred kind, or even some fancy refrigerated fresh kind. They mean THIS SALSA. I have recently started making this with fire-roasted tomatoes and that makes it even better. It wins rave reviews wherever it goes. This is another recipe I have totally memorized, and it's very easy to halve it if you don't need LOTS OF SALSA. (But why wouldn't you need lots of salsa?)

2013: Roasted Pistachio Ice Cream

Oh, summer, please come quickly. This ice cream is one of the best parts of summer. It will be one of the most delicious things you've EVER eaten, I promise.

2014: Chocolate Dipped Coconut Macaroons

For some reason, as I write this post, I am craving all kinds of sweet things! These macaroons are the perfect treat - I originally made them for Easter but they are a requested Christmas cookie as well. Just a light coating of chocolate makes these coconut cookies even more special.

2015: Caramel Banana Tiramisu

I have several varieties of tiramisu (my all time favorite dessert!) on the blog: traditional, frozen, a berry version, and this amazing creation. It uses graham crackers instead of lady fingers, so it's a bit more accessible, but it's not any less delicious!

2016: Cranberry Crumble Muffins

These are perfect fall muffins - or perfect Christmas brunch muffins, or perfect anytime muffins. I love how the sugary streusel topping complements the tarts cranberries. Yum.

2017: Swedish Pancakes

Swedish pancakes are very similar to crepes. They are super easy to whip up for a weekend breakfast, or for dinner for breakfast. We always love them with a warm fruity sauce, but plain old syrup is great on them too.

2018: Baked Brie with Balsamic Blackberries

This is one of the best appetizers of all time. I have made this with both blackberries and raspberries, and they are equally delicious. Warm brie on a baguette is a little piece of heaven. And it's even more heavenly with a little fruit on it. You will be hit of the SuperBowl party, or Final Four party, or New Year's Eve party, or any party, when you bring this.

Tuesday, April 2, 2019

Favorite Recipes of the Last Decade (Main Dishes)

With ten years of recipes, there are a lot of great options to choose from when meal planning or party planning or what have you. But, like happens so often in life, we return to the same favorites again and again. So, today, I'm featuring those favorites of ours -- the main dishes from each year in the past ten that are in a regular rotation at our house. All of these are spectacular - I hope you will try one or two and get them into the rotation at your house!

2009: Southwestern Potpie

This is one of my favorite meals of all time. I love everything about it: the delicious sauce laden with chili powder, the textures and colors of the carrots, corns, beans, chicken, green onions, the delicious corn bread topping. I love taking the leftovers for lunch the next day or two even more.

2010: Spicy Sweet Potato and Sausage Soup

This is the simplest soup ever, but it's a combo I would have never put together on my own, so I'm glad I discovered it in an old newspaper clipping. It's perfect for chasing away the chills on a winter day, or for clearing out your sinuses. (Ahem.)

2011: Shrimp with Orzo

This is a beautiful main dish salad perfect for hot summer days when you want something cool and refreshing. It is full of shrimp, cucumbers, dill and feta and pairs beautifully with crusty bread and a big fruit salad.

2012: Crockpot Carnitas

I have lost count of how many times I have made these carnitas. We eat them in tacos, in rice bowls, on brunch tostadas, Cuban quesadillas, and on "taco" salads. Every single time I serve them, my teenage daughter says, "This meat is SO good." Every. single. time.

2013: Chicken Lettuce Wraps

This is a favorite, and often requested, dinner at our house. Literally, cheers erupt from the diners when they see this on the table. It's also easy and quick, two of my requirements for weeknight dinners. (Delicious is the third requirement, and this fits the bill there as well.)

2014: Chicken Wild Rice Soup

I love that this soup cooks in the crockpot while we're at church. And as you saw yesterday, cooking wild rice in the crock pot is the most famous way! Cook in into this soup and you will be happy, and full.

2015: Roasted Red Pepper and Sausage Pasta

Speaking of often requested, this is the most popular pasta dish at our house. It even gets named as the preferred birthday meal - which is pretty high praise, if I do say so myself. And I love that it's the most popular even though it's loaded with spinach!

2016: Asian Beef Short Ribs

I originally started making these in the crockpot, and have adapted the recipe for the Instant Pot. Either way, they are scrumptious.

2017: Butternut Squash Curry Soup with Shrimp

If you like Thai food, you should make this soup immediately. If you're not sure, make this soup anyway. I promise you'll love it. It is SO good - and we love it with rice, noodles and couscous (not all at the same time...)

2018: Cuban Quesadillas

I love Cuban sandwiches, but I think I love these quesadillas more. The fillings really shine here - and as mentioned above, this is a great use for carnitas. I also use leftover pork tenderloin in these with great results. These quesadillas are a huge hit with the family as well.

So there it is - one recipe from every year that is regularly made and eaten at our house. I hope you'll try one or two and let me know what you think!

Stay tuned for my favorite dishes from the last ten years that aren't mains!

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