Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Pecan Pie Bars

Happy Pi day! These are so good! Pecan pie is my absolute favorite pie and these bars are very similar. They don't have the gooeyness of the pie, but still have all the flavor. The crust is kind of like a cross between a shortbread cookie and a pie crust. I like them better the 2nd or even 3rd day. I also like to freeze them wrapped individually. My kids pull them from the freezer to take them in their school lunch, and they are thawed by the time they eat. Now go make some pie!

Pecan Pie Bars
adapted from theslowroasteditalian.com
1 1/4 cups unsalted butter, softened
6 TBSPs sugar
2 large eggs
1 1/2 tsps vanilla
2 1/4 cups flour
1/4 tsp baking powder
1/8 tsp salt
1 cup unsalted butter
1/2 cup light corn syrup
1 1/2 cups light brown sugar, packed
2 TBSPs heavy cream
Pinch of salt
1 pound pecans, chopped

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
2. For the crust, beat the butter and sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, until light, approximately 3 minutes.
3. Add the eggs and the vanilla and mix well.
4. Sift together the flour, baking powder, and salt. Mix the dry ingredients into the batter with the mixer on low speed until just combined.
 5. Press the dough evenly into an ungreased 9x13 inch baking pan, making an edge about 1 inch up the sides like you would a pie crust . It will be very sticky; sprinkle the dough and your hands lightly with flour. Bake for 15 minutes, until the crust is set but not browned. Allow to cool.
6. For the topping, combine the butter, corn syrup, and brown sugar in a large, heavy-bottomed saucepan.
7. Cook over low heat until the butter is melted, using a wooden spoon to stir. Raise the heat and boil for 3 minutes. Remove from the heat.
8. Stir in the heavy cream, pinch of salt, and pecans.
9. Pour over the crust, trying not to get the filling between the crust and the pan. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, until the filling is set. Remove from the oven and allow to cool.
10. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate until cold. Cut into bars and serve.
These freeze really well!

Monday, February 27, 2017

Ground Beef Scalloped Potatoes

I don't have time for too many more of these nice wintry comfort food meals. It's been in the 80s here already and it's only February! I adapted this from a recipe I found on pinterest (taking out all signs of mushrooms). My family loved it! It is a bit of prep work, bit was totally worth it for the responses I got. If you have a mandoline, I recommend using that to slice your potatoes because it's fast and makes them all uniform in thickness. I have a CHEAP one (like $5, see pic at bottom) that works just fine and I cut my potatoes on the thinnest setting which looks like 1/8 of an inch. Might be good with bacon...just saying.

Ground Beef Scalloped Potatoes
adapted from bushel-and-a-peck.com 
1 lb. ground beef
1 onion, chopped
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp paprika
1 tsp salt
1 tsp pepper
3 cups thinly sliced potatoes
¼ cup butter
¼ cup flour
3/4 cup milk
1 cup beef broth (or water and bouillon)
1 1/2 cups shredded cheese

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F and lightly grease a 8 x 12in. baking dish.
 2. In medium skillet, cook the onions and ground meat, seasoned with salt and pepper. Once meat is browned, mix in 1/2 tsp garlic powder and 1 tsp paprika. Drain the grease, remove meat mixture from pan and set aside.
3. In the same pan, heat the butter over medium heat. Add the flour and cook for 1 minute. Slowly add milk and beef broth, blending well and bring to a boil, whisking the entire time. Add 1 tsp of salt and 1 tsp of pepper. Once the mixture comes to a boil again, whisk just until thickened--anywhere from 2-5 minutes
 4. Layer into the baking dish 1/3 of the potatoes, then spread 1/3 of the soup mixture over the potatoes. Sprinkle on 1/3 of the meat mixture, and top with 1/2 cup of cheese. Repeat layers with another 1/3 of the potatoes, soup, meat and then the cheese. Finish with one more set of layers in same order.
5. Spray a sheet of foil with cooking spray and cover baking dish, spray side down. Bake for 45 min, then remove the foil and bake for 15 more. Stick a fork in to see if the potatoes are soft, if not add 5 more minutes.

Monday, February 13, 2017

Instant Pot Broccoli and Cheddar Pasta

I bought an Instant Pot a few months ago and have been collecting dinner recipes. Here's my first one! This can be a side or you can add chicken to make it a one pot meal. When I add chicken, I cook the a couple of frozen chicken breasts on high pressure with 2 cups of water for 15 min. Then I remove them and use the pot for the pasta. You can even measure out the leftover water that the chicken cooked in, and use that too. Makes a lot! Feeds my family of 6 with leftovers.

Instant Pot Broccoli and Cheddar Pasta
adapted from adventuresofanurse.com
16oz pasta (I like penne, rotini, or farfalle)
4 cups water
1 16oz bag frozen broccoli
3 cups shredded cheddar cheese
1 cup milk OR half and half
1 tsp of salt
Pepper to taste

1. Place pasta and 4 cups of water in Instant Pot. Dump bag of frozen broccoli on top of pasta. Do not stir.
2. Turn pot on manual HIGH pressure for 4 minutes. After it has finished, do a quick release.
3. Turn pot to saute. Add in milk, cheese, salt and pepper. Stir until cheese is melted.

Add chopped cooked chicken if desired.

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Creamy Wild Rice and Chicken Soup

It's going to be in the 80's here today, but it's WINTER, so I'm posting a soup recipe! This soup reminds me of chicken pot pie filling, but with rice of course. The rice is baked in the oven, so while it's doing it's thing, you can cook your chicken and chop up all your veggies. I like to cook my chicken in my Instant Pot, and then use the leftover broth in the soup. 

Creamy Wild Rice and Chicken Soup
1 7 oz. box of Long Grain and Wild Rice Mix (like Zatarain's pic below)
2 cups water
1 tsp chicken bouillon granuals OR 1 cube
3/4 cup chopped onion
3/4 cup chopped celery
3/4 cup sliced carrots
1/4 cup butter
1/4 cup flour
4 cups chicken broth
2 TBSPs chopped fresh parsley
3 cups diced cooked chicken
1 cup whipping cream
Salt and pepper to taste

1. Combine rice, water, and bouillon in a 3 quart or 9x13 inch baking dish. Bake at 325 degrees for 45 minutes. Set aside.
2. Melt butter in skillet over med-high heat. Saute onion, celery and carrots in butter until soft. Stir in flour and cook until bubbly.
3. Add broth and parsley. Cook and stir until thickened.
4. Add baked rice and chicken; mix well. Add cream and continue to cook, stirring occasionally until heated through.

Makes 6 servings

Thursday, January 19, 2017

BBQ Smoked Sausage French Bread

When I look at these pictures I think, PARTY FOOD! This would be a great super bowl party snack. It has all the major food groups, bread, cheese, meat, and BBQ sauce! ;) The recipe only uses half of the loaf of French bread, but you can definitely double it to feed a crowd. It would also be amazing to substitute chicken, and even throw some bacon in there, which I will try soon. I used beef smoked sausage and cheddar cheese, but you can use your favorites of either one. And no reason why you can't make this for dinner!

Barbecue Smoked Sausage French Bread
1 loaf French bread, sliced in half lengthwise (you only need 1 half)
1 TBSP butter
1 small onion, sliced
12oz  package of smoked sausages, chopped
1/2 cup barbecue sauce
3/4 cup shredded cheese

1. Place french bread half on a baking sheet. Toast under broiler just until it starts to brown. Remove from broiler.
2. Melt butter in skillet over med-high heat. Add onion slices and cook stirring occasionally until onions are soft.
3. Add chopped sausages and continue stirring occasionally, for about five minutes, until cooked through.
4. Add barbecue sauce and cook for a few minutes until mixture is heated through.
5. When sausage mixture is hot, scoop it onto the french bread and spread it out evenly. Sprinkle with cheese.
6. Place back under broiler to melt cheese. Keep your eye on it so it doesn't burn.
7. Slice into strips and serve.

I couldn't say no when he asked to be in the picture. Haha

Thursday, January 5, 2017

Bacon and Cheddar Buttermilk Biscuits

I had a biscuit like this at the Magnolia Market Silo Bakery. I couldn't stop thinking about it, so I thought why not add bacon, cheese, and chives to my own biscuits, and here they are! They are fluffy and buttery with the extra goodness of bacon and cheese! Make a double batch, because you'll want more.

Bacon and Cheddar Buttermilk Biscuits
2 cups flour
3 tsps baking powder
¾ tsp salt
1 TBSP sugar
5 TBSPs cold butter, cut into cubes (or use a cheese grater)
2 TBSPs cold shortening
1 cup cold buttermilk, plus an extra 3 TBSP in case you need it
3 slices of bacon, cooked and crumbled
¾ cup shredded cheddar cheese
1 TBSP fresh chives, chopped
1 TBSP melted butter for brushing on top

1. Preheat your oven to 450 degrees. Line your baking sheet with parchment paper, silpat, or aluminum foil, dull side up.
2. In a large bowl, mix the flour, baking powder, salt, and sugar together until combined. With a fork or pastry blender, cut the butter and shortening into the flour mixture until each piece is coated and the size of small peas.
3. Add bacon, cheese, and chives and mix until combined.
4. Make a well in the center of the flour mixture and pour in one cup of the buttermilk. Gently mix it around until it's combined. If the dough doesn't look wet, add in the extra 3 TBSPs of buttermilk to moisten it. You don't want it runny, just visibly moist.
5. Flour your surface and gently place your dough on top. Dust the top of the wet dough with a little more flour ensuring that your fingers don't stick into the dough. Bring the dough together with your hands, gently, for about 10 seconds. Flatten into a 1-1 ½ inch thick circle. Cut dough into biscuits using a floured glass or biscuit cutter (I used a 2½ inch). Do not twist cutter when cutting; this crimps the edges of the biscuit and hinders rising.
6. Place each biscuit on the lined baking sheet, so that the sides are barely touching. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes or until golden brown. Remove from the oven and brush with melted butter.
Makes 6 large biscuits

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Chocolate Orange Fudge

These flavors together are one of my favorite combos! Orange extract gives this fudge it's orange flavor. I added the orange slice pieces on top just for fun. This is the easiest fudge to make, really! You can change it up by substituting a different extract like this Chocolate Peppermint Fudge or this Chocolate Fudge with nuts.

Chocolate Orange Fudge
3 cups (18 oz.) semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 (14 oz.) can sweetened condensed milk
Dash salt
1 tsp orange extract
Candy orange slices for garnish (optional)

1. Line 8 or 9 inch square pan with foil, extending foil over edges of pan.
2. Melt chocolate chips with sweetened condensed milk and salt in heavy saucepan over low heat. Remove from heat. Stir in extract. Spread evenly into prepared pan. Place pieces of orange candy on top, if desired.
3. Chill 2 hours or until firm. Remove from pan by lifting edges of foil. Cut into squares.