3Nov/131

Roasted Brown Sugar Butternut Squash

Squash is awesome. I especially love it in one of its purest forms, so I decided to cook up a Roasted Brown Sugar Butternut Squash for one of my oven recipes. Super easy because That's the way, Uh huh Uh huh, I like it!
Ingredients:

  • 1 - Large Butternut Squash
  • 2 - TBSP Salted Butter
  • 2 to 3 TBSP - Brown Sugar
  • Sea Salt & Pepper to Taste

Process:

  1. Preheat oven to 375°F.
  2. Slice off stem end of squash, and then cut squash in half lengthwise. Remove all seeds and stringy flesh.
  3. Place on baking sheet.
  4. Put a TBSP of butter in each well.
  5. Sprinkle generously with brown sugar and sea salt.
  6. Bake face up for 30-45 minutes. Squash is done when fork is easily inserted into the flesh.
  7. Pour butter and juices into a bowl.
  8. Scrape squash flesh away from the skin into bowl, and then mash.
  9. Adjust seasoning as necessary.
  10. Serve hot.

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3Nov/130

Bacon Wrapped Chicken Breasts Stuffed with Garlic & Onion Cream Cheese

This was yet another one of those, "I don't have anything in the house" meals. Turned out quite yummy though and is easy to prepare.
Ingredients:

  • 3 - Chicken Breasts (Halved)
  • 8oz - Cream Cheese
  • 10 to 12 - Bacon Slices
  • 1 Tsp - Onion Powder
  • 1 Tsp - Garlic Powder
  • Dash of Cayenne Pepper
  • Dash of Black Pepper
  • 1 TBSP - Melted Butter

Process:

  1. Preheat oven to 400°F.
  2. Pound each chicken breast piece until approximately 1/2 inch thick.
  3. Mix together cream cheese, butter and dry ingredients.
  4. Spread mixture evenly on chicken breasts.
  5. Roll, and wrap with 1-2 slices of bacon depending on the size.
  6. Place on baking sheet and bake until internal temperature reads 160°-170° F. (This should take approximately 30 - 45 minutes, but make sure you check it so you don't over cook.)
  7. If desired, place rack higher in oven just before chicken is finished, and allow to broil for 5 minutes until bacon is crispy.

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3Nov/130

Roasted Spaghetti Squash with Garlic, Bacon, and Parm + HIC Choco.Nut.Cheese.Grater Review

I get it. Not everyone likes vegetables. (Try convincing my husband to eat squash or cooked carrots.) However, I love squash, especially spaghetti squash because it's so easy to prepare. I decided to dress it up a little and created Roasted Spaghetti Squash with Garlic, Bacon, and Parm that I grated using the Harold Import Co.'s Blossom Choco.Nut.Cheese. Grater.
Ingredients:

  • 1 - 4lb Spaghetti Squash
  • 2 TBSP - Salted Butter (You can substitute with EOO if preferred.)
  • 3 - Garlic Cloves Minced
  • 4 to 5 Slices Bacon (Cooked and chopped)
  • 1/2 Cup - Freshly Grated Parmesan Cheese
  • Salt & Pepper to Taste

Process:

  1. Preheat oven to 375°F. Grease baking sheet lightly with butter.
  2. Cut off stem end of squash, and then cut lengthwise. Remove all seeds and stringy parts.
  3. Place face down on baking sheet and cook 25 minutes or so until a fork can be inserted easily into the fleshy part. Once done, remove from baking sheet and allow to cool.
  4. Shred squash flesh with fork into a separate bowl.
  5. Saute minced garlic in 2 TBSP of salted butter (or EOO) for approximately 1-2 minutes. Add squash and reduce to low and allow to reheat and incorporate the garlic and butter.
  6. Add minced bacon while reserving some for garnish.
  7. Add grated Parmesan cheese reserving some for garnish.
  8. Add salt and pepper to taste.
  9. Remove, garnish, and serve hot.

The Blogger Recipe Challenge was sponsored by Harold Import Co. for the month of October. (Obviously I'm a little behind on this.) We were each given a Blossom Choco.Nut.Cheese. Grater to use with our oven month recipes. It took me awhile to figure out what I wanted to use it for. We don't typically keep chocolate or nuts in the house, and most of the time we purchase softer cheeses. But, one afternoon I got hungry and did some digging as usually and came up with the recipe posted above. And guess what? I happened to have a wedge of fresh Parmesan cheese stuffed away in the back of my fridge. Suh-weet!

"Take the next step in the kitchen gadgetry: Blossom Choco.Nut.Cheese grater. Our patented grating disc and plunger do the dirty work for you, so you're free to get creative and add exciting flavor to all your meals." ~ Blossom

This is one of those gadgets where I really needed to read the directions, but once I did, I realized it wasn't quite as difficult as I thought it seemed. Once you get the plunger up to the top and attached to the lid, just open it, add in your ingredients you want to grate, and then remove the lid. Grating is as easy as twisting so the plunger pushes the cheese/nuts/chocolate down and through the grater.

I loved how easy it was to use, and best of all, I didn't scrape my knuckles like I usually manage to do, AND all of the cheese was grated. There weren't any tiny pieces left that you can't typically grate due to the fear of losing a finger nail or the tips of your fingers. Nobody wants bloody cheese.... or nail bits. Ew.

The grater completely disassembles for easy cleaning. There are 5 parts to the core unit, so thankfully there was a set of directions on how to take it apart, and how to put it back together. Unfortunately this isn't exactly dishwasher safe, so it's best to hand wash. Then again... with such small parts, I don't think you'd want to put it through the dishwasher.

Overall this is a pretty neat gadget, and I'm glad to have it in my kitchen. I finished grating up the rest of the Parmesan cheese and I'm just storing it in my fridge for when we're ready to use it. It's super simple to figure out and definitely saves your arms from all of that hand grating and finger tips. It's also pretty small, so finding a place to store one more kitchen goodie shouldn't be difficult.

Make sure you check out HIC on Facebook too!

I received the above mentioned product free of charge from HIC in order to facilitate this review. All opinions are 100% mine. See Disclosure Policy.

25Oct/130

Halloween Chocolate Fudge Peeps Bars Recipe & Review

This particular recipe actually happened due to a failed recipe. Which, sometimes the tastiest things are diversions from originals. My Halloween Chocolate Fudge Peeps Bars recipe is absolutely delicious. It's sweet, buttery, sugary, fudge-y, chewy, gooey, (get the picture?) and it won't take more than one bite to send you into a food coma. I was channeling my inner Paula Dean on this one. The best part, is that it is SUPER easy to make.

Ingredients:

  • 1 Box - Chocolate Cake Mix
  • 2 - Eggs
  • 10 TBSP - Salted Butter (melted)
  • 6 - Ghost Peeps (Cut into quarters)
  • 6 - Chocolate dipped Peeps (either dark or milk cut into quarters)

Process:

 

  1. Preheat oven to 350ºF.
  2. Combine chocolate cake mix with eggs and melted butter. Mix until well incorporated.
  3. Line a 9"x13" baking pan with aluminum foil, and lightly grease with spray, Crisco, or butter.
  4. Evenly spread batter in pan, and bake for 10 minutes. (If you prefer your bars a little more done, increase the time by 5-10 minutes.)
  5. Remove pan from oven and evenly distribute Peeps pieces.
  6. Return pan back into the oven and continue to bake for another 6 minutes. Marshmallows should be puffy, and start to have turned golden.
  7. Allow to cool, and then freeze a couple of hours before cutting. (Brownies never fully freeze even if in the freezer over night.)
  8. Serve chilled.

Honestly, Peeps were never really a favorite of mine while growing up. I'm more of the chocolate and caramel sort of person. I had one bad experience at camp where I lost all my hotdogs and smores in a pile next to the fire (I hope you're catching my drift by what I mean by "lost"), and after that... I couldn't stomach marshmallows for YEARS. But, Peeps was super awesome and sponsored the Blogger Recipe Challenge Group and sent us a bunch of different Halloween varieties of Peeps. They sent pumpkins, ghosts, and chocolate mousse cats in addition to some newer varieties including sugar-free, peeps dipped in dark chocolate and milk chocolate, and chocolate covered Jack-O-Lanterns.

Since we all know marshmallows are best melted, and especially a little caramelized, I decided I wanted to make sure I could bake them a little. It also happened to work out perfectly for October's oven month theme. (Yay for killing two birds with one stone!) Of course, the Peeps I didn't use in this recipe were devoured by my kids in less than an hour. Guess they're still a long-standing favorite for many kids.

I also had no idea Peeps came in different themes! I always just assumed they were an Easter-only sort of candy. I loved the cats and the ghosts the most, just because they were so different compared to the typically bright colored Peeps. The chocolate dipped ones were delicious and worked perfectly for my recipe. The chocolate covered ones... a little melty and sticky even though they were stored the same way. However, you can't pay me to touch the sugar-free ones. Plus, the dye for the face kind of runs a little and looks questionable. I also figure if marshmallow is primarily made from sugar... what must go into making one sugar-free? Just my honest thought on that one.

Next time I try out this recipe, I think I'm going to make cream cheese swirled brownies, and maybe add a caramel drizzle. Just what everyone needs... MORE SUGAR!

Take the time to find Peeps on Facebook!

Also check out our other Peeps recipes from the Blogger Recipe Challenge below.

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30Sep/130

Bacon Egg Cups with Cheddar, Feta, & Green Onion

For some reason, our Blogger Recipe Challenge this month has been a little hard on me. It shouldn't have been because we're all meat and potatoes type people. Guess I just haven't been cooking a lot this month. Well.... thank goodness for bacon! Amiright? Bacon is always versatile and goes with just about anything. I wanted to spiff up our typical breakfast and created these bacon egg cups with cheddar, feta, and green onion. Ooooh they were yummy!

Ingredients:

  • 1 Egg Per Cupcake Tray Well (Fill as many as you need for how many people you're serving.)
  • 1 Bacon Slice Per Cupcake Tray Well plus smaller pieces for lining the bottom.
  • Desired Cheese (I preferred the Feta while my husband likes Cheddar)
  • Green Onion (Chopped)
  • Salt & Pepper to taste

Process:

  1. Preheat oven to 400ºF.
  2. Prepare the bacon by cooking partially over medium heat. Bacon should start to brown but still be very pliable. Remove from pan and allow to drain and cool.
  3. Once bacon has cooled, wrap a slice around the inside of each cupcake tray well. Rip off a smaller piece from another slice and place it on the bottom.
  4. Carefully crack eggs into the bacon cup you created.
  5. Season with salt and pepper.
  6. Sprinkle some chopped green onion on top.
  7. Add the cheese. (Note: Covering the yolk with cheese will make the yolk cook faster. If you like a runnier yolk, place the cheese around it.)
  8. Bake for 12-15 minutes until egg whites have set.

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29Sep/130

“Loaded” Deviled Eggs

Deviled eggs are just one of those things that somehow end up at every pot-luck. However, my husband HATES it when people use mustard in theirs. I figured out away around that. Make them taste as close to mashed potatoes or a potato salad as possible. Voila! This recipe can be made to suit a number of people, but I made three just because I didn't need to bring the eggs anywhere, and nobody needs to eat that many eggs in one sitting.

Ingredients:

  • 3 - Hard Boiled Eggs
  • 2 - Bacon Slices (Fried & Chopped)
  • 1 - Green Onion
  • 1/8 Cup - Cheddar Cheese
  • 1 to 2 TBSP - Sour Cream
  • Salt to taste

Process:

  1. Combine hard boiled egg yolk, salt, and sour cream. You don't want it too soupy, but you want to make sure the yolk is well blended.
  2. Pipe or spoon yolk and sour cream mixture into the egg white halves.
  3. Top with finely chopped bacon, cheddar cheese, and green onion.
  4. Serve cold.

29Sep/136

Peanut Butter Bacon Cookies #GlutenFree & Love Cooking Mrs. Fields Cool Bake Pan Review & Giveaway

A flour-less cookie? With... bacon?! Yup. These cookies whip up in a pinch, and they're great for anyone with a gluten allergy. (Not so great for the people with peanut allergies though.) I had the opportunity to test out a new baking pan from Love Cooking Company. The coolest part about this baking pan is that it comes in two pieces. The first is your regular cooking sheet, and the next is a removable try that allows you to transfer your cookies to a cooking wrack without actually having to remove them from the baking sheet. Ingenious!

Ingredients:

  • 6 Slices - Fried Bacon (Chopped)
  • 1 Cup - Peanut Butter
  • 1/2 Cup - Granulated Sugar
  • 1/2 Cup - Brown Sugar
  • 1 Tsp - Baking Soda
  • 1 - Egg
  • Sugar for coating

Process:

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F.
  2. Mix together sugars and peanut butter in a mixer. (Approximately 2 minutes.)
  3. Add in baking soda and egg. Mix for another approximate 2 minutes.
  4. Fold in chopped bacon.
  5. Roll dough into walnut size balls and coat in granulated sugar.
  6. Place on cookie sheet lined with parchment and bake for 10-12 minutes.

I found the Love Cooking Company while browsing through a friend's blog, and I realized that I can't ever have too many baking sheets. They're great from everything from cookies and biscuits to bacon and warming up some smoked eel for sushi. But, that's the problem. I use my baking sheets for EVERYTHING, and have admittedly ruined several of them because I had nothing else to use. So, I've started dedicating what are my cookie sheets, and what are my "everything else but the kitchen sink" baking sheets.

When the Love Cooking Company offered to send me their new Cool Bake Pan for a review, I was thrilled. THIS would be THE cookie sheet in my house. I might have to cut someone if they use it for something else.

"The secret to great looking cookies is in the Mrs. Fields Cool Bake Pan. With this pan, you no longer need to transfer the hot cookies one at a time to a cooling rack and run the risk of ruining them. This unique pan has the cooling rack built right into it!" ~ Love Cooking

The Cool Bake Pan, made from non-stick carbon steel, is very sturdy, even with having two pieces that separate completely from each other. The two pieces fit perfectly together, which makes removal of the inner tray while wearing oven mitts super easy. Throw in the fact that there are extended handles out the side, and you'd have to be pretty klutzy to drop the sheet. (I'm pretty klutzy, so I'm sure it'll happen. But, if I didn't drop it during my initial run with the Cool Bake Pan.... just sayin'.)

I loved that the surface area, while probably standard, didn't feel all that cramped. I could fit 15 cookies on the tray. I also found cleanup to be a breeze. For this particular recipe I did line the baking sheet with parchment, which I'm sure aided in the cleanup process. However, I'm excited to use the baking sheet again without the parchment and see how it holds up. The little air holes make me nervous for a particular dough recipe I use occasionally. I think perhaps that one might not work so well since it's a bit soft.

Otherwise, I absolutely love this pan and I love the concept of being able to remove the ENTIRE pan to cool without having to take the cookies off one by one and risk breaking them. Awesome!

Love Baking Company is giving away a Mrs. Fields Cool Bake Pan to one lucky DealPeddler reader. Enter below on the Rafflecopter form.

Good Luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

29Sep/130

Crock Pot BBQ Pulled Pork

The crock pot is really a live saver, especially on those days where you either don't have the time to spend hours cooking, or you just don't want to spend the time on hours of cooking. Admit it. It's probably the latter option. My entire family loves pulled pork, and even though this isn't technically the right way to do it, it's the easiest way that still yields some of the best results.

Ingredients:

  • 3 to 4lbs - Pork Butt
  • 2 - Onions (roughly chopped)
  • 1 to 2 Cups - Chicken Broth
  • Brown Sugar
  • Turmeric
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • Paprika
  • Chili Pepper

Process:

  1. Pat dry pork butt and generously season with salt, pepper, paprika, chili pepper and brown sugar. (I save the brown sugar as the last dry rub layer.)
  2. Place onions in the bottom of your crock pot, then place your pork butt fat side up on top of the onions.
  3. Pour in 1-2 cups of chicken broth until the onions are fully covered and the broth reaches partial way up the pork butt.
  4. Cover, and cook on high 4-6 hours. Depending on the size of your pork butt this may take a little longer. Meat is ready for pulling when you can stick a fork in it, twist, and the meat easily pulls apart.
  5. Remove pork butt from crock pot when finished, and place in a large bowl. Shred.
  6. Add your favorite BBQ sauce in the quantity that you prefer.

*Note: I like to serve my pulled pork with coleslaw or a spinach and vinegar saute.

29Sep/130

Smothered Pork Chops with Buttermilk Gravy

Admittedly I'm not really a fan of pork chops. It's not bacon, and it's not steak. It's a meat that's a little confusing to me. But, my husband came home with a huge package of boneless pork chops and told me to figure out what to do with them. After a little deliberation I decided that I love gravy, and gravy goes with mashed potatoes and just about any meat... which means gravy would go well with the pork chops and the mashed potatoes I served as a side. This is also a super simple recipe that allows room for any personal tweaks you'd like to make regarding the ingredients.

Ingredients:

  • 4 to 6 - Boneless Pork Chops
  • 1 Cup - All Purpose Flour
  • 2 to 3 TBSP - Meat Tenderizer Seasoning (You can also use garlic powder, onion powder, and cayenne to make your own seasoning mixture)
  • 1/4 Cup - Olive Oil
  • 1 Cup - Chicken Broth
  • 1/2 Cup - Buttermilk (Use regular milk and add a teaspoon of lemon juice. Allow to sit for 5-10 minutes before using.)
  • Salt & Pepper to Taste
  • 1 Tsp - Parsley Flakes

Process:

  1. Combine flour and spices in a wide mouthed bowl, or deep square dish.
  2. Dredge pork chops through flour mixture making sure both sides and edges are well coated.
  3. Heat olive oil on medium high.
  4. Cook pork chops until golden brown on each side. Approximately 4 minutes per side.
  5. Remove pork chops and set aside.
  6. Add enough of the flour/spice mixture to soak up the leftover grease and oil. Stir continuously with a wooden spoon or whisk.
  7. Add chicken broth and continue to stir until fully incorporated.
  8. Remove from heat and add the butter milk. Stirr continuously until sauce thickens into a gravy.
  9. Replace meat, and spoon gravy over the pork chops. Heat over low until pork is rewarmed. If your pork chops were a little thick, you can also finish cooking them off in the gravy.

26Sep/130

Baby Bella Parmesan Pink Bacon Sauce with Bow Tie Pasta

Bacon is ALWAYS my go-to meat and with this month's Blogger Recipe Challenge being meat-centric, it has proved to be a valuable ingredient. There's so much you can do with it, and it tastes great with everything. Typically I make this meal with summer squash and zucchini in addition to the mushrooms, but they weren't in my house. Oh well! It still tasted just as good. The best part? This meal is super simple and only requires a few additions to your favorite jar of spaghetti sauce.

Ingredients:

1 Box (12oz) - Bow Tie Pasta (Cooked according to package instructions.)
1 Jar - Favorite pasta sauce (I prefer Classico's Marinara w/ Plum tomatoes & Olive Oil)
10oz - Baby Bella Mushrooms (Coarsely chopped)
1/2 lb - Preferred Bacon (You can use more if you like your sauce super bacon-y)
1/4-1/2 Cup - Heavy Cream
1/4 Cup - Parmesan Cheese (Plus more for topping)

Process:

Fry bacon until cooked but not crispy. Remove from pan and allow to drain on a paper towel.
Remove some of the bacon fat leaving enough to saute the mushrooms in until they start to release their juices and soften.
Add in the bacon, pasta sauce, and Parmesan cheese. Allow to simmer while covered 10 -15 minutes.
Add in cream, and allow sauce to continue simmering for another 2-5 minutes.
Serve over pasta and sprinkle with Parmesan cheese.

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