Monday, September 26, 2016

#MuffinMonday ~ Cheese and Garlic Muffins

#MuffinMonday is a group of muffin loving bakers who get together once a month to bake muffins. You can see all our of lovely muffins by following our Pinterest board.

Updated links for all of our past events and more information about Muffin Monday, can be found on our home page.

Today I am in Chicago! When this post goes live I will be enjoying my last day in the city after traveling for a friend's wedding on Saturday. It has been years since I visited and I've so been looking forward to this trip!

These muffins are a wonderful side dish with any meal - especially with the cooler weather starting to arrive (or at least starting to think about arriving)! They are tender, chock full of yummy cheese and deliciously garlicky. You can reheat leftovers in the oven. You can eat at room temp, but with all that cheese in the middle, served warm is best.

See all the Muffin Monday offerings today!

    Cheese and Garlic Muffins from Recipe Tin Eats

    Dry Ingredients
    2 cups plain flour
    1 ½ tsp baking powder
    ½ tsp baking soda
    ½ tsp salt

    Wet Ingredients
    1 egg, lightly whisked
    ¾ cups + 2 TBS milk
    1 tsp white vinegar
    3 TBS sour cream
    4 TBS vegetable oil
    2 TBS dried parsley
    1 tsp minced garlic
    2 cups grated cheddar cheese

    1 stick of butter
    2 garlic cloves, crushed
    12 slices of mozzarella or Monterrey Jack cheese (small squares that will fit in the muffin tin)

    1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray a 12 opening standard muffin tin with nonstick cooking spray.
    2. Place butter and garlic in a microwave proof bowl and melt in 30 second bursts. Keep warm (leave in microwave).
    3. Sift together dry ingredients in a bowl. Make a well in the center, and add wet ingredients. Mix until just combined (it should be a lumpy thick batter).
    4. Dollop a heaped tablespoon into each hole. Top with a slice of cheese and drizzle each with 1 tsp garlic butter. Divide remaining batter between muffins, then drizzle over remaining garlic butter (about ½ tsp each).
    5. Bake for 20 - 25 minutes or until the muffins are golden on top and spring back when touched in the center. 
    6. Best served warm so the cheese in the middle is still gooey.

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Honey Butter Rolls

These  were delicious and well received by my family. That honey butter mixture slathered over warm rolls was so yummy. They were sweet, tender, and a perfect accompaniment to a grilled chicken salad. They reheat pretty well in the oven too, but they didn't last very long at our house! 

I don't make homemade bread nearly as often as I would like to - so I was very happy to get the chance to make these yummy dinner rolls recently. There is something so incredibly comforting about homemade bread - not to mention the smell as it's baking! They should turn that into a Yankee Candle! :)

So here it is, end of September - and the first day of Fall I might add! Welcome fall, welcome cooler weather, and welcome excuses to bake yummy fresh bread.

Honey Butter Rolls from Sally's Baking Addiction

1 cup whole milk, warmed to about 110°F
2 1/4 teaspoons yeast
1/2 teaspoon granulated sugar
1/4 cup honey
1 large egg + 1 egg yolk
1/4 cup butter, melted and slightly cooled
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 1/2 cups bread flour (leveled)

1/4 cup butter, very soft
2 TBS honey

  1. Pour warm milk into the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a dough hook attachment. Sprinkle yeast and 1/2 teaspoon sugar on top of the milk. Stir gently to combine and allow to sit for 5-10 minutes, or until the yeast activates and gets bubbly and frothy.
  2. With the dough hook attachment, turn your stand mixer on low speed and add in the honey, egg, egg yolk, melted butter, salt, and 3 cups of flour. Allow to combine on low speed for 1 minute, then add remaining 1/2 cup of flour. Beat on low speed for 1 minute as it all combines. The dough should be thick, yet soft and only slightly sticky. It should pull away from the sides of the bowl as it mixes. When it does, it is ready to knead. If, however, the dough is too sticky to handle then add more flour, just a little at a time. (Don't add too much extra flour, you want a soft dough).
  3. Form the dough into a ball and turn it out onto a lightly floured surface. Knead for 2 minutes, then place into a greased bowl (I typically reuse the bowl I mixed the dough in, dump dough out, add about 1 tsp olive oil to the bottom and replace the dough, flipping once so it is lightly greased on both sides). Cover the bowl with a kitchen towel and place it in a warm environment to rise until doubled, about 2 hours. 
  4. Once doubled in size, punch down the dough to release any air bubbles. Remove dough from the bowl and turn it out onto a lightly floured surface. Punch down again to release any more air bubbles if needed. Cut the dough in half. Cut each half into 8 equal pieces for a total of 16 pieces that are about 1/4 cup each (large golf ball sized roughly). Roll each piece into a ball and arrange in a greased 9x13 baking pan. Loosely cover with a kitchen towel and allow to rise until doubled in size and puffy, about 1 hour.
  5. Preheat oven to 350°F. Bake the rolls for 18-21 minutes until the tops are golden brown and the edges of each roll look cooked. While the rolls bake, mix the topping ingredients together to make a creamy honey butter. Remove the rolls from the oven when they are done spread a generous amount of honey butter onto each warm roll. Serve with any remaining honey butter (I used pretty much all of it along the tops and let it drip down the sides while in the pan so the honey butter could soak into the warm rolls).
  6. Cover leftovers and keep in the refrigerator for up to 1 week (reheat in the oven for best results).

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Slow Cooker Buffalo Chicken Sandwiches

These are yumm. I liked them A LOT. I adore my crockpot, and this chicken mixture is very versatile. It worked very well in this sandwich (though because it was cooked in the crockpot, there is a fair amount of moisture, and the bottom of the croissants did get a little soggy - so a firmer bread might be a better match). They were so deliciously tangy and bright, and cooled down just a touch by the ranch drizzle.

If you want a tangy, easy chicken sandwich dish, definitely give this one a try. Also, I used the leftover chicken to make some incredible quesadillas - just add your favorite white cheese (I used provolone and Swiss) and dip in Ranch dressing after you get the tortillas golden brown. Absolutely delicious!

Slow Cooker Buffalo Chicken Sandwiches adapted from Simply Stacie

2 lbs boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1 cup Frank's Red Hot sauce, divided
1 medium onion, sliced into thin rings
Ranch dressing
6-8 Croissant Rolls

  1. In a slow cooker, add chicken breasts and top with 1/2 cup wing sauce and onions. Cover and cook on low for 6-7 hours or high for 4-5 hours.
  2. Remove chicken from slow cooker and shred using 2 forks or stand mixer. Reserve 1/4 cup of liquid from slow cooker, and discard the rest. Place shredded chicken back into slow cooker bowl, add 1/4 cup reserved liquid, and remaining 1/2 cup wing sauce. Stir to coat chicken.
  3. Place about 1/3 - 2/3­ cup of chicken mixture on each bun. Top with additional Frank's and a drizzle of ranch dressing if desired. 

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Swiss Macaroni & Cheese

This Swiss Macaroni & Cheese goes beautifully with a ham dish. It is tangy and creamy and the breadcrumbs add nice texture. We really enjoyed this dish and it didn't last long in our house! It reheated pretty well too which is always a plus. I think it would make a wonderful base for an all-in-one casserole with chunks of ham and your favorite green veggie mixed in.

I cannot seem to get over the fact that we are already at the END of September... Lindsey just had her 3rd birthday, the Chicago trip is this weekend, and the days quite literally keep flying on by. We're reaching the anniversary of Kent's stroke, which happened early October and I just keep thinking about all that has changed in the past year. So many good memories over this past year, and plenty of sad and hard ones too. It has been a stretch and growth year. Lots of laughter, and lots of tears. I am excited for the Holidays to be just around the corner. We're working on fall and Halloween decorations for the house, and Lindsey is already talking about Santa and Christmas (and mostly presents - apparently she has fully grasped the concept of presents). I'm already thinking about fun things to do in December with her to celebrate the season of Christmas, but first Halloween and decorations and adorable kiddos in costumes, and then the annual Turkey dinner to share with family and friends! Lots to be thankful for and look forward to!

Swiss Macaroni and Cheese adapted from Taste of Home

16-oz package elbow macaroni noodles
1 1/8 tsp salt, divided
1 1/8 tsp pepper, divided

1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, divided
3 TBS flour
2 cups milk
1 cup heavy whipping cream
1 medium onion, diced
2 - 2 1/2 cups shredded Swiss Cheese
1/2 cup plain bread crumbs

  1. Put a large pot of lightly salted water onto boil, cook macaroni noodles to al dente (about 10 minutes). Drain and set aside.
  2. Lightly spray a 2-quart baking dish with nonstick spray and set aside. Meanwhile, preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  3. In a large nonstick skillet melt 6 TBS of the butter over medium to medium-high heat and cook onions until tender, and butter is beginning to brown (about 8 - 10 minutes); reducing heat if necessary to prevent butter from browning too quickly.
  4. Stir in the flour until evenly absorbed into the butter. Allow roux to cook for 1 - 2 minutes.
  5. Gently whisk in the milk and cream until completely incorporated and smooth.
  6. Increase heat and bring to a simmer, cook for 2 - 3 minutes or until sauce begins to thicken.
  7. Reduce heat back to medium and add in 1 tsp each salt and pepper, along with the cheese. Stir gently until cheese has melted and sauce is smooth. Taste and adjust seasonings as necessary. Combine noodles and sauce in the pot that you cooked the noodles in, stirring gently until noodles are evenly coated with the cheese sauce. Pour noodles into the prepared casserole dish and smooth.
  8. In a bowl, melt the remaining 2 TBS of butter and stir in the plain bread crumbs and remaining 1/8 tsp each salt and pepper until evenly combined. Sprinkle buttered crumbs over the top of the noodles.
  9. Bake in preheated oven for 20 minutes. If breadcrumbs haven't browned, turn the broiler to high and broil for 1 - 2 minutes, or until golden brown.

Friday, September 16, 2016

#FishFridayFoodies ~ Spinach and Feta Stuffed Salmon

For September's Fish Friday Foodie's reveal day, Sneha who blogs at Sneha's Recipe invited us to stuff some seafood - any seafood! I did a quick search, trying to think what sounded good and came across a spinach and feta stuffed salmon recipe and didn't need to look any further! We haven't had salmon at home in awhile, so this was a fabulous excuse for me to pick up some thick, gorgeous fillets at our local grocery store. They were beauuuutiful!

This dish was incredibly rich, and delicious. It is packed with a very creamy mixture between the feta and cream cheese, but has a good solid punch of veggie in there as well. We served these alongside some quick steamed green beans and it was a very filling, tasty, treat of a meal. This one goes in my "keeper" pile, and you could easily play with the filling to adjust flavor. I liked the additional flavor the Mediterranean feta added to the dish, but you could easily opt for the traditional flavored feta if you don't want the flavor variation.

Spinach and Feta Stuffed Salmon adapted from Oatmeal Mountain

2 ounces cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup crumbled Mediterranean feta cheese
1/2 medium onion, finely diced
1/2 TBS olive oil
1 cup wilted / sauteed spinach
3 or 4 (6-ounce) salmon fillets
salt and pepper to taste

  1. Preheat oven to 350 F. Line a baking sheet with foil and spray with nonstick cooking spray.
  2. In a nonstick skillet, over medium-high heat, heat the oil. Add the onion and saute until tender (about 10 minutes).
  3. Meanwhile, in a bowl, combine the cream cheese and feta with fork, mixing until blended. Add in the sauteed onion and wilted spinach until blended together evenly.
  4. Gently cut into the salmon fillets, leaving them intact on the ends (create a pocket). Lay them on the prepared baking sheet, skin side down and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Evenly distribute the cream cheese / feta mixture between the fillets (it will overflow a little, and that is fine).
  5. Bake 20 - 25 minutes, or until salmon is cooked through and flakes easily. 

Thursday, September 15, 2016

#BundtBakers ~ Fall Fruits Bundt Cake


Welcome to the September reveal day for Bundt Bakers! This month Andrea from Adventures in All Things Food invited us to bake up a "Healthy Cheat, Sneak or Substitute" recipe. #BundtBakers is a group of Bundt loving bakers who get together once a month to bake Bundts with a common ingredient or theme. Follow our Pinterest board right here. Links are also updated each month on the BundtBakers home page.

This cake was fantastic! I wasn't quite sure what to expect using three different fruit components and swapping out what was intended to be fresh fruit with another puree (in the form of apple butter in place of grated / diced apples), but I could not have been more happy with this cake. I have dubbed this pumpkin banana bread. It's very subtly sweet, lightly spiced, and I can taste a touch of banana and a touch of pumpkin. The texture is soft, moist, with a little bit of chew. It works perfectly as a breakfast cake, but just as well for dessert (especially if you added a touch of cinnamon kissed whipped cream)!

If you want to pack a whole bunch of fruit into your next cake, definitely give this one a try. The kitchen smelled just like fall to me.

If you don't have pumpkin pie spice blend - use: ½ tsp ground cinnamon, ½ tsp ground allspice, ½ tsp ground nutmeg, ½ tsp ground cloves

Check out all these Healthy Cheat, Sneaky, or Substitute bundts shared today!

Fall Fruits Bundt Cake adapted from Real Food Kitchen

3 cups all purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda
½ tsp salt
2 tsp cinnamon plus / pumpkin pie spice mix
2 cups sugar
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 medium banana, mashed
2 eggs
2 TBS vanilla extract
3/4 cup apple butter or applesauce
1 15-oz can pumpkin puree

  1. Combine first 5 ingredients: set aside. 
  2. Combine oil, banana, eggs, vanilla, apple butter and pumpkin puree in a large bowl; mix well. Blend in dry ingredients until just combined (don't overmix).
  3. Spoon batter into a greased and floured 10” bundt pan.  Bake at 325 degrees for 1 ½ hours or until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. 
  4. Allow cake to cool completely before inverting onto a serving platter. 

Monday, September 12, 2016

#SecretRecipeClub ~ Asian Chicken Noodle Soup

Welcome to the September 2016 Group B reveal day for Secret Recipe Club. I hope you will take a moment to visit the Secret Recipe Club if you've never heard of it before - it is a wonderful group of food bloggers who are given a secret assignment of another member's blog each month and our goal is to pick ANYTHING from their blog to make and post about on our designated reveal day.

For September I had the pleasure of browsing the Cookaholic Wife blog, penned by Nichole who began her blog in 2009 to meet her need to "cook, bake, enjoy". Nichole's blog offers a wide variety of dishes to meet every skill level and taste - you will certainly find something delicious to prepare for yourself and your family at Cookaholic Wife. Just look at a few of the dishes I stumbled across: Roasted VegetablesPumpkin Dinner RollsCranberry Apple BreadCheesy Beef SandwichesCrock Pot Italian Beef Sandwiches, Gouda Bacon CheeseburgersMushroom Melt SandwichShrimp Po' BoysBroccoli Bacon SaladTBLAT SandwichAsian Chicken Noodle SoupBuffalo Chicken PastaChicken and Onion FlatbreadFirecracker ChickenTeriyaki Turkey BurgersPeach Raspberry Pie... the list goes ON AND ON! Her recipe index is pretty incredible.

As you can see I opted for this Asian Chicken Noodle Soup - and we loved it. I will absolutely make this again! You can mix and match the add-ins to incorporate what you like best and have on hand. I let mine simmer quite a bit more than the original recipe called for and ended up having a lot of my liquid vanish - so would be mindful of that, or up the liquid amount next time. I found this was a great dish to prep ahead of time, with most everything but the noodles, the evening before, and then had dinner on the table the next night in no time flat. Perfect for a busy work night!

Asian Chicken Noodle Soup adapted from Cookaholic Wife

2 lbs boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into small bite sized pieces
1 tsp sesame oil
1 red bell pepper, cut into thin strips
1 large carrot, peeled and sliced into thin rounds
6-7 cremini mushrooms, sliced
1 TBS Gourmet Garden chunky garlic paste (more to taste)
5 TBS dry cooking sherry
2 1/2 TBS rice vinegar
2 TBS Gourmet Garden lightly dried ginger
2 1/2 TBS soy sauce
4 cups chicken broth
8 cups water
1/2 - 3/4 cup edamame (thawed, if frozen)
1/4 - 1/2 cup green onions, chopped
4-6 oz. Asian style noodles
salt and pepper

  1. Add the sesame oil to a large soup pot, and when heated add pieces of chicken to the pot, turning frequently until chicken is browned on all sides. 
  2. Add the red pepper, carrots, mushrooms, garlic, sherry, rice vinegar, ginger, soy sauce, chicken broth and water to the pot and simmer for 40 minutes.
  3. Add the noodles and edamame to the pot and cook according to package directions.
  4. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve garnished with green onions.

Wednesday, September 07, 2016

#FoodieExtravaganza ~ Peanut Butter and Jelly Pancakes

This month's Foodie Extravaganza is hosted by Caroline of Caroline's Cooking who selected Pancakes as our tasty theme. If you are a blogger and would like to join our group and blog along with us, come join our Facebook page Foodie Extravaganza. We would love to have you! If you’re a spectator looking for delicious tid-bits check out our Foodie Extravaganza Pinterest Board! Looking for our previous parties? Check them out HERE.

This is such a fun theme - I am a lover of pancakes, and as with most dishes that we eat on a somewhat regular basis I love to try variations of the same thing - always looking for the next "family favorite" recipe! I wouldn't change anything about this recipe - except to double it next time. It made about 4 large pancakes, and with 3 full-sized humans and 1 pint-sized human they didn't last long! We enjoyed these as breakfast for dinner one night, and agreed they worked very nicely for dinner since they are on the savory side with the subtle flavor of peanut butter. I highly recommend using about a 50/50 ratio of maple syrup and jam combined, heated, and mixed to blend to serve atop these pancakes. It became an easily spreadable consistency and was delicious. These pancakes are so fluffy too - we really liked the texture and consistency these came out. Definitely a keeper, and we will make them again. My son wants to sandwich the jelly syrup in between two, and have a PB&J pancake breakfast sandwich on his birthday.

See all the delicious pancake recipes shared today:

Peanut Butter and Jelly Pancakes from Crunchy Creamy Sweet

1 cup all-purpose flour
2 TBS granulated sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup buttermilk
1 large egg, beaten
1/3 cup creamy peanut butter
your favorite jelly, warmed up or syrup

  1. Heat a griddle or a large nonstick skillet over a medium heat.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the dry ingredients (flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt).
  3. In another mixing bowl, whisk together the buttermilk, egg and peanut butter until well combined.
  4. Gently mix the wet into the dry until just combined - do not over mix.
  5. Spray your griddle with a cooking spray. Pour 1/4 cup of batter per pancake. The batter will be thick, so you can spread it a little to flatten if desired. Cook pancakes for about 3 minutes on each side, or until golden brown and cooked through.
  6. Repeat with the remaining batter.
  7. Serve with warmed up jelly or syrup (mixing about half jam / jelly, half maple syrup works great). Garnish with fresh fruit if desired. 

Saturday, September 03, 2016

Creamy Avocado Chicken Enchilada Casserole

This was creamy, satisfying, and it reheats well too. What more can you ask for? It is quick enough for a weeknight dinner, especially if you already have the chicken cooked up and ready to go. I was craving enchiladas, but didn't feel like individually prepping and rolling them and liked the idea of a casserole version.

This casserole is all about the gooey, creamy, and cheesy layers. The addition of the avocado adds even more creamy texture to the casserole. I found the combination of ingredients very tasty, the sauce was delicious, and it was very filling. I used Gourmet Garden herbs since that's what I keep on hand, but you can always use fresh or minced garlic, and fresh, or dried cilantro to taste instead.

And wishing you a wonderful Labor Day weekend. Hopefully you will be relaxing and enjoying a 3-day weekend with your family and friends. We are supposed to be experiencing Dragon Con this weekend - I've never been and I'm anxious about the transportation aspect. With how bad traffic and parking we'll be, we'll probably be taking Marta and when I did a quick check there is a train transfer and I worry about Kent a little getting fatigued and over stimulated. Hopefully all will go well though. Keeping my fingers crossed, and looking forward to some good people watching!

Creamy Avocado Chicken Enchilada Casserole adapted from My Kitchen Escapades

1 TBS butter
1 TBS flour
1 - 1 1/2 cups chicken broth
2 tsp cumin
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
2-4 TBS Gourmet Garden cilantro paste
1 TBS Gourmet Garden garlic paste
1 cup Mekenita Salsa de Casa (use your favorite red or green salsa)
1/2 cup sour cream

3 cups diced, cooked chicken
2 large avocados, chopped
2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
9 small flour tortillas (cut to fit as needed)


  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees and lightly spray a 9×13 casserole pan with nonstick spray.
  2. In a medium pan, melt the butter over medium heat then sprinkle the flour over the butter and whisk to combine.  Cook for 1 minute, don't allow the mixture to burn (turn heat down if needed).  While whisking, pour in 1 cup of the chicken broth and allow it to come to a simmer.  Add additional broth if the sauce is too thick (it should be a gravy consistency).  Allow it to come to a simmer again to check the thickness once more.  Remove from the heat and add the remaining ingredients for the sauce and mix until all combined. Taste test and adjust seasonings if desired.
  3. Spread a small amount of the sauce on the bottom of the pan, about 1/2 cup.  Lay down 3 tortillas on top of the sauce (it worked well for me to overlap two, then cut the third in half to cover the side of the pan) then add half of the chicken, avocado and 1/3 of the cheese.  Drizzle a bit of sauce over the top.  Repeat once more.  Top the whole dish with the final 3 tortillas and spread the remaining sauce over the top and sprinkle with the remaining cheese.  Bake for 20-25 minutes in the preheated oven until the cheese is bubbling.