Creamy, Cheesy White Chicken (Or Turkey) Enchiladas

Creamy, Cheesy White Chicken Enchiladas

Creamy, Cheesy White Chicken Enchiladas




I know, I know. Right now, all blogs, including mine, are supposed to be all about turkey, apples, pumpkin, cranberries and other holiday foods. Well, I WAS going to do a variation on pumpkin pie that I found online, but as I mentioned on my facebook page, it sucked. I mean, this was horrid. We ended up throwing out half of it and this is a household that can never get enough pumpkin pie, so that alone tells you something. So, for the last few days, I’ve been racking my brain trying to figure out what to post. The problem being that my brain is on hiatus due to a cold. Last I heard from it was a postcard saying it was in the Cayman Islands, sitting on a beach, soaking up the sun while drinking a Mai Tai. Damn brain…always leaves when the going gets tough.
I was just about to post something really fun, like liver and onions with a side of brains and eggs *gags just a wee bit* when it occurred to me that the impromptu dinner I was making was a perfect blog post. Quit glaring at me… I am well aware that one can find approximately 452,968 recipes for white chicken enchiladas online, but this is MY recipe and you all love me best. Right? Right? *hears crickets chirping and moves on*
Did I mention that this recipe uses cooked chicken, a la store bought rotisserie or leftover home cooked and that you could very easily swap out cooked leftover turkey in here? So see, I HAVE done something that is perfect for Thanksgiving. Well, the day after anyway. Serve some pumpkin pie for dessert and it’s like Thanksgiving all over again.

This was my way to use up leftover roast chicken we had. I had made two chickens because well…males. But then my 17 year old stayed at a friends house and we ended up with a ton of it leftover. I looked at a few recipes for chicken enchiladas but none of them appealed. I’m not a fan of cumin or coriander used plain (though I like them in blends) so I just threw this together my way. This isn’t difficult at all. Just saute your onions and garlic, add some ingredients to it, mix with the chicken, roll in tortillas, cover in sauce and bake.  I originally started this with corn tortillas but they were so darn small that I went to taco sized flour ones. But for a twist, I took a corn tortilla and layered it inside of each flour one to give the best of both worlds. It added another layer of flavor that we liked well enough that I think I’ll do it like this from now on.

These are creamy and cheesy and meaty with a mild bite but nothing too intense. With already cooked chicken, you can have dinner on the table in an hour. These are also large enchiladas so even though this makes just six, each enchilada could possibly serve two, depending on whom you’re feeding.

Well, you know the drill…. :-)

Creamy White Chicken Enchiladas

  • 5 to 6 cups chopped or shredded cooked chicken (or turkey) (one whole chicken)
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 2 cups chopped onions
  • 1 tablespoon chopped garlic
  • 2 tablespoons chopped jalapenos (I used the jarred kind…less work)
  • 2 4 ounce cans chopped or diced green chiles, drained
  • 2 tablespoons Mrs. Dash Fiesta Lime seasoning
  • 1 package McCormick White Chicken Chili Seasoning
  • 1 pound Monterey Jack cheese, shredded, mixed with-
  • 1/2 pound colby or sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
  • 6 taco size (the big tortillas) flour tortillas (I used Trader Joes Chili and Onion flavored ones)
  • 6 small corn tortillas
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 3 tablespoons flour
  • 2 cups chicken broth
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 1 cup sour cream
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 13×9 inch pan (I prefer glass for these) Pour the vegetable oil in a large pan. Add the onions, garlic and jalapenos and saute over medium heat until the onions are soft and limp. Add in one can of the chopped green chiles. Add in the chicken, Mrs, Dash seasoning and white chicken chili seasoning. Stir well to thoroughly mix.
  2. Heat the tortillas for 45 seconds on high in the microwave. They should be hot and pliable. If not, put them back for up to 30 more seconds.
  3. Lay one corn tortilla on top of a flour tortilla. Top with one sixth of the chicken mixture, then top with about 1/4 to 1/3 cup of the cheese. Fold over as tightly as you can (it will be full, so don’t pull too tight or you’ll bust it) to wrap and lay, seam side down in the prepared time. Repeat this five more times to get 6 enchiladas. Set aside.
  4. In a medium pan, melt the butter. Sprinkle the flour over it and mix well. Slowly whisk in the chicken broth, slowly being the operative word or you’ll end up with lumps. When you have all the broth stirred in, cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until mixture bubbles and thickens. Add in the remaining cheese and second can of chopped green chiles. Stir in the heavy cream and sour cream and whisk to combine.
  5. Pour the sauce carefully over the enchiladas. Bake at 350 until hot, lightly browned and bubbly, about 30 minutes.
  6. Serve with cilantro, salsa or picante sauce and more sour cream if desired.

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Caramel Apple Pie Streusel Bars

Caramel Apple Pie Streusel Bars

Caramel Apple Pie Streusel Bars



I am notorious for totally sucking at making apple pies. I add far too much cinnamon and don’t slice my apples thinly enough, leaving some pieces half raw and others too mushy. I also stunk at pie crusts.  Well, I used to be anyway. For holidays, I STILL tend to buy Marie Callendars Dutch Apple Pie. Why, if I no longer suck? Cause 1) I’m lazy and 2) I love them, so I keep using the whole “I stink at making apple pies!” excuse. Sooner or later, my husband will catch on that I continue to buy $8.00 pies when I could just as easily make one for half the cost, but for now, when Thanksgiving day gets here, I have a Marie Callendar pie waiting in the freezer. Darlin’, if you’re reading this, I’m lying right here…honest, I still stink at making pies *bats lashes and looks innocent*

But, to be honest, I may just leave that pie in there this year and make these bars. I had originally planned on a bar that could be more hand held and had a double crust. But, as happens with me often, and with a lot of bloggers, it morphed into something different. This is still caramel apple pie, but less hand held bar (even though it was done is a square pan) and more “cut a slab of this bad boy, put it on a plate and smother it in caramel sauce and vanilla ice cream” sort of pie. It CAN be hand held, if you’re on the run, since it’s not drippy unless you put far too much caramel lol. But it’s really more of a plate dessert.

This is more multi-step than I usually do, but none of those steps are difficult. Make the dough for the crust and while it’s chilling, prepare your streusel and the pie filling. Then roll out your dough, put it in the pan, top with the filling, then top with the streusel. Voila… ready to go. You DO need to let this cool until it’s completely cool however. Really, with any fruit pie, you should do that. How many times have you cut a warm pie and ended up with half of the filling oozing out into the pan? Let it cool and if you want it warm, you can nuke it for 30 seconds. Trust me. It will set up firmer and not be an oozing mess. Once ready to serve, cover it as desired in caramel sauce (in my case, about 8 or 9 cups worth) and maybe some ice cream. Eat, Enjoy. Thank me. Oh..this crust makes enough for two, so if you’re not wanting to double up the filling and streusel and make two pans, just freeze the other half of the dough until you need it. It never hurts to have some on hand.

Caramel Apple Pie Streusel Bars

  • Crust- (lightly adapted from Emeril Lagasse)
  • 3 1/4 cups flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • 1/2 cup butter, cold
  • 2/3 cup solid shortening, cold
  • 6 to 10 tablespoons ice water (the original recipe called for 4 to 5, but that was nowhere near enough)
  • Filling-
  • 5 1/2 cups cored, peeled and chopped (bite sized chunks) apples, about 5 apples. I used a mix of tart and sweet apples
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 3 tablespoons flour
  • 1 tablespoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1 cup Kraft caramel bits (found in the baking aisle)
  • Streusel-
  • 3/4 cup flour
  • 3/4 cups oats (NOT instant)
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup dark brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, cold
  • caramel sauce for topping
  1. Make the crust- Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Line a 9×9 square pan with foil, using two long pieces, each going in the opposite direction. (line one way, turn pan, line the opposite way, so that all four sides of the pan have a layer of foil) In a large bowl, combine the flour, salt and sugar. Using a pastry blender, cut in the butter and shortening until it looks like small pebbles or peas.
  2. Add the ice water, no more than 2 tablespoons at a time, mixing well after each addition. Add water until the dough comes together when mixed and isn’t sticky, just firm and holding itself together when pressed. Wrap dough in foil or plastic and chill while you make the streusel and filling.
  3. Streusel-
  4. In a medium bowl, combine the flour, oats, salt, sugar and cinnamon. Cut in the butter using a pastry blender or your fingers until it is crumbly with, again, pea sized pieces. It’s ok if some chunks are a bit larger. Set aside.
  5. Filling-
  6. In a large bowl, toss the apple chunks with the lemon juice. In a small bowl, combine the flour, spices and sugar. Pour over the apples and mix well, making sure to stir from the bottom, as the flour will settle. Add in the caramel pieces and stir well.
  7. Put together-
  8. Get your chilled dough. Cut in half and store half for later use. On a lightly floured board, roll the dough out into a square that measures about 2 inches larger than the pan, about 11×11. Easiest way to gauge- just hold the pan upside down over the dough and eye how large it is. If you need more dough, just use some from the saved half. That half can still be used for mini tarts or tassies. Gently (I use a dough scraper) lift the dough up and lay it in the pan. Press gently down into the pans, going up the sides about 2 inches. If it is uneven, carefully cut tiny bits off of the higher areas and use it to patch onto the shorter ones.
  9. Pour the filling over the prepared crust, smoothing top. Sprinkle the streusel over the filling. Bake at 375 minutes until the top is golden brown and the filling is bubbling around the edges, about 60 to 70 minutes.
  10. Let cool in the pan until completely cool. Cut and serve, drizzling (pouring copious amounts of…) caramel sauce on top of each piece, reheating for about 30 seconds in the microwave is desired.

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Crispy Tandoori Smashed Potatoes (And a Blog Swap!) #BloggerCLUE

Crispy Tandoori Spiced Smashed Potatoes




I think I have mentioned before that I have a strong love for the not so usual ethnic foods. I mean, I enjoy the ubiquitous Italian, Chinese and Mexican (most of which will be sadly Americanized), but when I really get excited is when I try something Indian or Thai or Middle Eastern. It all starts with the smells. The scents of what, to most Americans are, exotic spices, wafting through the house, just makes me happy. It also make me drool copiously but I just wear a bib and hope no one notices. It’s a cute bib with little pink duckies. Wait…too much info? Then the flavors, which may be familiar to those who grew up with them, but to my American palate, are still exciting, even though I have been eating and cooking “foreign” foods for close to 2 decades now.

So the following recipe is one I was so happy to find. I mean, what more does one need? It sends wonderful smells through the house while at the same time, it’s not so unusual as to make my kids balk. It also is made with potatoes that end up ultra buttery and ultra crispy. Crispy potatoes ftw!!

How did I get this recipe, you say? I was asked by a dear friend if I wanted to be part of a facebook based blogger group called Blogger C.L.U.E. Society (ok, so she actually said I had no choice so I may as well just gracefully accept) where, every month, we feature a recipe from a fellow blogger in the group. The twist is that we don’t know who has who until the day the blog posts go live and, the challenging part for me, as is obvious to anyone who has been reading here for a while, is that we can’t really modify the recipe. We are to keep it the way it was written. Do you have ANY idea how hard that was for me?!  We search the blog we are given for a recipe fitting that months theme- this months is “Food that you’d love to have on your Thanksgiving table”. I was all over that theme. You all know how much I love the foods this time of the year. This month I was tickled to get the blog Lawyer Loves Lunch. Azmina was a new blogger to me; I’m not sure how I had missed her! I love her dry wit and writing style and I absolutely LOVE these potatoes Crispy, buttery and they made my house smell fantastic. I will still have to make regular mashed potatoes for Thanksgiving or my family will lynch me, but I also plan on making a batch of these.

You know the drill…. :-)

Crispy Tandoori Smashed Potatoes

  • 1 lb mini Yukon Gold potatoes
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika
  • salt and pepper
  1. Boil potatoes in a large pot in salted water until they are easily pierced but not falling apart.
  2. Heat oven to 450 degrees. Grease a baking sheet with oil (I also lined mine with foil to make cleanup quicker). Line up the potatoes on the sheet with about 2 inches between each one.
  3. Use a potato masher to smash each potato. You want more or less flat potatoes with nice ridges on them, to help hold all the buttery goodness.
  4. In a small bowl, microwave the butter and spices. Brush each potato with some of the spiced butter.
  5. Bake at 450 for 15 to 20 minutes or until the potatoes are nice and crispy and browned around the edges.

What did we think- we loved them! Like I said up there, buttery, crispy potatoes with a ton of flavor. What’s not to love?

What would I maybe change up next time?-  I think I might add a bit more of the spices, plus maybe add some curry powder or garam masala.  Otherwise, not a thing. These are delicious!

There are some other bloggers in this group who you really need to check out. I have a list for you of everyone who is participating. Go and give them a look and see who they got and what delicious recipe THEY chose to make! Somewhere in there you’ll find the person who got my blog *bites nails nervously* I don’t know who it is, just know that I hope they liked whatever they created!

Blogger C.L.U.E. Logo

Cranberry Apple Cake

Cranberry Apple Cake

Cranberry Apple Cake



I have always loved cranberries in anything. When I was a kid, my mom always got the canned cranberry sauce during the holidays. You know the kind…. it slithers out of the can with a juicy plopping noise and has ridges on it from the can. I loved it and would eat all of it when no one was looking (sorry, Steve) Know what? I still love it. But even more than that, I love other cranberry filled treats. Every year, I make homemade cranberry sauce (as well as having the plopping canned kind). I love to spice it up with orange zest and spices and use brown sugar instead of (or in conjunction with) white sugar. All of that adds so much depth to the sauce. So, years back, when I saw a recipe for Ina Gartens Easy Cranberry Apple Cake; a saucy fruit bottom covered by a dense cake, in a November issue of “Womans World” (I admit to a strange liking for that magazine even still), I cut that page out and knew I would make it someday.Well, it took me about 6 years or so, but I have finally made it. And, oh…..my…gosh…. I am totally in love!

You all know I don’t rhapsodize over foods that often. I’ll say, “this was wonderful” or even “this was amazing”, but then I leave it at that. But not this time.. This time I am telling you that you have got to make this cake. It looks so simple when you read the recipe and when you see the finished cake…. just a homey little cake. But once you try it, if you have any love for cranberries, you will find yourself planning out how to store many extra bags of cranberries this season so you can continue to have this year round. It is sooooo good! I’ll be making this for Thanksgiving, for Christmas, for groundhog day, for Herbert Hoovers birthday, when the groundhog sees his shadow (or when he doesn’t)  I changed this enough to make it more to my families liking. Not enough to warrant saying it’s no longer Inas recipe, but as uppity as it may sound to some, I honestly feel that what I did only made this better. The original recipe only called for cinnamon (and a fairly scant amount) in the fruit part. I added extra cinnamon, extra orange zest, some cloves and used dark brown sugar. I also used about 1/2 cup more of chopped apples. The cake part was also fairly plain, not that that’s a bad thing. But I added some extra cinnamon to it as well as some orange oil (you could use orange zest if you don’t have orange oil) and extra vanilla and that was enough to make it go from good to “yum!”. The cake is unleavened, so it’s dense like a pound cake. Ina always calls for extra large eggs, which I never have, so when I use one of her baking recipes, I sub in an extra yolk for every two extra large eggs. The sweet, moist cake combined with the sweet tart fruit is amazing. Throw some lightly sweetened whipped cream on it and it takes it totally over the top.

You know the drill…. but I really stress it this time! GIT TO COOKIN’!

Cranberry Apple Cake

  • 1 12 ounce bag fresh cranberries
  • 1 1/2 to 2 cups chopped tart apple (it called for peeled, I didn’t bother peeling.)
  • 1/2 cup dark brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons orange zest
  • 1/3 cup orange juice
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 2 eggs, room temp
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted and cooled somewhat
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon orange oil (or 1 tablespoon orange zest)
  • 1/4 cup sour cream
  • 1 cup flour combined with 1/4 teaspoon salt and 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Lightly grease a ten inch pie plate, if, like me, you don’t have that, use a DEEP 9 inch cake pan. Not the typical shallow kind but one at least 1 inch deep. Wilton makes them for a good price. You could also probably sub a 13×9 pan, but watch your bake time.
  2. In a medium bowl, combine the cranberries, apples, brown sugar, orange zest, orange juice,  cinnamon and cloves. Let sit while you make the batter.
  3. In a medium bowl, using a hand mixer on medium, beat the eggs for two minutes. Add in the sugar, butter, vanilla, orange oil (or zest), and sour cream. Beat just until combined.
  4. On low speed, add in the flour mixture. Beat just until combined.
  5. Pour the fruit mixture into the prepared pan. Smooth the top, then pour the batter over the top of the fruit. Smooth again.
  6. Bake at 325 for 55 to 60 minutes or until a skewer inserted in the middle comes out clean and the fruit is bubbly at the edges. Serve warm or at room temp. Then plan on making another. And another.

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Raspberry Chocolate Amaretto Streusel Muffins

Raspberry Chocolate Amaretto Streusel Muffins

Raspberry Chocolate Amaretto Streusel Muffins




Mannnn, I’ve mentioned before that I hate wordy recipe titles. I prefer straight to the point and concise. But sometimes, you just need to make sure the title lets people know about all the yummy goodness in the food.

It’s funny that I am the same way with recipe titles as I am with life in general. I’ve always told my husband not to assume I fit the stereotypes of how women are “supposed” to act. If I ask you, “do I look fat in these pants?”, and I do, tell me I do. I can’t stand it when some women use phrases like that as a trap for a guy and when he answers honestly, they go on a rampage. Don’t ask the question if you don’t want a straightforward, honest answer! Point being (yes, somewhere in there there was a point) that I like people to be just as straightforward as I like my recipe titles. :-P

And no, I have absolutely no idea where that all came from. Chalk it up to being incredibly tired and as I wrote it, there seemed to be some vague connection lol. Now? Not so much. But it’s there, so…

These muffins are quite yummy if I do say so myself. I had found some fresh raspberries at the grocery store for, get this, 50 cents a pint! I was in shock but not so dumbstruck that I didn’t go ahead and grab six pints. My original thought was to make preserves, but lately, I’ve been unbelievably tired for some odd reason and the thought of making preserves just kind of died out. So I went to muffins. Nice, easy to throw together muffins lol.  And I’m glad I did. The original recipe for the raspberry and chocolate part of these came from Sallys Baking Addiction which is a blog I love. But I wanted to do them a bit differently. Imagine that…me…changing a recipe. Whoda thunk it?

I have always loved the combo of chocolate and raspberry and the combo of chocolate and almond. Knowing that almond also goes with raspberry made this an easy decision as to what to do. Add in some streusel and these are wonderful dessert muffins, though you can of course still eat them for breakfast. Because…muffins! There is no actual Amaretto in these. I used almond flavoring but didn’t want the title to make it seem that there were nuts in here, so amaretto sufficed as a description. These are soft and tender, fairly high rising with a lovely almond flavor amidst bites of raspberry and chocolate. The original recipe called for an oven temp of 425 for the first five minutes, but I did it at 400 instead; hot enough to yield a quick rise, but not so hot as to burn the outside if ones oven runs hot, as many do (cause ovens are finicky pains in the…) Also, since I used more raspberries and more chocolate than Sally’s, I got more muffins. She got six jumbo. I got six jumbo and five regular sized.

You know the drill… :-)

Raspberry Chocolate Amaretto Streusel Muffins

  • 3 cups flour
  • 4 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 eggs, room temp
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup dark brown sugar
  • 1 cup milk, room temp
  • 1/2 cup neutral oil (I used vegetable)
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 tablespoon almond extract
  • 1 12 ounce bag semi sweet chocolate chips
  • 2 dry pints fresh raspberries (about 2 cups)
  • Streusel-
  • 1 cup flour
  • 1/2 cup dark brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, chilled
  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.  Spray 6 large and 5 regular muffin cups with no stick spray.
  2. Make your streusel and set aside- in a medium bowl, combine the streusel ingredients. Cut the butter in using a pastry blender. You can also slice it thin and work it in using your fingers. You want small chunks, about the size of a pea.
  3. In a large bowl, combine the dry ingredients (flour, baking powder, salt). Scoop out about 3 tablespoons of the flour mixture and toss it with the chocolate chips in a small bowl. This helps prevent them from sinking to the bottom of the muffins. Set aside.
  4. In a medium bowl, whisk together the eggs, sugar and brown sugar. Add in the oil, milk and extracts. Dump the wet ingredients into the bowl of dry ingredients and gently stir just until combined. It’s ok, good actually, if there are some small lumps. Over beaten muffin batter makes for tough muffins.
  5. Fold in the chocolate chips, then carefully fold in the raspberries, trying your best to break them as little as possible.
  6. Divide the mixture evenly among the prepared cups, filling each to the top. Sprinkle with streusel topping, gently pressing it down onto the muffins. If you have streusel left over, just put it in a ziploc bag and freeze it. It’s wonderful to have on hand when you need some. Place in the oven on the middle rack.
  7. Bake at 400 for five minutes, then, without taking the pans out of the oven, reduce the heat to 350. Bake for about 25 minutes for the large muffins, 18 or so for the small ones, or until a skewer inserted in the middle comes out clean. let cool in the pan for three minutes, then carefully remove to a rack to finish cooling. These are even more delicious spread with some raspberry jam!

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Spicy Two Meat Slow Cooker Chili (And A Giveaway!)

Spicy Two Meat Slow Cooker Chili

Spicy Two Meat Slow Cooker Chili


We’re well into the school year and I don’t know about you, but it seems like half the time, I’m so busy with chauffeuring here and there, plus doctors appointments for physicals and vaccinations, etc, etc, that I end up saying “it’s snack night!” to my kids when they ask whats for dinner. Then I feel guilty because what happens is they eat cereal (they’re thrilled with that; me, not so much) for dinner and everyone ends up spread out chowing down on foods that I normally prefer not be served. One will be in his room, eating sandwiches. Two will be parked in front of the TV, watching Uncle Grandpa (Lord, I loathe that show) while my husband and I will be sitting in front of our computers. NOT exactly a family friendly eating experience and NOT how I want my kids childhoods to be. My husband working third shift exacerbates the problem because half the time, after getting the kids to school, I’ll come back and lay down with him and before I know it, half the day is gone and no dinner prep was made.

So what do I do more often now? Yep; you guessed it. The trusty slow cooker comes out. I own about 5 of them. The problem is, most of them are either too small or too limited on their usages (high or low, that’s it for settings) , so I let them sit and gather dust. So when I was contacted again as a Hamilton Beach Ambassador and asked if I wanted to try out their Set ‘n Forget® 6 Qt. Programmable Slow Cooker With Spoon/Lid I was thrilled. Finally, I would have a slow cooker that I didn’t have to babysit.

This cooker is pretty awesome. You can either manually set it for how many hours you want the food to cook and set for high or low. Then once it has timed out, it automatically clicks over to warm. That way the food doesn’t overcook or get too cold to serve. Another option is, if you’re cooking, say, a roast or a whole chicken or maybe a turkey breast, you can use the included temperature probe. You insert it through a hole in the top of the lid right down into the meat, set the cooker for the temp you want the meat to come to and when it reaches that temp, it shuts off. Again, no overcooked dry chicken breast meat or stringy pork roasts because you forgot them.

I can honestly say I love this slow cooker. Yes, they sent me one for free, but my opinion is still honest. So much so that I’ll mention the ONE thing I didn’t like about it. The outside tends to get really hot, so you need to make sure this isn’t in reach of little ones.But other than that, I love it and have used it multiple times already.

Guess what else? Hamilton Beach has graciously offered to let me give one of these slow cookers to one of you. This is a $59.99 value and it’s just in time for colder weather (or as a great Christmas gift to someone, maybe?)  Plus, as the holidays get closer, we’re all going to be busier and you know darn well that having dinner on the table every night can be a hassle. So this is the perfect time to win this.

All you need to do is enter down below by commenting and using the optional methods in the rafflecopter box. Tell me what would be the first thing you’d make if you won this and there is one entry!

If you need an idea, I have a fantastic chili recipe for you. This is spicy, but not so spicy the kiddos can’t eat it. My six year old loved it. It uses chorizo sausage as well as the typical ground beef and some other ingredients that all add up to a warming, comforting, soothing bowl of chili. Serve this with some sides of fresh onions, cheese, sour cream and maybe crackers or tortillas and you’ve got a wonderful meal as well as some leftovers for lunch or dinner tomorrow. You know the drill… :-)

Spicy Two Meat Slow Cooker Chili

 

 

 

  • 2 lbs ground chuck
  • 1 lb chorizo (removed from casings and crumbled if link style)
  • 2 cups chopped onion
  • 1 1/2 cups chopped green pepper
  • 3/4 cup chopped celery
  • 1 14 to 16 ounce can of chili beans (your preference on heat)
  • 2 16 ounce cans kidney beans, well drained
  • 1 16 ounce can pinto beans, well drained
  • 1 16 ounce can diced tomatoes (regular or chili style; your choice. I prefer the chili style)
  • 2 whole jalapenos in adobo sauce, finely chopped (store the rest in a container in the fridge) (use more or less as desired)
  • 1 4 ounce can chopped green chiles
  • 1/4 cup hot sauce (I use franks because I like that is has flavor along with the heat)
  • 1/4 cup dark brown sugar
  • 3 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 1/2 to 2 ounces chili powder (I use Bloemers)
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  1. In a large pan, crumble and saute the ground chuck until brown. Drain and toss into the slow cooker. Brown the chorizo. Don’t drain this when done; just scoop it out and put it in the slow cooker.
  2.  Toss the onions, green pepper and celery into the drippings form the chorizo. Stir to mix, cover and cook over medium heat until the onions and celery are soft and limp, about 5 to 7 minutes. Stir once or twice during the cooking.
  3. Add the veggies to the crock pot; stir to combine.
  4. Add all the other ingredients, in order given (makes stirring easier), then stir to combine.
  5. Set your slow cooker for 4 hours on low.. Halfway through cooking, open it up (make sure you’re quick; slow cookers lose heat quickly and can take quite a while to reheat back up) and give it a good stir. Re-cover it and let it finish cooking.
  6. When done, stir it well and serve. This is excellent served with sides such as cheese, sour cream, green or red onions and cilantro. I also love mine wrapped up in a tortilla. My family, on the other hand are firmly in the cracker camp. Do what makes you happy. :-D
     Copyright Notice: From Cupcakes To Caviar images and original content are copyright protected. Please do not publish these materials anywhere without prior permission.

I was provided with a slow cooker as compensation, but all opinions in this post are 100% my own!

To enter the giveaway, just scroll down to the raffle copter giveaway form!

Hamilton Beach Set & Forget® 6 Qt. Programmable Slow Cooker With Spoon/Lid

Hamilton Beach Set & Forget® 6 Qt. Programmable Slow Cooker With Spoon/Lid

 

Product Features

 

 

    • Three (3) choices for easy, automatic cooking: program, probe and manual

 

  • Probe mode is perfect for cooking large cuts of meat or for recipes that require food to reach a certain temperature
  • Thermometer probe reads the actual temperature of food as it cooks; the temperature is displayed on the slow cooker control panel
  • Travel-friendly design secures contents en route to parties, potlucks, family gatherings and tailgating
  • The lid securely seals in place with sturdy wire clips on each handle
  • 6 quart removable stoneware crock fits a 6 lb. chicken or a 4 lb. roast
  • Wraparound, even heat cooks food evenly and consistently
  • Full-grip handles make carrying heavy meals easier
  • Power interrupt protection keeps slow cooker on during a brief power outage
  • Questions are supported by a toll-free call center located in the U.S.
  • Backed with a one-year warranty

 

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Brown Butter Banana Cupcakes With Banana Frosting

Brown Butter Banana Cupcakes With Banana Frosting

Brown Butter Banana Cupcakes With Banana Frosting

What is it with kids and fruit? There are times I simply can’t keep it in the house for more than 30 seconds because they are inhaling it practically before I can get it unpacked from the car and then other times it just sits there. Of course, those days when there is no fruit in the house, suddenly everyone wants it. Then the days when I have a ton of something like bananas around because they were griping that there weren’t any, that’s when no one eats them and I end up with 382 over ripe bananas on the counter. What does that lead to? A fruit fly party. They set up tents on my counters near the bananas and late at night I’m kept awake by teeny voices singing “Kum Ba Yah” and  the flicker of a little campfire. So I then set up vinegar swimming pools for them to lure them to their tangy deaths. But I still have 382 bananas to use up that now no one will touch because, “Ewww, they’re too ripe! I don’t like them like this!”

I’ve come to the conclusion that it’s all a ploy. They do it on purpose to get me to buy bananas that will get too ripe to eat just so that I have to cook with them. And there is only so much banana bread one can eat. Well, unless you’re my husband who would eat it 5 times a day for like 8 weeks before complaining. So one is left trying to figure out what to do with them. I don’t have a blender since mine was broken by an over zealous teen, so that leaves out banana shakes. That’s probably a good thing though because I do so love banana shakes and would over indulge if left to my own devices.

So I made cupcakes. I searched the web for a good recipe but just wasn’t liking anything I found. So this is an amalgamation of a handful of recipes… call it the Frankensteins Monster of banana cupcakes, minus the electrical wires.

These are fairly dense, which is what I was looking for. Call me strange but I like a heavier cake, reminiscent of a pound cake, at times. Not all cakes need to be all light and fluffy. This is fairly sweet with a heavy banana taste and are quite moist. They are great with or without the frosting. I actually only frosted about half and we ate the rest of them plain.

You know the drill…. :-)

Brown Butter Banana Cupcakes With Banana Frosting

  • Cake-
  • 1 cup of mashed ripe bananas
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1/3 cup dark brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, browned and cooled*
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon banana flavoring (sold by the vanilla)
  • 2 cups flour whisked together with
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda and
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • Banana Frosting-
  • 1/4 cup unsalted butter, room temp
  • 1/2 cup cream cheese, room temp
  • 1 large ripe banana, mashed with 1 teaspoon of fresh lemon juice
  • 3 to 4 1/2 cups powdered sugar (will vary)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons banana flavoring
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line 16 muffin cups with paper or foil liners.
  2. In a large bowl, on medium speed, beat together the sugars and browned butter until light and fluffy, about 4 minutes. Don’t skimp on the beating.
  3. Turn the mixer to low and beat in the bananas, eggs, egg yolk, sour cream and extracts
  4. Stir in the flour/baking soda/salt mixture just until combined.
  5. Divide the batter evenly between the 16 prepared cups
  6. Bake at 350 for 19 to 21 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean.
  7. Let cool in the pan for about a minute then turn out onto a rack to cool completely.
  8. Frost with banana frosting.
  9. Banana Frosting-
  10. In medium bowl, combine the butter, cream cheese, mashed banana and the extracts. Beat well for about 3 minutes, until the mixture is smooth and creamy.
  11. On low speed (preferably over the sink to contain sugar dust), beat in 3 cups of the powdered sugar. Beat for 3 minutes until thick and creamy. If it isn’t of spreading consistency, add in another cup to cup and a half of sugar and beat well for about 2 minutes.
  12. Spread or pipe onto the cupcakes.

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Easy Caramel Apple Granola

 

Easy Caramel Apple Granola

Easy Caramel Apple Granola

Back when I was a kid (yeah, yeah, when dinosaurs roamed the earth and we wrote by chiseling on stone tablets), cereal was so much more fun. No one was worrying about whether it was gluten free, because no one knew what the heck gluten was. There was no panic over HFCS being used in cereals because we had the good stuff in our cereals… real sugar! Parents didn’t make their children start their days with food that was approved by our presidents wife (wth is up with that crap, anyway?); food that would carefully begin their days with a perfect balance of nutrients so that little Joey could go kick little Bobbys ass out on the playground when no one was looking because little Joeys mom and little Bobbys mom were in a feud over whose youth soccer league was better.
Nope… when I was a kid, we had far more fun being..well, kids. We ate Pop Tarts for breakfast (for the record, no, my son does not eat pop tarts for breakfast and yes, I know that makes me hypocritical. Ask me if I care. :-D ), followed by a heaping bowl of something like Kaboom… aka round sugar shapes disguised with a bit of grain. Or maybe King Vitamin, aka, round sugary shapes disguised by a vitamin or two. Then there was the really fun stuff like Count Chocula, which one can only get now during the Halloween season (when the heck did Halloween become big business and even GET its own season, btw?) or one of my favorites, Super Sugar Crisp, well named because sugar made up 95% of its ingredients. In other words, damn, it tasted good! Now however, they have changed the name and the ingredients because the word sugar makes everybody freak out.
Did I forget to mention that was a child, we also played outside unattended, even after dark, and the police weren’t called on our parents, that if we acted up at school, our parents didn’t go in and blame the teacher, but actually disciplined us for what we did wrong and lets not forget the ever reliable, we walked five miles to school… uphill…. both ways.
All that being said, even when I was a kid, one of my favorite cereals has always been any type of granola. Granola has always had this strange rep as healthy. But guess what… it rarely is :-D It has its good points nutritionally. Since it has a high proportion of fruit, nuts and grains, it has a fair amount of fiber and protein. But that comes with a price. It is also very calorie dense and if you use it like a “normal” cereal and just pour it in a bowl and douse it in milk, you will most likely end up with a 600 calorie bowl of breakfast. It’s better to use it more sparingly; portioned out for the kiddos or yourself in a baggie or mixed into yogurt, spooned over some ice cream or served as a snack with some cheese and fresh fruit.
When I got the idea for this granola, I was sure I would find 500 other incarnations of it online. But lo and behold, while there are caramel apple desserts galore, there was not one caramel apple granola that I found in like 20 pages of Google search. (Edited to add- my brother informed me that yes, there ARE a bunch of them and I realized that what I had googled was what I had originally intended to call this- caramel apple PIE granola. There are none of those, but alas, I’m not original in the other name. *sobs* Brothers! Always have to ruin ones fun!!) Yay for a brief moment of being unique!! I also originally intended to make this completely from scratch, but changed my mind. There are a TON of tasty, plain granolas out there for a decent price that are easily doctored up so I just rolled with that idea. I used my favorite plain granola- Cascadian Farms Fruit And Nut Blend. Then I added some salted caramel sauce (Trader Joes brand, but feel free to use homemade and to use a plain caramel sauce rather than salted), some chopped dried apple slices, some dried cherries, some roasted pistachio pieces for a bit of protein and crunch, mixed it all together and baked it for long enough to “set” the caramel. Let it cool, break it up and voila, you have the perfect snack!

You know the drill… :-)

Caramel Apple Granola

  • 4 cups (one 13.5 ounce box) of your favorite plain granola
  • 2 cups chopped dried apple slices (about 1.5 bags)
  • 2/3 cup dried tart cherries
  • 2/3 cup roasted pistachios (no shell)
  • 1 1/4 cups caramel sauce (homemade, store bought, salted or not; your choice)
  • whatever else makes you happy in the way of nuts or fruit. You could also add about 1/4 cup of flax or chia seeds or some wheat germ
  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Lightly grease a baking sheet with cooking spray.
  2. In a large bowl, combine all dry ingredients. Drizzle the caramel sauce over the top and using either a large wooden spoon or just your hands, mix it all together until the granola is evenly coated.
  3. Spread out onto the prepared baking sheet. Bake at 325 for ten minutes. Take out of the oven and break the granola up turning the pieces over, as the bottom will be getting crispy. Bake for ten more minutes at 325. Don’t over bake this. Remember, the granola was already ready to go. You are just baking this to set the caramel.
  4. Place the pan on a rack to cool completely. When cool, break this up into bite sized pieces (or chunks if that’s the way you roll… I tend to prefer smaller pieces so I can use it in yogurt). This is NOT a completely dry granola. It will have a slightly tacky feel even after baking because of the caramel sauce.
  5. When this is 199% cool, store in a tightly covered container.

Copyright Notice: From Cupcakes To Caviar images and original content are copyright protected. Please do not publish these materials anywhere without prior permission.

Cinnamon Sugar Crusted Applesauce Bread

Cinnamon Sugar Crusted Applesauce Bread

Cinnamon Sugar Crusted Applesauce Bread

 

My youngest child started Kindergarten this year. He also turned six the first of this month. If you’re a parent, you know what it’s like to see your littlest being not so little anymore. You are torn between being so proud of their accomplishments and teary eyed because the last little baby is gone. For me, that’s a definite gone. No more babies here. I’m 50 and at this age, I can’t imagine starting over, no matter how tempting it may be. As it is, when Joshie (also known as “Boo”, “Boo Berry”, Boo-Boo”, “Boo Of Boo-ness”, “Joshie Of Joshie-ness” and “Berry Of Boo-ness”…. hey, what family doesn’t have weird endearments for each other? Quit laughing at us. :-P ) graduates high school, I’ll be in my 60’s! YIKES!

When Josh started school, one of the first things he “learned” was how to sit in class (a way I don’t agree with by the way because it promotes back pain and bad posture, but that’s neither here nor there right now :-D ). It’s called “Criss Cross Applesauce”. My older kids are quite a bit older than he is (think mostly grown and married) and I don’t recall them sitting that way or certainly not having what Urban Dictionary calls “the pansy name for sitting cross legged” for it, lol. So now any time I use applesauce in any way, that phrase pops into my head. That is though, preferable to what used to pop into my head- “pork chops and apppppleeesauceeee” from an old Brady Bunch episode. Yes, yes I am old, thankyouverymuch.

On that note, as I totally show my age…. this bread is quite yummy. Very homey, the perfect breakfast bread or after school snack. It’s moist, sweet, but not overly so, with a nice touch of spice. The cinnamon sugar topping as well as the walnuts inside the bread adds a wonderful bit of texture to this to keep it from being one dimensional. This makes 2 loaves, but it’s easily cut in half, though why bother doing so? The loaves aren’t huge and it lasts a fair amount of days wrapped well :-)

You know the drill… :-)

Cinnamon Sugar Crusted Applesauce Bread

  • 1 cup unsalted butter, room temp
  • 1 cup dark brown sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 1/2 cups sweetened applesauce (one 24 ounce container)
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 4 cups flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoons salt
  • 1 tablespoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 1 cup raisins
  • 1 cup chopped toasted walnuts
  • For the topping- 2/3 cup sugar combined with
  • 1 tablespoon cinnamon
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray two 8 inch loaf pans with a flour/oil baking spray; that or grease and flour the pans. In a medium bowl, whisk to combine the flour, baking powder and baking soda, salt and spices.
  2. In a large bowl, cream together the butter and brown sugar for about 4 minutes, scraping the bowl as needed.
  3. Add in the eggs, beating well. Add in the applesauce and vanilla, beating on low speed (this will splatter otherwise) until well combined.
  4. Add in the flour mixture and either on low speed with the mixer or using a sturdy wooden spoon,  combine until mixture is just combined. A few small lumps are fine, just no apparent floury areas. Stir in the raisins and walnuts.
  5. Divide between the two prepared pans. Sprinkle the cinnamon sugar mixture over the top of the loaves, gently pressing down. If you don’t use it all, just store it in a small container. It’s great on toast or even in coffee.
  6. Bake at 350 for about 60 minutes or until a skewer inserted in the middle comes out clean.
  7. Let cool in the pan for ten minutes then carefully invert onto a rack to finish cooling. You WILL lose some of the topping. Just scoop it up and sprinkle it back on the bread.

Copyright Notice: From Cupcakes To Caviar images and original content are copyright protected. Please do not publish these materials anywhere without prior permission.

 

Salted Caramel Stuffed Chocolate Chip Cookies

Salted Caramel Stuffed Chocolate Chip Cookies

Salted Caramel Stuffed Chocolate Chip Cookies




 

I was going through the blog the other day, contemplating redoing some old recipes, using photos that don’t make me cringe. I mean, really, I’m not going to set the world on fire even now with my mad photography skillz but at least now I don’t alternate between hysterical laughter and wanting to gouge my eyeballs out with a spork. Then though? Oh…my….gosh. I sucked.

When I was going through though the recipes though, something occurred to me. I do not have even ONE plain old chocolate chip cookie recipe in here.

Well, guess what? I STILL don’t have one plain old chocolate chip cookie recipe in here. I’m tellin’ you; it’s impossible for me to leave a recipe alone! And while I realize that 900 other bloggers have gone the stuffed cookie route, I’m still hanging onto that possibility that there are one or two of you out there who don’t visit many other blogs, but love me for my special type of charm. Plus, my cookies are different. Please don’t ask me why because I don’t have a valid reason. Just trust me on this. k? We’re cool?

As for a plain recipe for chocolate chip cookies, I’ll get to it. Someday. Maybe.

That title up there? It is not entirely accurate. At least not for me. I changed it up mid way through and stuffed some of mine with peanut butter filled Dove chocolates. Point being… these are easy to vary. Grab your favorite piece of filled chocolate and bury that sucker in dough.

The cookie part of this is based on Jacque Torres recipe for chocolate chip cookies. I changed it up to the point that the basic home baker who doesn’t have a large variety of flours and ingredients can do it. I also cut down on the amount of chocolate in the dough, as even were I not stuffing these, I would have found it too much. But, having tried the original, I can tell you honestly that I didn’t taste a difference. I think the main thing with his is the resting time and the usage of the 2 flours, which I still adhered to.

You know the drill… git to cookin’ :-)

Salted Caramel Stuffed Chocolate Chip Cookies

  • 1 3/4 cup all purpose flour (if you happen to have cake flour, use 2 cups minus 2 tablespoons of cake flour instead)
  • 1 2/3 cup bread flour (no subs)
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 1/4 cup unsalted butter, room temp
  • 1 1/4 cups light brown sugar (I used dark brown)
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 16 ounces chopped dark chocolate
  • a bag or container of your favorite chocolates (I used a mix of some sea salt caramels I bought at Costco a while back and two different varieties of Dove chocolate, the peanut butter and the salted caramel
  •  sea salt for sprinkling on top (optional)
  1. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flours, baking powder, baking soda and salt.
  2. Use a strong hand mixer on high or a stand mixer fitted with the paddle and cream together the butter and sugars.
  3. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add in the vanilla and beat well.
  4. Turn the mixer to low and add in the flour mixture just until combined.
  5. Use a heavy rubber spatula or wooden spoon and fold in the chopped chocolate.
  6. Cover the dough and refrigerate for at least 24 hours and up to 3 days.
  7. When ready to bake, preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line cookie sheets with either silicone mats or parchment paper to prevent sticking.
  8. Scoop out dough portions weighing about 2 to 3 ounces (that is big enough to totally enfold the chocolate so it doesn’t ooze out everywhere). Flatten the dough somewhat and press a chocolate piece into the middle, then close the dough over it. Roll it in your hands for a second to make sure it is sealed.
  9. Bake at 350 for 16 to 20 minutes (it will vary depending on the size of the dough ball and your oven) or until golden brown and mostly firm on top.
  10. Let cool on pan for a minute, then transfer to a rack to finish cooling. Sprinkle with sea salt if desired when still a little bit warm.

Copyright Notice: From Cupcakes To Caviar images and original content are copyright protected. Please do not publish these materials anywhere without prior permission.