Thursday, September 27, 2012

Queso Mac N Cheese

Big things are happening in our household! Big things in the form of... new light fixtures? Yes, this is the sad truth. I unlike most of the people my age do not own a pet, am not married, and do not have any babies. The new light fixture I got yesterday is my baby because I've never been so excited about something. And that's what's supposed to happen when you have a baby right? You've never been so excited...? Look how beautiful she is! We can just call her Gem.
She came into my life yesterday around 3:15 PM and was officially home in her new place by 6:35 PM. This is getting a little creepy, isn't it. Ok, ok, well I'm just excited because we are finally starting to do some upgrades since I moved in! Wait til you see our kitchen. I already replastered two walls and sanded them down (which resulted in me looking like a ghost cause I was covered in so much dust). Then last night I got all the old wallpaper off of one of the walls. Next up, painting! For now, let's move on to this highly addictive spicy mac n cheese.

Queso Mac N Cheese
Yield ~6 servings

1 pound pasta shells, cooked
1/2 onion, diced
1/2 pound bacon, diced
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 cups milk
2 tablespoons corn starch mixed with 2 tablespoons water
4 ounces cream cheese
4 ounces Velveeta cheese
salt and pepper

small can of diced jalapenos
~20 grape tomatoes, sliced in half
Parmesan cheese

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cook your pasta until noodles are al dente. While they're cooking in a saucepan, cook your onion and bacon until done. Next add in the milk, cream cheese, and velveeta until melted together. This will be very soupy. In a small bowl mix together the corn starch and water to make a slurry. Then pour this into the cheese mixture to thicken it up. Shortly after, take the pan off the heat and let sit for a minute. Once the cheese sauce is finished, mix it in with the pasta, jalapenos, and tomatoes, then pour it in a baking dish. Bake for about 20 minutes. 

Monday, September 24, 2012

Pumpkin White Chocolate Oatmeal Cookie Dough Bars

That is a mouthful but it's an extremely tasty mouthful. Ehhhh, anyway Happy Monday! Not so sure if it's really happy but still, it's a new week and you can start it off with this amazing Fall inspired dessert. Since Saturday was officially the first day of Fall we can now officially have pumpkin in our food, right? That's what I tell myself at least but I did have one slip up which involved some pumpkin and cheesecake a couple weeks ago. There was one little minor detail though that really stopped me from having pumpkin in my food. The grocery store somehow did not have any pumpkin puree! How on Earth is that possible? It's late September and they don't have any!?!? I had to settle for canned sweet potatoes. At first I was a little skeptical of sweet potatoes but I really shouldn't have been because they still tasted just as fantastic. With that being said, the initial idea for this recipe was pumpkin so if that's what you want by all means use pumpkin. But if you're feeling adventurous go ahead and try it with sweet potato, you won't be disappointed.

Pumpkin White Chocolate Oatmeal Cookie Dough Bars
Yield ~25 bars

4 tablespoons unsalted softened butter
1/4 cup oil
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
1/2 cup pumpkin puree
1 large egg
1 cup flour
1/2 cup oats
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 cup white chocolate chips

8 tablespoons unsalted softened butter
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
1/2 cup pumpkin puree
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup flour
1/2 cup oats
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 cup white chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a bowl cream the butter, oil, and sugars together. Next add in the pumpkin and egg. Add in all the dry ingredients (oats, flour, salt, baking soda) then fold in the white chocolate chips. Line 8x8 baking dish with aluminum foil, then pour dough in and level it out. Bake for 35 minutes or until tooth pick inserted into middle comes out clean. Meanwhile in another bowl cream together the butter and sugars, then add in the vanilla and pumpkin. Once again mix in all the dry ingredients and fold the white chocolate chips in. Once the baked cookie part is cooled, remove it by flipping it from the dish and place it on a cutting board. Cover it with the cookie dough, then slice into squares.  

Friday, September 21, 2012

Stuffed Crust Buffalo Chicken Pizza

All I have to say is you  know it's football season when recipes like this come around. And it's a really good thing my friend just happened to say 'Hey I made this last night, want another guest blogger?' I say 'YES!' This is my same friend who gave us the good old Eastern NC BBQ and Lexington Slaw. Thank goodness for friends who know how to cook since I have majorly been slacking lately. I get all excited about buying a fig tree and planting it that I forget to cook. Without further ado here it is...

This recipe came to me when I was too lazy to cook Chicken Marsala, but didn’t want a boring pasta dinner. Having just gotten home from the Harris Teeter, I had already thawed chicken, on sale Franks Red Hot, and 10 for $10 raw pizza dough. Threw this together on the fly and I have to say, it turned out pretty damn good!

Buffalo Chicken Pizza
Yield ~4 servings
Time 45 min.

1 Package of chicken tenders (.5 – 1 lb) worth
5 – 10 oz Franks Red Hot Sauce
1 Raw Pizza Dough ball
Jar of Pizza/Marinara sauce
1-2 packs of shredded Mozzarella cheese (2-3 cups worth)

Begin by browning the chicken in a skillet with ½ of the Franks Red Hot Sauce. After a few min of browning, add the rest of the sauce to the skillet. Start to break up the chicken in the skilled with any utensil so that it begins to look shredded. Once the chicken looks sufficiently browned, transfer it to a cutting board and chop the chicken so that the pieces are small and manageable, and place to the side for later.
On a surface with flour, roll out the pizza dough so that it is just slightly larger than the device you will be cooking on. For me, I use a pizza stone, so I make sure it goes 1 inch or so over the edge. Place the rolled out dough on the device and sprinkle Mozzarella cheese on the edges. (Here you can use legitimate Mozzarella cheese from a ball of cheese, or the shredded cheese works just fine.)
Take some water and wet the surface just inside the cheese on the edge and roll the dough, tightly over the cheese to make the stuffed crust. Then pour pizza sauce in the middle of the dough, spreading evenly. Add the chicken on top of the sauce (how ever much you desire at this point). Top with cheese and there you have your pizza!
Place the pizza in the oven for 17-20 min at 400 degrees. You can leave it in longer if you want the cheese to get darker on the top, so it is basically up to you. Remove the pizza, let it cool, and then slice up and enjoy with your beverage of choice – mine being a nice, cold beer!

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Roasted Prosciutto Wrapped Figs

Moral of story, just because you fall in love with some kind of food does not mean you have to get the plant that produces it. Let me tell you why. We made these last week, they are amazing. I couldn't stop eating them. Next day boyfriend is at the local nursery and sees fig trees on sale for $10 from $40. He mentions it and I'm like Heck yea! We went back and bought a tree that already had ripe figs on it. We kept picking them off and just eating them before we even made it to the car. Next day we go to plant it and we're (by we I mean boyfriend) digging the hole, then all of a sudden a wire severed in half appears. He says uh oh, go check and see if the cable's working. Guess what? It wasn't. Thank God for books because it could have been a really boring evening. And thank God that I actually want to read over watching TV.

Roasted Prosciutto Wrapped Figs
Yield ~12

12 figs
24 almonds
~6 large slices prosciutto

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Push 2 almonds into the fig from the bottom as shown in the picture below. Then wrap the whole fig in half a piece of prosciutto, just enough to cover it entirely. Lightly grease a baking dish (spray oil) and place the figs in. Bake for 20 minutes or until prosciutto is crispy. Once you take them out drizzle them with honey and serve.

Monday, September 17, 2012

SRHS 10 Year Reunion

Holy Moly! I had my first order over 3 dozen cupcakes this weekend. I slightly was worried about it but it ended up not being bad at all. My plan was on Friday I would bake all the cupcakes and Saturday morning I would frost the cupcakes. I proceeded with the plan which worked out pretty well. Except for the fact that I thought I was almost dying. I had this head ache that just wasn't going away for a few days, then Friday it consumed the entire back half of my head. Then my neck and my back were killing me and I couldn't move without being in pain. I still don't know why this happened, I'm just glad I'm feeling better. Anyway, the good thing was I was already done baking all of them by 5:15 Friday evening so I could do nothing but lay in bed all night. Saturday I woke up at 6:45 in the morning cause I felt even worse. I immediately started on the frosting so that I could rest all day. Luckily that only took about 3 hours. You wouldn't think it should take so long but when you run out of frosting with 7 cupcakes left (2 times) you have to make more. Apparently I still can't get portions right with cupcakes and I've been doing this a year now.

The good news is it seems like they were a hit. Someone I don't know commented on the picture on my facebook page saying they were amazing so even if only one person liked them they were a success in my book! And don't worry, I will bring you a recipe tomorrow! I keep forgetting my memory card but these ones will rock your world. They use figs which are awesome and it's even more awesome cause we just bought a fig tree so now I will have an endless supply! Yessssssss!

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Bank's BBQ Biscuits

A couple month's ago I went to my sister's boyfriend's childhood home. We had a pool party and these things called Bank's biscuits. At least that's what they called them. They were really good and had salsa and cheese in them. Then over Labor Day my family had a get together and we were trying to think of what to have for some snacks. My sister loves BBQ chicken pizza so we thought, let's just make those biscuits with a BBQ chicken twist. Therefor, the Bank's BBQ Biscuits were born. Unfortunately, their life span was cut short by some hungry people including myself. They are a super party snack though so keep these in mind next time you have a party to bring something to!

Bank's BBQ Biscuits
Yield ~24 biscuits

1 package of Grand's biscuits
1 1/2 cups chicken, cooked, chopped or shredded
1/2 cup BBQ sauce (my fav is Sweet Baby Ray's) plus more for later
1/4 medium onion, diced
a dash of salt and pepper
mozzarella cheese, shredded

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Make sure your chicken is shredded or chopped and mix it in a bowl with the onions, 1/2 cup BBQ sauce, salt, and pepper. Spray your mini muffin tin with oil. Take your package of Grand's and break each biscuit into thirds. Stuff each third into a mini muffin hole. Squirt just a dash more BBQ sauce in the biscuits, then put a heaping tablespoon of the filling in. Then sprinkle a nice coating of mozzarella cheese on top. Bake for 12-15 minutes or until golden brown.

Monday, September 10, 2012

Fluffernutter Cupcakes

So I follow this blog somewhat religiously and every time I look at the food I envy it and instantly want it in front of me. When I saw this recipe I knew I had to try it. Ever since I lived in North Dakota one of my co-workers was obsessed (in a good way) with fluffernutter. He always spoke of his memories since childhood and although I didn't have quite as many I had a few. This is the same co-worker who brought Hrvatska into our Meridian lives. The same co-worker who made us listen to the Hrvatska cd every dang holiday we had to work because who makes it feel more like Father's Day, Columbus Day, or Christmas than Hrvatska. Hrvatska, the man who makes love to every holiday. Hrvatska, the man who dances like an egg beater or something like that. (If I can find it, I'll update this with the video UPDATE video) Either way, fluffernutter, Meridian, Hrvatska. Those words all  lead to each other and I miss all of it very dearly since that year I spent in North Dakota was one of my best and why I had to do fluffernutter.  It is definitely quite a tasty combination and I hadn't had it in years so I figured cupcakes would be a great way to relive it. These were good but I think I have some work to do on tweaking the actual cake part. It was a little denser than I might have liked but the combination of flavors was still really great.

Fluffernutter Cupcakes
Yield ~12 cupcakes

1/4 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup creamy peanut butter
1 cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/3 cup milk
1/2 cup peanut butter morsels
7 large marshmallows, microwaved for 30 seconds

For the frosting, I was feeling slightly lazy yesterday so I just took half a container of Duncan Hines vanilla frosting and microwaved 5 large marshmallows the mixed them in to give me some marshmallow frosting. 

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a bowl cream together the butter, peanut butter, and sugar. Add in the eggs and vanilla extract. Next mix in the milk, then the flour and baking powder, then peanut butter morsels. Last microwave your marshmallows for 30 seconds in a bowl, then add them to the batter and just fold them in. Do not mix it together entirely. Fill up the cupcake tins about 2/3 of the way then bake for 17 minutes or until slightly golden. After cooled, frost.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Smith Island Cake: Patriotic Style

Phew, talk about a crazy weekend. This past 4 day weekend has thrown me for loop and I am totally out of it. I almost forgot about posting a recipe today! I've been so busy at work too since it's the beginning of the month it's hard to keep up. So let's do a little recap. Friday I was super excited because I sponsored a tee at a golf tournament benefiting the Crohn's and Colitis Foundation. Look at my beautiful sign.
Saturday I had a family cookout and made this wonderful Smith Island cake for it. Sunday I went to Penn State with boyfriend and we got to pretend like he was in college again. So fun but so busy and exhausting. I'm glad to be back in the weekly routine. So here's the weekly Wednesday recipe. 

Yield ~16 servings

1/2 package vanilla cake mix
1/2 package red velvet cake mix
4 eggs
1 cup sour cream
1 cup oil
1/2 cup water
1 package vanilla pudding mix 

Vanilla Frosting (multiply this recipe times 2)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In one bowl mix together the vanilla cake mix and 1/2 the vanilla pudding mix, then mix in 2 eggs, 1/2 cup sour cream, 1/2 cup oil, and 1/4 cup water. In another bowl mix together the red velvet cake mix and 1/2 the vanilla pudding mix, then mix in 2 eggs, 1/2 cup sour cream, 1/2 cup oil, and 1/4 cup water. Spoon about 3/4 cup of batter into well greased 8" cake pans. Depending how many pans you have you can only do so many. This much batter should make 9-10 layers. Bake each batch for about 15 minutes. Let them cool slightly then take them out of the pans to cool completely on a cooling rack as shown below. Refill pans and bake the rest of the batter. Meanwhile you can make your frosting. Place a cake layer on your cake stand then put a light layer of frosting, keep doing this until you have done all layers. Then frost the whole cake. You can can add in strawberry layers as I did to give that flavor.