Mar 2015
Shredded Buffalo Chicken Sandwiches {crockpot}

Shredded Buffalo Chicken Sandwiches

Sometimes life throws you a curveball. Sometimes it’s a curve ball thrown from left field that hit you smack dab in the middle of your forehead. 6 weeks ago, the landlord for my husband’s business stopped by and said “Hey! We’re tearing down your office at the end of June in order to build a new plaza. You need to find a new place to operate your business.”

Uh. What??!

Talk about giving us a panic attack. 6 months is not a lot of time to find a commercial property, build it out so that it will work for your business, and move all your stuff. So, we got right to work, and amazingly found a new property with a fantastic landlord just down the street from his current office. They started construction the day after we signed the lease, and this past weekend, we moved in. It was 3 days of long, hard labor, mostly for my husband and father-in-law, but holy cow, I.am.spent. It was all I could do to peel myself off the couch yesterday to switch the laundry.

Thankfully, I had thought ahead and threw some chicken in the crockpot before we left in the morning. When we got home, all I did was shred the chicken and melt the cheese on the buns. And frankly, I didn’t have the energy to do anything more than that. The chicken came out delicious, and would not only be perfect for sandwiches, but great on top of pizza, baked potatoes, nachos or to use in dips.

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Are you obsessed with all things buffalo chicken like me? Check out more recipes here.

Shredded Buffalo Chicken Sandwiches {crockpot}
 
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SImple buffalo chicken cooked in the crockpot that is perfect for sandwiches, pizzas, nachos or to top on baked potatoes.
Serves: 4-6 servings
Ingredients
  • 4 boneless skinless chicken breasts
  • 1 (12 oz.) bottle buffalo wing sauce
  • 2 tablespoons ranch mix seasoning
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 6 hamburger buns
  • 6 slices cheddar cheese
  • Ranch or blue cheese dressing
Instructions
  1. Place the chicken breasts in the crockpot. In a small bowl, combine the hot sauce and ranch seasoning and stir to combine. Pour the hot sauce mixture over the chicken, and cook on low for 6-8 hours.
  2. After the chicken is cooked, shred using two forks or using a stand mixer. Return the chicken to the crockpot, add the butter, and stir until the butter is melted.
  3. Preheat broiler. Place slices of cheese on bun tops and melt under broiler for 1-2 minutes until slightly melted.
  4. Top the buns with the buffalo chicken and ranch dressing or blue cheese is desired.

Source: Let’s Dish

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Feb 2015
German Chocolate Cupcakes

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It always makes me sad to see coworkers of mine leave and move on to different jobs. When you spend your days, nights, weekends and holidays with someone for 12 hours at a time, you really get to know the people you work with. I am lucky to have coworkers that  I consider to be my second family – heck, some of them knew I was pregnant before my parents did! A close co-worker of mine recently left and moved on to bigger and better things. While I am excited for her, I will surely miss her every day at work!

To celebrate her new job, cupcakes were certainly in order, and knowing that her favorite cake was German chocolate, these cupcakes fit the bill perfectly. All your favorite flavors of German chocolate cake in bite size form.

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German Chocolate Cupcakes
 
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Serves: 12
Ingredients
One Bowl Chocolate Cupcakes:
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • ½ cup packed light-brown sugar
  • ⅓ cup granulated sugar
  • ⅓ cup cocoa powder
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • ½ tsp baking soda
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ⅓ cup vegetable oil
  • ⅓ cup milk
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • ⅓ cup hot water
  • ¼ cup sour cream
Coconut Pecan Topping:
  • ½ cup evaporated milk (regular fat)
  • 2 large egg yolks
  • ½ cup packed light-brown sugar
  • ¼ cup salted butter, diced into pieces
  • ½ tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 cup sweetened shredded coconut
  • ¾ cup chopped pecans
Chocolate Frosting:
  • 4 oz semi-sweet chocolate, chopped
  • 6 Tbsp salted butter, softened
  • 3 oz cream cheese, softened
  • 1¼ cups powdered sugar
  • 2½ Tbsp cocoa powder
  • 2 - 4 tsp heavy cream, as needed
Instructions
For the cupcakes:
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a large mixing bowl whisk together flour, brown sugar, granulated sugar, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda and salt for 30 seconds. Add in vegetable oil, milk, egg and vanilla extract and beat with an electric mixer on low speed for 2 minutes. Pour in hot water and stir until well combined. Add in sour cream and mix until combined.
  2. Fill paper lined muffin cups ¾ full and bake in preheated oven for 16 – 19 minutes, until toothpick inserted in center of cupcake comes out clean (or with a few moist crumbs).
  3. Remove from oven and allow to cool several minutes in muffin pan then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
  4. Once cool, top each cupcake with 1 Tbsp of the Coconut Pecan Topping (in a mound in the center) then pipe the Chocolate Frosting around cupcakes. Store in an airtight container.
For the Coconut Pecan Topping:
  1. In a medium saucepan combine, evaporated milk, egg yolks, brown sugar and butter. Cook mixture over medium heat, stirring constantly, until thickened, about 10 - 15 minutes (mixture should come to a light boil, and when you run a rubber spatula along the bottom you should see the bottom of the pan for a moment).
  2. Remove from heat and strain through a fine mesh strainer into a mixing bowl. Stir in vanilla then mix in shredded coconut and chopped pecans and allow mixture to cool to room temperature.
For the Chocolate Frosting:
  1. Place semi-sweet chocolate in a microwave safe bowl, then heat in microwave on 50% power in 20 second intervals stirring after each interval until melted and smooth, set aside and allow to cool slightly.
  2. In the bowl of an electric stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment (an electric hand mixer would work fine too), whip together butter and cream cheese on medium-high speed until smooth and fluffy. Blend in cocoa powdered on low speed, then blend in powdered sugar. With mixer running, slowly power in melted chocolate and blend until combined. Add in cream 1 tsp at a time, as needed to reach desired consistency.

Source: Cooking Classy

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Feb 2015
Creamy Skillet Sausage Pasta

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Hope y’all had a lovely Valentine’s Day weekend. We had yet another snowstorm here, so I made it a point to try and not leave the house all weekend. We had a great low key Valentine’s day – a heart shaped homemade pizza, deep dish cookie sundaes, and snuggled with our pets on the couch while we watched Bridesmaids. For probably the 10th time. That movie just never gets old.

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If you are still in a chocolate and wine induced coma from the weekend and are looking for a quick and easy weeknight meal, this would be perfect. It’s a one-pot meal, no boiling water or draining pasta necessary, it cooks right in the sauce. The cream and cheeses make this pasta super rich and creamy, while the sausage adds a nice spicy kick. From stove-top to table in 30 minutes or less, with only one pan to wash. That is my kind of Monday meal.

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Skillet Creamy Sausage Pasta
 
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A one-pot meal made in less than 30 minutes with spicy sausage and a creamy tomato sauce.
Serves: 4-6 servings
Ingredients
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 lb turkey sausage, sliced
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 cups low-sodium chicken broth
  • 1-14.5 ounce can diced tomatoes
  • 1-14.5 ounce can tomato puree
  • ½ cup heavy cream
  • 1 lb spiral pasta
  • ½ teaspoon salt and pepper, each
  • ½ cup mozzarella cheese, shredded
  • ½ cup parmesan cheese, shredded
  • 2 tablespoon fresh parsley, minced
Instructions
  1. In an oven-safe skillet, heat the olive oil over medium heat until shimmering. Add the sausage and onions and cook until they are lightly browned. Add the garlic and cook for an additional minute.
  2. Add the broth, tomatoes, tomato puree, cream, pasta, salt and pepper and stir. Bring to a boil, cover skillet, and reduce heat to medium-low. Simmer until pasta is tender, about 15 minutes.
  3. Remove the skillet from the heat and stir in half of the mozzarella and half of the parmesan cheese. Top with the remaining cheeses and parsley, then broil in the oven under high heat until the cheese is melted, bubbly and lightly browned.

Source: Adapted from Kevin and Amanda

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Feb 2015
Deep Dish Chocolate Chip Cookie Sundaes {for two}

IMG_6865It’s hard to believe that this year will be the 10th Valentine’s Day that Brad and I have celebrated together. We started dating at the end of January during our freshman year of college, and I remember being SO nervous about our first Valentine’s Day together. What the heck do you get your new boyfriend when you’ve only been together for two weeks? And do you know how hard it is to find a Valentine’s Day card that isn’t super lovey-dovey and mushy? I think I ended up getting him Anchorman on DVD and some Reeses hearts. Being the poor college students that we were, I’m pretty sure we ended up just staying in and ordering pizza, although there is nothing wrong with that! That also led us to taking our first picture together….we were such babies!

chris n brad

Now 9 years later, and thousands of pictures later, we still aren’t super into going out for Valentine’s Day. I’d much rather stay home than fight the crowds at restaurants or the movies. We much prefer to keep things low key – we’ll probably put the baby to bed, pop in a Redbox movie, and have a sinful dessert and a glass of wine. These deep dish cookie sundaes are perfect for a special occasion dessert. They are definitely a calorie splurge, but oh man, they are so worth the extra miles on the treadmill. The recipe only makes two – perfect for you and your loved one. Of keep both for you. I won’t judge. :)

Looking for other desserts made for two? Check out these recipes:
Deep Dish Brownie Sundaes for Two
Peanut Butter Chocolate Cookie Cups (makes 3-4 servings)

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Deep Dish Chocolate Chip Cookie Sundaes {for two}
 
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Serves: 2 sundaes
Ingredients
  • 3 Tbsp butter, softened
  • 3 Tbsp sugar
  • 3 Tbsp brown sugar
  • ½ tsp vanilla
  • 1 egg yolk
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • ⅛ tsp baking soda
  • ½ cup flour
  • ¼ cup chocolate chips
Instructions
  1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F. Spray 2 8-oz ramekins with non-stick spray.
  2. In a medium bowl, combine the softened butter, sugar and brown sugar. Add in the egg yolk and vanilla until well combined. Stir in the flour, salt and baking soda. Fold in the chocolate chips.
  3. Divide the dough in half and gently press into the ramekins. Bake for 10-15 minutes until the edges are set and golden brown.
  4. Allow the cookies to cool for 5 minutes, then top with ice cream and chocolate sauce.
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Feb 2015
Coffee Cake Muffins

Coffee Cake Muffins|Stick a Fork In It

Guys. I am so sick of winter, and we’re barely into February. Which means at least for us northerners, there is potentially 2-3 months of winter left. UGH. We normally get a lot of snow here in Pennsylvania, but it just seems like we have SO much this year. The piles at the end of our driveway are taller than me. Which, if you know me, isn’t saying much, but still! Oh, how I wish I could just pick up our house, (and my job, and our business, and our family and friends) and move everything to a warmer climate. Maybe someday!

With the temps in the single digits, the last thing you’ll find me doing is leaving the house unless I have to. Especially now that leaving the house often requires me to bundle up my 9 month old. No thanks. I’d much rather turn my fireplace on, crank up Pandora, and warm up my house by baking something delicious. Like these muffins.

Coffee cake is one of my most favorite breakfast treats, since essentially, you’re eating dessert for breakfast. I will rarely make a whole coffee cake for us at home, because I lack any such willpower around pastries covered in cinnamon crumb toppings, so these muffins are perfect portion control. That is, if you can stop yourself from eating more than one or two…

Coffee Cake Muffins|Stick a Fork In It

Coffee Cake Muffins
 
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Your favorite coffee cake in muffin form, topped with a cinnamon crumb topping and a vanilla glaze.
Serves: 12 muffins
Ingredients
For the muffins:
  • 1½ cups all-purpose flour
  • ½ cup light brown sugar
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon baking soda
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ¾ cup milk
  • ⅓ cup canola oil
  • 2 large eggs
For the crumb topping:
  • ⅓ cup granulated sugar
  • ⅓ cup light brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted
  • 1½ cups all-purpose flour
For the glaze:
  • ¼ cup confectioners' sugar
  • ¼ tsp vanilla
  • 1 teaspoon milk
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Line a muffin tin with paper liners or spray with non-stick cooking spray.
  2. To make the crumb topping, combine sugars, cinnamon and salt in a medium bowl. Whisk in melted butter. Use a fork to work in the flour until just moist. Spread the crumb mixture onto parchment paper to dry until ready to use.
  3. To make the batter, combine flour, sugar, baking powder, cinnamon, baking soda and salt in a large bowl. In a large glass measuring cup or another bowl, whisk together milk, canola oil and egg. Pour mixture over dry ingredients and stir using a rubber spatula just until moist.
  4. Divide the batter into the muffin tins. Sprinkle with reserved crumb topping, using your fingertips to gently press the crumbs into the batter. Bake for 15-17 minutes, or until a tester inserted in the center comes out clean.
  5. To make the glaze, combine confectioners’ sugar, vanilla and milk. Whisk until smooth. If the glaze is too thin, add more confectioners’ sugar as needed.
  6. When the muffins are done, cool for 10 minutes and drizzle the glaze on each muffin.
  7. Allow glaze to set before serving.

Source: Damn Delicious

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Feb 2015
Honey Wheat Bread

Honey Wheat Bread

I’ll admit, wheat bread is not always my favorite. I would much rather have a fluffy, soft piece of white bread, slathered in butter, of course. But now that I am edging close to my 30’s, it is time to care about things like heart heath and fiber, and alas, I need to eat more whole grains in place of white flour. Finding a good wheat bread recipe for a white bread lover like me can be difficult, but this recipe is soft and slightly sweet from the honey, with all the benefits of wheat bread. Booyah! It is hearty and sturdy – perfect for sandwiches, and Avery loves it toasted in the morning with a little bit of jam.

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Honey Wheat Bread
 
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A soft, honey wheat bread that is perfect for toast or sandwiches.
Serves: 2 loafs
Ingredients
  • 1½ tbsp. yeast (2 packets)
  • 3 cups warm water
  • ¼ cup butter, melted
  • ¼ cup honey
  • 1 tbsp. salt
  • 6 cups wheat flour
  • 2 tablespoons butter, melted
  • 1 tablespoon honey
Instructions
  1. In a large bowl, combine the yeast with the warm water. Sit for a few minutes until the yeast is frothy. Add the melted butter, honey and salt and mix until well combined.
  2. Add the flour to yeast mixture 1 cup at a time, until a soft dough forms. Knead the dough with your hands or with the dough hook of your electric mixer until the dough is smooth and not sticky, adding additional flour if needed.
  3. Cover with a towel and allow to raise until doubled in size.
  4. Separate the dough in two separate loaf pans, cover, and allow to raise again for another hour.
  5. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes until the bread is brown on top. Brush the tops of the bread with the honey-butter mixture and allow to bake an additional 2 minutes.
  6. Remove and let cool about 10 minutes in the pans, then turn out and cool 10 more minutes before slicing.

Source: Favorite Family Recipes

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Dec 2014
Top 10 Recipes of 2014

Whew. 2014 was a whirlwind of a year. I started off with a tiny baby bump, and ended the year with a bouncy, smiley 8 month old daughter. The blog definitely took a hit this year, between pregnancy laziness and then learning the ropes of motherhood, I definitely wasn’t in the kitchen or behind the camera as much as I would have liked. Now that I’ve gotten into a groove with our daughter, hopefully this next year I can spend more time cooking and sharing recipes with y’all.

Without further ado, the top 10 things that I’ve made this year. Enjoy!

2014

1. Meatball Pepperoni Hoagies

2. Slow Cooker Turkey Breast with Gravy

3. Brownie Ice Cream Layer Cake

4. Thai Chicken Bites

5. Soft and Chewy M+M Cookies

6. Loaded Baked Potato Casserole

7. Thick and Chewy M+M Bars

8. Chipotle Chicken Tacos

9. Spicy Quinoa {Crockpot} Chcken Chilli

10. DIY {Freezeable} Breakfast Burritos

And of course, the BEST thing I made this year, Miss Avery!

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Previous Year-end recipe round-ups:
2013
2012
2011
2010

 

 

 

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Dec 2014
No Bake Cheesecake

No-Bake Cheesecake

Crunch time people! It now 2 days before Christmas. Raise your hand if you have all your shopping, wrapping, baking and cooking done. Now all your overachievers put your hands down and get outta here!

I had high hopes to get everything done well before Christmas this year, but there’s always those last minute grocery store runs, presents to pick up, or cookies to bake. If you’re in need of a quick dessert, this cheesecake is perfect for it. It whips up in minutes, and since you don’t bake it, there is no messing around with a water bath to avoid those ugly cheesecake cracks. Top it with fresh berries, chocolate sauce or caramel sauce and you have a perfect dessert for Christmas dinner.

No Bake Cheesecake
 
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A light and fluffy, no-bake cheesecake that will wow your friends, with minimal work.
Serves: 12 servings
Ingredients
  • 15 graham crackers (8 ounces)
  • 1 stick unsalted butter, melted
  • 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 2 bars (8 ounces each) cream cheese, room temperature
  • ¾ cup confectioners’ sugar
  • 1 cup Chobani plain greek yogurt
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 1 cup heavy cream, whipped
Instructions
  1. In a food processor, pulse the graham crackers until finely crushed. Add the melted butter, sugar and salt to the crumbs and pulse until combined. Press the crumbs into the bottom and 1 inch up the sides of a 9-inch spring form pan. Use the bottom of a drinking glass or measuring cub to press down the crumbs firmly. Set aside.
  2. To make whipped cream, use a whisk attachement and beat the heavy cream on high until soft peaks form, about 3-5 minutes. Set aside.
  3. In a large bowl, beat the cream cheese with an electric mixer until fluffy. Add in the confectioners sugar, Greek yogurt, vanilla and a pinch of salt, then beat until smooth. Fold in the whipped cream. Pour the cheesecake mixture into the prepared pan and spread evenly. Cover and refrigerate until firm, at least 8 hours or overnight .
  4. Serve with chocolate sauce, caramel sauce, or fresh berries.

Source: Dainty Chef

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Dec 2014
Peppermint Crunch Puppy Chow

Peppermint Crunch Puppy Chow

I was listening to the radio the other day, and they said that if Santa ate all the cookies that were set out for him on Christmas Eve, he would gain approximately 721,000 pounds. Well, clearly that calculation is wrong because calories don’t count during the holidays, right?

Right. Which is a good thing, because I made this puppy chow with the intention to take it to work to share with my loving coworkers, and somehow it never made it out of my kitchen. It’s a twist on the classic puppy chow recipe, but using white chocolate and crushed candy canes to give it a Christmas-ey twist. I love everything white chocolate and peppermint, so this was right up my alley. Serve it on Christmas Eve or bag it up to give to friends and family.

Peppermint Crunch Puppy Chow
 
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A holiday twist on a classic puppy chow recipe.
Serves: 5 cups
Ingredients
  • 5 cups Rice Chex cereal
  • 10 ounces melting white chocolate
  • 1 cup crushed candy canes
  • 1 cup confectioners' (powdered) sugar
Instructions
  1. Pour 5 cups of Chex Cereal into a large bowl. Melt white chocolate in the microwave or by using a double boiler until melted and smooth. Pour the melted chocolate over the cereal, mixing until completely covered. Fold in the crushed candy canes.
  2. In a large ziplock bag, add the powdered sugar and the chocolate covered cereal, then shake until well covered. Discard the excess powdered sugar.

Source: Sally’s Baking Addiction 

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Dec 2014
DIY {Freezable} Breakfast Sandwiches

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Babies, man. Just when you think you’ve turned a corner and them figured out, they throw you a curve ball and you’re back a square one.  For example: sleep. Our daughter is seven months old, and has slept through the night on exactly two occasions. Once was after a neighborhood party where we were up until 2 am, and the other was a random night when I worked overnight, and my husband was in charge. Therefore, I don’t think either of them count. I thought we were finally starting to see progress when she was only getting up once a night, but lately, its back to twice nightly wake-ups. Ugh. All this mama wants for Christmas is 8 hours of straight sleep!

I have never really a morning person to begin with, but being up multiple times a night really makes me hit the snooze button even harder. When I finally haul myself out of bed, I usually have approximately 25 minutes to get ready, feed the dog, pump, and maybe feed myself before I rush out the door. To say these breakfast sandwiches are a lifesaver is an understatement. I can throw one in the microwave while I gather my bags, and then eat as I drive into work. They’re healthy, full of protein and very filling, and prevent me from hitting the drive-thru on the way to work. I like to make them with ham, but you can easily swap out the ham for any other protein (bacon, sausage, etc.) or add some veggies if you desire. I like to make a bunch of them on Sundays to freeze for the week for my husband and I to take for breakfast.

More into breakfast burritos than sandwiches? I have another freezer friendly recipe here.

DIY {Freezable} Breakfast Sandwiches
 
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A quick and easy breakfast sandwich to keep in the freezer for busy mornings.
Serves: 6 sandwiches
Ingredients
  • 6 large eggs
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 6 bagel thins
  • ½ pound sliced deli ham
  • 6 slices of cheddar cheese
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Spray a small ramekin or cupcake tin with cooking spray, then crack 1 egg into each ramekin. Add salt and pepper to taste, then scramble if desired. Bake the eggs for 10-15 minutes until cooked through.
  3. Meanwhile, toast the bagels if desired, then set aside. When you eggs are done, allow them to cool, then assemble your sandwiches. Layer each bagel with a few pieces of ham, an egg, and a slice of cheese.
  4. Wrap in the foil and store in a ziplock bag in the freezer.
  5. To reheat, microwave on high for 30-60 seconds until warm.

DIY Freezable Breakfast Sandwiches

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