Friday, December 28, 2012

Hot Wing Joes

Phew....Christmas is over. We had a wonderful Christmas and I hope you had one too! It was an exhausting couple of weeks. Our family came down with what we called the plague and was out of commission for about 8 days. Started with a cold that attacked me HARD and moved onto a stomach bug with the menfolk of the house. Joy...fa la la la

We recovered in time for Christmas and got busy. My brother and his girlfriend were in town so it was wonderful to see them. He has a couple fancy camera's so he took some photos of us the Thursday before Christmas...Cooper was less than cooperative for most of them....

But we did get some really good shots....

We had a get together at my Grandma's that night to exchange presents with my brother. We all brought premade party trays and it was SO much easier than cooking a big dinner and 1/4 of the clean up!

I usually over do it with food on holidays. I try to make something super complicated an overwhelm myself. This year we had a taco bar at my best friend's, which was so much fun and easy. Christmas morning we hosted our first family get together in our new house and I made casseroles that required overnight fridge visits and just had to pop them in the oven Christmas morning. I am SO glad I did that instead of trying to get up that morning and stand over the stove to make a big meal. Christmas was so easy and relaxed. Cooper had such a good time and we had such a good time just watching him open his gifts and play!

His big gift this year was a train table and lots of train sets and accessories to go with it. It's positioned in our dining room now so he likes to play with it while I'm cooking or cleaning in the kitchen. 

We ate way too many take out and fast food meals during the 'plague' and Christmas week. Last night I cooked our first dinner in weeks....well our first non-Stoufer's related dinner. Hot Wing Joes. These were super yummy and will go into our regular rotation. The recipe is easily doubled and makes excellent lunches for the week. There are veggies in the sauce, so don't feel too guilty if you just eat it with chips!

Chop up a small onion, half a celery rib, and a large garlic clove. Shred up a small carrot. I like to saute my veggies a bit before adding in the ground chicken so they aren't too crunchy. 

Add the ground chicken, cook and crumble until chicken is done. Drain and add in sauces. 

Simmer until sauces thicken a bit. Serve on a bun topped with blue cheese crumbles. 

Hot Wing Joes

1 pound ground chicken
1 small or half of 1 large celery rib, chopped
1 small onion, chopped
1 small carrot, grated
1 large garlic clove, minced
1 cup canned tomato sauce, about half a can
1/2 cup chicken broth
1/8 cup hot sauce (I used Crystal)
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
1/2 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
Dash of black pepper
Hamburger buns
Blue cheese crumbles

Saute veggies and garlic in a little bit of oil until just turning tender. Add in ground chicken and cook until no longer pink. Drain. Add in tomato sauce, chicken broth, hot sauce, brown sugar, red wine vinegar, Worcestershire and pepper. Cook until heated and thickened slightly. 

Serve on hamburger buns topped with blue cheese crumbles. 

Dig in!

Thursday, December 6, 2012

2 Weeks After Thanksgiving, Pumpkin Cookie Bites

It's been 2 weeks since Thanksgiving. I made a couple of recipes I wanted to share, but was trying to decide on posting them now in the off season, or sharing them next year BEFORE Thanksgiving. I guess they could be made for Christmas...but anyway. I decided to go ahead and share one of them today and another one sometime in the next few days while it's all still fresh in my typically mushy mind.

(I'm sitting here watching an Ninja infomercial and wanting to go out and buy one)

Hope everyone had a good Thanksgiving by the way. We did. It was hectic. Thanksgiving day at my Dad and Step-mom's. A full house at around 18 guests. There was so much dessert we call could have sat down with our own individual pies I think.

Part of the desserts and turkey...

I went Black Friday shopping that night with my friend and to my Grandma's on Friday for 2nd Thanksgiving. I was pretty exhausted by Friday night.

The recipe I am sharing with you today was  HUGE hit. I can't take credit for the recipe myself. Our local grocery chain, Publix, has a program called Aprons. They do cooking demos in store and pass our recipes. I was wondering around aimlessly one night trying to figure out what to pick up for dinner and the smell of pumpkin pulled me in...these little delicious guys were baking and lucky me got to try a sample.

My brother chased me to the car to get a few more before we went home, had more at my grandma's the next day and asked for more at our house Saturday night.

I hope you enjoy them as much as we did! AND they are SUPER easy, bonus!

Pumpkin Cookie Bites

Start with 2 packages of 24 count premade refrigerated cookie dough squares break apart things. Technical terms, I know. I used the Immaculate brand Gingerbread and Sugar cookie variety. I try to use Immaculate brand baking products as often as possible. They are convenient and don't have all of the crap in them like the other brands. When living in Tampa, we had a larger variety at the grocery stores. We don't have as many options in a smaller city now, but I am slowly seeing their brand pop up in stores. 

Anyway...take them out of the fridge while preheating the oven and mixing everything else together to soften up a bit. BUT only take 1 pack out at a time if you only have 1 mini muffin pan to work with.

Meanwhile, mix together egg, pumpkin and dulce de leche caramel. I found this in the International food isle with the Mexican foods.

Press dough into greased mini-muffin pan to form little cups. 

Fill and bake! Let cook a bit and pop out with a spoon to cool completely on a cooling rack before storing. 

Pumpkin Cookie Bites

1 egg
1 cup canned (not pumpkin pie spiced) pumpkin
2/3 cup dulce de leche caramel
2 (24-count) packages refrigerated cookie dough (gingerbread or sugar are preferred), softened

Preheat oven to 375. Spray mini-muffin pan with cooking spray.

Whisk egg until blended. Stir in caramel and pumpkin until evenly blended.

Separate and press dough into muffin pan to form cups. Fill each cup with about a teaspoon full of pumpkin mixture. Bake for 25 minutes until crust is golden. Cool for 10ish minutes in pan and pop out with spoon to cool on cooling rack completely.

Dig in!

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Down Under Potato Soup

23 days until Christmas....I have a very excited little boy. He is almost 3 and this is the first year he kind of 'gets' it. He knows he's going to have his picture with Santa and say CHEESE! He wants to leave Santa chocolate cookies and chicken. His words, not mine. I am excited to see his face Christmas morning.

Last night we spent the evening in our city's downtown area. We dined at Palace Pizza and walked around the park. It's decorated with lights and Coop had a blast!

Now this recipe has NOTHING to do with Christmas...but I wanted to share pictures with you of my adorable child. :)

NOW, onto the food. A couple of weeks ago I checked out one of those Restaurant Copy Cat books and copied down a recipe for Outback's Walk-About soup. I haven't actually HAD the soup in the actual restaurant, but the recipe sounded like it would be MAGIC. When trying to decide to what to cook for dinner for us tonight, I came across the index card it was written on and decided to give it a whirl. I altered it a bit to bulk it up for a main course and changed the name. It was SO GOOD. I cannot press that info on your enough. I don't know if this is how the cook it 'down under', but they should. 

First, start with 3 or 4 smallish to mediumish potatoes. Peel them and dice them up. Boil them in water until nice and tender. Drain and set aside. 

Meanwhile, dice up 3 small onions and saute in butter until tender.

When onions are soft, remove from heat and add flour, paprika, salt and pepper. 

Add milk and stir until smooth. Return to heat and add broth. Simmer until thickened and hot. Add in cream and cheddar. Add the potatoes. 

Serve garnished with mozzarella and green onions. YUMMMMMMY!

Down Under Potato Soup

3 to 4 small to medium potatoes
4 tablespoons butter
2 1/2 cups chopped yellow onions
4 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon paprika
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1/4 pepper
3 cups milk
4 cups vegetable, chicken or combination of each broth
1 1/2 cups shredded cheddar
1/2 cup heavy cream
Chopped green onions and shredded mozzarella cheese for garnish

Peel and dice potatoes. Place in pot, cover with water and boil until tender. Around 20 minutes. Drain and set aside.

Meanwhile, chop onions and saute in butter until tender. Remove from heat and stir in flour, paprika, salt and pepper. Return to heat and add milk, stirring until smooth. Add broth and stir until combined. Simmer until thickened slightly. Add cream and cheddar cheese. Stir until smooth and add potatoes.

Serve with green onions and mozzarella.

Dig in!