Tuesday, September 29, 2015

My Favorite Month

October is probably one of my favorite months, if not the favorite.  I love fall weather and pretty trees, hot chocolate and bonfires.  To make things even better, we get to celebrate our daughter's birthday.  It's always a lot of fun.

This month's menu is filled with fall favorites, birthday girl picks, and the last gasps of summer grilling.  It promises to uphold the fine October traditions we've established in the past!

Monday, September 28, 2015

I'm Not Above Bribery

This week I had the opportunity to make a presentation to some of my colleagues.  In an effort to improve attendance in a very busy school year, my co-presenters and I decided to promise food to attendees.

Since I was speaking about using social media in the classroom, I thought it only right that I use social media in my presentation as the source of some new recipes.

Last week was Bradley homecoming, so I decided to give these Copycat Lofthouse Cookies a try.  I've made a different Lofthouse copycat in the past, and while tasty, the dough was super hard to work with.  This dough was amazing and soft.  I could immediately tell a difference in the texture as a result of the corn starch.  They were so smooth and a much truer copy of the grocery store Lofthouse.

Knowing we had some gluten free eaters in the crowd, I also decided to make these No Bake Energy Bites too.  They got rave reviews and several recipe requests.  The recipe itself is about as easy as you can get.  My greatest challenge was keeping the dog away because she smelled peanut butter!

Two great recipes I'm sure I'll put out again, especially when they are proven attendance drivers--we had a full room for our presentation!

Sunday, September 27, 2015

Chili Season

Fall, Friday nights, and chili.  It was a standard around our house growing up, and as I stirred up this Pioneer Woman Chili, I realized how fun it was to be doing the same for my family that my Mom did for me.

This is different type of chili from what I've made before--more beef flavor, less tomato.  I think we all preferred it, although this is not my little's favorite dish.  I ended up adding the whole can of beef broth, and a full 15 oz can of tomato sauce, just to have a little extra soupyness.  The heat of the Rotel makes sour cream and cheese essential to this recipe, but extra delicious too!  I did swap red beans for kidney beans too.  I find that red beans are softer and the flavor is better to our taste.  My last modification was to use the crockpot.  I browned the ground beef in a skillet and then added it to all the other ingredients in the crockpot to meld together.

I think this will be my go-to chili recipe for the near future.  It's got great chili flavor without too much heat or too much tomato.

Saturday, September 26, 2015

Orange You Glad There Are Pancakes

This was our second breakfast for dinner this week, but it was a good one!

These Orange Sweet Roll Pancakes are excellent, totally worth the extra couple of steps.  Mine did not look perfectly swirled, or evenly shaped (the batter was way too thick), but they did have a fantastic caramel crust and such a fresh orange flavor.

The others at our table used some left over buttercream frosting in place of syrup.  I used my usual whipped topping.  Both were yummy.  These pancakes reminded me of orange sweet rolls, either homemade or the Rhodes variety.  Either way, a lovely twist on a regular pancake.

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Holiday Planning

This recipe was not intended to make me think of Christmas, but I think it's the perfect recipe.  Think holiday brunch, Christmas morning, and other unlimited possibilities for this Harvest Breakfast Braid.

This is sweet.  The orange marmalade flavor comes through very strongly, but it's delicious.  Younger me would hate to admit how much I love the sweet and meat combination that's in this.  Of course, layers of Havarti make everything gooey and fantastic.

Mine took a bit longer to bake than suggested, but maybe only an extra five minutes or so.

Definitely add this to your holiday menu.  You won't be sorry!

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Pizza Joes

Sloppy joes have to be one of the best and most dependable family meals.  Make it Pizza Joes and it's an unbeatable combo.

I threw this recipe together the night before, just adding in a bit of pepperoni, and using a jar of pizza sauce leftover from last week's Chicken Parmesan Grilled Cheese   Then the next day I tossed it in the crockpot to warm up and be ready for dinner when it was time.  Easy as pie.  We topped our sandwiches with some shredded Mozzarella.

This is such a versatile recipe.  I definitely want to try using a mix of ground beef and Italian sausage for the base.  I think the added seasoning from the sausage would be terrific.  Seems like just about any pizza topping you can dream up would work pretty well here.

Saturday, September 19, 2015

Chicken Parmesan Grilled Cheese

I keep finding new grilled cheese varieties to try.  It's great fun to see how an old favorite becomes a new discovery.

This edition is Chicken Parmesan Grilled Cheese from Plain Chicken.  I made some frozen chicken fingers and sliced them lengthwise so they were flatter for the sandwiches.  For the rest of the layers, I did a thin layer of pizza sauce on both slices of Asiago bread from a local baker.  Then I smashed some shredded mozzarella cheese into the sauce in hopes that it would stay better.  It worked.   Kind of.  On the outside of the bread, I used butter and then sprinkled some Parmesan and garlic sprinkle on top.  As mozzarella fell out of the sandwich, I also pressed that into the butter.

It turns out that fried mozzarella, plus Parmesan and garlic is a delicious flavor to add to grilled cheese.  The pizza sauce, chicken and cheese was pretty good.

This recipe is an excellent way to keep dinner simple, without being boring.  Something I'm always a fan of.