Thursday, November 9, 2017

Slow Cooker Chex Mix

So, in my previous Slow Cooker Chicken Pot Pie post, I gushed about how much I love my slow cooker. And it's because of genius things like being able to make Chex Mix in it!

And then you get a house that smells of Chex Mix. MMMMMMMMmmmmmmmmmmmm!

As if the microwave method of making homemade chex mix isn't easy enough, you can now make it in your slow cooker. In all honesty, making it in the microwave is way easier but like I said before, you can make your house smell like chex mix!

You can customize this recipe to any version of Chex mix you prefer, but I like the OG recipe that comes right off the back of the boxes of Chex.

I, personally, really like my Chex mix to have only Chex pretty much. I really don't much like the pre-made bagged versions of Chex Mix because it just doesn't taste as good. And I end up picking out all the Chex to eat first anyway. Then I have a sad bag filled with rye chips and pretzels and weird bagel chip things.

Ok, the cheddar bagged Chex Mix is pretty good

Slow Cooker Chex Mix

Ingredients
  • 6 c. various Chex cereal (corn, rice, wheat)
  • 1 c. pretzels
  • 6 tbs. softened butter
  • 2 tbs. Worcestershire Sauce
  • 1 and 1/2 tsp. seasoning salt (I make my own*)
  • 3/4 tsp. garlic powder
  • 1/4 tsp. onion powder


Directions:
  1. Combine butter, sorcestershire, seasoning salt, garlic powder and onion powder in the ceramic, removable portion of the crock pot and microwave until butter melted, 30 seconds x 2 OR turn slow cooker on low and stir until melted.
  2. Fold in Chex cereal and pretzels
  3. Cook on Low setting for 3 hours or until browned, mixing every 15-30minutes to prevent burning.
  4. Cool in a single layer on parchment paper laid out on the counter.  Store in an airtight container for up to 3 days.

Monday, October 30, 2017

Pumpkin Spice Brownies

So, as previously mentioned I'm totally Basic and love PSLs (pumpkin spice latte's for those of you without an addiction). Fall is my excuse to get fat and eat pumpkin spice errrrrrrthing.

Without further explanation, here are AMAZING PUMPKIN SPICE BROWNIES!!!!!! Of course, you could just buy a box of brownie mix and add pumpkin pie spice but what would be the fun of that? Especially when you are juggling your 11 month old alternatively on your hip and handing him wooden spoons and bowls and letting him open all the cabinets so you don't burn him with a double boiler? --that's sarcasm...it has recently come to my attention that sarcasm does not come through on texts, after offending multiple people : |

This recipe was adapted from the Cook's Illustrated Classic Brownies recipe

Pumpkin Spice Brownies
Makes about 24 brownies
Recipe adapted from Cook's Illustrated Classic Brownies recipe
Ingredients

  • 1 1/4 c. cake flour (5 oz)
  • 1 tbs. cocoa powder
  • 3/4 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp. ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp. all spice
  • 1/8 tsp. ground ginger
  • 2 c. sugar
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 tbs. vanilla extract
  • 12 tbs. butter, softened
  • 4 oz. semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 2 oz. dark (about 60%) chocolate chips
Directions
  1. Line an 8x10" baking dish with parallel sheets of aluminum foil and grease with a non-stick spray.  Pre-heat oven to 325*F.
  2. In a medium sized bowl, sift together flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, all spice, and ground ginger.  Set aside.
  3. Take a medium glass bowl and add butter and chocolate chips.  Boil a small amount of water in a small to medium pot.  Place bowl over pot and stir until melted.  Alternatively, microwave chocolate chips for 30 seconds at a time. Stir after each microwave time.  Continue microwaving in 30 second intervals until melted.
  4. Off heat, add eggs one at a time, whisking after each addition.  Add vanilla.
  5. Fold flour in thirds into chocolate.
  6. Spread brownie batter evenly into pan, shaking or tapping edges to smooth out top.  Use a spatula if needed to get into corners.
  7. Bake for 30-35 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.  Cool on a wire rack for 5 minutes.
  8. Remove brownies from pan by the aluminum foil 'sling' and cut into squares.  Eat immediately or cool completely over wire rack.  Store in an airtight container for up to 3 days.

Monday, October 23, 2017

Slow Cooker Chicken Pot Pie

I stumbled upon this idea a few years ago while I was surfing the internet for good slow cooker recipes. I can't remember the original source for the inspiration, but I think it was a blog that featured a slow cooker recipe for every day of the year! It might have been this one? A Year of Slow Cooking

Anyway, it was chock-full of awesome slow cooker ideas and recipes. I fell in love with my $20 CrockPot in Veterinary school. I bought a cheapie on sale at Target and started using it for the typical chilis, stew, soups, pot roasts, etc while I was stuck in class or clinics. It was so revolutionary for me to be able to come home to a hot dinner that was already made! It was fan-freaking-tastic!

So as I got a little more comfortable with the CrockPot I started to look for other was I could use it. Jambalaya, creamed corn, mac n' cheese, chex mix! The possibilities were pretty much endless. There were totally a few flops, but for the most part I was pretty happy with this new cooking tool.  So much so that I have yet to jump on the InstaPot craze (pressure cookers legit scare me).

One of my friend's Dad didn't quite understand the appeal. I remember when we were both talking about the awesomeness of slow cookers she mentioned her dad asked her why she needed one and what was the difference of just leaving a pot on the stove on low. Well, I think I feel a little more comfortable leaving the house with the slow cooker running vs. the stove or oven on. So there's that. And also, if you get a slow cooker with a removable ceramic insert, you can go straight from the fridge to the countertop cooking in the morning. And you won't have to worry about your house catching on fire. Or your dog or cat knocking a pot over while trying to sneak food.

I last made this slow cooker chicken pot pie a long time ago and one of my old roommates told me I needed to post the recipe. So here I am, a short 5 years later, posting it.

The key to this is to keep the moisture from building up in the pot. Otherwise your biscuit top will get soggy. This was a trick I learned from the Year of Slow Cooking blog: Place a kitchen towel under the lid and a wooden spoon between the pot and the lid to allow some steam to escape or get trapped. Now you don't have to do a separate step to bake the crust/biscuits! I hate additional steps when it comes to slow cookers. I mean, it kind of defeats the purpose of the slow cooker when I have to braise meat before-hand, or finish something off in the oven, etc!

Slow Cooker Chicken Pot Pie
Ingredients:

  • 1 lb. boneless, skinless chicken thighs or breast
  • 1 can of cream of mushroom condensed soup (8 oz)
  • 2 stalks celery, diced*
  • 2 carrots, diced*
  • 1 c. diced onion (about 1/2 a large yellow onion)
  • 1 c. frozen green peas*
  • 2-3 c. chicken stock
  • 1/2 tsp. garlic powder
  • salt and pepper
  • 7 oz. mushrooms, sliced (optional)
  • 1 16 oz. can of refrigerated biscuit dough (about 8 biscuits)
*If you didn't want to cut up vegetables yourself, you can totally use frozen vegetable medley's in place of those
Directions:
  1. Combine chicken, all vegetables, cream of mushroom, and spices in crock pot
  2. Layer biscuits over the top.
  3. Wrap the top lid of the slow cooker with a kitchen towel and prop it open over the pot with the handle part of a wooden spoon.
  4. Cook on low for 5-8 hours.
  5. Optional: if you like your biscuits extra crispy, you can toast those up a bit in a toaster oven or oven for about 3-5 minutes at 350F; or if you are super lazy like me and your whole plate got cold while you were trying to feed/clean-up your toddler and distract your dog, stick the whole plate of stuff in the toaster oven for a few minutes.

Thursday, October 19, 2017

Tyson's Tacos

I made it back to my first Austin Food Blogger Alliance Happy Hour since having John and it was at Tyson's Tacos! One of my favs and I was able to make it because it's just down the street from work and home.  It was such a wonderful experience I thought I'd blog about it, even though I'm mostly just a recipe blogger.

Tyson himself hung out with us and told us his story and the story of Tyson's Tacos.  Tyson and his family had run a restaurant in Mexico, but left when Mexico city was starting to get a little too dangerous.  He opened Tyson's which was a bit of a strange idea coming from Mexico as tacos aren't a restaurant food in Mexico, it's more of a drunken late night street food indulgence.  Another cool thing about Tyson's Tacos is that the menu is customer-driven.  Taco combinations are made after customers who are able to rack up enough of the reward points.  And he won't say no to a weird taco combination, even if he would never have thought about offering a weird cheese-type substance you would've never found in Mexico (apparently nobody appreciated Tyson's legit quest flamed so it was replaced with a more Tex-Mex version).  And if you want Takis on a breakfast taco of eggs, cheddar, bacon, potato they'll do it! I learned about that whilst pregnant with John!

Reid and I used to stop by Tyson's Tacos as a reward for me after our OBG appointments.  And I weirdly craved fake cheese/spicy foods like no other when I was pregnant.  I couldn't get enough hot Cheetos or spicy Funions or Takis! And adding something crunchy on a B is for Bacon was just amazing.

So thank you Tyson's Tacos for hosting an incredible AFBA happy hour.  Everyone needs to check out them and their super creative menu, awesome outdoor patio, dog-friendly neighborhood place.  Oh, and did I tell you that musicians play a tune on their mandolin you get a free taco?!

Oh, and they are now TWENTY-FOUR HOUR!

I love this place!
The Prince Taco
Tex-Mex Style Queso and Prince Tacos, served with their awesome sauces
Their sauces are fiery! Take this stuff seriously
Brisket Taco
Unfortunately, I didn't snag a picture of my favorite taco of the night, the Crispy Duck. I guess I was too busy stuffing it in my mouth!
Pay Tyson's Tacos a visit at
4905 Airport Blvd.
Austin, TX 78751
(512)451-3326
tysonstacos@gmail.com
Tyson's Tacos http://www.tysonstacos.com
so good...ate all the tacos!

Saturday, October 14, 2017

Super Easy Ravioli Lasagna

I was perusing Food & Wine or maybe it was Epicurious...or Food52...who knows.  Anyway, it was one of those foodie websites/e-mails that I torture myself with every day when I came across this ravioli lasagna idea.  I had seen something similar on Pinterest but sometimes I don't trust Pinterest.  Those beautiful pictures of food are sometimes very deceiving.  I've been burned before with what looks like awesome recipes on Pinterest turning out as complete flops.

Has this ever happened to you?

https://www.boredpanda.com/funny-pinterest-fails/

Well, this ravioli lasagna is NOT the case of the Pinterest fail.

It was a recipe win!

A weeknight, super easy, semi-homemade winner winner ravioli lasagna dinner.

A kind of feel guilty posting the recipe here because it's not really a recipe...
More like some instructions on layering store-bought stuff.
Well, the roasted vegetables I made.  But I think the recipe I originally looked at also said you could purchase these from the deli area of the grocery store if you wanted to even skip that step.

Super Easy Ravioli Lasagna
Ingredients

  • 2 cups diced roasted vegetables (I have used half a red onion, 1 c. butternut squash and 2 small zucchinis one time and another time I used half a yellow onion, 2 small sweet potatoes, and 1 small zucchini)  You can use your imagination/whatever is in your pantry or you can even buy roasted veggies from the deli/prepared counter of the grocery store)
  • Three 9 oz. packages of refrigerated spinach and ricotta ravioli
  • One 24 oz. jar of marinara pasta sauce
  • 1 cup of shredded mozzarella cheese
  • salt and pepper
  • optional: 1 tbs. grated parmesan cheese and 1 tsp. dried oregano
Directions
  1. Roast vegetables-(Skip this step if you bought your veggies!) Preheat oven to 425*F.  Toss vegetables with 1 tbs. olive oil and salt and pepper.  Roast on a pan for 20-25 minutes, turning the vegetables half-way through roasting.  Set aside as you prepare the lasagna
  2. In the bottom of a baking dish, spread a thin coat of the pasta sauce.
  3. Layer ravioli, about 1 c. pasta sauce, 1/2 c. mozzarella cheese
  4. Then layer ravioli, pasta sauce, mozzarella cheese, and the roasted vegetables
  5. Finish with a final layer of ravioli, pasta sauce, and mozzarella cheese.  Top with optional parmesan cheese and oregano
  6. Cover with aluminum foil and bake in 350*F oven for 15-20 minutes or until hot throughout and cheese has melted.  Remove foil and allow to bake an additional 3-5 minutes or until cheese is bubbly and further melted.
Note: you can also freeze the lasagna before baking and keep on hand for a quick freezer meal

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies

It's fall! It's fall! It's fall!

That means now I have an excuse to drink/eat ALL the pumpkin spice flavored things like your typical basic B and wear sweat pants.  But lets get real.  I wear sweat pants year-round.  And also drink pumpkin spice everything.

Fall also means squash season.  And apple everything.  And warm goodness.  And casseroles.  So basically fall is like my favorite season.

Until the next season hits :)

So why not combine my two favorite things? Pumpkin + Chocolate Chip Cookies!!!!

Yum Yum Yum Yum <------my Cookie Monster impression

In all seriousness, I would say these turned out a bit more pumpkin bread-y than cookie texture.  Or at least that's what the discerning Cookie Monster living in my house decided.  But that didn't stop us from eating all 48 of them.  In one day.

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies
recipe adapted from Food Network Recipe
Ingredients:

  • 1 lb. butter (2 sticks), softened
  • 1 c. sugar
  • 1 c. brown sugar
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • 1 & 1/2 c. canned pumpkin (about 3/4 of a 15 oz can)
  • 3 c. all purpose flour
  • 2 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp. ground ginger
  • 1/4 tsp. ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp. all spice
  • 2 c. semi-sweet chocolate chips
Directions

  1. In a mixer, beat butter, sugar, and brown sugar until light and fluffy or until sugar is completely dissolved
  2. Mix in vanilla and canned pumpkin
  3. In a separate large bowl, sift together flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg and all spice.
  4. Slowly combine the flour mixture into the butter mixture until well incorporated.
  5. Preheat oven to 350*F and line 2 cookie sheets with non-stick silicone liner or parchment paper.
  6. Scoop heaping tablespoon of cookie dough onto pans.  I fit about one dozen cookies on each cookie sheet and was able to make 2 batches of 24 cookies each.
  7. Bake for 14-16 minutes, rotating mid-way through baking time.  Cool after cookies become lightly browned at edges.  Move cookies to a wire rack to finish cooling.

Thursday, September 28, 2017

Chicken Noodle Soup





It's that time of the year again! FALL  FLU SEASON!

I'm not sure how it's happened so early, but hubby has some how managed to get sick already.  Well, I guess it's not that surprising.  Baby John is in daycare and he carries the plague home to us probably on a daily basis.  Last week I started to feel a tickle in my throat and immediately reached for the Emergen-C (that stuff works, I swear!)  Was in a little bit of denial at first, and thought it was just some allergies, but it must've been some kind of bug because it hit the hubs full force on Friday night.
He sounded like crud and has been super congested.  So yesterday afternoon I made some chicken noodle soup.  I know, I know.  I deserve the wife/mommy-of-the-year award! Thank-you, thank-you! (that was total sarcasm; as the hubs pointed out yesterday, I'm sometimes not very nice).

Didn't have carrots on hand but lucked out and had everything in the house.  Bonus! No grocery trip!

Also, usually I also put in mushrooms, but I was doing this off-the-cuff.  So give me some slack.

Homemade Chicken Noodle Soup
Serves: 4-6 people
Time: About 2 hours
Ingredients:
Broth:

  • 1 boneless, skinless chicken breast and 2 BL/SL chicken thighs
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2 garlic cloves, peeled
  • salt and pepper
  • half a large yellow onion, quartered
  • 2 stalks celery
  • 2 tsp. or cubes of chicken bouillon or 1 tbs. 'Better Than Bouillon'
Soup:

  • 2 tbs. butter
  • 1 tbs. olive oil
  • 2 stalks celery, chopped into ~1/8" cubes
  • 1 carrot, chopped (I didn't have this on-hand for the photos)
  • second half of a large yellow onion from broth, chopped 
  • 1 garlic clove, peeled and minced
  • juice of 1 lemon
  • 1 tbs. of fresh minced herbs (Italian/flat leaf parsley or dill or rosemary), optional
  • 12 oz. bag of wide egg noodles
  • the reserved chicken from broth, chopped into ~1/2" cubes
Directions:

  1. Bring a large pot of water to boil. I used an 8 quart pot and filled it up to the handle screws.
  2. Add chicken, allow to return to a boil, then reduce to medium heat.  
  3. Add bay leaf, garlic clove, onion, celery and chicken bouillon.  
  4. Simmer for 20 minutes.  With a slotted spoon, remove chicken breast and allow to cool in a medium bowl.
  5. Simmer rest of broth for an additional 10 minutes (or until chicken thighs cooked through and no longer pink in center) and remove chicken thighs into same medium bowl containing chicken breast.
  6. Season with salt and pepper to taste.  Remove from heat and allow to cool about 15 minutes.
  7. Strain over a fine mesh strainer into a very large bowl or second pot.  Discard stuff in strainer.  Wipe out the large pot and replace the broth in the large pot (or put the second pot on the stove).
  8. Once chicken has cooled, dice the chicken meat.
  9. Return the broth to a boil over medium-high heat.
  10. While you are waiting for that, add butter and olive oil to a large pan over medium-high heat and saute the chopped onion, celery, and carrots.  Take off heat and add lemon juice and optional herbs.
  11. Pour the sauteed vegetables into the large pot and add back in chicken meat.  
  12. Cook egg noodles in the soup for 1-2 minutes less than directions, or until al dente.
  13. Scoop into bowls and serve with rolls, sandwiches, or croutons.