My mixer hasn’t seen much action the past few months and Noah really wanted to make a pretend birthday cake. Yep, he’s a weird but very very smart child. He can think of any excuse for dessert. He’d been throwing me a pretend birthday party all morning and what’s a party without cake? I have trained him well.
So, these aren’t cake but I had them on my mind since my mom raved about them days before when she had sampled them at a luncheon at work. It didn’t take much convincing to make blondies instead of cake since they had frosting AND chocolate.
I also assume you all have been really missing the sugary goodness around here so I decided I would sacrifice for you and sample one of these bars as my cheat for the week. Oh, the things I do for you guys! But then they were immediately wrapped up and sent to work with Joel. I just couldn’t be trusted with them in the house.
They are chewy and gooey with all kinds of butterfinger goodness throughout the blondies and frosting. Make sure to bake them just until they are set for ultimate deliciousness. Let me warn you, they are incredibly rich so just a few bites will satisfy your sweet tooth sufficiently.
And make sure to keep these in mind to use up those extra butterfingers after Easter!
1 cup butter, softened
1 cup light brown sugar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
2 tsp. vanilla
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. coarse sea salt
2 cups coarsely chopped Butterfinger Bars (approximately 16 “Fun Size” bars)
1/2 cup butter, at room temperature
1/2 cup vegetable shortening
2 1/2 – 3 cups powdered sugar
1/2 cup chopped Butterfinger Bars (approximately 4 “Fun Size” bars)
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Cream butter and sugars in mixing bowl. Add the vanilla and eggs and mix until incorporated. On low add your dry ingredients (flour, salt and baking soda) until just combined. Stir in your chopped Butterfingers.
2. Spread in a 9×13 baking dish and bake for 25 minutes until center is JUST set. Remove from the oven and cool completely.
3. For the frosting: cream the butter and shortening together until smooth. Add in you powdered sugar on low speed. Turn speed up to medium and mix until smooth Stir in your chopped Butterfingers. Spread on your cooled blondies
Now that it’s finally FINALLY warming up, I have had barbeque on my mind. I’m definitely a sweet, Kansas City style barbeque sauce kind of girl which is rather unfortunate right now seeing that I can’t eat sugar. Whomp whomp.
But I wouldn’t let that get between me and the ribs I’ve been craving. I whipped up this sauce sweetened with maple syrup and spiced up a bit with red pepper flakes. It was a richer, more bold sauce than I’m used to but it was still delicious and totally hit the spot.
Clean BBQ Sauce
recipe adapted from Clean Eating Online
¼ cup tomato paste
3 Tbsp. balsamic vinegar
2 Tbsp. pure maple syrup
2 tsp. soy sauce (make sure it doesn’t have corn syrup) or liquid aminos
1 clove garlic, minced
1 tsp. onion powder
½ tsp. sea salt
¼ tsp. red pepper flakes
2 tsp. extra virgin olive oil
2. Bring sauce to a boil on medium high and continue boiling for 3 to 4 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in oil. Makes about ½ cup.
A whole wheat crust is slathered with a slightly spicy peanut sauce then topped with shredded chicken, a sprinkling of mozzarella cheese and baked to golden perfection. When it’s removed from the oven it’s topped with fresh cilantro, thinly slice carrot (I used a peeler) and peanuts for a little crunch. Are you drooling yet?
So I don’t mean to brag, but this pizza is totally restaurant quality. I love making homemade pizza and always enjoy them but this was the first time I really thought I could see it on a menu somewhere.
It is a bit fancier and more exotic than our normal pizzas but it was so so good. I know, I know, we live on the edge but we are pretty traditional when it comes to our precious pizza.
Plus, it is clean! I love when that happens. This is officially my new favorite. Thai chicken pizza for life.
Thai Chicken Pizza
1/2 recipe whole wheat pizza crust
1 batch Thai Peanut Sauce (recipe below)
1 large chicken breast, cooked and shredded
3-4 ounces mozzarella, shredded
Roughly chopped cilantro
Thinly sliced carrot
Roasted peanuts, for garnish (optional)
1. Preheat oven to 500 degrees F.
2. Roll out dough thinly and place on a pizza stone. Spread 1/4 cup of the peanut sauce over the crust. Toss remaining sauce with the shredded chicken and spread evenly over the crust. Sprinkle with mozzarella cheese.
3. Bake for 9-12 minutes, or until golden brown and bubbly. Remove from the oven and sprinkle with cilantro, carrot and peanuts. Slice and enjoy!
Thai Peanut Sauce
recipe adapted from food.com
2 garlic cloves, finely minced
1 tsp. fresh ginger, grated with microplane
5 Tbsp. peanut butter
1 Tbsp. honey
2 Tbsp. rice wine vinegar
1 Tbsp. soy sauce (or liquid aminos)
1 tsp. Sriracha
Combine all ingredients in a microwave safe bowl and microwave in 30 second intervals until the peanut butter is just melted (it only took 30 seconds for me). Whisk until smooth.
We are big on breakfast for dinner around here or brinner as we like to call it. Sometimes it’s just comfort food at it’s finest and other times it’s the fact that most breakfast foods are usually pretty quick and easy to throw together. Either way, it’s always a big hit.
I was craving some breakfast potatoes and sausage but that’s not the healthiest of options so I switched some things up to make a lower calorie but equally delicious brinner.
Sweet potatoes replace the white potatoes and are topped with a fried egg for a yummy hash while a homemade mixture of pork and turkey is combined to create a healified sausage patty. Oh, so good.
The recipe makes 28 small sausage patties which is way too much for the three of us so I froze half the batch. Gotta love a 2 for 1 recipe! Make sure to read the note at the bottom of the recipe for freezing instructions.
Pork and Turkey Breakfast Sausage Patties
recipe adapted from Taste of Home Comfort Food Diet Cookbook
*note about freezing patties follows recipe
2 tsp. rubbed sage
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. white pepper
¼ tsp. onion powder
¼ tsp. chili powder
1/8 tsp. dried thyme
1 lb. ground turkey
1 lb. ground pork
1. In a large bowl, combine the first 6 ingredients.
2. Crumble turkey and pork over mixture and mix well.
3. Using a scoop, portion out into 28 sausage patties and flatten slightly. In a large skillet or on a griddle, cook patties over medium heat for 6-8 minutes or until meat in no longer pink, turning once. Drain on paper towels.
*To freeze: Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper. Place the formed sausage patties (before they are cooked) on the parchment paper. Place in the freezer for 1 hour to flash freeze then place in a labeled freezer bag. Store for up to 2 months.
Today celebrates 3 years since my very first blog post. It’s kind of hard to believe it’s been that long. I first started this little blog to share the recipes I was trying with my family and friends and as I continued forward, it became so much more. It has pushed me to go outside the box, try new things and become more adventurous with food. I don’t just make a recipe exactly as stated any more…I mix it up, change things, add different ingredients, even create my own recipes. I’m no longer afraid of yeast. I now like salads and avocado and mustard and sweet potatoes and so much more I thought I despised.
And I have over 1500 followers going on the journey with me. What? I never imagined so many people would be interested in what I’m cooking, baking and eating. I feel so humbled and I appreciate all of you! I love blogging and sharing recipes with all of you but there have been times that I just wanted to give it up for awhile. Like after having Hannah. But every day I would log on and see I had a new follower and thought “I don’t want to let them down, they want to hear what I have to say!” And I love having something of my own, just for me. It’s hard being a stay at home mom and sometimes I feel like I don’t have anything for me. I give all of myself to my kids (and I wouldn’t change that for the world) but it’s nice to have something else that I really love to do. Thank you all for sticking by me, even when I struggled to share just 1 post a week. Thank you for your comments, words of encouragements and “likes.” You guys rock.
I’ve come a long way in three years. I mean, seriously, check out these photos…bleh. I’ve considered retaking these photos (and many more) but it’s kind of nice to see the journey. My photography has improved and although it’s not as spectacular as some of my favorite food bloggers out there, I’m pretty proud of myself. Especially considering I’m usually taking these photos with two impatient boys breathing down my neck, waiting for the ok to inhale.
So to celebrate, I thought I would share some of my favorite recipes from throughout the years. The recipes that I always go to when I need something fast, delicious, decadent, satisfying or no-fail. Thank you trusty internet friends for being an invisible support system. I truly hope you continue to enjoy everything I share here.
So, I had a hard time just picking a few favorites. There have been a lot of recipes shared over the past three years! My top 15 favorites (in no particular order) are pictured below with a link to the recipe. Below that is a big list of my other favorites that I just couldn’t resist sharing too. Enjoy!
Chipotle Chicken with Cilantro Lime Rice and Black Beans
Chicken Enchilada Soup
Buffalo Chicken Mac-n-Cheese
Sesame Beef Lettuce Wraps
Cucumber Tomato Salad
Crock Pot Refried Beans
Sparkling Strawberry Lemonade
2 Ingredient Pumpkin Muffins
Chocolate Peanut Butter Bars
Skinny Bang Bang Shrimp
Pork and Ginger Potstickers
Spicy Lemon Chicken Wraps
Baked Spinach Dip
Baked Eggs with a Crispy Hashbrown Crust
Roasted Banana Muffins
Peanut Butter Oatmeal Energy Balls
Crock Pot Peanut Clusters
French Silk Pie
Oatmeal Crème Pie Bars
DIY Vanilla Extract
I love cookbooks. Seriously. LOVE. I have a ton and am running out of room to store them in my kitchen. I’m starting to consider a bookshelf or wire baskets hung on the wall so that I can continue my
obsession collection. Wouldn’t three of those baskets hung vertically on the wall be really cute! I think I’m going to do it in my dining room since I don’t have any real wall space in my kitchen.
But in the meantime I should probably stop purchasing them. The addiction still calls my name so when I take Noah to the library every couple weeks, I always hit the cookbook section and borrow a few. When I recently spotted Michael Symon’s 5 in 5, I snatched it up since I’m a big fan of The Chew and his 5 in 5 segments.
Let me start off by saying this recipe is delicious but it definitely took me more than 5 minutes to make. Maybe it was because I move too slow or perhaps because my sous chef is 3 years old rather than a culinary trained celebrity chef. Either way, it was still a quick weeknight meal that was packed with bright flavors.
Citrus, jalapeno, peanuts and cilantro all combine to create a zippy Thai flavor profile. And have I told you that I love chicken thighs. I’ve always been a white meat kind of girl (and still would usually choose it) but it’s a nice change every once and awhile. So much more flavor and juiciness. To make it a bit healthier, you could switch to boneless, skinless breasts but I think the extra fat is totally worth it here.
Chicken Satay with Spicy Peanut Sauce
recipe from Michael Symon’s 5 in 5
2 Tbsp. peanut butter
Grated zest and juice of 2 oranges
1 jalapeno, minced
1/4 cup soy sauce
1/4 cup olive oil
8 (4 oz.) boneless, skinless chicken thighs, halved
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
1/4 cup roughly chopped cilantro
1. Preheat grill or grill pan to medium-high heat.
2. In a small bowl, whisk together peanut butter, orange zest, orange juice, jalapeno, soy sauce and olive oil. Season chicken with salt and pepper. In a medium bowl, toss the chicken with half the peanut sauce.
3. Thread 2 pieces of chicken onto skewers (I skipped the skewers but it would make it easier). Grill for 3 minutes, flip and cook another 2 minutes.
4. Remove chicken from grill and drizzle with some reserved peanut sauce and top with cilantro.
Growing up, there were lots of foods that I thought I didn’t like because I never actually tried them to find out. Salads, sweet potatoes and mustard were among them (well, it actually took a few months of forcing myself to eat salads to like them and now I love them).
Turns out I really like mustard in moderation and honey mustard dressing has become one of my favorite condiments. I like making my own dressings so that I can control the ingredients and plus, they usually taste a whole lot better. Except for ranch, anyone have a good homemade version? They are never as tasty as a good ‘ole Hidden Valley Buttermilk Ranch packet.
This honey mustard is perfectly sweet with a tiny bit of a zip. It’s been my go-to dressing since I started eating clean and will now be a constant staple in my fridge.
Honey Mustard Dressing
4 Tbsp. honey
4 Tbsp. yellow mustard
4 Tbsp. olive oil
1 Tbsp. apple cider vinegar
pinch of salt
1/4 tsp. black pepper
Combine all ingredients in a bowl and whisk. Store in the refrigerator in an airtight container. Lasts for about a week.
Guess where I’m headed tomorrow? Vegas! It’s time for Joel’s annual work “retreat” where they work for a couple days then all the significant others come and have a fun filled 3 day weekend. I’m kind of excited and kind of freaking out. This is the first time I am leaving Hannah and I know she will be fine but a mama never stops worrying. She’s definitely a mama’s girl and sometimes she wants me and only me. Haha, good luck mom and dad. Noah was over a year old the first time we left him for a weekend getaway and I thought I was going to vomit the whole 2 hour drive. Breathe Meghan, everything is going to be ok.
Are there any places we need to eat while in Vegas? The only place we have planned is the brunch buffet at the Paris Hotel. And I am totally living it up that meal. I’m talking crepes, bear claws, eggs, waffles. It’s all happening. I fully expect to feel sick since I’ve been eating clean since Lent started but I’m hoping it will be worth it.
Speaking of clean eating…I’ve been struggling with side dishes to our meals. It’s usually just a salad or some kind of steamed vegetable. But when we were at the grocery store the other day I spotted heirloom cauliflower in purple, orange and lime green. I showed Noah and asked him if we should try some and he got very excited and said we should get the orange one. I wasn’t quite sure what I was going to do with it (I usually roast it), but it was totally being purchased after seeing how excited he was over a vegetable.
After thinking a bit, I decided to try my hand at smashed cauliflower. A lot of the recipes I found added cream cheese which sounds amazing but just wasn’t going to happen. Since there wasn’t much I could add to gain that creamy texture, I decided to add lots of flavor instead. Cooking the cauliflower in chicken stock and adding a whole head of roasted garlic definitely fit the bill. It’s a light, flavorful side dish that’s just as fun to eat as it is to look at.
Roasted Garlic Smashed Cauliflower
1 head cauliflower (I used an heirloom orange cauliflower), cut into florets
2 cups chicken stock
1/4 cup parmesan cheese, shredded
1 head roasted garlic
Salt and pepper
Place cauliflower and chicken stock in a pan and bring to a boil. Turn heat down to medium and cook for about 10 minutes, or until fork tender (most of the stock will be gone). Mash cauliflower in pot, if you have a lot of stock left, drain some out. Add in parmesan cheese and roasted garlic and continue to mash. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
We very rarely eat fast food around our house but when we do we always go for subs or Chipotle. My meal of choice at Chipotle is always the chicken burrito bowl with brown rice, black beans and hot salsa. A few months ago, my mom made a cilantro lime rice and black beans that was very similar to Chipotle and ever since, we have all been obsessed. Like eat it every two weeks or so obsessed. Now, if you know me, that’s saying a lot since I rarely make the same thing without a few months in between. I enjoy variety and trying new recipes, but I always seem to crave that meal.
I’ve always just made a simple Mexican rub that is really yummy but I was craving the real deal Chipotle copycat so I went on the hunt for something more similar to the restaurant, with chipotles in it of course, and this recipe I found on epicurious is so perfect. I changed it up a bit by removing the oil to make it healthier and adding lime juice because it just makes things like this better. I also upped the amount of cilantro because I’m kind of addicted right now. I know cilantro is usually a love or hate herb for most people and I used to fall into the latter category but I kept trying it in things and I totally love it now. If you are a hater, you could leave it out with delicious results still.
Mmm, now I really wish we had a can of chipotles in adobo. Pretty sure they will become a staple pantry ingredient from now on.
Copycat Chipotle Chicken
recipe adapted from Epicurious
1/4 cup canned chipotle chiles in adobo
2 garlic cloves, pressed
1/4 cup roughly chopped fresh cilantro
1 tablespoon paprika
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon chili powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 lime, juiced
3-4 boneless chicken breasts or thighs, pounded to 1/4-inch thickness
1. Combine all ingredients, except chicken, in a blender or food processor. Blend until completely combined. Place chicken and marinade in a large ziplock bag and squish around, ensuring all the chicken is covered. Place in refrigerator and marinade for 3 hours or up to overnight.
2. When ready to cook, preheat grill to medium-high heat. Grill chicken 3-4 minutes per side, or until cooked through and juices run clear. Dice and serve over cilantro rice and black beans.
Remember that fun dinner I talked about on Wednesday using whole wheat pizza dough? Well, here it is. Pizza rolls baked in a muffin tin.
Noah had a lot of fun helping me roll out the dough and spread the toppings. He’s been really into helping me in the kitchen again which means he’s super proud and is a lot more likely to eat what we are having. Not that it’s ever a problem when it’s pizza. But when he gets to help cut up the broccoli or cauliflower (with his kid knives) then he won’t complain as much when it comes to eating it. Sometimes the “help” isn’t all that helpful but we both enjoy it so much and sometimes the fun messy chaos is much more important than getting things done. I know these memories will be cherished for a long time to come.
But back to the recipe at hand. These rolls are fun and kid friendly. I mean, who doesn’t love to eat with their hands. If you’re all fancy pants, you can cut them up with a knife but Noah and I preferred grabbing them with our hands and dunking them in the sauce. Dipping totally makes things more fun for kids too (and maybe adults).
If you have the dough and sauce made up in the freezer, this would be an incredibly easy weeknight meal to whip up. I always make a big batch of both those things and freeze the leftovers for this very reason. Then all you have to do is thaw everything and grate some cheese.
Whole Wheat Pizza Rolls
recipe from Foodie Crush
Pizza sauce (make it clean by replacing brown sugar with honey)
1 cup shredded fresh mozzarella cheese
Any other toppings, I put pepperoni in half of them (for the boys)
1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F and lightly grease a muffin tin with olive oil.
2. Roll out dough into a 10×20 inch rectangle. Spread a light layer of sauce over the dough then sprinkle with cheese and additional toppings of choice.
3. Roll lengthwise (like cinnamon rolls) to make a 20-inch log and pinch edges to seal. Slice into 2-inch sections then place them in the muffin cups, pressing down slightly.
4. Bake for 20-25 minutes, until golden brown and dough in the center is fully cooked. Serve with additional pizza sauce on the side.