Cheeseburger Quesadillas

30 Sep

Cheeseburger Quesadillas 1
Besides cooking and photography, one of my big hobbies is crafting. I guess I have a love for creating and capturing. Recently I have been working on a quilt that I have grown to love; every time I pick it up to work on it, I adore it even more. I know quilting is an uncommon hobby for a 20-something but I am kind of addicted and I’m not afraid to say it. Call me granny if you wish but I’m creating awesomeness around here. The concept of this quilt started at Christmas when Joel’s mom was given 12 quilt squares made by her grandma and great grandma. She wasn’t planning on doing anything with them so she offered them to me to create something with them. After several months of brainstorming, I came up with a concept and created 18 of my own quilt blocks to go along with the vintage ones. Each and every square has a different fabric yet they look like they were made for each other. Along the border are names, places, dates and special family jokes quilted to evoke memories each time it’s used. It’s a quilt decades in the making and something I am so proud to have had a part of creating.
heritage quilt
Just like this quilt, I love dreaming up and creating in my kitchen. The quilt nourishes my soul and these cheeseburger quesadillas nourish our bellies. They come together in less than 30 minutes and will definitely be a crowd pleaser. Even my impossible 4 year old ate these without complaint and he almost never eats meat. I’m telling you, tortillas are magic makers in getting your kids to eat. The fact that they taste like a rich, meaty cheeseburger helps too.
Cheeseburger Quesadillas 3
Cheeseburger Quesadillas

8-12 whole wheat tortillas
1 lb. lean ground beef
4 strips bacon, cooked and crumbled
1/4 cup ketchup
2 Tbsp. mustard
1 Tbsp. worchestershire
S&P
1-1 1/2 cups sharp cheddar (1/4 cup per quesadilla)

1. In a skillet over medium heat, cook ground beef until cooked through. Drain grease then stir in ketchup, mustard and worchestershire.

2. Meanwhile, preheat a large skillet over medium heat. Lay a tortilla in the skillet then sprinkle with 2 tablespoons cheese, desired amount of ground beef (we divided this to make 6 quesadillas but if you want yours a bit meatier, add 1/4 of the ground beef mixture), bacon and another 2 tablespoons of cheese then top with another tortilla. Cook until brown and crisp then flip and cook other side until golden. Remove from skillet and cut with a pizza wheel. Serve with pickles on the side.
Cheeseburger Quesadillas 4

Salted Caramel Rice Krispie Treats

24 Sep

2Salted Caramel Rice Krispies 2
When I think of fall, pumpkin and apples always come to mind. But another flavor profile that screams fall to me is caramel. Whether it’s caramel cornrolls, cake, cider or apple pie, it’s always fall when I consider them.  It’s rich, sweet and creamy and salt always makes it better.Salted Caramel Rice Krispies 1
Salted Caramel Rice Krispies 1
We had some friends over recently for a Husker game and I wanted to try a recipe from one of my new cookbooks and when I flipped to these salted caramel rice krispie treats in Sally’s Baking Addiction I knew the search was over. Everybody loves a thick, chewy rice krispie but these are elevated to a whole new level with a homemade salted caramel and a finishing sprinkle of flaked sea salt. Are you drooling yet?
Salted Caramel Rice Krispies 4
Not only are they easy but they are the perfect treat to enjoy on a crisp, autumn night while watching the game.
Salted Caramel Rice Krispies 7
Salted Caramel Rice Krispie Treats
recipe from Sally’s Baking Addiction

For the caramel:
1 cup granulated sugar
6 Tbsp. salted butter, cut into 6 pieces
1/2 cup heavy cream
1 tsp.salt

For the rice krispies:
4 Tbsp. butter
1 (10 oz.) bag marshmallows (regular or mini)
4 1/2 cups rice krispies
1/2 cup salted caramel from above
sea salt, to sprinkle

1. For the salted caramel: Heat the granulated sugar in a medium saucepan over medium heat, stirring constantly. It will start to form clumps and melt into a thick brown liquid; be careful not to burn it. Once the sugar has melted completely, add the butter. The mixture will bubble rapidly. Stir for 2-3 minutes until the butter is completely melted then stir in the heavy cream and allow to boil for 1 minute. Remove from heat and stir in the salt. Pour into a heatproof bowl and allow to cool and thicken before using.

2. Lightly spray a 9×9 pan with non-stick cooking spray and set aside.

3. Melt the butter in a saucepan over low heat. Stir in the marshmallows until they are completely melted and incorporated into the butter. Remove from heat and stir in the cereal. Gently fold in half the salted caramel.

4. Dump cereal mixture into the prepared pan and gently spread it out. Drizzle with the remaining caramel sauce then sprinkle to your liking with the sea salt. Allow to cool for at least 1 hour before cutting.
Salted Caramel Rice Krispies 3

Whole Wheat Tortillas {Clean Eating}

19 Sep

Whole Wheat Tortillas 3
Did you know putting something in a tortilla will almost always get a 4 year old to eat it? We’ve been having some major battles getting Noah to eat and this trick seems to work. It’s not that he’s picky (the only food group he won’t eat much of is meat) but he just won’t sit and focus for more than 2.4 seconds. On school mornings I literally have to chase him around with his yogurt, spooning it in his mouth anytime he opens it to talk, which if you’ve met Noah you know is a lot at least. It may be the only time I like the fact that he doesn’t ever stop talking.
Whole Wheat Tortillas 2
Although I prefer corn tortillas most of the time, sometimes a flour tortilla just hits the spot. Since we are eating clean most of the time, I decided to give whole wheat tortillas a whirl. And they turned out wonderfully. The dough was a bit more difficult to deal with than the white flour tortillas but the extra work was definitely worth it. They are hearty, flavorful and they brown up like a dream. We used them for spicy lemon chicken wraps and a new recipe I will be sharing with you all soon that not only got Noah to eat, but also eat some meat too. I’m telling you, they work miracles.
Whole Wheat Tortillas 1
Whole Wheat Tortillas
recipe from 100 Days of Real Food

2½ cups whole-wheat pastry flour
½ cup olive oil
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup warm water (heat in the microwave for 1 min)

1. Place the flour, olive oil and salt in the bowl of a stand mixer. Mix, using the dough hook, for 3-5 minutes, it will be crumbly.

2. While the mixer is running on low, slowly drizzle in the water (you may not need it all) until the dough forms a smooth ball, about 3 minutes.

3. Divide the dough into 12 equal pieces and roll into balls. Flatten slightly, place on a baking sheet and cover with a clean kitchen towel. Allow dough to rest at room temperature for 15 minutes to an hour.

4. Heat a dry skillet over medium high heat. Meanwhile, using a tortilla press lined with plastic wrap, flatten dough. Cook each tortilla in the dry pan, about 30 seconds per side until they bubble and brown. Flip and cook the second side. Serve warm.

 

Meatball Pizza

4 Sep

Meatball Pizza 1
So remember when I made spaghetti and meatballs for you last week? A big ‘ole delicious batch. But have I ever told you how much I dislike leftovers? They are ok for a day but after that no bueno. I just hate eating the same thing over and over. And Joel now has lunch provided for him at work so that means there are even more leftovers for me to eat. The smart thing here would have been to freeze half the batch for another time but alas, that didn’t happen so I got creative instead.
Meatball Pizza 4
I always have pizza dough in my freezer for quick weeknight meals. Lately I have been creating lots of delicious and non-traditional pizza’s so why not make one with leftovers for the ultimate quick and easy meal?
Meatball Pizza 3
And that’s exactly what I did after 2 days of spaghetti and meatballs for lunch and dinner. I’m pretty sure this was the first time I was thankful for leftovers because it turned out so tasty. I’m pretty sure I’ll be making extra meatballs from now on just so I can make this pizza.

Meatball Pizza

2 disks whole wheat pizza dough
Leftover meatballs and sauce
2-4 ounces shredded sharp cheddar
4 ounces fresh mozzarella, thinly sliced

1. Preheat oven to 500 degrees F. Preheat pizza stone for 30 minutes.

2. Roll pizza dough disks together into a 12-inch round then place on preheated pizza stone. Slather desired amount of pizza sauce over crust and top with cheeses. Thinly slice 4-5 meatballs and layer on top of cheese.

3. Bake pizza for 10-12 minutes or until golden and bubbly.

Spaghetti and Meatballs

27 Aug

Spaghetti and Meatballs 4
Noah had his first day of preschool a couple weeks ago and we did lots to celebrate the big day. It mostly revolved around food because that’s how we roll around here. Big, fancy breakfast, out to his choice of restaurant for lunch (HuHot of course) and his request of spaghetti and meatballs with bell peppers for dinner.
Spaghetti and Meatballs 1
I have a meatball recipe I usually go to for spaghetti but I thought I would switch it up and try something different. I’ve always wanted to try the combination of beef and pork for meatballs so I went on the search and decided on an Ina Garten recipe since you can’t really go wrong with anything she makes. I did adapt the recipe to make them clean by switching white bread for whole grain and using only olive oil to cook them in. Still super delicious and I couldn’t tell the difference. I also opted to make my favorite spaghetti sauce rather than the recipe she included.
Spaghetti and Meatballs 5
This recipe makes a lot so you can cook them through step 2 then cool and freeze them. Or just wait until next week for a delicious way to use the leftovers.

Ina Garten’s Meatballs
recipe adapted from Ina Garten

1 lb. ground beef
1 lb. ground pork
1 cup fresh whole grain bread crumbs (4 slices, crusts removed)
1/4 cup seasoned dry whole grain bread crumbs
2 tablespoons chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 extra-large egg, beaten
Olive oil
Sicilian Spaghetti Sauce (prepared without the ground meat)*
Hot cooked whole wheat noodles

1. Place the ground meats, both bread crumbs, parsley, Parmesan, salt, pepper, nutmeg, egg, and 3/4 cup warm water in a bowl. Combine very lightly with a fork. Using your hands, lightly form the mixture into 1-inch meatballs. You will have30 to 32 meatballs.

2. Pour  olive oil into a large (12-inch) skillet to a depth of 1/4-inch. Heat the oil. Very carefully, in batches, place the meatballs in the oil and brown them well on all sides over medium-low heat, turning carefully with a spatula or a fork. This should take about 10 minutes for each batch. Don’t crowd the meatballs. Remove the meatballs to a plate covered with paper towels.

3. Place meatballs in spaghetti sauce and simmer for 30 minutes, or until co0ked through.

*I subbed 3 tablespoons organic cane juice for the 1/4 cup sugar in the sauce to keep it clean.

Grilled Buffalo Chicken + My 500th Post

19 Aug

Grilled Buffalo Chicken 4
500 posts? Say what? It’s hard to believe that I have been around for that long. To all my followers new and old, thank you! I love this little space of mine and truly hope that you all do too. I’ve learned so much, gained confidence and tried so many new techniques that I never would have without this blog. I love love love hearing from you, so keep the comments coming. What recipes have you tried? Which ones are your favorites?
Grilled Buffalo Chicken 1
I thought I would celebrate by sharing one of my new favorite (and healthy) meals. You all know that I love grilling so I like to extend the season as long as possible. Seeing that it’s projected to be in the 90’s and low 100’s around here this week, I’m pretty sure grilling will be the only thing going on.
Grilled Buffalo Chicken 2
Well, chicken wings are pretty much one of my favorite foods (as evidenced here, here and here) but they definitely aren’t the healthiest or cleanest food to eat so I don’t indulge in them often. But now I can and not have any guilt about it. I would normally use boneless, skinless breasts but this time I chose thighs to lend some extra flavor. Since we are cutting out so much fat by grilling the chicken, I figured it was ok to bring a little with the thighs. But, either would be great so choose what you prefer or have on hand. While the chicken is grilled, it is basted with a homemade buffalo sauce to enhance the traditional wing flavor.
Grilled Buffalo Chicken 3
I served this alongside a delish dill cucumber slaw that was cool and creamy, balancing out the hot, spiciness of the chicken. It was pretty much perfection in every bite. I must put it on the menu again. Maybe for tomorrow.

Grilled Buffalo Chicken

2 lbs. boneless, skinless chicken thighs
1/4 cup butter
3/4 cup hot pepper sauce, divided
1/2 tsp. garlic powder

1. Place chicken thighs in a zip top bag and pour in 1/4 cup hot pepper sauce. Seal and marinate in refrigerator for 2 hours, or up to overnight.

2. Preheat grill to medium-high heat. Meanwhile, combine butter, remaining 1/2 cup hot pepper sauce and garlic powder in a sauce pan over medium-low heat. Stir to combine and bring to a simmer. Pour half into a small bowl and keep remaining sauce in pan over low heat.

3. Place chicken on grill and baste with bowl of sauce each time you flip. Grill until cooked through and juices run clear. Serve grilled chicken with reserved sauce for dipping.

It’s Shark Week Peeps!

11 Aug

I professed my love for Shark Week last year with some yummy shark/ocean themed treats and I totally planned on doing it again this year. But then I didn’t. Sorry. I fell off the wagon a bit with my healthy eating with birthdays and vacations so I’m back at it and therefore, haven’t been baking much. But, Joel’s co-workers have slipped hints that they would really enjoy some shark cupcakes again. I hope to make it happen but it’s a busy week with Noah’s first day of preschool and a trip to Fargo for a wedding so we shall see.
Shark Cupcakes 2
Whether or not they get whipped up, I still wanted to remind all you lovely followers of these fun treats in case you are having a Shark Week shindig. I hope that you impress your friends and family with these delicious, gruesome goodies.

Shark Cupcakes – Moist, white almond-y cupcakes bursting with strawberry preserves and topped with a simple ocean blue cream cheese frosting.
Shark Cupcakes 5
Beaches – a vanilla version of dirt and worms, Beaches combines vanilla pudding, vanilla wafers and cool whip for the perfect summer dessert. Top with gummy sharks to make it especially festive!
Beaches 3
Blood in the Water – basically just a creepy name for a Lava Flow. This frozen tropical drink combines strawberries, pineapple and coconut for the perfect refresher while watching some gory shark attacks.
Lava Flow 1

Chicken Roll-Ups {Lightened Up and Clean}

7 Aug

Chicken Roll-Ups {Lightened Up} 5
Noah is starting preschool in less than a week. Seriously people, how did this happen? It seems like just yesterday he was my sweet little baby and now he’s four and uses words like ridiculous and spectacular. I’ve been looking forward to this all summer but now that it’s upon us I’m kind of freaking out. It will be nice to have some time to devote purely to Hannah and to just have one crazy child to handle but I’m going to miss his hilarious antics. Like the fact that he now says por favor and gracias instead of please and thank you. Or his one man band routine (he was playing four instruments at once, that’s talent). Or the fact that as I type this he should be napping but instead he’s singing “Timber” at the top of his lungs. It’s hard to be mad at the kid. But seriously, go to sleep kid or you will be a pill later….
Chicken Roll-Ups {Lightened Up} 4
So with the school year upon us, I’ve been on the hunt for healthy and easy meals to throw together on busy nights. I received a ton of new cookbooks and magazines for my birthday so I went right to them to solve my problem. This recipe originally called for ricotta and roasted red peppers as the filling but I decided to alter it a bit to make a chicken cordon bleu-esque dinner that was still clean and healthy.
Chicken Roll-Ups {Lightened Up} 3
This chicken dish looks fancy and complex but really is simple and quick to get on the table. And as you all know Joel hasn’t exactly been thrilled with my recent clean eating adventures but he really loved this meal. I made it last week and he has already mentioned a few times that he would love to have it on the menu again soon.

To keep it light but filling, I served this alongside some roasted cauliflower and grilled zucchini.
Chicken Roll-Ups {Lightened Up} 1
Chicken Roll-Ups
recipe adapted from Clean Eating Magazine

4 4-ounce chicken breasts,each cut crosswise into 2 thin pieces
1/2 cup ricotta
1 tsp. dried basil
8 thinly sliced low sodium and nitrate free ham
Salt and pepper
2 Tbsp. white whole-wheat flour
2 Tbsp. olive oil

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Line up chicken on a cutting board and lay a slice of ham on each. Combine the ricotta and basil then spread evenly over the ham. Roll up and secure each piece with a toothpick. Season with salt and pepper. Place flour in a shallow dish and dredge chicken through it, shaking off excess.

2.Heat a large skillet over medium heat and add olive oil. Add chicken and cook for about 3 minutes per side (until browned). Transfer chicken to a baking sheet and bake until cooked through, about 10 minutes. Carefully remove toothpicks and slice into rounds.

Coconut Almond Granola Bars {No Bake}

5 Aug

Coconut Almond Granola Bars 5
I’ve been on a mission to transition our home to all homemade snacks, condiments, meals and such. But I seriously underestimated the time and effort it would take. The snacks are what really kill us. I always have fresh fruit and veggies on hand but sometimes the craving strikes for something different. Noah loves granola bars but looking at the ingredient list makes me shudder and the healthy, clean versions are crazy expensive and usually not very tasty. So what is a food blogger to do? Make my own of course! I have had several recipes pinned for quite awhile so this morning while Hannah napped, Noah and I explored our options and chose these coconut almond granola bars.
Coconut Almond Granola Bars 4
I decided to switch up some of the ingredients and add some others to make these to our taste. Almonds are a huge go-to snack for Noah and I so I knew these would be a big hit for us.
Coconut Almond Granola Bars 4
I wrap these in parchment and store in an airtight container to have a quick, on the go snack anytime. So much better than the prepackaged options not just in health, but taste too!
Coconut Almond Granola Bars 3
Coconut Almond Granola Bars {No Bake}
recipe adapted from Super Healthy Kids

1 1/2 cups roughly chopped almonds
1 cup crispy rice cereal
1/2 cup unsweetened coconut
2 Tbsp. wheat germ
1/2 cup honey
2 Tbsp. maple syrup
3 Tbsp. peanut butter (or almond butter)

1. In a medium bowl, combine almonds, crispy rice cereal, coconut and wheat germ. Set aside.

2. Meanwhile, combine honey, maple syrup and peanut butter in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium heat. Let boil, stirring occasionally, for 3 minutes. Pour syrup into bowl of dry ingredients and mix thoroughly.

3. Pour mixture into an 8×8 pan that is either lined with parchment or coated in non-stick spray. Press evenly and allow to cool. Slice and store in an airtight container. These stayed pretty soft for us so be careful when eating them.

Rocky Road Ice Cream

30 Jul

Rocky Road Ice Cream 2
If you all have been following me for awhile, you know that Joel and I are not big chocolate lovers. It has it’s place in cookies and such but for me, not as the main star. I’ve never been a fan of chocolate cake (except for my sister-in-laws) or chocolate ice cream but somehow Noah got the chocoholic gene. So some kind of chocolate ice cream had to be present at his party and I decided to go with Rocky Road since he also has a love affair with marshmallows and almonds.
Rocky Road Ice Cream 3
This chocolate ice cream is incredibly rich and decadent (thank you dutch process cocoa) so just a scoop is satisfying. Which is good considering the ingredient list. The marshmallows stay soft and the almonds add a delicious, salty crunch.
Rocky Road Ice Cream 5
Although this wouldn’t be the first ice cream I would reach for, it’s pretty tasty even for a non-chocolate lover. And I have to say too, my brother doesn’t care for chocolate all that much either and he said it was his favorite of all my homemade ice ventures. That’s saying a lot when you consider this, this, this, this and this.
Rocky Road Ice Cream 1
Rocky Road Ice Cream
recipe from The Ultimate Ice Cream Book

1 cup sugar
3 large eggs
1 cup cocoa powder
1 1/2 cups whole milk
1 cup heavy cream
1 Tbsp. vanilla extract
1/2 cup mini marshmallows
1/2 cup roasted, salted almonds, roughly chopped

1. In a food processor, combine sugar, eggs and cocoa and blend until smooth.

2. Bring the milk to a boil in a medium saucepan. With the food processor running, slowly drizzle the hot milk into the chocolate mixture through the feed tube. Process until well blended. Pour the entire mixture into the pan and cook over low heat. Whisk constantly until the custard thickens slightly. Pour mixture through a fine mesh sieve into a large, clean bowl. Cool slightly then stir in the cream and vanilla. Cover and refrigerate until completely chilled.

3. Stir in the custard then freeze according to manufacturers directions. During the last 5 minutes of freezing, dump in the marshmallows and almonds. Transfer to a freezer safe container.

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