Tag Archives: Monday with Meg

Peanut Mallow Bars

10 Sep

Peanut Malllow Bars

I made these ooey, goeey, sticky bars for a picnic this summer to rave reviews. I personally am neither a caramel or marshmallow fan so I made these hoping I wouldn’t like them and therefore, easily avoid them. Unfortunately, these bars may have converted me instead. They are that good.

I adore the combination of sweet and salty and these are the perfect little treat to satisfy the craving. Let me warn you that the base of the bar was a bit crumbly and kind of fell apart when picked up but they tasted so yummy that it didn’t matter. Not only is there a great mixture of flavors but also of textures that just puts these over the top.

Peanut Mallow Bars
recipe from Taste of Home Brownies and Bars

1 cup chopped salted peanuts
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
3/4 cup quick-cooking oats
2/3 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 egg, lightly beaten
1/3 cup cold butter

Topping:
1 jar (7 ounces) marshmallow crème
2/3 cup caramel ice cream topping
1-3/4 cups salted peanuts

1. In a large bowl, combine the peanuts, flour, oars, sugar, salt and baking soda; stir in the egg. Cut in butter until crumbly. Press into a greased 13-in. x 9-in. baking pan. Bake at 350° for 8-10 minutes or until lightly browned.

2. Spoon marshmallow crème over hot crust; carefully spread evenly. Drizzle with the caramel topping; sprinkle with peanuts. Bake for 15-20 minutes or until lightly browned. Cool on a wire rack. Cut into bars. Yield: 3 dozen.

 

Crockpot Ravioli Lasagna

27 Aug

Crock Pot Ravioli Lasagna

Now that school is back in session, I’m sure everyone is looking for quick and easy weeknight meals that the kiddos will love. And I have a new one to share that will be an instant hit.

Growing up, our traditional 1st day of school meal was always lasagna. Back then, I didn’t realize how much work it takes to put together a lasagna. I know once Noah starts school I will continue the tradition but on busy days when we are really craving lasagna, this is definitely what I will turn too.

I have seen lots of crock pot lasagnas but they still used the traditional lasagna noodles and involve cooking the meat and more ingredients than I wanted to bother with for a crock pot meal. So I thought I would try throwing some ground beef ravioli in the crockpot with sauce, ricotta and mozzarella to see what happened.

It turned out incredibly similar to a real deal lasagna leaving us all pleasantly surprised. Serve with a tossed or caesar salad and bread to complete the meal.

Crockpot Ravioli Lasagna

29 oz. frozen ground beef or sausage ravioli
1 jar spaghetti sauce
8 oz. ricotta cheese
8 oz. mozzarella, shredded

1. Spray crockpot with nonstick cooking spray. Spoon a thin layer of sauce on the bottom of the crockpot. Layer half of the frozen ravioli on top then dollop half of the ricotta on top, followed by half of the sauce and half of the mozzarella.

2. Repeat layers. Cook on low for 3-4 hours (mine was perfect after 3 hours).

Steak Bites

20 Aug

Steak Bites

So, remember the perfect baked potato from a couple weeks ago? Well, I thought I would share the perfect main dish to pair with those fluffy, crispy potatoes….steak bites! This recipe comes from The Pioneer Woman and if you don’t know of her, you must check out her blog and Food Network show immediately. Whenever I am craving a down home dish or something indulgent, she always comes to mind!

These steak bites are incredibly easy to whip up and only require 4 ingredients (and that’s including salt and pepper). Cooking the steak at a high temperature sears the outside and leaves the inside nice and juicy. The butter browns a bit while the steak is cooking, lending a rich, nutty flavor to the finished product.

You can’ really ask for more than that in a steak, can you?

Steak Bites
recipe from Pioneer Woman

1 lb. sirloin steak (without Much Gristle) Or Pre-cut Beef Tips
Kosher salt to taste
Fresh ground black pepper to taste
2 Tbsp.  butter

1. Trim off the large obvious piece of fat that runs along the side of the meat. Next, cut strips less than 1-inch wide. Rotate the meat and cut into small bite-sized pieces. If you see any more large chunks of fat, gristle or long silvery membrane, cut them off.

2. Sprinkle generously with kosher salt and freshly ground pepper. Toss the meat around a bit to thoroughly coat with the seasonings.

3. Next, turn on your ventilation fan overhead. Heat the skillet over medium high to high heat. As the pan heats, add about 2 tablespoons butter to the skillet. Allow the butter to melt, then brown, before you add the meat.

4. Place some of the meat in the pan in a single layer. It should sizzle loudly when it hits the pan – if it doesn’t, the pan isn’t hot enough. Don’t stir or disrupt the meat for 30-45 seconds. You want it to sizzle and brown on one side. Scoop as many steak bites as you can with your spatula and flip them over. Repeat until all the meat is turned. Cook for an additional 30 to 45 seconds—just long enough to sear the outside of the meat but NOT cook the inside.

5. Remove the meat to a clean plate. Add a little more butter to the pan and repeat the cooking process with the next batch just as before. Lastly, when all the meat is nicely browned and removed to the plate, pour all that browned/blackened butter all over the meat. And enjoy!

Applesauce Spice Cake with Brown Sugar Cream Cheese Frosting

8 Aug

Applesauce Spice Cake with Brown Sugar Cream Cheese Frosting

If you are a regular follower of my blog, you will already know that my little man turned two recently. We had a big yellow party for him the weekend before his birthday but I still couldn’t bear the thought of him not having another little celebration on his big day. I made chocolate cupcakes and lemonade cupcakes for his party so I wanted to go a different route for his birthday. My mom and I brainstormed and finally came up with applesauce spice cake. Some of his favorite snacks include applesauce and raisins so I thought it would be a fitting cake for the man of the hour.

I searched around the internet and actually had a hard time finding an applesauce spice cake recipe that sounded just right. Many of them had cocoa powder in this which just sounded a bit odd to me. I wanted a true cinnamon, clove-y cake and I found it via 52 Cupcakes. The recipe was originally for cupcakes but I wanted Noah to have a cake so I baked up some of the batter in my awesome Wilton Mini Tasty-Fill Cake Pans then I baked the remaining batter in an 8×8 pan.

The cake was super dense and moist as a spice cake should be in my opinion! And the brown sugar cream cheese frosting was incredible. It’s unbelievable so three simple ingredients can combine into such deliciousness!

And I of course had to include some photos of Noah tearing it up!

Applesauce Spice Cake with Brown Sugar Cream Cheese Frosting
recipe from Martha Stewart via 52 Cupcakes

2 cups all purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda
3/4 tsp salt
2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/8 tsp ground cloves
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup lightly packed light brown sugar
4 large eggs, at room temperature
1 1/2 cups unsweetened apple sauce
raisins, optional

1. Preheat oven to 350ºF. Spray 8×8 and mini pans liberally with non-stick spray.

2. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves.

3. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a whisk attachment, cream butter and sugar on medium speed until light and fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed. On a low speed, add applesauce and then the flour mixture, beating until just combined.

4. Fill mini pans 3/4 full with batter. Pour remaining batter in the prepared 8×8 pan. The mini cakes took about 12-15 minutes and the 8×8 took about 20-25 minutes (my oven tends to cook quicker than a lot of recipes so it may take longer than this). Once cooled, frost with Brown Sugar Cream Cheese Frosting (see below). You could fill the cakes with something but I just skipped it since it was going to be torn apart. Sprinkle frosted cakes with raisins.

Brown Sugar Cream Cheese Frosting

1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
8 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
1 cup packed light-brown sugar

In the clean bowl of electric mixer, mix cream cheese with 1 stick butter and 1 cup light brown sugar on medium speed until smooth. Spread cream-cheese frosting on cupcakes. Cupcakes can be refrigerated in airtight containers up to 2 days.

Coca Cola BBQ Chicken Kabobs

23 Jul

Coca Cola BBQ Chicken Skewers

My husband, Joel, grew up in Kansas City so he knows and loves his barbeque. We are die-hard fans of Oklahoma Joes BBQ and we never stray from it when we are home visiting his family. We even buy their sauce by the gallon so that we always have it at home.

So when I told him I was making homemade barbeque sauce (for the first time) he was quite leery and even hinted that he might use the good ‘ole standby. No faith. I figured if it has coke it can’t be bad. And I was totally right…it was delightfully sweet and smoky, just how we like it. It really was one of the best barbeque sauces I have ever had. Delicious slathered on grilled chicken for the perfect summer supper!

Coca Cola BBQ Chicken Kabobs
recipe from Alli ‘N Sons

For the Coca-Cola BBQ Sauce:

2 tablespoons olive oil
1 jalapeño, diced
3 garlic cloves, minced
3 cups ketchup
1/4 cup chicken broth
1 cup orange juice
1/2 cup molasses
1/4 cup Coca-Cola (not diet)
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 tablespoon liquid smoke
1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
1 teaspoon paprika

For the Chicken Kabobs:

2-3 pounds skinless chicken breasts
Salt and pepper, or your favorite seasonings, to taste
Wooden skewers, soaked in water

1. In a medium pan over medium heat, cook the olive oil, jalapeno and garlic until softened. The garlic will brown lightly.
2. Remove pan from heat, stir in ketchup, chicken broth, orange juice, molasses and Coca-Cola. Stir until well combined.
3. Add in brown sugar, liquid smoke, sea salt and paprika. Stir and let cool.
4. For the chicken kabobs: slice the chicken breasts into 2″ wide pieces. Thread onto pre-soaked skewers, 2-3 pieces each.
5. Preheat grill to medium-high heat.
6. Grill the chicken for 12-15 minutes, turning once, or until no longer pink.
7. Brush Coca-Cola BBQ Sauce over the cooked chicken.
8. Serve with extra Coca-Cola BBQ Sauce and your favorite fries.

Cake Mix Cookies

10 Jul

Cake Mix Cookies

These cake mix cookies are a simple summer treat that only require 4 or 5 ingredients!

I remember having these a lot as a kid and I always enjoyed them! I don’t have the exact recipe from my childhood but these seem pretty darn close to me. I love making recipes as an adult that I had as a child because of the memories they bring back. It’s funny how food can do that.

The cake mix lends a light, fluffy texture which makes these cookies really unique and tasty. The other great thing about this recipe is that the possibilities are endless. Spice cake with walnuts and raisins, devil’s food cake with dark chocolate chips, lemon cake with white chocolate or just plain old funfetti all come to mind when thinking of tasty combinations. Use your imagination and dream up your favorite concoction!

Cake Mix Cookies
recipe from cooks.com

1 package of cake mix (any flavor)
1 large egg
1/4 cup of oil
1/4 cup of water
1 cup of chopped nuts, raisins, oatmeal, coconut, chocolate chips, M&M’s etc. (anything you like in cookies)

1. Preheat oven to 350°F.

2. Combine cake mix, egg, oil, and water. Beat until well blended. Stir in remaining ingredient(s).

3. Drop by teaspoon about 1 inch apart onto greased cookie sheet.

4. Bake for 10-15 minutes or until done.

Sesame Shrimp Stir Fry

18 Jun

Sesame Shrimp Stir Fry

It seems like I am always on the hunt for quick, easy and healthy weeknight meals and I definitely found all those things in this dish. It literally only takes 20 minutes because while the rice cooks, you can prep and cook the stir fry. Can’t get much better than that!

We love a really saucy stir fry so when I saw the list of ingredients I knew it would be a hit for our family. The chicken broth and cornstarch slurry along with the teriyaki creates a rich, creamy sauce that is abundant and soaks into the bed of rice.

This recipe is easily adaptable to suit your family’s taste. I decided to add broccoli because I personally don’t think a stir fry should ever be without it. I also tossed in some sliced mushrooms for our fungus loving little man. Add your favorites or just toss in whatever you having in your produce drawer.

Sesame Shrimp Stir Fry
recipe adapted from allrecipes.com

2 cups water
1 cup uncooked white rice
1 pound medium shrimp, peeled and deveined
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 clove garlic, minced
1 tablespoon sesame seeds
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
2 tablespoons sesame oil
1 red bell pepper, sliced into thin strips
3 green onions, sliced
3 tablespoons teriyaki sauce
1/2 pound sugar snap peas
1 cup fresh broccoli florets
1 cup sliced mushrooms
1/8 cup cornstarch
3/4 cup chicken broth
1/4 teaspoon salt

1. In a medium saucepan, bring salted water to a boil. Add rice, reduce heat, cover and simmer for 20 minutes.

2. While rice is simmering, combine shrimp, ginger, cayenne pepper, garlic, sesame seeds and black pepper in a large plastic food storage bag. Allow to marinate in the refrigerator.

3. Heat sesame oil in a large wok or skillet. Add red bell pepper, green onions and broccoli; sauté 3 to 4 minutes to soften slightly. Add teriyaki sauce. Add peas, mushrooms and shrimp with seasoning; sauté 4 minutes or until shrimp are opaque.

4. Stir cornstarch into chicken broth and add to wok; cook, stirring until mixture boils. Sprinkle with salt. Spoon shrimp and veggie mixture over rice.

 

Creamed Corn

4 Jun

Creamed Corn

Creamed corn is one of those old school foods that totally brings me back to my childhood. I had never cooked or eaten homemade creamed corn until now and my goodness it was so good. It tastes so much sweeter and fresher than the canned version.

If corn isn’t in season when preparing this, adding sugar will help sweeten up the dish but it shouldn’t be necessary during corn’s peak. Use your instincts and taste buds. If you think the corn needs it, add it.

This is the perfect simple summer side dish for any main course. I especially love it with grilled barbeque chicken because it was another childhood favorite. This will definitely be gracing our table over and over this summer.

Creamed Corn
recipe from Taste and Tell

8 ears fresh corn
6 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons half-and-half, whole milk, skim milk, or heavy cream
1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper or white pepper, to taste
1 teaspoon sugar (optional)

1. Cut kernels from the cob and scrape the cobs with the edge of a spoon to extract as much juice and material as possible. You should have 5 1/4 cups of corn.

2. Melt the butter over medium-high heat in a 12-inch skillet until frothy. Add corn and stir constantly for 1 minute.

3. Pour in half-and-half. Add salt and pepper. Reduce heat to low and simmer, stirring vigilantly until the liquid has thickened to a dense, yellowish sauce, about 12 minutes. Turn off the heat, cover, and let steam for 2 minutes. Serve immediately, and be sure to pool some sauce around each serving.

Banana Cake

21 May

Banana Cake

Ok, I have a weird confession to make. I love banana muffins, bread or cake but actual straight up bananas I could totally do without. I enjoy the flavor but the texture is usually too much for me to handle. I know, it’s odd but I kind of am too so it makes sense in the end. Now that the confession is out in the open we can move onto the recipe.

This is one of the best cakes I have ever made! It’s moist and dense and bursting with banana flavor. And who could forget that rather thick layer of cream cheese frosting? Not me. It is cooked at a low temperature for a longer amount of time then thrown into the freezer immediately. This attributes the moistness of the cake so make sure to keep the freezing time in mind before you start baking.

After the freezing time, frost it liberally with cream cheese frosting and keep in the refrigerator. I think it tastes best when chilled.

I love to bring this lovely cake to potlucks because everyone seems to enjoy it, it travels well and can feed a crowd.

Banana Cake
recipe from Food.com

1 1/2 cups bananas, mashed, ripe
2 teaspoons lemon juice
3 cups flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup butter, softened
2 1/8 cups sugar
3 large eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla
1 1/2 cups buttermilk

Cream Cheese Frosting
1/2 cup butter, softened
1 (8 ounce) packages cream cheese, softened
1 teaspoon vanilla
3 1/2 cups powdered sugar

Chopped walnuts, optional

1. Preheat oven to 275°.

2. Grease and flour a 9 x 13 pan.

3. In a small bowl, mix mashed banana with the lemon juice; set aside.

4. In a medium bowl, mix flour, baking soda and salt; set aside.

5. In a large bowl, cream 3/4 cup butter and 2 1/8 cups sugar until light and fluffy.

6. Beat in eggs, one at a time, then stir in 2 tsp vanilla.

7. Beat in the flour mixture alternately with the buttermilk.

8. Stir in banana mixture.

9. Pour batter into prepared pan and bake in preheated oven for one hour or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.

10. Remove from oven and place directly into the freezer for 45 minutes. This will make the cake very moist.

11. For the frosting, cream the butter and cream cheese until smooth.

12. Beat in 1 teaspoon vanilla.

13. Add powdered sugar and beat on low speed until combined, then on high speed until frosting is smooth.

14. Spread on cooled cake. Sprinkle chopped walnuts over top of the frosting, if desired.

Brown Sugar Balsamic Pork Loin

15 May

Now that summer activities have started up, life is getting busy busy busy! On Wednesday’s Joel has softball at 6:30 but has to leave the house by 5:50 and usually doesn’t get home from work until 5:30. That leaves very little time to get dinner on the table, especially with a busy toddler that wants your constant attention.

When these days roll around, I almost always turn to the crockpot. I found this recipe via Pinterest and knew we had to give it a try. I often find that meat, especially pork or chicken, dry out really quickly and easily in the crockpot. Well, I was pleasantly surprised when I pulled this out of the crockpot and found a moist, flavorful pork loin. This definitely has a vinegary zing but the brown sugar really mellows it out for a delightful, easy meal. I served this over rice which I cooked in a rice cooker so I had a double serving of easy when it came to this meal.

Brown Sugar Balsamic Pork Loin
recipe from C + C Marriage Factory

1 (2 pound) boneless pork tenderloin (or regular pork loin)
1 teaspoon ground sage
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1 clove garlic, crushed
1/2 cup water

Glaze:
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
1/2 cup water
2 tablespoons soy sauce

Combine sage, salt, pepper and garlic. Rub over roast. Place in slow cooker with 1/2 cup water. Cook on low for 6-8 hours. About 1 hour before roast is done, combine ingredients for glaze in small sauce pan. Heat and stir until mixture thickens. Brush roast with glaze 2 or 3 times during the last hour of cooking. Serve with remaining glaze on the side.

 

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