Category Archives: cooking

Cranberry Gorgonzola Cheese Ball

Cranberry Gorgonzola Cheese Ball

Last Christmas, I made the last minute decision to start making cheese balls. I have not always been a fan of cheese balls; however, it seems that my taste buds are ever-changing as I get older.

I love gorgonzola cheese and knew that I could find something that fit more my tastes and still kept the traditional holiday cheese ball intact. I paired it with herb crackers as well as pretzels. I absolutely loved it and so did the rest of the group!

 

Cranberry Gorgonzola Cheese Ball
 
Ingredients
  • 8 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
  • ¾ cup (about 3 ounces) gorgonzola cheese
  • 1¾ cup dried cranberries
  • 1½ cups
Instructions
  1. In a medium bowl, beat together cream cheese, cheese, and dried cranberries until smooth. Dampen hands to prevent sticking and form cream cheese mixture into approximately 24 tablespoon-sized balls or one large cheese ball. Cover and refrigerate for at least two hours or until firm.
  2. In the meantime, chop the nuts into fine, crunchy bites. I would suggest taking a meat tenderizer to a Ziplock bag until they are small in size.
  3. Roll chilled cheese ball(s) in chopped nuts, pressing nuts so that they adhere. Keep cheese balls refrigerated until ready to serve.
  4. Serve with crackers or pretzels.

 

Pumpkin Oatmeal Lactation Cookies

Pumpkin Oatmeal Cookies are absolutely part of my fall favorites for this year! They melt in your mouth and are chock full of chocolate chips or butterscotch chips and warm spices! Blending with oatmeal, brewer’s yeast, and flax seed adds a special incentive to them as they help with my milk productive for baby Ollie!

It’s literally all I can do to walk past the pumpkin anything in the grocery store this time of the year. I never use to know that I actually liked pumpkin anything. I was the anti-pumpkin gal in a PSL world for sure… and then it all changed last year. There is something about pumpkin that has been ingrained in us to need it this time of year. I blame Starbucks, but honestly, who knows. Maybe it is mother nature telling us to eat what is in season.

Pumpkin Oatmeal Lactation Cookies

Anyways, I decided this past few weeks to make my own version of those dang things that I can’t seem to walk past, pumpkin cookies. I found a simple recipe online and then played with the ingredients a bit to accommodate what I had in my pantry and added things like brewer’s yeast, oatmeal, and flax seed. By adding these three things, I immediately made them “my” cookies, saving myself from making delicious cookies and then getting eaten by the rest of the family. Warning though… my husband hasn’t seemed to care too much that they are “my” lactation cookies. He’s been eating almost half of each batch!

Pumpkin Oatmeal Lactation Cookies

In all honesty, I have not perfected these cookies 100%. They taste wonderful, but useless kept cold in the refrigerator, they don’t stay together. I have tried sugar instead of brown sugar, more baking powder, more baking soda, more oats, and a few more variations… and nothing works. Feel free to mix it up a bit; however, these things are just too dang good not to share regardless if I have all of the details figured out!

Pumpkin Oatmeal Lactation Cookies
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
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Serves: 36
 
Ingredients
  • 1 c. light brown sugar
  • ¾ c. butter, softened
  • 2 eggs
  • 1½ c. pumpkin pie filling
  • 2 tbsp. brewer's yeast
  • 1 tbsp. vanilla
  • 1 tsp. cinnamon
  • ¼ tsp. ground cloves
  • ¼ tsp. nutmeg
  • 2 c. quick oats
  • ½ c. flour
  • ½ c. flaxseed meal
  • ½ tsp. baking powder
  • ½ tsp. baking soda
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 1½ c. semi sweet chocolate chips, butterscotch chips (I usually do half and half)
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. In large mixer bowl cream butter and sugar together. Add eggs and beat. Add pumpkin, brewer's yeast and vanilla and mix.
  3. Add cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, oats, flour, flaxseed meal, baking power, baking soda, and salt to blender and blend. Be careful not to over mix.
  4. Add chocolate/butterscotch chips and mix to incorporate.
  5. Line baking sheet with parchment paper. Drop cookies a little larger than 1 inch sizes. Bake for 12-14 minutes.
  6. Remove immediately from baking sheet and cool.
  7. Once cooled, cookies need to be kept in the refrigerator for storage.

 

Skinny Buffalo Chicken

Skinny Buffalo Chicken

Our baby’s due date is nearing, which means it’s time to start thinking about good crock pot meals to prep! Every year, I try more and more crock pot options to pop in the pot in the morning and let it sit for the day. My skinny buffalo chicken has been super helpful over the past few months for community meals, gatherings, and something to fix on Mondays and snack on the rest of the week.

Skinny Buffalo Chicken

While most people think of Buffalo Chicken in a chicken wing form, my favorite way to eat it is when it’s shredded! It is so simple because there’s no frying required! It’s healthier, it’s inexpensive, it’s easy to make, and it tastes absolutely amazing. We also switch up the ways we eat it. On a bun, on spinach, in a lettuce wrap… the options are endless.

Our skinny buffalo chicken has been a huge hit among friends and my husband asks for it week after week. I cannot wait to prep this dish ahead of time and start making my freezer meals for the baby!

Skinny Buffalo Chicken

Skinny Buffalo Chicken
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
 
Ingredients
  • 3 lbs boneless, skinless chicken breast
  • 1 12 oz bottle Frank's Buffalo Sauce (make sure you DO NOT get "Hot Buffalo". It's far too hot for the amount of sauce we're using.)
  • 1 package Hidden Valley Dry Ranch Mix
  • ½ stick of butter (We use grass fed butter or less butter for a more skinny option.)
Instructions
  1. Put the chicken and the buffalo sauce in the crock pot and cook on low for 6-8 hours.
  2. Remove the chicken from the crock pot and shred it, returning the chicken back to the crock pot.
  3. Add the ranch mix and the butter, and stir until the butter is melted and ingredients are well-mixed.
  4. Serve with rolls, on top of spinach (as shown), or in lettuce wraps. Add toppings of your choice

 

One Pan Chicken Fajita Wraps

One Pan Chicken Fajita Wraps

We eat fajitas a lot in our house. In every fashion imaginable, we love our chicken, beef, and seafood Mexican variations. This is one of my favorite go-to recipes as of lately and it literally feeds us for many lunches and nights afterwards as well!

I typically use more chicken than the recipe calls for (our house is protein heavy so I use about 3 lbs.), but this will give you just enough for a family evening’s dinner. We love to use our one pan fajita dinner on romaine lettuce or spinach; however, normal tortilla wraps will work just as good.

One Pan Chicken Fajita WrapsOne Pan Chicken Fajita Wraps

One Pan Chicken Fajita Wraps
 
Ingredients
  • 1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into strips
  • 2 Tbsp vegetable oil
  • 2 tsp chili powder
  • 2 tsp cumin
  • ½ tsp garlic powder
  • ½ tsp dried oregano
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • 1 (15 oz) can diced tomatoes with green chilies
  • 1 medium onion, sliced
  • 1 large bell pepper, seeded and sliced (I use half a green and half a red)
  • 1 package of romaine lettuce
  • Toppings such as cheese, sour cream, avocado, and guacamole - if desired
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Place chicken strips in a greased 13×9 baking dish.
  3. In a small bowl combine the oil, chili powder, cumin, garlic powder, dried oregano, and salt.
  4. Drizzle the spice mixture over the chicken and stir to coat.
  5. Next add the tomatoes, peppers, and onions to the dish and stir to combine.
  6. Bake uncovered for 20-25 minutes or until chicken is cooked through and the vegetables are tender. Serve on lettuce wraps or shredded lettuce with desired toppings.

 

Easy Banana Pudding

Easy Banana Pudding

One thing that I have just been craving lately is those foods that remind me of summer. Home grown tomatoes. Watermelon. Iced sweet tea on a hot day…

Maybe I have been craving more vitamin D, warm weather, and overall good ol’ sunshine! Midwest winters can kind of be tricky. Last week we had snow on the ground on Monday and it hit 78 degrees by Friday. For me, it’s an emotional roller coaster and I just anxiously await for summer each and every day.

I did manage to whip up one of my favorite summer treats this past week to help with the summer cravings :: banana pudding! And it was delish!

Easy Banana Pudding

I had sort of forgotten how easy banana pudding is and how much it reminds me of my childhood and summertime. Enjoy!

Easy Banana Pudding

Easy Banana Pudding
Prep time: 
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Ingredients
  • 3 cups cold milk
  • 2 pkg. vanilla instant pudding
  • 30 vanilla wafers
  • 3 bananas, sliced
  • 1 tub (8 oz.) frozen whipped topping, thawed
Instructions
  1. Pour milk into large bowl. Add dry pudding mixes. Beat with wire whisk 2 min. or until well blended. Let stand 5 min.
  2. Arrange half of the wafers on bottom of serving bowl or platter; top with layers of half each of the banana slices and pudding. Repeat all layers. Cover with whipped topping.
  3. Refrigerate for 3 hours. Store leftover dessert in refrigerator.

 

Low Carb Chicken Tortilla Soup

With the cold winter months upon us, we love our soup. Soup can be tricky around our household though, because we try to do a lot of things low-to-no carb. Many soups call for flour, sugar, potatoes, or something that is on my husband’s “no eat” list.

I came up with this recipe a week or so back for a gathering we had. It was super simple, and although we did not add any tortilla chips to the recipe, our guests were able to enjoy the saltiness of the chips without the requirements of my husband eating them too. So add chips or don’t. Either way, the soup is really delicious!

Note :: Much of the spices I did to taste and then guesstimated afterwards the measurements for you. I would believe that all of the seasoning could be added at once if it makes things easy for you. I also like things a bit more salty, so I added more to my bowls than I did to crockpot as I ate.

What is your favorite winter soup recipe?

Low Carb Chicken Tortilla Soup
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
 
Ingredients
  • 2 lb. chicken breast
  • 2 cans of corn, drained
  • 1 can of black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 can of diced tomatoes
  • 1 can of diced tomatoes & chopped green chilies
  • 32 oz. of chicken broth
  • 1 tablespoon of paprika
  • 2 tablespoon of garlic salt
  • 1 teaspoon of cumin
  • 1 teaspoon of salt
  • 1 tablespoon of ground pepper
  • 1 teaspoon of red pepper
  • 1 tablespoon of cilantro
Instructions
  1. Place the chicken breast, corn, black beans, diced tomatoes (with and without the green chilies, chicken broth, paprika, garlic salt, cumin, and ground pepper in a crockpot on low for eight hours
  2. When there is an hour or two left for cooking time, add the red pepper and cilantro to the crockpot.
  3. Serve warm.

 

Apple Pancetta Pizza

Homemade pizza is some of our favorite dinners. Since we have been together, nights that include The Bachelor/Bachelorette and homemade-anything are the closest thing to perfect. Here is one of our favorite recipes, with all of the ingredients from Aldi’s!

My grocery list for this dinner includes:

Apple Pancetta Pizza

Utilizing some melted butter, olive oil, and garlic salt for the sauce (instead of the pizza sauce these pizza crusts come with), we evenly distribute the pancetta, cheese and thinly sliced apples all over the pizza. Popped it into the oven at 375-400 until the cheese is melted completely and you’re done!

Apple Pancetta Pizza

I know you may be hesitant on some of these ingredients; apples are definitely not the norm, but they are delicious! If you aren’t a foodie explorer, use the provided pizza sauce, some standard mixed cheese (Mexican or Italian blends), pepperonis, browned-ground beef, peppers, etc.

Apple Pancetta Pizza

Does it look delicious!?

Apple Pancetta Pizza

Texas Garlic Red Mashed Potato

On the few nights that we eat unhealthy, we try to load up on carbs as much as we can. We do it so little throughout the month that we just love to try new things and eat a bit differently. I discovered and tweaked this Texas Garlic Red Mashed Potato recipe and loved it! Hope you do as well!

Texas Garlic Red Mashed Potato

My grocery list for this side includes:

  • 5 – 6 medium-sized red potatoes

Staples that you may already have in your kitchen:

  • 2 tablespoons of butter
  • ½ teaspoon of garlic salt
  • ½ teaspoon of onion salt
  • ½ cup of milk or heavy cream
  • 4 – 5 cloves of minced garlic
  • black pepper to taste

Instructions
Bring a large pot of water to boil; add potatoes unpeeled, and boil until soft, about 10 to 15 minutes. Drain, and place in a large bowl.
Mix with butter, garlic salt, onion salt, pepper, milk, and garlic.
Mash the potatoes with a potato masher until they are to desired texture.

Sometimes we also add red pepper flakes or steak seasoning to add some kick to the mix instead of normal black pepper. This is completely optional but also delicious!

Graham Cracker Crust Apple Pie

The autumn months are always filled with apples upon apples in my house. I do not know if it is because they are running a dollar pound for weeks or if it is just the season for it; however, recently I have gotten so many piled on my countertops that this past weekend I had to do something with them. I had a premade graham cracker pie crust in the pantry and googled away. This recipe came from the Keebler website http://www.keebler.com/recipe-baked-dutch-apple-pie-178.aspx and to make it my own, I added some alterations. I hope you enjoy!

My shopping list for this recipe includes:
1 Keebler Ready Crust Graham Pie Crust
1 egg yolk, slightly beaten
6 medium-sized apples, peeled and thinly sliced
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup brown sugar
3 tablespoons flour
3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg

Crumble Topping
3/4 cup flour
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/3 cup butter, soft or melted

Directions

1. Brush bottom and sides of crust with egg yolk. Bake at 375°F for 5-7 minutes.

2. Sprinkle apples with lemon juice and hand mix to ensure all apples have been coated with a bit of lemon juice.

3. In large bowl stir together 1/2 cup sugar, 1/4 cup brown sugar, 3 tablespoons flour, cinnamon, salt and nutmeg. Add apples. Gently toss until coated. Pour into crust.

4. In small bowl combine 3/4 cup flour, 1/4 cup sugar and 1/4 cup brown sugar. Cut in margarine or butter until crumbly. Sprinkle over apples.

5. Bake at 375°F about 50 minutes or until topping is golden and filling is bubbly. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Graham Cracker Crust Apple Pie

Slow Cooker Bacon-Wrapped Apple Chicken

Slow Cooker Bacon-Wrapped Apple Chicken

I know that food blogs are over-saturated and overdone; however, I find joy in not only taking pictures of food, but also documenting that my hours spent on Pinterest is worth whiled. Not everything I pinned is cooked and not every I cooked is pinned, but I think you’ll find a correlation as time goes on.

We had friends over the other night to spend some time talking about life and such. I believe that these are the best times to discover if all those recipes that I have spent hours pinning are worth anything.

This recipe was by-far one of the best I have ever made. Super easy to make, but way more time consuming that I had originally planned. If you ever wanted to purchase an apple peeler from your neighbors’ Pampered Chef party, this recipe would give you the perfect excuse. I, however, had to resort to just a standard peeler that was in my kitchen drawer and peeled away for more than an hour. The recipe calls for less apples and chicken than I used, and if leftovers are desired, I would invest in placing even more chicken in the slow cooker. I also suggest keeping the chicken in larger breasts, regardless if you think they are too big and hard to wrap with the bacon. The smaller pieces seemed to disappear and were slightly overcooked. Beyond that, it turned out wonderful.

INGREDIENTS

  • 4 boneless skinless chicken breasts
  • 1 cup BBQ sauce
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1/8 cup lemon juice
  • 5 small apples peeled and chopped
  • 8 slices bacon

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. In a small bowl, combine BBQ sauce, brown sugar, lemon juice and peeled/chopped apples.
  2. Wrap each chicken breast with two slices of bacon and place in a greased slow cooker.
  3. Pour BBQ-apple mixture over chicken and cook on low for 6-8 hours or until chicken is done.

Slow Cooker Bacon Wrapped Apple Chicken :: unconventionaladventures.com

Lastly, I never even attempt to claim things as my own. Pinterest is lovely for that:

http://www.chef-in-training.com/2012/09/slow-cooker-bacon-wrapped-apple-bbq-chicken/