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Slow Cooker Shredded Buffalo Chicken

The BIG GAME is this weekend, and that means it's time to get those slow cookers out! It seems like whenever we watch football with friends, there's always a whole slew of slow cookers lined up, each containing their own delicious food. Chili, queso, sloppy joes, spinach artichoke dip, the list goes on and on! IMG_9154 Today I've got a great recipe for your slow cooker - Shredded Buffalo Chicken! This chicken has all the flavor of classic buffalo wings, but without all the extra fat and calories from the breading and deep frying. It's tasty served on a bun, wrapped up in a tortilla, or served up as a crunchy lettuce wrap. It's really easy to prepare, too, and the leftovers reheat wonderfully. We've actually had it twice in the last 2 weeks! (The first time, we gobbled it up so quick that I never even took any pictures.) To get the chicken started, combine the following in your slow cooker: boneless skinless chicken breasts, a celery stalk, minced garlic, diced onion, and some chicken broth. Let it cook on low for 6-8 hours or on high 3-4 hours; then, remove and shred. IMG_9076 Discard the celery and all but about 1/2 cup of the broth mixture. Add the chicken back to the slow cooker and add 1/2 cup of your favorite buffalo wing sauce. Mix to combine, and cook another 30-60 minutes on high to let the chicken soak up the hot sauce. IMG_8968 Enjoy on buns, or in lettuce wraps! Top the chicken with your favorite dressing (ranch or blue cheese), crumbled gorgonzola cheese, and shredded carrots. We liked this meal both ways, but I will admit that my husband preferred the sandwich buns. However, I really enjoyed the contrast of the crisp lettuce and the spicy chicken. The lettuce wraps are a great low-carb option!  

Slow Cooker Shredded Buffalo Chicken

Yield: 4-6 servings

  • 1½ lbs boneless skinless chicken breasts
  • 1 celery stalk
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  • ½ cup diced onion
  • 2 cups chicken broth
  • ½ cup Frank's Hot Buffalo Wing sauce
  • For serving
  • Bibb lettuce leafs or buns
  • crumbled gorgonzola cheese
  • shredded carrots
  • ranch dressing

Method

1. Place chicken in slow cooker along with celery stalk, garlic, onion, and chicken broth. Cover; and cook on low 6-8 hours or high 3-4 hours.

2. Remove chicken and shred. Discard celery and all but 1/2 cup chicken broth mixture. Return shredded chicken to slow cooker and add 1/2 cup buffalo wing sauce. Cook 30 minutes more on high.

 3. Serve in lettuce leaves or on buns, topped with gorgonzola, shredded carrots, and ranch dressing.

Source: adapted from skinnytaste.com

Black Bean & Roasted Tomato Salad

I often get in a dinner rut... especially when it comes to side dishes! All too often, I just prep the main course, and do a simple green salad on the side, or steamed broccoli. (Not that there's anything wrong with those vegetables, but a girl can only eat so much salad! It starts to get old.) While it's super easy to open a bag of tater tots or chips (and my hubby sure won't complain), I also try to keep our dinners on the healthier side. IMG_9092 Enter: Black Bean & Roasted Tomato Salad. This is a great protein-packed veggie side that's not your usual salad! Tender black beans are combined with sweet roasted tomatoes, green onions, and a citrusy dressing. A sprinkle of feta cheese adds a little extra zing. It tastes great cold or at room temperature, so it's easy to make a big batch and eat from it all week long. The hardest part is roasting the tomatoes. Combine about 2 cups of halved cherry tomatoes in a baking dish, and drizzle with olive oil. Sprinkle with salt, pepper, and a bit of sugar, and roast at 350*F for 40 minutes. I used half yellow and half red tomatoes to add a little extra color. IMG_9088 After the tomatoes are roasted, it's just a matter of mixing everything together! Black beans, green onions, lemon zest & juice, and the tomatoes. Toss it all together, and top with feta cheese upon serving. IMG_9090 We enjoyed this as a simple side dish, and I also enjoyed the leftovers over spinach the next day for lunch. I'm also planning a burrito-style wrap with the last of it!

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Black Bean & Roasted Tomato Salad

Yield: 4-6 servings

  • 2 cups cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • salt & fresh ground pepper pepper, to taste
  • 1-2 teaspoons sugar
  • 2 14-oz cans black beans, rinsed & drained
  • juice & zest from 1 lemon
  • 2-3 green onions, diced
  • ½ cup crumbled feta cheese

Method

1. To roast the tomatoes, place them in a baking pan. Drizzle with olive oil, and sprinkles with salt, pepper, and sugar. Roast at 350*F for 40 minutes, tossing a few times throughout.

2. To make the salad, combine black beans with roasted tomatoes, lemon zest & juice, and green onions. Serve topped with feta cheese.

Source: adapted from Annie's Eats

Jalapeo Popper Pizza

Any Buckeye fans reading today?? (What kind of question is that? Haha...) The BIG GAME is tonight, and I've got a great tailgating snack recipe for you! My favorite snack food to indulge in while watching football are these BBQ Bacon Jalapeno Poppers... that I posted about almost three years ago! Jalapenos are stuffed with a cream cheese/cheddar cheese mixture, then wrapped in bacon, brushed with BBQ sauce and baked until crisp. They are pretty time-consuming (and messy) to make, so I don't make them all that often. And, they're way too easy to pop one after the other into your mouth. Before you know it, half the pan is gone! IMG_9003 I decided to take the same flavors, and turn it into a pizza! Thus, Jalapeno Popper Pizza was born. I took my favorite pizza dough, spread it with cream cheese, and topped it with sliced jalapenos, bacon, and two types of cheese. It reminded me exactly of my favorite snacks! Except even better, because now there are carbs involved. Start with your favorite pizza dough (homemade or storebought). I have been using this recipe for years, and absolutely love it. IMG_8996 Grate up some cheese. Freshly grated cheese is SO much better than the bagged stuff, especially when it comes to homemade pizza. I used a mix of cheddar and a mild pepper jack. Be sure to talk to the cheese monger at your local Chief... there were several varieties of pepper jack, and I wanted one that wasn't super spicy. She was able to help me select a good one! IMG_8997 To assemble the pizza, spread the dough with some softened cream cheese, then top with your grated cheeses. Then, top with sliced jalapenos, sliced shallots, and crisp bacon pieces. I took the seeds out of my jalapenos to keep the pizza from being too spicy, but if you like the heat, be sure to leave the seeds in! PicMonkey Collage Bake the pizza according to the directions for your dough, and you've got one big sizzling jalapeno popper! (In pizza form, ha!) IMG_9004 My hubby and I both enjoyed this pizza... I might have to make another one tonight to enjoy while watching the game! (Or maybe I'll settle for some Buckeye Caramel Corn instead... hehe...)

Jalapeno Popper Pizza

Yield: One 12-inch pizza

  • 1 batch pizza dough or refrigerated dough, your choice
  • 6-oz softened cream cheese
  • 1 cup freshly grated pepper jack cheese
  • 1 cup freshly grated cheddar cheese
  • 2-3 jalapenos, thinly sliced (and seeded if desired)
  • 1-2 shallots, thinly sliced
  • 6-8 slices bacon, cooked & crumbled

Method

1. Preheat oven to 500*F with pizza stone inside for 30 minutes. Meanwhile, prepare the pizza.

2. Sprinkle cornmeal over a piece of parchment paper. Roll out pizza dough to a 12-inch diameter (or stretch it out with your hands) and place it onto the cornmeal-topped parchment paper. Spread with softened cream cheese; then, top with grated cheeses, jalapeños, shallots, and bacon.

3. Remove (hot) pizza stone from oven and slide the parchment paper with pizza directly onto the stone. Place back in oven and bake 10 to 12 minutes until pizza crust is golden and cheese is melted.

Source: original recipe

Quinoa, Roasted Squash, and Apple Salad with Cumin Vinaigrette

Welcome to 2015! The holidays have come and gone, and if you're anything like me, you're craving some lighter, healthier fare to get this year off to a fresh start. Grilled chicken breasts and steamed broccoli get boring fast, and sometimes it's hard to stomach leafy salads in the winter-time. (At least for me, just being honest!) IMG_8905 I've always had a bad attitude when it comes to quinoa. I've made a few recipes in the last couple years that were NOT good, and I quickly decided that quinoa was a food I just "didn't like". Well, I was watching the Food Network a few weeks ago, and Giada made this delicious looking grain-based salad using none other than - quinoa. I groaned, but decided maybe, just maybe, I would give it one more chance. It's a nutritional powerhouse - it's high in protein and fiber, and also gluten-free. I'm so glad I did, because I love quinoa in this Quinoa, Roasted Squash, and Apple Salad! Cooked quinoa is combined with roasted squash, crisp apples, dried cherries, and toasted pecans with a slightly smoky cumin vinaigrette. The vinaigrette is key here... it's where all the flavor and moisture is! I think my experiences with quinoa in the past were lacking in the flavor and moisture department. Nothing like dry quinoa to turn you away. Start by roasting your squash - roast cubed butternut squash tossed with olive oil, cumin, salt, and pepper at 400*F for about 30 minutes until tender. IMG_8901 While the squash is roasting, prepare your quinoa. Cook 11/4 cups quinoa in 2 cups vegetable stock or chicken stock about 15 minutes until water is absorbed; then let it sit 5-10 minutes before fluffing with a fork. Using stock instead of watergives it a little extra kick of flavor. IMG_8902 While the squash is roasting and quinoa is simmering, prepare your vinaigrette. Combine olive oil, apple cider vinegar, cumin, and a few other spices in a container with a lid, and shake vigorously to combine. IMG_8900 Once all these elements are done, simply combine everything in a big bowl! Squash, quinoa, baby spinach, dried cherries, and toasted pecans. Let it sit 5 minutes to wilt the spinach; then pour the vinaigrette over all. Toss to combine and serve! It can be served warm, room temperature, or cold, but I liked it warm the best. It would be even better topped with a sprinkle of feta or goat cheese! IMG_8903 IMG_8904    

Quinoa, Roasted Squash, and Apple Salad with Cumin Vinaigrette

Servings/Yield: 6 servings

  • For the vinaigrette:
    • ¼ cup olive oil
    • tablespoons apple cider vinegar
    • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
    • ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
    • ½-1 teaspoon ground cumin
    • ¼-½ teaspoon chili powder
    • dash ground cinnamon
    • dash ground allspice
    • 1 large shallot, finely chopped
  • For the salad:
    • 2 cups vegetable or chicken broth
    • cups whole-grain quinoa
    • 4-5 cups peeled & cubed butternut squash
    • 3 tablespoons olive oil
    • ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
    • ¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
    • ½ teaspoon cumin
    • 1 large Honeycrisp apple, diced
    • ½ cup dried cherries
    • ¾ cup toasted chopped pecans
    • 6-8 cups baby spinach

Method

1. For the vinaigrette, combine all ingredients in a jar or container with lid. Shake until well-combined. Set aside.

2. For the salad, roast the butternut squash. Preheat oven to 400*F. Place squash cubes in a 9x13-inch pan. Toss with olive oil, salt, black pepper, and cumin. Roast 30-40 minutes until tender, stirring every few minutes. Set aside.

3. While squash is roasting, prepare the quinoa. Bring vegetable or chicken broth to a boil in a medium saucepan; add quinoa. Reduce heat to medium-low, cover, and simmer 15 minutes until quinoa is tender. Remove from heat and let quinoa stand, covered, 5-10 minutes; then fluff with a fork.

4. To make salad, place baby spinach in bottom of large bowl. Pour warm quinoa and squash over spinach; add diced apple, dried cherries, and walnut pieces. Let sit 5 minutes to wilt the spinach. Pour vinaigrette over the salad and toss to combine.

Source: adapted from Giada De Laurentiis

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Cranberry Cider Punch

How is New Year's Eve just around the corner already?! We had a fabulous time celebrating Christmas with our families over in Illinois, and made the big drive back to Ohio today. Let me say, traveling with a 6-week-old takes a little bit more time (and patience) than I expected. :) We don't have big plans for New Year's Eve (life with a newborn) but are planning on staying in for some homemade pizza along with a movie marathon. We will still toast at midnight, of course! If you're planning a big party or just keeping it low-key, I've got a great holiday punch perfect for any occasion. Cranberry Cider Punch combines several classic holiday flavors - cranberry, apple, orange, cinnamon - into a zippy punch that can be spiked with hard cider to make it a little more fun for adults. It's cool and refreshing while still being festive for the holidays. (Without weighing you down.) IMG_8616 To start, make the spiced simple syrup. This can be made a few days in advance if you are a planner. Combine brown sugar, water, nutmeg, cinnamon sticks, and a few orange peel slices in a saucepan. Cook over medium heat until the sugar dissolves; then, set aside to cool and refrigerate until chilled. IMG_8612 When you're ready to serve the punch, combine the spiced simple syrup with apple cider, cranberry juice, and club soda. It's great like that, but if you're feeling especially spunky, mix a glass with half punch and half hard (alcoholic) cider. It's even better. ;) IMG_8613 Cheers to a wonderful 2015!

Cranberry Cider Punch

Servings/Yield: 12-16 servings

  • 8 cups apple cider
  • 4 cups club soda
  • 4 cups cranberry juice
  • 4-6 cups hard cider (alcoholic)
  • For the spiced simple syrup
    • 1 cup brown sugar
    • 1 cup water
    • ¼ teaspoon nutmeg
    • 3 cinnamon sticks
    • 3-4 slices orange rind

Method

1. To make the spiced simple syrup, combine brown sugar, water, nutmeg, cinnamon sticks, and orange slices in a medium saucepan. Cook over medium heat until sugar dissolves. Refrigerate until cool.

2. Once cool, combine simple syrup with apple cider, club soda, and cranberry juice in large pitcher or punch bowl. Add hard cider along with punch to individual serving glasses.

Source: adapted from How Sweet It Is

Bagel & Cream Cheese Baked French Toast

Christmas is just 3 days away... do you have everything on your list completed? I'll admit, I've been running around like a crazy person these last couple days to finish all my to-do's for the big holiday. I didn't even start wrapping gifts until yesterday! (Usually, I have them all finished at least a week before Christmas.) To say the least, I am a bit frazzled this year!

If you're feeling the same way, I've got a simple breakfast casserole that is sure to please any group. Bagel & Cream Cheese Baked French Toast takes all your favorite flavors of an everything bagel toasted with cream cheese, and turns it into a warm, comforting French toast casserole that is super easy to prepare. Assemble the casserole the evening before, and all you have to do is pop it in the oven in the morning. You'll have a winner of a breakfast (or brunch) that is sure to please everyone.

Start with a package of everything bagels. Rip them into pieces and place in a 9x13-inch pan.

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Cut a package of cream cheese into cubes, and nestle it in between the bagel pieces. Top the whole thing with grated cheddar cheese.

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Mix up the egg custard - eggs, milk, cream, and some fresh chives. Pour that over the bagels & cheeses in the baking dish. Cover, and refrigerate overnight.

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In the morning, bake about 45 minutes covered with foil, then remove the foil and bake 15 minutes more until cheese is golden brown. Serve it up with a big fruit salad and some bacon!

Somehow, I missed getting a picture of the end product... just picture toasty bagels with gooey cream cheese and a fluffy egg custard. So good! The creamy pockets of cream cheese were my favorite part. I am dreaming up a sweet blueberry version as well. The options are endless!

Bagel & Cream Cheese Baked French Toast

Yield: One 9x13-inch pan

  • 6 everything bagels
  • 8-oz package cream cheese
  • 2 cups grated cheddar cheese
  • 8 eggs
  • 2 cups milk
  • ½ cup heavy cream
  • 1 tablespoon fresh chopped chives
  • ½ teaspoon ground mustard
  • ½ teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • ½ teaspoon salt

Method

1. Spray a 9x13-inch baking dish with cooking spray. Tear bagels into bite-size pieces; place into pan. Cut cream cheese into chunks, and distribute them all throughout the bagels. Sprinkle with grated cheddar cheese.

2. In a medium bowl, whisk together eggs, milk, cream, chives, ground mustard, cayenne, and salt. Pour over bagel mixture, pressing bagels down to ensure all are coated with egg mixture. Cover with foil and refrigerate several hours or overnight.

3. When you’re ready to bake the casserole, bake, covered, for 45 minutes at 350*F. Uncover and bake 15 to 20 minutes longer, until the top is golden brown. Let cool 10 to 15 minutes before serving.

Source: The Pioneer Woman Cooks: A Year of Holidays

Sparkling Cranberry Brie Bites

Holiday parties... aren't they the best? Great conversation with friends, along with lots of tasty bites and nibbles and drinks. I have to admit, I LOVE eating appetizers for dinner. My husband and I joke around and call it a 'snack supper.' Sometimes, I'll just prepare 3-4 appetizers for us to enjoy for a meal.

Today's appetizer recipe is just perfect for the holiday season - Sparkling Cranberry Brie Bites. Sugared cranberries are layered with mellow Brie cheese on top of a crispy cracker. Not only are they festive, but this appetizer is super simple & quick to put together. The hardest part is making the sugared cranberries!

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To make the sugared cranberries, combine 1/2 cup sugar and 1/2 cup water in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Stir and cook until the sugar dissolves. This is called a simple syrup. Place your cranberries in the syrup; let them soak just a few minutes.

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Then, remove your cranberries to a plate and let them sit a few hours. (This allows the simple syrup to dry, and the cranberries become sticky.)

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Once the cranberries are sticky and not wet, coat them with granulated sugar on all sides.

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Now it's time for the appetizers! You can find Brie cheese in the deli section of your local Chief. If you're not a fan of Brie, you could definitely sub another mild cheese. For each appetizer, place a thin slice of cheese on top of a cracker; then, top with a few sugared cranberries.

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So festive and fun! (And tasty, too!)

Sparkling Cranberry Brie Bites

Yield: 32 appetizers

  • cups cranberries
  • 1 cup sugar, divided
  • ½ cup water
  • 32 wheat crackers
  • 4-oz brie cheese

Method

1. To make the sugared cranberries, combine 1/2 cup sugar and water in a small saucepan over medium heat to make a simple syrup. Cook a few minutes until sugar is dissolved; let cool slightly. Add cranberries to simple syrup and stir to coat. Lay out on a plate in a single layer. Let cool 30-60 minutes. Sprinkle with remaining sugar and coat on all sides.

2. To assemble appetizers, thinly slice brie. Top each cracker with a slice of brie, and 2-3 sugared cranberries. Serve.

Source: adapted from Annie's Eats 

Chicken Cacciatore

Last week, my parents were in town for 5 days for Thanksgiving, and to get their fair share of baby James cuddles. While they were here, we were most definitely spoiled with some extra help around the house. Laundry, dishes, painting, you name it! My mom even treated us to dinner, and prepared one of her mom's most loved recipes... Chicken Cacciatore. Chicken pieces are breaded and fried, then simmered low & slow in a flavorful tomato sauce with green peppers, onion, and mushrooms. The meat is so tender, it falls right off the bone. We always enjoy it served with hot cooked rice and extra bread to soak up the sauce. It's not a dish that we get to enjoy very often, because it's a little bit time involved, taking about 1.5 hours from start to finish. It also requires frying chicken pieces, which is an extra step that usually seems "too much work". We would often enjoy this meal for special occasions and holidays when I was growing up. (It would be great for Christmas Eve or Christmas dinner!) Since I moved out out of the house 8 years ago, I think I have only had it once! It was such a treat to enjoy it last weekend. IMG_8460 I didn't get a lot of pictures of the preparation, since I was actually in the other room tending to the baby, but I did happen to pop in a few times to see what was going on. I am hoping that I will now be capable of re-creating it on my own! Here's the basic gist of the recipe (which is posted below in its entirety):
  1. Saute the veggies; set aside.
  2. Dredge chicken pieces in egg and flour; then pan-fry until all sides are browned.
  3. Combine veggies with spaghetti sauce, red wine, and diced tomatoes; add sauce mixture to skillet along with chicken.
  4. Let simmer 30-40 minutes until chicken is cooked through.
  5. Serve with hot cooked rice or noodles.
It doesn't seem so bad when you look at it like that! All I can say is, this took me right back to my childhood. I cannot wait to make this again! I hope to make it a tradition with my little family in the years to come. Another bonus to having my parents in town? We were able to get all our Christmas decorations up! IMG_8459

Chicken Cacciatore

Servings: 6-8 servings

  • 1 whole chicken, cut into pieces
  • 1 green pepper, diced
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 8-oz package sliced fresh mushrooms
  • ¼-⅓ cup olive oil
  • 1-2 cups all-purpose flour
  • salt & fresh ground pepper pepper, to taste
  • 2 eggs
  • ½ cup milk
  • 1 jar spaghetti sauce, (your favorite variety)
  • 14-oz can diced tomatoes, drained
  • ½-1 cup dry red wine
  • Italian seasoning, to taste
  • fresh hot cooked rice or pasta, for serving

Method

1. In a large electric skillet, heat 1-2 tablespoons olive oil over medium-low heat. Add mushrooms and cook until some of the juices have been released, about 2-3 minutes. Add green pepper and onion; sauté another 5 minutes until partially cooked. Remove from skillet.

2. Add additional oil to coat the skillet; increase heat to medium. In a small shallow bowl, combine flour with salt & pepper. In another small shallow bowl, whisk together eggs and milk. Dip chicken pieces in egg; then dredge in flour.

3. Add chicken pieces to skillet, beginning with the largest pieces. Turn pieces to evenly brown on all sides, adding more olive oil as needed. Add smaller pieces, turning to brown evenly.

4. While chicken is browning, combine spaghetti sauces with drained tomatoes, wine, and cooked mushroom/pepper/onion mixture. Season to taste with Italian seasoning. Once chicken is browned, reduce heat to simmer. Add sauce mixture to skillet, nestling chicken into the sauce. (The sauce should be at the bottom of the pan.) Simmer until chicken juices run clear or temperature reaches 165*F, about 30-40 minutes. Serve with hot cooked rice or pasta noodles.

Source: family favorite

Sugar Cookie Party Mix

It's December 1... time to get in the holiday baking spirit! I love to bake, especially at Christmas-time. Each year, I like to gift my friends and family with homemade treats. Usually, I do a big spread of cookies and divide them up into tins, but this year I might keep it more simple. (In the past 12 days with a newborn, I have learned that simple is key. Haha.)

This Sugar Cookie Party Mix would make a great easy gift for anyone on your Christmas list. Crunchy Chex cereal is flavored with the classic flavors of sugar cookies - vanilla extract, almond extract, and of course, you can't forget the red & green sprinkles! It's also got a layer of white chocolate to add an extra pop of sweetness.

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A few bonuses about this recipe - it's gluten-free and can be made in the microwave! Start by measuring your Chex cereal into a bowl. I used a mixture of Corn and Rice Chex to keep it gluten-free. (If you use Wheat Chex, just be aware that it won't be gluten-free.)

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In a microwaveable bowl, combine some butter, sugar, and corn syrup; microwave at 30-second intervals until bubbly and sugar is dissolved. Stir in vanilla extract and almond extract; then toss with the cereals to coat. Microwave the big bowl of coated cereal for 2 minutes, stirring halfway through; then toss with a bit of powdered sugar, and spread out onto a large baking sheet.

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Now it's time for the white chocolate. Ghirardelli is my favorite, but you can also use white almond bark. Melt it in a pastry bag or ziploc bag on medium power at 30-second intervals until melted. Then, drizzle all over the cereal mixture on the baking sheet. Sprinkle with red & green sprinkles, and give them a little bit of a toss to coat. IMG_8153

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Let the cereal sit for 20-30 minutes for the white chocolate to harden; then break up into little chunks and snack away!

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Tastes just like a sugar cookie... so good!

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Sugar Cookie Party Mix

Yield: 12 cups

  • 6 cups Chex cereal (Rice or Corn)
  • ¼ cup butter
  • ¼ cup sugar
  • 2 tablespoons corn syrup
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon almond extract
  • ½ cup powdered sugar
  • cups white melting chips
  • ¼ cup holiday sprinkles

Method

1. Add cereal to a large microwaveable bowl. Prepare a large baking sheet by lining with parchment paper or foil.

2. Place the butter in a 2-cup microwaveable measuring cup. Heat in microwave until melted. Add sugar and corn syrup; microwave uncovered at 30 second intervals until slightly bubbly and sugar is dissolved. Stir in vanilla and almond extracts. Pour over cereal in large bowl; mix to coat evenly.

3. Microwave cereal mixture for 2 minutes, stirring halfway through to mix. Sprinkle with powdered sugar; mix well. Spread onto prepared baking sheet to cool.

4. Melt white melting chips on medium power in microwave at 30 second intervals until smooth. Drizzle over cereal mixture; top with holiday sprinkles. Stir cereal mixture around on pan to evenly coat the white chocolate on all the cereal pieces. Let set to harden. Store in airtight container.

Source: adapted from Chex

Turkey Tetrazzini

Lots of excitement in the Anderson household this week... our sweet baby boy was born on Tuesday morning! Let me introduce you to James Benjamin Anderson. He has captured our hearts and we are completely smitten!

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Needless to say, I haven't really been concerned with cooking much this week... I'm spending all my time cuddling my little guy. Thankfully, I stored up this Turkey Tetrazzini in the freezer a few weeks ago. It's a great way to use up leftover Thanksgiving turkey, and a tasty all-in-one meal.

A creamy mushroom sauce (similar to cream of mushroom soup, but better because it's homemade) is combined with shredded turkey, peas, spaghetti noodles, and lots of cheese. The whole casserole is then baked with a crispy panko topping.

Start with the sauce - saute mushrooms in some butter until tender; then add some wine, and simmer a bit to reduce the wine. Whisk in some flour to thicken the sauce; then gradually whisk in some chicken stock. Stir in some cream cheese, and stir until smooth.

Stir in leftover shredded turkey (rotisserie chicken works well, too!), peas, bacon, monterey jack, and Parmesan cheese.

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Add in your cooked spaghetti noodles, and stir everything to combine, adding additional chicken stock as needed. (I think I used about 1-2 cups. It should be the consistency of cream of mushroom soup.)

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Spread it into a 9x13-inch baking dish, and top with panko bread crumbs. Bake at 350*F for 20 minutes until warmed through, and panko crumbs are golden.

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I somehow missed snapping a pic of the finished product, but it was delicious! A great hearty meal on a too cold day.

Turkey Tetrazzini

Yield: One 9x13-inch pan

  • 1-lb thin spaghetti noodles, broken in half
  • ¼ cup butter
  • 4 teaspoons minced garlic
  • 1-lb sliced mushrooms
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup dry white wine
  • cup all-purpose flour
  • 4 cups chicken broth
  • 8-oz package cream cheese
  • 3 cups leftover cooked turkey, shredded
  • cups frozen peas
  • 4 slices bacon, cooked & crumbled
  • 1 cup grated monterey jack cheese
  • 1 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • salt & pepper, to taste
  • additional chicken stock, for thinning the sauce
  • 1 cup panko bread crumbs

Method

1. Cook pasta until al dente. (Not quite all the way because it will continue cooking in the oven.) Drain, rinse, and set aside.

2. In a large pot or saucepan, melt butter over medium-high heat. Add garlic; cook 1 minute until fragrant. Add mushrooms and salt; cook about 5 minutes until golden brown. Add wine and simmer until wine reduces by half.

3. Sprinkle in the flour and stir until the mixture turns golden brown, about 1-2 minutes. Pour in the chicken broth and stir until the sauce thickens, another few minutes.

4. Reduce heat to medium-low. Add cream cheese to the pot and stir to melt. (It might take a little bit, no worries!) Add the turkey, peas, bacon, and cheeses; stir to combine, seasoning with salt and pepper. Add the cooked spaghetti noodles and stir to combine, adding additional chicken broth as needed. (The sauce should be the consistency of canned cream soup.)

5. Transfer the mixture to a greased 9x13-inch pan or large casserole dish. Sprinkle with panko crumbs. Bake at 350*F for 20 minutes until the casserole is bubbly and the crumbs are golden brown.

Source: adapted from the Pioneer Woman