Thursday, July 30, 2015

Shrimp and Bacon Fried Rice

I have had my eye on this recipe for months now and am SO glad we finally gave it a try! It was devoured in no time flat (like one sitting, with three adults). 

I love the simple list of ingredients and the delicious combination they result in. This is perfect as a main entree and will leave you full and happy. The bacon added a little something "extra" that I thought was really fun - though definitely best fresh. The little bit that I didn't eat at dinner and ate cold the next day had limp bacon... sad, sad bacon. Still tasty though.

Mix and match with the veggie add ins to your taste preferences, and increase / decrease seasonings to get it just the way you like it. Making fried rice at home is easy, tasty, and FUN!

Shrimp and Bacon Fried Rice adapted from The Little Kitchen

1 1/2 cups uncooked white rice, cooked per package directions (preferably made the day before)
1/4 cup grape seed oil
3 large eggs, beaten
3/4 to 1 pound deveined and washed shrimp (if frozen, rinse gently with cold water to thaw and remove any ice)
salt and pepper (to taste)
2 tsp sesame oil
2 - 3 TBS soy sauce (or to taste)
1 cup frozen mixed peas and carrots
1 TBS unsalted butter
4 - 5 large slices thick cut bacon, cooked and chopped
2 green onions, sliced thin (optional)

  1. Prepare the rice (it is preferable to make the rice a day ahead of time, but if you have to make it the same day, make sure to give yourself time to cook it and then spread it out on a cookie sheet to allow it to cool and the excess moisture to absorb / dissipate for 15 - 20 minutes. If you can refrigerate it for 30 - 60 minutes after allowing it to cool on a cookie sheet that is helpful as well).
  2. Heat 1 TBS of oil in a large wok or deep nonstick skillet over medium heat. Cook the eggs, swirling pan lightly to allow eggs to spread, for 2 - 3 minutes, and when set flip and cook for another 2 - 3 minutes. Remove from pan and set aside. Cut egg into thin strips / pieces.
  3. Pat the shrimp dry. Add another TBS of oil to the pan and cook the shrimp, seasoned with salt and pepper, for about 1 - 2 minutes per side or until no longer opaque and pink in color.
  4. Drain off any excess liquid and place shrimp to the side.
  5. Return the pan to the stove and add remaining 2 TBS of oil. Cook the prepared rice for about two minutes before adding sesame oil and soy sauce. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Turn the heat up a little and cook for about 5 - 8 minutes or until rice is heated through, making sure to stir ocassionally.
  6. Run the frozen peas and carrots mixture under water to thaw quickly (using a strainer), then add to the rice in the pan. Cook for 2 - 3 minutes to warm through and combine. Reduce the heat to medium and add in the butter. When that has melted add in the remaining prepared eggs, bacon pieces, and cooked shrimp. Stir gently to combine. Taste and adjust seasonings as needed.
  7. Sprinkle with green onion if using.

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Baked German Apple Pancake (Dutch Baby) with Nutmeg & Ginger

I have never had a dutch baby / baked pancake before so I couldn't tell you exactly how they SHOULD look or taste - I can just tell you how this one came out! It was so so pretty in the cast iron skillet (I think anything cooked in a cast iron is gorgeous - can't help it)!

Juicy, tender lightly spiced apples doused in a coating of thick pancake batter (it's on the "eggy" side, more custard-like than a traditional pancake batter).

The lovely apple base provides pretty much all the sauce / topping you'll need but I did find that I thought this recipe could have used more flavor and would add at least a teaspoon or so of cinnamon to the apples and / or batter next time for my tastes (could very well be the apples I used were very mild in flavor).

If you visit the link below to see the original recipe you'll see she inverted the whole dish onto a plate before cutting into wedges and serving - her pancake also looks like it may have been a tad more "done" then mine. Definitely room for interpretation and customization on this recipe - make it your own! We all thought a little bit of maple syrup drizzled over the top would have been really nice with this as well. The powdered sugar is beautiful and a perfect way to finish this easy and tasty Sunday brunch dish off with.

Baked German Apple Pancake (Dutch Baby) with Nutmeg & Ginger from Cookin Canuck

½ cup all-purpose flour
1 TBS granulated sugar
½ tsp salt
½ tsp ground nutmeg
1 tsp ground ginger
⅔ cup half-and-half
2 large eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 TBS unsalted butter
1¼ lb (3 to 4 large) Gala or Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored, and cut into ½-inch slices
3 TBS packed brown sugar
1½ tsp fresh lemon juice
Powdered sugar for dusting
Suggested: 1 tsp cinnamon added to apples and / or batter for additional flavor if desired

  1. Place an oven rack in the upper-middle position and preheat the oven to 500 degrees F.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk together flour, granulated sugar, salt, nutmeg, and ground ginger (add cinnamon if desired). In a medium bowl, whisk together half-and-half, eggs, and vanilla extract. Pour the half-and-half mixture into the flour mixture and whisk until smooth, without lumps.
  3. In a 10-inch nonstick ovenproof skillet set over medium-high heat, melt the butter. Add the apples and brown sugar. Cook, stirring frequently, until the apples are golden brown, about 10 minutes. Remove the skillet from the heat and stir in lemon juice. Pour the batter around the edges of the pan and then over top of the apples.
  4. Place the skillet into the oven and immediately turn the heat to 425 degrees F. Bake until the pancake is brown and it has puffed above the edges of the skillet, 15 to 18 minutes. Using a rubber spatula, loosen the edges of the pancake from the skillet and invert the pancake onto a serving platter. Sift powdered sugar over the top of the pancake and cut it into wedges. Serve immediately.

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Baked Gouda Mac 'N Cheese

Please make this recipe soon... my sister and I fixed this recently and after we combined the noodles into the cheese sauce we couldn't stop "taste testing"! The blend of cheeses was awesome - of course you can mix and match to use what you have but that Gouda, welsh cheddar and sharp white cheddar combo was absolutely fantastic. Just a few simple seasonings to set off the delicious flavors of the cheese was all that was needed.

This was a delicious creamy baked mac n cheese that I am looking forward to making again - you can mix and match the cheeses, add bacon or leave it out, and use a crumb topping if you like, or not! Lots of options (we used a cheesy chip topping).  I thought it reheated really well too! If you want to make a smaller batch you can follow the link to the original recipe for an 8x8 pan sized version with slightly different recommendations for flour / milk ratio.

Baked Gouda Mac N Cheese adapted from

tablespoons butter
2  teaspoons chicken bouillon
16-oz uncooked elbow macaroni
tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon mustard powder
6 cups milk, any (I used a combination of 1%, whole and half and half since that's what I had)
3 cups grated cheddar cheese (I used a combination of Welsh cheddar, sharp white cheddar, and regular cheddar cheese)
1 1/2 - 2 cups grated Gouda cheese
nonstick cooking spray
black pepper, to taste

Optional: 1/4 - 12 cup bacon bits
Optional: crushed cheesy chips or cracker crumbs for topping if desired

  1. Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Spray a 9x13 baking dish with cooking spray and set aside.
  2. Generously salt the boiling water and add uncooked pasta. Cook according to package directions until just shy of al dente.
  3. Pour pasta into a strainer and return empty pot to the stove (wipe out if necessary before using for the sauce). Melt the butter in the saucepan over medium heat. Whisk in seasonings and flour to form a thick paste. Slowly whisk the milk in until well blended and smooth. Bring sauce to a low boil, reduce heat and add in cheese. Stir just until cheese has blended and sauce is smooth again.
  4. Dump the strained noodles back into the pot with the sauce, stir gently to combine and add black pepper to taste. If using bacon bits / pieces, stir into the sauce and noodles.
  5. Pour the noodles and sauce carefully into the prepared baking dish. Bake in preheated oven, covered, for 15 minutes. If adding crumb topping remove after the first 15 minutes, add topping and return to oven, uncovered, for an additional 15 - 20 minutes or until topping is golden and sauce is bubbling.
  6. Allow to cool for 5 minutes before serving.

Monday, July 27, 2015

#SecretRecipeClub ~ Chicken Caesar Pasta, Roasted Brussel Sprouts with Bacon, and S'mores Cookies

Welcome to the July, Group D, reveal day for Secret Recipe Club! I hope you will take a moment to visit the Secret Recipe Club if you've never heard of it before - it is a wonderful group of food bloggers who are given a secret assignment of another member's blog each month and our goal is to pick ANYTHING from their blog to make and post about on our designated reveal day!

For the month of July I was assigned to our fearless leader, Sarah's blog "Fantastical Sharing of Recipes"! Since I had such an important assignment I decided I would go for a full meal - dinner, side, and dessert to share today. This was not necessarily an easy assignment - Sarah's recipe index is MASSIVE and it was really hard to narrow down our final choices! You will find a wide variety of dishes to suit your tastes on Sarah's blog - definitely stop by and drool your way through a few dishes when you have a moment. You won't be disappointed!

The first dish we narrowed down was Chicken Caesar pasta - I had chicken thawed out and so went straight to the chicken dishes and opened about 6 or 7 recipes before we settled on the Chicken Caesar Pasta. It is a great base recipe that can easily be adapted. It is very creamy and cheesy, and I think would do well with the addition of some broccoli. Yumm! The Caesar dressing gives it a nice flavor and it was really nice for something different.

The second dish we made was the super yummy bacon Brussels sprouts - YUMM. I love Brussels sprouts and don't make them nearly often enough so this was a really nice treat. Simply seasoned with salt, pepper, and olive oil and then tossed with chopped bacon and a little extra bacon grease? Delicious. We devoured these.

And finally, the amazing cookies you see above. S'mores cookies. Yes, please and thank you. I adore all things s'mores and couldn't pass these ones up. I am very glad I didn't! Everyone in the house agrees these are amazing. I had my oven too low for the initial batch so mine spread more than they should have and the marshmallows totally melted, but they are perfectly tender, a little crisped around the edges, and full of gooey melty chocolate and marshmallows. The graham cracker base gives them a nice crunch and another level of texture and flavor. These are awesome - perfect to share (or not... up to you!)

This was a wonderful and fun month for me and my crew! I loved all three dishes we made and enjoyed - I can't wait to visit Sarah's blog again for more dinner inspiration soon. Happy reveal day Group D!

Chicken Caesar Pasta from Fantastical Sharing of Recipes

1 lb. penne pasta, cooked
16 oz. cooked chicken, cubed
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
3 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
8 oz. chicken broth
12 oz. Caesar salad dressing

  1. Mix together all ingredients in a 9x13 baking dish.
  2. Bake uncovered for 25 minutes at 350 degrees.
  3. Serve with additional Parmesan cheese and a sprinkling of parsley, if desired.

Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Bacon from Fantastical Sharing of Recipes

4 cups Brussels sprouts
salt and pepper, to taste
1/2 cup bacon, diced and cooked, bacon grease reserved

  1. Trim off bases of sprouts and toss with EVOO and salt and pepper. Place on a foil-lined baking sheet.
  2. Roast at 450 degrees for 15 minutes. Toss halfway through cooking. (Roast longer if desired, 15 minutes was about right for us to get them dark on the outside and cooked through).
  3. Meanwhile, cook bacon. Remove bacon from the skillet and reserve bacon grease. Chop bacon when cool. 
  4. When sprouts are roasted add them into the skillet you cooked the bacon in, add a little bit of bacon grease (to taste), and toss with the chopped bacon and additional salt and pepper to taste. Serve immediately.

S'mores Cookies from Fantastical Sharing of Recipes

11 tbsp. unsalted butter, softened
1 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs
1 tsp. vanilla
1 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. cinnamon
2 1/2 cups flour
1/2 cup semisweet chocolate chips
1 cup mini marshmallows
4 to 5 regular sized Hershey's bars, broken into pieces
1-2 packages graham crackers, broken into squares

  1. Lay out your graham crackers on a parchment paper-lined baking sheet or two. You'll want them to be touching.
  2. In an electric mixer, cream together softened butter and sugars until fluffy.
  3. Add eggs and vanilla; mix until combined.
  4. Whisk together flour, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon in a separate bowl.
  5. Add flour mixture to wet ingredients on low speed.
  6. Fold in chocolate chips and marshmallows.
  7. Chill for 1 hour or overnight.
  8. Drop by the tbsp. onto graham crackers and press down slightly.
  9. Bake for 5 minutes in a preheated 375 degree oven.
  10. Remove from oven and add Hershey bar pieces.
  11. Bake for 5 to 7 more minutes.
  12. Remove to a wire rack to cool.


Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Crock Pot Carolina Mustard Shredded Beef Sandwiches

Awhile back I was on a "Faceless Frenzy" for AllRecipes and one of the faceless recipes I made was a yummy sweet and tangy Carolina Mustard Sauce. I've had it sitting in my refrigerator allowing the flavors to meld and decided to try to use a few of my sauces and various open condiment containers up. I had a beef roast in the refrigerator as well and so these saucy shredded beef sandwiches were born.

The sauce is very sweet and mildly tangy, so depending on your taste preference you can spice it up a little more with additional tabasco or some Dijon if desired. The sauce is also pretty thin after cooking in the crock pot, so if you want to top with some thicker barbecue sauce when serving if you like that texture go for it! I added some sweet baby ray's BBQ sauce to mine because it's my favoritest.

Sweet Carolina Mustard Sauce from Chef Bo on AllRecipes

1 3/4 cups prepared yellow mustard
1 1/8 cups honey
2/3 cup cider vinegar
1/4 cup ketchup
3 tablespoons brown sugar
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1 teaspoon hot pepper sauce (such as Tabasco®)

  1. Stir mustard, honey, vinegar, ketchup, brown sugar, Worcestershire sauce, and hot pepper sauce together in a non-reactive bowl; pour into jars and seal tightly.
  2. Refrigerate sauce to let the flavors blend before using, at least 24 hours.

Crock Pot Carolina Mustard Shredded Beef Sandwiches

2 - 3 lb beef roast
1 recipe Sweet Carolina Mustard Sauce
1 - 2 TBS Dijon mustard (optional)
Pickle slices
Sliced cheese

  1. Combine beef with Carolina mustard sauce and additional Dijon to taste (I added about a TBS to mine for a little more "bite".)
  2. Cook on low for 8 hours, or until tender enough to shred. Shred meat into juices, and allow meat to soak on low in juices for another 30 minutes before serving on buns. Top with pickles and sliced cheese if desired.
** Add additional barbecue sauce if desired; I added some Sweet Baby Ray's to mine, my son left his as it was.

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Pepperoni Pizza Toast

Yesterday was pepperoni chicken, today is pepperoni pizza toast! I had a few pieces of pepperoni left after recent uses and decided a quick easy toast version of pizza sounded yummy for an easy dinner for me, snack for my kiddo. Pepperoni is also one of the few meats that Lindsey really likes (which I find odd). When I was fixing this she would run up to me and hold her hand out and say "more" and I would give her one and she'd run back to her playroom. A few minutes later we'd repeat. She probably ate about 4 pieces while I put these together.

I loved how these came out - the use of thin cut sourdough bread made these crispy and was a really nice base for some pizza fixings! Plus they are the perfect size for individual servings and easy to hold in your hand.

My son really liked this easy treat, and though he didn't think he was hungry at first, he changed his mind and ate two of these pretty quickly once they were ready.

Pepperoni Pizza Toast

2 thin slices sourdough bread
10 - 12 pepperoni slices
2 TBS spaghetti / pizza sauce
6 - 8 TBS shredded mozzarella cheese
optional: shredded Parmesan cheese, additional toppings of your choice

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Place bread slices on a cookie sheet and distribute the sauce over the bread, spread to the edges with a knife or spoon.
  3. Top with pepperoni slices and cheese (add a sprinkling of Parm and / or other toppings if desired).
  4. Bake in preheated oven for 8 - 10 minutes, or until toast is crisped and cheese has melted.

Monday, July 20, 2015

Pepperoni Stuffed Rolled Chicken

Want a quick, easy, tasty meal? Look no further! This one comes from Lynsey Lou and I found it when I was assigned to her for Secret Recipe Club not long ago. (I saved a TON of recipes from her blog that month, and I am determined to eat my way through them all, one by one!)

I loved the combination of flavors - these came out perfectly moist and tender with a lovely breading and tasty filling ingredients. I will definitely be making these again!

Lynsey stuffed her chicken with spinach in addition to the other ingredients listed below which would be a great addition if your family allows you to put spinach in things (mine does not - although my son will suck down a smoothie packed full of it, he just doesn't want to see it!)

Pepperoni Stuffed Chicken from Lynsey Lou

3 medium boneless, skinless chicken breast halves
3 TBS grated Parmesan cheese (more / less to taste)
15-18 slices pepperoni
1 TBS parsley
1/4 cup seasoned bread crumbs
Olive oil
Salt and Pepper to taste

  1. Place chicken breast between 2 pieces of parchment/wax paper and pound out until about 1/2 inch thick.  Once pounded out, sprinkle on salt and pepper to taste then add parsley. 
  2. Lay 5-6 (more if desired) pepperoni slices over the entire breast, cover with 1/3 of the Parmesan and 1/3 of the shredded mozzarella.
  3. Roll chicken breast, then secure with toothpicks. Drizzle with olive oil then roll in bread crumbs. Place in a 2-qt baking dish.  
  4. Place in oven, cook for 25-30 minutes at 350 F.

Wednesday, July 08, 2015

#BloggerCLUE ~ White Bean, Tomato and Basil Salad

Welcome to July reveal day for the the C.L.U.E. Bloggers (CLUE = Cook, Learn, Undertake, Eat).  Blogger C.L.U.E. is a group of like minded food bloggers who get an assignment each month of another member's blog; our mission (should we choose to accept it) is to take the theme for the month and find any recipe on our assigned blog that fits. Make the recipe, photograph the recipe, and share it with you on reveal day! For this month I had the fun task of finding a "Summer BBQ / Grilling" recipe (grilled veggies or meats, main courses or side dishes or desserts or drinks that would be great at a barbecue) from Kathy at Bakeaway With Me. I knew I was going to get along just great with Kathy when I saw her blog banner - "A Balanced Diet is a Cookie In Each Hand". Yes, yes it is!! :)

This was the perfect excuse for me to make a white bean salad dish at home; I love, love, love bean salads but never make them for some reason! I love the combination of dressing ingredients - a little tang, a little sweet and all deliciousness! I really love the pop of flavor and freshness from the basil; definitely my favorite herb to use. Fresh is always best, but I have to say I really love the lightly dried herbs by Gourmet Garden, they stay fresh for up to 4 weeks in your refrigerator and that makes me happy!

This salad makes the perfect side for any barbecue, picnic, potluck or evening with your grill. Heartiness from the beans, freshness from the basil and vegetables; this is a simple dish that comes together quickly and is easy to tweak to your personal preferences by adding or decreasing the quantities of the dressing ingredients. Add cucumber, onion, or even some diced grilled chicken for a one-dish meal! I am super excited to take the leftovers with me for lunch tomorrow! Yumm!

White Bean, Tomato and Basil Salad from Bakeaway with Me

1 can white beans, drained and rinsed
2 cups of mixed grape tomatoes, halved (I used 1 large ripe tomato, diced)

1 TBS chopped fresh basil (or lightly dried basil from Gourmet Garden) 

Dressing Ingredients
1 clove of garlic, minced
2 tbsp red wine vinegar
1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
2 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp honey
salt and pepper to taste


  1. Whisk together all ingredients for the dressing.  
  2. Combine beans and any desired diced veggies (such as cucumber and tomato) in a resealable container and toss with the dressing. Chill for at least 20 minutes, allowing all the flavors to merge.
See what all the other Clue Bloggers made today!

Saturday, July 04, 2015

#WeekendsInAFrenchKitchen ~ Skate with Brown Butter and Capers

Welcome to the inaugural post of the Weekends In a French Kitchen group! This is such an exciting project to be a part of - I cannot wait to see how the upcoming recipes taste, explore this amazing cuisine through these books, expand my cooking repertoire and experiences, and expose myself to new and delicious recipes! (Follow the link provided above to learn more about the recipe posting schedule, the two books we'll be cooking through, and how the group was formed - you can also see where in the world those who have joined in are from and maybe even join the group yourself!)

This is probably the first French recipe I have cooked... my choice of international cuisine usually falls to Mexican or Italian, so when I heard about this group I thought it would be a really fantastic opportunity to get out of my comfort zone and experience some gorgeous and delicious new food. After I fixed this recipe (I subbed halibut for skate since that is what I was able to find at my grocery store) I was completely hooked. It was such a simple list of ingredients, the preparation was really very quick and easy and the "wow factor" was BIG with this meal. Gorgeous, elegant, rich, and absolutely delicious. I could not have been any happier with this recipe and I know we will certainly be making it again! Quick enough for a work night and impressive enough for dinner guests.

Per the groups guidelines, the recipe is not posted here, out of respect for the author of the cookbook. However, I highly recommend you look into your own copy of "Cafe Boulud Cookbook" and join in the fun!!