Monday, January 31, 2011

BBQ Chicken Eggrolls

With the Super Bowl right around the corner I thought I might be a good idea to offer up some finger friendly ideas. So, this week will be dedicated to all things appetizers! If you know me or this blog at all you know I'm a huge egg roll fan. I have dozens of egg roll recipes just waiting in the queue, a couple of which will make their debut here on Super Bowl Week!
I've talked before about canned chicken, and I am well aware of people's aversion to it. See BBQ Chicken Nachos for more of my thoughts on canned chicken (and a really awesome recipe that could also be used for your Super Bowl Party!). I only like canned chicken if I'm pairing it with barbecue sauce, don't ask why, it just works. If you want to use shredded chicken breasts for this recipe, be my guest.
These disappeared before I even got to have my second helping. They were so tasty! As with many of my recipes, this is more a method than an exact science with specific measurements. You can make as many or as few as you like. Below I give you the list of ingredients you need for this recipe, but definitely go ahead and double/triple to ensure you have enough for your crowd. Make sure you prepare extra because they will go fast!
BBQ Chicken Egg Rolls
  • 1 can chicken (or cooked, shredded chicken)
  • 1/2C barbecue sauce (you may need more or less, use your judgement. you don't want it too soupy)
  • 2% shredded cheddar cheese
  • egg roll wrappers
  • ranch for dipping
Drain and shred chicken.
Mix with BBQ sauce and heat in microwave, stirring to incorporate.
Set up a little assembly line with your chicken mixture, cheese and egg rolls.
Add the chicken first, top with some cheese, and roll up.
Bake at 400 for 15-20 mins, flipping once halfway through to brown on both sides.
Serve with ranch for dipping.

Friday, January 28, 2011

Chex Muddy Buddies

A few months ago I ventured on a three and a half hour visit home to see my mom, with three kids in tow, all by myself. Don't ask, yes, I'm crazy. I was already armed with a portable DVD player, but thought I needed some additional behavioral incentives once the movies got old.

So, what did I do? I cooked! Well, sort of. The method for this recipe can't exactly be described as "cooking," more like assembling. I actually made this before I went to work, so that I wouldn't have as much to do in order to get ready for our trip the next day! That should tell you how simple this was to prepare. A word to the wise though, unless you have serious self control, are making this for a party, or have super munchy kids (like mine)....don't even bother with this. You'll eat the whole batch. All eighteen servings. And I really don't want to be responsible for anyone gaining five pounds on my watch. I can't have that on my conscience.

You could play around with this a number of ways. Maybe use almond butter or sunbutter instead of peanut. Or use white chocolate chips or peanut butter chips instead of chocolate. It was really good just the way its written though. Your kids will love you for this one!

Chex Muddy Buddies
  • 9 cups rice Chex
  • 1C semisweet chocolate chips
  • 1/2C peanut butter
  • 1/4C butter
  • 1t vanilla
  • 1.5C powdered sugar  
  1. Into large bowl, measure cereal; set aside.
  2. In 1-quart microwavable bowl, microwave chocolate chips, peanut butter and butter uncovered on High 1 minute; stir. Microwave about 30 seconds longer or until mixture can be stirred smooth. Stir in vanilla. Pour mixture over cereal, stirring until evenly coated. Pour into 2-gallon resealable food-storage plastic bag.
  3. Add powdered sugar. Seal bag; shake until well coated. Spread on waxed paper to cool. Store in airtight container in refrigerator.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Roasted Garlic Cauliflower

No one in my house likes cauliflower, except me. I've tried and tried, all kinds of methods, no luck. I thought for sure this would be the recipe to make believers out of my family. Again, no such luck. But please don't let them deter you from trying this recipe, because in my opinion, its one of the best vegetable dishes I've ever made. And really, no one's opinion matters but mine anyway, right?

My two older children actually did have a very small helping of this dish, and claimed it was good, but definitely didn't want seconds. I think maybe they've learned how to oblige me when it comes to taste testing! My husband ate one tiny piece because I forced him to, but he wasn't happy about it. He is a lifelong cauliflower hater though, so I wasn't expecting to convert him. The baby also took a tiny piece, but spit it out. I'm really not helping my case for this recipe am I?

Since no one else wanted it, I ate it. All. The entire head of cauliflower. There are worse things I could eat in entirety, don't look at me like that. It was that delicious! Something magical happens when you roast vegetables, they just get such great flavor. Along with the garlic and parmesan cheese, pure heaven. I hope you'll try it out!

Roasted Garlic Cauliflower
  • 1 head cauliflower
  • 3-4 cloves garlic, chopped
  • cooking spray or olive oil
  • parmesan cheese for sprinkling

Preheat oven to 425.
Cut cauliflower into florets and toss with garlic and oil or cooking spray.
Spread evenly on a baking sheet.
Roast for 20-30 minutes until cauliflower is tender.
Remove and sprinkle a healthy helping of parmesan cheese before serving.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

The Honeymoon's Over!


I apologize for my slow start in getting back to posting. After a week in paradise its really tough adjusting back to reality! Our wedding was intimate and beautiful and perfect, and our honeymoon was absolutely magical. I'm a happy girl! Instead of a recipe, today I'm sharing a few photos from the honeymoon, which was in Nassau, Bahamas. As soon as I have some wedding photos back I'll be sure to share those as well. But don't worry, it will be back to recipes as usual tomorrow. I hope you all had a fabulous week while I was away!

Swimming with the dolphins on Paradise Island. This particular dolphin was actually in the movie Flipper! By the way, that water is the ocean, not a pool!

 Our first day, exploring the resort and the beach. I've never seen sand so white!

No budding flower was safe from me there, they were all so beautiful!

 The amazing view from our suite. What a way to wake up every morning!

 Cocktails on the pier, we were living the good life, if only briefly!

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Taco Soup

I love it when dinner has cooked itself while I'm at work! Isn't that the best? I'm speaking of slow cookers here, in case you hadn't caught on yet. This is a filling and warm meal that's actually good for you too! It's called "soup" but its really more like a chili. It's very thick and hearty. In fact I prefer to just scoop it up with tortilla chips instead of my spoon!

In other news, I will be MIA for a little while. I'm getting married on Saturday and then off the Bahamas I go for a week! I'm sorry, but no I cannot take you all with me, my suitcase simply isn't large enough. I will get back to posting the week of January 24th, but until then, stay well and thanks for following!




Taco Soup
  • 1 pound boneless, skinless chicken, cut into pieces
  • 1 can kidney beans
  • 1 can navy beans
  • 1 can black beans
  • 1 can corn
  • 1 can diced tomatoes 
  • 1 envelope dry ranch dressing
  • 1 envelope taco seasoning
  • 1 cup of water
Do not drain beans, corn or tomatoes
Put all ingredients in crock pot, stir and cook on low 6-10 hours.
If you are going to be cooking the soup for more than 6 hours, add the chicken in for the last 2 hours only, as it can dry out easily.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Italian Meatball Subs

I've been on quite the meatball kick ever since Sweet and Sour Meatballs. I never even considered making my own meatballs before starting this blog, especially when buying a frozen bag of them is so easy. The truth is that the first time I made them I just wanted to see if I could. Now, I don't think I'll ever go back to buying frozen meatballs. Sure, its the easy way out (which you know is a good thing in my book) but the taste doesn't even compare. From now on I will take the little extra time to make homemade meatballs!

Come on now, if I can do it, you can do it. Its as easy as mixing up the meat, shaping it into balls, and popping them in the oven. They freeze beautifully too, so you can whip up a big batch on the weekend and then freeze them until you're ready to use. It couldn't be easier!

Italian Meatball Subs
  • 1 lb ground beef
  • 1/2C italian style breadcrumbs (or regular breadcrumbs with 2t of italian seasoning)
  • 1t garlic salt
  • 1 egg
  • 1/4C parmesan/romano cheese
  • hoagie rolls
  • provolone cheese
  • marinara sauce
Preheat oven to 400.
Mix first five ingredients together, form into balls and place on baking sheets.
Bake for 15-20 minutes, turning once if you wish.
Leave the oven on.
Split the hoagie roll, spoon marinara onto the bread, arrange meatballs and top with cheese.
Place the whole sandwich into the oven for 10 minutes or until cheese is melted and bread is slightly crisp.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Ham and Swiss Party Rolls

I struggled with an opening line that would truly express my intense love for these party rolls, and wore my backspace key completely out. You see, when I get really excited about something, I lose my ability to write coherent and intelligent sentences, and instead everything comes out like a high school cheerleader (which I happened to be once upon a time, so maybe that explains it). I'll come up with gems like,  "Oh em gee you guys, these are totally the best thing ever!" Or, "These party rolls are like, so super fantastic that I, like, did cartwheels while eating them and stuff!"

Yeah. I told you it was bad. Then I came up with this: After testing these party rolls out, I decided that coming soon on the Pie Hole will be a new section that will house my top ten favorite recipes. If you know me at all, you know how painfully difficult this will be for me to do, but this recipe has convinced me that not only does it deserve a place in this list, its the reason I am even willing to come up with one in the first place! How's that for getting my point across? (Don't expect to see the Top Ten anytime soon though, I do have a little wedding thing going on this weekend.)

I'm telling you guys, bring this to the next pot luck you have at work, and your boss will be putting you up for a promotion the next day. Make them for your boyfriend, and he'll probably propose. I don't care when or why you make them, just make them! Promise.

Hot Ham & Swiss Party Roll

  • 1 cup butter (*I cut this amount in half, I refuse to use butter in this quantity for ONE recipe!)
  • 1/4 cup onion, minced
  • 2 tablespoons poppy seeds
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 tablespoons spicy mustard
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon chopped parsley
  • 24 small dinner rolls
  • mayonnaise
  • 24 slices thin slices deli ham
  • 24 slices thin slices Swiss cheese
Line two 9 x 13-inch baking pans with non-stick or regular foil.
Prepare marinade: Saute onion in butter over low heat until onion is soft. Add poppy seeds, garlic powder, Worcestershire sauce, mustard, and brown sugar. Stir until brown sugar is melted into the sauce. Remove from heat and stir in parsley. Set aside.
Slice the buns in half. Spread bottoms of buns with a thin layer of mayonnaise. Fold ham slices to fit the bottom of each bun. Repeat with Swiss cheese slices, folding to fit buns. Replace bun tops. Place ham and cheese buns into prepared baking pans. Pour marinade evenly over both pans of buns.
Cover tightly with foil. Refrigerate overnight.
Preheat oven to 350°. Bake marinated buns covered for 25 minutes. Remove foil and bake an additional 10 minutes.
Makes 24 appetizer sandwiches.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Cheddar Beer Dip

If you don't like cheese and beer, this dip is not for you. And if you don't like cheese and beer, what in the world is wrong with you!? For some reason cheddar cheese and beer just mesh so well together. Cheddar-Beer Fondue for example, which I could probably just eat with a spoon if no one was looking. That goes for this dip as well (and while no one was looking, I did eat a spoonful of it...yes, I just admitted that).

I opted to use some soft pretzel sticks and hard pretzels as dippers for this snack. Both were great, but I think the hard pretzels worked a little better since this is such a thick dip. A word of warning though, its super addictive! Make sure you bring it to a potluck or serve it at a party so you won't be tempted to eat it all yourself!

Cheddar Beer Dip
  • 2 packages (8 ounces each) cream cheese, softened
  • 1/3 cup beer or nonalcoholic beer
  • 1 envelope ranch salad dressing mix
  • 2 cups (8 ounces) shredded cheddar cheese
  • Pretzels
In a large bowl, beat the cream cheese, beer and dressing until smooth. Stir in cheddar cheese. Serve with pretzels. Refrigerate leftovers. Yield: 3-1/2 cups.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Cinnamon Apple Chips

My two older children spent a long weekend with their great-grandmother recently due to having a couple teacher workdays off from school. While they were there, they visited an apple orchard and picked their own apples right from the trees. They had so much fun and brought home two giant bags full of apples.

 We like apples and all, but I knew there was no way we'd eat them all before they went bad. So, we made apple chips! This would be infinitely easier with a mandolin, so if you have one, please use it. I almost lost at least three fingers trying to slice the apples so thin. And no one wants to come out with a finger when they reach in for an apple chip, so please be careful!

Cinnamon Apple Chips
  •  4-5 medium apples (or as many as you want!)
  • cinnamon
Preheat oven to 250.
Core apples and slice off the top and bottom of the apple.
Slice the apple as thinly as possible.
Lay on a greased baking sheet and sprinkle with cinnamon.
Bake for 1 hour, flipping halfway through. If they don't look done you may need to bake them another 10-20 mins.
Lay flat on a paper towel or rack to cool. They will crisp up as they cool off.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Steak & Cheese Egg Rolls

If you've been following my blog for any substantial amount of time now, you probably know that if its edible, I'll try to put it into egg roll form. A while ago, when I made Bacon Cheeseburger Egg Rolls for Once A Month Mom, someone commented on the post (thanks whoever you were!) and suggested cheese steak egg rolls. Not one to turn down an egg roll challenge, I got to work immediately!

Of course, I had to simplify the process as much as possible, so I utilized a fantastic frozen product known as Steak-Ums. If you don't like Steam-Ums you can stop reading now, if you do, please press on and I think you'll be happy with the end result. These are (like most of my recipes) incredibly easy. Plus, you'll save a few calories by replacing a carb loaded hoagie bun with calorie friendly egg roll wrappers. I swear this will cure your steak and cheese fix without making the waistline of your yoga pants scream for mercy. You're welcome, yoga pants!

Steak and Cheese Egg Rolls
  • egg roll wrappers
  • shredded provolone cheese
  • steak-ums

There's not rocket science going on here! You'll need about two steak-um sheets per egg roll, so keeping in mind how many you want to make, fry up your steak-ums. Feel free to throw in whatever seasoning you have on hand (Montreal steak, some garlic, or even just salt and pepper). Then you'll line up your wrappers and fill them with some steak and shredded cheese, roll them up and place on a sprayed baking sheet. Bake at 400 for about 15-20 minutes, turning once to brown both sides. Dip them in mayo or ketchup!

Monday, January 3, 2011

Butternut Squash Fries

Along with the rest of you, I managed to gain the obligatory five pounds that just naturally comes along with Christmas vacation. So, if you're like me you are in desperate need of healthy foods! In the spirit of the new year, I have a confession to make. I'm having an extremely inappropriate affair with butternut squash. I have eaten it nearly every day for the past month. What can I say, we're in love! You may recall my post for Spiced Butternut Squash, which you should really try if you haven't. This roasted squash is my new favorite way to eat butternut squash. Roasting it brings out a totally different flavor than sauteing. It's hard to describe, but its almost a deep, nutty quality. A more sophisticated squash, shaped like a french fry.

Now, these will not necessarily get as "crisp" as regular potato fries would if you were to bake them. If you've ever made sweet potato fries, they'll be close to that same consistency. They just don't get completely firm, as a typical french fry does. Regardless, I promise you won't even miss that crunch. I only tell you about this so that you won't think something is wrong after you bake them. These are the perfect combination of salty and sweet and a great side dish for any meal!

Butternut Squash Fries
  • 1 butternut squash
  • 2T brown sugar
  • salt
Preheat oven to 425.
Peel and cut squash into fry sized pieces.
Toss with 2T brown sugar.
Lay flat on a baking sheet sprayed with cooking spray.
Sprinkle with salt.
Bake for 40 minutes, flipping halfway through. You'll know they're done when they start to brown.