Sunday, November 30, 2014

Cranberry Bliss Bars

Apparently Cranberry Bliss Bars are an amazing dessert you can buy at Starbucks. I've never eaten one so I can't say if this copycat recipe taste anything like the real thing. However, I can tell you that these Cranberry Bliss Bars are out of this world! Blondies, cream cheese frosting, white chocolate chips, dried cranberries . . . Eric can't stay away from them. They just might be new annual dessert we make.

Recipe adapted from here.

1 1/2 sticks butter, melted
1 1/2 cups brown sugar, packed
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 1/4 cups flour
1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
pinch of ground cinnamon
3/4 cup dried cranberries (homemade or store-bought)
3/4 cup white chocolate chips

1 8-ounce package cream cheese, softened
1 cup powdered sugar
1/2 cup white chocolate chips, melted
1/2 cup dried cranberries

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease 9x13-inch baking dish with cooking spray or line with parchment paper.

In a large bowl, combine brown sugar and melted butter and allow to cool to room temperature (so it doesn't cook the eggs). Add eggs and vanilla and beat with electric mixer.

In a medium bowl, combine together flour, baking powder, salt, and cinnamon. Gradually add the dry ingredients to the wet ones and combine. Fold in cranberries and white chocolate chips.

Pour batter evenly into baking dish. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes or until the center of the blondies have set. Place on a wire rack and allow to cool completely.

In a large bowl, beat the cream cheese and powdered sugar until well-combined. Pour in half of the melted white chocolate and beat until well combined. Frost the cooled blondies then sprinkle with cranberries. Drizzle the top of the blondies with the melted white chocoalte. Place the cookie bars in the fridge to allow the set then cut into bars.

Store in an airtight container in the fridge.



More Dessert Recipes:
Michigan Cranberry Brownies
Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Brownies
Chocolate Caramel Shortbread Bars (Twix Bars) 
Congo Bars, Blondies, or Chocolate Chip Cookie Bars?
Blueberry Chocolate Chip Brunetties 

Homemade Dried Cranberries

Homemade craisins (dried cranberries) are so incredibly easy to make--they just occupy your oven for a day. I go a little cranberry crazy in the winter and I've already used them to make a cranberry brie grilled cheese sandwich (seriously, sooo good!) and Cranberry Bliss Bars. I chased Eric away from them before he devoured them all, and I'm contemplating making a chicken breast stuffed with ricotta, spinach and cranberries.

Recipe adapted from here.

12-ounce bag fresh cranberries
1/4 cup water
1/2 cup granulated sugar

Wash cranberries then place them in a sauce pot. Bring a pot of water to a rolling boil in a second pot then pour boiling water over cranberries. Let the cranberries soak for about 10 minutes. They will pop (split open) during this time.

Drain the cranberries and gentle dry them. Check to make sure all the cranberries popped. If any of them did not, pierce them with a paring knife.

In a saucepan, combine the water and sugar and bring to boil until sugar is dissolved to make a simple syrup. Add cranberries to the simple syrup and stir until all the cranberries are well coated (you can skip this step, but your craisins will be very, very tart).

Preheat oven to 200 degrees. Cover a cookie sheet with parchment paper. Spread the cranberries out on the cookie sheet in a single layer and place in the oven.

Bake cranberries for 6 to 8 hours. Since cranberries come in different sizes, the smaller one will dry out quicker than the larger ones so at about 5 or 6 hours, I start checking on the cranberries every hour and removing the ones that are shrivelled but are still somewhat soft.

Allow to cool. Store in an airtight container.



More Cranberry Recipes:
Cranberry Sauce Three Ways: Traditional, Orange Zest, and Brandied 
Spiced Cranberry Juice
Michigan Cranberry Brownies 
Sugared Cranberries
Pumpkin Oatmeal Cookies with White Chocolate Chips and Dried Cranberries
Dark Chocolate-Covered Cranberries 

Friday, November 21, 2014

Chickpea Salad

Lunch is my hardest meal of the day. Breakfast is usually tea with oatmeal or cereal or fruit. As I make my grocery list and go shopping, I plan my dinners. But lunches? Easy if there are leftovers in the fridge. Not so easy if there's no leftovers. I tend to eat a lot of egg salad or tuna salad just because I can't think of anything else and it's easy. But that gets boring. In order to chance it up a bit, I decided to make chickpea salad. Oh my god, so so so good. I have a new favorite, easy, heathly lunch!

Recipe adapted from here.

1 15-ounce can of chickpeas (also known as garbanzo beans), drained, rinsed, and dried
1 celery stick, chopped
2 tablespoons onion, minced
1-2 tablespoons mayo (I tend to go super light on mayo. It's all personal preference)
1 tablespoon lemon juice, optional (sometimes I add it, sometimes I don't)
1 teaspoon dried dill weed
salt and pepper, to taste
a dash of garlic powder, optional

Coarsely mash the chickpeas (you can use a fork, potato masher, I use a meat mallet) in a bowl. Stir in the rest of the ingredients.

Serve on bread, with crackers or veggies, or eat as is.



More Chickpea Recipes:
Chickpea Veggie Burgers 
Hummus without Tahini
Cinnamon-Sugar Roasted Chickpeas 
Roasted Pumpkin Chickpeas
Sweet and Salty Chickpeas
Skinny Chocolate Chip Cookies (Made with Chickpeas)

Thursday, November 20, 2014

White Chocolate Covered Cranberries

Last winter I went on a cranberry craze. Well, I'm back at it this year! I've been craving dark chocolate-covered cranberries all year. As soon as cranberries showed up at the grocery store, I bought a bag and made chocolate-covered cranberries. Well, I happened to have some left over white chocolate from making a batch of homemade hot chocolate mix so I decided why not try white chocolate covered cranberries. Just add it to the list of cranberry recipes I love.

2 cups fresh whole cranberries, rinsed and dried
1 cup white chocolate chips

Line cookie pan with waxed paper.

Melt the chocolate in a microwave-safe bowl in the microwave on high. Microwave for 30 seconds, stir, and repeat as needed until chocolate is melted.

Pour the cranberries into the melted chocolate and gentle stir with a spatula until all the cranberries are covered in chocolate. With a fork, transfer the cranberries one by one to the cookie sheet. Place into the refrigerator until chocolate hardens.



More Cranberry Recipes:
Cranberry Sauce Three Ways: Traditional, Orange Zest, and Brandied 
Spiced Cranberry Juice
Michigan Cranberry Brownies 
Sugared Cranberries
Pumpkin Oatmeal Cookies with White Chocolate Chips and Dried Cranberries

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Hummus without Tahini

I'm going to state this right out of the gate: hummus without tahini is never going to be as amazing as hummus made with tahini. So why would you even bother making hummus without tahini? I can think of a number of reasons. Tahini is expensive. You've run out and don't want to go to the store. You don't even know what tahini is. And because hummus without tahini can still be damn good.

Recipe adapted from here.

1 15-ounce can chickpeas (also known as garbanzo beans)
1 cloves, (also try with roasted garlic)
1 tablespoon sesame oil
salt and pepper, to taste
1 tablespoon lemon juice, optional (sometimes I add it, sometimes I don't)

Drain and rinse the chickpeas and place them in a food processor along with garlic. Process until chickpeas turn to paste. Add sesame oil and lemon juice (if desired) and process until incorporated. Salt and pepper to taste.

Serve with crackers or veggies.



More Snack Recipes:
Apple Pie Salsa with Cinnamon-Sugar Chips 
Bacon and Cheese Deviled Eggs 
Buffalo Chicken Dip 
Cucumber Chips
Fried Dill Pickles 
Fries with Garlic Cheese Sauce
Potato Chips in the Microwave
Roasted Garlic White Bean Hummus 

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Pizza Lasagna Rolls

I made these for my husband after my pizza chicken was such a success. Eric loved them (there was little doubt that he wouldn't) so we now have another pizza dish to add to our repertoire.

Recipe adapted from here.

8 lasagna noddles, cooked, drained, and rinsed with cold water
3 cups marinara sauce (pizza sauce or spaghetti sauce would also work)
1 egg
1 1/4 part-skim ricotta
1 1/2 cups mozzarella cheese, shredded, divided
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese, grated, divide
1 tablespoon dried parsley
salt and pepper, to taste
40-50 slices of pepperoni (thicker slices work best)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease 7x11-inch baking dish with cooking spray and spread about 1/2 cup pizza sauce on the bottom of the pan.

In a large bowl, combine ricotta, egg, 1/2 cup mozzarella, 1/4 cup Parmesan, salt and pepper. Spread 2-3 tablespoons of the cheese filling along each lasagna noodle. Place 5 or 6 pepperonis on each noodle. Roll up the noodles and place in the baking dish, seam side down.

Pour remaining sauce over the rolls. Sprinkle remaining 1 cup mozarella and 1/4 cup Parmsean over the top of the dish.

Cover the bakingdish with foil and bake for 30 minutes. Remove foil and bake for another 10 to 15 minutes or until the cheese is melted.



More Pizza Recipes:
Basic Pizza Dough Recipe
Buffalo Chicken Pizza
Cauliflower Pizza Crust
Homemade Pizza Rolls
Ricotta, Basil, and Sun-dried Tomato Pizza 
Pizza Inspired Chicken
The Pizza Quiche
Pizza Zucchini Boats
Pull-Apart Pizza French Bread

Monday, November 17, 2014

Apple Pancakes

These pancakes are perfect for a crisp fall morning. There is no better way to describe them.

Recipe adapted from here.

1 cup flour
2 tablespoon brown sugar, packed
1 teaspoon baking powder
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
dash of salt
1 cup milk
1 egg
1 tablespoon butter, melted and cooled
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup sweet apple, finely chopped

In a medium bow, combine flour, brown sugar, baking powder, cinnamon and salt. In a small bowl combine milk, egg, melted butter, and vanilla. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and mix until just combined. It's okay if mix has some lumps; you don't want to overmix. Fold in apple.

Grease a skillet with cooking spray and heat over medium heat. Pour 1/4 cup batter on the skillet. Cook until small bubbles form on the edges of the pancakes, about 1 or 2 minutes, then flip. Cook other side until golden brown, about 1 minute. Repeat with remaining batter.

Serve with maple syrup.



More Apple Recipes:
Baked Apple Chips
Savory Apples Stuffed with Sage and Sausage
An Apple Cider Birthday Cake
Apple Cider Cookies with Spiced Rum Glaze
Applesauce Cookies with Caramel Frosting
Delicious Apple Pie 
Apple Rings!
Peanut Butter Baked Apples

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Black Bean Tacos

I must be in a Mexican-inspired mood lately. In the last couple weeks, I've made pumpkin brie quesadillas and chicken nugget tacos. And now a black bean taco. I can not even begin to tell you how much I love this black bean taco. My husband was on the phone and I made him take a moment to try one--they were that good. He's not a huge bean fan, but even he liked these.

Recipe adapted from here.

1 15-ounce can blackbeans, drained and rinsed
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon cumin
1/4 cup salsa
1 ounce cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup mozarella cheese, shredded
8 6-inch tortillas
Cooking Spray

In a bowl, coarsely mash together beans, garlic powder, cumin, salsa, mozzarella, and cream cheese.

Heat of skillet over medium-high heat and spray with cooking spray. Place one tortilla in the skillet, spread 1/8 of the bean mixture on half of the tortilla and fold the tortilla in half. Cook until tortilla is golden and crisp, about 2 minutes. Flip and cook the other side for about 2 minutes.

Repeat with the rest of the tortillas.



More Mexican Recipes:
Snowflake Tortilla Chips 
Homemade Flour Tortillas
Chicken Enchiladas with Fire-Roasted Tomatoes
Chile and Tomato Shredded Chicken with Cheese Sauce
Corn and Black Bean Skillet Chicken 
Margarita Chicken and Steak Fajitas 

Monday, November 3, 2014

The World's Easiest Spiced Apple Cider

A few weeks ago I went to Uncle John's Cider Mill with some friends--poor Eric couldn't get the day off work so he missed out. We walked through the corn maze, a nature trail, and pumpkin patch, tasted some delicious wines, and of course bought apple cider! I also have some mulling spices from the cider mill. Now mulling spices might not be as pretty as sticks of cinnamon and star anise floating in a vat of apple cider on the stove. But they are a lot cheaper and quicker and perfect for making single serving cups of spiced apple cider!

1 cup apple cider
2 teaspoons mulling spices (I used Aspen)

Pour apple cider into a mug and heat in the microwave (2 minutes works for me). Stir in mulling spices. That simple!



More Beverage Recipes:
Butterbeer from Harry Potter
Homemade Hot Chocolate Mixes
Pumpkin Hot Cocoa
Spiced Cranberry Juice

Sunday, November 2, 2014

Pumpkin Mug Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting

The great thing about mug cakes is that are a generous single serving which means two things: you can't over indulge and you don't have to share. And this pumpkin mug cake is the most moist mug cake I have ever made. It really hits the spot on a chilly autumn day.

Recipe adapted from here.

4 tablespoons flour
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1 1/2 tablespoon sugar
2 tablespoons pumpkin puree
2 tablespoon milk
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
pinch of salt
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon

1 ounce cream cheese, softened
1/2 tablespoon powdered sugar

Spray the inside of a mug with cooking spray. Add all the ingredients in the mug and mix until well combined. Microwave for 50 to 60 seconds or until the cake is set in the middle. Each microwave works a little different so start at 50 seconds and slowly increase from there.

While cake cools, make the frosting.

In a small bowl, combine cream cheese and powder sugar. Place on top of pumpkin mug cake.



More Mug Recipes:
3-Ingredient Gluten-Free Mug Cake
Brownie in a Mug
Chocolate Chip Banana Bread in a Mug
Chocolate Chip Cookie in a Mug!
Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Mug Cake
Chocolate-Hazelnut Mug Cake
Chocolate Peanut Butter Mug Cake
Fluffernutter Mug Cake
French Toast in a Mug
Quiche in a Mug

Saturday, November 1, 2014

Chicken Nugget Tacos

A while back I posted a recipe for an Italian chicken nugget casserole, which had surpassed all my expectations. Since then, I've still been playing with ideas of how to transform boring old chicken nuggets into something more adult and tasty. These chicken nugget tacos are just that. Seriously, why didn't I think of using chicken nuggets in tacos earlier? It's so easy and so good. Now, this is more of an idea than a recipe. My favorite tacos are simple: chicken, cheese, hot sauce, onions. Sometimes salsa, sometimes not. But you can build your taco however you like.

Chicken nuggets
Taco shells, hard or soft
Taco Seasoning, optional
Hot sauce, optional
Shredded Cheese, optional
Lettuce, optional
Tomato, optional
Onion, optional
Salsa, optional
Beans, optional
Sour cream, optional

Bake your chicken nuggets according to package direction. Cut your chicken nuggets into strips or little bits. Toss with hot sauce or taco seasoning--or both! I tossed mine with hot sauce. Assemble tacos with your favorite ingredients. I then put mine into the micrwave to melt the cheese.



More Chicken Recipes:
Orange Chicken with Fried Rice
Parmesan-Seared Chicken
Parmesan Chicken Casserole 
Tomato and Artichoke Chicken
The Ultimate Comfort Food Casserole
Zesty Shredded Chicken (Crockpot) 
Baked Garlic Chicken