Taco Pie

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This is a pretty fun take on tacos. The next time you have taco night with your family, try making a taco pie instead. You take a can of crescent rolls and press them into a pie pan and then layer on the beef, cheese and tortilla chips.  I used the garlic butter crescent rolls instead of just the plain crescent rolls and I think the garlic flavor helped make this pie even better. Once the pie comes out you can top it with your favorite Taco toppings. I recommend taco sauce. We didn’t have any in our house, and now I wish we did. It would have made this taco pie really good. I’d make this again. Maybe with some beans and corn inside the meat sauce next time.

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Taco pie recipe adapted from Taste and Tell

Taco Pie

Ingredients

  • 1 can crescrent rolls (8oz)
  • 1 pound ground beef or turkey
  • 1 tablespoon taco seasoning
  • 1/2 cup salsa
  • 3/4 cups crushed tortilla chips
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • your favorite taco toppings

Directions

Step 1
Preheat the oven to 375F.
Step 2
In a skillet, cook the ground beef until browned and cooked through. Add in the taco seasoning and the salsa and cook until warmed through.
Step 3
Unroll the crescent rolls. Separate the dough into 8 triangles. Line the pie dish with the triangles, with the small point at the bottom middle of the dish and the wide end at the top. Press the edges together.
Step 4
Pour the cooked beef mixture onto the crust. Sprinkle the crushed chips over the top of the beef. Drop the sour cream in dollops over the chips and gently spread. Top with the cheddar cheese.
Step 5
Bake in the preheated oven for 20-25 minutes, or until the cheese is melted and bubbly. Serve topped with lettuce, tomatoes and avocados.

Baked Sweet and Sour Chicken

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I’ve been sick lately and haven’t been in the mood to cook anything until tonight. Being sick around Christmas time sucks. I was supposed to go to my cousin’s in Grand Forks, ND but I didn’t, because I didn’t want to get my whole entire family sick. They were having prime rib and my Mom said that it was fantastic when she got back on Christmas day. Hopefully getting sick around Christmas time doesn’t become an annual thing…..

This has been one of the best recipes on pinterest I’ve found in quite a long time. I think I look at pinterest too much during the day, because I’ve noticed that a lot of recipes get pinned over and over again. Every once and awhile, I’ll find something good I want to try though.

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The rice reminded me of the rice they served at the Habachi restaurant I went to at the beginning of this month. The only thing that was missing was the butter, so I added a tablespoon. I swear, I think when I saw them making it, they added a whole stick. The sweat and sour chicken was great too. You could totally cheat with this recipe and buy some of those chicken bites in the store that are already breaded and just dump the sauce over that. I will be making this recipe again. The next time you feel like going out for Chinese food stay at home and make it instead. You probably already have a lot of the ingredients on hand. Having frozen peas, carrots, and onions in the freezer always helps too! Here is the recipe. The recipe for the fried rice can be found at the link below too.

Recipe from Life as a Loft House

Baked Sweet and Sour Chicken

Ingredients

  • 3-4 bonless chicken breasts
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 cup corn starch
  • 2 eggs beaten
  • 1/4 cup canola oil
  • 3/4 cups sugar
  • 1/2 cup distilled white vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 1 tsp garlic salt
  • 4 tablespoons ketchup

Directions

Step 1
Start by preheating your oven to 325 degrees.
Step 2
Rinse your chicken breasts in water and then cut into cubes. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Dip chicken into the cornstarch to coat then dip into the eggs. Heat your 1/4 cup oil in a large skillet and cook your chicken until browned but not cooked through.
Step 3
Place the chicken in a 9x13 greased baking dish. Mix all of your sweet and sour sauce ingredients in a bowl with a whisk and then pour evenly over the chicken. Bake for one hour and during the baking process you will need to turn the chicken every 15 minutes.

 

Pretzel M&M Hugs

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I’ve been seeing a lot of pretzel creations on the Internet lately and this is one of them, thought I’d jump on the bandwagon myself. I went to three different stores looking for the round pretzels and no luck so I opted for the Christmas pretzels. The round ones actually work better because the hugs settle in there so nicely. All you do is place a hershey kiss on top of the pretzel and melt them in the oven for 4 to 6 minutes at 200 degrees, and once they come out you place an M & M on top of them. Super easy and it doesn’t require mixing anything in a bowl. What other pretzel creations will they come up with next?

 

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Recipe adapted from Cooking Classy

Pretzel M&M Hugs

Ingredients

  • Hershey chocolate kisses
  • M&M candies
  • Round or square pretzels

Directions

Step 1
Preheat oven to 200 degrees.
Step 2
Place pretzels down on a cookie sheet pan lined with parchment paper. Put a Hershey kiss in the middle of each pretzel. Let the hershey kisses melt in the oven for 4 to 6 minutes. Immediately after the pretzel and hershey kisses come out of the oven place an M&M on top.

Slow Cooker Chocolate Candy

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This recipe intrigued me because I never had tried making candy in my crock pot before. I read some of the reviews on Food Network’s website and decided to change a few things. 1. Check the chocolate every hour and 2. I used only 1 pound of peanuts.

I learned that your crock pot can be a good way to temper chocolate. However, this recipe can be made in about 20 minutes on the stove top. I don’t have one of those fancy crock pots where you can set the timer to however long the recipe takes. I think it’s time to upgrade my crock pot. Mine only has 4 settings: Keep Warm, Low, High, and Off. Is there crock pots out there where you can set the temperature of it? Best Buy has a crock pot with 7 different settings on it for $80.00 and it had a timer.  That would be really nice to have.

The recipe states that this chocolate takes 3 hours to melt in the crock pot. That is WAY to long. My chocolate was done melting in an 1hr and 30 minutes. It’s a pretty easy recipe too, just chocolate and peanuts. Next time, I may try adding other ingredients to it or try different chocolate.

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Slow Cooker Chocolate Candy recipe from Trisha Yearwood

Slow Cooker Chocolate Candy

Ingredients

  • 2 pounds dry roasted salted peanuts
  • 4 ounces german sweet chocolate
  • 12 ounces semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 2 1/2 pounds almond bark

Directions

Step 1
Put the peanuts in the bottom of a 4-quart slow cooker. Layer the chocolate over the peanuts, beginning with the sweet chocolate, followed by the chocolate chips and then the almond bark. Set the temperature on low and cook for 3 hours. Do not stir the mixture.
Step 2
After 3 hours, stir the mixture with a wooden spoon until smooth. Drop the candy into cupcake pan liners using about 2 tablespoons per liner. Allow the candy to cool completely before removing the cupcake liners.

Hibachi Recipes

Wow, it’s been a really busy week here. I had two potulucks at work. Both were right after each other. I brought a pasta salad with bacon, cheddar, and tomatoes in it for one and Buffalo chicken dip for another. Lot’s of cooking this week. I really didn’t make anything new either. Had some Lasagna soup earlier this week and that lasted for a couple of days. So here you are with 3 brand new recipes in one post. Lucky you!

Recently, I went to a Hibachi restaurant for a friend’s birthday party. Ben and I don’t normally eat at those types of restaurants because they’re really expensive. It’s super easy to make everything at home. All it takes is a little time and love. The restaurant we go to starts off their meal with a bowl of mushroom soup. The soup is good and flavorful, and it doesn’t have much to it. Just a special type of broth, some sliced mushrooms, and scallions for decoration. It is so divine.

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Mushroom soup recipe from Carrie’s Cooking

Mushroom Soup

Ingredients

  • 1/2 stalk celery
  • 1 small onion
  • 2 carrots chopped
  • 2 tablespoons fresh ginger
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 2 tablespoons chicken bouillon granules
  • 3 tablespoons beef bouillon granules
  • 1 cup sliced mushrooms
  • 8 cups water

Directions

Step 1
In a large saucepan or stockpot, combine the celery, onion, carrot, ginger, garlic, and a few of the mushrooms. Add chicken bouillon, beef bouillon, and water. Place the pot over high heat, and bring to a rolling boil. When the mixture reaches boiling, cover, reduce heat to medium, and cook for 45 minutes. It can cook for longer than 45 minutes (sometimes I leave it on for a couple hours), you will just need to add more water if too much water evaporates.
Step 2
After it's cooked for at least 45 minutes strain the cooked soup and discard all of the vegetables, leaving the broth. Serve the broth with sliced mushrooms and sprinkle french friend onions over the top

The way they serve each course there is kind of confusing to me. Next they give you rice with this really good sauce called Yum Yum, sauce. I’d rather have my rice and protein together. Then you also get to chose if you want any noodles. The noodles are so good… Probably because they use a lot of butter and MSG.

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Hibachi Noodles from Best of the Veg

Hibachi Noodles

Ingredients

  • Japanese dried noodles
  • 1 tablespoon oyster sauce
  • 2 tablespoons reduced sodium soy sauce
  • 8 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 1 tablespoon chili sauce
  • 2 tablespoons semesame oil

Directions

Step 1
Cook noodles according to package directions.
Step 2
In a jar combine remaining ingredients and shake well.
Step 3
Heat a large skillet over medium heat. Add the sauce to the pan with the noodles. Toss the noodles around in the sauc e for 2 minutes and Serve.

 

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Homemade Yum Yum Sauce

Yum Yum Sauce

Ingredients

  • 1 1/4 cup mayonnaise
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1 teaspoon tomato paste
  • 1 tablespoon melted butter
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon paprika

Directions

Step 1
Using a fork or a whisk, blend all ingredients together thoroughly until well mixed and the sauce is smooth. Refrigerate overnight to allow flavors to blend. Bring to room temperature before serving.

Every recipe I thought, was pretty similar to what I was served at the restaurants. If you want to make these recipes at home it’s good to have some Asian ingredients stocked up in your fridge. I like to keep my fresh ginger in the freezer and I take it out to use it whenever I want. These are some ingredients I recommend that you keep on hand.

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Rainbow Cookies

The name of these cookies are called Rainbow cookies. I would like to change that name to something more festive like Red and Green Cookies or Christmas Layered Cookies. Don’t you think?

These cookies were quite challenging to make. Almond paste was an ingredient I’ve never delt with before. It’s in the baking aisle if you haven’t looked for it at all. Then,  I don’t think there is enough dough to work with either. I had divided the dough as evenly as I could and the layers were all uneven. It may not look like it in the pictures but trust me, they were.

I think the next time I make these, I would just use a regular short bread cookie dough recipe and then flavor the cookie dough with almond extract. Almond extract lasts longer than almond paste does and has a better almondy flavor. Did I mention almond paste is really expensive also? I think I paid almost $6.00 for a 6oz tube. I’d also try it with different kinds of flavored jams or maybe nutella even.

recipe from Food Network Magazine

Rainbow Cookies

Ingredients

  • 2 1/2 sticks unsalted butter (room temperature)
  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • 8 ouces almond paste
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • red and green food coloring
  • 15 ounces apricot jam
  • 1 pound bitter sweet chocolate
  • cooking spray

Directions

Step 1
You'll need three 9-by-12-inch jelly roll pans or rimmed baking sheets to make these layered cookies.
Step 2
Prep the pans: Position racks in the upper and lower thirds of the oven; preheat to 350 degrees F. Butter and flour three 9-by-12-inch jelly roll pans or rimmed baking sheets and line with parchment paper.
Step 3
Make the batter: Combine the almond paste and 3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar in a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Mix on medium speed until the mixture is in fine crumbles. Beat in 2 1/2 sticks butter, a few pieces at a time, until well combined. Beat in the egg yolks, one at a time, until smooth.
Step 4
Sift 2 cups flour onto a sheet of parchment and sprinkle the salt on top; add to the mixer bowl and beat until just combined.
Step 5
In a clean bowl, whisk the egg whites until foamy; while whisking, slowly add the remaining 2 tablespoons sugar and whisk until firm peaks form (or use a hand mixer). Fold about one-third of the egg white mixture into the batter with a rubber spatula, then gently fold in the rest. The batter should be fluffy.
Step 6
In a clean bowl, whisk the egg whites until foamy; while whisking, slowly add the remaining 2 tablespoons sugar and whisk until firm peaks form (or use a hand mixer). Fold about one-third of the egg white mixture into the batter with a rubber spatula, then gently fold in the rest. The batter should be fluffy.
Step 7
Bake the layers: Transfer the batter to the prepared pans (one pan for each color). Dip an offset spatula in water and spread the batter to the edge of each pan, smoothing the tops. Bake, switching the position of the pans halfway through, until the cakes are cooked through and just beginning to brown around the edges, 8 to 10 minutes. Let cool completely in the pans on wire racks.
Step 8
Assemble the layers: Spread half of the jam evenly over the green cake layer almost all the way to the edges. Unmold the plain cake layer by inverting it onto another pan or cutting board; peel off the parchment.
Step 9
Carefully slide the plain layer onto the green layer (use a wide offset spatula to help you, if necessary). Spread the remaining jam on top of the plain layer. Unmold the red cake layer and slide it onto the plain layer.
Step 10
Cover the cake with plastic wrap and top with one of the empty pans; place several heavy cans on top to weigh down the layers. Refrigerate at least 4 hours or overnight.
Step 11
Unmold the cake: Remove the cans and plastic wrap. Place a cutting board on top of the cake and flip to unmold it onto the cutting board. Remove the parchment from the top of the green layer.
Step 12
Trim the cake: Trim the sides with a knife to make straight edges. Spray a wire rack with cooking spray; set the rack over a baking sheet. Carefully slide the cake onto the rack, using a wide offset spatula to help you, if necessary.
Step 13
Cover in chocolate: Melt the chocolate in a heatproof bowl set over a pan of simmering water; pour over the cake. Dip an offset spatula in the hot water and smooth the top and sides. Let set slightly. Scrape wavy lines into the chocolate with a fork; let cool a few more minutes until the chocolate is mostly set but still slightly tacky.
Step 14
Cut into pieces: Slide the cake back onto the cutting board. Slice crosswise into 6 strips, then cut each strip into 8 rectangular pieces. For clean edges, dip the knife in warm water and wipe it with a cloth between cuts. Store in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 1 week.
Step 15
If the lines in the chocolate don't hold their shape, let the chocolate set a little longer and try again.

Lighter Fettuccine Alfredo Sauce

Let’s face it. Nothing quite compares to Heavy Cream which is used as the main ingredient in Alfredo. Heavy cream can make anything bad taste good, not to mention butter and bacon. I think that Alfredo sauce is probably one of the hardest dishes to make lighter.

I used 1% milk instead of the 2% the recipe called for. That would have probably made the sauce a little bit richer. There is also fat free half-and-half, but I can never find that in the grocery stores. Is there such a think as Fat Free Heavy Cream???  It calls for butter and parmesan cheese too. HELLO?! That’s like impossible to find ingredients to replace all that yummy goodness with. I thought this recipe did a good job of trying to make it lighter and it still tasted good. Like I said before, nothing compares to the real sauce. If you ever feel like indulging this is the dish to make.

If any of you are experiencing blank pages, I’m sorry. Try loading it again in the next few moments. I have to upgrade my ram on this website and hopefully that should take care of the problem!

Servings: 4

Per serving: Calories 490; Fat 15 g (Saturated 8 g); Cholesterol 48 mg; Sodium 734 mg; Carbohydrate 66 g; Fiber 3 g; Protein 20 g

Recipe from Food Network Magazine

Lighter Fettuccine Alfredo

Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • 1 clove garlic (minced)
  • 1 teaspoon lemon zest
  • 2 teaspoons flour
  • 1 cup 2% milk
  • 3/4 cups grated (parmesan cheese)
  • 3 tablespoons fresh parsley
  • 2 tablespoons Neufchtel or low-fat cream cheese
  • 12 ounces fettuccine noodles

Directions

Step 1
Make the sauce: Melt the butter in a skillet over medium heat. Add the garlic and lemon zest and cook until the garlic is slightly soft, about 1 minute. Add in the flour and cook, stirring with a wooden spoon,1 minute. Whisk in the milk and 3/4 teaspoon salt and cook, whisking constantly, until just thickened, about 3 minutes. Add the Neufchatel and parmesan cheese; whisk until melted, about 1 minute. Stir in the chopped parsley.
Step 2
Meanwhile, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the fettuccine and cook until al dente, 2 to 3 minutes. Reserve 1 cup cooking water, then drain the pasta and return to the pot.
Step 3
Add the sauce and 1/2 cup of the reserved cooking water to the pasta and gently toss to combine, adding more cooking water as needed to loosen. Season with salt. Divide among bowls and top with parmesan and pepper.

 

Roasted Brussel Sprouts

Don’t let brussel sprouts scare you. I was scared to try them at first, and so was my husband. They stink while cooking in the oven, but in the end they still taste good. This is a really easy recipe to make if you are curious about trying brussel sprouts for the first time. Just a little olive oil, salt, and pepper, and cook them in the oven at a high temp for awhile and they taste amazing. They’re so cute too, almost remind me of little baby cabbages. I’m sure bacon would make them taste even better.

I am horrible at trying to get a vegetable in every day. I try to do that at dinner time, and I’ve been trying lately to get a new one in every week. Roasted broccoli is also good this way.

Servings: 6

Calories: 109; Total Fat: 7 grams, Carbs: 10g, Fiber: 4g, Protein: 4g

Recipe from Ina Garten

 

Roasted Brussel Sprouts

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 poundsouts brussel sproiuts
  • 3 tablespoons good olive oil
  • 3/4 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper

Directions

Step 1
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
Step 2
Cut off the brown ends of the Brussels sprouts and pull off any yellow outer leaves. Mix them in a bowl with the olive oil, salt and pepper. Pour them on a sheet pan and roast for 35 to 40 minutes, until crisp on the outside and tender on the inside. Shake the pan from time to time to brown the sprouts evenly. Sprinkle with more kosher salt ( I like these salty like French fries), and serve immediately.