Thursday, February 28, 2013

Raspberry Vanilla Refrigerator Oatmeal - Pinterest Fail Revisited

Right after I posted my Pinterest Fail with refrigerator Oatmeal, my sister-in-law Jackie told me she had made a really good version of of it that I had to try.  Of course I was skeptical because of my last attempt, plus, this required me to use fresh raspberries.  Raspberries are a precious commodity to me especially this time of year, so putting so many of them in a recipe I was afraid might fail worried me.  So it took me several months before I was able to get my courage up (and to convince Bill who greatly disliked the last version).

Turns out they were WAY better than the first one.  We both ate the entire serving and Bill even wondered the next morning if I had made more.  So if you are going to try refrigerator oatmeal I strongly suggest this one over all the others!

Raspberry Vanilla Refrigerator Oatmeal
From: Jackie
Prep time: 10 min
Chill time: overnight

1/4 cup uncooked old fashioned oats
1/3 cup skim milk
1/4 cup low-fat greek yogurt
1 1/2 tsp dried chia seeds
1/4 tsp vanilla extract
1 Tbsp Raspberry jam, preserves, or spread
1/4 - 1/3 cup raspberries (cut each berry in half)


1. In a mason jar, add oats, milk, yogurt, chia seeds, vanilla, and raspberry jam.  Put lid on the jar and shake until well combined (make sure the raspberry jam gets mixed in).

2. Remove lid, add raspberries and stir until mixed throughout.  Return lid to jar and refrigerate overnight or as long as 2-3 days.  Eat chilled

Monday, February 25, 2013

Black Bean, Corn, and Chicken Quesadillas

I used to not like quesadillas, not really sure why, but somewhere in the course of the last few years, I've come to love them.  They are such a simple solution for a meal and there are so many variations.  This one from Jacki has black beans, corn, onions, cheese (of course) and chicken.  The chicken isn't needed, but I liked it in the mix.  This was really easy to whip up and a perfect week night meal.  I even had lots leftover to freeze for another night!

Black Bean, Corn, and Chicken Quesadillas
From: Jacki and John Ate This
Prep Time: 15 min
Cook Time: 5 min

1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
2 Tbsp Taco or Fajita seasoning
1 cup frozen corn (no need to thaw)
3 cups cheddar cheese, shredded
1 jalapeno, diced
handful of cilantro, chopped
1/2 red onion, diced
soft shell tortillas (burrito or taco size - whatever you prefer)
2 cups cooked chicken, shredded (optional)
Avocado, salsa, or sour cream for topping

1. Add black beans, diced red onion, shredded cheese, jalpenos, frozen corn, cilantro, and chicken to a large bowl and thoroughly combine.

2. Add taco seasoning to mixture to taste and stir to combine

3. Butter one side of tortilla and flip over.  Fill half of the tortilla with mixture, then fold over.

4. Heat skillet over medium heat or use Quesadilla maker (that is what we used).  Add tortilla (or two at a time).  after a couple minutes flip over if using a skillet.

5. Cut and serve with salsa, sour cream, and/or avocado

If you are going to freeze some you can either freeze the mixture on it's own, or you can flash freeze the tortilla with filling (minus the butter) and then store in a plastic bag in the freezer.  Jacki has detailed directions on her post.

Thursday, February 21, 2013

No-Bake Nutella Oatmeal Cookies

This is another Nutella recipe I wanted to try for Bill.  This is similar to the No Bake Oatmeal Cookies I make, but it cuts out some of the peanut butter and adds Nutella.  While they were ok, the turned out a little dry and crumbly.  The flavor was good though, so definitely worth it if you like Nutella!

No-Bake Nutella Oatmeal Cookies
From: ingredients, inc.
Prep time: 20 min
Cook: 5 min

3 Tbsp butter
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup milk or almond milk
1 Tbsp dark chocolate cocoa powder
1/4 cup peanut butter
3/4 cup Nutella
2 cups rolled oats

1. In a medium to large sauce pan, melt the butter over medium to medium-low heat.  Add sugar, milk, and cocoa powder and mix until combined.

2.  Stir in the peanut butter and Nutella until melted, followed by the oats.  Continue mixing until all of the ingredients are incorporated.  Reduce heat to lowest setting.

3.  Working quickly, scoop and shape into balls and place them on a parchment-lined sheet pan.  Refrigerate for 30 minutes or until firm.  Store in airtight container int he refrigerator.

Monday, February 18, 2013

Chicken Nacho Dip

I wanted to try a new dip for the Superbowl and you can't go wrong with a cheesy nacho dip.  While I realize the pictures of these are horrible (possibly my worst yet), I assure you that it was very tasty.  I did leave out the jalapeno because one of our guests doesn't like spicy food, but I think it would be great with them so I'll add them next time.  It was creamy and cheesy with good flavor.  Great for dipping chips or putting on Nachos!  In general I think I prefer the spicy sausage rotel I usually make, but this is a nice new one to add to the rotation.

Chicken Nacho Dip
From: The Swain Family
Prep time: 5 min
Cook time: 2 hours

3-4 chicken breasts (cooked and shredded)
1 lb velveeta (cut in cubes)
taco seasoning packet
1 can rotel
1/2 cup green onions
1 jalapeno (diced)
1/3 cup sour cream
1 can black beans (drained and rinsed)

1. Combine all ingredients except the beans int he crockpot for 1 1/2 - 2 hours on high (stirring occasionally)  - I actually did it on low for about 3 hrs.

2. Stir in black beans for the last 20 minutes.  Serve with tortilla chips.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Slow Cooker Sweet Barbacoa Pork

I make all sorts of tacos (Chicken, steak, ground beef, fish) but had yet make a pork taco/burrito.  So I thought I would give this Barbacoa Pork a shot.  It was quite good, but is on the sweeter side.  Another thing to note is that I made this full recipe for 6 people and still had leftovers for days.  So be warned, this makes a LOT.  I will probably cut it in half next time. This can be used for tacos, burritos, burrito bowl, or salad.  I served it with brown rice and black beans and made mine into a bowl with everything (even though it is hard to see the rice and black beans under everything), others made it into more of a taco/burrito. I think they would be tasty in anything!

Slow Cooker Sweet Barbacoa Pork
From: Heat Oven to 350
Prep time: 5-10 min (refrigerate a few hours or overnight)
Cook time: 4-5 hrs on high + 1/2 hr, or 7-8 hrs on low, + 2 hrs

5-6 lb pork roast (can use bone in)
3 cans (12oz) Coke, divided
1 - 1 1/4 cup brown sugar, divided
1/4 cup water
2 cloves of garlic, minced
7oz can chipotle peppers in adobo sauce (sauce only, not the peppers, I poured the can into a strainer, and poured the coke over the peppers to rinse off the sauce into the crockpot)
3/4 cup red taco sauce
1 tsp ground mustard
1 tsp cumin

1. Put the pork, 1 can of Coke and 1/4 cup brown sugar in a ziploc bag to marinade.  Marinade in the refrigerator for a few hours or overnight.

2. Pour meat and marinade into crock pot.  Add the water and cook for 4-5 hrs on high, or 7-8 hrs on low.

3. Drain liquid. Shred meat with two forks into bite sized peaces.

4. Place pork back in crock pot with 1 1/2 cans of coke, 3/4 - 1 cup brown sugar (I used 3/4 cup and it was plenty sweet), garlic, adobo sauce from the peppers, taco sauce, ground mustard and cumin.  Cover and cook on low for 2 hours or high for 30 min.

5. Stir up the shredded pork and serve over rice, in a burrito, or on a salad.

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Red Velvet Dessert Cheese Ball

I wanted to make dessert for our small group gathering today, and since it is right before Valentines Day, I decided to give this Red Velvet Cheese Ball a try.  Bill was skeptical when I was talking about a dessert cheese ball, but I have to say it turned out really well.  It is rich and decadent, and I thought it was very good with vanilla wafers.  I choose to mix in some of the chocolate chips into the actual ball and thought it added a little something, but it is totally optional.  I think this is just perfect for a special Valentine's day treat!

Red Velvet Dessert Cheese Ball
From: Taste and Tell
Prep Time: 15 min
Chill Time: 2 hrs

8 oz cream cheese, at room temperature
1/2 cup butter, at room temperature
1 1/2 cups red velvet cake mix, dry
2 Tbsp brown sugar
1/2 cup powdered sugar
1/2 - 1 cup mini chocolate chips
Assorted cookies & crackers (I used vanilla wafers)

1. In a bowl beat cream cheese and butter until smooth.

2. Add in red velvet cake mix, brown sugar, and powdered sugar.  Beat until smooth and combined. 

3. Stir in 1/2 cup (or more) of chocolate chips into the mixture if desired (I did).

4. Place mixture on center of a large piece of plastic wrap.  Wrap up on Plastic wrap and mold into a ball.  Refrigerate for at least 2 hours.

5. Place chocolate chips on a plate.  Remove cheese ball from refrigerator and unwrap.  Roll in the chocolate chips. This gets a bit messy, but cover with as many chips as desired.  Place on a serving plate and serve with vanilla wafers or graham crackers.

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Pretzel Rolls

I don't know about you, but I love a good pretzel roll.  I'm a sucker for a sandwich or burger if it is served on a pretzel roll.  They get me every time.

We were planning on having our neighbors over for dinner so I thought I would give these a shot.  While they require a little planning and some time (need to start prepping them 2 hrs before hand) they were fairly simple to make. They got rave reviews from our guests but Bill didn't love them (although he did have 2 so they must have been ok).  I thought they were quite good although I noticed that if the rolls weren't kept very round, they didn't seem to cook evenly, so that is something to watch next time.

I would make these again but probably only for if we were having people over for dinner or to bring somewhere since they would be hard to make on a week night considering the prep time.  The recipe does say you can freeze them, so maybe making a double batch and trying that might be a good idea if you wanted to use them on a weeknight.

Pretzel Rolls
From: Pennies on a Platter
Prep Time: 2 hrs
Cook Time: 15-20min
Makes 4-5 hamburger sized buns, or 8-10 dinner rolls

3/4 cup water
1 tsp instant yeast
2 1/4 cup flour
2 Tbsp unsalted butter, melted then cooled to room temperature
1 tsp sugar
1 tsp salt
1/4 cup baking soda
1 egg, beaten
Kosher or pretzel salt to top rolls

1. In a large mixing bowl, combine the water, yeast, flour, butter, sugar and salt.  If using a stand mixer, use dough hook attachment to mix the ingredients, then knead at medium-high speed for 1 minute.

2. Shape the dough into a ball and place it back into the mixing bowl.  Cover with clean kitchen towel and let rise for 1 hour or until doubled in size.

3. Transfer the dough to a lightly floured surface.  Separate into 4-5 equal portions if making hamburger sized buns or 8-10 equal portions if making dinner rolls.  Form into balls by pulling the sides to the center and pinching to seal.

4. Placed the formed rolls, seam side down, onto a parchment or silicone mat lined baking sheet.  Cover with the towel and allow to rise again for 30 minutes.

5. Heat oven to 425 degrees. Bring 2 quarts of water to a boil in a large sauce pan, then add 1/4 cup of baking soda. Boil each roll for 1 minute each, flipping over halfway.

6. Place teh boiled rolls back onto the lined baking sheet, seam side down.  Brush the tops with beaten egg, then lightly sprinkle with salt.  Slice a shallow "X" into the top of each roll, then bake for 15-20 minutes.

7. Serve warm or at room temperature.  You can also freeze for later use in a freezer bag once cooled to room temperature.  Microwave for 30 seconds to thaw. (If not consuming the same day they are baked, freeze right away to preserve freshness).

Monday, February 4, 2013

Slow Cooker Quinoa Chicken Chili

It is winter here in Chicago and even though we have had hardly any snow so far and the temps have been higher than normal, it still means it is crock pot weather for me.  Southwest flavor + Chili + Crock pot = Must make.  This has all the ingredients I love and turned out fantastic.  The quinoa cooked up just right while leaving a chili consistency that is very hearty plus the added bonus that it really only takes 10 min to prepare!   We had this for dinner and so many leftovers I ate them for several days after.   There is something to be said for a warm hearty soup/chili in the middle of winter that warms your bones and your heart.

***Please ignore the taco sauce, as I purchased it for another recipe but it somehow managed to find it's way into this picture.  In fact, imagine it to be another can of black beans that I not only forgot in the picture but forgot to put in the chili.***

Slow Cooker Quinoa Chicken Chili
From: Sweet Treats and More
Prep Time: 5-10 min
Cook Time:  5-7 hrs

1 cup quinoa, rinsed
1 (28oz) can crushed tomatoes
1 (14oz) can diced tomatoes with green chilies
2 (16 oz) can black beans
1 (15 oz) corn, drained
2 1/2 - 3 cups chicken stock
2 large chicken breasts
1 large bell pepper, seeded and chopped
1 tsp minced onion
1 tsp garlic
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp crushed red pepper
1 tsp chili powder

1. Season chicken with salt and pepper

2. Place everything in a 6 qt slow cooker and cook for 5-7 hours on low.

3. Remove chicken, shred it and return to slow cooker.  Keep warm until ready to serve.  Garnish with Cheese and/or sour cream.


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