Buffalo Chicken Calzone

Quick Post: By now you can tell we like buffalo chicken! I love Frank’s Red Hot because it has great flavor and a mild kick to it. I made two calzones tonight – one for the adults and one for the kids. The other calzone had mozzarella, Parmesan, cheddar, pepperoni and sliced baby Portobello mushrooms in it. They both tasted excellent:) I warmed up some marinara sauce for the kids to dip theirs, and for the buffalo calzones I made a quick blue cheese dip. Thanks for reading, enjoy!

Buffalo Chicken Calzone – a Mom Make’s Recipe

  • 3/4 pound roasted chicken breast, shredded
  • 1/4 batch of this pizza dough
  • 1/4 cup Frank’s Red Hot
  • 1/4 cup crumbled Gorgonzola cheese
  • 1/3 cup sharp white cheddar
  • 1/4 cup Parmigiano Reggiano cheese
  • 1 egg plus a splash of water for the egg wash
  • pizza seasoning to taste

Directions –

1. Preheat oven to 475 degrees.

2. Roll out your pizza dough in a large rectangle – about 10×14 inches. Sprinkle your shredded cheddar on the dough leaving at least an inch of space from the edge. Toss your roasted chicken with the Frank’s Red Hot to coat, then layer on top of the cheese. Sprinkle the Gorgonzola and Parmesan cheeses over the top of the chicken.

3. Brush the egg wash around the perimeter of the dough, and then fold the long side of the dough to the opposite side and crimp to seal. Place on a lined baking sheet, brush the top of the calzone with the egg wash, and bake for 15 minutes.

Blue Cheese Dip – a Mom Make’s Recipe

  • 1/4 cup sour cream
  • 1/4 cup mayonnaise
  • 1/4 cup blue cheese
  • fresh cracked pepper to taste

Directions –

1. Mix all ingredients together in a bowl. YUM!

Peanut Butter Pie

Quick Post: This has to be the easiest, least-fancy dessert I have ever made. I’m not usually one to make something this unhealthy, but it’s one of M’s favorites. Don’t judge it’s outward appearance! I know chocolate would make all the difference, but this pie is decadent enough without it in my humble opinion. I know M would disagree, as he likes things so sweet it makes my teeth hurt! Also, he just really loves chocolate. If you decide to make this, make sure it sits in the fridge for at least four hours, but overnight would be even better. The last time I made this we didn’t wait too long – it tasted ok, but the day after it was so much better. Thanks for reading, enjoy!

Peanut Butter Pie – adapted from Let’s Dish

  • 1 (8-inch) graham cracker pie crust
  • 1 (8 oz.) package cream cheese, softened
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 cup peanut butter
  • 1 (8 oz.) tub frozen whipped topping, thawed

Directions –

With an electric mixer, beat cream cheese and sugar until smooth.  Blend in peanut butter and vanilla.  Fold in whipped topping.  Spoon mixture into prepared pie crust.  Refrigerate at least 4 hours, or until firm.



Chicken Parmesan

Quick Post: This recipe is a combination of a few different techniques and ingredients I pulled together from some simple chicken parm recipes. I liked the addition of Panko in this recipe verses the typical Italian breadcrumbs. I pulled the shallow fry method from the same recipe, but baked the chicken, sauce and cheese in the oven before serving like this one. Oh, and I used my favorite marinara sauce for this recipe. This was a tasty and filling meal – even my picky eater happily ate this. Thanks for reading, enjoy!

Chicken Parmesan – a Mom Makes Recipe

  • 4 chicken breast cutlets
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten with 2 TBSP water
  • 1 cup Panko breadcrumbs
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • oregano, salt, pepper to taste (for Panko)
  • 2 TBSP butter
  • 3 TBSP olive oil
  • 1 batch of this marinara or at least 2 jars of your favorite store-bought sauce
  • 1 pound of thin spaghetti
  • 1/2 cup of mozzarella cheese
  • 1/4 Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese

Directions –

1. Preheat oven 400 degrees and put a large pot of water to boil.

2. Clean and dry your chicken well. Set up an assembly line for your breading – one shallow dish for your flour, one for your egg, and one shallow dish for the season Panko. Season your chicken with kosher salt and pepper then lightly coat with the flour, then dip in the egg mixture, then coat the chicken with the seasoned Panko – set aside.

3. Heat oil and butter in a large, heavy bottomed skillet over medium heat until a pinch of the breadcrumb mixture sizzles immediately when added. Add the chicken breasts and fry without disturbing for 5 to 6 minutes, or until golden brown. Using tongs, turn the chicken breasts and fry another 4 to 5 minutes, or until just cooked through and golden brown.

4. Place the finished chicken in a 13×9 baking dish. Top the chicken with enough marinara sauce to cover the tops of each, then sprinkle the parm and mozzarella cheese. Bake for 10 minutes or until the cheese is melted.

5. While the chicken is in the oven, cook off your spaghetti noodles in rapidly boiling, liberally salted water – cook according to package directions. Drain pasta, spoon over some marinara and set alongside your yummy chicken parm! Enjoy!:)

Three Ingredient Crock Pot Dinner…(and it’s good, too!)

Quick Post: Easiest.Dinner.Ever. Crock Pot meals are so convenient and this one is no exception. If you want to use the store bought ingredients, it’s even easier. I had some carrots that I needed to use up so I roasted them in a 400 degree oven for 20 minutes seasoned with kosher salt, pepper, and some olive oil. I didn’t roast any garlic for the potatoes described on the blog, so I just mashed my potatoes with Parmesan, some butter, half and half, milk, salt and pepper. They’re really basic, but that’s okay because the pork makes its own gravy – yum! Thank for reading, enjoy!

Ranch House Crock Pot Pork Chops – adapted from Picky Palate

Directions –

Place all ingredients in a crock pot – cook on high for 4 hours or low for 6 hours.

Buffalo Chicken Macaroni and Cheese

Oh, this is too good! While searching for a recipe to use up leftover roasted chicken, I came across this. I had to buy the cheese but I had everything else on hand which is always good:) While reading through a few of the comments, I noticed that several people wrote that this recipe makes “a ton” but they successfully halved it. Well, that sounded like a good idea to me because I didn’t have enough chicken to make three cups anyway. The recipe also doesn’t seem so decadent when you halve the amounts of cheese and butter;) Everyone enjoyed this, but M still prefers this one over all others I’ve made. Honestly, I’m looking forward to eating leftovers;) Thanks for reading, enjoy!

Buffalo Chicken Macaroni and Cheese – adapted from Food Network

  • 7 tablespoons unsalted butter, plus more for the dish
  • Kosher salt
  • 1 pound elbow macaroni
  • 1 small onion, finely chopped
  • 2 stalks celery, finely chopped
  • 3 cups cooked chicken, shredded
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 3/4 cup hot sauce (preferably Frank’s)
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons dry mustard
  • 2 1/2 cups half-and-half
  • 1 pound yellow sharp cheddar, shredded
  • 8 ounces pepper jack cheese, shredded (about 2 cups)
  • 2/3 cup sour cream
  • 1 cup panko
  • 1/2 cup crumbled blue cheese (I used Gorgonzola)

Directions –

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F and butter a 9-by-13-inch baking dish. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil; add the pasta and cook until al dente, about 7 minutes. Drain.

Meanwhile, melt 3 tablespoons butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the onion and celery and cook until soft, about 5 minutes. Stir in the chicken and garlic and cook 2 minutes, then add 1/2 cup hot sauce and simmer until slightly thickened, about 1 more minute.

Melt 2 tablespoons butter in a saucepan over medium heat. Stir in the flour and mustard with a wooden spoon until smooth. Whisk in the half-and-half, then add the remaining 1/4 cup hot sauce and stir until thick, about 2 minutes. Whisk in the cheddar and pepper jack cheeses, then whisk in the sour cream until smooth.

Spread half of the macaroni in the prepared baking dish, then top with the chicken mixture and the remaining macaroni. Pour the cheese sauce evenly on top.

Put the remaining 2 tablespoons butter in a medium microwave-safe bowl and microwave until melted. Stir in the panko, blue cheese and parsley. Sprinkle over the macaroni and bake until bubbly, 30 to 40 minutes. Let rest 10 minutes before serving.



Strawberry Cream Cheese Bread (just keeping it real)

Note to self: impatience is NEVER rewarded. I learned this the hard way. I’ve made this bread twice this week (and plan on making it again next week – hopefully with better results). The first time was fine because I didn’t bother getting the loaf out of the pan while it was still hot and just cut the pieces out of the pan. There is a short window of opportunity to get loaves out of their pans before they stick, so I wanted to work on it within seven minutes of taking it out of the oven. That obviously didn’t help either. This loaf sticks like crazy, so now with two failed attempts at de-panning, I know now that I need to butter the pan and then put a piece of parchment paper on top of that. Next week we’ll see if that works! It better because this is not something I want to happen again.
Thanks for reading, enjoy!
Fresh Strawberry Bread – My Baking Addiction
  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 4 ounces cream cheese, softened
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 cups flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon Kosher salt
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk
  • 1 1/2 cups strawberries, rinse, dried and chopped

Directions
1. Grease and flour a 9×5 inch loaf pan.
2. With electric mixer cream butter, sugar and cream cheese until fluffy. Add eggs one at a time. Mix in vanilla.
3. In separate bowl, mix flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Blend flour mixture with butter mixture just until blended. Add buttermilk and only stir until just combined; do not over mix.
4. Carefully fold in strawberries. Dough mixture will be thick.
5. Bake in a 350 degree oven for 50 to 60 minutes.

Spring Green Risotto

I needed a side dish for my salmon in foil, so I immediately thought starch and vegetables, and this fits my needs perfectly because this risotto recipe is two sides in one. I came up with this by combining two risotto recipes that I found on FoodNetwork.com. I liked that Ellie Krieger used asparagus, peas and spinach and far less ingredients than Ina Garten’s; but I like that Ina uses butter, lemon zest, and more parmesan. I think I came up with a good mix of healthy with a little added richness by using more cheese, a little butter and brightness from the lemon.

This is definitely more fussy than the average rice recipe – but it’s not at all difficult to manage. Mine probably took more than 30 minutes, but it turned out great. Obviously, I left out the peas and spinach because once the asparagus was added, there was no room in my pan for anything extra. The lemon zest is a must to brighten up the flavor of the risotto or it would be a one note dish. I was tasting it before adding the zest and I was a disappointed because it was a little bland. The lemon woke up the flavors – even M noticed something different. He did like it though, which is always appreciated since he can be really picky and hard to please at times;) Thanks for reading, enjoy!

Spring Green Risotto – a mix of these two recipes

  • 1 TBSP butter
  • 1 TBSP olive oil
  • 1 medium yellow onion, diced
  • 1 1/2 cups arborio rice
  • 1/2 cups white wine
  • 5-6 cups chicken stock
  • 1 pound thin asparagus, steamed and cut into 3/4″ pieces
  • 10 ounces frozen peas (not enough room in the pan…maybe next time)
  • 1 TBSP lemon zest
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 TBSP fresh lemon juice
  • 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese, grated
  • 1-3 cups baby spinach (oops!)

Directions –

Bring the broth to a simmer in a medium saucepan. Heat the oil and butter in a heavy saucepan over moderately low heat and cook the onion, stirring occasionally, until soft, 3 to 5 minutes. Add the rice and cook, stirring constantly, 1 minute. Add wine
and simmer, stirring constantly, until absorbed, about 1 minute. Add 3/4 cup of the hot broth, the salt and a few grinds of fresh pepper and simmer, stirring constantly, until broth is absorbed. Continue simmering and adding hot broth, about 3/4 cup at a time, stirring constantly and allowing the broth to be absorbed before adding more, until rice is almost tender and creamy-looking, about 18 minutes.

Add the spinach and peas and cook until the spinach is wilted. Add the asparagus and cook just until the vegetables are hot. Stir in the Parmesan, lemon zest and more broth if the risotto seems too thick.

Cinnamon Swirl Bread

A few days ago, I decided that I would make French toast; and today I thought: “why not make that cinnamon swirl bread I bookmarked so long ago?” Sure, it takes a little more effort but my family is worth it! This recipe is actually a raisin/cinnamon swirl bread – but M doesn’t like raisins so, I left them out.

The recipe was simple enough to follow, but not as straight forward as my favorite sandwich bread recipe. The dough is super soft and kind of sticky once it’s all finished kneading – but don’t worry! After its first rise and quick chill in the freezer, it was much easier to work with. Rolling it out was simple enough because it didn’t snap back like other doughs. Next time I will roll the dough out slightly smaller so I don’t have so much to tuck underneath. That explains the wonky look of my loaf. It’s not going to win any perfect loaf contest, but I’m sure the family won’t mind.

For the custard, I used this recipe but with slightly less sugar. The sweetness in the dough should be plenty to make up for that.

Verdict: this was worth the effort. Everyone enjoyed the French toast this morning! It did take longer to cook than I anticipated, because I dried out the bread in the oven at 350 for about 8 minutes so the bread would absorb the custard well and not fall apart. Once one batch was finished, I placed the slices on a rack which I place on top of a half sheet pan into a 200 degree oven to keep warm. Serve with lots of warm maple syrup! Thanks for reading, enjoy:)

Cinnamon Swirl Bread – adapted from Dorie Greenspan via food.baby

For the bread:

  • 1 packet active dry yeast
  • 1/4 cup sugar, plus a pinch
  • 1 1/4 cups just-warm-to-the-touch whole milk
  • 1/2 stick (4 tablespoons) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract (optional)
  • Grated zest of 1/2 orange (optional)
  • Pinch of freshly grated nutmeg (optional)
  • 3 3/4 to 4 cups all-purpose (plain) flour

For the swirl:

  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 2 teaspoons unsweetened cocoa powder (optional)
  • 1 cup moist, plump raisins (dark or golden)
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened to a spreadable consistency

To make the bread:

Put the yeast in a small bowl, toss in the pinch of sugar and stir in 1/4 cup of the warm milk. Let rest for 3 minutes, then stir – the yeast may not have dissolved completely and it may not have bubbled, but it should be soft.

Working with a stand mixer, preferably fitted with a paddle attachment, combine the remaining 1 cup of milk, the butter and the remaining 1/4 cup sugar and mix for a minute or two. Add the salt, egg and vanilla, if you are using it, as well as the zest and nutmeg, if you’re using them, and mix for a minute. In all likelihood, the mixture will look unpleasantly curdly (it will look even worse when you add the yeast). Add the yeast mixture and beat on low-medium speed for 1 minute more.

Turn the mixer off and add 2 3/4 cups of the flour. Mix on low speed just until you work the flour into the liquids – you’ll have a sticky mix. If you’ve got a dough hook, switch to it now. Add another 1 cup of flour, increase the mixer speed to medium and beat the dough for a couple of minutes. If the dough does not come together and almost clean the sides of the bowl, add up to 1/4 cup more flour, 1 tablespoon at a time. Keep the mixer speed at medium and knead the dough for about 3 minutes, or until it is smooth and has a lovely buttery sheen. The dough will be very soft, much too soft to knead by hand.

Butter a large bowl, turn the dough into a bowl and cover the bowl tightly with plastic wrap. Put the bowl in a warm place and let the dough rise until it is doubled in size, about 1 1/2 hours.

Scrape the dough onto a large piece of plastic wrap, wrap it and put it in the freezer for 30 minutes to firm enough to be rolled easily. (At this point, you can instead refrigerate the dough overnight if that is more convenient).

To make the swirl and shape the loaf:

Butter a 9 x 5 inch loaf pan.

Whisk together the sugar, cinnamon and cocoa, if you’re using it. Check that the raisins are nice and moist; if they’re not, steam them for a minute, then dry them well.

Put the dough on a large work surface lightly dusted with flour, lightly dust the top of the dough and roll the dough into a rectangle about 12 x 18 inches.

Gently smear 2 tablespoons of the butter over the surface of the dough – this is most easily done with your fingers. Sprinkle over the sugar mixture and scatter over the raisins. Starting from a short side of the dough, roll the dough up jelly-roll fashion, making sure to roll the dough snugly. Fit the dough into the buttered pan, seam side down, and tuck the ends under the loaf.

Cover the pan loosely with wax paper and set in a warm place; let the dough rise until it comes just a little above the edges of the pan, about 45 minutes.

Getting ready to bake:

When the dough has almost fully risen, centre a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees Celsius). Line a baking sheet with parchment or a silicone mat.

Melt the remaining tablespoon of butter, and brush the top of the loaf with the butter. Put the pan on the baking sheet and bake the bread for about 20 minutes. Cover loosely with a foil tent and bake for another 25 minutes or so, until the bread is golden and sounds hollow when the bottom of the pan is tapped. Transfer the pan to a rack and cool for 5 minutes, then unmold. Invert the bread and cool to room temperature right side up on the rack.

Chewy Triple Chocolate Cookies

M requested something “triple chocolate” the other day, so off to Tastespotting.com I went. I meant to bake these up for Valentine’s Day, but I didn’t get around to it…oh, well! Today was a good day for cookies and these are rich, moist and fudgy. I don’t choose chewy cookies for myself (store-bought chewy cookies ruined them for me), but these have a pleasing soft and chewy texture. They do take more time, but not too much more effort than the average cookie recipe. Be sure to read ahead in these directions before making them – I didn’t know the dough needed to sit 30 minutes before I could dish them out. The cookies need to cool on the baking sheets for a full ten minutes before being transferred to a cooling rack, too. Make sure you have lots of chocolate on hand before deciding to make these. M wanted some cookies so bad, he was willing to make a quick trip to the store to pick up more chocolate. I needed almost a full two pounds! Thankfully this recipe makes nearly four dozen cookies, so you can spread the love around by passing these out to friends and family…better to do that than be tempted to eat them all!;) Thanks for reading, enjoy!

Chewy Triple Chocolate Cookies – adapted from Annie’s Eats

  • 2 cups (10 oz.) all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup (1 1/2 oz.) Dutch-processed cocoa powder
  • 2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 16 oz. semi-sweet chocolate, chopped (I used two bars of semi-sweet and two of bitter sweet)
  • 4 large eggs
  • 2 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 2 tsp. instant coffee or espresso powder
  • 10 tbsp. unsalted butter, softened but still cool
  • 1 1/2 cups packed (10 1/2 oz.) light brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup (3 1/2 oz.) granulated sugar
  • 2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips

Directions –

Combine the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder and salt in a medium bowl.  Whisk together; set aside.

Melt the chocolate in a heatproof bowl set over simmering water until completely melted and smooth; remove from the heat.  (Alternatively, microwave the chocolate in 30 second intervals, mixing thoroughly in between, until melted and smooth.)  In a small mixing bowl, combine the eggs, vanilla and instant coffee granules; stir well with a fork to dissolve; set aside.

In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter at medium speed until smooth and creamy, about 5 seconds.  Mix in the sugars until well combined, about 45 seconds – the mixture will look granular.  Reduce the mixer speed to low and gradually beat in the egg mixture until incorporated, about 45 seconds.  Add the chocolate to the bowl in a steady stream and continue beating until combined, about 40 seconds.  Scrape the bottom and sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula.  With the mixer at low speed, add the dry ingredients and mix just until incorporated, being careful not to overbeat.  Fold in the chocolate chips with a rubber spatula.  Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let stand at room temperature until the consistency is scoopable and fudge-like, about 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 350° F.  Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.  Scoop the dough onto the prepared baking sheets with a 1 ¾-inch cookie dough scoop, spacing the dough balls about 1 ½ inches apart.

Bake until the edges of the cookies have just began to set but the centers are still very soft, about 10 minutes, rotating the sheets halfway through baking.  Cool the cookies on the sheets about 10 minutes, transfer to cooling racks and allow to cool completely.  Cool the baking sheets before baking more batches with the remaining dough.


Sausage Bread

Quick Post: This is a family favorite! It’s so simple and tasty and definitely worth the effort. I use this recipe for pizza dough, about a pound and a half of browned sausage and a combination of mozz, smoked gouda and parmesan – those are really the only modifications I use. We eat this with a side of marinara (my favorite), but my husband prefers Alfredo sauce. Thanks for reading, enjoy!

Sausage Bread – adapted from Soup Belly

  • 1 pound Italian sausage *1.5 pounds for us…doubling this recipe is a must!
  • 8 oz. cubed mozzarella cheese *I grated my mozz, smoked gouda and a little parmesan
  • 2 egg whites and 1 egg yolk, beaten
  • 1 pound pizza dough *I used two 14.5 ounce balls for ours
  • 1 egg yolk (for brushing on top of dough), beaten
  • 1/4 tsp. oregano
  • salt & pepper

Directions –

1) Removing sausage out of casing if necessary. Cook sausage until browned, crumbling into small bits. Drain grease, set aside to cool. In a bowl, combine sausage, cubed mozzarella, 2 egg whites and 1 egg yolk. Add oregano, salt & pepper.

2) Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

3) On a greased baking sheet, roll the dough out into a rectangle, as large as you can make it without creating holes or ripping it. Spread the sausage mixture on the surface but keeping a 1 inch border clear. Carefully roll the dough like a jelly roll and pinch the edges shut, and place seam side down on the baking sheet. Don’t panic if there are holes or you ripped multiple tears (see my disastrous looking picture below). Brush top of loaf with egg yolk mixture. Bake for 45 minutes or until golden brown.  Cut slices with a bread knife, and serve warm or at room temperature.