Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Mmm Mmmm Pepper Jack Pull Apart Bread!

1 rustic loaf of bread, unsliced, either Italian or French
12 ounces shredded Monterey Jack cheese
1/4 cup (less or more to taste) chopped pickled jalapeños
1/4 cup chopped green onions, including greens
1/4 cup (4 Tbsp) butter, melted

1 Preheat the oven to 350°F. Slice the bread almost all the way through (not all the way) in a cross hatch pattern, spacing an inch between the slices.
2 Place the shredded cheese in a large bowl. Toss with the green onions and jalapeños. Pour over with melted butter and use your clean hands to toss, to distribute the butter evenly through the cheese.
3 Place the bread on a large sheet of aluminum foil (large enough to wrap the bread) on a baking sheet. Stuff every crevasse with the cheese mixture. Wrap with the aluminum foil. At this point you can make ahead and refrigerate until ready to bake.

4 Place in the oven for 15 minutes. Then uncover the foil from the bread and cook for 10 minutes more, until all of the cheese has melted.
Place on a serving board or plate to serve.

Waldorf Salad

1/2 cup chopped, slightly toasted walnuts
1/2 cup celery, thinly sliced
1/2 cup red seedless grapes, sliced (or a 1/4 cup of raisins)
1 sweet apple, cored and chopped
3 Tbsp mayonnaise
1 Tbsp fresh lemon juice

In a medium sized bowl, whisk together the mayonnaise (or yogurt) and the lemon juice. Add 1/2 teaspoon of salt, 1/4 teaspoon of fresh ground pepper. Mix in the apple, celery, grapes, and walnuts. Serve on a bed of fresh lettuce.

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Exciting News!!!

I am feeling so many emotions right now!!! I am finally able to share the news with all of you! It's official!!! I am the State of Iowa Representative for Icing Smiles! I am also now one of their bakers! If you are not sure what Icing Smiles is let me tell you!!! 

We are Baking a Difference

Icing Smiles is a nonprofit organization that provides custom celebration cakes and other treats to families impacted by the critical illness of a child. We understand that the simple things, like a birthday cake, are luxuries to a family battling illness. Our goal is to create a custom cake for the ill child, or their sibling, that provides a temporary escape from worry and creates a positive memory during a difficult time.

Memories have magical powers. Long after the cake is gone, the memories linger-- memories of the kindness of a stranger, of the art of the design, of the sweet smells of a special treat, of the smiles and laughs, of a normal childhood experience so often stolen from these children. These memories are why we say, "It is so much more than a cake."

PLEASE... take just a few minutes of your time to watch this beautiful video about Icing Smiles. I'm immensely honored to work with such an amazing team and to bake for such amazing children and their families. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HNDcJfor3Ns

Friday, February 1, 2013

Black Bean and Corn Pita Sandwiches

Looking for a yummy healthy recipe that you can make up on Sunday night and have your lunches all ready for work during the week!
Use the mixture in a pita, with tortilla scoops or even mix in some shredded chicken or grilled tilapia fish (yes.. Im in love with tilapia) 

1 (15-ounce) can  black beans drained and rinsed
1 cup frozen corn, thawed
1 cup canned tomatoes 
1 avocado, chopped
1 mango, or fresh peach diced
1 clove garlic chopped fine
1 teaspoon parsley
1⁄8 teaspoon cayenne pepper 
2 teaspoons lemon juice
½ teaspoon chili powder 
2 medium whole wheat pita pockets
1⁄3 cup shredded  Mozzarella cheese

In a medium bowl, combine beans, corn, tomatoes, avocado, and garlic. Add parsley, cayenne 
pepper, lemon juice, and chili powder. 

Cut pita bread in half to form 4 pockets, and spoon equal 
amounts of filling into each half. Top with cheese and serve.

Hawaiian Baked Ham and Cheese Sandwich Casserole

Seriously. Who doesn't like a ham and cheese sandwich. And combine that with the sweet soft taste of the Hawaiian Rolls you find in the store??? Top that off with something that is quick and easy??? You got a winner winner Ham Sandwich dinner is what!!!

1 (12 package of Hawaiian rolls)
1 pound thinly shaved ham 
1 pound thinly sliced Swiss cheese
1 1/2 sticks butter *diet another day... you don't want to miss out on this great yummy food!
1 1/2 T Dijon mustard
1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
3 tsp poppy seeds
1/2 onion diced fine

Heat oven to 350*.
In small bowl melt the butter and add the mustard, W sauce, seeds and onion. Let it almost simmer in the microwave. 2 minutes typically. But watch it so your butter doesn't pop.

Cut the entire package of rolls in half keeping the top one giant piece and the bottom one giant piece. 

In greased 9x13, place the bottom of the rolls in. Spread HALF the butter mixture over the bread and layer the ham and cheese across these using all of the ham and cheese. I like to alternate ham and cheese so im not biting down in a big ol chunk of ham. 
Then top with the top of the bread and pour the remaining mixture over the tops. Cover and bake for  15 minutes and then cut and serve the individual rolls.

A big time family fav here at my house... get ta gettin people.. you gotta make these bad boys tonight!!!

Shepherds Pie

This was a dish that my mom made constantly. It was wonderful reheated too! I tend to just spread my potatoes on the top but you can spruce this baby up to your liking. Feel free to use a round baking dish, square or even put in ramekins and star pipe the potatoes on the top. Such a simple dish can look amazing on your table when guests come over! We serve ours with warm bread of some kind. Typically corn bread. 

  • 1 1/2 pounds russet potatoes
  • 1/4 cup half-and-half
  • 2 ounces unsalted butter
  • 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons canola oil
  • 1 cup chopped onion
  • 2 carrots, peeled and diced small
  • 1 1/2 pounds ground beef
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons tomato paste
  • 1 cup chicken broth
  • 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/2 tsp rosemary 
  • 1/4 tsp thyme
  • 1/2 cup fresh or frozen corn kernels
  • 1/2 cup fresh or frozen  peas

Peel the potatoes and cut into 1/2-inch dice. Place in a medium saucepan and cover with cold water. Set over high heat, cover and bring to a boil. Once boiling, uncover, decrease the heat to maintain a simmer and cook until tender and easily crushed with tongs, approximately 10 to 15 minutes. Place the half-and-half and butter into a microwave-safe container and heat in the microwave until warmed through, about 35 seconds. Drain the potatoes in a colander and then return to the saucepan. Mash the potatoes and then add the half and half, butter, salt and pepper and continue to mash until smooth. 
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
While the potatoes are cooking, prepare the filling. Place the canola oil into a 12-inch saute pan and set over medium high heat. Once the oil shimmers, add the onion and carrots and saute just until they begin to take on color, approximately 3 to 4 minutes.. Add the beef, salt and pepper and cook until browned and cooked through, approximately 3 minutes. Sprinkle the meat with the flour and toss to coat, continuing to cook for another minute. Add the tomato paste, chicken broth, Worcestershire, rosemary, thyme, and stir to combine. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat to low, cover and simmer slowly 10 to 12 minutes or until the sauce is thickened slightly.
Add the corn and peas to the beef mixture and spread evenly into an 11 by 7-inch glass baking dish. Top with the mashed potatoes, starting around the edges to create a seal to prevent the mixture from bubbling up and smooth with a rubber spatula. Place on a parchment lined half sheet pan on the middle rack of the oven and bake for 25 minutes or just until the potatoes begin to brown. Remove to a cooling rack for at least 15 minutes before serving.

Cheese Burger French Fry Casserole

LOVE this!!! So do my kiddos!

2 pound ground beef
1 medium diced onion
Cook these two and drain.

Add to the ground beef and onion:
1 can Campbell cream of mushroom or chicken soup
1 can Campbell cheddar cheese soup
1/2 can of milk (use the soup can after you have taken out the soup)
Stir this together well.

Put in 9x13 dish and cover with frozen french fries.

Sprinkle with a tiny bit of cheddar cheese or add crispy bits of bacon to this to make it even better!

Bake at 400* until french fries are crispy!!

So fast so easy so yummy!!!

Bacon Cheese Burger Pie

If your looking for a great dish to serve that tastes delicious and doesn't take very long... here ya go! I found this recipe in my moms recipe book tucked in on a paper napkin  :) Ahhh the memories. 

1 pound lean ground beef
3 slices crisp bacon drained and broken into small pieces. 
1 medium diced onion
1/2 tsp  salt 
1/4 tsp ground pepper
1 cup cheddar cheese
1/2 cup Bisquick
1 cup milk
3 eggs

Preheat oven to 400* and spray a 9" round glass casserole dish. Ok ok.. you can use a square too if you must :)
Cook ground beef and onion and drain. Add salt and pepper and then add crisp bacon stir and put into the casserole dish. Smooth out slightly and top with cheese.
In separate bowl mix Bisquick, milk and eggs. Pour over the beef and cheese. 
Bake for 30-40 minutes until a fork inserted in the center comes out clean.
I serve this with a side salad or if your feeling adventurous, homemade french fries!