Thursday, November 29, 2012

Chicken Fried Steak

This tastes like Texas, y'all.

We've only been out of our homestate for 5 months or so and have already noticed the lack of chicken fried steak in this state.

{We're now in North Carolina}

I even lamented about this first world problem on our personal blog.

We desperately needed a chicken fried steak fix and desperate times comes for desperate measures. Which meant chicken fried steak is going to be a staple on our menu at home. I hadn't made it in awhile (truthfully, Jason usually makes this particular dish at our house!) so I referred to The Pioneer Woman for a brush-up on the method.

Making it isn't hard, but it is hard to give exact measurements. It's more of a "does it look right?" dish that also requires lots of tasting along the way. You can always tweak it to your tastes. I like my gravy thick but others like a thinner consistency. Easy to tweak!

Chicken fried steak is essentially just a piece of extra tenderized (read: beaten repeatedly) steak that has been double dipped in flour/egg, pan fried until cooked through, and topped with creamy gravy you whipped up with the pan drippings. It's fork tender and A.MA.ZING. It should always {always!} be served with a big pile of creamy mashed potatoes that have also been topped with the gravy. And it's totally calorie free...

If you want step by step pictures, take a look at The Pioneer Woman's page. I'm way too scatterbrained to take pictures along the way :)

Chicken Fried Steak
2-3 pounds cube steak (it's already been tenderized)
Milk (you'll need 3-4 cups)
2 eggs
3 cups flour
Seasoned salt (I use Lawry's)
Fresh cracked black pepper
Vegetable or canola oil
In a shallow pan (I use pie pans), lightly beat the two eggs along with 1.5 cups of milk. In another shallow pan, mix together the flour, seasoning salt (just eyeball), and LOTS of pepper.
Heat enough oil to pan fry the meat in a large skillet over medium heat. Make sure it's the right temp by dropping a pinch of flour into the pan - they should sizzle and brown.
Working with one piece of meat at a time: season both sides of the meat with salt and pepper, dip into the egg/milk mixture, then into the flour mixture, turning to coat both sides. Now repeat! Egg dip and flour coating again. We're double dipping to get a nice breading on it.
Carefully add each piece to the hot pan and cook until golden brown around the edges, which should take a couple minutes or so per side. Don't overcrowd the pan and take your time.
*Some people like to bread all their pieces and then start frying but I hate standing there watching things fry so I bread additional pieces while others are being fried so I have something to do. Just know your hands will be covered in batter and you'll have to wash them repeatedly if you do it my way
Flip on the "keep warm" function on your oven and pull out a large baking sheet. As each piece finishes, carefully put it on the baking sheet and let it keep warm in the oven.
Once all the pieces are finished frying, you're going to whip up a skillet of gravy.
Sprinkle about 1/2 cup of flour over the leftover grease in your pan and whisk until it's fully combined. If it's still runny/greasy, add more flour. You want to create a nice paste out of the flour/grease combo.
Once you have a nice golden-brown paste, pour in about a cup of milk. Whisk, whisk, whisk. Whisk some more while you add some more milk. Cook 10 minutes or so until the gravy is smooth (no lumps of flour!) and the consistency you prefer. Don't hesitate to add more milk as needed.
Season well with lots of salt and pepper; taste and adjust as needed. You don't want a bland gravy!
Once your gravy is done, pull your steaks out of the oven and smother them (and your potatoes that I hope you made!) with the hot, creamy, delicious gravy.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Yellow Squash Souffle

Earlier this month, we went on a 3 night getaway to Myrtle Beach. We only recently moved to this part of the country and Myrtle Beach was on my list of spots to visit. When I told Jason there were 120+ golf courses in that area, he was totally down for it, too.

One of the highlights was the drive through South Carolina. We never got on an interstate; instead, we drove on windy open roads through small towns past tons of cotton fields. For us Texans, we live on highways so this was a big change from our normal road trippin'!

On the way there, I spotted a farm that I wanted to stop at on the way back so we did. I was really hoping to load up on vegetables. Instead, I was pretty disappointed that they didn't have much fresh produce to speak of. They did, however, have yellow squash. So we bought some and brought it home.

Yellow squash is a favorite at our house but I tend to stick with the usual methods (grill/bake/boil). I was determined to try something new with our special South Carolina yellow squash!

I mentioned a few days ago that I picked up a new cookbook at Target and have been thumbing through it when planning our menus. Low and behold, she had a recipe for "My Grandmother's Yellow Squash Souffle."

If it's good enough for granny, it's good enough for me.

This is truly an old fashioned/church potluck dish. Except nothing is congealed or made with canned cream soup. It's warm, comforting, and brought back memories of tables lined with covered dishes at my childhood church home.

The ingredients aren't expensive, hard to find, or weird. The method is easy. The dish is delicious and goes with a multitude of main courses. Sometimes the old fashioned stuff isn't so bad :)

Yellow Squash Souffle
1 onion, chopped (she calls for sliced but I like them smaller)
3 to 4 medium yellow squash, sliced
2 cups crushed Ritz crackers
2 cups grated cheddar cheese
2 eggs
1 cup milk
sea salt and pepper

Preheat your oven to 350 and grease an 8x8 inch casserole dish.

Toss the onions and squash in a medium saucepan and cover just barely with water. Cover, turn the heat to medium-high, and when it boils, turn the heat down to a simmer. Simmer 10-15 minutes or until tender. Drain water out and leave the veggies in the pot.

Mix the cheese and cracker crumbs together, then scoop out 1.5 cups for the topping and set aside.

In a small bowl, lightly beat the eggs with the milk.

Add the cheese and crushed crackers to the squash and stir. Add the milk/eggs and a pinch of salt and pepper. Pour into your casserole dish, sprinkle with the crackers and cheese you set aside, and bake for 30-45 minutes or until set. Serve warm.

Source: Cowgirl Chef: Texas Cooking with a French Accent by Ellise Pierce

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Black Bean, Roasted Zucchini, and Goat Cheese Enchiladas

Though I am very much a carnivore, I find myself more and more turned off by meat - especially cooking it. I think with the exception of bacon, I probably would be content eating meat free. Jason, however, would not be content. That said, he doesn't seem to mind meatless meals occasionally. It's not that he doesn't notice the absence of meat - believe me, he does - but meatless meals are usually so filling and satisfying that it's really not noticed once you're digging in.

We love enchiladas in this house and these combined three of my favorite foods - black beans, zucchini, and goat cheese. They are really delicious with bright, fresh flavors. And the meat wasn't even missed {we fought over the leftovers!}

Psst - if the multi-step process is intimidating, cheat and pick up some canned or bottled red enchilada sauce to use... though this sauce really was delicious!

Black Bean, Roasted Zucchini, and Goat Cheese Enchiladas
3 large zucchini, cut into ¼-inch dice
1 small onion, coarsely chopped
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil, divided
zest from 1 lemon
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 (15-ounce) can black beans, rinsed and drained
5 ounces goat cheese, divided
12 corn tortillas

1 teaspoon canola oil
½ small onion, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1½ tablespoons chili powder
½ tablespoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon sugar
¼ cup water
1 (8-ounce) can tomato sauce
black pepper, to taste

For serving:
2 avocados, diced
½ cup minced cilantro
lime wedges

Heat the oven to 450 degrees. On a large rimmed baking sheet, combine the zucchini, onion, oil, lemon zest, and salt. Roast, stirring occasionally, until the zucchini is softened and maybe slightly browned, about 30 minutes. Transfer to a large bowl; stir in the black beans and 4 ounces of goat cheese. Reduce the oven temperature to 350 degrees.

While the zucchini roasts, heat 1 teaspoon of canola oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add the onion and cook until translucent and slightly browned around the edges, stirring occasionally, about 8 minutes. Add the garlic, chili powder, cumin, and sugar; cook, stirring constantly, until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add the water and tomato sauce. Increase the heat to medium-high, bring to a simmer, then reduce the heat to medium-low. Maintain a low simmer until slightly thickened, 5 to 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.

To soften the tortillas, brush or spray them with a light layer of oil. Arrange 6 tortillas in a single layer on a baking sheet; transfer to the oven and cook for about 3 minutes; flip the tortillas and continue baking for 2 more minutes, until the tortillas are pliable. Repeat with the remaining tortillas.

Spread a thin layer of sauce over the bottom of a 9-by-13-inch baking dish. Divide the filling evenly between the tortillas. Roll the tortillas over the filling, arranging the filled tortillas seam-side down in the baking dish. Cover the rolled tortillas with the remaining enchilada sauce. Sprinkle the remaining 1 ounce of goat cheese over the top of the sauce. Bake uncovered for 25-30 minutes, until the enchiladas are evenly heated.

Let set for 5 minutes before serving with chopped avocado, cilantro, and lime.

Source: The Way the Cookie Crumbles

Friday, November 23, 2012

Smokin' Chicken Tortilla Soup

A couple of months ago, I was enjoying my very first walk through Target post broken leg when I came across a clearance end cap. There are few things more exciting than a whole rack of items with red clearance stickers on them (can I get an amen?).

Mixed into this random mix of housewares was a cookbook, "Cowgirl Chef: Texas Cooking with a French Accent."

Texas? Cowgirl? How did I now know who this was?!

It had been marked down... and down again... from $25.00 to $12.50 and then again to $7.50.

I don't collect cookbooks (or even use them that often!) but this was TEXAS cooking - and it was pretty and small in it's layout.

So I bought it, brought it home, and promptly forgot about it.

I'm so glad I found it while cleaning a few days ago because it's a beautiful cookbook with lots of delicious sounding recipes that will be made at our house in the near future. For our first recipe, I went with the fall friendly tortilla soup. Her method was different than any I'd tried but it promised a thick and substantial soup - not a runny brothy soup.

We weren't disappointed!

To thicken the soup, you puree toasted tortillas right into it. It makes for a thick and hearty bowl of tortillay goodness. Add lots of roasted garlic and some rotisserie chicken and you've got yourself a meal!

Psst - the toasted tortilla strips are not optional. Please make them - they are perfect with this soup!

Smokin' Chicken Tortilla Soup
1 onion, cut into eight wedges
8 cloves of garlic, left in their skins
canola oil
6 corn tortillas
28 ounce can of whole tomatoes, and their juices
1 canned chipotle in adobo (if you like smoky spice; if not, omit)
4 cups chicken stock
sea salt and pepper
1 pound shredded cooked chicken
Toasty Tortilla Strips (see below)
1 avocado, chopped
a handful of fresh cilantro, chopped
1 lime, sliced into wedges

Preheat your broiler. Toss the onion pieces and the garlic cloves onto a foil lined baking sheet. Drizzle with a bit of oil and toss around with your hands. Broil until the onions char around the edges, about 10-15 minutes.

Put your tortillas directly on the rack directly beneath the onions and garlic and let them crisp. They should be done at the same time as the onions/garlic.

When cool enough to handle, squeeze the garlic out of its skins and toss into a blender along with the onions, crispy tortillas (torn into pieces), tomatoes, chipotle, stock, and a big pinch of salt and pepper. Puree until smooth then pour into a large soup pot. Turn the heat to medium, add the shredded chicken and give it a stir. Let this come to a boil, turn down the heat, and simmer for another 15-20 minutes.

Serve with a handful of Toasty Tortilla Strips, avocado, cilantro, shredded cheese, and lime on the side.

Toasty Tortilla Strips
8 corn tortillas
1 teaspoon chili powder
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
canola oil

Preheat oven to 450.

Slice the tortillas into strips about 1/2 inch wide. Toss them in a bowl with chile powder, sea salt, and a little canola oil. Mix with hands until all the strips are evenly coated.

Spread the strips on a baking sheet and bake until they're crispy, about 15 minutes (flipping about halfway).

Source: Cowgirl Chef: Texas Cooking with a French Accent by Ellise Pierce

Monday, November 19, 2012

Crockpot Pumpkin Spice Latte

Last spring, I used my Starbucks gold card as a form of ID at the airport.

And got on the plane.

{isn't our security grand?!}

Truth is, the whole ID thing was silly anyways. I was flying back from a job interview and my ticket was purchased using Aimee and not my legal first name. I've flown multiple times without it being an issue until I stumbled upon the TSA agent in training at the Charlotte airport.

You know how people new at their job are sticking firmly to the rules?

Yeah, that.

She consulted the agent she was training under who asked me if I had anything else on me that had Aimee on it. I traveled super light but never leave home without my Starbucks gold card. And it does say Aimee. So I whipped it out.

The guy behind me snorted.

And they took it.

So thank you, Starbucks, for your gold card for it got me on my plane home.

Which is all the more reason why I felt like I was cheating on Starbucks with this recipe. Except that Starbucks now charges a ridiculous $6 for a venti soy pumpkin spice latte. And though I truly appreciate the fair wages and insurance they offer their employees, they just don't cost that much to make.

{but I still buy them sometimes}

This is tasty, and awesome when you don't want to leave the house on a cold morning and get a beverage. Especially when you live in a city that evidently doesn't believe in drive through Starbucks. You really don't have to use the crockpot - you can simmer is on your stove instead but my crockpot liner is dishwasher safe and my pots aren't.

I used my small (1.5-2 quart) crockpot for this and it was the perfect size!

Crockpot Pumpkin Spice Latte
makes enough for 2 large mugs

2 cups milk
2 tablespoons canned pumpkin
2 tablespoons white sugar
2 tablespoons vanilla extract
1/2 tsp pumpkin pie spice
1/2 cup brewed espresso or 3/4 cup strong brewed coffee
whipped cream, for topping
cinnamon, for topping

Add the coffee/espresso and milk to the crockpot. Whisk in the pumpkin, spices, sugar, and vanilla.

Cover and cook on high for 2 hours. Whisk again.

Ladle into mugs and top with whipped cream and a sprinkling of cinnamon.

Source: Crockpot 365

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Thanksgiving 2012: Recipe Ideas for Your Menu!

Thanksgiving is just days away! I swear Halloween was just last week... We actually have no plans, other than a list of movies we want to see, but I know many of you are already prepping to host family and friends for a great meal.

Here are a handful of recipes that you might want to add to your menu:

{deviled eggs are a staple at ALL our family functions!}





Happy menu planning!

Friday, November 16, 2012

Super Easy Korean Beef Over Rice

Jason walked into the kitchen as I was cooking this meal and said, "that's what we're having - hamburger meat and rice?"

I told him to hold his critique until after tasting it. My friend Jen @ Juanita's Cocina doesn't share bad recipes so I knew it was going to be good.

He didn't seem impressed but agreed to try it.

His dish was clean before mine, and he agreed it was mighty tasty.

{okay, okay - Jason would never say anything like mighty tasty - I'm paraphrasing here!}

This is one of those dishes that is so easy it's ridiculous. Literally, cook the rice at the same time and it'll all be completely done in 15 minutes. And it's so so tasty. Mighty tasty.

And definitely not just "hamburger meat and rice"

Super Easy Korean Beef Over Rice
1 lb. ground beef
1 Tbs. sesame oil
3 cloves garlic, minced (just grate it over the pan!)
1/4 cup soy sauce
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 tsp. fresh ground ginger
1/2 tsp. red pepper flakes
Salt and pepper to taste
1 bunch green onions, chopped
Heat a large skillet with the sesame oil over medium heat. Once the skillet is heated, brown the hamburger and minced garlic until meat is cooked through. Drain all fat from the meat.
In a small bowl, combine the soy sauce, brown sugar, ginger, salt and pepper, and red pepper flakes.
Pour mixture into the skillet over the meat and bring to a simmer. Simmer the meat in the sauce for 5 minutes, or until the sauce thickens and reduces.
Serve the Korean beef over rice and top with a small handful of green onions.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Baked Pumpkin Spice Donuts

Oh heavenly days.

I have a donut pan. I bought it a few years ago - I just had to have it - and I think it's been used two times? Maybe?

Normally, I'm not a huge fan of single purpose kitchen gear but I made an exception for this pan. Because let's get real; how else can I make baked donuts at home? See! Completely necessary.

{and it costs less than $10 and is small and easy to store}

I had sorta forgotten about it until I came across this recipe and a lightbulb went off. Immediately, plans were in place to make these donuts happen.

It was a good plan.

These donuts are best served warm. If you can't eat the entire batch when they're fresh from the oven, just throw it in the microwave for a few seconds before chowing down. You'll thank me later.

{If you're watching your calories, you can sub the oil for applesauce like the original author did.}

Baked Pumpkin Spice Donuts
For Donuts:
1 3/4 cups flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 ¼ teaspoons cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon allspice
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1/3 cup vegetable oil
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3/4 cup canned pumpkin
1/2 cup milk

For Coating:
1/4 cup butter, melted
1/2 cup sugar
1 tablespoon cinnamon

Preheat oven 350 F. Grease a donut pan and set aside.

In a bowl, whisk flour, baking powder, salt and spices together and set aside.

In a large bowl, whisk together oil, brown sugar, egg, vanilla, pumpkin, and milk until combined. Slowly add the dry ingredients into the mixture and stir until just combined, taking care to avoid overmixing.

Carefully spoon the batter evenly around the circles of the donut rings. Fill each nearly to the top. Bake for 12-15 minutes, until donuts spring back when gently pressed. Turn donuts out onto a wire rack and allow to cool for a few minutes.

While the donuts are cooling, melt butter in one bowl and combine the sugar and cinnamon in another. When donuts are still hot, use a pastry brush to spread a thin layer of butter onto each donut before dipping each into the cinnamon sugar, turning and swirling to coat. Use your fingers to sprinkle the sugar more evenly if necessary. Serve immediately.

*Should make 12 donuts, but I only got 9 out of it...

Source: Can You Stay For Dinner?

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Roasted Green Beans with Mushrooms, Balsamic, and Parmesan

Roasted is my favorite way to eat vegetables. It brings out such a great flavor in every veggie I've tried, and couldn't be easier! I've roasted green beans several times with great success but this recipe also threw in the deliciousness of mushrooms, cheese, and balsamic vinegar. What it gives you is a tasty (and relatively healthy!) way to serve America's favorite green vegetable.

Roasted Green Beans with Mushrooms, Balsamic, and Parmesan
8 oz. mushrooms, sliced in 1/2 inch slices (any variety; be sure they are wiped clean with a paper towel)
1 lb. fresh green beans, trimmed and cut into bite sized pieces
1 1/2 T olive oil
1 T balsamic vinegar
salt and fresh ground black pepper to taste
2 T finely grated parmesan cheese
Preheat oven to 450 degrees F.

Put beans and mushrooms into a Ziploc bag or plastic bowl. Whisk together olive oil and balsamic vinegar and pour over, then shake bag or stir so all the beans and mushrooms are lightly coated with the mixture.
Arrange on large cookie sheet, spreading them out well so beans and mushrooms are not crowded. Roast 20-30 minutes, starting to check for doneness after 20 minutes. Cook until beans are tender-crisp, mushrooms are cooked, and all liquid on the pan from mushrooms has evaporated.
Season beans to taste with salt and fresh ground pepper, then sprinkle with finely grated Parmesan. Serve hot.

Source: Kalyn's Kitchen

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Quick and Easy Beef and Bean Chili

There is much debate over the inclusion of beans in chili. In Texas, including beans is usually frowned upon... and I'm okay with that! I love a chili that's rich in meat. But I also enjoy beans in my chili... I guess I'm all about equal opportunity. Thankfully, Jason will also eat it anyway it comes so I am free to go either direction with our chili.

One of the upsides of using beans is the cost savings. All-meat chili can get pricey pretty quick while subbing in beans as another source of protein = cheap! I even took this recipe further and used less meat than it calls for and I heard no complaints from the other side of the couch.

Chili is often cooked long and slow but you can get great flavor from a faster approach. This chili cooks for just 40 minutes and it's darn tasty!

Quick and Easy Beef and Bean Chili
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
3 pounds lean ground beef chuck
2 large onions, chopped
3 tablespoons minced garlic
1/3 cup ancho chile powder
1 tablespoon ground cumin
1 tablespoon dried oregano
coarse salt and pepper
1 teaspoon cayenne
1 28 ounce can crushed tomatoes
1 15 ounce can tomato sauce
2 15 ounce cans red kidney beans, drained
sour cream, grated cheddar, pickled jalapeno chiles and sliced scallions for topping
In a large dutch oven, heat the oil over high heat. Working in batches, brown the beef for 5 minutes. Transfer to a plate.

Pour off all but 2 tbsp. of fat from the pot. Add the onions and stir over medium-low heat until soft, 8 minutes. Stir in the garlic and 3 cups water, scraping the pan.

Return the meat to the pot. Stir in the chile powder, cumin, oregano, 1 tbsp. coarse salt, 1 1/2 tsp. pepper and the cayenne; cook over low heat for 5 minutes. Stir in the tomatoes and tomato sauce. Cook, stirring, for 40 minutes.

Skim the fat from the surface. Stir in the beans and cook for 5 minutes. Serve with the toppings.

Source: Rachael Ray Magazine

Congrats to Jason of Griffin's Grub! He will soon be the owner of a new 12 inch cast iron skillet! Thanks to all who entered!

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Shrimp and Tomatillo Enchilada Casserole

I'm scared of our gas grill.

I know that's ridiculous but I really do have a good reason. You see, awhile back I went out to light the grill for dinner. Our ignitor switch died long ago so you have to stick the lighter down near the gas so when you turn the burner on, it lights.

Except this time, flames shot up out of the grill and came thisclose to lighting my face on fire.

And now it scares me.

Jason will reluctantly light it for me if he's home but since he gets home from work so late, he's usually not around when I try to start dinner. So, I have to work around the grill situation.

This recipe originally calls for the use of the grill. I improvised and roasted everything instead. Still had a great flavor but didn't require the loss of my eyebrows. Click over to the original and see what she did if you want to use your grill.

We both loved this twist on the traditional enchilada!

Shrimp and Tomatillo Enchilada Casserole
½ teaspoon cumin
½ teaspoon chile powder
1 tablespoon olive oil
1.5 pounds shrimp, peeled and deveined
1 onion, cut into 1-inch cubes
18 corn tortillas
1 pound tomatillos, husks removed
1 jalapeno
2 cloves garlic, unpeeled
½ lime
¼ cup cilantro leaves
12 ounces feta cheese, crumbled

Turn your broiler on high.

On a large rimmed baking sheet, spread out the tomatillos, garlic, onion, and jalapeno; drizzle each lightly with olive oil. Put under the broiler until partially blackened and softer (3-5 minutes or so - just watch carefully and pull them off the pan as needed).

In a large bowl, combine the cumin, chile powder, and olive oil. Add the shrimp; toss to coat. Add the shrimp to the baking sheet as well and cook through (won't take but a minute or two).

Once everything has cooked through, remove the baking sheet from the oven and turn the oven down to 350 degrees.

To your food processor, add the onions and shrimp. Process until coarsely chopped and transfer to a bowl. Add the tomatillos, jalapeno (remove the ribs and seeds first if you want to cut down on the heat), peeled garlic, juice from the lime, cilantro, and ½ teaspoon salt to the food processor; process until smooth.

Spray a 9x13 inch baking dish with cooking spray. Spread a thin layer of the tomatillo sauce over the bottom. Distribute 6 tortillas evenly over the sauce. Top with one-third of the remaining sauce, then half of the shrimp mixture and one-third of the cheese. Repeat the layering of tortillas, sauce, shrimp, and cheese. Distribute the remaining tortillas over the cheese, then the remaining sauce and remaining cheese.

Bake, uncovered, until the cheese is browned and the casserole is bubbling around the edges, 30-40 minutes. Let rest 10 minutes before serving.

Adapted from The Way the Cookie Crumbles

Have you entered to win the cast iron skillet yet? Just one day left!

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Cake Batter Chocolate Chip Cookies

Yesterday on Facebook, amidst the political bantering that has since prompted me to stay off my personal Facebook account a day or two, I promised cookies.

Cake batter. Chocolate chip. Cookies.

The beauty of these cookies is how darn fast they mix up, bake, and disappear once partially cooled. This is one of those recipes that is PERFECT for children to make - even wee ones with an attention span of a roach. It takes maybe 3 minutes to stir together and plop onto the sheet. They are soft with a hint of cake battery flavor in the background (sorta like the cake batter rice crispy treats I made awhile back).

They cook in 10, don't take long to cool down, and are a treat to eat.

What's also really awesome is that you can use any cake mix you want and any mix in you want. I went with a butter yellow cake mix and chocolate chips (used sparingly - I don't like a lot of chocolate in my CCCs. I know, I'm weird). You could use red velvet and white chocolate. Or german chocolate and pecans. The possibilities are endless!

Give these a try and see which cake mix is your favorite to use.

Cake Batter Chocolate Chip Cookies
1 (18.25 oz.) box cake mix
1 tsp. baking powder
2 eggs
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 cup semisweet chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350.

In a medium bowl, stir together the cake mix and the baking powder. Add eggs and oil, then mix until well blended.

Stir in chocolate chips and drop by rounded spoonfuls onto cookie sheets.

Bake for 10 minutes in the preheated oven. Allow cookies to cool on baking sheets for 5 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.

Source: Stephanie Cooks

Psst! Just two more days to enter to win a 12 inch Pre-Seasoned Lodge Logic Cast Iron Skillet!  Don't miss out!

Monday, November 5, 2012

Garlic Brown Sugar Chicken

You worked all day, you come home (in the dark, thanks to daylight savings time!) and the last thing you want to do is stand in the kitchen and cook an elaborate meal. You need tasty food, on the table quickly, using stuff you have on hand. This recipe delivers.

Brown Sugar.

What could go wrong?

The brown sugar carmalizes on the chicken and creates this deliciously sweet/salty chicken that would go with just about any veggie you throw together. And it's just four ingredients! FOUR!

This will definitely go into our we'rehungrywhatcanwethrowtogetherfast file - and I hope it goes into yours, too!


Garlic Brown Sugar Chicken
4 chicken breasts
4 tablespoons butter
4 cloves garlic, sliced
4 tablespoons brown sugar
salt and pepper, to taste
Salt and pepper both sides of the chicken breasts and set aside.

In a large sauté pan over medium-high heat, melt butter. Add garlic and cook for 2 minutes, or until fragrant and the butter/garlic is starting to brown just slightly.

Add chicken, cover pan, and cook for 12 minutes. Flip chicken and continue cooking until the chicken is cooked throughly (or has reached an internal temp of 165°F).

Sprinkle the tops of each chicken breast with 1 tablespoon of brown sugar. Cover pan with lid once more and let the brown sugar melt, about 1-2 minutes. Serve immediately.

Source: The Novice Chef

Psst - have you entered to win a 12 inch Lodge Logic Pre-Seasoned Cast Iron Skillet yet? It's my favorite kitchen item and you need one, too! Drawing ends Friday at midnight - don't miss out!

Sunday, November 4, 2012

New look and... my first ever giveaway (12 inch Lodge Castiron Skillet)!! (GIVEAWAY CLOSED)


I've decided to get serious with this blogging thing. Thus, the great new look thanks to Jen @ Munchkin Land Designs... and the great tips from my friend Jen @ Juanita's Cocina. It's about to get real, y'all.

While waiting on my new and improved design to be finalized, I have been quietly cooking and snapping pictures in my kitchen. Know what that means? I'm a woman with a plan. You'll soon see regular posts - not just a hoard of posts in one week and nothing for three like in the past. I hope to take things to the next level and connect with some other fab foodie bloggers out there in internet land.

I told y'all it was getting real up in here.

{this is the point where Jason rolls his eyes at me}

To celebrate my redesign, I want to celebrate YOU with a giveaway! Most blogs out there host giveaways on a fairly regular basis but I never have. Many of them are sponsored by a brand/product but I'm small potatoes in the blog world and am paying for this right out of my pocket. Yep, I like you that much.

Many of you have faithfully followed along since the beginning and saw first hand just how bad the photography has been at times. Some of you may be brand new and I hope you'll add me to your reader and stick around. Regardless of how long you've been here, I know you'll want a chance to win one of my favorite kitchen items - a 12 inch Lodge cast iron skillet.

Seriously, I ADORE anything cast iron. I used to think it was just for camping and then I saw the light. I love this particular skillet so much that we hit up the Lodge outlet store earlier today (on our way back from a beach weekend at Myrtle Beach - which rocked!) and picked up a 3rd one. Makes total sense that it be the first item I give away to a reader!

You can make peach cobbler in it. Or cornbread. Or mac and Cheese. Or chicken. Or steak (mmmm.... steak). Or baked pasta. The possibilities are endless!

Even if you have one (or four) you can use another. And if you don't have one yet, you need one.

To win a 12 inch Lodge Logic Pre-Seasoned Cast Iron Skillet:

Required: Comment and tell me your favorite thing to make in a cast iron skillet {be sure and include your email address!}

Additional entries:
Like me on Facebook
Follow me on Pinterest

If you follow me on Pinterest or Facebook, please note that in your comment or I won't know to give you additional shots at winning. With those two additional entries, you can have your name in the drawing three times!

Giveaway closes Friday, November 9 @ Midnight. Winner will be notified by email on Saturday, November 10.

Disclaimer: This is not a sponsored post. Lodge doesn't even know who I am; I just think their products rock and I want you to have one. This product will be paid for out of my own pocket and shipped directly to you.

See Aimee Cook

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