Wednesday, May 3, 2017

Lemon Marshmallow Popcorn Bars

Yellow is one of my favorite colors! It makes me think of daffodils and tulips in the spring. When we lived in Washington state, we would go to the tulip festival and see rows and ROWS of amazing flowers (see pics at the bottom of this post). Popcorn also makes me think of spring because it looks like those little white blossoms on trees. These treats are similar to the marshmallow rice cereal variety, but made with POPCORN! Skinny Pop Original Popcorn works great in this recipe (you can see their products here). I added in some lemon flavor with zest, mini lemon marshmallows, and crushed lemon candies. Yep, get your kids to pick out the yellow mini marshmallows from one of those multi colored bags. :) Once you've got the basic recipe down, you can change up the flavors too!

Lemon Marshmallow Popcorn Bars
3 TBSPs butter
1 TBSP lemon zest, packed (1 large lemon)
10 oz marshmallows
10 cups popcorn (I like Original Skinny Pop, see pic below)
2 cups yellow mini marshmallows (or whatever you can get from the bag of colored ones)
2 oz white almond bark or vanilla chips, melted
2 TBSPs crushed lemon candies (lemon drops or lemon heads)

1. In a large pot, melt butter over low heat until melted. Add lemon zest and marshmallows. Stir until marshmallows have completely melted. Remove from heat.
2. Stir in popcorn until mixed well and popcorn is covered with marshmallow mixture.
3. Add yellow mini marshmallows and stir to combine.
4. Press into greased 9x13 inch pan.
5. Drizzle melted almond bark over top and sprinkle on the lemon candy.
6. Cool and cut into squares.

Store covered at room temperature. Best served the same day.














Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Poppy Seed Dressing

This is such a yummy and easy dressing! I make it to use on these Hawaiian Ham and Cheese Sliders (also from Our Best Bites). THEN I use the leftovers on salad, maybe with with strawberries and candied pecans or mandarin oranges. I have even made it with my immersion blender, which I love, because clean up is a breeze. 

Poppy Seed Dressing
ourbestbites.com
1/3 cup white vinegar
1 tsp salt
A few turns of freshly ground black pepper
3/4 cup sugar
1 tsp mustard
1 green onion ends removed (roots and where the green part starts to get floppy)
1/2 cup vegetable or canola oil
1 tsp poppy seeds

In a blender, combine vinegar, salt, pepper, sugar, and mustard. While the blender is running, add the green onion. Continue running the blender and add the oil in a steady stream and is fully incorporated into the dressing. Pour the dressing into a serving or storage container and whisk in poppy seeds. Serve over leafy greens.

OR throw everything into a bowl (minus poppyseeds). Blend with immersion blender until smooth. Stir in poppyseeds.





Friday, March 31, 2017

Hawaiian Ham and Cheese Sliders

I've tried a few different versions of these sliders and this is my favorite one. I especially like it with the Our Best Bites Poppyseed Dressing spread over the rolls, but you can use any kind that you like. The original recipe calls for 1/2 cup of the dressing to be spread evenly over both sides of the rolls, but I find that the bottom of my rolls ends up too soggy if I spread a 1/4 cup of dressing over them. I prefer to use a little less and only spread a little on the bottom and the rest of it on the top. We eat these up fast, so it might be a good idea to make 2 pans. ;)

Hawaiian Ham and Cheese Sliders
adapted from ourbestbites.com
1 dozen Hawaiian Rolls
1/3 cup Our Best Bites Poppyseed Dressing (or any poppyseed dressing)
6 slices Swiss or provolone cheese, cut into quarters
18 thin slices honey or brown sugar ham
2 TBSPs butter
1/2 tsp poppy seeds
1 tsp dehydrated onion
1 tsp Creole or other mild coarse-ground mustard


1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F and line a 9x13" baking dish with aluminum foil. Set aside.
2. Slice the rolls in half. Don't separate them.
3. Spread a small amount of dressing on the bottom rolls, just to barely cover them (we don't want them to be soggy). Spread the remainder of the dressing on the top half.
4. Place a cheese quarter on each roll
5. Place 1 1/2 slices of ham on each roll.
6. Place another cheese quarter on top of ham on each roll.
7. Carefully turn top half of rolls over onto the bottom half and place the entire thing into the prepared baking dish.
8. In a small bowl, melt the butter and whisk in the poppyseeds, dehydrated onion, and mustard. Spread it evenly over the tops of the rolls.
9. Cover with aluminum foil and bake for about 20-30 minutes or until the cheese is melted. Remove from oven and allow to stand for 2-3 minutes before serving.


Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Pecan Pie Bars

Happy Pi day! These are so good! Pecan pie is my absolute favorite pie and these bars are very similar. They don't have the gooeyness of the pie, but still have all the flavor. The crust is kind of like a cross between a shortbread cookie and a pie crust. I like them better the 2nd or even 3rd day. I also like to freeze them wrapped individually. My kids pull them from the freezer to take them in their school lunch, and they are thawed by the time they eat. Now go make some pie!

Pecan Pie Bars
adapted from theslowroasteditalian.com
Crust
1 1/4 cups unsalted butter, softened
6 TBSPs sugar
2 large eggs
1 1/2 tsps vanilla
2 1/4 cups flour
1/4 tsp baking powder
1/8 tsp salt
Topping
1 cup unsalted butter
1/2 cup light corn syrup
1 1/2 cups light brown sugar, packed
2 TBSPs heavy cream
Pinch of salt
1 pound pecans, chopped

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
2. For the crust, beat the butter and sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, until light, approximately 3 minutes.
3. Add the eggs and the vanilla and mix well.
4. Sift together the flour, baking powder, and salt. Mix the dry ingredients into the batter with the mixer on low speed until just combined.
 5. Press the dough evenly into an ungreased 9x13 inch baking pan, making an edge about 1 inch up the sides like you would a pie crust . It will be very sticky; sprinkle the dough and your hands lightly with flour. Bake for 15 minutes, until the crust is set but not browned. Allow to cool.
6. For the topping, combine the butter, corn syrup, and brown sugar in a large, heavy-bottomed saucepan.
7. Cook over low heat until the butter is melted, using a wooden spoon to stir. Raise the heat and boil for 3 minutes. Remove from the heat.
8. Stir in the heavy cream, pinch of salt, and pecans.
9. Pour over the crust, trying not to get the filling between the crust and the pan. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, until the filling is set. Remove from the oven and allow to cool.
10. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate until cold. Cut into bars and serve.
These freeze really well!

Monday, February 27, 2017

Ground Beef Scalloped Potatoes

I don't have time for too many more of these nice wintry comfort food meals. It's been in the 80s here already and it's only February! I adapted this from a recipe I found on pinterest (taking out all signs of mushrooms). My family loved it! It is a bit of prep work, bit was totally worth it for the responses I got. If you have a mandoline, I recommend using that to slice your potatoes because it's fast and makes them all uniform in thickness. I have a CHEAP one (like $5, see pic at bottom) that works just fine and I cut my potatoes on the thinnest setting which looks like 1/8 of an inch. Might be good with bacon...just saying.

Ground Beef Scalloped Potatoes
adapted from bushel-and-a-peck.com 
1 lb. ground beef
1 onion, chopped
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp paprika
1 tsp salt
1 tsp pepper
3 cups thinly sliced potatoes
¼ cup butter
¼ cup flour
3/4 cup milk
1 cup beef broth (or water and bouillon)
1 1/2 cups shredded cheese

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F and lightly grease a 8 x 12in. baking dish.
 2. In medium skillet, cook the onions and ground meat, seasoned with salt and pepper. Once meat is browned, mix in 1/2 tsp garlic powder and 1 tsp paprika. Drain the grease, remove meat mixture from pan and set aside.
3. In the same pan, heat the butter over medium heat. Add the flour and cook for 1 minute. Slowly add milk and beef broth, blending well and bring to a boil, whisking the entire time. Add 1 tsp of salt and 1 tsp of pepper. Once the mixture comes to a boil again, whisk just until thickened--anywhere from 2-5 minutes
 4. Layer into the baking dish 1/3 of the potatoes, then spread 1/3 of the soup mixture over the potatoes. Sprinkle on 1/3 of the meat mixture, and top with 1/2 cup of cheese. Repeat layers with another 1/3 of the potatoes, soup, meat and then the cheese. Finish with one more set of layers in same order.
5. Spray a sheet of foil with cooking spray and cover baking dish, spray side down. Bake for 45 min, then remove the foil and bake for 15 more. Stick a fork in to see if the potatoes are soft, if not add 5 more minutes.



Monday, February 13, 2017

Instant Pot Broccoli and Cheddar Pasta

I bought an Instant Pot a few months ago and have been collecting dinner recipes. Here's my first one! This can be a side or you can add chicken to make it a one pot meal. When I add chicken, I cook the a couple of frozen chicken breasts on high pressure with 2 cups of water for 15 min. Then I remove them and use the pot for the pasta. You can even measure out the leftover water that the chicken cooked in, and use that too. Makes a lot! Feeds my family of 6 with leftovers.

Instant Pot Broccoli and Cheddar Pasta
adapted from adventuresofanurse.com
16oz pasta (I like penne, rotini, or farfalle)
4 cups water
1 16oz bag frozen broccoli
3 cups shredded cheddar cheese
1 cup milk OR half and half
1 tsp of salt
Pepper to taste

1. Place pasta and 4 cups of water in Instant Pot. Dump bag of frozen broccoli on top of pasta. Do not stir.
2. Turn pot on manual HIGH pressure for 4 minutes. After it has finished, do a quick release.
3. Turn pot to saute. Add in milk, cheese, salt and pepper. Stir until cheese is melted.

Add chopped cooked chicken if desired.

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Creamy Wild Rice and Chicken Soup

It's going to be in the 80's here today, but it's WINTER, so I'm posting a soup recipe! This soup reminds me of chicken pot pie filling, but with rice of course. The rice is baked in the oven, so while it's doing it's thing, you can cook your chicken and chop up all your veggies. I like to cook my chicken in my Instant Pot, and then use the leftover broth in the soup. 

Creamy Wild Rice and Chicken Soup
1 7 oz. box of Long Grain and Wild Rice Mix (like Zatarain's pic below)
2 cups water
1 tsp chicken bouillon granuals OR 1 cube
3/4 cup chopped onion
3/4 cup chopped celery
3/4 cup sliced carrots
1/4 cup butter
1/4 cup flour
4 cups chicken broth
2 TBSPs chopped fresh parsley
3 cups diced cooked chicken
1 cup whipping cream
Salt and pepper to taste

1. Combine rice, water, and bouillon in a 3 quart or 9x13 inch baking dish. Bake at 325 degrees for 45 minutes. Set aside.
2. Melt butter in skillet over med-high heat. Saute onion, celery and carrots in butter until soft. Stir in flour and cook until bubbly.
3. Add broth and parsley. Cook and stir until thickened.
4. Add baked rice and chicken; mix well. Add cream and continue to cook, stirring occasionally until heated through.

Makes 6 servings