No-Knead Crusty Bread

Crusty Bread

Happy New Year to everyone!  I hope you all had a fabulous holiday season.  I had a very wonderful yet incredibly busy holiday with a road trip back to Michigan.  I took a little break from blogging to recover, but I’m back and better than ever.  In fact, I made a resolution to blog more, so here it goes!

So, this pin – No-Knead Crusty Bread – is all over Pinterest these days.  One of my Facebook friends gave it a try and it looked amazing, so I decided to give it a try a few weeks ago.

I’ll put the full instructions at the bottom of this post, but here’s the quick and dirty.  Mix some yeast, flour, salt and water.  (I threw in a tablespoon of sugar, too.)  Let it rise overnight, then back in an 450 degree oven for 45 minutes.  You have to preheat the pan for 30 minutes beforehand, so plan on an hour and 15 minutes of time with the oven on. Here’s a look before everything went in to the oven.  (Side note: I got this cast-iron dutch oven from my husband for my birthday.  It’s perfect for this recipe!)

Pots and dough

That’s it!  No kneading, no fussing around.  And, when it’s all done….

crusty bread

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Leftover Turkey Tetrazzini

Raise your hand if you have leftover turkey!  Since I hosted Thanksgiving this year and all of my guests had long drives home, I have a lot of turkey just sitting in my fridge.  And, I can only have so many turkey sandwiches.  So, where do I go to find good recipes for leftover turkey? Pinterest!

Leftover Turkey Tetrazzini, courtsey of Taste of Home, was floating around Pinterest, so I thought I would give it a try.  A huge bonus – I had all of the ingredients (or at least a variation) in my house so no need to run to the grocery store.  This dish was the best way to use up all of those leftover ingredients in my fridge.

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Maple Sugar Cookies

Well, Thanksgiving is officially over.  I don’t know about you, but I’m still stuffed.  So much good food over this weekend.  I hosted Thanksgiving for the first time (yikes!!) but everything went off perfectly.  (My Trader Joe’s turkey was delicious – very moist and juicy.)  But, one of the highlights of this weekend’s culinary experience were a cookie recipe I found on Pinterest.

On Monday, I threw together a batch of these delicious Maple Sugar Cookies, courtesy of www.thirtydayshomemade.com.  Maple is my husband’s favorite flavor so it was kind of a no-brainer to give these a try.

The recipe is pretty simple – a basic sugar cookie with a splash of real maple syrup.  Yes, you have to get the good stuff, but it’s so worth it.   I made three dozen cookies and froze the rest of the cookie dough for Christmas.

Here’s how they turned out:

 

The verdict from my Thanksgiving guests – huge thumbs up!  The maple flavor is subtle but enough to amp up your average sugar cookie.  I will say that the recipe makes a whole lot of icing, so I might cut it in half and make a little more if I need it.

So, if you need a delicious cookie for presents or a cookie exchange, give these a try!

Crockpot Chicken Tacos

You know that you really want to try a recipe when you find the same pin multiple times on your board, “Recipes to Try.”  Yup, that was me.  I guess I really wanted to try this one because I had pinned it twice.

Here is Crockpot Chicken Tacos – courtesy of Chocolate Therapy.  And, I’ll be the first to admit – I was very skeptical of this one.  Throw chicken breasts, salsa and taco seasoning in a crockpot, and presto?  Perfect chicken taco meat?  No way.

So, I threw three boneless chicken breasts (about 1 1/2 pounds) into a crockpot with one jar of salsa (ok, it was more a mishmash of salsas that I had in my fridge) and 1/2 of a packet of Trader Joe’s taco seasoning.  (I used half because that’s what it calls for when you use about a pound of meat.)  Six hours later on low….

And, perfect, juicy tasting chicken ready for tacos!  I shredded up the chicken breasts and poured a little bit of the cooking juices and mixed with the shredded chicken.  With a little tomato, sour cream and lettuce, we had juicy, delicious chicken tacos.   I didn’t even get a chance to take a photo because my husband gobbled it up.  His quote: “These are the best tacos we’ve ever had.  You can make them every time.”

Having Dinner with Friends – Pesto Orecchiette With Chicken Sausage

So, it’s been over two years since my husband and I packed up our house and moved from Michigan to Kentucky.  It was one of the toughest decisions we ever made – leaving our friends and family for a new job and new adventure.  Looking back, I’m still proud that we took the leap and moved south.

Thank goodness for Facebook, Skype and now, Pinterest, to keep my in the loop with all of our friends in Michigan.  Sometimes I feel like I’m peeking into their kitchens to see what they are making for dinner.  And when I make one of their favorites, it’s like we’re sharing a meal – 350 miles away.  🙂

So this week, we “had dinner” with our friends, Michelle and Jeremy.  Michelle posted this recipe – Pesto Orecchiette With Chicken Sausage, courtesy of Real Simple – on Pinterest with the note that it was one of her husband’s favorites.  We had to give it a try!

Pasta with Peas and Beans

The pasta was delicious – a nice combination of chicken sausage, peas, green beans, pesto and pasta.  And, it was easy to make – just throw some pasta in a pot to boil, add the veggies at the end, brown the sausage and toss together with some pesto and parmesan cheese.  I used frozen peas and french green beans, but the pesto really brings a fresh flavor, so you couldn’t even tell that they were frozen.

So, even though our friends were far away in Michigan, we thought of them fondly as we enjoyed one of their favorites.  If you want to “have dinner” with the Bosschers, here are a few of our favorites:

Grilled Chicken with Goat Cheese Zucchini Pasta,
Chicken and Rice Casserole,
and good old’ burgers with a little blue cheese on top.

“So Good You Can’t Stop Eating” Rice Krispies Treats…Made with Coconut Oil!

Oh, brother.  This is one of those pins that I almost wish I had never found.  And here’s a random story to go with it!

Trader Joe's Coconut OilSo, my baby girl has a little cradle cap.  And last week, I was hanging out with my sister, Kathy, who suggested that I use a little coconut oil on her head to heal those scaly things.  Kathy happened to have some with her, so I took a bit and rubbed it all over her head.  It not only worked, but now I had a little Hawaiian Tropics baby because she was smelling so good!  I ran out to Trader Joe’s the next week to pick up a jar of the coconut oil for my own.

The jar was a little bigger than I had anticipated, so being my thrifty self, I was determined to find another use for coconut oil.

Behold, Rice Krispies Treats with Coconut Oil!  According to WhiteLotusCooks.com, coconut oil is a healthy substitution for butter.  It turns your ordinary treats into a rich, gooey dessert that you can’t stop eating.  (This was my first bite.  The whole pan was gone not long after that.)

Rice Krispies

 

I have to agree with WhiteLotusCooks.com that the coconut oil gives the treats a nice hint of coconut that makes you want to go back for seconds…or thirds in my case.  We had a few friends over the night that I made these, and they agreed that the flavor was subtle but delicious.  

And, since the recipe is so short, I thought I would add it right to the blog:

Rice Krispies Treats with Coconut Oil (courtesy of www.whitelotuscooks.com)
makes one 9 x 9 pan (about 16 generous squares) or a 9 x 13 pan (makes about 30 thinner squares)

Butter or coconut oil for greasing the pan
3 Tablespoons coconut oil
6 cups Rice Krispies Cereal
1 10 oz. bag of large marshmallows (about 40)

With butter or coconut oil, grease the baking pan and set aside.

In a large pot over medium heat, melt the coconut oil. Once all liquified, add all the marshmallows, stir for one or two minutes until everything becomes an ooey gooey mess. Once melted, remove from heat and mix in the rice krispies cereal. Place the marshmallowy cereal in the buttered pan. If the cereal is sticking to your wooden spoon or whatever you used to stir the pot, I will sometimes switch to a rubber spatula when placing it in the pan. Let cool and set for 5 minutes or so before serving.

Farmer’s Market Finds – Yum!

One of my favorite things about the summer is the farmer’s markets.  Louisville has lots of them, and one of our favorites is the Douglass Loop Farmer’s Market – right across the street from our old apartment.

On Saturday we picked up some heirloom tomatoes and fresh basil, so I decided to try a recipe courtesy of French Ponytail – Roasted Balsamic Tomatoes with Goat Cheese and Basil.  Pinterest is such a great place to search for recipes and I found this one right away.

And, of course, it was delicious.  I had never roasted tomatoes before, and I was pleasantly surprised on how easy it was.  Just dig out the seeds, drizzle them with oil and vinegar and then pop them in the oven for 30 minutes.  We did eat ours with a little toasted bread since I didn’t dig out as many of the seeds as I should.  It turned a little soupy but was still wonderful.

The fresh basil really makes all the difference.  I got a bunch for $2, so we’ll be eating lots of combinations of tomatoes, cheese and basil for the next few days.  Yum!

And, when I’m not surfing Pinterest, I’m hanging out with my daughter, Avery. Just had to share this picture – her smile cracks me up.  🙂

Chicken and Spinach Pasta Bake

Now that I’ve been home with my little one for the last two months, I’m trying to develop some sort of schedule for us.  And, I think Mondays may become Casserole Monday.  Lame, I know, but it’s nice to make one big casserole on Monday and then eat it for the next few days.

This week, I decided to give Chicken and Spinach Pasta Bake, courtesy of Saving Money Living Life, a try.  I picked this one because honestly, the picture made my mouth water.  All that cheesy goodness on top – yum!

Since I didn’t have any cooked chicken on hand, it look me a little bit to put the dish together.  (And I bought a bag of frozen spinach instead of a box, so it was a pain to thaw and drain.)  I definitely made lots of pans dirty with having to boil the noodles, cook the onion and chicken, and mix everything together.

Pasta Bake

The results?  Delicious!  My dish turned out just like the picture.  I used a 9×13 pan and followed the recipe exactly as printed.  I never thought to add chive and onion cream cheese to a dish like this, but it made all the difference.  The dish was creamy, full of Italian flavors but not overly fillings.  (Sometimes when I make these dishes, they are way too heavy for our family.)  My husband went back for seconds and took it to work for lunch the next day.  We’re adding this one to the rotation!

Slow Cooker Saves the Day! Pork Carnitas!

Pork Carnitas

Holy heat wave in Louisville!  I guess I’m used to it already after two years of living in Kentucky, but for some reason, last week just seemed super hot.  Cooking is always tricky when it’s warm outside.  When its 104 degrees outside, it’s almost cruel to send my husband to man the grill. So, I busted out the slow cooker and tried a new recipe from Pinterest – Pork Carnitas.  Yum.

I’ve had this pin on my Recipes to Try board for quite some time.  I believe I got this recipe from my sister Kathy and figured it was time to give it a shot.  Plus, pork was on sale at Kroger. Score!

The recipe is courtesy of The Kitchn and with a few minor modifications, it turned out great!  I realized that I was out of oregeno, so I had to substitute some special Italian blend seasoning from Penzey Spices.  I also used a smaller piece of pork – maybe 2.5 pounds or so – and adjusted the ingredients accordingly.

After an afternoon in the slow cooker, the meat was tender and spicy!  (Those chipotle peppers really pack the heat!)  With the meat, we had delicious pork carnitas with fresh radishes from the farmers market, a little sour cream, cilantro and lime juice.  My husband was a huge fan, gobbling them for dinner last week.  Of course, we had leftover meat so I made some enchiladas a few days later.  I love recipes where we actually eat the entire thing and are not wasteful!

Cowboy Caviar

Cowboy Caviar

Yum. Yum. Yum.  I can’t enough of this recipe.  As a new mom, we were fortunate to have a few meals dropped off from friends and fellow church members.  One of them came from a fellow Kalamazoo native and included this incredible dip.  Luckily, I follow her pins on Pinterest, so it took just a few clicks to find the recipe.

So, behold: Cowboy Caviar.  A huge thanks to the Rigneys blog for posting the recipe.  I am always looking for good snack food and this one fits the bill – it’s healthy, inexpensive, contains easy-to-find ingredients and has a decent shelf life.  Plus, it has a bunch of veggies in it.  (My husband and I are great at eating fruit; not so much at eating vegetables.)

cowboy caviarSince there are just two of us, I made a half recipe.  I used two peppers – green and orange, and half of everything else.  Mix together and marinate overnight.  It was hard to resist eating it the first day, but the wait paid off – it is delicious!  A little sweet with the vinegar and super fresh with the cilantro.

We’ve been eating it with tortilla chips, and for dinner last night, we added it to grilled chicken wraps.  It’s a great dip to bring to a party or just to have around the house.  Enjoy!