• Whole Wheat Banana Muffins with Maple Frosting

    DSC_0132

     

    These muffins are beyond delicious.  They are moist and flavorful and you would never know that they are healthyish!

    Think banana bread meets maple frosting.

    Think muffin meets cupcake.

    Think delicious.

    I combined two different recipes to create these muffins.

    Muffin recipe from Two Peas and Their Pod.  Frosting Recipe from Crazy for Crust.

    Ingredients:

    • 2 c. whole-wheat flour
    • 1 tsp. baking powder
    • 1 tsp. baking soda
    • 1/2 tsp. salt
    • 1/4 tsp. ground cinnamon
    • 4 large ripe bananas (about 1 3/4 c. mashed)
    • 1 c. packed brown sugar
    • 1/4 c. coconut oil, melted and cooled
    • 1 large egg
    • 1/2 c. plain Greek yogurt
    • 2 tsp. pure vanilla extract
    • Turbinado sugar, for sprinkling on muffins before baking, optional

    Frosting Ingredients:

    • 3 TBSP unsalted butter, melted
    • 1 c. powdered sugar
    • 1/2 tsp. maple extract
    • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
    • Milk or heavy whipping cream

    Directions:

    1. Preheat the oven to 350*F. Line a muffin pan with paper liners, spray with cooking spray, and set aside.
    2. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon. Set aside.
    3. Peel the bananas and mash with a fork. Place the mashed bananas in a large bowl. Add the brown sugar, coconut oil, egg, Greek yogurt, and vanilla extract. Stir until well combined. Slowly stir in the dry ingredients. Mix until just combined.
    4. Fill muffin liners three-quarters full. Bake until toothpick inserted into center comes out clean, about 20 minutes. Transfer to wire rack to cool.
    5. For the frosting: whisk melted butter and powdered sugar. Add extracts, whisk until smooth. Add milk or heavy whipping cream (to desired consistency…start with just a small amount (1-2 tsp.) at a time and add more, if necessary), whisk until smooth. Immediately frost completely cooled muffins.

    Whole Wheat Banana Muffins with Maple Frosting:
    5star

  • Jerk Chicken Sliders

    DSC_0749

     

    Oh man are these sliders delicious!!!!  Everyone devoured them, and asked for more!  I love finding new recipes that everyone enjoys.  Yay!!

    We’ve made these with the pineapple mango salsa (recipe below), with the pineapple salsa (recipe below minus the mango), and with just the mango salsa (recipe below minus the pineapple).  Use what you have on hand or what you like best.  It’s all good!

    Recipe adapted from Chef in Training.

    Ingredients:

    • 2 large boneless skinless chicken breasts
    • 4 dinner rolls (I used the King’s Hawaiian Sweet Rolls and you can use the leftover rolls for the Cinnamon Pull-Apart Rolls!)

    Jamaican Jerk Sauce

    • ½ bunch green onions, chopped
    • ½ c. peanut oil
    • ½ c. vinegar
    • 3 TBSP ground allspice
    • 5 cloves garlic, peeled
    • 2 limes, juiced
    • 1/4 c. dark brown sugar
    • 2 TBSP soy sauce
    • 2 TBSP Ketchup
    • 1 TBSP ground cinnamon

    Pineapple Salsa

    • ¼ pineapple, peel and diced
    • ¾ mango, diced
    • ½ red onion, finely diced
    • Fresh cilantro, chopped
    • juice from 1 lime
    • salt to taste

    Directions:

    1. Mix the Jamaican Jerk Sauce ingredients until smooth.  Place the sauce in a large Ziploc bag and then add the chicken.  Marinate for at least 30 minutes or overnight.
    2. Prepare the Pineapple Salsa.
    3. Grill the chicken; then cut each breast in half (or smaller, if necessary).
    4. Slice each roll in half, place chicken on roll then top with Pineapple Salsa.

    Jerk Chicken Sliders:
    5star

  • Cinnamon Pull-Apart Rolls

    DSC_0742

     

    These pull-apart rolls are so easy and so delicious.  I’ve made it a number of times, both with the large round loaf (as pictured) and with individual rolls.  Both equally delicious, but we tend to prefer the individual rolls, because there is more surface area for that crispy, yet sweet gooey goodness!

    ***Note: if you use individual rolls, you’ll need a muffin pan, and the directions differ slightly, but I’ve noted the changes below.

    Recipe adapted from The Country Cook.

    Ingredients:

    • 1 Hawaiian round sweet bread loaf (or 12 individual rolls)
    • 1 c. brown sugar
    • 6 TBSP butter
    • 1 tsp. cinnamon
    • 3 tsp. honey

    Frosting:

    • 1 c. powdered sugar
    • 1-2 TBSP milk
    • 1 tsp. vanilla extract (or our personal favorite orange extract)

    Directions:

    1. Preheat oven to 400F degrees.
    2. Remove loaf of sweet bread from aluminum pan.
    3. Using a serrated knife, make 5 vertical slices in loaf about 1 1/2 inches apart stopping about 1/2-inch from bottom crust.  ***Note: If using individual rolls make 2 slices about 1 inch apart topping about 1/2-inch from bottom crust.
    4. In a small saucepan over medium/low heat, combine brown sugar, butter and honey. Stir constantly until everything is melted and combined (about 5 minutes.) Remove from heat then stir in cinnamon.
    5. Open each slice that you made in the bread and spread on a couple of tablespoons of the glaze. Press the slices together to make sure glaze gets distributed on each side of the slices.
    6. Then take your knife and make 4 more horizontal slices. Then fill in those slices with glaze.  ***Note: If using individual rolls make 2 slices about 1 inch apart topping about 1/2-inch from bottom crust.
    7. Spray pan with nonstick cooking spray, push loaf back together and put it back into the aluminum pan.  ***Note: If using individual rolls, spray a muffin pan with cooking spray and put 1 roll in each muffin slot.  
    8. Spread any remaining glaze over the bread and bake for about 8-10 minutes.
    9. While bread is in the oven, start making the glaze. Whisk together powdered sugar, milk and vanilla extract (or orange, or whatever flavor you like).
    10. Once bread is finished baking, you can remove it from the pan or serve it directly from the pan (be careful, it’s hot!) Spoon the glaze on the warm bread.

    Cinnamon Pull-Apart Rolls:
    5star

  • Italian Beef Sandwiches

    DSC_0975

    These sandwiches are delicious, and the meat is so flavorful.  Your house will smell divine too!  So easy to make in the crockpot and then toast them up on the oven when ready to eat.  The roasted red peppers and mild/hot pepper rings brighten the sandwiches up and give them delicious flavor.

    Simply great food.

    Everyone LOVED them.

    Everyone REQUESTS them.

    Recipe adapted from The Slow Roasted Italian.

    Ingredients:

    • 3 c. of boiling water
    • 5 tsp. beef bouillon
    • 1 TBSP Worcestershire Sauce
    • 2 tsp. ground black pepper
    • 2 tsp. garlic powder
    • 1½ tsp. onion powder
    • 5 TBSP Italian seasoning
    • 1 tsp. crushed red pepper (to taste)
    • 1 (3 lb.) boneless beef chuck roast, trimmed of most fat

    Sandwich Fixings:

    • 8 hoagie rolls
    • 16 slices provolone cheese
    • 1 (16 oz.) jar roasted red peppers, sliced
    • 1 (16 oz.) jar mild or hot sliced pepper rings

    Directions:

    1. Turn 6 quart slow cooker to high heat.  Add boiling water, beef bouillon and Worcestershire.
    2. Combine remaining seasonings in a small bowl.  Sprinkle over beef broth and whisk to combine.  Add roast and flip to coat both sides.  Cover and cook on high for 4 hours or low 8-10 hours.  Shred beef by using two forks to pull it apart.  Stir to coat all beef in the juices.  Cook 1 additional hour covered. (Do not drain)  Really not necessary, so you can skip this step.
    3. When ready to serve:  Slice rolls in half, place on a baking sheet and broil in oven for 2-4 minutes until bread is lightly golden brown.
    4. Scoop beef on toasted roll and top with 2 slices of provolone cheese.  Place back on baking sheet and broil until cheese is melted.  Top with red pepper slices and mild pepper rings.

    Italian Beef Sandwiches:
    5star

     

  • Caprese Chicken Pasta (Caprese Pasta Salad)

    DSC_0986

    If you like caprese salad, you’ll love this carprese chicken pasta.  Everyone loved this dish!

    I promise there is chicken in there.  It’s just under all those delicious tomatoes, basil, and cheese.

    ***Note: I’ve also made this dish without the chicken and instead of melting the cheese I just cut the cheese up or use the mozzarella pearls and serve this caprese pasta salad cold. It’s beyond delicious and great for potlucks and picnics.  So flavorful.  

    Recipe adapted from The Novice Chef.

    Ingredients:

    • 1 lb. pasta
    • zest of 2 lemons
    • juice of 2 lemons
    • butter
    • 4 skinless chicken breasts
    • kosher salt & freshly ground black pepper
    • 2 TBSP olive oil, divided
    • 5 large garlic cloves, minced
    • 2 pints cherry tomatoes, halved
    • 10 large basil leaves, finely chopped (the more the better)
    • 8 oz. fresh buffalo mozzarella, sliced in 1/2 inch thick slices
    • balsamic vinegar, to taste

    Directions:

    1. Cook pasta according to directions.
    2. Salt and pepper both sides of the chicken breasts and set aside.
    3. In a large sauté pan over medium-high heat, warm 1 TBSP olive oil. Add chicken, cover pan, and cook for about 10 minutes. Flip chicken breasts and continue cooking until the chicken is cooked thoroughly (or has reached an internal temp of 165°F).
    4. While chicken is cooking, in a medium sauté pan over medium-high heat, warm remaining 1 TBSP olive oil. Add garlic and cook for about 1 minute, or until fragrant. Add tomatoes and continue sautéing until tomatoes skin starts to soften/wrinkle, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in basil. Set aside.
    5. Once chicken has reached desired doneness, top the tops of each chicken breast with 2 slices of mozzarella. Pour tomato mixture on top. Cover pan with lid once more and let the mozzarella melt, about 1-2 minutes.
    6. When pasta is done, transfer to large serving bowl, and add zest, lemon juice and butter, and mix to combine.
    7. Lastly, drizzle chicken and/or pasta with a splash of balsamic vinegar and serve chicken immediately over pasta.

    Caprese Chicken Pasta:
    5star

  • Mini Orange Monkey Rolls

    DSC_0941

     

    I introduced Ellie to orange rolls this week when we had a mother daughter lunch day, and just like me she is hooked.  Orange rolls are like cinnamon rolls, but instead of the cinnamon there is the delicious sweet orange flavor.

    When I came across this recipe I just knew it would be delicious and it was.  They were inhaled.

    Recipe from The Recipe Critic.

    Ingredients:

    Mini Orange Monkey Rolls:

    • 12 frozen yeast dinner rolls (not the bake and serve in 5-10 minutes kind)
    • 1 c. sugar
    • zest of one orange
    • 1/2 c. butter
    • 1/2 tsp. (I actually used 1 tsp.) Karo syrup
    Sweet Orange Glaze (can omit, if desired):
    • 1 c. powdered sugar
    • zest of one orange
    • 1 TBSP butter, melted
    • 2 TBSP orange juice
    • 1 tsp. vanilla

    Directions:

    1. Take out 12 frozen dinner rolls and allow them to thaw but still be cold.  Cut each roll with a pizza cutter into about 4-6 smaller pieces each.
    2. Mix the 1 c. of sugar and orange zest into a small bowl and set aside.
    3. Preheat oven to 350*.
    4. Melt the 1/2 c. butter and mix with karo syrup.
    5. Spray a muffin pan with cooking spray and set aside.
    6. Dip each small piece of the butter and roll in the sugar/orange zest mixture.  (There will be quite a bit of butter and some sugar/orange zest mixture left over.) Put about 4-6 pieces into the muffin tin and fill them about 1/2 way with the small frozen dinner roll pieces.  Let them double in size, about a couple of hours.
    7. Bake for 15 minutes or until golden brown.
    8. Let the rolls cool slightly and then use a knife to loosen them up. Remove each roll and place them upside down on a cooling rack as the bottoms will be sticky.
    9. When ready to serve, make the sweet orange glaze: mix the powdered sugar, orange zest, 1 TBSP butter, 2 TBSP orange juice, and 1 tsp. vanilla together.  Drizzle over the tops of each of the orange rolls. (If you don’t want the glaze you can omit).
    Mini Orange Monkey Rolls:
    5star

     

  • Chicken Carnitas Tacos

    DSC_0938

    My new favorite chicken tacos!!!!!!!!! These tacos have a slight kick, so if you don’t like spice reduce the chili powder.

    I prefer to cook boneless chicken in a crockpot on HIGH for 2 hours, but you can always lengthen the cooking time and cook on low (the usual cooking time conversion is when you cook on low you double the high cooking time, so in this case it would be low for 4 hours).  The original recipe call for cooking on low for 6-8 hours.

    Recipe adapted from Closet Cooking.

    Ingredients:

    • 1 1/2 lbs. chicken breasts
    • 3/4 c. orange juice (~2 oranges)
    • 1/4 c. lime juice (~2 limes)
    • 4 cloves garlic, chopped
    • 1 TBSP chili powder
    • 1 tsp. cumin
    • 1 tsp. oregano
    • 1/2 tsp. salt
    • 1/2 tsp. pepper
    • 1/2 cup cilantro, torn
    • Toppings: Salsa, tomatoes, sour cream, cheese, etc.
    • Limes, cut into wedges

    Directions:

    1. Place the chicken in the crockpot.
    2. In a bowl mix the orange juice, lime juice, garlic, chili powder, cumin, oregano, salt and pepper together and then pour over chicken.
    3. Cook on HIGH for 2 hours or until tender.
    4. Remove chicken from crockpot and shred. Reserve the juices.
    5. Spread the chicken out in a single layer on a baking sheet and add 1/4 c. of juices and broil until it starts getting crispy, about 5 minutes. Mix in another 1/4 c. of the juices, mix everything up and broil for another 5 minutes. Remove from oven and mix in another 1/4 c. of the juices.
    6. Assemble the tacos on the tortillas with the chicken carnitas along with the  cilantro salsa and whatever toppings you like and serve with the lime wedges.

    Chicken Carnitas Tacos:

    5star

     

  • Best Ever Pot Roast

    DSC_0880

     

     

    Nothing says comfort food like pot roast, and this is the BEST pot roast I’ve ever made!  It was so good.  Even the kiddo who never likes her food to touch devoured this meal and asked for seconds.  Score!  And it was made in the crockpot.  Double score!  Definitely company worthy.  Triple score!  Need I say more?!?!?

    Recipe adapted from Joyously Domestic.

    Ingredients:

    • 2 TBSP steak seasoning (such as a blend of peppercorns, garlic, paprika, parsley and salt)
    • 1/2  TBSP kosher salt
    • 2 TBSP Italian Seasoning
    • 1 chuck roast (about 3 lbs)
    • Olive oil
    • 1 lb. carrots, peeled and cut into large chunks
    • 2 lbs. potatoes, cut into large chunks
    • 1 onion, peeled and cut into large chunks
    • 2 stalks celery, cut into large chunks (optional)
    • 1 c. beef broth
    • 1/4 c. corn starch (give or take)

    Directions:

    1. Combine steak seasoning through Italian Seasoning in a small bowl.  Set aside.
    2. Coat both sides of meat with olive oil.  Sprinkle on a third of the seasoning mix onto each side.
    3. Heat a skillet over medium high heat and sear both sides of the meat; then transfer roast to crockpot.
    4. Place the vegetables in a large bowl.  Drizzle on a little olive oil to coat vegetables.  Sprinkle on the remaining seasoning mix.  Add the vegetables to the same skillet that was used to sear the meat. Sauté for about five minutes, stirring occasionally.
    5. Transfer the vegetables to the top of the roast in the slow cooker.
    6. Combine beef broth and cornstarch in a bowl and then pour mixture over meat and vegetables. Cover with lid.
    7. Cook on LOW for 9 hours or HIGH for 6 hours.

    Best Ever Pot Roast:

    5star

  • Brown Butter Snickerdoodles

    DSC_0398

     

    If you love snickerdoodles, you will LOVE these brown butter snickerdoodles!!!  Yes, they are that good, and I don’t think I’ve ever tasted a better snickerdoodle.  Warning: these cookies will be requested by everyone and will be devoured quickly! :)

    Recipe from Ambitious Kitchen.

    Ingredients:

    • 2 1/2 c. AP flour
    • 1 tsp. baking soda
    • 2 tsp. cream of tartar
    • 1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
    • 1/2 tsp. sea salt
    • 1 c. unsalted butter, sliced
    • 1 1/4 c. brown sugar
    • 1/2 c. granulated sugar
    • 1 large egg
    • 1 egg yolk
    • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
    • 1 TBSP plain Greek yogurt
    • Rolling cookies:
    • 1/4 c. granulated sugar
    • 2 tsp. ground cinnamon

    Instructions:

    1. In a medium bowl, Whisk together the flour, baking soda, cream of tartar, cinnamon, and salt. Set aside.
    2. To brown the butter, heat a thick-bottomed skillet on medium heat. Add the sliced butter, whisking frequently. Continue to cook the butter until melted. The butter will start to foam and browned specks will begin to form at the bottom of the pan. The butter should have a nutty aroma. Watch the butter carefully because it can go from brown to burnt quickly. Remove butter from the heat and let cool to room temperature.
    3. In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine the brown butter and sugars. Mix until blended and smooth. Beat in the egg, yolk, vanilla, and yogurt and mix until combined. Slowly add in the dry ingredients and mix until just combined.
    4. Form the dough in a ball and cover with plastic wrap. Chill in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes. You can chill the dough overnight.
    5. When ready to bake, preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Measure about 2 tablespoons of dough and roll into balls.
    6. In a small bowl, combine the cinnamon and sugar. Roll the balls in the cinnamon-sugar mixture. Place dough balls on a large baking sheet that has been lined with parchment paper. Make sure the cookies are about 2 inches apart. Sprinkle the cookie tops with sea salt.
    7. Bake the cookies 8-10 minutes or until the edges of the cookies begin to turn golden brown. The centers will still be soft. Cool the cookies on the baking sheet for 2-3 minutes, or until set. Transfer cookies to a wire cooling rack and cool completely.

    Brown Butter Snickerdoodles:

    5star

  • Apple Crumb Pie

    DSC_0296

    If you like apple pie and if you like crumb topping, you’ll love this apple crumb pie!  This pie will have its place at our Thanksgiving feasts.

    Recipe adapted from Mel’s Kitchen Cafe.

    Ingredients:

    • 1/2 recipe of No Fail Pie Crust (or make a full recipe and make tarts with the leftover crust….yum!)
    • 6 c. apples (Fuji, Jazz, Braeburn, Granny Smith mix), sliced ¼ inch thick
    • 1/4 c. freshly squeezed lemon juice (from about 2 lemons)
    • 3/4 c. granulated sugar
    • 2 1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon

    Crumb Topping:

    • 1 c. all-purpose flour
    • 1/4 c. packed light or dark brown sugar
    • 1 tsp. ground cinnamon
    • 8 TBSP (1 stick) cold butter, cut into small pieces

    Directions:

    1. Make the pie crust according to directions, roll it out into a 9-inch pie plate and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes before filling with the apples.
    2. Preheat the oven to 375*. Peel, core and slice all the apples to about 1/4-inch thick. It doesn’t have to be exact – just try to get them all about the same thickness so the apples cook evenly.
    3. Toss the apples in a bowl with the lemon juice, sugar, and cinnamon. Add the apple mixture to the chilled crust.
    4. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, and cinnamon. Add the butter pieces and cut in with a fork, your fingers or a pastry blender until the mixture is coarsely combined and makes a streusel-like consistency.
    5. Lightly press the crumb mixture on top of the apples. Place the pie on a foil-lined baking sheet and bake for 1 hour and 30 minutes until the apples are tender and the crust is golden brown. If the crust edges are getting too dark during the last 30 minutes of baking, you can cover them with foil for the remainder of baking.
    6. Serve warm or at room temperature. This pie is delicious with a bit of whipped cream or vanilla ice cream.

    Apple Crumb Pie:

    5star