Monday, December 16, 2013

BLT Penne Pasta (Bacon, Leek, Tomato)

I have a real treat for you today.  Not a sugary treat, but a super yummy dinner kind of treat.  That's ready in less than 30 minutes.  I like that kind of treat!

This BLT Penne Pasta was loved by the entire family (even if some of the littles picked out the leeks).  I'm still convinced you just can't go wrong with bacon.

I have a friend who claims cream cheese frosting can make anything taste good, even dirt!  I like cream cheese frosting well enough, but bacon is that magical thing for me.  Well, and chocolate.  Pretty sure bacon could make dirt taste good.  As long as you could get past the gritty texture.

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil (EVOO)
1/2 pound lean smoky bacon, diced
3-4 medium leeks, halved lengthwise, sliced 1-inch thick, then washed and dried
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 tablespoons fresh thyme, chopped
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1/2 cup chicken broth
2 pints cherry tomatoes
1 pound penne rigate
2 cups Pecorino Romano cheese, grated

Bring a large pot of water to a boil for the penne. Heat the EVOO in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the bacon and crisp; about 5 minutes.  Drain off all but about 1/4 cup of the oil/bacon drippings. Add the leeks, garlic, thyme and pepper. Sauté for 5-6 minutes, then add the chicken broth and scrape the bottom of the pan to get anything that may be stuck off. Add the tomatoes and cover the pan. Cook the tomatoes until they burst, 10-12 minutes, shaking the pan occasionally. Salt the boiling water and cook the penne to al dente. Add a little of the starchy cooking water to the sauce just before draining the pasta. Toss the pasta with the sauce and 1 1/2 cups cheese. Serve garnished with remaining cheese.

Recipe adapted from Rachel Ray.

Friday, December 13, 2013

Biscoff Fudge

I held off trying Biscoff as long as I could, but curiosity finally got the best of me.  I just had to see what all the hype was about.  I have to admit, I finally understand.  I can eat the stuff by they spoonful!

Wanting to add to my fudge recipe collection, I decided to make some Biscoff into fudge.  If you haven't tried Biscoff yet, you may want to head to the store.  Like now.  So you can break into the world of biscoff with this super tasty Biscoff Fudge.

1/2 cup butter
2 cups brown sugar
1/2 cup milk
1 cup Biscoff spread (I used half creamy and half chunky)
1 tsp vanilla
3 cups powdered sugar

Line an 8-inch baking dish with foil and lightly grease. Melt butter in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add brown sugar and milk. Bring to a boil and boil 2 minutes, stirring constantly. Remove from heat and add Biscoff spread and vanilla. Pour powdered sugar into a large bowl and pour hot mixture over the top; mix smooth. Pour into prepared pan and let cool completely.

Recipe adapted from Creations by Kara.

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Pumpkin Waffles with Cinnamon Maple Syrup

I know fall has come and gone (at least it feels like it.  It's 5 degrees here today.  BRRR!!!!), but I still can't seem to get enough pumpkin goodness.  The entire family really like these delicious Pumpkin Waffles with Cinnamon Maple Syrup.  Even the skeptic 12 year old had seconds!

2 cups buttermilk
1 cup canned pumpkin
4 eggs, beaten
1/3 cup packed brown sugar
1/3 cup butter, melted
1 cup pure maple syrup
1 cinnamon stick
1 1/2 cups flour
1 cup whole wheat flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt

Heat waffle iron according to manufacture's directions.  In a small lidded pot, over medium heat, combine maple syrup and cinnamon stick.  Cook, uncovered, until it steams (do not boil).  Turn off heat, cover and let stand for 15 minutes.  Remove cinnamon stick to serve.  In a large bowl combine buttermilk, pumpkin, eggs, brown sugar and butter; mix well.  Stir in dry ingredients until smooth.  Cook waffles until lightly browned.

Recipe from Family Circle magazine.

Monday, December 9, 2013

Oven Tacos

Sometimes I see something and think "Who comes up with this stuff!?"  These Oven Tacos are one of those things.   And not in a bad way.  In a I-wish-I-had-time-to-sit-around-and-come-up-with-cool-ideas kind of way.  They take a little more work than "regular" tacos, but the entire family loved them.  Devoured them.

One of the great things about these Oven Tacos is the shell gets tender at the bottom where the meat is so they don't crack when you take a bite.  Not that it bugs me when my taco shell cracks, but for some of the littles, it's pretty much the end of the world. :)

These Oven Tacos make a ton!  Like, I can feed my family 1 1/2 times with a single recipe.  And that's really saying something when I have a husband, a 14 year old with a hollow leg (He has to!  I can't see where else he would put all that stuff he puts away!), and a 12 year old with a hollow leg.  Seriously.  She ate 5 tacos!  In one sitting.  I ate 2.  And she's such a skinny little thing.  Maybe I should play soccer, too....

2 pounds ground beef
1 small onion diced
1 (4 ounce) can diced green chilies
1 package taco seasoning
1 (8 ounce) can tomato sauce
1 (16 ounce) can refried beans
2 cups cheese, shredded (I used cheddar)
30-36 hard taco shells

In a large skillet brown ground beef and onion over medium heat. Drain off any excess liquid. Add chilies, refried beans, tomato sauce, and taco seasoning. Mix well and simmer for 5 minutes.  Remove from heat and let sit for 30 minutes.  If you don't have 30 minutes to spare, I hope you're a more careful taco filler than I am.  That meat stuff is HOT!  Spoon the taco meat mixture into the taco shells and place into a 9 x 13 inch baking dish (or 2) standing up. Sprinkle cheese over the top of the taco meat in each shell. Place into the oven and bake at 400 for 10 to 12 minutes, or until the cheese has melted and the tacos are heated through. Remove from the oven and top with desired topping (I just used lettuce and diced tomatoes).

Recipe adapted from Mommy? I'm Hungry!

Thursday, December 5, 2013

BYU Creamery Mint Brownies

Before we start, I have to confess.  I've never been to the BYU Creamery.  I haven't ever even tried one of their Mint Brownies.  So... I can't honestly say how these compare.  But that's okay, because even if these BYU Creamery Mint Brownies taste nothing like the original thing, they're still freaking delicious.  My 12 year old asks me to make them again almost every day!

If you aren't much of a sweets fan, you might want to look the other way.  I even promise not to be offended.  These things are loaded with sugar!  Brownies topped with frosting.  And since one layer of frosting isn't enough on brownies, another layer of frosting tops the first layer frosting.

1 cup butter
2 cups sugar
2 tablespoons honey
4 eggs
1/2 cup cocoa powder
1 3/4 cups flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup chopped nuts, optional

Mint Frosting:
1/3 cup butter, softened
1 tablespoon corn syrup
2 1/3 cups powdered sugar
3 tablespoons milk
1/2 teaspoon mint extract (not peppermint)
2 to 3 drops green food coloring

Chocolate Frosting:
2 cups powdered sugar
1/4 cup butter, softened
1/4 cup cocoa powder
2 tablespoons milk

In a large microwave safe bowl, melt butter; mix in cocoa and allow to cool. Add honey, eggs, and sugar; mix well. Stir in flour, baking powder, and salt until moistened. Add nuts. Pour batter into a greased 9 x 13-inch baking pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 25 minutes. Cool completely.

For the mint frosting, combine butter, corn syrup, and powdered sugar. Beat until well mixed. Add mint extract, food coloring and milk. Spread on cooled brownies and refrigerate for 30 minutes to 60 minutes to firm up the frosting.

For the chocolate frosting, combine butter, cocoa powder and powdered sugar; mix well. Add milk and beat until smooth. Spread over mint frosting.

Recipe from Utah Deal Diva.

Linked on Pinworthy Projects.
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