Monday, October 31, 2016

Halloween Party 2016

It is that time of year! Halloween for me is the official kick off of the Holidays. I love our annual party and this starts all my entertaining for the year. Instead of doing a giant meal this year I did a ton of appetizers and from the meatballs to the spinach & artichoke dip no one left unhappy. I want to share some of my favorite recipes from that night with you below.

Fall Sangria

What you need~                                                 
1 bottle of Pinot Grigio                           
1/2 gallon apple cider
1 cup of brandy
Ginger Ale to fill rest of pitcher
2 apples
1 pear
3 plums

Combine and chill in fridge for at least 4 hours before serving. Chop up the fruit before adding.

Spinach and Artichoke Dip

What you need~
1 can of white beans                                     
1 package of frozen chopped spinach
1 can of artichoke hearts (blended in food processor)
4 ounces of cream cheese
1 small Greek yogurt (plain)
Tablespoon of minced garlic
Seasoning (I used a white wine powder packet)

Add all to your crockpot and put on high until warm. Then turn to the warm setting. Serve with chips or bread.

Jalapeno jam spread

What you need~
8 ounces of cream cheese
Jalapeno jam to cover
Caramel sauce to top

Place your cream cheese on the platter and top with the jam. Use just enough jam to cover. Top with the caramel sauce. Serve with crackers.

Everyone had a great time at the party. The sangria was gone in no time at all. I love this annual party it was so fun. We played a cool game you may want to check out Utter Nonsense . My friends Maggie and  Marshal introduced us and it was a big hit. Now it is off to trick or treat with the kids tonight. Be safe!

Until next time~
XoXo Emily

Thursday, October 27, 2016

Mexican Pasta Salad

Pasta salad is always good. It is rare I come across one I do not like. I made this and forgot Ryan was out of town. I have a ton of leftovers which are okay lunches all week. This is spicy I have to warn you. If you want to kick it down a bit leave out the peppers. You will need to add a sauce or mild salsa then. I got all of these ingredients at Aldi my favorite grocery store.

What you need~
1/2 bag of frozen corn
1/2 a container of grape tomatoes
1 small onion chopped
1 can of chipotle peppers in adobe sauce
1.5 cans of black beans (rinsed)
1 head of cilantro (chopped)
1 box of pasta (I used quinoa/brown rice pasta)
1/2 cup salsa

The thing I like about this recipe is how easy it is. You chop all the stuff up and throw it in a bowl. the only time consuming part is boiling the noodles. Chop up all the items listed above and place in a giant bowl. Cook your noodles according to package and rinse with cold water till cool. Add to the bowl with the other items and mix. Add the salsa. That is it and it is so tasty. I plan on trying to eat it tonight warm instead of cold. Enjoy!

Until next time~
XoXo Emily

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Cauliflower "Fried Rice"

YES, yes and yes!
Substituting ingredients for healthier options does not always work the best. I will be the first to attest that. This is a perfect substitution and I actually like it better than using real rice for the dish. The process is similar to normal fried rice but you use cauliflower instead of rice. All the other items are the same as if I was to use rice.

What you will need~
Half a bag of cauliflower rice (if you do not have any use a food processor and pulse half a head of cauliflower to make your own)
1 cup shredded carrots
1/4 cup frozen peas
1 chicken breast (chopped and cooked in Chinese five spice)
1/4 cup chopped mushrooms
1 small onion chopped
Soy sauce
Sesame sauce
1 tablespoon peanut butter
Dash of hot sauce
Olive oil
1/2 cup chicken stock
Chinese five spice

Start by cooking the onion/mushroom/peas and carrots in a small amount of olive oil. When they are slightly browned add your cauliflower "rice" mixture. Let it cook for about 1 minute before adding your soy sauce and sesame sauce to taste. Mix in the peanut butter and add the chicken stock. Cover and cook till the cauliflower is tender. Add the chicken and eat.

Super healthy and yummy!

Until next time~
XoXo Emily

Thursday, October 20, 2016

Chicken Pot Pie

Chicken pot pie and I don't care. I do actually care. This is a really tasty recipe and I doubled to have leftovers for us. It is creamy and the corn bread was the perfect topper to the dish. It is a bit time consuming to make but it is not hard to make.

What you need~
1 pound of chicken thighs
1/4 cup diced onions
1/3 cup butter
1 bag frozen vegetables
1/3 cup flour
2/3 cup milk
1 1/4 cup chicken broth
Natures seasoning
splash of Worchester sauce
1 box of cornbread mix (mix it ahead of time)

Start by cutting up your chicken and cook it in a pain with a little olive oil. Season with the seasoning of your choice and add a little splash of Worchester sauce to the chicken. When cooked place chicken in a bowl off to the side.

HINT: People are always telling me I am addicted to Worchester sauce and I will totally own up to that. This sauce has a umami flavor add that can really pump up your meat flavor in a dish.

Add the butter and let it melt on medium heat. Throw in your diced onions and let them cook for about 2 minutes before adding your frozen veggies. Cook these down until the vegetables are no longer frozen. Season as you go!

Add the flour and cook for 2 minutes stirring frequently.

Slowly add the chicken stock 1/2 cup at a time stirring the mix continuously. Let this cook down till the mix starts to really thicken about 2-4 minutes. Add the chicken back in the mix and warm. Pour into the casserole dish or ramekins you are using. Top with the corn bread mix you made according to the directions on the package of mix. I bake this at whatever temperature the corn bread mix indicated which was 400 degrees for 20 minutes.

HINT: Place foil under your dish as it may bubble over. Mine did this.

Let it cool after cooking and eat!

Until next time~
XoXo Emily

Monday, October 17, 2016

Classic Buttercream Frosting

No really I made a cake and we all ate it. I always find it funny you go to the store and buy all the supplies to make a fancy from scratch cake but then you buy canned frosting and ruin everything. Do not get me wrong in a pinch I use it and it is alright. I am going to teach you how to make mouth watering and delicious buttercream frosting. If you follow these steps you will get perfect frosting every time. The only downside because there always is one is this is a bit time consuming but totally worth it.

What you need~
1 cup butter (softened)
3 cups powdered sugar
1 teaspoon of vanilla
2 tablespoons of heavy cream

Start by getting your butter to room temperature. This is important you cannot cream cold hard butter nor liquid butter. I usually microwave my butter in 10 second intervals till I get it to the firmness I want out of the fridge.

Put it in the mixer and cream well. You could also use a hand mixer if you do not have a stand mixture like myself.

Now you are going to slowly add the powdered sugar in half cup increments. I cannot stress this enough. Do this slow on a low setting. Then once it is added crank the mixer up to medium speed for about a minute. Scrap the sides of the bowl with a spoon to make sure all is mixed in and move onto the next half a cup. Do this process until all 3 cups of sugar are mixed in well.

Then you will need to add your vanilla and heavy cream to the mix.

BOOM that is it you just make homemade class buttercream frosting.

For this cake I put food coloring in the frosting to make pink and green. You could also just use the rich buttercream as is for cakes and cupcakes.

Enjoy people will love it I promise!

Until next time~
XoXo Emily

Thursday, October 13, 2016

Peanut Butter Pie

I like baking but this is a no bake pie. Plus I had already baked like 2 dozen cookies yesterday for Ryan's work potluck. This is fantastic and comes in at about 200 calories a slice. I mean dream desserts do exist folks. It was my anniversary last night and I made the best meal including filet mignon and stuffed scallops. Due to the heavy nature of this meal this pie was a nice way to finish the meal.

What you need~
1 (8 ounce) container of cool whip (lite)   
5 ounces of light cream cheese
1/3 cup peanut butter
1/2 cup powdered sugar
1 graham cracker crust
Hershey syrup

Beat in a stand mixer your cream cheese and powdered sugar for 2-5 minutes until it is creamed well.

Add your peanut butter and  cream till smooth. Fold in or mix in the cool whip.

Pour into pie plate with the graham cracker crust. Top with the Hershey syrup and place in the freezer to firm up and chill before serving.

Hate to brag but here are some pictures of the amazing meal I made last night. Ryan made me take pictures he was so happy with it. Needless to say he never goes hungry.

Until next time~
XoXo Emily

Monday, October 10, 2016


There are things that we eat as a child that as an adult we think that we need to make again. It is only when I started really researching this dish that I realized there is about 5,000 different ways to make goulash.

From Wikipedia:
Goulash (Hungarian: gulyás [ˈɡujaːʃ]) is a soup or stew of meat and vegetables, seasoned with paprika and other spices.[1] Originating from the medieval Kingdom of Hungary, goulash is also a popular meal in Central Europe, Scandinavia and Southern Europe.
Its origin traces back to the 9th century to stews eaten by Hungarian shepherds.[2] Back then, the cooked and flavored meat was dried with the help of the sun and packed into bags produced from sheep's stomachs, needing only water to make it into a meal.[2] It is one of the national dishes of Hungary and a symbol of the country.[3][4]

Goulash was something my mother made us when we were children but her recipe is vastly different than the traditional Hungarian or American goulash. My mother's contained cream of chicken, ground beef, potatoes and often mixed vegetables. Speaking to my Father he stated as a child they had a red sauce goulash much like American goulash but instead of elbow noodles they had potatoes. I thought this to be rather interesting and I wanted to make a hybrid of American and Hungarian.

After eating my below recipe at first glance Ryan thought it was chili but as he stated it has a completely different flavor profile than chili. This gave me an urge to go through my grandmothers recipes with my mom and I plan to do that and share some of my favorites with you soon.

What you need~
2 pounds of ground beef
.5 a box of elbow noodles
1 onion diced
1 tablespoon of minced garlic
2 (14.5 ounce) cans of diced tomatoes
1 (6 ounce) can of tomato paste
.5 cup of tomato juice

To taste~
Smoked paprika (if you have Hungarian even better)
Applewood smoke seasoning
Mrs. Dash
Worchester sauce

Start by browning your onions and garlic. Add the ground beef and cook until browned well. As you
are doing this season the meat/onion mixture.

Add your tomatoes and paste along with the juice. Season to taste with the above seasonings. I did this a little at a time till I got the level of smoky flavor I wanted. With paprika you need to do this process slowly or it can get really overpowering rather quickly. Cook this down for at least 1 hour.

Make some noodles and season then with the Mrs. dash.

Top noodles with the goulash mixture and serve. You can top with optional cheese if you like too. It is really tasty and I will be making it again.

 Until next time~
XoXo Emily

Wednesday, October 5, 2016

Old School Banana Bread

I have an entire drawer in my kitchen dedicated to old cook books I have collected. Sometimes I crave the old recipes that I know are not always healthy but are satisfying. I have been trying to really master banana bread and made the mistake of trying to opt in healthy options. My husband said I needed to go back and find a classic recipe. I guess he was sick of watery banana bread. I dug through my books and I found a winner folks! This recipe is from a church cook book from 1993. I hope you enjoy it.

Simply and delicious. Try it really soon everyone will love it. I made this for Ryan and my team at work and they loved it.

Until next time~
XoXo Emily

Monday, October 3, 2016

Stuffed Peppers

I will try to make a recipe over and over again until I get it just the way I like it. This one I feel will always be a work in progress and that is okay. The first thing I noticed about cooking is we love food that triggers memories. I always try to sap recipes out of my mom because those tend to have the best memories for me. I am lucky enough to have her around to ask. I recommend if your mom or grandmother is still around you ask them now about the recipes you love. I sadly do not have my husband's mother to ask about his favorite things. This is one of the recipes I continuously try to make to how she did it for him. Ryan told me this time that it was the closest I have come to her stuffed peppers. I may season heavier than her but that was the ultimate compliment from him.

There are a ton of steps to making these so I broke it down in sections then all together for easier reading.

What you need~
1 pound hamburger meat
1 cup of rice (cooked)
1 (6 ounce) can of tomato paste
1 (14.5 ounce) can of diced roasted tomatoes
1 cup of tomato juice (OR) water
6 green peppers with tops removed
Green pepper tops diced
1 large yellow onion diced
1 tablespoon of garlic minced
Worchester to taste
Dash of smoked paprika
Everglades Seasoning to taste
Mrs. Dash to taste

Start by setting your oven to 350 degrees F.

Prepping the peppers:
Cut and gut your peppers. Then put your peppers in a stock pot with just enough water to cover them bring them to a boil. Only let them boil for about two minutes before removing from water. Totally process takes about 15 minutes. Place them in a tall oven safe dish.

Prepping the mixture:
Make your rice according to directions on the package . I used a brown and wild rice mix. Took about 15 minutes to make. While the rice is cooking get your onions, garlic and diced pepper tops cooking down in a skillet. I cooked them on medium heat for about 5 minutes then added the hamburger meat. Once the meat was almost done I added the tomato paste and diced tomatoes. While that is cooking down I added some Worchester sauce. Once the rice is done add to this mixture with the tomatoe OR water mixture. Cook down a bit.

HINTS on seasoning: I will forever say this till the day I die. I prefer to not tell you how much seasoning to put in something unless it is baking. The reason for this is my palate may be completely different than yours. I also season after I add a new item into the mixture. This

allows each piece of onion and each piece of meat to be evenly coated. On any of my recipes you can modify the seasoning to your taste. My rule of thumb with everything (besides salt) is that if you look at something and think it is too much seasoning. Add a little more.

Stuff those peppers!
Put your mixture in the peppers first. Then place the remaining mix around the peppers. I topped with a little mozzarella and parmesan which you do not have to do. Cook covered for 10 minutes and uncovered for 15 more minutes.

I love this recipe. It is time consuming but totally worth the work. Try it sometime!

Until next time~
XoXo Emily