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Saturday, March 29, 2014

Low Sodium Slow Cooker Steak and Black Bean Chili

I'm sorry for not having a picture of this delicious low sodium version of steak and black bean chili. It was consumed before I had a chance to take a pic. I will update this post with a picture when I make this again.

Ingredients: 
  • 2 lb beef top round steak (I used a New York Strip Steak) 
  • 1 tbsp dried minced onion
  • 1 cup low sodium beef broth
  • 1/2 tsp onion powder
  • 1/8 tsp ground black pepper
  • 1/8 tsp paprika
  • 3 teaspoons chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 lb dried black beans, reconstituted (prepared to package directions) 
  • 1 can (28 oz) no salt added diced tomatoes, undrained
  • 2 cans (8 oz) no salt added tomato sauce
  • 1 can (4.5 oz) chopped green chiles, undrained
  • 16 oz frozen corn
  • 1 sweet onion, diced
Directions:
  1. Prepare dried black beans to package directions.
  2. Cut steak into 1 inch cubes, trimming off excess fat.
  3. Mix all ingredients in crock pot.
  4. Cook on low for 8 to 10 hrs.
  5. Top with cheese and/our cream as desired.
Inspired from: http://www.bettycrocker.com/recipes/slow-cooker-steak-and-black-bean-chili/


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Saturday, April 20, 2013

Banana Foster Monkey Bread

Ingredients:
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 1 tbsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 16.9 oz package buttermilk biscuit dough (I used Pillsbury Grands), cut into quarters
  • 3 ripe bananas, coarsely chopped
  • 1/4 cup pecans, chopped
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 1/2 cup light brown sugar, packed
  • 1 tsp vanilla
Directions:
  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Grease either a loaf pan or a bunt pan.
  2. Place sugar and cinnamon in large plastic bag. 
  3. Cut biscuit dough into quarters using a pizza slicer.
  4. Add dough, bananas, and pecans to bag. Shake well to coat.
  5. Pour mixture into pan.
  6. Melt butter in measuring cup in microwave (I did mine in 30 second intervals to prevent splattering).
  7. Stir in brown sugar until completely dissolved.
  8. Add the vanilla and stir well.
  9. Pour mixture over biscuit dough.
  10. Bake in oven for 30 to 40 minutes until golden brown. Allow to cool 10 minutes before serving.

Recipe courtesy of : Allrecipes.com


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Thursday, January 31, 2013

The Best Chocolate Cake Ever with Pudding Frosting


Sorry the picture isn't up to my usual standards but I decided to take this in a hurry and after the cake was half gone. This was the moistest, most wonderful chocolate cake I have ever tasted! I was a little skeptical when I put it in the oven because the batter was so runny but it turned out great! I had also never tried pudding frosting before and I am sold on it now. I was curious about the coffee and buttermilk addition, but no worries, you can't taste either at all. They just enrich the chocolate flavor. Enjoy!

Ingredients:

Chocolate Cake
  • 1 3/4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour 
  • 2 cups sugar 
  • 3/4 cup baking cocoa 
  • 2 tsp baking soda 
  • 1 tsp baking powder 
  • 1 tsp salt 
  • 2 large eggs 
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil 
  • 1 cup black strong coffee (1 Tbsp coffee with 8 oz boiling water brewed then cooled to room temp) 
  • 1 cup buttermilk OR 1 cup equivalent of buttermilk powder & water 
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract 
Pudding Frosting
  • 1 cup milk 
  • 1 3.4 oz box instant vanilla pudding 
  • 8 oz cream cheese (room temperature, leave out for at least an hour or two) 
  • 12 oz Cool Whip (thawed, leave out for at least 10-15 minutes)
Directions:

Cake Directions:
  1. Coffee Prep: Brew your coffee and let it cool. You want it to room temp by the time you need to mix it in the cake. 
  2. Pan Prep: Grease and flour either a 13x9 inch cake pan or 2 9" round cake pans. Cut either wax paper or parchment paper to size and line bottom of pan(s). 
  3. Oven Prep: Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  4. Mix all dry ingredients into one mixing bowl. Sift flour and cocoa together.Whisk together to ensure an even mixture.
  5. Mix all wet ingredients into another mixing bowl. Mix well.
  6. Pour wet ingredients into dry ingredients and mix. Use an electric mixer until well blended but do not over mix.
  7. Pour evenly into pan(s).
  8. Bake at 350 for 28-30 minutes. When a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean, your cake is done.
  9. Allow cakes to cool in pans for at least 15-20 minutes before removing onto cooling racks. Allow cakes to cool completely before attempting to frost.
  10. Frost cake using rubber spatula and enjoy!
Frosting Directions:
  1. While cake is baking, mix milk and pudding in a small bowl using an electric mixer for 1-2 minutes, then allow pudding to set. 
  2. Using an electric mixer, whip cream cheese until fluffy. 
  3. Add Cool Whip to cream cheese and continue to mix until well blended.
  4. Add pudding to cream cheese mixture and continue to mix until well blended.
  5. Place frosting in refrigerator until needed. 
Store cake in refrigerator after frosting. 

Recipe Courtesy of The Little Kitchen


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Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Homemade Glass Cleaner


Happy New Year everyone! I decided to try another homemade cleaning product - glass cleaner this time - to see if it is all it is cracked up to be. My skeptical self was pleasantly surprised at how well this works - just like the brand! It cut through dried food spilled on the stove top like pre-made glass cleaner does. It also cleaned the bathroom mirror without streaking! I thought I would share this wonderful find. As always, be careful mixing chemicals. Be in a well ventilated areas and don't go breathing in the noxious fumes!

I would caution to only use this on "approved glass cleaner" surfaces such as glass, chrome, stainless steel, plastic, enamel, ceramic tile, and/or porcelain. Do NOT use on wood or other varnished surfaces. Always spot test if there is a question (and use your common sense lol). Enjoy!

Ingredients:
  • 1/8 cup ammonia
  • 1/2 cup rubbing alcohol (70% isopropyl alcohol)
  • 1/4 tsp dish soap of choice
  • ~1 qt water
  • 1 qt spray bottle
Directions:
  1. Pour ammonia, rubbing alcohol and dish soap into spray bottle.
  2. Add enough water to fill bottle.
  3. Place sprayer securely on bottle and mix gently.
  4. Clean away!
Courtesy of Budget Savy Diva


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Sunday, December 30, 2012

Avocado Ranch Dip


This dip I discovered by accident when I wanted to eat my standard snack: cut up avocado and tortilla chips. I decided to add some sour cream and remembered I still had some Buttermilk Ranch Dry Mix made up from the Ranch Crack Potatoes. Threw it all in a bowl and decided to try out my new Cuisinart SmartStick Immersion Blender, Metallic Charcoal (Google Affiliate Ad) from Christmas. Vroom, Vroom, Vroom of the blender and done! It was great on the chips and I also spread on a bacon sandwich! Yummy!

Yields about 1 cup

Ingredients:

  • 1 ripe avocado, peeled and cut into chunks
  • 3 heaping tablespoons (generous dollops) sour cream (or substitute plain Greek yogurt)
  • 1 tsp Buttermilk Ranch Dry Mix - MSG-Free
Directions:

Either:
  1. Place all ingredients in small blender/food processor (I used my handy Cuisinart Smartstick Immersion Blender). Pulse until smooth. OR
  2. Smash avocado into a creamy paste then blend with sour cream and ranch mix. Enjoy!



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Friday, December 28, 2012

Ranch Crack Potatoes


These potatoes are unbelievably great! This was the other new side dish I fixed to Christmas dinner and it got 2 thumbs up with permission to repeat anytime! Super easy to put together, and if you use the  Buttermilk Ranch Mix recipe, you can make it MSG-Free!

Ingredients:
  • 32oz sour cream
  • 2 cups cheddar cheese, shredded
  • 1/2 lb bacon, cooked and crumbled (or use 6oz bacon bits)
  • 1 pkg (2 tbsp) dry ranch mix - I used Buttermilk Ranch Mix to be MSG-Free!
  • 1 large bag (28-30 oz) frozen shredded hash browns
Directions:
  1. Cook bacon in microwave or frying pan until done. Pat dry with paper towels and crumble once cooled.
  2. Preheat oven to 400F degrees.
  3. Mix first 4 ingredients together in a 9x13 casserole dish. Combine hash browns into mixture and spread evenly in dish.
  4. Bake for 45-60 minutes until lightly browned on the top.
Courtesy of Crack Potatoes


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Thursday, December 27, 2012

Oven Roasted Garlic Green Beans


These beans are awesome! I have permission to fix these at any time for the family. They said that they even prefer these to the Green Bean Bundles (I never thought I would see the day - lol). These are even easier to prep since you don't have to deal with the bacon wrapping. Don't get me wrong, I love my little green bean bundles, but if you are short on time, these are definitely the way to go. Enjoy!

Ingredients:
  • 1 1/2 lb fresh green beans, washed and trimmed
  • 4-5 tsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • 1/2 tsp ground pepper
  • 1-2 tsp lemon juice
  • 1 tbsp (6 cloves) minced garlic
Directions:
  1. Wash and trim beans. Place in large (8 cup) seal-able container.
  2. Mix the rest of the ingredients together (I used a small glass) and pour over beans. Seal container and shake to coat the beans evenly.
  3. Place in the refrigerator for at least 20 minutes (I left them in there for a couple of hours to marinate)
  4. When ready to cook, preheat oven to 425 degrees. Line large baking sheet with aluminum foil.
  5. Spread beans out on baking sheet in a single layer.
  6. Bake for 8-12 minutes until crisp tender (depending on how well done you like your beans). 
Courtesy of Persnickety Plates


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Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Butterfinger Brownie Cookies


This recipe follows the Chocolate Mint Brownie Cookie Recipe but substitutes crushed Butterfingers in place of the Andes Mints. It was so good I thought I would share it as a separate recipe.

Ingredients:
  • 1/2 stick unsalted butter, cut into pieces
  • 1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/3 cup + 1 tbsp all purpose flour
  • 1/8 tsp baking soda
  • 2 cups chopped Butterfingers candy bars (7.8 oz - 2 of the 6 packs you find on the candy aisle worked perfectly) (food processor or bag and hammer method work to obtain the chopped pieces)
Directions:
  1. Preheat oven to 350F degrees. Line cookie sheets with parchment paper/baking sheets
  2. Place butter and chocolate chips in glass microwave safe bowl/measuring cup.
  3. Microwave for 1 minute 30 seconds, stir, then microwave an additional 15 to 20 seconds if needed until the mixture is melted and smooth. (or if you want to go old school, you can use the double boiler method to melt the chocolate and butter)
  4. Stir in sugar, salt and vanilla into the chocolate mixture.
  5. Add 1 egg, stir in completely, then add the 2nd egg and stir in completely.
  6. In a small bowl, whisk together the flour and baking soda. Blend flour mixture in the chocolate mixture.
  7. Stir vigorously (or use the hand mixer on low) for 2-3 minutes until thick, glossy, and smooth. 
  8. Once batter has cooled, stir in the Butterfingers.
  9. Drop heaping tablespoonfuls of batter onto cookie sheets, leaving 2 inches between cookies. 
  10. Bake for 10-12 minutes, until they look crackled but still soft and gooey. 
  11. Transfer onto cooling rack after they have sat on cookie sheet for a few minutes to finish cooling.


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Monday, December 24, 2012

Chocolate Mint Brownie Cookies


Yields ~ 2 1/2 dozen cookies

Ingredients:
  • 1/2 stick unsalted butter, cut into pieces
  • 1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 eggs
  • 5 tbsp all purpose flour
  • 1/8 tsp baking soda
  • 1 pkg Andes Creme de Menthe Baking Chips
Directions:
  1. Preheat oven to 350F degrees. Line cookie sheets with parchment paper/baking sheets
  2. Place butter and chocolate chips in glass microwave safe bowl/measuring cup.
  3. Microwave for 1 minute 30 seconds, stir, then microwave an additional 15 to 20 seconds if needed until the mixture is melted and smooth. (or if you want to go old school, you can use the double boiler method to melt the chocolate and butter)
  4. Stir in sugar, salt and vanilla into the chocolate mixture.
  5. Add 1 egg, stir in completely, then add the 2nd egg and stir in completely.
  6. In a small bowl, whisk together the flour and baking soda. Blend flour mixture in the chocolate mixture.
  7. Stir vigorously (or use the hand mixer on low) for 2-3 minutes until thick, glossy, and smooth. 
  8. Once batter has cooled, stir in the Andes Mints.
  9. Drop heaping tablespoonfuls of batter onto cookie sheets, leaving 2 inches between cookies. 
  10. Bake for 10-12 minutes, until they look crackled but still soft and gooey. 
  11. Transfer onto cooling rack after they have sat on cookie sheet for a few minutes to finish cooling.


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Sunday, December 16, 2012

Montreal Steak Seasoning - MSG-Free


Ingredients:
  • 2 tablespoons paprika
  • 2 tablespoons crushed black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons kosher salt
  • 1 tablespoon granulated garlic
  • 1 tablespoon granulated onion
  • 1 tablespoon crushed coriander
  • 1 tablespoon dill
  • 1 tablespoon crushed red pepper flakes
Directions:

  1. Mix all ingredients together and store in an airtight container.
Courtesy of Chow.com


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