Blueberry Muffins

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Blueberry muffins with sugar on top, could this recipe be any more “comfort food from mom’s kitchen?” Baking is something I don’t do very often because, honestly I’m not the greatest baker. It is an exact science and I’m more of an “add-a-pinch-or-two-more” kind of cook. I will say that I have gotten better at making muffins, so who knows maybe there is hope for me! These babies have a great texture. I can only describe them as the traditional cake-y, dense and sweet muffins you would find at your local bakery. I think the trick is to use sour cream to get just the right texture. The sugar on top is an added touch I remember my mom adding to her chocolate chip muffins when I was a kid. It is crunchy, sweet nostalgia my friends. I recommend doubling the recipe if you are baking for a whole family. You can also get more muffins if you use smaller “cupcake style” baking cups. Just adjust the time if you are using smaller cups so you don’t burn the muffins. I will usually make these on Sunday to enjoy them throughout the week for breakfast, that is if they make it that long! This recipe was inspired by http://www.yammiesnoshery.com. I highly suggest you check out their site. They explain why you need to use the right amount of each ingredient and how it can go wrong if you use too much or too little. I found it very informative.

Makes: about 8 large muffins     Calories: 329 per muffin     Time: 1 hour

Ingredients:

  • 2/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/2 cup canola oil
  • 1/3 cup milk, I used 2%
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 1/4 cup all purpose flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 1 carton of fresh blueberries
  • sugar to top, I did not account for this in the calories because my perfect amount of sugar topping is more than likely different from everyone else’s. Be aware of this if you are counting calories and add what you need.

Directions:

  1. Preheat your oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit and spritz your muffin tin with cooking spray
  2. Combine sugar, egg, oil, milk and vanilla in a large bowl. Add the flour, salt and baking powder and stir until just combined. Try not to get too crazy mixing as you don’t want to overmix the batter.
  3. Fold in the sour cream and blueberries being careful not to chop up the blueberries in the process. Continue to fold/mix until the sour cream is just mixed in.
  4. Place baking cups into your muffin tin and fill each cup leaving about 1/2 an inch to the top. Top each muffin with as much sugar as you think is necessary 😉
  5. Bake for 25 minutes and remove from oven to check readiness with a toothpick. To do this check just insert a toothpick into the center of each muffin and if it comes out without any gooey muffin residue they are done. If there is gooey muffin residue continue to bake for a few more minutes and perform the check again.
  6. Serve up with your favorite fruit, yogurt, coffee, or whatever tickles your fancy!

*Photo is an original belonging to me

*Recipe adapted from http://www.yammiesnoshery.com

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Firecracker Chicken Meatballs

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Give me a sticky sauce on anything and I’ll devour it. These meatballs were dripping in a wonderfully sticky and sweet sauce. I didn’t find these unbearably spicy but they do pack a delightful kick. The heat in these guys is more of an aftertaste then a knock you out kind of spicy. I paired it up with some crunchy veggies and rice. I do think it would taste great alongside some grilled veggies or even in a sandwich to switch it up for lunch. The process was very simple and straightforward making it a great weeknight recipe. There were plenty of left overs that kept really well. I will be making this one again and again! I found the original recipe at http://www.littlespicejar.com and have to tell anyone reading this how beautiful that blog is. They have so many yummy recipes over there and I definitely recommend that you give them a look.

Serves: 18-22 meatballs     Calories: 100 calories per meatball     Time: 30 minutes

Ingredients:

For the meatballs:

  • 1.5 lbs of ground chicken
  •  6 tsp garlic, minced
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp pepper
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 cup Panko breadcrumbs
  • 1/2  tsp paprika
  • 1 tsp onion powder
For the sauce
  • 1/2 cup of your favorite hot sauce
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 2 tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • red pepper flakes to taste

Directions:

  1. Adjust your oven rack to the middle and preheat oven to 475 degrees F.
  2. In a saucepan, combine the ingredients of the firecracker sauce over medium high heat. Bring the sauce to a boil. Once boiling reduce heat to a simmer. Let simmer for 8 minutes. Remove from heat and allow it to cool.
  3. In a large bowl, combine ground chicken, garlic, salt, pepper, eggs, panko, paprika, and onion powder. Mix well but don’t over mix.
  4. Roll the mixture into 18-24 meatballs and place them on a baking sheet. Bake for 11-13 minutes or until the meatballs are cooked through.
  5. Remove the meatballs from the oven and brush them with a bit of the sauce. Place them back on the baking sheet and bake for an additional 1-2 minutes.
  6. Remove and top with the remaining sauce and enjoy!

*Photo is an original belonging to me

*Recipe adapted from www.littlespicejar.com

 

Thai Basil Beef “Fake-Out-Take-Out”

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It only took one bite to know that this recipe would become a regular in my kitchen. Traditionally Thai dishes don’t use ground beef but since I have two very busy little boys I needed to make it easy and affordable. Ground beef or beef strips, this recipe is a show stopper. The flavor is savory, spicy, and sweet. I think the fresh basil is really the highlight here. It adds a crisp fresh element that really blew us away. We spooned the beef over a mound of brown rice that added a nice chewy texture. We declared that from now on we will be doubling this recipe because two dinners just isn’t enough!

Serves: 5     Calories: 423 per serving (includes 1 cup brown rice)     Time: 25 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 10 cloves garlic
  • 2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 2 tablespoons cooking oil, I used Canola
  • 1 shallot, chopped
  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 1 yellow bell pepper, sliced into strips
  • 1 red bell pepper, sliced into strips
  • Black pepper to taste
  • 4 teaspoons brown sugar (light or dark)
  • 4 tablespoons low sodium soy sauce
  • 1-2 cups basil, I used 1.5 cups of basil from my garden
  • Brown rice, cooked (optional)

Directions:

  1. If you’re serving with rice start cooking your rice now.
  2. Crush garlic with the flat blade of a knife. If you have a mortar and pestle you can use them to make a paste with the crushed garlic, pepper flakes and salt. If you don’t have a mortar and pestle continue using the flat blade of a knife and crush together the garlic, pepper flakes and salt to make a garlic-y paste. Once you’ve made the paste let it sit for a minute or two to allow the flavors to meld together.
  3. Heat oil in a large pan and cook the garlic paste with shallot for a minute over medium heat.
  4. Add the beef and continue to cook until just browned, approximately 6 minutes
  5. Stir in your bell peppers. I like to leave my bell peppers still a little crunchy so I immediately moved onto the next step. If you like your bell pepper more soft allow them to cook for a minute or two before moving onto the next step.
  6. Add the soy sauce and brown sugar. Cook for a minute or two longer
  7. Add the basil and cook until just wilted, about a minute.
  8. Spoon beef over a bed of rice or other steamed veggies. OR eat it straight out of the pan, I will not confirm nor deny that I was tempted..
  9. Enjoy!

*Photo is an original belonging to me

*Recipe is adapted from http://www.littlespicejar.com which is an adorable food blog with many many more delicious recipes!

Lemon and Blueberry Sweet Rolls

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This past Easter my sister-in-law hosted a beautiful brunch for the family. I volunteered to step out of my comfort zone and bake. When I say I can’t bake I mean that I cannot even slice and bake a Pillsbury cookie roll. So, when I saw the millions of recipes on pintrest I took on the challenge and whipped up some gooey and delicious lemon blueberry sweet rolls. These were a hit! I will admit that the process was time-consuming and my anxiety levels were high (because I ruin everything I bake), but I pulled it off. I know it sounds cliché but if I can do it anyone can. I would describe the taste as sweet and fresh. The blueberries explode in your mouth as you chew and the lemon glaze adds a creamy yet tangy bite to a perfect finish

Serves: 12    

Calories: 206 per roll    

Time: Prep and rise time: up to 3 hours 20 minutes ; Baking time: 30 minutes – Total time approx 4 hours

Ingredients for Dough:

  • 2 + 3/4 cups of all-purpose flour
  • 3 tbsp granulated sugar
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 packet of instant yeast
  • 1/2 cup of water
  • 1/4 cup of milk
  • 2 + 1/2 tbsp butter, unsalted
  • 1 large egg, room temperature

Ingredients for Blueberry Filling:

  • 1 + 1/3 cups of frozen blueberries, must be frozen
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 tsp cornstarch

Ingredients for Lemon Glaze:

  • Juice of 1 large lemon
  • 1 cup of powdered sugar
  • 2 tbsp heavy cream

Directions : SAVE YOURSELVES FROM PANIC AND MAKE SURE BLUEBERRIES ARE FROZEN, BUTTER IS UNSALTED AND THE EGG IS AT ROOM TEMPERATURE. 

  1. Combine the ingredients for the filling. Gently toss to coat and let sit while preparing the dough.
  2. Begin preparing the dough. Measure out 1/2 cup of flour and set aside. In a large bowl combine the remaining flour, sugar, salt and yeast until evenly dispersed. Set aside.
  3. Heat the water, milk and butter together in the microwave in 30 second intervals until the butter is melted and the mixture is hot to the touch. Stir this mixture into the flour mixture. Add the egg, don’t forget this egg must be at room temperature, and only enough of the reserved 1/2 cup of flour to make a soft dough. You will know the dough is ready when it gently pulls away from the bowl and has an elastic consistency.
  4. On a lightly floured surface knead the dough for 5 minutes. Place dough ball into a clean and lightly greased bowl. Let rest for 10 minutes.
  5. After 10 minutes as passed, roll the dough out in a 14×8 inch rectangle. Pour the blueberry filling mixture over the dough and gently spread the filling to cover the dough. Spritz your fingers with nonstick spray and roll up the dough tightly. Cut into 12 pieces and place into a lightly greased pan (I used a rectangular aluminum pan so I could take it to my sister-in-law’s house but). Cover the pan with foil and allow to rise in a warm place for 2-3 hours.
  6. Once the rolls have doubled in size preheat your oven to 375 degrees F.
  7. Bake rolls for 20-30 minutes, until golden brown on top.
  8. Prepare the glaze by mixing the glaze ingredients together until smooth.
  9. Glaze the rolls immediately before serving.
  10. Enjoy!

*Photo is an original belonging to me

*Recipe adapted from sallysbakingaddiction.com

Pineapple Baked Chicken – ★★★★✩

11008513_10205998715465070_8853942480179284495_nIt is no secret that I love savory sweet, and this recipe delivers just that. This chicken dish is baked so the meat came out really juicy and tender with the pineapples perfectly soft. I found it to be an easy, quick and delicious recipe that had us coming back for seconds. I honestly ate a heaping second plate of just the pineapple for desert, that is how tasty it was. We added extra pepper flakes for more heat and I think that took it to a whole new level of yummy. I’m falling in love with Dijon mustard after the saucy pork chops I made a few weeks ago, and I must say I think that is what holds all the flavors in this recipe together. Perry really enjoyed this dinner, but gave 4 stars because he had a suggestion that could potentially make it even better. I’ll let him describe it himself:

“There is no doubt in my mind that this recipe is 5 star quality. It is salty, it is sweet and it is spicy. I think that adding smokey to that list of adjectives would pump this recipe up. I suggest grilling the pineapple chunks before adding them to the recipe. Kelsey thinks it might be an annoying extra step for those who are trying to rush dinner on the table, but I think if the time is available it would be awesome. I know that I love grilled corn in soup so why not have grilled pineapple in this recipe. We will give it a go next time around and at that point I’ll give this one a full five-star rating. Until then it is a 4 because I know there is a little bit of room for improvement.

Serves: 4     Calories: 350 per serving     Time: MARINATE 3 hrs  COOK: 30 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 4 chicken breasts, trimmed
  • 2 (20 oz.) cans of pineapple chunks, if you can get the ones in pineapple juice not syrup
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 tbsp. lemon juice
  • 1 tbsp. lemon zest
  • 1/8 tsp paprika
  • 2 tbsp. butter
  • 1 tbsp. Dijon mustard
  • 1 tbsp. honey
  • Crushed pepper flakes (optional)

Directions:

  1. To marinade, combine chicken, pineapple juice (drain from the canned stuff and keep pineapple chunks aside), garlic, salt, pepper, lemon juice, lemon zest and paprika. Place in a large bowl or ziplock bag and refrigerate for 4 hours.
  2. Pre heat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.
  3. Spray 9×13 cooking dish with cooking spray.
  4. Remove the chicken from the marinade and put into the baking dish and set aside. Discard of the marinade.
  5. In a large pan melt the butter. Once butter is melted add the Dijon, honey, and pineapple chunks stirring for a few minutes until bubbly. Remove from heat
  6. Pour the saucy pineapple chunks over the chicken and bake for 35-40 minutes.
  7. If you are into spicy, sprinkle pepper flakes on top before serving.
  8. Serve and enjoy!

*Photo is an original belonging to me

**Recipe adapted from http://www.diethood.com 

Sweet Cilantro Lime Chicken Kebabs – ★★★★★

10389603_10205765390272086_5517173262006650960_nI have finally found a way to get Chance, our 4-year-old, to eat chicken that isn’t pressed into a patty with who knows what else. I’m learning that Chance takes interest in things that are not “ordinary.” We usually eat dinner with a fork, so handing him chicken on a stick was the hook (and he bit!). I’ve made this recipe a number of times since our initial trial and can attest to how easy this is to make. I suggest marinating the chicken all day if you can. Throw it in the marinade first thing in the morning then string them onto kebab sticks right before grilling. I would liken the flavor to teriyaki but it isn’t sticky-sweet like teriyaki can usually be. It has a nice zesty zing because of the lime and am looking forward to warm summer nights grilling these puppies out on the patio. Perry gave 5 stars and this is why:

These kebabs are tasty. There is no other way to describe it… Just absolutely tasty. There are three distinct flavors – sweet, salty and sour. Don’t get me wrong it isn’t overly sour just a subtle zing at the end, like how pineapple is sweet yet sour also. They have a lightness to them that had me going back for more.. and more. I give these five stars because they are so delicious and our little guy, Chance, even had a few.”

Serves: 4     Calories: 199/serving     Time: marinade time: at least an hour     cook time: 8 mins 

Ingredients:

  • 3 tbsp soy sauce, we use reduced sodium
  • 2 tbsp honey
  • 1 tbsp canola oil
  • juice of 1 lime
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp pepper
  • 1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
  • 2 tbsp cilantro, divided
  • 1 lb boneless skinless chicken breasts, we use the tenders as I find it easier to trim and cut into little pieces
  • Bamboo skewers

Directions:

  1. Combine soy sauce, salt, pepper, honey, oil, garlic, lime juice, pepper flakes and 1 tbsp of cilantro in a large bowl.
  2. Trim chicken and cut into bite size pieces. Place the chicken into the marinade. Cover and refrigerate for at least an hour. We let ours sit for about 7 hours.
  3. If using wooden skewers soak in water for at minimum 10 minutes before letting them sit on the grill.
  4. String the chicken pieces onto the skewers (getting rid of the remaining marinade) and grill on each side for approximately 5-8 minutes.
  5. Garnish with the remaining 1 tbsp of cilantro.
  6. Serve and enjoy!

*Photo is an original belonging to me

*Original recipe found at http://www.budgetsavydiva.com 

Sweet Fire Chicken Tenders (Fake-out-take-out) – ★★★★✩

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Sweet fire chicken, I adore it but I hate to spend 12.00 on a meal at Panda that will not produce left overs. Problem solved, friends, as I’ve scoured the darkest ends of the internet and got some ideas that birthed this wonderful copy cat recipe. If you’ve never had the pleasure of eating sweet fire chicken at Panda Express : firstly I’m sorry and secondly prepare yourselves to be turned on to the “tangy yet sweet and spicy all at once” temptress that is this dish. Another thing that makes this recipe so awesome is that it is extremely quick and easy to prepare. Sometimes even I don’t enjoy cooking for hours. I did find room for improvement and think this may go better with a panko crusted baked chicken. I’ll be honest, I suck at pan frying chicken. From now on I’ll stick to the oven (and don’t worry I’ll post the revisions if I think the oven baked chicken turns out better). Besides the chicken (and my terrible efforts at pan frying) everything else was worthy of 5 stars. Perry gave a 4 star rating and here is why:

” The sauce, peppers and pineapple were out of this world. They were an exact reproduction of our Panda Express favorite. My issue was with the chicken. For whatever reason, Kelsey thinks it takes a long time for chicken to cook stove top leaving it with a rough texture. It wasn’t terrible but it wasn’t worth 5 stars. She said next time she would work different with the chicken and I’m looking forward to it because everything else was delicious. This one has a lot of flavor and texture with the crunchy peppers, soft sweet pineapple and spicy chili sauce. I could just eat the topping and sauce over rice it’s that good!”

Serves: 5     Calories: 523 per serving    Time: 30-45 mins 

Ingredients: 

  • 1/4 cup canola oil, if you have high cholesterol like Perry they make cholesterol free canola oil which is what I used.
  • 1 lb chicken breast tenders, washed and trimmed
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour, I added some salt and a lot of pepper to the flour as if this dish needed any more flavor
  • 2 large eggs, beaten
  • 1 tsp canola or olive oil
  • 2 red bell peppers, chopped into large chunks
  • 2 cans of pineapple chunks in natural juice, drained
  • 2/3 cup of sweet chili sauce
  • 1 bunch of green onions, sliced for garnish

Directions:

  1. Wash and trim chicken. Once the chicken is clean bread it by rolling each tender first in the flour then dip in eggs and roll in flour once more. Working one tender at a time set those already breaded aside.
  2. Once all the tenders have been breaded heat the 1/4 cup of canola oil over medium high heat. Once hot add 4 tenders at a time. Cook for approximately 3 minutes on each side or until evenly browned and cooked through. Continue to do this until all the chicken is cooked. Set chicken aside.
  3. In a separate pan heat an additional 1 tsp of oil (olive or canola) over medium heat and add the bell peppers and pineapples. Cook until peppers are tender, approximately 5 minutes.
  4. Add the chili sauce and stir until sauce is thick and bubbly, an additional 3 minutes or so.
  5. Serve the pepper and pineapple sauce over the chicken tenders and enjoy!

*Photo is an original belonging to me. 

*Recipe adapted from http://www.damndelicious.com