Christmas Toffee (aka Christmas Crack)

I love me some Bark this time of year, but then a friend introduced me to Christmas Crack and that’s all she wrote! So for now, it’s move over Bark… there’s a new holiday treat in town! Enjoy and Season’s Eatings!!

Ingredients:

  • cooking spray
  • 50 saltines
  • 2 sticks salted butter
  • 1 cup light brown sugar
  • 2 cups chocolate chips
  • 1/2 cup desired topping (sprinkles, chopped nuts, candy pieces etc.)

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 325. Line a cookie sheet with foil and spray lightly with cooking spray.
  2. Arrange crackers on the cookie sheet evenly to cover entire surface.
  3. In a small pot melt the butter then add the brown sugar. Stirring frequently, bring to a boil and then simmer for 2 – 3 minutes.
  4. Pour mixture over the crackers making sure all are coated. Use a rubber spatula to spread if needed, although it will naturally spread while baking.
  5. Bake for 8 minutes. Remove from oven and sprinkle with chocolate chips. Pop back into the oven for 2 minutes, allowing chips to melt.
  6. Remove and spread chocolate over the toffees crackers with your spatula.
  7. Add toppings and place in the freezer for a minimum of 15 minutes.
  8. Remove, crack into desired bite sized pieces.
  9. Store in an airtight container, preferably in the refrigerator.

Notes:

  • I used white chocolate vs. regular for the Christmas Crack pictured.
  • I also used a mixture of unsweetened shredded coconut and sprinkles as my topping of choice!

*Original recipe adapted from iheartnaptime.net

Beef Ragú with Herbed Ricotta

This dish was inspired by one of my favorite foodie Instagram-ers and made for the perfect rainy Sunday supper tonight! It takes only minutes to prep, leaving your slow cooker to do all the work. Serve the hearty and flavorful ragú over your favorite pasta with a dollop of herbed ricotta and you’ll wow everyone at your dinner table any night of the week. Enjoy!!

Ingredients: Feeds 4 – 6

  • 2 lbs flank steak
  • cooking spray
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp pepper
  • 1/2 cup beef stock
  • 1, 28 oz can chopped tomatoes ( I use fire roasted tomatoes)
  • 3 tbsp minced garlic
  • 8 oz chopped carrots (approx. 3 large carrots)
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2 – 4 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 1 cup ricotta
  • 1/4 cup parmesan cheese, plus extra
  • 1/4 cup chopped parsley
  • 2 tbsp honey
  • 1 lb of favorite pasta (I use fusilli or pappardelle)IMG_7367

Directions:

  1. Spray inside of slow cooker with cooking spray.
  2. Rinse and pat dry flank steak. Cut into large chunks with a sharp knife.IMG_7366
  3. Place steak in the bottom of the slow cooker and season with salt and pepper.
  4. Pour in the stock. Add garlic, carrots and spices including bay leaves and thyme.IMG_7368
  5. Top with chopped tomatoes and cook on high for 6 hours.
  6. While meat cooks, combine the ricotta, parmesan and parsley in a small bowl and mix well. Chill until ready to serve.
  7. Remove meat from slow cooker using tongs and shred.
  8. Add honey to the sauce and using an immersion blender, gently purée. Take care, as slow cooker is shallow and sauce will be hot!
  9. Return shredded meat to the sauce and set slow cooker to the lowest setting.
  10. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil and prepare pasta of choice according to package directions.
  11. Serve sauce over pasta with a dollop of herbed ricotta and garnish with additional parmesan.IMG_7410

*Adapted from Pinch of Yum

Slow Cooker Asian Style Short Ribs

This is delicious twist on traditional slow cooker short ribs! The medley of mushrooms and the sweet and spicy flavor of the sauce, pair perfectly with these fall-off-the-bone short ribs. Serve it up over egg noodles with a side Napa Cabbage Slaw and you’ve got the makings of a unique and tasty Sunday Supper!

Ingredients: Feeds 4 – 6

  • 10 – 12, bone -in beef short ribs, trimmed (approx. 4 lbs)
  • salt
  • pepper
  • 2 tbsp canola oil (plus extra if needed)
  • cooking spray
  • 3 cups fresh, sliced, assorted mushrooms
  • 2 tbsp minced garlic, divided
  • 2 tbsp minced ginger, divided
  • 1 cup low sodium beef stock
  • 1/2 cup light brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup rice vinegar
  • 3 tbsp low sodium soy sauce
  • 1 tsp red pepper flake

Directions:

  1. Rinse and pat the ribs dry. In a heavy bottom skillet or dutch oven, heat oil over medium-high heat. Season ribs with salt and pepper and brown on all sides in small batches, adding oil to the skillet if needed.
  2. Transfer browned ribs to a lightly sprayed 6-qt slow cooker.
  3. Meanwhile, add mushrooms and half the minced garlic and ginger to the skillet and sauté until they begin to soften.
  4. In a small bowl, whisk together the rest of the ingredients including the remaining garlic and ginger, the stock, brown sugar, vinegar, soy sauce and red pepper flake.
  5. Cover ribs with mushroom mixture and pour sauce over top.
  6. Cook on LOW for 6 – 8 hours, until meat falls off the bone.
  7. Place rib meat on a serving platter. Use a slotted spoon to remove mushrooms and garnish the meat with them. Skim fat from the cooking liquid and drizzle sauce over the platter.

*Original recipe adapted from Cooking Light, Asian Short Ribs

 

Tiny Turkey Meatloaves with Roasted Vegetables

I’ve been doing some meal planning/catering which has me prepping a breakfast, a lunch and 2 – 4 dinners per week for a local family. Needless to say, I am spending a lot of time in my kitchen cooking! In an effort to streamline the process and make it not only tasty but also cost effective, I have begun to double everything I make for my client’s family and use half of it to feed my own. In addition, I am not only seeking out healthy and unique recipes, but also ones that feed a crowd and aren’t too time consuming. I came across this recipe in Cooking Light and tweaked it just a bit to suit my needs. I think you’ll agree, it’s super simple yet truly tasty! Check it out!!

Ingredients: Feeds 4

  • 1 1/3 lb lean ground turkey
  • 1/3 cup quick oats
  • 6 tbsp ketchup, divided
  • 1/4 cup chopped onion
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp oregano
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 3/4 lb green beans, trimmed
  • 4 large carrots peeled and quartered
  • 6 small Yukon Gold potatoes, quartered
  • 2 tsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/4 tsp pepper
  • cooking spray

Directions:

  1. In a large bowl, mix together the first seven ingredients including 3 tbsp of the ketchup and set aside. Meanwhile, preheat oven to 450 degrees.
  2. In a small bowl mix Worcestershire sauce and remaining ketchup.
  3. In another large bowl, combine the green beans, carrots and potatoes. Drizzle with olive oil, garlic powder and pepper. Toss to coat.
  4. Lightly spray a baking sheet with cooking spray. Divide turkey mixture into 4 equal portions. Using your hands shape each into a small loaf and place them equidistant on the baking sheet. Brush each with the Worcestershire-ketchup sauce.
  5. Scatter the vegetables around the loaves and bake everything for 25 – 30 minutes, turning the veggies half way through cooking time.

 

Sweet Potato Pie Bites

It may be too late to make these for Thanksgiving today, but Christmas is coming, lol!!!

Ingredients: Makes 2 dozen

  • 4 large sweet potatoes
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1 tbsp heavy cream
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 roll of Crescents baking dough
  • 72 mini marshmallows
  • 24 whole pecans

Directions:

  1. Wash, pierce and microwave the sweet potatoes for 15 minutes on high.
  2. Meanwhile, in a large bowl whisk together the brown sugar, heavy cream, vanilla and salt. Scoop the insides of each sweet potato into the bowl (take care, they may be hot!) and mix well.
  3. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
  4. Unroll Crescents baking dough on a lightly floured surface. Use a rolling pin to gently flatten. Use a pizza cutter to slice the dough into 24 small squares.
  5. Lightly grease a 24 mini cupcake pan. Gently press a dough square into each well.
  6. Fill each with approximately 1 tbsp of the sweet potato mixture.
  7. Top each with 3 marshmallows and bake for 12 minutes. Remove from the oven, top each with a pecan and bake an additional 3 minutes. Serve warm!

*Original recipe by delish.com 

Slow Cooker Tex-Mex Turkey Veggie Chili

Now that’s a mouthful! This recipe is a staple ’round these parts because it takes just minutes to assemble, practically cooks itself, and satisfies bellies with its hearty southwestern flavor. I get a little help from a store bought spice packet but I ratchet things up a notch by adding additional spice, liquid smoke and half a can of beer! You can’t go wrong on a cold night with a warm bowl of chili and chips…

Ingredients: Feeds 6 – 8

  • cooking spray
  • 1 lb lean ground turkey, browned
  • 1, 28 oz can crushed tomatoes (I use “fire roasted” tomatoes)
  • 1, 15 oz can black beans, drained
  • 1 red bell pepper, seeded and chopped
  • 1 green bell pepper, seeded and chopped
  • 1 poblano pepper, seeded and chopped
  • 1 medium Bermuda onion, medium dice
  • 1 Tex-Mex Chili seasoning packet (I use McCormick’s)
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp dried cilantro
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 1 tsp dried minced garlic
  • dash cayenne pepper
  • 6 oz of beer (I use Corona)
  • 1 tsp liquid smoke
  • salt and pepper

Directions:

  1. Spray the inside of your slow cooker with cooking spray.
  2. Brown the ground turkey in a skillet on the stove.
  3. Combine tomatoes, beans, chopped peppers, onion and seasonings in the slow cooker. Add the turkey, beer and liquid smoke. Mix well.

4. Cook on LOW for 4 hours, stirring occasionally. Taste and adjust seasonings with salt and pepper if needed.

5. Serve over rice or with tortilla chips. Garnish with fresh cilantro, sour cream and/or shredded cheddar cheese.

IMG_6654

 

 

 

Crock Pot Curry

This crock pot curry is a no-brainer; throw everything in, turn it on and walk away! Your house will smell amazing and dinner will be on the table in a few short hours. It’s the perfect Monday Night meal or whenever the weather calls for warm and cozy curry!

Ingredients: Feeds 4 – 6

  • cooking spray
  • 2 large sweet potatoes, chunked
  • 2/3 cup red lentils, rinsed
  • 8 oz baby spinach
  • 1 jalapeño, diced
  • 1 – 1 1/2 lbs boneless, skinless chicken thighs
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp pepper
  • 1, 15 oz can lite coconut milk
  • 2 cups low sodium chicken stock
  • 1/4 cup green curry paste
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tsp ginger, minced
  • chopped cilantro for garnish
  • lime wedges

Directions:

  1. Spray inside of your slow cooker or Crock Pot with cooking spray.
  2. Add the sweet potatoes and lentils to the pot. Cover with spinach, sprinkle jalapeño over the top.
  3. Place the chicken thighs on the bed of spinach. Season with salt and pepper.
  4. In a medium bowl, whisk together the remaining ingredients including the coconut milk, chicken stock, curry paste, garlic and ginger. Next, the pour mixture over the chicken.
  5. Cook on HIGH for 3 hours, stirring contents half way through cooking time. Reduce heat to LOW, stir once more and cook for another hour.
  6. Taste, adjust seasonings if needed. Serve as is or over white rice with fresh chopped cilantro and lime wedges!

*Adapted from Paula’s Pantry, “Chicken, Spinach and Lentil Coconut Curry”