Ore-Ida® Totchos Recipe

I was allowed to participate in an opportunity that included complimentary Ore-Ida® Tater Tots and thought I would share a yummy recipe with you. As a big fan of biscuits and gravy, I thought I would step it up with the tater tots and make Ore-Ida® Totchos & Gravy with bacon.

*DROOL*

Take your tots and either pan fry or bake, whichever you prefer since they are good both ways. In a saucepan, add 2-3 tablespoons butter and 2-3 tablespoons flour. Its the start of a rue so dont worry when it clumps. It thins out as you slowly add the milk…about 1 cup give or take a tablespoon. Season with salt & pepper and stir til it thickens. Pour over the prepared tots and top with crumbled bacon.

*DROOL AGAIN*

There are lots more recipes on the Kraft site but of course mine is your favorite, right? *wink

tots

30 Quick Meals Using Rotisserie Chicken

Its a weeknight, after a long day at work or keeping busy dealing with life, you are tired but its dinnertime. Tired of tearing a leg off the deli chicken and calling it a meal? How about looking like a rockstar using that same chicken? Print this…keep it in a safe place. You are gonna love me for finding this gem from Tablespoon…30 meals you can whip up using a rotisserie chicken!

I stumbled upon this list as I was pinning (go figure!) and I can see myself making many of these delish combos. Unlike other lists, these are hearty yet common dishes with a comfort food kick. Nothing too gourmet so its not intimidating. Looking at some of these, you would think they took hours when they dont take long at all. I mean look at these…mouth watering!

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Want a pasta dish? Try the tetrazzini or the ziti. Looking for something more like a casserole? Bake the chicken noodle casserole or the chicken pot pie. How about the quick veggie bake or even the breakfast option frittata? Everyone likes pinwheels…imagine a fun chicken pinwheel meal.

With the last days of 2015 wrapping up quickly, these meals will help ease the stress at meal time. Check out Tablespoon for all the yummy recipes and enjoy!

25 Party Appetizers You Can Make In 20 Minutes

Tis the season to either host or attend holiday parties! The tough part is finding the right recipes to share with your loved ones. There are so many traditional items we tend to expect on our gathering table, but what if we strayed a bit from the norm? What if we decide to try something new to mix it up? With time slipping away, I have found a treasure trove of simple and quick recipes you can add to your table or bring with you as you join your loved ones.

I give all the credit to BuzzFeed for this amazing list. They included 25 recipes you can make in about 20 minutes, often in less time. Let me share a few of my favorites with you.

A unique take on a nut based dip, this red pepper, walnut & tahini dip is mouthwatering! The consistency is hearty and is best (in my opinion) on a heavier chip, pita crisps or toast points.

red pepper walnut tahini dip

Another interesting combo is the edamame & avocado dip. Both have great flavor and they blend well. The consistency is much more dense and would best be served with thicker corn chips, pita crisps or toast points much like the tahini.

edamame avocado dip

Now if you seek a sweet option but dont want to succumb to all things pumpkin spice, try the pineapple black bean guacamole. I know you are thinking that is an odd combo…and it is but I have to tell you, its making my mouth water just thinking of scooping some up! Its so good you can put a dollop on your plate as garnish for your meal.

pineapple black bean guac

Lastly, a dessert style dip that grabs an honorable mention. Its not from the BuzzFeed list…its actually from The Cookie Rookie and its divine! A skinny caramel apple dip that allows you to indulge without so much guilt! It does pack a few calories so dont dive into a bowl of your own, but you can certainly enjoy a helping with some freshly sliced tart apples. *Drool*

skinny caramel apple dip

Whether you are hosting or traveling, I hope you all enjoy the holidays at a gathering table filled with love, laughter and delicious food!

Citrus Marinated Chicken

In keeping with all of the yummy goodness I received from Chef Merito, I wanted to try out a new marinade. I was planning on making baked chicken with veggies so I grabbed the chicken marinade and some lemon pepper seasoning and got to work.

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I got a tray and added 8 chicken thighs, poured the chicken marinade over the top. I tossed each piece to coat evenly & let it marinate for about 90 minutes.

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As I waited for the yumminess to marinate, I chopped celery, onion, potatoes and added baby carrots to another tray, poured in some grapeseed oil and seasoned with salt and lemon pepper.

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I popped both in the oven at 350 for an hour. I took the chicken out, turned each piece over and put back in the oven. I took the veggies out, tossed them around and put them back in too. About 45 minutes later, I took the chicken out and moved the veggies to the top rack and let them toast for about 20 minutes longer.

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I served both with brown rice and the hubby enjoyed it so much, he took it to work for lunch. Now I know where the term ‘winner winner chicken dinner’ started!

 

Meal Planning for Beginners

Lately I have been pinning a lot of meal planning tips because its been something I have wanted to try for years. The problem is it can be so overwhelming if you don’t know where to start. Thankfully, there are so many bloggers out there who are already experts. One of which I pinned and absolutely love. Hearth & Holm is a gem on my Meal Planning boards.

The reason why I profile Hearth & Holm is because they not only show pics of all the delicious meals they prepped, but they also provide a shopping list. Yup…you can download the list to take with you while you shop!

meal planning

I look at this pic of a fully stocked freezer and I have big ambitions. Thinking about making 40 meals in one day so meal time is quick & easy is appealing but I am also fully aware, this is a lot of work. The task is daunting but I imagine I would work up to this level. To start, I will probably do a week at a time.

There is a great (and kinda OCD) pic of my goal for a week of meal planning on Instagram. I would probably swap out the drinks and modify the meals but that looks like success right there!

ig meal plan

All in all, meal planning is one of my resolutions for 2016. For those of you who have done a variation of this, please share your tips!

#FollowFriday

Its the end of another long week and I for one am looking forward to the weekend. Funny how a long holiday weekend could make the following workweek feel like an eternity! That being said, I have a gem for you on this #FollowFriday. A new blog that is about to take off and has a niché that separates it from the rest.

Hit & Miss Cuisine is the brainchild of Victoria Goodman. A 20 year old with no professional training but loads of love for cooking intrigues me. She has a fresh take on blogging about recipes. Its not about reblogging or posting about an existing recipe that everyone has already tried. She is all about trying stuff out and posting whether it works or not. How refreshing! In a time where we take a half dozen selfies til we find one that works, knowing this blog is about the hits & misses is just plain awesome.

I hated cooking at first. It was just something that I was forced to do. But one day, I decided I didn’t want to cook the same old things so I searched the internet for an interesting recipe and stumbled upon a Chef John recipe on Allrecipes. Chef John became my culinary mentor. -Victoria Goodman

lemon chicken

Inspiration came from wanting to break the cycle of boring meals and we are all reaping the benefits of her journey. I encourage you to check out Hit & Miss Cuisine. A year from now you can say ‘I knew her when…’

Recipe E-Book

With so many sites offering recipes, keeping the public’s interest is key. Think about it…you have Martha Stewart, Betty Crocker, Food Network, Cooking Channel and countless more…it’s dizzying! I found a site that offered free e-books of their recipes and wanted to share them with you.

bbq_page_001If you check out Cook Dojo, prepare to be flooded with hundreds of recipes all sorted alpha style. I was so pleased to see they offered e-books of some of their most popular recipes. I am a huge breakfast person. I mean, you had me at eggs. When one of the options was a free breakfast e-book, I was practically giddy! They also shared a bbq e-book and I have to say, I am already anxious for springtime to fire up the grill and get down!

There aren’t any pictures so you will have to imagine the yumminess that will ensue but it’s worth the clicks to browse through all the options. Enjoy the attached e-books and let me know if you try out any of the recipes!

Gluten Free Thanksgiving

Keeping with the holiday theme, I wanted to share a gem with you. It’s a site targeted to those interested in gluten free diets but the info definitely has mass appeal. Of course, I initially found this when I was happily pinning, and was pleasantly surprised at the content available on the native site. You can tell time, effort and care has been put into producing a quality site. Introducing Fave Gluten Free Recipes.

While cruising through the info they share on all the deliciousness you can create on a gluten free diet, I was pleased to see they also offered a detailed grocery list to make shopping a no-brainer.

‘Your gluten free Thanksgiving should be stress free, and this ultimate grocery list will help to make your holiday shopping completely painless.’

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Stress free? Yes please! I mean the detail they go into is incredible. They provide a store bought option for each item listed and in turn, also offer a homemade recipe. They cover all bases and show options for not just the main course, but the sides we all know and love too.

Want to download the info? They have free e-cookbooks. We all love free stuff right? Are you a visual learner? They have how-to videos. They even have a test kitchen. Knowing its not just a list that is compiled from info across the internet gives it legitimacy not seen everywhere online. Fave Gluten Free Recipes take their site to another level making it interactive…yes, you can share your recipes and blog along with them too.

I can spend an hour just writing about all of their features and still not be done. You just have to see it for yourself. There is so much to learn, try out and share with others. Check it out…they are definitely bookmarked for me!

Let the festivities begin!

I am in full Thanksgiving mode! I have most of the groceries needed for dinner except for a few of the fresh items I will need in the days beforehand. Some of the holiday decor is out and making the house feel warm and cozy. The 80 degree So Cal weather helps with that too!

Considering this is my favorite holiday, I am excited not just to cook for my family but to share it all with you. Some will be cooking wins, some may be epic fails but all will be made with love. Rather than post pics of previous years, I will share with you what I want to make this year and once dinner is done, I will share the fruits of my labor.

dinner rolls Dinner rolls…from scratch. Yes I am going to try this so keep your fingers crossed. For me, bread and butter are awesome so if the bread isnt warm and soft, its a fail.

 

 

creamed cornCreamed corn is a step up from the traditional corn served on our Thanksgiving table. Looks delish!

 

 

 

 

sausage stuffing Sausage stuffing is a family favorite. Its a recipe I have done since I was a kid helping my parents prep the night before. Mixing everything together and getting elbow deep as a kid are some of my fondest memories.

 

 

 

slow cooker mashed

 

Slow cooker mashed potatoes are a big deal to some but this will be my first venture into this method. I normally either boil the potatoes or use instant. (Dont judge…instant are yummy too!)

 

 

 

apple pie cake Apple Pie cake is a new addition to this year’s menu. Normally its pumpkin, mince & apple pies but I am going to try this out. Apples & cinnamon are always good!

 

Pumpkin pie dip is a light but sweet addition to the pre-dinner feast. We have made this on several occasions and its a hit!pumpkin pie dip

There are of course other items like the turkey, a ham, some cranberry sauce & gravy too. Just thinking of the way the house smells with everything cooking and the comfort of family by my side…I am truly thankful. Although I wont have all of my loved ones at my table, I am blessed to know they are just a phone call away.

You can view all the recipes for these sides on my boards. I cant wait…

Pumpkin Everything!

Tis’ the season for Pumpkin everything! Can you sense my excitement? From cookies and breads to yummy comfort drinks, I am sooo happy! After Halloween, I did the pumpkin puree thing. I added my spices and had a bowl of yumminess just waiting for all my Pinterest recipes to take shape. I am hoping to pop out some pumpkin bread this week. Stay tuned!

As you can probably tell, I am a coffee addict, a java junkie, a frap fiend if you will. You can imagine the combo of coffee and pumpkin makes this time of year even merrier for me. Ive done the pumpkin spice thing and enjoyed my fair share of morning lattes but this holiday season, I am expanding my drink menu to include some new concoctions.

I came across a blog that had a page of all things pumpkin. I know, shocking! Well Grabbing Lapels has some recipes I will definitely be using over the last weeks of 2015. One of which includes a fall favorite…rum. Malibu has a spiced rum that is delicious and I am excited to try it out. Oh and for you calorie counters…70 calories per serving. Not the latte, just the rum. Mix at your own risk!

malibu pumpkin spice

The other I want to try is RumChata and Pumpkin Pinnacle. I love horchata and was introduced to RumChata about 2 years ago. It changed my cocktail menu instantly. Definitely a fan favorite. The Pumpkin Pinnacle is just downright delicious so the combo is life changing! (Stop laughing) As a cold drink, its probably better to serve in a warm house while the oven is on so if you live in a cold climate, bundle up or get baking!

pumpkin spice

I was not only able to get some inspiration for holiday drinks, but I expanded my drink menu as I clicked through the links. If you would like to see more than just these two, check out the printables provided as well.