Sunday, November 04, 2012

Recipe to Reality: Three Cheese Chicken Sausage and Orzo

I'm so glad that Candee has had some time to post and so sorry that I have been neglecting the blogosphere world! Between trying to close on a house and Hurricane Sandy, things have been less than normal here. I've still been cooking, but have all my pictures saved on a card until now when I can finally post :)

I have been really into cooking fast meals lately since our day-to-day life has been a little hectic!

I had a coupon for Johnsonville Fully Cooked Dinner Sausages, and went through some recipes on their website to see if anything struck my fancy.

I found a recipe for Three Cheese Italian Sausage with Orzo and Vegetables and went from there.

Here's What You'll Need!

  • 1 small onion, chipped
  • 1 clove of garlic, minced
  • 2 tbs. olive oil
  • 3/4 of a cup of orzo (pasta)
  • 2 cups of chicken broth
  • 1 tsp. Italian seasoning
  • 1 package of Johnsonville Fully Cooked Chicken Sausage
Put it All Together! 

1. Heat olive oil in a skillet over medium heat. Add onions and garlic to the pan and saute until tender, about 5 minutes.

2. Slice sausage into pieces about 1/2 of an inch thick.

3. Add orzo to the pan with the onion and garlic, for about 4 minutes or until the orzo turns slightly brown.

4. Then add the chicken broth, chicken sausage and Italian seasoning. Mix ingredients until combined and bring to a boil. Turn heat to low and cover and simmer for 15 minutes or until most of the liquid has evaporated.

5. Stir and let stand for 5 minutes before serving.  

This was a quick and easy weeknight dinner that was packed full of flavor! Enjoy it! 

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Recipe to Reality: Chocolate Chip Muffins for Sandy

Happy Saturday sweethearts! Today I'm here to share some delicious chocolate chip muffins from that I made this morning!

If you have been watching the news lately, you will know that the storm of the century is on it's way.....and some of it's most powerful winds and rains will be hitting in our area. I decided to make these muffins as a peace offering for Sandy, hehe.  I don't think that these will disappoint-they are light, sweet, chocolatey, and the perfect golden color.

2 cups all-purpose flour
1/3 cup brown sugar
1/3 cup sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 stick of butter, melted and COOLED (preferably unsalted, but I used salted and there wasn't an overpowering salty taste)
2 eggs
2/3 cup milk
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/2 cup chocolate chips

1) Preheat your oven to 400 degrees, and either line or grease a 12-muffin pan.
2) Whisk together the flour, sugars, baking powder, and salt.
3) Whisk the butter, eggs, milk, and vanilla extract. 
4) Create a well, or hole in the dry ingredients and pour the wet ingredients into it. Stir just to combine.
5) Fold in your chocolate chips.
6) Transfer the batter into the muffin liners, and bake for 17-20 minutes. 
7) Take your muffins out of the oven and let cool for at least 5 minutes before serving. 

Notice how "cooled" is in all caps in the ingredients list above-at first, I didn't let the melted butter cool off enough before mixing it with the eggs, milk, and vanilla, and ended up with a lumpy, curdled mess. ): Even the second time I put the wet ingredients together, I ended up with some lumps in the mixture, and I let my butter cool off for at least 7 minutes! 2 of those in the fridge! So, I have no idea what that was all about. However, the muffins ended up coming out great after 18 minutes baking in the oven. All bumps in the road aside, the muffins were easy and definitely a recipe I'd create again!

Stay Sweet and safe,


Friday, October 19, 2012

Recipe to Reality: Salted Caramel Hot Chocolate

Happy Friday Sweethearts! Today I'm going to share a recipe I found through BethanysLife on YouTube, Salted Caramel Hot Chocolate! This was inspired by Starbucks' annual line of fall drinks, salted caramel mochas, hot chocolates, etc. Ever since my aunt recommended the drink to me last winter, it has been my favorite thing to get at Starbucks(when I'm there....which is about every three months or so). I love the mingling flavors of salty and sweet, and since those two flavors are the foundation of many of our posts on Savory and Sweethearts, I thought this Recipe to Reality would be more than appropriate.

First, start off by making your hot chocolate. You can get fancy and break out your saucepan and make it yourself, or just use a mix like I did. On a side note, I'll take this opportunity to share my fool-proof hot chocolate combination:
1. Hot Chocolate mix-two tablespoons should do the trick, or follow the directions on your packet
2. Add milk, and some vanilla coffee creamer- I think this brings out the chocolate flavor a little more, similar to how you put vanilla extract in chocolate cookies.

Okay, back to the recipe! Add your whipped takes practice to get it looking "professional", but jut try holding the can at an angle on its side and bringing it around the mug. Next, drizzle your carmel sauce artistically, and sprinkle with some granulated sugar.
Now you've reached the most important part-your sea salt. All I have to say is-tread lightly. A little goes a long way since sea salt packs quite a punch. Make sure that you are strategically placing the topping in various places on the whipped cream, in an effort to avoid getting an overwhelming amount of salt
in one sip.

And you're done! This takes almost no time to make, and once you've made it twice you won't even need to refer to the recipe! Although I admit it tastes very little like the Starbucks version, it is still an amazing fall/winter drink that I highly recommend you try!

Stay sweet, and happy fall!

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Recipe to Reality: Crockpot Pot Roast

My crockpot and I have been getting to know each other this autumn.

One of my very best work friends gave me her old crockpot two years ago and I'm finally utilizing it!

I wish it had a timer feature, but because it doesn't, I try to pick recipes that need to cook for many, many hours while I'm at work.

This was my very first pot roast and I'd say it was very successful. The roast cooked on low for 10 hours and was extremely tender. I only wish I seasoned the meat before adding it to the pot!

I adapted this recipe from Betty Crocker.

Serves 6
Time: 10+ hours
Here's What You'll Need!

  • 2 tsp. olive oil
  • A 2-2 1/2 pound beef bottom round roast
  • 6 medium potatoes cut into chunks
  • 2 1/2 cups of baby carrots
  • 2 cups sliced white mushrooms
  • 1 stalk of celery, chopped
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 tsp. pepper
  • 1/4 tsp. ground thyme
  • A 14 oz. can diced tomatoes, not drained (I used the garlic and oregano ones)
  • 1 can condensed beef consomme 
  • 1 cup V-8 juice
Put it All Together!

1) Heat oil in a medium-sized skillet. Season meat with salt and pepper and brown the meat on all sides (about 10 minutes).

2) Add the potatoes, carrots, mushrooms, celery, and onion to the 4-5 quart crockpot. Season with the salt, pepper, and thyme. Place beef on top of the veggies, and add the liquids- tomatoes, beef consomme, and V-8 juice. 

3) Cover and cook on low for 8-10 hours.  

4) If you want when you serve the beef, whisk a little flour into the leftover juices to make a gravy. I made some rice to serve as a bed for my roast.

The best part of this meal was the way the apartment smelled when I came home from work! A great way to save some time on a weeknight meal!

Stay Savory,

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Recipe to Reality: Andean Quinoa Salad

Quinoa is one of my new favorite grains.

This fresh, light, healthy salad could double as a main dish or a side!

This recipe is adapted from Food & Wine Fast Magazine and is a great choice for a light dinner on a warm day.

Here's What You'll Need!

  • 1 cup quinoa
  • 2 cups water
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 2 tbs. lime juice
  • 1 red bell pepper, diced
  • 1 green bell pepper, diced
  • 1 cucumber, peeled, seeded, and diced
  • 1 handful cilantro, chopped
  • 1 minced chile pepper
  • 1 scallion, minced
Put It All Together!

1) Rinse quinoa in running water and drain. Transfer to a medium saucepan and add 1 and a 1/2 cups of water and 1/2 tsp. of salt. Bring quinoa to a boil, lower heat to a simmer and cover until all the water has been absorbed and quinoa is tender but not mushy (about 17 minutes).

2) In a medium-large bowl, mix the oil with the lime juice. Add the bell peppers, cucumber, cilantro, chile, scallion, and quinoa. Toss and season with salt and pepper. Serve at room temperature or chilled. 

My husband was pleasantly surprised by the amount of flavor this salad packs. He was expecting it to taste like health food, but instead he really enjoyed the fresh flavors of the veggies with the nutty quinoa.

It was also much easier to go to the gym after eating opposed to!

Stay Savory,

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Recipe to Reality: Tuscan Bean Soup

Well, New York has truly said its farewells to summer and has welcomed autumn with open arms.

The leaves in the Hudson Valley are truly a stunning sight at this time of year.

Golden yellow, crisp orange, and deep reds are all around.

With these gorgeous leaves comes cool weather which makes it the perfect time for soups and stews.

Here's another delicious soup to add to your collection.

This recipe is adapted from Emeril Lagasse and was found through Food Network Online.

Serves 8
Time: 1 hour and 45 minutes
Here's What You'll Need!

  • 1 14 oz. can dark red kidney beans
  • 1 14 oz. can cannellini beans
  • 1 14 oz. can chickpeas
  • 3 tbs. olive oil
  • 1 8 oz. container of diced pancetta
  • 1 large yellow onion
  • 3 celery stalks, diced
  • 3 carrots, peeled and diced
  • 4 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 2 large potatoes, cut into chunks
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • 1 14 oz. can diced tomatoes (I used ones with garlic and oregano too)
  • 2 quarts chicken stock
  • 2 sprigs of fresh rosemary
  • 1/4 tsp. ground thyme
  • 1/4 tsp. Italian seasonings
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 tsp. red pepper flakes
  • 1/2 lb. elbow pasta
  • 2 handfuls of fresh baby spinach
  • Parmesan cheese for serving
Looks like a ton of ingredients, but so easy to make and so flavorful!

Put it All Together!

  1. In a large soup pot, add the olive oil and the pancetta to render the fat. Cook until crispy, about 3 minutes. 

  1. Saute the onion, celery, carrots, garlic, and potatoes for about 3-4 minutes or until soft. Season with salt and pepper.

  1. Add the diced tomatoes, kidney beans, chickpeas, and cannellini beans along with the chicken stock.
  2. Add the herbs-rosemary, thyme, Italian seasonings, bayleaf, red pepper flakes, as well as more salt and pepper. 
  3. Cook for 15-20 minutes (until potatoes are tender) and then add the handfuls of spinach and allow to wilt. (If you want, add some elbow pasta in about 8 minutes before soup is done)
  4. Serve with Parmesan cheese and crusty bread and get ready to warm yourself up from the inside out.
I am a huge fan of very hearty soups, so if you like your soup with more broth just add less of everything I added!

Looking forward to more soups and stews as fall leads us to winter :)

Stay Savory,

Friday, October 12, 2012

Recipe to Reality: Chicken with Apricots, Ginger, and Sliced Almonds

My favorite types of foods are mostly one-pot comfort foods like pastas or rice dishes, but they aren't always the most healthy!

This recipe adapted from Food and Wine Fast was a delicious medley of savory and sweet!

My husband really gobbled this one down!

Here's What You'll Need!

  • 1/4 cup of sliced almonds
  • 2 tsp. unsalted butter
  • 1/2 cup dried apricots
  • 1 tbs. olive oil
  • 3 boneless, skinless, chicken breasts
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • 1 tsp. grated fresh ginger
  • 1 scallion, chopped
  • Zest of one lime
  • 1 green chile, minced
  • 1/2 cup white wine
  • 2 tbs. maple syrup
Put it All Together!

1) Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Spread the almonds out evenly in a cake pan and bake for about 5 minutes or until browned. Set aside and let cool.

2) Melt the butter in a skillet and add the apricots. Cook over medium heat until browned, about 3 minutes. Remove from pan and set aside.  

3) Add olive oil to skillet and heat up while seasoning chicken with salt and pepper. Cook the chicken over medium heat for about 3 minutes, then lower heat and flip breasts and cook for another 7 minutes. Transfer chicken to plate with the apricots. 

4) Add the ginger, scallions, lime zest, and chile to the skillet and stir for about 30 seconds. Add the wine to deglaze and simmer over medium heat, scraping all those yummy bits from the bottom of the pan. Add the maple syrup, apricots, chicken, and simmer until all heated through.

5) Top with cracked almonds and a side of green beans and you have a savory, sweet, and healthy treat!

I think my husband was a little skeptical when he heard I was mixing fruit with our protein, but he absolutely loved  this dish. We can't wait to have it again :)

Stay Savory,

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Recipe to Reality: Trick or Treat Salted Caramel Peanut Bars

This "treat" was absolutely a "trick" for me.

I have never tried to make a bar dessert before, nor have I worked with caramel so I found this one very challenging to get together!

Good thing I had the day off when I decided to make this because if I had tried this on a work day I may have lost my mind!

I found this recipe on Just a Pinch Recipes, but had such difficulty with it I would never attempt it again!

For me, this dessert was extremely difficult to manipulate and wasn't scrumptious enough to go through all the trouble again...

If you still want to make this dessert...

Serves: 12
Time: 1 hour 15 mins.
Here's What You'll Need!

  • 3/4 cup flour
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar, packed
  • 1/4 cup butter, softened
  • 1/4 cup crunchy peanut butter
  • 1 14 oz. package of wrapped caramels
  • 2 tbs. water
  • 1 cup confectioners sugar
  • 1 cup marshmallow fluff
  • 2 cups salted peanuts
  • 1/4 cup candy corn
Put it All Together!

1) Preheat your oven to 350 degrees for baking your crust. Line a 8-inch baking pan with greased aluminum foil. (If you use non-stick foil, you do not need to grease!)

2) Combine flour, brown sugar, butter, and peanut butter in a mixer on medium speed for 1-2 minutes until tiny crumbs begin to form. Press onto the bottom of pan and bake for 12-15 minutes until golden brown. Allow to cool completely.

3) Unwrap your caramels...all 40 of them... then melt them over a double boiler. I don't currently own a double boiler, so I boiled water in a pot and used a skillet on top. Worked just fine! Keep stirring it once in a while so it doesn't burn. WARNING: This becomes unbearably sticky!

4) Beat the confectioners sugar with the marshmallow fluff in your mixer. Good luck getting it out!!! Use extra powdered sugar to act as flour to remove the marshmallow mixture onto a flexible cutting board. Mold into a square about the size of your crust. I found this part to be extremely difficult. Everytime I touched the fluffy stuff my hands were completely covered in this stuff. I actually started to feel a little claustrophobic like I couldn't get away! I don't even have any pictures of this because my hands were SO sticky!!!

5) Spread half of the caramel onto the crust (if you can...) and then place the marshmallow "square" on top of the caramel and crust. Pour the rest of the caramel on top of the marshmallow (if you can...) top with peanuts and candy corn and use a piece of saran wrap or parchment paper to push down and condense the bars.

I hope if you decide to make this you have better luck than I, but I found them to be a lot of work for not enough taste.

Too tricky for me!

Stay Sweet,

Thursday, October 04, 2012

Recipe to Reality: Pork Tacos with Guacamole

I will admit that this was my first time cooking pork, but I'm positive that it was the most delicious and simplest recipe I have ever made!

I adapted this one from Food & Wine Fast magazine, and the flavor of the pork was simply incredible.

I'm telling you, spice up Taco Tuesday with this one! (nudge nudge Joe)

Serves 4
Time: 15 mins

Here's What You'll Need!

  • 2 tbs. olive oil
  • 1 1/2 tbs. chili powder
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 tsp. Italian seasonings
  • 1/4 tsp. cumin
  • 1/8 tsp. pepper
  • Pinch of cinnamon
  • Pinch of allspice
  • 1 1/2 lbs. pork tenderloin cut into 1/2 inch cubes
  • 1 medium white onion, chopped
  • 2 tbs. white vinegar
  • A handful of minced cilantro
  • Fixings! You could use salsa, sour cream, shredded lettuce, etc. I used Mexican cheese blend and guac.
Put it All Together! 

1) In a large bowl, mix the chili powder, salt, Italian seasonings, cumin, pepper, cinnamon, and allspice.

2) Add the pork, onion, vinegar, and cilantro.

3) Heat the olive oil in a skillet. Add the pork and stir fry over medium high heat until browned outside and just cooked through.

(For my guac, I mashed 2 Hass Avocados, some onion, lime juice, cilantro, salt, pepper, and called it a day. Delish! If you haven't yet, check out my post on Frontera's Guacamole Mix which is also delicious)

4) Assemble and DIG IN!

Like I said before, these tacos were incredible. I may have to make them once a week.

Also, here is my adorable cat, Ollie, who also loves tacos.

No, I do not feed him tacos!

Stay Savory,

Sunday, September 30, 2012

Recipe to Reality: Chocolate Chip S'mores Cookies

My husband and I share the same group of best friends, which is a really amazing thing.

In fact, his best man at our wedding introduced the two of us at college.

Every month one of us hosts a get-together weekend where we provide meals, housing, and entertainment. We plan these rituals so that we can keep in touch, even though we live within a 4 hour range of one another.

Last weekend, my friend Cup of Joe (who was also mentioned in my Breakfast Muffins post) really wanted to try these incredibly deceiving Chocolate Chip S'mores Cookies.

The idea is to make a tiny s'more and surround it with cookie dough.

I was reluctant because I wasn't sure how a crunchy graham cracker was going to taste in my cookie (since I love soft, chewy cookies) but Joe was super excited so we went for it.

Here's What You'll Need!

  • Graham Crackers
  • Mini Marshmellows
  • Hershey's Chocolate Bars
  • Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough (we used premade)
Putting it All Together!

1) Assemble mini s'mores.

2) Surround mini s'mores in cookie dough! (This part was tough! I needed a lot of cookie dough to cover up the edges and we used a whole roll of dough to make 7 of these cookies!)

Sticky business!

3) Bake in a 350 degree oven for about 15 minutes.

We only made 7 cookies!

As you can see, a bunch of them exploded in the oven, cracking open. Overall, we didn't notice that much of a difference with the addition of the s'more. I mean, don't get me wrong, they were delicious...but I'd say more work then they're worth. Fun to say that we made these though! It was definitely an experience baking with my buddies :)

Stay Sweet,

Friday, September 28, 2012

Recipe to Reality: Nutter Butter Balls

Hey Sweethearts!

Long time no blog! Sorry that I have been neglecting my posts, I have had a few busy weekends! Nonetheless, today I am here to post about a super easy recipe I recreated this week-Bakerella's Nutter Butter Balls! I found these delicious treats through Pinterest (follow us here) and when a window of opportunity presented itself on Wednesday, I jumped at the chance to make them! The best part is that they are no bake! This is my first experience with a "no bake" recipe, and I was a little hesitant at first, especially working with an ingredient like cream cheese, which can be pretty iffy when left out at room temperature for too long. However, I was surprised at how easy the process was, and grateful for not having to wash so many dishes and utensils!

The overall process was super easy-

1) Start by using a food processor or the back of a spoon to finely crush all but 5 Nutter Butter cookies from the package.

2) Combine the 8 oz. of cream cheese with the cookie pieces. I found that it was easiest to use my hands, even though it got a little messy. Simply use a kneading motion to combine the crumbs and the cream cheese. It should take a little elbow grease, but I think that this is the best way. It's almost like creaming butter with sugar, except doing it without the help of a standing mixer.
3) Using your hands, form the mixture into little balls about 1 inch in width and place on a cookie sheet covered in wax paper. I ran into a little trouble as I reached the bottom of my bowl because I hadn't incorporated all of my crumbs with the cream cheese. So, some of the balls ended up falling apart a little, but it didn't bother me so much.
4) Melt your chocolate in a small bowl. I really don't like semisweet chocolate, and was unable to find any milk chocolate baker's squares, so I used about 3/4 of a bag of milk chocolate chips.
5) Coat the balls in the melted chocolate. I used my hands and looking back realize that it was probably not the best idea. Try your luck placing the ball on a spoon and into the chocolate, rotating it to coat the bottom and top.
6) Place the newly coated balls back onto the wax paper, and leave them to set in the refrigerator.

Once your desserts have been left in the fridge for about 2 hours or so, they are ready to eat! Just make sure that you store them in the refrigerator to prevent running into any problems with spoiled cream cheese or melty chocolate.

I thought that these treats were great, easy for anyone to make (like many of my recipe to reality posts) and would satisfy any peanut butter-chocolate craving! Plus, it only took me 15 minutes tops to create them, so they would be perfect for anyone scrambling for something to bring to a last minute party. Since they are small, they are a great after school treat as well!

Foodie Friends Friday

Stay Sweet,
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