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Summer Sand Pudding

Are you a stickler for the grocery list? Or for grocery day for that matter. Because, I. AM

.Summer Sand Pudding

But every now and then, along comes a particular craft, or a recipe, or something, that looks so great… I don’t care that grocery day is still 3 more weeks away. I must has it. N O W. And off to the store I go.

Summer Sand Pudding 4

That is precisely what happened when I first saw Summer Sand Pudding. It looked soooo real. I couldn’t wait to show my guys. Even the presentation was kick-butt. In a sand pail, with a toy shovel for serving. Genius!

Summer Sand Pudding

This recipe makes a lot, and it’s rich so I’d suggest making this when you’re planning on a fun dessert for a crowd. It’s perfect for a back-yard barbecue or pretty much any pool party, ever.

Summer Sand Pudding

Summer Sand Pudding 3

1 pkg vanilla wafers
2-4 regular Oreos
8 oz cream cheese, softened
1/4 cup butter, softened
2/3 cup powdered sugar
2 small pkgs French Vanilla pudding mix
2, 3/4 cups milk
12 oz whipped topping

Directions

1. Use a food processor to pulverize the cookies into itty bitty crumbs. Use a mixer to cream together the cream cheese, butter, and powdered sugar. In another bowl, stir together the pudding mix and the milk until evenly combined and slightly thickened. Stir the pudding into the cream cheese mixture. Fold in the whipped topping. Layer into buckets with sand, pudding, sand etc, ending with a final layer of sand on top.

Healthy Peanut Butter Cookie Overnight Oats

Ive made no secret of the fact that I’m not a morning person. Like, at all. And nobody else around here is either. If we’re lucky, were rushing out of the house headed to who knows where for the day, hopefully with enough time leftover to grab a hot cup of coffee. And if I ( or any of my progeny ) are lucky there might be some grab and go yogurts I remembered to buy on my last grocery store run, or there’s a freezer breakfast sandwich, or a breakfast burrito that we can take to heat and eat later.

 Healthy Peanut Butter Cookie Dough Overnight Oats 2

And here’s where I tell you all about the beauty of overnight oats.

There is no cooking required! None. Nada. Simply stir together your ingredients the night before, store them in the refrigerator in an airtight container, go to bed, and wake up with not only a tasty treat waiting for you, but one that’s healthy too. Does it get any better than that?

Healthy Peanut Butter Cookie Overnight Oats

It does actually. Overnight oats are so easy to throw together even a child can do it. And the sons do :)

And they’re a great change of pace from hastily grabbed yogurts or cold bowls of cereal.

Healthy Peanut Butter Cookie Overnight Oats

3/4 cup Skim or 1 % milk
1/2 cup plain Greek yogurt
2 tbsp creamy peanut butter
1/4 tsp salt
2 tbs sugar
1 cup Old fashioned steel-cut oats
1/4 cup Protein powder

Directions

1. Mix all the ingredients together until evenly combined.
2. Divide between 2 small bowls, mugs, or mason jars. Cover and refrigerate overnight (or for at least an hour (or more) so the oats soften and absorb the liquid).
3. Enjoy cold, or microwave for 30-60 seconds to enjoy warm. Top each prepared bowl with a sprinkle of chocolate chips and/or a small scoop of peanut butter (totally optional).

Sous Chef Sunday: Copy Cat Little Caesar’s Crazy Bread

Little Caesar’s $5 hot and ready pizzas have saved my butt at dinner time on more than one occasion. Still I think it’s safe to say that they’re crazy bread is pretty much always the star of their show.

Copy Cat Little Caesar's Crazy Bread

Soft and slightly chewy, brushed with garlic butter and sprinkled with a heavy-handed amount of Parmesan cheese. They’re pretty much the best version of a bread stick. Arguably, ever.

Copy Cat Little Caesar's Crazy Bread 2

I’ve never been good at the whole delayed gratification thing, and even though the closest Little Caesar’s to us is only about 10 miles away, when a craving hits that’s just too far. And that’s one of the reasons I love this make-at-home copycat version so much.

Craving satisfied :)

For big and little people alike.

Copy Cat Little Caesar’s Crazy Bread

1 can of refrigerated pizza dough, or one batch of Easy Homemade Pizza Dough
2 tbsp butter, melted
1/2 tsp garlic salt
1/8-1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese

Directions

1. Roll out your pizza dough onto a clean surface, into a roughly rectangular shape (doesn’t have to be perfect or exact).
2. Cut dough in half lengthwise, and then cut 8 strips vertically (making 16 small bread sticks). Place each strip onto a lightly greased baking sheet. Bake at 450 degrees for 6-8 minutes or until golden brown.
3. While the bread sticks are baking, melt the butter and stir in the garlic salt. Remove the cooked bread sticks from the oven and brush on the garlic butter mixture. Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese and serve warm with marinara sauce for dipping.

XXL Death By Chocolate Cookie

At the sons’ elementary school, they don’t do half birthdays, but they DO have one day a week before the end of the year where each kindergarten class celebrates all the guys and gals with summer birthdays.

XXL Death By Chocolate Cookie

He was SO happy! He wore his crown all week long and tried to lord it over all.

 image

And we decided to make something yummy to celebrate, like our XXL Death By Chocolate cookies.

 XXL Death By Chocolate Cookie 2

And lo and behold, summer’s half over and the youngest son is still wearing his crown, and being his happy (albeit bossy little self) and since we’re less than a month away from his birthday I figured it was finally time to share our recipe with the people.

Long live HRH ;)

XXL Death By Chocolate Cookie

XXL Death By Chocolate Cookie

2 tbsp unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
2 tbsp granulated sugar
2 tbsp packed light brown sugar (or dark brown)
2 tbsp beaten egg (crack an egg, beat it, and use 2 tablespoons)
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
2 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 cup dark chocolate chips + 1 tbsp, divided (or semi-sweet chocolate chips)
sprinkles, optional

Directions

1. Line a cookie sheet silicone baking mat, parchment paper, or lightly spray with non-stick cooking oil. Set aside.
2. In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat the softened butter and sugars together until creamed. Mix in the egg and the vanilla.
3. In a separate small bowl, use a fork to stir together the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt. Pour the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients and mix to combine. Fold in about 1/4 cup chocolate chips.
4. Place the dough in the center of the baking sheet and mold into a tall-ish ball using a spoon. Dot the top of the cookie with 1 tablespoon of chocolate chips. Add sprinkles, if desired. Bake at 350 degrees for 14-15 minutes, or up to 16 minutes. The cookie will appear very soft, but will firm up as it cools. Allow to cool completely on baking sheet.

Papusas with Salsa Roja (El Salvadorian Grilled Cheese with Tomato Soup)

Grilled cheese is one of the quintessential comfort foods. Even better? It’s one of those things that’s just as good, no matter how old you get, that’s just as comforting in its original, unaltered form ( just like Mama made it) or growing with you into more ‘gourmet’ versions. And we’ve run the gauntlet, bringing you all different varieties

 papusas 4

But we’re not the only country who’s on top of their grilled cheese game. Far from it.

Today we bring you papusas, straight from the streets of El Salvador. These traditional Salvadorian ‘grilled cheese’ consist of a thick, handmade corn tortilla that’s typically filled with a blend of meat and/or cheeses. But, of course, we’re focusing on the cheeses. And it may sound hard to replicate, but it’s surprisingly easy, and affordable. They do take a teensy bit of work, but they’re well worth the time. They’re a perfect snack, or main meal. Even better? Dip it in a fresh bowl of salsa roja, a seasoned tomato sauce that resembles a runnier version of tomato soup, but with kick butt flavors.

So, let’s recap, Pupusas are cheap and cheerful, exceptionally hearty, stuffed and griddled disks of corn tortilla oozing, gooey cheese induced euphoria that originated in El Salvador. Use our recipe to bring a batch to your house, and enjoy watching the face-splitting smiles that spread across their faces.

Papusas

papusas 8

2 cups masa harina
1 ½ – 1 ¾ cups warm water
½ tsp. salt

Filling

1 cup shredded pepper jack cheese
½ cup cotija cheese, crumbled or shredded

Directions

1. In a large bowl, mix the masa, salt and 1 ½ cups water together with your hands to make a dough.
2. Dump the dough onto the counter. If you press it and it cracks, you need to knead in more water.
3. You’ll know you have enough water when you press it and it looks smooth.
4. Break off a handful of dough and roll it into a ball. Slightly flatten the ball and make an indention in the dough. Add about a tablespoon of the cheeses that have been mixed together.
5. Fold the dough like a taco and press together. Fold in the opposite ends and press together.
6. Set the dough on the counter and press the dough together to cover the filling. Carefully flatten it out into a ¼-inch thick disc. Don’t press too hard or the filling will poke through the dough.
7. Continue with the remaining dough.
8. Heat a skillet or griddle over medium to medium-high heat. Place pupusas on the skillet in a single layer. Cook for 5 minutes, until brown.
9. Flip. Continue cooking 5 more minutes. Remove from skillet and cook remaining pupusas. Serve with Salsa Roja for dipping.

Salsa Roja

papusas 6

3 tbsp olive oil
1/4 cup chopped white onion
1-2 cloves garlic, chopped
1 jalapeño pepper, chopped
2 cups tomatoes, peeled, seeded, and chopped
2 tsp oregano
salt and pepper, to taste
1/4 cup cilantro, chopped

Directions

1. Heat the oil in a skillet over medium heat. Add the onion, garlic, and pepper and sauté for 2 to 3 minutes, or until the onion is translucent.
2. Stir in the tomatoes and the oregano and simmer for about 10 minutes. Remove from heat and let the mixture cool a bit.
3. Once the mixture has cooled, puree the tomato ‘sauce’ in a blender until smooth, adding a little water if needed. Add in salt and pepper to taste. Stir in the chopped cilantro and serve.

papusa recipe adapted from Zestuous

Sauteed Summer Squash with Bacon & Onions

It’s that time of year again. Veggies growing on the vine everywhere. And let me tell you. Some quality dirt, and this Virginia weather has grown some monster greens. We were gifted with some zucchini that look straight out of Little Shop of Horrors. Seriously, the hubs and I looked at each other and said in unison, ‘feed me seymour.’

image

That at was a week and a half ago. Yesterday, the ones we’d left on the vine were close two two feet. What can you do with such behemoths? Something’s gotta be done. Its like they’re begging to be cooked.

So, any-who what to do, what to do with all the summer bounty we received. While we’ve been known to go fancy, on occasion, with our squash and recipes that involve squash. There’s just something about the down-home simplicity of keeping it simple.

 Sauteed Summer Squash with Bacon & Onion

A trusty skillet, a bit of bacon, some onion, salt, pepper and and a little squash.  Simple, right? Simple ingredients, that are B I G on flavor, but not long on time. So they’re a perfect side dish to any Summer meal.

Sauteed Summer Squash with Bacon & Onions

Sauteed Summer Squash with Bacon & Onion 2

2 tbsp olive oil

1-2 cloves garlic, minced
6- 8 slices of bacon, cut into 1/2 inch pieces
1 medium white onion, thinly sliced
2-3 cups thinly sliced Summer squash (we use an even mix of yellow & zucchini), sliced
salt and pepper, to taste

Directions

1.) Heat the oil in a large skillet, over medium heat. Add the bacon pieces to the skillet and fry until the bacon is cooked, but not co platelet crisp. Remove the cooked bacon from the skillet to drain on a paper towel. Drain off a little bit of the grease.
2.) Add the chopped onion to the skillet and sauté, again over medium heat, until the onion has cooked through and begun to caramelize.
3.) Add the squash to the skillet with the onions and sauté until the squash has softened and cooked through. Return the bacon the the skillet, stirring until it’s heated through again. Season the cooked veggies with salt and pepper, to taste, and serve warm.

Sous Chef Sunday: Roast Beef & Horseradish Dijon Cream Cheese Snack Crackers

Whew! It’s been a minute since we’ve done one of these, and high past time to pony on up with another.

Crackers… crackers. I cannot keep enough of them in the house. They’re a meal and snack staple for my guys. Soup’s on? Make sure you’ve got crackers handy or I’m gonna get some serious arched-eyebrow looks at serving time. Snack time, or another snack supper? Crackers with some fruit, cheese, and maybe a little deli meat, and we’re good to go.

 Roast Beef & Horse Radish Dijon Cream Cheese Crackers

And ya’ll know how much I love to shake things up when it comes to tried and true. I’ve been known to get pretty creative with our toppings. And while we’ve gained several favorites over the years, this latest edition still managed to steal the snack cracker show. Plus, they’re perfect for those little ‘helping’ hands to assemble. Ya know, the ones who ask 20,531,796 questions every time you’re in the kitchen, and may or may not cause you to trip once or twice throughout the day because they’ve snuck up to sneak a peak, and intently watch everything you’re doing. :)

Roast Beef & Horseradish Dijon Cream Cheese Crackers

Some shaved roast beef, fresh from the local deli, cream cheese creamed with roast beef’s savory soul mate– fresh horseradish– is a knock your socks of combination. But we didn’t stop there. We snuck in a bit of Dijon mustard, slapped a big old dollop onto some of our favorite crispy, buttery snack crackers, and topped it all off with some chopped parsley.

These feisty little snacks are perfect for any occasion, and for any level of skill. Just don’t try to grab and go. You won’t be able to just up and go. You’ll find yourself coming back for just one more. Once more.

Roast Beef & Horseradish Dijon Cream Cheese Snack Crackers

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1 box ritz crackers
1, 8oz., block of cream cheese, softened
1-2 tbsp jarred fresh ground horseradish (found in the refrigerated aisle near the cheeses)
1-2 tbsp Dijon mustard
1 lb, shaved, deli roast beef
chopped parsley (for garnish), optional

Directions

1. In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine the cream cheese, horseradish, and mustard, creaming together until everything’s evenly incorporated.
2. Top each cracker with a generous spoonful of the cream cheese mixture, and use the back of the spoon to gently ‘spread’ the mixture out onto the cracker. Top the cream cheese spread on the crackers with the shaved roast beef. 3. If using the garnish, sprinkle the prepared crackers with chopped parsley. Serve immediately, so that the crackers stay crisp.

recipe adapted from Love Bakes Good Cakes

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