Pizza Pinwheels

Have you hopped on the Greek yogurt band wagon yet? You’ve at least heard about it, I’m sure. Greek yogurt is great. It’s great for you, and packed with protein. Did you know that in roughly the same amount of calories, Greek yogurt is able to pack up to double the protein, while cutting sugar content by half? No? See, this is one of the major reasons that within the past couple years, Greek yogurt has managed to elbow it’s way onto refrigerator shelves everywhere. If you’re wondering what makes it different, besides just the nutrition info, from it’s ‘regular’ counterpart, the Mediterranean version has been strained of it’s whey giving it an undeniably tangier and less sweet, as well as creamier, taste. We’ve gone exclusively Greek in the yogurt department. But we haven’t stopped there. Greek yogurt opens up tons of options in the recipe department. We love swapping it for sour cream in recipes, and even for cream cheese and mayonnaise. There is so much untapped potential there. Chobani has even created a handy conversion chart so there’s no guess work involved.

chobani conversion chart

When I was contacted by them a few weeks ago, I knew it wasn’t going to be a chore to come up with something snazzy to share with you guys that featured Chobani’s Greek Yogurt. Without further adieu, we’re bringing you these Pizza Pinwheels that are #madewithChobani.

 Pizza Pinwheels

Pinwheels are a great option for a variety of needs. Lunches? Check. A denser snack? Check. An alternative to your traditional pizza night? Check. Initially, the sons were suspicious. One bite was enough to woo them though. The seasonings are perfect. The creamy yogurt pairs perfectly with some of our favorite fixings, packing more protein into every bite while leaving the extra calories behind.

Pizza Pinwheels

Pizza Pinwheels 2

4 ounces fat free cream cheese, softened
1/4-1/3 cup plain Chobani Greek yogurt
2 tsp dried oregano
1/8 tsp garlic powder
1/4 cup shredded cheddar cheese
1/4 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
1/4 cup diced black olives
1/4 cup diced green, red, or yellow peppers
1/2 cup pepperoni
3 medium tortilla shells

Directions

1. In a small bowl, add the cream cheese, yogurt, oregano, and garlic powder. Stir until everything is evenly incorporated and the mixture’s nice and creamy. Next, stir in the cheeses. Using a knife or spatula, gently spread the cheese mixture evenly ever the flat tortilla shells. 2. Once you’ve spread your cheese mixture out, evenly sprinkle the olives and peppers over the cheese mixture. Finally, create a layer of pepperoni over the sprinkled toppings on each tortilla. Gently roll the tortillas up tightly (like a jelly roll), making sure everything stays inside. Wrap the tortilla roll up in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes. 3. Remove from the refrigerator and remove the plastic wrap. Cut each tortilla into roughly 8 pinwheels. Serve with toothpicks if desired. Makes roughly 24 pinwheels.

*Disclaimer: I was not compensated for this post, and all opinions expressed are my own.*

Baked Chili Lime Nacho Mozzarella Sticks

These make a perfect appetizer or (in the sons case) an after school pick me up. They have an awesome chip-like exterior courtesy of the baked egg roll wrappers, and they’re oozing, gooey, melted mozzarella from their middles. Thought nachos couldn’t get any better? Did you think a plain, fried mozzarella stick was where it was at? This fun, easy hybrid is going to take your tastes buds to a whole new world of flavor.

Chili Lime Nacho Mozzarella Sticks

 Baked Chili Lime Nacho Mozzarella Sticks

recipe originally from Carl’s Bad Cravings

24 mozzarella sticks
24 egg roll wrappers
1/4 cup water (you won’t use it all)

Chili Lime Olive Oil

1 tbsp lime juice
¼ cup olive oil
½ tsp chili powder
½ tsp ground cumin
¼ tsp onion powder
½ tsp garlic powder
½ tsp salt
¼ tsp pepper

Directions

1. Freeze unwrapped mozzarella sticks for 90 minutes.
2. Whisk together the Chili Lime Olive Oil ingredients in a small bowl and set aside.
3. Working with one at a time, place a mozzarella stick diagonally in the bottom third of the egg roll wrapper. Brush the edges of the wrapper with water. Fold the bottom of the wrapper up tightly over the cheese, then proceed to roll the up the cheese, folding in the edges of the wrapper as you roll. You want the edges to be tightly sealed so the cheese doesn’t spill out when cooked. Take care not to tear the wrapper. If you’re confused, no worries! The egg roll wrapper packaging should have pictures demonstrating the steps in order.
4. Place the wrapped mozzarella sticks on a baking rack on a foil lined baking sheet. Brush wrapped mozzarella sticks with the Chili Lime Olive Oil, stirring to make sure you get the spices that have settled. Note that the mixture will thicken as flour from the wrappers deposits into the oil.
5. Bake at 400 degrees for 15 minutes at 400 degrees. Broil for 3-5 minutes, or until golden, then flip mozzarella sticks and continue to broil until other side is golden.
6. Serve with your favorite salsa and enjoy!

Cucumber Grape Salad with a Light Strawberry, Poppy Seed Dressing

Do you ever just need to eat something refreshing? Where each bite is a vibrant explosion of fresh flavor for your tastebuds? Every now and then I start to crave just that. Especially during the annual post-holiday over-eating guilt trip. But, I’m not always that great with the whole self-control thing in between meals, and I’ve never been able to sacrifice taste for fewer calories. Luckily, little beauties like this recipe exist so that I don’t have to.

Whether you’re looking for a yummy snack, or a healthy dessert, this is sure to do the trick.

Cucumber Grape Salad and a Light Strawberry Poppy Seed Dressing

 Cucumber Salad with grapes and a Light Strawberry Poppy Seed Dressing

recipe adapted from Oh, Sweet Basil

2 cups grapes, we prefer black but red or green should work also
2 cups baby cucumbers, sliced
2 cups grape tomatoes, halved

For the Dressing

1 tbsp vinegar
2 tbsp canola oil
2 tbsp lemon juice
1/8 tsp ground ginger
1/2 cup strawberry flavored Greek yogurt
1-2 tsp poppy seeds
salt to taste

Directions

1. In small bowl, combine all of the dressing ingredients and stir until fully incorporated. Season with salt to taste. We used a scant pinch.
2. In another, larger bowl, toss the cucumbers, grapes and tomatoes with a few drizzles of the dressing until every thing is well coated but not so much so that everything’s swimming in the dressing. Chill or serve immediately. If you’re making this for a crowd, it can be made up to a day ahead of time and stored in the refrigerator until needed.

Snowmen On A Stick

Aren’t these snowmen on a stick just adorable? They made the perfect end to our tree trimming this year.

 snowmen on a stick

When Son # 4 was born in 2009 we had always used an artificial tree. That Black Friday we pulled out our trusty tree form storage and every single Christmas decoration we owned just like we did every year. To say I get a little excited over trimming the tree and decking the halls would be an understatement. When I saw the way the hubs was paused over the tree bin, just staring down into it, I knew something was wrong. The look way he looked at me when he glanced up? My stomach dropped. His next words had me on the verge of tears, “Baby, it’s broken.” How? Who knows. The hubs is the best packer and most careful organizer I’ve ever met. But it happened, and Christmas just wasn’t going to be the same. We had 3 older kids and a new baby. I was a stay at home Mom on the hubs meager income. We didn’t have money to buy a new tree. How could we have Christmas without a tree?!?! Trust the hubs to immediately come to the rescue and save the day. 20 minutes later the hubs had us all packed in the car like sardines, but told me not to worry, we were going to get a tree. That. day. In another 20 minutes we were all busy exploring the tree farm fields for our first actual Christmas tree.

Since then, after Thanksgiving we always head off to the local tree farm to pick out our annual family Christmas tree. We’ve always been big on traditions, and I’ve got to say this one turned out to be an awesome accident. And every year, everyone gets into the hunt. And yes, we all have that Clark Griswold moment, with golden light shining down illuminating our perfect tree. Then it’s time to saw that sucka down. And thankfully, we always remember the saw 😉

 The Sons' Christmas Tree 2014

The hubs and Son # 2 oversaw that job this year.

The Sons' Christmas Tree 2014 2

You didn’t have to ask or mention it twice, Son # 2 was chomping at the bit to help his Daddy. They were pretty proud of themselves and their personal best chop time.

I wanted to do a fun festive treat for the boys to enjoy while the Christmas  music’s playing and I’m singing at the top of my lungs humming along as we all hang ornaments and rehash stories of when they were made or their significance. And these powdery snowmen were easy to assemble and even easier to enjoy.

 Snowmen on a Stick

snowmen on a stick 2

powdered doughnuts
orange and green Mike & Ike candies
wooden skewers
toothpicks
black food coloring

Directions

1. Carefully thred three doughnuts onto a skewer. Carefully, because the sons went through too many broken doughnuts to count before they found their gentle touch.
2. Place an orange Mike & Ike candy in the hole of the top doughnut for the nose. Place a green in each of the remaining holes for ‘buttons’.
3. Dip the tip of a toothpick into the black food coloring and make dots for the eyes and mouth.
4. That’s it. Easy, right? Additionally, you can use fruit roll ups or some other kind of bendy candy to make a scarf, but I was making do with what was in the pantry.

Sous Chef Sunday: Apple Pie Taquitos

I can’t think of anything more American to devour on Thanksgiving than an ooey-gooey heap of caramelized apples piled into a crispy, buttery crust.

A good apple pie can be oh-so-good, but a bad one, well, it’s just flat out depressing.

Unfortunately a lot can go wrong when it comes to the classic dessert, and I’ve yet to find/perfect a solid pie crust recipe. But the sons and I have found a way to still get our festive fix.

All the makings of a great apple pie, in a fun taquito shape. Apple Pie Taquitos. It’s genius!

And, again, it’s fun. And the sons and I are all about some fun. Serve em up warm from the oven with a drizzle of caramel syrup and a generous scoop of vanilla ice cream for a delicious dessert you’ll really be thankful for!

Apple Pie Taquitos

Apple Pie Taquitos

recipe adapted from Jo Cooks

1 20 oz can of apple pie filling
12 medium soft tortillas
¼ cup butter, melted
½ cup sugar
1 tsp cinnamon
caramel syrup, optional

Directions

1. Combine the cinnamon and sugar on a plate.
2. Empty the can of pie filling onto a cutting board and chop up the apples into bite-sized pieces.
3. Lay a tortilla flat and top with about 3 tablespoons of the apple pie filling. Tightly roll up the tortilla. Brush the outsides of the taquito with butter, then roll it in the sugar/cinnamon mixture to coat the outside. Place the taquito in a 9×13 inch baking dish. Repeat with remaining tortillas and apple pie filling.
4. Bake at 350 degrees for 15 minutes or until the taquitos start to get golden on top. Drizzle with caramel syrup before serving.

Maple & Sriracha Glazed Roasted Brussels Sprouts

What can I say about these? The simplest, easiest way to sum these suckers up? They’re the perfect marriage of heat and sweet.

These are really, really good. If you don’t already like Brussels sprouts, then chances are either you just plain didn’t like them as a kid and you’re still hanging on to childhood food prejudices. (If it’s because your parents tried to boil them in a bag and then force feed them to you at dinner time, I can kind of get it) Or, you actually just don’t like them, in which case I think you might be crazy and we probably can’t be friends. But if you do like Brussels sprouts or if you’re feeling adventurous and want to give them a try, which you totally should by the way, then you should definitely try this recipe. Roasting the Brussels sprouts gets rid of any bitterness or bite they may have had and brings out that great caramelized, slightly nutty flavor, and the glaze is that perfect union of spicy and sweet.

The sons like Brussel sprouts. The sons even ask to have them for dinner. What can I say? My boys are weird. Weirdly awesome!

Now, go eat your Brussels sprouts! After all they’re good for you. Which is a plus, since you’re not going to be able to stop at just one or two.

Bonus: this recipe easily doubles! I love getting the 2 lb bags of sprouts from Costco.

Maple & Sriracha Glazed Roasted Brussels Sprouts

 Maple & Sriracha Glazed Roasted Brussels Sprouts

recipe adapted from So Let’s Hang Out

1 pound of Brussels sprouts (about 20 sprouts)
3 tablespoons maple syrup
1/2 tablespoon Sriracha, or if you’re looking to really spice it up, more to taste

 Directions

1. Line a baking sheet with tinfoil and lightly coat it with cooking spray, and then set it aside.
2. Wash your sprouts, and then chop all of your sprouts in half and put them in a large mixing bowl. In a separate bowl combine the syrup and Sriracha and stirring until combined. Pour it over your sprouts and toss to coat. 3. Make sure no sprout is left behind un-coated.
4. Pour out your sprouts onto your lined baking sheet and spread them out evenly. Bake at 400 degrees for 30-40 minutes or until your sprouts are tender on the inside and crispy on the outside.
5. Serve and enjoy!

Are you weirdly awesome like the sons? Do you crave Brussels sprouts or a similar flavor combo of heat and sweet? Check out these other equally awesome dishes:

4 Sons 'R' Us: Sriracha Broccoli

Sriracha Broccoli

Crispy Asian Brussel Sprouts

Crispy Asian Brussels Sprouts 

4 Sons 'R' Us: Sauteed Lemon Garlic Brussel Sprouts

Sauteed Lemon Garlic Brussels Sprouts

Mummy On A Stick

I love making little holiday themed treats for the sons for snack, and today they came home from school to mummies on a stick. They enjoyed the sugar rush, and they couldn’t have been any easier to make. I love how they turned out!

Aren’t these just adorable?! I can’t help but enjoy it even more when the cute treats are made with everyday products. These are made with frosted twinkes. Who doesn’t love a twinkie?! Put it on a stick, add a frosting coating and a few embellishments and BAM … a super cute Halloween treat!

Mummy on a Stick

I can’t get over it. I mean, how fun are these?

Halloween. TWINKIE. MUMMY. POPS?!

mummy on a stick 2

Son # 4 was thrilled. He got even more excited when he found out he’d be making his own.

It’s not too late to whip up a few for your own little monster(s).

mummy on a stick 3

Twinkies
plain frosting
marshmallows
edible eyes
cake pop, or lollipop, sticks

Directions

1. Place the snack cakes in the freezer for 30 minutes or as long as needed so the snack cake is firm.
2. Stick the wooden craft stick in the the snack cake at the bottom. So the snack cake will be vertical on the stick.
3. Frost the Twinkie by covering the front and sides of the snack cake in icing. If you are doing this for a class activity, give each child a paper plate and plastic knife. Have them cover their own snack cake in frosting. No need to cover the back. Just a light coat of frosting is needed
4. We used a rolling pin to flatten the stackermallows. If need be, use powdered sugar to prevent sticking. Using kitchen scissors cut the flattened marshmallow into strips (three strips per marshmallow). If kids will be making these, cut the strips for them. The marshmallow strips will be used as the “rags” of the mummy.
5. Overlap the marshmallow strips on the frosted snack cake at different angles for a wrapped look. If need be, use the icing to “glue” the marshmallows that overlap each other onto the snack cakes. Place the eyes directly on with the icing. Cover the eyes slightly with the marshmallow strips.

 

Sous Chef Sunday: Candy Corn Fruit Parfaits

I know, I know, there’s nothing at all healthy about the typical little candy corns I love to over indulge int, but here I can offset all the sugar — a little bit, anyway — with this inspired parfait. The sons have been asking for this all week, for dessert! And any day I can pass off fruit as a delicious dessert, that they actually RE-request, is a great day. And I know there’s those crazies (kidding!) out there who don’t particularly care for candy or sugary sweets. Well, this is a perfect sweet treat for them while still being able to be festive. In all honesty though, candy corn just might be our favorite Halloween treat (well, aside from those fun-size Butterfinger bars) so it makes sense that we’d be all about a candy corn-inspired confection. I mean it’s a fruit parfait that’s every bit as sweet and colorful as the real thing. The best part: they’re super easy to scare up!

Note to self: Monitor the sons when there’s a ratio involved between the fruit portion and the sugary one! They went a little cool-whip happy 😉

Candy Corn Fruit Parfaits

Candy Corn Fruit Parfait

1 cup pineapple chunks in 100% juice (I used 1 Dole fruit cup)
1 cup Mandarin oranges in 100% juice (I used 1 Dole fruit cup)
1 small container of non-fat Cool Whip
2 small bowls or cups to assemble parfaits

Directions

1. Strain the pineapples and Mandarin oranges. Spoon half of the pineapple chunks into the bottom of the dish, creating a solid layer.
2. Spoon half of the Mandarin oranges on top of the pineapples.
3. Top with a dollop (obviously the sons and I need to re-visit that definition), or two, of Cool Whip

Sous Chef Sunday: Waffle Iron Pepperoni Pizza Pockets

Do you have a waffle iron? Doesn’t it make delicious, fluffy, just perfect waffles? Did you know you can use your waffle iron to make some other, more surprising, dishes? For years I assumed (see that’s what I get bc we all know what they say when you assume something) that mine was only for making waffles. DOH! In my defense, the box wasn’t really helpful either since it only had pictures of gourmet waffles and no helpful hints or recipe tips for anything else. And I was a newly out-in-the-world newly wed anyway, what did I know? Well fast forward to now, and our waffle iron gets it’s own prime-time counter-top space. We use it to make cookies, we use it to make cinnamon roll waffles, and we’ve even used it to make cornbread waffles to serve with our chili (recipe coming soon). But this, THIS is the sons’ favorite waffle iron recipe. Golden brown biscuit outside, melted mozzarella inside. It’s waffle pizza perfection. They make a great lunch, an easy afternoon snack, and they make an even better quick, no fuss dinner on fend -for-yourself nights, aka Fridays. Sorry, but come the end of the week this Momma needs a break and I’m not ashamed to admit it, or to take it. #sorrynotsorry The sons WILL survive, even though they don’t believe me.

So, we’ve got an easy, 5 minute meal, but that’s not all. Like so many of our other favorite recipes, these are easily customizable. Don’t like pepperoni or have other favorite toppings too? Throw some crumbled bacon or cooked sausage in the middle. Is a supreme your thing? Throw some veggies in there and enjoy. You can even spice em up a little by adding a dash of Italian seasoning. You get the idea.

Waffle Iron Pepperoni Pizza Pockets

Pizza Pocket Waffles

(HELLO, crispy savory waffles fortified with pepperoni and mozzarella. I see that warm marinara topping. Look at you, you saucy little thang!)

1 can (16.3 oz) Flaky Layers refrigerated biscuits
8 slices (1 oz each) mozzarella cheese
1/3 pepperoni slices
2 cups pizza or marinara

Directions

1. Spray waffle maker with cooking spray; heat waffle maker.
2. Separate dough into 8 biscuits. Cut slit on 1 side of each biscuit, forming a deep pocket. Place 1 slice of cheese into each pocket. Top cheese with 2-3 pepperoni slices. Press dough around edge to seal each biscuit.
3. Place 1 biscuit on center of waffle maker. Close lid; cook 3 minutes or until waffle is golden brown. Repeat with remaining filled biscuits. Serve with pizza sauce.

Sweet & Salty Banana Chips

We don’t usually have any problem going through a Costco sized bundle of bananas before they start turning all spotty, but occasionally there’s that rouge that hides or a son is gone and not eating his rations, and I find myself stuck with a couple spotted bananas that no one will even contemplate eating. Usually I will peel them and freeze them for baking, but this one time I went to put them in the freezer and realized I’d been doing that for oh, you know, a little bit and there were pleeeeeeeeeenty of the frozen fruits all ready in stock. What to do, what to do. I was in a pickle (or maybe stuck in a banana?). The hubs suggested banana chips. A sweet snack that’s easy on the hips, AND that all the sons love? We were in business.

These do bake  for a while, but the long baking time is necessary, because at this temperature the oven will act more as a dehydrator than an oven. Plus, you will love the sweet banana and cinnamon aroma that will fill your house! Baking times will vary some depending on how thick you slice your bananas and how crispy you prefer your banana chips to be. Some people don’t like the additions of salt. I don’t like cinnamon. And all that’s ok. Even plain, with no toppings whatsoever they’re still great. Also they’re diet and diabetic friendly 🙂

Sweet & Salty Banana Chips

 4 Sons 'R' Us: Banana Chips

bananas
lemon juice
water
cinnamon
kosher salt

Directions

1. Slice bananas thinly (1/8″), and then brush with the lemon juice mixed with just a little water. Sprinkle with cinnamon and kosher salt.
2. Bake at 250 degrees for about 90 minutes, then turn the slices, and continuing to bake another 30 minutes.
3. Let cool (the longer they cool the crispier they become) before eating.