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Monthly Archives: January 2012

Crack-a-licious Crackers

These crackers will change your life.

No, I’m not joking. They really will. These were originally titled, “Crack-tastic Crackers” which is incredibly fitting but for whatever reason I kept calling them crack-a-licious so I figured I’d mix it up a bit.

A few weeks ago I shared my Baked Potato Dip that is also dubbed “Crack Dip” on Plain Chicken so it only seemed natural to share these with you as well. Maybe now I’ll make her “Crack Bread” too.

They’re salty. They’re ranchy. They’re spicy. They’re everything you’ve ever needed all rolled up into a cracker! And not just any cracker. A saltine! They’re none to be the most basic (and boring) of crackers! Not any more folks, not any more.

My roommate and I had to make ourselves stop eating these because they really are addictive. I brought the full box to work to have as a snack and had already broken into them by like 10:30 this morning…whoops.

Have I mentioned how easy they are? Ridiculously easy. I’ve always been a fan of the many different flavors of cheez-its but these will definitely replace those.

Crack-a-licious Crackers
Heavily adapted from Sweet Teeth

  • 1 1/4 cup canola oil
  • 1 packet Ranch dressing mix
  • 3 tablespoons of crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1 box Saltine crackers

Preheat oven to 250.

Add the 4 sleeves of crackers into a large mixing bowl.

Add oil, powdered Ranch mix and red pepper flakes and stir so that each cracker is well coated and let sit for 5 minutes to fully soak up the oil mixture. I used a rubber spatual to mix so that the crackers were less likely to break.

Lay them out on an aluminum foil lined cookie sheet and drizzle the additional oil mixture over the crackers.

Bake for 10 minutes and stir crackers around half way through.

Let cool and store in an air tight container.

**Note: You can adjust the crushed red pepper to taste if you can’t handle as much heat.

I promise you will not regret making these. I think I’m going to make it a rule to always have these in the house for a snack. Tyler thought they were too spicy. Guess that means more for me! ๐Ÿ˜€

Now, time to watch a bit of TV and get to bed early. A certain four-legged friend decided to wake me up multiple times last night during the 3 o’clock hour so I am pooped!

Goodnight y’all! ๐Ÿ™‚

Garlic Bread Pepperoni Pizzas

Say goodbye to frozen pizzas. These are easily going to replace your every day frozen pizza from the grocery store.

I’ve always been a fan of all things pizza. My mom probably should have bought stock in pizza rolls when I was in high school since I ate them so often. As with most college students, I also ate my fair share of late night pizzas. And cold pizza for breakfast? Delicious and actually my preferred way of eating pizza. Not to mention the Pepperoni Pizza Monkey Bread I shared with you last week. Some may say I have a pizza problem. Ehhh whatever. It could be worse, right?

Anyhoo, I’ve always loved a good french bread pizza but they never taste that great if you buy them frozen. They’re just bland and tasteless. So while in the grocery store yesterday while searching for the perfect (frozen) pizza, Tyler put in a request for home made french bread pizzas.

Needless to say, that’s all the prompting I needed to grab what I needed to make these babies!

To add a little extra flavor to your traditional french bread pizza, these have a garlic bread base. That’s right, garlic bread! I think I’ve died and gone to pizza heaven.

Garlic Bread Pepperoni Pizzas

  • 1 loaf french bread
  • 1 can/jar of your favorite pizza sauce
  • 6 oz part-skim mozzarella cheese
  • 1 package pre-sliced pepperonis
  • 4 tablespoons butter, softened
  • 4 tablespoons minced garlic from a jar
  • crushed red pepper to taste
  • grated Parmesan-Romano

Preheat your broiler on high.

Cut french bread loaf in half and then in half again. Butter halves and top with minced garlic. Put in oven for about 5 minutes or until golden brown.

While that’s toasting, slice your mozzarella. Once the bread is toasted, top each slice with 3 heaping table spoons of pizza sauce and then top with crushed red pepper flakes. You may omit these if you don’t like the heat.

Layer mozzarella slices and then put back in the oven for about 3-4 minutes to allow the cheese to melt and start to bubble.

Take them back out and add pepperoni slices and put back into the oven for 3-4 minutes.

Serve with warmed pizza sauce for dipping and top with Parmesan-Romano cheese.

I had one of these for lunch today and it reheated beautifully in the microwave. Normally I worry about the bread getting chewy but this was perfect. Everyone in my office was surprised to know they weren’t the freezer brand.

Now, time to catch up on some Monday night TV! Have a great night y’all! ๐Ÿ™‚

Smoked Blue Cheese Steak Salad

Weekend, where have you gone? You always go away way too quickly.

However, we have been having unseasonably warm temperatures lately and I’m loving every second of it! I’d be totally fine with skipping right over Winter and going straight to Spring.

Anyhoo, today I bring to you a little healthy, no carb meal that is perfect for detoxing after a weekend of not the greatest eating…

Tyler and I had these for dinner the other night and they were absolutely fabulous! Of course, he did the grilling so making them again today meant the grilling was all on me. If I haven’t told you before, I’m not so great with grilling. I get too bored standing there and just want to keep flipping. Not to mention I hate coming inside smelling like a grill.

I seasoned two filets generously with salt and pepper and cooked them for 3-4 minutes per side.

*Note: make sure your grill has been preheated so the grill plates are warmed up.

Good news though! I cooked the filets to a beautiful medium rare! Don’t think I’ll be out there grilling from now on though. I’ll continue outsourcing that to Tyler. ๐Ÿ™‚

Look, I even got pretty grill marks. Mad skills right here. I’m sure Bobby Flay would be impressed.

Alright, enough about my grilling adventures. More about this delicious salad. Tyler requested a steak salad (can’t have a meal without meat, ya know) the other night which, to me, means we had to pair it with blue cheese. By happy accident, he grabbed a block of smoked blue cheese instead of just the traditional style.

Oh my was it good! The smoky flavor was perfect with the steak. Served over a bed of fresh, organic baby greens with some fresh veggies and my homemade balsamic vinaigrette it was perfection.

This can be easily adjusted to your liking by adding whatever veggies you prefer.

Now, off to veg out on the couch a bit and finish up some laundry (ugh) more before getting to bed early for work. Have a great Sunday y’all! ๐Ÿ™‚

The Importance of Moderation

Moderation is key.

You’ve probably been hearing that for years now from your parents, gym teachers, on TV, etc. In a country that’s known for being obese thanks to its love of fried, fatty foods, the health trend is all around us.

In the wake of my girl Paula Deen’s announcement about having type 2 Diabetes, I thought this would be the perfect opportunity to discuss the importance of moderation.

I know I don’t always post the healthiest of recipes. What with: Oreo Balls,

Sriracha Mac and Cheese,

and Baked Potato Dip.

But, like Paula has also stated since her announcement, I don’t eat like that all day every day. Why? Because moderation is key.

People like Anthony Bourdain have commented saying things like “No wonder she has diabetes with the way she cooks,” to which she has responded the same way. Moderation. You can’t eat chicken fingers and french fries with honey mustard dipping sauce 5 days a week. Sure, I’d love to but I’d also probably have a heart attack by the age of 30. Not on my list of things to do.

You have to find a balance between what you love to eat and what your body needs you to eat. The human body thrives on balanced meals that do not consist of processed foods. Obviously that’s not to say you’re never going to eat fast food again or have a slice of pizza. If you completely cut out your favorite foods you’ll end up binging on them and counter acting what you’re going for. However, if you have them in moderation, you can still have your cake and eat it too.

I’m not trying to be the food police here but as many of you know, good Southern cooking is not the healthiest. And while I love to recreate the food I grew up on, I do not by any means eat this way all week long. Sometimes I’ll take my leftovers from a recipe to work, sometimes to a friends house, etc. All so I don’t end up eating my weight in cookies, stuffed shells, and pumpkin cake.

I’ll get off my soap box now but I just wanted to share my thoughts with y’all.

And, of course, to support my girl Paula.

Tomorrow is Friday. Yay!

Chunky Guacamole

Can we talk for a quick sec? I went by Target on my way home tonight to pick up a few things with a gift card I had. Small problem, I literally wanted to come home with the whole store. So much for the gift card. I wouldn’t even allow myself to venture into the bathing suits because I know I would have wanted all of them and it’s still January and that’s just wrong.

But the people that design their stores are smart. Very, very smart. Putting that dollar aisle (even though not everything is a dollar) is freaking genius. And today also happened to be a food blogger’s dream because they had cute valentine’s day dishes and towels for $2.50. I die. You’d think I’d be smart enough to know not to fall for those traps since I was a Marketing major and know they put that stuff there on purpose…but clearly I’m not.

Oh, and I bought these. They’re just like the ones from Victoria’s Secret but cheaper and you don’t have to pay shipping. You just have to be ok with the awesome prints. I kinda feel like I should be on Jersey Shore with the sweet pink cheetah print.

But enough about that, on to the good stuff.

Guacamole. Only your favorite Mexican dip ever.

I started making this dip a few years back and used to make it for every occasion possible. I think I made it so much that I OD’d on it and haven’t made it in forever. After a few conversations about guacamole at work, I decided it was time to finally make it again.

I personally prefer chunky guacamole so I like to roughly chop everything so you can easily see the different components. Smooth guacamole is just…weird to me. May as well just be straight avocadoes. No thank you.

Chunky Guacamole

  • 6 haas avocados, mashed
  • 4 roma tomatoes, seeded and diced
  • 1/2 red onion, diced
  • juice of 2 limes
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp cayenne
  • 1/4 cup cilantro, finely chopped

Slice avocados in half, remove the seed and scoop into a bowl. Mash with a fork or mashed potato masher until lightly chunky.

Squeeze in lime juice. (this will help the avocados from browning)

Remove seeds from the tomatoes and dice.

Chop onion into large chunks and place into a food processor to finely chop.

Pull cilantro leaves from stems and finely chop.

Add all ingredients into bowl.

Add in salt and cayenne and mix well to combine all ingredients.

Refrigerate for an hour.

I assure you, if this lasts long enough for you to share this with others, you will be asked to make this again. The key here is to eat this with the Tostitos Hint of Jalapeno chips. These are easily my favorite tortilla chip ever. Like the name says, they just have a hint of jalapeno flavor so they’re not overly spicy but still have a bit of a kick. Delicious.

Now, time to clean out the DVR and then get to bed early to keep up with my new morning treadmill routine! I will get myself one of these once I’m where I want to me. Everyone needs a little motivation!

Crock Pot Beef Stroganoff

Have I mentioned I’m obsessed with all things crock pot these days? Meals have never been easier. I know I’m probably overloading you with crock pot recipes lately but they’re perfect for weeknight meals so I can’t promise that I’ll slow down with them anytime soon. I have a whole Pinterest board dedicated to them. Whoops.

There are somethings that just don’t photograph well and this dish happens to be one of them.

I promise it tastes delicious and not like cat food. For real though, it’s really good.

This recipe is one that was passed on to me by a coworker and has quickly become an office favorite. I made it last week and two of my other coworkers have made it so far this week.

Needless to say, we’re a crock pot friendly work place. ๐Ÿ™‚

Crock Pot Beef Stroganoff

Add meat, mushroom soup, and mushroom pieces to crock pot. Stir so that the meat is fully covered in the sauce.

Cook on low for 4-5 hours. Add in sour cream and stir to combine.

Serve over egg noodles or mashed potatoes.

The meat ends up tender and easily falls apart with your fork. My favorite way of enjoying this is to break up all of the meat with my fork and stir it all up into one big, mashed potatoey mess on my plate so you get everything all in one bite. But that may just be my inner 5 year old talking…

Now, time to finish up my shows before hitting the sack early. Today may have been Tuesday but it sure felt like Monday to me so I will be very glad to kiss this day goodbye. Goodnight y’all! ๐Ÿ™‚

Pepperoni Pizza Monkey Bread

This might be the most creative take on traditional monkey bread EVER. No, really.

This is cheesy and savory unlike the traditional sticky and sweet breakfast/brunch version of monkey bread. It would be a great addition to any Super Bowl party menu. This is definitely great finger food as you just pull off a pepperoni pizza bite, dip in marinara, and be taken to garlicy-pizza heaven!

When it comes out, it will look something like this. Check out all of that bubbly, cheesy goodness!

Pepperoni Pizza Monkey Bread
Adapted from BlogHungry

  • 3 cloves of garlic, grated
  • 4 Tbsp butter
  • 2 cans refrigerated pizza dough (I used Pilsbury)
  • 6 oz mozzarella cheese, cut into small cubes (you’ll need ~48 pieces)
  • 48 slices ofย  pepperoni (from 1 package)
  • marinara sauce, warmed, for serving

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Heat garlic and butter over medium heat just until the garlic begins to brown. Remove from heat and let sit.

Lightly brush the inside of a bundt pan with garlic butter.

Pull off large marble-sized balls of dough and flatten (I worked this out with my fingers similar to how you would with a hand-tossed pizza). Top with a slice of pepperoni and a cube of mozzarella.

Wrap the dough around the pepperoni and cheese, pinching well to seal. Repeat until all of the dough is used.

Bake for 35 minutes, until the top is very brown.

Turn out onto a platter and serve with warmed marinara sauce for dipping.

Once you pop it out of the pan it will look like this. The garlic butter acts as the perfect coating to the pan and allows this to just slide right out without having to run a spatula around the edges.

This was a big hit at our football party yesterday and was gobbled up very quickly! Which of course resulted in a run on the treadmill this morning after all of the junk I ate. Why does everything that tastes so good have to be so bad?? Riddle me that.

I promise the next batch of recipes will be more figure friendly…

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