The Genius of Others

Lately, I’ve cooked up some things that I (humbly) think have been very yummy. Daniel always asks, “Are you gonna blog this?”

I reply, “No, they’re not my recipes.”

After about five of these conversations, I realized I should share these recipes with y’all and show you where to find them. That way, you get to enjoy their deliciousness, and their creators get some internet traffic. That’s a win-win in my book.

1. Mexican Chipolte Chocolate Bites, Better Homes and Gardens, http://www.bhg.com/recipe/cookies/mexican-chipotle-chocolate-bites/

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Alright, I have some confessions to make about this one. First of all, I didn’t add chipolte. That was just too weird for me. Regardless, everyone said they had great flavor, probably due to the cinnamon and nutmeg. Secondly, the homemade filling was a huge f-a-i-l for me. Like a zero, not like an 69.5-beg-your-professor-for-a-D. Thankfully, I had a can of frosting (gasp! storebought!) in my pantry.

All in all, these are cookies with icing in the middle. Amen.

2. Caprese Sticks, use real butter, http://userealbutter.com/2011/06/06/caprese-sticks-recipe

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“Ooooh, girl, you fancy!”

At least, that’s what people will think when you serve these.

Great flavor, great presentation, and easy. What more could you want?

3. Jerk Chicken and Slaw, Better Homes and Gardens, http://www.bhg.com/recipe/chicken/jerk-chicken-and-slaw/

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Okay, wow. My photo looks dreadful compared to the BHG example photo, but I don’t have a photography/food staging staff.

This meal was scrumptious. The chicken had a kick of spice, and the slaw was, in Daniel’s words, “refreshing”. Yes, my guy’s guy, burger and beer husband, referred to a pineapple slaw as refreshing. Victory is mine.

4. Mini Cheese Balls in Phyllo Shells, A Spicy Perspective, http://www.aspicyperspective.com/2012/12/mini-cheese-balls-recipe.html

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I love this recipe because it is something different. I like when people ask, “What is that?” because it means that dish is unique…or weird. Your choice.

In summary, I’m thankful for all the wonderful cooks out there who share their recipes on websites, blogs, and Pinterest. It makes my life easier and more delicious!

Deli Wraps

Alright, I’d be lying if I called this a recipe. An “idea for putting things together” would be more accurate.

Regardless, it’s easy, delicious, and healthy.

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These yummy deli wraps are my go-to recipe on nights when I do. not. want. to. cook.

Period.

Statement.

Declarative sentence.

You have nights like that too, right?

The yummy secret to these wraps is “homemade” honey mustard sauce. Want the recipe? It’s really difficult.

Ready?

Mix one part honey with one part spicy brown mustard.

Yeah, I know. My technique is advanced.

The honey mustard sauce has great flavor and a really good consistency. Spread a good layer on a large, burrito-sized tortilla.

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Then, add a thin layer of deli meat (I like to use Boar’s Head BBQ chicken), lots of fresh spinach, and cherry tomatoes.

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Now, here comes the only part of this recipe that could be slightly frustrating…rolling up the wrap.

First, fold in two long sides.

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Next, fold in the two other sides, and roll the tortilla into a wrap.

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Then, use a sharp serrated knife to cut the wraps at a diagonal angle.

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I like to serve them with extra honey mustard sauce for dipping, and a side of sweet potato fries.

Guacamole

I have lived in Texas for a year now, and I have learned that to be a Texan woman, you must have a guacamole recipe. There are as many different varieties as there are women. In my effort to assimilate with the locals, I have created my own guacamole recipe. It is very simple, but I could eat it every day. For the rest of my life. Seriously.

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Feel free to add chopped jalapenos, cumin, or whatever your heart desires. You really can’t go wrong with this one.

For 4 servings of this recipe, you will need 2 ripe avocados, a quarter of an onion, 12 cherry tomatoes, a handful of cilantro, one lime, salt, and garlic powder.

If you’ve never cut avocado before, there’s an easy way to do it. First, cut around the pit to create two halves of the avocado. Take out the pit, and then use a knife to cut the avocado into squares. Then, use a spoon to scoop the avocado squares out of their…shell? Peel? What do you call that thing? Who cares? You’re gonna throw it away.

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Add the avocado to a bowl, then added one half of a quarter of an onion. I prefer purple/red onion, but I only had a white onion this day. Such is life. Then add the juice of one lime. Next, you will add chopped tomatoes and chopped cilantro.

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Sprinkle generously with salt and garlic powder. Then using a fork, carefully mash it all together. You want to make sure everything is incorporated well, but you don’t want to overdo it. I like my guacamole the same way I like babies…a little chunky.

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Notice the two avocado pits? After I make my guac, I put the pits back in the bowl. It may be an old wives’ tale, but I’ve heard if you keep the pits with the avocado, it keeps them from going brown as quickly.

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Serve on tacos, chips, grilled chicken, or anything at all! I’m pretty sure heaven for me will look like an endless buffet of guacamole, real Cokes, and chocolate chip cookie dough.

Enjoy!

Banana Nut Bread

 

You know how when you get married, you not only get this awesome spouse, but you also get some bonuses? For example, your husband might teach you how to play guitar, or you might get a wife who already has season tickets to Braves games. You know what I’m talking about.

Well, when I married Daniel, I got a huge bonus.

MawMaw and PawPaw.

When I married Daniel, I was blessed to gain these two as grandparents. They treat me as if I have always been their granddaughter, and it warms my heart more than I could ever explain. They are everything you expect from awesome grandparents…They are adorable, they have incredible stories, and they spoil us rotten.

They most recently spoiled us by mailing this box of goodness to our front doorstep:

Pecans, oh yummy pecans.

This treat inspired me to make Banana Nut Bread, and oh was it delicious!

To make 2 loaves of Banana Nut Bread, preheat oven to 325 degress, and grease two bread pans.

Mix 4 cups flour, 1/2 cup sugar, 1 cup brown sugar, 1.5 teaspoons baking soda, 1.5 teaspoons salt, 2 teaspoons cinnamon, and 1 teaspoon nutmeg in a large bowl.

Mix ingredients together well, and then set aside.

Next, add 8 sliced bananas to a blender. Blend until it has the consistency of a thick batter.

Pour the banana batter into a large bowl. Add 2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar, 1/2 cup oil, 4 tablespoons maple syrup, 2 teaspoons vanilla extract, and 1 cup of almond milk. If you have never used almond milk before, don’t be scared of it. It is an incredible product, and you should definitely try it out!

Mix all of the wet ingredients together.

Combine the wet and dry ingredients.

Fold in 2 cups chopped pecans. (Thank you MawMaw and PawPaw!)

Your batter should look like this:

 

Pour batter into two bread pans. Sprinkle more chopped pecans on the top of the loaves.

Bake at 325 for 45 minutes. After 45 minutes, cover the loaves with foil to prevent the top of the bread from burning. Then bake for an additional 30 minutes, or until a fork inserted comes out clean.

Let cool completely, then slice and enjoy!

Cranberry-Nut Cinnamon Chex Mix

I found this recipe on the back of the Cinnamon Chex box, and it is too good not to share.

It has an awesome combination of flavors, especially the hint of orange.

I followed the directions that can be found on http://www.chex.com, but I did make one change. Instead of using 6 cups of Cinnamon Chex, I used 4 cups of Cinnamon Chex and 2 cups of plain Rice Chex, so the sweetness wouldn’t be too overwhelming.

To start, put 4 cups Cinnamon Chex, 2 cups Rice Chex, and 1 cup of chopped walnuts in a microwave safe bowl.

In a separate, smaller microwave safe bowl, combine 1/4 cup brown sugar, 1/4 cup frozen orange juice concentrate, and 2 tablespoons vegetable oil. Microwave for two minutes, stopping every 30 seconds to stir the mixture together.

Then, pour this heated mixture evenly over the cereal and walnut mixture.

Microwave on high for five minutes, stirring every two minutes.

Remove from microwave, and then add 1/2 cup dried cranberries.

Line a cookie sheet with wax paper or foil, and then spread the mix out on the cookie sheet. Let cool, and then enjoy!

Spicy Sesame Noodles

This dish is my new obsession.

The nutty, spicy, Asian goodness of this dinner makes me want to be the kind of gal who owns her own chopsticks. Monogrammed chopsticks. Like Taylor Swift has. Different story, but the point is….this meal is delicious.

For this recipe you will need:

chicken broth, chicken breasts, sesame seeds, chunky peanut butter, garlic powder, fresh ginger root, soy sauce, rice vinegar, sriracha sauce, brown sugar, salt, angel hair pasta noodles, green onions, carrot 

First things first, let’s make things easy. Let’s use the slow cooker. Obviously, you can cook the chicken a different way, but why would you want to cook any other way than throwing things into a pot and forgetting about it?

To cook your chicken, put 2 pounds of chicken breast into the slow cooker with 1 cup soy sauce, a squirt of sriracha sauce, a tablespoon of garlic, and enough chicken broth to cover the meat. Cook until there is no pink left in the chicken. It took about 2 hours on High for my friend the Crock Pot.

When your chicken is cooked, cut it into bite size pieces. Set aside.

Before making the sauce, boil some water and start cooking one box of angel hair pasta.

While the pasta is cooking, let’s make the sauce. (I say “let’s” because if I find out you are cooking this meal, I’m coming over to eat it with you!) In your food processor, combine 1/2 cup sesame seeds and  1/2 cup chunky peanut butter.

Then, take your fresh ginger root and grate it. It is very fragrant, and your kitchen will smell heavenly.

Add the 2 tablespoons of grated ginger to the food processor.

Then add 1 tablespoon garlic powder, 3/4 cup soy sauce, 4 tablespoons rice vinegar, and 2 tablespoons brown sugar. Now, here comes the part you can decide on your own. Sriracha sauce is spicy, but oh so good. If you are the kind of person who likes tears to come to your eyes when you eat, add as much Sriracha to these ingredients as your fiery heart desires. For the wimps like me, I did about 1 good squirt. Squirt is the technical term, because it comes in a squirt bottle.

Put on the lid, and blend, blend, blend.

Ok, you know how your food processor has that weird tube thing on top? While this is blending, open up that tube thing and add about 1/2 cup of hot water. It will help with the consistency of the sauce.

Your pasta has probably cooked by now, so make sure you take it off the heat and drain it. Put it back into the pot and set aside.

Next, grate some fresh raw carrots. I used about 15 baby carrots.

Using tongs (it’s easier I promise), combine the noodles, carrots, and chicken.


Then, pour the sauce mixture evenly over the pasta, and combine further. Remember, you may not want to use all the sauce! It’s your preference, based on how saucy you are. See that play on words?

Serve in bowls, and then add chopped green onions, sesame seeds, and Sriracha sauce as desired.

I don’t have words. It is just utterly scrumptious. Make it. Tonight. Now. Just trust me.

Pancakes

We had a very lazy Saturday recently, and it included delicious, coma-inducing pancakes. I definitely couldn’t have a productive work day after eating these fluffy cakes, but they were perfect for a lounge-y Saturday.

For pancakes, you will need:

vegetable oil, baking soda, baking powder, egg, flour, salt, sugar, milk, chocolate chips (optional)

To start, mix 1 cup flour, 1 tablespoon sugar, 1 teaspoon baking powder, 1/2 teaspoon baking soda, and a dash of salt in a bowl.

In a separate bowl, mix 1 cup of milk, 1 egg, and 1/4 cup of vegetable oil.

Combine wet and dry ingredients.

Mix well. If you want chocolate chip pancakes, stir in chocolate chips at this point.

Ladle onto a hot griddle.

When the surface is bubbly, flip over.

Chocolate chip pancakes will look like this:

When both sides are golden brown, it should slide off the griddle easily.

Add butter and syrup, and enjoy!

Daniel staged this photo. He wanted you to see his Masters cup.

Grape Pecan Chicken Salad

I love chicken salad.

Chicken salad is a comfort food to me. There is a very “girlie” restaurant in my hometown that serves perfect chicken salad on fluffy rolls that will change your life. My mom and I love to eat at the counter there and gobble up chicken salad rolls. We also love the iced cookies, but that is a different issue.

I have really been craving chicken salad lately, and although Texas has some awesome tacos, I am yet to find a great chicken salad joint. Alas, I would just have to make my own.

For this recipe, you will need:

cooked and cubed chicken breasts, mayo, salt and pepper, grapes, pecans

First, put one and a half pounds of cubed cooked chicken breasts in a food processor.

Add 2 spoonfuls of mayonnaise and pulse for about 10 seconds.

Pulse for about 10 seconds, and then mix together with a spoon. Add one more spoonful of mayo.

Pulse until the chicken is your desired consistency.

In a bowl, add one teaspoon of salt and one teaspoon of pepper. Mix well.

At this step, it all comes down to preference. If you like chopped celery, add chopped celery. If you like curry, add curry. To each his own. You get the picture.

I like grapes and pecans, so I am going to add and (gently) stir 1/2 cup chopped pecans and 1/2 cup of halved grapes.

Scoop and enjoy!

Sliders

This is a slider, and it is Daniel’s favorite thing I cook.

Understandably so. (Humble brag). They are chock full of flavor, and sliders are a man food for sure. They make you want to grab a beer…Call people “bro”….Watch some baseball…. You get the picture.

Luckily, they are incredibly easy to make.

To make the hamburger patties, you will need:

worcestershire sauce, garlic powder, black pepper, honey mustard, italian seasoning, ground beef

For one pound of ground beef, add 1 tablespoon of worcestershire and 2 tablespoons of honey mustard. The honey mustard is key here! It gives the hamburger tons of flavor and juiciness! Go crazy with the honey mustard. You won’t regret it.

Knead together well, then add 1 teaspoon of Italian seasoning, 1 tablespoon of garlic powder, and a good helping of ground black pepper.

Knead together, and then form into small patties. Remember you are making sliders! You want them to be a bit smaller than a regular hamburger patty.

Grill to desired doneness. (Is that a grammatically correct statement? I’m not quite sure. Hm.)

While your burgers are grilling, saute 1/2 cup of mushrooms and 1/2 cup of chopped onions in olive oil over medium heat.

When the burgers are cooked, I added some munster cheese and left them on the grill for about 2 minutes, to allow the cheese to melt.

Place the cooked cheesy burgers on slider buns. Yes, they make slider buns. Yes, they were on sale at Kroger this week. Yes, that is awesome.

Then, top with the sauteed mushroom and onion.

Add your ketchup, mustard, whatever you prefer, and enjoy!

Please note several things about this photo.

1. Daniel stinks at “posed candid”. When you tell him to “act natural” he will look about as unnatural as possible. This is the reason we did not do engagement pictures. Oh well. He’s still cute.

2. He demanded that his Auburn cup be in the photo. War Eagle.

3. It looks like we are really healthy and just having sliced tomatoes as a side, but in reality, I just didn’t put the fries in the oven at the right time. We devoured fries after finishing our sliders. Whoops.

Frozen Margaritas

It’s hot.

Like, nasty, steam up your sunglasses, hit a brick wall of fire, hot.

There is a remedy for the heat.

Frozen margaritas.

For this recipe, you will need:

tequila, triple sec, agave nectar, limes, lemon
not pictured: ice and a blender

First, mix 1/2 cup of tequila with 1/4 cup triple sec. You could choose to do more here, but this was a Wednesday night. If it’s a Friday, or you’re on vacation, you can go a little wild here.

I mixed my liquids together in a bowl. With a whisk. Real bartenders would use one of those cool shaker things. Oh well, I’m doing what I can, okay?

 

Then, add the agave nectar. This is for sweetness, so you can vary it based on your own preference. I put about 2 tablespoons in.

Next, juice 3 limes and one lemon. Add the juice to the other liquids.

Mix together well.

Now, take a-lot-uh ice and put it in your blender, like so:

Pour the liquid mixture over the ice, and blend, blend, blend! In my case, you have your super pretty friend Lauren (who you invited over for dinner and then put to work) blend it for you. She’s a master margarita-er.

When the ice is all blended up, pour into some margarita glasses and enjoy!

Hot weather? What hot weather? Ahh….