August 20, 2014

Kitchen Confidence Cookbook Review and Sloppy Janes

I have been a fan of Kelsey Nixon ever since I watched her on The Next Food Network Star.  She didn't win, but was still given her own cooking show on The Cooking Channel.  I watch every episode of her and her pretty red fingernails (anyone else noticed that?).

It was about time she came out with her own cookbook :)

So, what do I think of the cookbook?

I really like it.  My favorite section is surprisingly the "Sides" category and I want to try almost every recipe in that section.

There are quite a few recipes in this book that I grew up eating, except she has added her own "twist" to them.  Like taking chili that everyone loves, but introducing us to a new ingredient, like hominy.   Or like using sweet potatoes to make scalloped potatoes.  Or even adding a thinly sliced Granny Smith apple to a grilled bacon and Cheddar cheese sandwich.  Some of the recipes might seem a little "fancy", but not so much that you wouldn't ever try them.  I am convinced to step out of my comfort zone and try these new variations.  Not every recipe has a picture, but the ones that do are absolutely gorgeous.
As soon as the weather cools down, her Roasted Tomato Soup is at the TOP of my list of things to make.  Some others I can't wait to try are Chicken and Poblano Stew, Carnitas Tacos, Essential Stove-Top Mac and Cheese, Meatball Parmesan Heroes, Roasted Root Vegetables, Blueberry Muffins and her Chocolate Chip Cookies.

I did make her Sloppy Janes and they taste nothing like my go-to Sloppy Joe recipe, but they sure were delicious.  I remember watching the episode of The Next Food Network Star when Kelsey made these and served them to Martha Stewart and I have always wanted to try them.  Not sure why it took me so long?  Don't be afraid of the ground turkey.  I use it all of the time instead of ground beef and when mixed with all of the other ingredients, I bet no one would even notice the difference.

A few of Kelsey's other recipes that I have tried are her Rapid Rise Rolls and her Orange Rolls.

To find out more about Kelsey or to purchase Kitchen Confidence, click HERE.
Sloppy Janes
adapted from: Kelsey Nixon
(Printable Recipe) or (Printable with Picture)

1 Tbl. olive oil
1 1/2 Lbs. ground turkey
1 1/2 tsp. garlic powder
1 1/2 tsp. onion powder
1 1/2 tsp. smoked paprika
salt and pepper
1 green bell pepper, ribbed, seeded and chopped
1/2 c. finely chopped onion
1/2 (28 oz.) can crushed tomatoes
2 Tbl. packed light brown sugar
1/2 c. ketchup
1 Tbl. Dijon mustard
splash of apple cider vinegar
1 Tbl. Worcestershire sauce
5-6 hamburger buns, toasted
Miracle Whip or Mayonnaise

Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat.  Add the ground turkey, garlic powder, onion powder, smoked paprika, salt and pepper.  Cook, breaking up with the back of a wooden spoon until the meat is no longer pink, about 5 minutes.  Add the bell pepper and onion and cook until tender, about 5 minutes.  Add the crushed tomatoes, brown sugar, ketchup, Dijon mustard, vinegar and Worcestershire sauce.  Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer, stirring occasionally until sauce thickens, about 10-15 minutes.  Serve on toasted hamburger buns with Miracle Whip or Mayonnaise.  Makes 5-6 sandwiches.  

Jenn's Notes: My turkey came in a 1.25 Lb. package and that is what I used.  Kelsey serves these as sliders, but we opted for regular-sized sandwiches.   

I received this book from Blogging for Books for this review, but all opinions expressed herein are my own.

August 16, 2014

Chicken Parmesan Flatbread Pizza

Last year, while I was on vacation in L.A. to see my favorite band in concert, I had lunch at a place called Pizza Rustica and I had their Chicken Parmesan Pizza.  Oh-em-gee, it was one of the best pizzas.  It started a new craze for me . . . putting crispy chicken on top of pizza (enter Crispy Chicken and Roasted Garlic Pizza).  Life changing :)
I finally decided to make a simplified version of that amazing L.A. pizza by using store-bought flatbread instead of making homemade pizza crust.  If you would rather use an actual pizza crust, do it, it will be amazing.  Flatbread is just so convenient and perfect for serving two for dinner.    
So . . . you know what I love lately?  The canned Parmesan cheese.  I bought the Three Cheese (Parmesan, Romano and Asiago) version and it has so much flavor.  I have been putting it on a lot of things lately, including this pizza.  If you are opposed to using the canned stuff, freshly grated Parmesan cheese can be used instead.  
If you have a pizza stone (I HIGHLY recommend purchasing one if not), then I would cook your flatbread on that.  My pizza stone split straight down the center last time I used it and it was a sad day.  Over the years, it had gotten very "seasoned" and made some ah-mazing pizzas.

Since I haven't gotten a new one yet, I cooked this on a baking sheet.  Still tasty, but the bottom doesn't get as crisp.  

This pizza is delicious and it's perfect for a week night.
Chicken Parmesan Flatbread Pizza
From: Jenn@eatcakefordinner
(Printable Recipe) or (Printable Picture)

1 pkg. Stonefire Naan Bread (2 flatbread per package)
2/3 c. marinara sauce
1/2 tsp. Italian seasoning
1 c. Mozzarella or Monterey Jack cheese, shredded
4 breaded chicken tenders, cooked and sliced
  (I use Tyson Panko Crusted Chicken Tenders)
2 Tbl. Parmesan cheese
1 Tbl. fresh parsley, chopped

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.  Spread marinara sauce over the top of each flatbread.  Sprinkle with Italian seasoning and shredded cheese and top with the sliced chicken.  Bake for 5-10 minutes or until cheese is melted and bubbly.  Remove from oven and top with Parmesan cheese and chopped parsley.  Slice and serve.  Serves: 2

August 13, 2014

Chocolate Nutella Cupcakes with Strawberry Whipped Cream

I am so excited to be a new recipe contributor at The Recipe Critic.  I shared my first recipe today and this one is a winner - big time :)

Since it is strawberry season and I figured a lot of you would be making homemade strawberry jam, that it's the perfect time to make these amazingly delicious cupcakes.  The cake is so light.  You know how sometimes you pick up a cupcake and it is so heavy and dense, not these.  You don't even feel like you are holding anything when you pick one of these up.  I used my favorite doctored-up cake mix recipe for the chocolatey base and spread a layer of Nutella over the top!

The whipped cream topping is made with strawberry jam.  Let me just say, Strawberry Whipped Cream - Now, that is where it's at!  Where has this been all my life?  The flavor was pure HEAVEN.  Make this now, eat it with a spoon if you have to, but you have got to try it.

Click HERE to get the Recipe.
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August 10, 2014

One Dirty Bowl Cookbook Review - Plus Variety S'mores Bars

Raise your hand if you like doing the dishes????

Um . . . If anyone is actually raising their hand, please come to my house and you can be my new bestie!

If you like making dessert, but you aren't a fan of dirty dishes, then this book is for you. 
The publisher provided me with a copy of this cookbook for the purpose of this review, but the opinions expressed herein are my own.

I tried the S'mores Bars.  Then, I found out today is National S'mores Day.  Perfect timing!  The base is made from store-bought sugar cookies and then covered with a variety of candy bars and topped off with some marshmallows.  There are only a few ingredients and it only dirtied one dish.  
I believe the assorted miniature candy bars she is calling for in the recipe are the pack with Mr. Goodbar and Krackle?  I wanted to use some of my favorite candy bars instead.  
These bars would be perfect to make after Halloween when you have a ton of candy bars lying around.

They are ooey-gooey and delicious.  Since all of the ingredients being used are very rich, a small bar is plenty.  There is a reason she cuts the bars into 16.  I cut mine into 9 bars and they were a little too big to eat an entire bar, since they are so rich.    
Overall, I like this book.  Some of the ingredients and recipes are a little vague.  I could see a beginner baker questioning a few things.  Like, some of the recipes just call for frosting and then others say 1 (12 oz.) tub of frosting or store-bought frosting?  So, when it doesn't list a tub of frosting or store-bought frosting, do we make our own?  Also, I saw caramel frosting, marshmallow and maple frosting in the book?  Can you buy those flavors or should we add flavoring to vanilla to make it those flavors?    

There are no frosting recipes in the book and since I am the BIGGEST Frosting Lover EVER, I was kind of hoping for a few new recipes, but I guess that is how you only dirty one bowl.  You have to mix from scratch ingredients with store-bought ingredients.  

BUT . . . with all that said, the recipes really DO sound fantastic and I think you and your family will enjoy them.  There are a variety of desserts from cakes and cookies to bars and quick-bread and even cobblers and pies.  There are some classics as well as some new recipes that I have never seen or heard of.  Plus, there are quite a few pictures.    
A few of the recipes I can't wait to try are:
Chocolate Cream Cheese Strawberry Brownies
Ginger Softies
Very Vanilla Brownies
Mini Pumpkin Oreos
Blueberry Ribbon Cake
Carrot Bread

You can also find the author, Christina Dymock, at the links below:
Variety S'mores Bars
adapted from: One Dirty Bowl
(Printable Recipe) or (Printable with Picture)

1 (16 oz.) pkg. refrigerated sugar cookie dough (the flat sheet, not the roll)
1 (12 oz.) bag assorted miniature candy bars, unwrapped
   or 3 (6-pack) pkgs. fun-size candy bars, chopped
16 large marshmallows, cut in half
   or 3 cups mini marshmallows

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Spray an 8x8-inch baking dish with cooking spray and line with parchment paper with a slight overhang (to help easily remove the bars for cutting).  Place the cookie dough, as a block, into the baking dish.  It won't fill the whole pan, but will spread out as it bakes.  Bake for about 30 minutes or until the edges are lightly browned and the center is almost set.  

Remove pan from oven and top with candy bars, covering every last bit of the cookie crust.  Top chocolate layer with marshmallows.  Return to oven and broil on low for 3-5 minutes or until the marshmallows are lightly toasted.  Remove from oven and allow to cool for at least 20 minutes before serving (I let mine cool for about an hour and they were still extra ooey gooey).  
Linked up at Time to Sparkle!

August 6, 2014

Sunrise Poppy Seed Muffins with Orange Glaze

Oh em gee!  These are so so so good.  

You see that beautiful orange in the background of this picture?  Well, I bought it to use as a garnish for this Frothy Sunrise Punch, but then I couldn't stand the thought of wasting the rest of it.

I often turn to breads and muffins when I need to use up an ingredient, plus I love taking muffins to work for a mid-day snack.  
I remembered when Sally posted a lemon and orange poppy seed muffin and it just so happened that I had a lemon that needed used up too.  I adjusted my lemon poppy seed muffin recipe with what I had on hand, since I was fresh out of Greek yogurt.

I did try Sally's trick to bake the muffins at a higher temperature for the first five minutes, to create that domed top and lower the temperature to finish baking and I did end up with some domed tops.

Make it.  Love it.
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Sunrise Poppy Seed Muffins
From: Jenn@eatcakefordinner
(Printable Recipe) or (Printable with Picture)

2 c. all-purpose flour
2 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. salt
2 Tbl. poppy seeds
2/3 c. sugar
zest and juice of one lemon
zest and juice of one orange (reserve 1/2 of each for the glaze)
2 eggs
1/2 c. light sour cream (or plain Greek yogurt)
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1/2 c. vegetable oil

Orange Glaze
1 c. powdered sugar
1 tsp. meringue powder, opt. (this helps the icing harden)
zest of 1/2 an orange
juice of 1/2 an orange
milk, if needed

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.  Spray a 12-cup muffin tin with cooking spray.  In a large bowl, combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and poppy seeds; set aside.  In a separate medium bowl, combine sugar, lemon zest, lemon juice, zest of 1/2 an orange, juice of 1/2 an orange, eggs, sour cream, vanilla and vegetable oil and whisk together until well combined.  Add wet ingredients to dry ingredients and stir together until just combined.  Do not overmix.  

Use a large ice cream scoop and divide batter between greased muffin cups, filling almost full.  Bake at 425 degrees for 5 minutes.  Then, reduce oven temperature to 375 degrees (with the muffins still in the oven) and bake for another 9-10 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.  Remove from oven and cool slightly while you make the glaze.  Makes: 12 muffins.

For the Orange Glaze:  Combine powdered sugar, meringue powder, orange zest and orange juice and stir to combine.  Add a little milk, if needed, to reach a glaze consistency.  Drizzle over warm or cooled muffins.
Linked up at Weekend Potluck! and Time to Sparkle!

August 3, 2014

Grilled Sweet Basil Rub Chicken

I grow a basil plant on my balcony each year just so I can make my Father-In-Law's Basil Rub Chicken.  It is the most tender, juicy and flavorful chicken.  

Even though there is absolutely nothing to be afraid of when it comes to roasting a whole chicken, I'm sure some of you would still never attempt it (but you really should).  So, here is a simplified version of Bob's famous chicken using boneless, skinless chicken breasts.

These chicken breasts turned out INCREDIBLE.  So so so GOOD with so much flavor and grilled to perfection.

Plus, by grilling the chicken, you don't have to heat up your whole house by turning on the oven.

I served with some homemade rolls (new recipe coming soon) and my Favorite Twice-Baked Potatoes, but instead of filling the potato shells with the mixture, I just added it all to a casserole dish, because we are simplifying things today, right?

This meal is sure to impress!
Grilled Sweet Basil Rub Chicken
From: Jenn@eatcakefordinner
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. sugar
1/2 tsp. garlic powder
1/2 tsp. onion powder
1/2 tsp. paprika
1/4 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
juice of 1/2 a lemon
1 Tbl. chopped fresh basil
a few dashes Worcestershire sauce
1 - 2 Tbl. extra-virgin olive oil
4 chicken breasts, boneless, skinless

Combine salt, sugar, garlic powder, onion powder, paprika, ground black pepper, lemon juice, chopped basil, Worcestershire and olive oil.  Stir together to form a paste.  Rub mixture over both sides of each chicken breast, using every last drop of the basil rub.  Place chicken in a casserole dish and cover with plastic wrap.  Refrigerate and allow to marinate for at least one hour.  When ready to cook, preheat the grill.  I used my George Foreman Grill, but you could always use an outdoor grill if you prefer.  Grill chicken until internal temperature registers 165 degrees on an instant read thermometer.  Serves: 4. 

Linked up at Weekend Potluck! and Time to Sparkle!