November 7, 2018

Butternut Squash Chili

What do you like to eat with your chili?  Fritos, bread or just the regular toppings like cheese and sour cream?  I have to have Fritos with my chili.  The corn flavor and crunch it adds is what made me first love chili.  

Despite the usual long list of ingredients, chili is super easy to make.  I have several versions on the blog, but this one is unique, because it has butternut squash in it.  I saw bags of pre-cut butternut squash at Trader Joes the other day and I remembered once seeing a butternut squash chili recipe.  
I grabbed a few bags of the butternut squash and decided to throw it in this chili.  It turned out fantastic.  You can't actually taste it, but I loved having the extra veggies in there.  Some of the butternut squash gets so soft it dissolves into the chili and makes it extra creamy.

This chili has a great flavor and it isn't spicy.  It goes great with all the usual chili toppings.  

Tomorrow night, I plan to serve the leftovers over baked potatoes.  Yum :)
You might also like:

Butternut Squash Chili
(Printable Recipe)
From: Jenn@eatcakefordinner

1 Tbl. olive oil or avocado oil
1 Lb. lean ground beef
1 c. diced onion
2 green bell peppers, ribbed, seeded and chopped
2 c.  peeled and cubed butternut squash
1 (14.5 oz.) can low-sodium chicken broth
2 (14.5 oz.) cans diced tomatoes, undrained
1 (15 oz.) can low-sodium pinto beans, drained and rinsed
1 (15 oz.) can low-sodium white beans, drained and rinsed
1 (15 oz.) can low-sodium black beans, drained and rinsed
2 tsp. cumin, or to taste
1 1/2 tsp. chili powder, or to taste
1 1/2 tsp. garlic powder, or to taste
1 tsp. paprika (I like to use smoked paprika), or to taste
1 tsp. dried oregano, or to taste
salt and pepper, to taste

For serving:
shredded Cheddar cheese
chopped green onions
sour cream
sliced bread

Heat olive oil in a large Dutch oven over medium heat.  Add the ground beef and cook until browned.  Add the onion and green bell peppers and saute for a few minutes.  Add the butternut squash, chicken broth, diced tomatoes, all the beans, cumin, chili powder, garlic powder, paprika, oregano, salt and pepper. Stir to combine.  Bring to a simmer, cover and cook for at least 45 minutes, stirring occasionally.  Taste and adjust seasonings, if needed.  

It tastes better the longer it simmers, but if you are in a rush, you can serve it as soon as the butternut squash is tender.  If you want it to be thicker, remove the lid and simmer at the end to thicken.  

Serve with desired toppings.  Serves: around 6.   

October 22, 2018

Ghostly Donuts

It's almost Halloween and I can't wait.  Halloween is one of my absolute favorite holidays.  I have so many fun "Halloween-themed" recipes saved and I don't get around to making many of them, but this Ghostly Donut recipe is so stinking simple that I couldn't resist.  These donuts have an ingredient in them that I have never used before, so I was eager to see what I thought.

This post is sponsored by In the Raw.  However, all opinions expressed herein are my own and do not reflect the opinions of the makers of In the Raw sweeteners.  In the Raw provided me with product samples, a gift card and the below information about Monk Fruit In The Raw.   
Have you ever heard of Monk Fruit In The Raw? 

 Let me give you a few facts about it:
- Monk Fruit In The Raw is a zero calorie sweetener that is certified vegan and naturally gluten-free

- Monk Fruit In The Raw is made from vine-ripened monk fruit, native to Southeast Asia

- It adds deliciously light sweetness to any baked good or beverage, and is available in packets and a Bakers Bag

- Monk Fruit In The Raw is ideal for those looking to cut added sugars and is also recommended to those with or at risk for diabetes seeking sugar substitutes
This is the first recipe I have ever made using any kind of sugar substitute.  Honestly, I had low expectations, but I was impressed by how delicious these donuts are.  The texture and flavor are great.  The cinnamon really adds a great flavor and I highly recommend not leaving that out.  The donuts are soft with a little bit of chewiness to them.  

I was a little nervous about the glaze, because when tasting it on it's own, it was a little different than what I'm used to with regular powdered sugar based glaze.  BUT, once the donuts are all put together with the glaze and unsweetened coconut, they were really good.  I ate two donuts right away :)

I can't wait to test out other recipes using Monk Fruit In The Raw.  

For more information about In The Raw products, check out the below links:

Ghostly Donuts
From: In The Raw

2 c. all-purpose flour
2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp. salt
1/3 c. Monk Fruit In The Raw
3/4 c. 2% milk
5 Tbl. unsalted butter, melted and slightly cooled
2 large eggs
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract

1 c. Monk Fruit In The Raw
1 Tbl. cornstarch
3 Tbl. 2% milk
1/4 tsp. vanilla extract
1 c. shredded unsweetened coconut
48 googly eye candies or mini chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray a donut pan with cooking spray; set aside.  In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, cinnamon, salt and Monk Fruit In The Raw.  In a second medium bowl, whisk together the eggs and melted butter, then whisk in the milk and vanilla. Pour wet ingredients into dry and stir together just until combined.  Divide batter between the depressions in the donut pan and bake for 15 minutes, or until golden and top springs back when lightly touched.  Cool in pan for a few minutes, then use a toothpick to loosen from pan and transfer to wire rack to cool completely.

For the glaze: In a small bowl, whisk together Monk Fruit In The Raw, cornstarch, milk and vanilla.  Place coconut in a separate bowl or plate.  Dip one side of each donut into the glaze and then in the coconut.  Place two googly eyes or chocolate chips onto each donut and allow to dry on a rack.  Makes 12 donuts.  

October 17, 2018

Peanut Butter M&M Cookie Bars

These cookie bars are SOOOO good.  This recipe is my go-to cookie bar recipe that I use all of the time, but I switched things up this time and added Peanut Butter M&M's. 

I think this might have been the first time I have bought Peanut Butter M&M's and it definitely won't be the last. They made these cookie bars outstanding.  The cookie is soft and chewy and then when you bite into the M&M's with the crisp outer shell and creamy peanut butter filling, you will be in heaven.  These come together super fast and taste great for several days.

You might also like:

Peanut Butter M&M Cookie Bars
From: Jenn@eatcakefordinner

3/4 c. unsalted butter, room temperature
2 c. packed light brown sugar
3 large eggs
2 tsp. vanilla extract
3 1/2 c. all-purpose flour
1 Tbl. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1 (18.4oz.) bag Peanut Butter M&M's

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Cream together the butter and brown sugar.  Add the eggs, one at a time, beating after each addition.  Add the vanilla and mix until combined.  Add the flour, baking powder and salt and mix until just combined.  Stir in the Peanut Butter M&M's.  Press dough into a greased 9x13-inch cake pan.  Bake for 20 minutes.  Cool, cut into bars and serve.  

October 8, 2018

Easy Ground Beef Lo Mein {In under 30 minutes}

I can't even tell you how many times I have made this.  My whole family loves it.  It comes together super fast and it tastes great leftover.  This has really become a go-to recipe.  After the first bite, I knew it would become a regular menu item.
I adapted it from this recipe, but since we don't really eat much steak, I went with hamburger and I also doubled most of the sauce recipe.

Seriously, the flavor of this dish is outstanding and it even tastes great leftover.  Have dinner on the table in no time with this simple and delicious recipe.  
You might also like:

Easy Ground Beef Lo Mein
Slightly adapted from: The Recipe Critic
(Printable Recipe)

8 oz. spaghetti noodles
3 c. fresh broccoli florets
1 Lb. lean ground beef
1 Tbl. dried onion flakes
2 garlic cloves, minced
1- 1 1/2 c. shredded carrots (I buy the pre-shredded/matchstix)

For the sauce:
1/2 c. light brown sugar
1/2 c. reduced-sodium soy sauce
1/4 c. hoisin sauce
2 tsp. sesame oil
1/2 tsp. ground ginger
1/4 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes

In a large pot of boiling water, boil the spaghetti noodles according to package directions.  About 5 minutes before the noodles are done, add the broccoli florets to the boiling water.  Drain when done.  Meanwhile, brown the ground beef in a large skillet over medium-high heat.  When meat is just about browned all the way through, add in the dried onion flakes, minced garlic and shredded carrots and cook until meat is cooked through and carrots are tender, stirring frequently. Add in the cooked spaghetti noodles and broccoli and then pour in the sauce.  Toss to coat everything in sauce and cook for 1-2 minutes until sauce is heated through.  Serve.

For the Sauce:
Whisk together brown sugar, soy sauce, hoisin sauce, sesame oil, ground ginger and red pepper flakes.   

September 23, 2018

White Chocolate Raspberry Cookies

Yesterday was the first day of Fall!! This is the absolute best time of the year.  While everyone is sharing delicious Fall recipes like anything with pumpkin, apples or homemade soup, I have one last fruity recipe to share with you.  
This is an easy shortcut recipe that can be made any time of the year. 

I have been craving fresh raspberries lately.  I love that tart, yet sweet flavor.  Have you every put fresh raspberries on homemade vanilla ice cream??? Seriously - best ever!  
These cookies start out with a cake mix and pudding mix, so they are pretty much guaranteed to be soft and chewy.  I added some raspberry extract to both the cookie and the icing to give them that extra boost of flavor.  I also used raspberry puree in the icing, but you can always use raspberry jam.  I just happened to have a giant bottle of raspberry puree that I bought to flavor my Diet Mountain Dew.  

These cookies are delicious.  
You might also like:

White Chocolate Raspberry Cookies
adapted from: Shanelle S.
(Printable Recipe)

1 (16.25 oz.) box white cake mix
1 (3.4 oz.) box instant white chocolate pudding mix
1/2 c. canola or vegetable oil
2 large eggs
1 tsp. raspberry extract, opt.
1 bag white chocolate chips (about 2 cups)

Raspberry Icing
1 1/2 c. powdered sugar
3-4 Tbl. raspberry puree or raspberry jam
1-3 Tbl. milk, as needed
pinch of salt
1 tsp. raspberry extract, opt.

Combine cake mix and dry pudding mix in a medium bowl.  Add the oil, eggs and raspberry extract and mix until combined.  Stir in the white chocolate chips.  Chill in the refrigerator for at least and hour or up to 24 hours.  Roll into balls (I use a cookie scoop).  Bake in preheated 350 degree oven for 10-12 minutes.  Remove from pan and let cool, then top with icing.  Makes around 28 cookies.  

For the Raspberry Icing: Combine powdered sugar, raspberry puree, 1 Tablespoon of milk, salt and raspberry extract and stir until smooth.  If it's too thick, add a little more milk until it reaches an icing consistency.  Drizzle over cooled cookies.  

September 13, 2018

Peach Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting

A few years back we planted a peach tree and this was the first year we got peaches from it and we got a LOT of peaches.  I have already made three batches of this low-sugar Peach Jam, I've made peach milkshakes and I still have a bunch of peaches left.  So, I threw some in this amazing cake.
The great thing is, this is a shortcut recipe.  I love using cake mixes and "doctoring" them up to create delicious cakes.  You always get consistent results when using a cake mix.  I used fresh peaches in this cake, but you can also used frozen peaches, if you prefer.  If you want to use frozen peaches, check out this post for directions.    

When eaten without frosting there is no mistaking this is a peach cake.  You can totally taste the peach flavor.  Once you top it with the cream cheese frosting, the peach flavor is there, but doesn't stand out quite as much.  This is a super moist cake with a great texture and a recipe I will have to make each year with my fresh peaches. 
You might also like:

Peach Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting
(Printable Recipe)

1 (15.25 oz.) box yellow cake mix
2 (3 oz.) pkgs. peach jell-o
4 large eggs
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 c. canola or vegetable oil
2 c. fresh peaches, peeled and diced (around 4-5 peaches)

Cream Cheese Frosting
From: Jenn@eatcakefordinner
1/2 c. (8 Tbl.) unsalted butter, room temperature
1 (8 oz.) pkg. cream cheese, room temperature
pinch of salt
2 tsp. vanilla extract
2 1/2 c. powdered sugar
1-2 Tbl. milk, only if needed

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Grease a 9x13-inch cake pan; set aside.  In a large bowl, combine the cake mix, powdered jell-o, eggs, vanilla and the oil.  Whisk together until combined.  Fold the diced peaches into the cake batter.  Pour the batter into the prepared pan.  Bake for 40 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean (or with just a few moist crumbs).  Cool completely and then top with cream cheese frosting.

For the Cream Cheese Frosting:  In a medium mixing bowl, beat together butter and cream cheese until creamy.  Add the salt and vanilla and mix again.  Add powdered sugar, one cup at a time, until frosting is smooth and creamy.  If it's too thick, add a little milk until it reaches desired spreading consistency.  

Jenn's Notes:  This cake gets very dark when baking, but it doesn't taste burnt.  I also added 1 Tablespoon of Vanilla Bean Paste to my frosting, but that is totally optional.  

Base cake recipe adapted from: The Food Charlatan