Chili-Lime Veggies for Faux-Fajitas

This week I made a fab version of my non-sizzle fajitas (I know, that takes out all the fun) that I just had to share with you! Making Mexican food at home can be really great because it allows everyone to personalize their own dishes. This time, I cooked the veggies perfectly, so they were still crunchy and the onions didn’t disappear- something that I always seem to do when over-cooking them. I used Chili Powder and Lime juice to give the veggies a nice kick and unique taste.

Chili-Lime Veggies & Faux-Fajitas
Ingredients:
1 lb Ground Beef (I normally use turkey but this was all we had)
1 packet McCormick’s Fajita Seasoning
1/4 cup Water
1 Tablespoon Olive Oil
12 mini-Sweet Peppers
1 Sweet Onion
1 Jalapeno
1 Tablespoon Minced Garlic
2 Tablespoons – 1/4 cup Lime Juice
1 teaspoon-1 Tablespoon Chili Powder
Salt, Pepper, Cayenne Pepper, Paprika (to taste)

Garnish: Tortilla Chips, Corn Tortillas, Avocado, Shredded Cheddar, Chopped Tomatoes, Hot Sauce, Sour Cream, etc.

Directions:
1. Cook/chop up the ground beef in a skillet over medium-high heat. Drain fat, if any and add seasoning packet & 1/4 Cup Water. Lower heat and simmer.
2. Meanwhile, chop onion and peppers and throw into a saute pan with the oil, garlic, and lime juice, over medium heat. Mix in seasonings. Cook while meat is cooking, about 10-20 minutes.
3. Serve meat and veggies with desired garnish.

What else can you do? Feel free to add any veggies you want, like mushrooms or zucchini. MMM!

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Breakfast Baked Potato

My new obsession with poached eggs is getting out of control. While I was working out yesterday, a brilliant idea came into my head… breakfast for dinner. I love breakfast so much, so this isn’t a rare occasion. The newest creation: The Breakfast Baked Potato. I took everything in a great savory breakfast and put it into one package- a baked potato!

Ingredients:
1 large Russet Potato
Sea Salt
Olive Oil
1 Tablespoon Light Butter
1 teaspoon Chives
1 teaspoon Cilantro
2 slices Bacon, cooked (I over-cooked mine- so it will crumble… in a pan with fresh ground pepper and a sprinkle of brown sugar)
2 Tablespoons Shredded Red.-Fat Cheddar Cheese
1 Egg, poached (see how to poach an egg in the microwave)
Fresh Ground Black Pepper
Green Tabasco Sauce (or hot sauce… optional)

Directions:
1. Bake the potato in the oven for an hour or longer, depending on how many you make. You can also bake it in the microwave for 8-10 minutes. Either way, I cover mine with a spray of olive oil and a sprinkle of sea salt. Check w/ a fork to see if they are done when the time is up.
2. Cook the bacon. Again, you can do it the way I did in a pan or you can simply cook it in the microwave on a paper plate covered with papertowel (cover the bacon too). If you do it in the microwave, cook it for 20 seconds at a time until it is crisp.
3. Cook the egg when everything is almost done.
4. Open the baked potato, and top with butter, cheese, bacon, salt, pepper, chives, cilantro, and anything else you’d like. Gently place the egg ontop. Break the egg over everything and ENJOY!

This turned out to be fabulous. I added some Green Tabasco for some heat and just a little bit more light butter. The potato I made was huge and this was all I needed for dinner. It was so tasty!

What else should I do with Poached Eggs?

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St. Patty’s Day in Baltimore

I hope everyone had a fun St. Patty’s Day! Dave and I celebrated the holiday in Baltimore at our friend Donny’s house. Donny has the best backyard ever and the weather was just beautiful for the day. Donny was celebrating his birthday and so many of his friends came out to spend the day. We had such a great time and his friends were all so outgoing and fun. Lots of green food and beer was consumed as expected, but I had to give a few foodie shoutouts…

1. Irish Soda Bread. I have never had this before but WOW is it good! I don’t know what makes it different from a regular raisin bread roll but it’s amazing. Donny served it with some Irish butter too.

Irish Soda Bread

2. Donny (this is the same Donny who cut his own slab of bacon during our last visit) cooked up his own Corned Beef. YUM! As if it was possible to be better than the meat itself, the potatoes and carrots that cooked alongside of it were unreal. I think I ate the entire plate of them. Whoops.

Donny's outstanding homemade corned beef

3. Reuben Rolls. Need I say more? Donny’s friend brought these over and they were gone almost immediately! She said it was so easy: a sheet of crescent rolls, some sauerkraut, swiss cheese and corned beef. Roll, slice, and bake. Top it off with some DIY Russian Dressing and enjoy! (Trust me, you will)

Reuben Rolls

4. And in case you missed it, my Green Hummus and Mint Chocolate Muddy Buddies were a huge hit as well.

As if lots of delicious food and drink isn’t enough for me, Donny’s friends brought their Daschund, Rory (short for Aurora). I spent the rest of the night playing around with Rory… she was dressed for the occasion and so adorable!

Heidi and Rory... adorable!

What did everyone else do or eat for St. Patty’s this year? Any good recipes to share?

Cinnamon Toast Crunch White Chocolate Cookies

I hope you enjoyed my selection of OREO recipes from some really awesome blogs I follow! After posting that, I decided I HAD to tell you about a recipe I made pre-blog from Picky Palate, one of my favorites.

White Chocolate Cinnamon Toast Crunchers
Recipe by: Picky Palate

Ingredients:
2 Sticks​ Butter, softened
1 Cup​ Brown Sugar, packed
¾ Cup ​Sugar
2 Large​ Eggs
1 Tbsp​ Real Vanilla Extract
2 ½ Cups​ Flour
1 Cup ​Cinnamon Toast Crunch Cereal, slightly crushed
1 tsp ​Baking Powder
½ tsp​ Salt
1 Bag ​White Chocolate Chips

Directions:
-​Preheat oven to 350 degrees
-​In a stand or electric mixer beat the butter and sugars until light and fluffy. Slowly beat in the eggs and vanilla until well combined.
-​In a large bowl combine the flour, Cinnamon Toast Crunch Cereal, baking powder and salt. Slowly add to wet ingredients along with the white chips until just combined.
-​With a medium cookie scoop, scoop dough and place onto a silpat or parchment lined baking sheet 1 ½ inches apart.
-​Bake for 9-12 minutes or until edges just start to turn golden brown.
-​Let cool for 5 minutes on baking sheet then transfer to a cooling rack to finish cooling.

Beth’s Results:
Okay, so these cookies are freakin’ fantastic. The only changes I had to make to her original recipe were: A. I used generic Cinnamon Toast Crunch Cereal. LOL. B. At the time, I was unequipped and didn’t have silpat or even parchment paper… so I just cooked these bad boys on a sprayed cookie sheet.

You can see by comparing my pictures with the pictures from the original recipe on Picky-Palate that mine are much flatter and crispier. I really liked the way they turned out because they became almost caramelized, being so thin. However, her cookies are far prettier and probably much more gooey on the inside.

If you haven’t checked out this blog yet, definitely do since it’s great! She makes so many different types of recipes and they all sound just as delicious as these cookies.

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Easy Classic Hummus

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What you need to know about my boyfriend, Dave or “Dahv” as we like to say… is that he could eat Chinese food every night of the week and be perfectly happy. Our January goal of “no-chinese-takeout” is VERY hard for him! With this in mind, Dave is very simple to please with food… if I make it spicy, he will eat it. He never makes any requests or complaints so I can pretty much do what I want… which is awesome!

Last night, he texted me one word “homus” … and yes, that’s how he spelled it (hey no one’s perfect!). Keeping in mind that the kid NEVER asks me to cook anything special for him, I had to make him my homemade hummus!

I have perfected the stuff so well that I don’t need the recipe anymore but I will give it to you anyway. It is a good recipe to start with, if you have never made the stuff before. What’s awesome about making your own hummus is that you can really do whatever you want with it! I’ve made it with extra garlic, feta cheese, red peppers, extra spicy… it’s fun to play around with.

For this batch of hummus, I decided to stick with the basic recipe. It was unbelievable. I am so happy that Dahv requested the hummus because it was just so yummy. The past few tries I had used less Tahini, but this time I think I used around 3 full tablespoons. It gave the hummus a great sesame flavor and toned down the flavors of the other spices that went in. I kept it simple and stuck with the minced fresh garlic, cumin, and just a few shakes of paprika and parsley. ½ teaspoon of cayenne pepper made it’s way in too… but it’s pretty much in everything I make so don’t be too surprised!

Make sure you save the liquid from the beans in a separate glass, it is a really important part of the recipe. Using the liquid makes the hummus thicker and has more flavor than thinning with water, and less fat than thinning with more olive oil.

Last night, we didn’t even get to let the hummus sit in the fridge, we just dug right in with some whole wheat pita and celery. MMM! I hope this satisfied Dahv’s “hommus” craving!

Here’s a plethora of some other hummus recipes from the Food Network!

Basic Hummus

Prep Time: 10 Minutes Ready in: 1 Hour (or less!)

Ingredients:

2 Cans Garbanzo beans/Chick Peas

2-4 Tbsp Tahini

¼ Cup Lemon Juice

1 tsp Salt

½ Tbsp Garlic

1 tsp Cumin

1 Tbsp Olive Oil

Pinch Paprika

Pinch Parsley

Optional:

You can add more garlic, crushed red pepper, cayenne pepper, feta cheese, roasted red peppers, or any other spice!

Directions:

– Open cans of beans and drain, saving the liquid in a separate container.

– Pour the drained beans in a food processor. Add garlic, spices, lemon juice, olive oil, and 2 T of Tahini. Blend on high until it starts to get smooth.

– Add a little of the drained bean liquid to the food processor at a time. This makes it really creamy, so you don’t have to use very much oil! Blend in the processor until it reaches desired consistency.

– Spoon into a bowl or container. Top with a sprinkle of paprika and parsley for garnish and refrigerate for at least an hour so the flavors mix together.

Eva Longoria’s Pineapple Upside-Down Cake

A recent episode of the daytime cooking show, “The Chew” inspired my Mom to try out a new recipe of her favorite childhood cake: Pineapple Upside Down!

The recipe we used is actually from the gorgeous Eva Longoria (I find it hard to believe she can look like that and eat cake!!) who published her own cook book “Eva’s Kitchen” last April. I could tell my Mom was really excited because we normally don’t make cakes from scratch… in fact I don’t think I ever have! She even went out and bought us cake flour.

Ingredients:

  • 2/3 cup Unsalted Butter (room temperature)
  • 1/2 cup Packed Light Brown Sugar
  • 7 Pineapple slices
  • 7 Maraschino Cherries (optional)
  • 1 1/2 cup All Purpose Flour (or cake flour)
  • 1 cup Sugar
  • 2 teaspoons Baking Powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon Salt
  • 2/3 cup Milk
  • 1 teaspoon Vanilla
  • 1 Egg

First, we preheated the oven to 350. The recipe calls for you to use a flameproof cake pan and melt butter and sugar in it, over the stove. Instead, we used a saucepan… melting 1/3 cup of butter over the low heat… then mixed the brown sugar in. It takes a while to constantly stir the sugar/butter until it is completely blended, without any pools of melted butter ontop. It took about 4 minutes.

Next, we poured the caramel in a baking dish… and here’s the fun part: Arrange the pineapple decoratively ontop of the caramel. We decorated with lots of Maraschino cherries too!

It was very fun decorating with fruit

In our mixer, we then combined flour, sugar, baking powder and salt on low speed (so it didn’t fly all over the kitchen) until it was well combined. *There’s a note in the original recipe… “Eva likes to use cake flour” … that was enough for us to go buy some!*

Dry ingredients- mix on LOW!

Next, we added the remaining 1/3 cup of butter, milk, and vanilla. We beat in the mixer on medium speed for about two minutes before adding the egg and beating for another two minutes. Finally, the batter gets poured over the pineapple.

The cake gets baked in the preheated oven until it is golden brown and passes the good ole toothpick test. Ours took around 45 minutes. It’s very important to follow these instructions for removing the cake:

Remove the baking dish from the oven and tilt it in all directions, releasing the cake from the sides of the dish.

Cool in the dish for 3 minutes.

Turn the pan over onto a serving plate and let stand for another 2-3 minutes.

Carefully lift the pan off the cake.

Don’t forget the pan/baking dish will still be VERY HOT! (I almost did!)

Ours turned out fabulous, with the exception of the giant crack down the middle! We put the cake back together and served it to our family… everyone loved it. The best part were the sides of the cake where the caramel reached and cooked right into it. The cake itself was so fluffy and light and so flavorful.

My favorite plate we own!!

If you want to be more adventurous, try to replace some of the milk with pineapple juice from the can! I would also suggest making more caramel if you would like your cake to be even gooier than ours!