Monday, September 28, 2020

Chicken Pot Pie Baked Potatoes

Today really feels like fall, at least in this neck of the woods. So it's time for a fall-like meal, good comfort food that fills you up and warms you up. This meal is just the ticket. I started making this last spring, but it quickly got too hot to recommend that you add this meal to your list in May! However, these were such a big hit with my family that I think we ate them three weeks in a row. That's really unusual for us, but they are just that good.

We love to bake potatoes in the air fryer. If you have an air fryer and haven't used it for potatoes, now's your chance! They bake up beautifully with a crispy outside and tender inside. I put a light coating of olive oil and coarse salt on the potatoes, then air fry them for about 12-15 minutes per side at 400. The recipe below indicates baking the potatoes in the oven, so do whatever works best for you.

While the potatoes bake, you can make the sauce. It's really easy, and so delicious! We enjoyed these topped with a little cheese, but they are just as good without the cheese. You could also add a little bacon if you wanted to get crazy. 

Chicken and vegetables swimming in a yummy sauce is one of life's greatest gifts. Trust me.  

Find more great ideas at Inspire Me, Inspire Me 2, Fabulous, Hearth and Soul.

Chicken Pot Pie Baked Potatoes

3 Tbsp. butter
1 cup diced carrots
1/2 cup diced celery
1/2 cup diced onion
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. pepper
1/3 cup flour
1 cup chicken broth
1/2 cup milk
1 cup frozen peas
2-3 cups cooked, chopped chicken
6 medium russet potatoes, scrubbed
Shredded cheddar cheese, for topping

Lightly rub the potatoes with olive oil and wrap each potato in tin foil. Pierce through the foil and skin of the potato with a fork a couple of times. Bake the potatoes at 400 for an hour or until tender.

Toward the end of baking time, make the sauce by melting the butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the carrots, celery, onion, garlic, salt and pepper and cook, stirring often, until the vegetables are crisp-tender, about 5-7 minutes. Sprinkle the flour over the vegetable mixture and cook, stirring constantly, for 1-2 minutes. 

Slowly add 1/2 cup of the chicken broth whisking quickly until thick and combined (adding a little liquid at a time will help avoid lumps). Continue adding 1/2 cup of the broth and milk at a time until it has all been stirred into the skillet and the sauce is smooth and creamy. 

Cook the mixture at a low simmer for 5-7 minutes, stirring often, until the vegetables are tender and the sauce is thickened. Stir in the peas and chicken and heat through. Season with salt and pepper to taste. 

Serve over baked potatoes with cheddar cheese, if desired. Serves 6.

Tuesday, September 22, 2020

Monster Cookies

Even if you're not a monster, you will love these cookies. They are chock full of all good things: coconut, candies, chocolate chips, oatmeal, and pretzel pieces for a little added salt. 

But the sky is the limit with add ons for these cookies: you could use other flavors of baking chips, different candies, raisins, nuts etc. Feel free to omit what you don't like and add in what you do! Make these cookies your own. (Try to stay within about 2 1/2 cups of add ins total; that way there will still be enough "batter" left so the cookies hold together.) 

Even though these are called "monster," I tend not to make them in a monster size. If you want to make
them really large, just increase the baking time by a few minutes. Myself, I prefer to have MORE cookies, so I make them just larger than a regular chocolate chip variety. 

C is for Cookie; that's good enough for me. 

Monster Cookies

3 eggs
1 cup sugar
1 cup brown sugar
1 tsp. vanilla
2 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. salt
1/2 cup butter, melted
1 1/2 cups creamy peanut butter
4 1/2 cups rolled oats
1/2 cup flour
1/2 cup chocolate chips
1/2 cup coconut
1 cup M&Ms
1/2 cup broken up pretzel pieces

In a large mixing bowl, stir together the eggs, sugar, brown sugar, vanilla, baking soda and salt. Then stir in the melted butter and peanut butter, followed by the oats and flour. Lastly, stir in the chocolate chips, coconut, pretzel pieces and M&M's. Let the dough rest (at room temperature) for 30 minutes.

Using a large cookie scoop or two large spoons, drop the dough onto baking sheets lined with parchment paper or silpat mats. Use your fingers to flatten the dough slightly. 

Bake at 350 for 13 to 15 minutes, or until the cookies are a light golden brown. Let cool on the baking sheet for 5 minutes, then remove to a wire rack and cool completely. Store in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 5 days.  These cookies also freeze well. 

Recipe Source: Adapted from Brown Eyed Baker

Tuesday, September 15, 2020

Cookie Butter Rice Krispie Bars


If you want a crowd pleasing dessert that's a cinch to throw together, look no further than these amazing Cookie Butter Rice Krispie Bars. A little bit of cookie butter spooned into "regular" Rice Krispie Bars, and then drizzled on top, makes an ordinary treat extraordinary.

I made these for Labor Day weekend and took them to the lake, and they disappeared very quickly. Even very discerning adults, who don't "normally" like Rice Krispie Bars were a big fan of these. And that's about the most ringing endorsement you can get.

Cookie Butter Rice Krispie Bars

1/2 cup butter
16 oz package Marshmallows 
1 tsp. Vanilla 
1/2 cup Cookie Butter, plus more for drizzling
9 cups Rice Krispies Cereal

In a Dutch oven, melt butter over medium low heat. Add marshmallows and stir until marshmallows are melted are smooth. Stir in vanilla and cookie butter. Add Rice Krispies and gently stir until all the cereal is coated.

Press into a greased 9x13 pan. Put about 2 Tbsp. cookie butter in a microwave safe measuring cup or dish and heat for 15 seconds. Drizzle on top of bars. Let cool/rest for at least an hour before cutting and serving. 

Recipe Source: Adapted from Buucks Farms Bakery

Tuesday, September 8, 2020

Enchiladas Guadalajara

These enchiladas are called different things depending on which restaurant you order them from, but I liked Enchiladas Guadalajara the best, so that's what we're going with. It really doesn't matter what they're called; the important part is how delicious they are, and how easy they are to make. 

They're a little different from most enchiladas in that while the inside is good, it's the outside that's the star here.
Cheese enchiladas are topped with carnitas and sauteed peppers and onions. So in every bite you get the cheesy goodness, the tangy/spicy sauce and the delicious meat and fresh veggies. It's really a super combination. The sauce is so easy to make, but you can used a canned red enchilada sauce if you prefer. 

And you might as well make a big batch of carnitas (my pork roast is usually 3 times as big as this recipe calls for!) so you can also make brunch tostadas and Cuban quesadillas later in the week...

Enchiladas Guadalajara 

2 cups Carnitas 
1/2 large white onion, sliced 
1 red pepper, sliced into strips 
2 cups shredded Mexican or colby jack cheese 
8 corn tortillas 
2 cups tomato sauce 
1 1/2 cup beef broth 
1/2 tsp. cumin 
1/2 tsp. cayenne pepper 

For the sauce, combine the tomato sauce, beef broth, cumin and cayenne in a medium saucepan and bring to a boil, stirring often. Reduce heat to low and simmer for a few minutes to combine the flavors. 

Heat a small skillet over high heat and add the corn tortillas, one at a time, to soften. Cook them on each side for about 20 seconds. Pour about 1 cup of sauce into the bottom of an 11x7 baking dish. Fill each tortilla with 1/4 cup of cheese, then roll up and put seam side down in the sauce. Bake at 350 for 10 minutes or until the cheese is mostly melted. 

In the meantime, saute onions and peppers in a large skillet until nicely browned, but still 'al dente.' (About 5 minutes) Top enchiladas with another cup of sauce (you won't use all the sauce), then top with the carnitas and vegetables. Return to the oven for 10 minutes. Serves 4.
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