Sinfully Yummy Experience: Cheesy Bacon Fries

If you’re looking for the perfect weekend snack check out these cheesy bacon fries. Having most of the stuff on hand for these yummy cheesy bacon fries makes them the perfect cheesy snack that are done in less than 45 minutes. I like to make these when my husband is working and I don’t have to share.

CheesyBaconFries

Cheesy Bacon Fries

  • 1 package of frozen steak fries, any brand
    1 jar of Cheez Whiz
    8 slices of bacon, chopped
    Seasoning salt such as Lawry’s (optional)
    pepper (optional)

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees and spread the steak fries out evenly on a large baking sheet. Sprinkle with Lawry’s seasoning salt.
  2. Bake 25-30 minutes, flipping once or twice with a spatula so they crisp up evenly. I like my fries more on the crisp side so the higher the heat, the crisper the fries.
  3. After removing the fries from the oven scoop the Cheese Whiz into a microwavable safe dish and heat in 30 second increments, stirring every 30 seconds until heated through. My microwave only took about 2 minutes to heat my cheese. Let cool 1-2 minutes before pouring over your fries.
  4. Take a handful of bacon pieces and sprinkle evenly over the steak fries. Sprinkle on some more Lawry’s (I like salt) and then pour the Cheese Whiz over the top of the fries. Sprinkle with more bacon and then pepper if you’d like.

Voila! Easy and cheesy bacon fries.

*Makes approximately 6 servings IF you care to share with anyone.

CheesyBaconFries3

Garlic Chicken and Broccoli Recipe

There are a few meals my large family can always agree on. One of those is stir fry. Today, I will be sharing one of my favorite variations: Garlic Chicken and Broccoli. Simple, quick and full of flavor.

Garlic Chicken and Broccoli

Garlic Chicken and Broccoli

Ingredients:

  • 2lbs Boneless Skinless chicken breasts (cubed)
  • 1lb broccoli florets (steamed)
  • 4 cloves of garlic (crushed)
  • 5 tablespoon of butter
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/2 cup of white wine
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon oregano
  • 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese

Directions:

  1. Cook pasta according to package directions. Drain and set aside.
  2. Melt 1 tablespoon of butter in a large skillet.
  3. Add 1/2 of the crushed garlic and saute for 2 minutes.
  4. Add chicken to the skillet and cook thoroughly. Drain.
  5. Using the same skillet, add remaining butter, olive oil, wine, oregano and garlic. Saute 2 minutes.
  6. Add steamed broccoli to the skillet and coat it in the mixture, allowing it to heat up and absorb the flavor.
  7. Pour the sauce over the pasta and add the Parmesan cheese. Give it a good stir and you’re ready to eat!

Nestle DelightFulls Recipes: Peanut Butter Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies Gift Jar

Many thanks to Nestle Toll House for sponsoring today’s story and encouraging me to use new DelightFulls Filled Baking Morsels in my recipes!

Peanut Butter Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies

Love peanut butter and chocolate? These Nestle DelightFulls Recipes Peanut Butter Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies are to die for. So rich and chewy and easy to throw together. They are so good, why not share the recipe with friends? They will love them. Trust me.

Peanut Butter Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies Gift Jar

Peanut Butter Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies Gift Jar

Layer the follow ingredients in a 32 oz. wide mouth mason jar.

Close the jar and attach the printable gift tag with twine or ribbon.

PeanutButterChocolateChipOatmealCookieTags

Write the instructions on the back of the tag.

#1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

#2. Pour ingredients into a bowl and add ½ cup peanut butter, ½ cup softened butter, 1 teaspoon vanilla and 1 egg. Mix well.

#3. Bake 9-11 minutes.

OatmealPBCCCookieJar

Nestle Toll House DelightFulls Filled Baking Morsels bring you delicious and exciting way to bake! Our innovative technology provides the same great Nestle Toll House Chocolate you know and love, now filled with 4 delicious flavors. Slightly larger than a regular morsel, these morsels allow you to put a special twist on traditional recipes like a cookie or a brownie, or open up a variety of new fun recipes to try! The DelightFulls filled morsels hold their shape when they bake, and can be used whole, cut in half, or coarsely chopped for a surprising delight of flavor and color in a baked good (not to mention popping them in your mouth right out of the bag!)

St. Patrick’s Day Candy Coated Pretzel Rods

More cooking with kids fun in the kitchen with our White with Green Drizzle Candy Coated Pretzel Rods. These are super easy to make and require only 3 ingredients. Perfect for special treats and sweet treat gifts. So what are you waiting for? Say no to pre-made package and have some candy fun with the kids!~

St. Patrick's Day Candy Coated Pretzel Rods

St. Patrick’s Day Candy Coated Pretzel Rods

Ingredients:

  • 1 Bag pretzel rods
  • 1 Bag white Wilton candy melts
  • 1 Bag green Wilton candy melts

DSC_0528St. Patrick's Day Candy Coated Pretzel Rods Ingredients

Materials:

  • Wax paper
  • Plates for drying pretzels on
  • 2 Deep bowls
  • Spoon

Instructions:

  1. Place the bag of white candy melts into the bowl and microwave for 1 minute and stir. Continue to microwave the candy melts for 30 seconds at a time and then stir until they are completely melted. Repeat this step with the green candy melts.
  2. Line a plate with wax paper for the pretzels to dry on.
  3. Hold a pretzel rod over the bowl of white candy melts angled down. Start spooning white candy over the end of the pretzel rod, you can choose how much of the pretzel you want to cover in the candy.
  4. Shake off the excess candy over the bowl, and place the pretzel rod on the wax paper lined plate to dry.
  5. Once the pretzel rods are completely dry, hold them over the bowl of green candy melts and drizzle on some white candy in thin lines. This is easiest if you take a spoonful of green candy, hold it up above the bowl and let it start drizzling down, once you have a small steady stream, move the spoon back and forth quickly over the green candy covered pretzel rod.
  6. Place pretzel rods back on a plate to dry. When dried completely, enjoy your pretzel rods, place in a container for storage, or place in clear candy bags for gifting.

Copycat Noodles & Co. Homemade Mac and Cheese Recipe

Noodles & Co. Homemade Mac and Cheese

Copycat Noodles & Co. Homemade Mac and Cheese

This is a great recipe for anyone who loves Macaroni and Cheese. This is an identical recipe from the restaurant of Noodles and Co. and you will not be able to tell a difference with it. This very easy recipe to make and one that the whole family regardless of age will love. Everyone will ask you to make this cheesy goodness over and over again. Here is a list of ingredients that you will need to make your own Noodles & Co. Homemade Mac and Cheese.

Ingredients

  • ½lb Macaroni (or one normal sized bag)
  • 2 tbs Butter or Margarine
  • 2 tbs Flour
  • 2 Cups Whole Milk (You can use skim milk if you’d like but the paste does not become as thick as with whole milk)
  • ½ tsp Salt (We recently stopped using in this to cut down on sodium and we cant tell a difference)
  • ½ tsp Paprika
  • ¼ tsp Pepper
  • 2 cups Monterey Jack Cheese
  • 1 Cup Shredded Cheddar Cheese

Steps

  1. Boil the noodles- This one is pretty self explanatory, just boil the noodles until they are soft or how you like them.
  2. While the noodles are boiling you need to get the cheesy sauce ready.
  3. Start melting the butter in a pot, make sure you do it slowly so you don’t scorch the butter.
  4. Once the butter is melted add the flower and begin to mix it together. You need to mix it until it becomes a light brown and begins to boil.
  5. Slowly mix the milk into the mixture. You also want to make sure you slowly heat up the milk to reduce the chance of making the milk curdle. You should mix it until it begins to thicken up a  little bit.
  6. Once the milk is warm enough add the rest of the ingredients like the salt, pepper, paprika and your cheeses.
  7. Mix until all the cheese is melted and the sauce is orange colored. The sauce will not be too thick and a little bit running. This is how the restaurant likes it, if you do want it to be a little thicker then just add some flour to it in order for it to thicken.
  8. Pour the desired amount of cheese into the bottom of the bowl. Then place the boiled noodles on top, and to finish it off place a handful of shredded cheese on top.
  9. You can mix it together to melt the cheese or just eat it however you’d like. Enjoy!

Nutella Muddy Buddies

Muddy Buddies or Puppy Chow is one of our go to snacks in the Hatland house. They are easy to make and the ingredient options are endless really. This is one of those wonderful recipes like cookies, that you can really cater to any taste, event and holiday gather. With that in mind here is one of my daughter’s favorites.

Nutella Muddy Buddies

Nutella Muddy Buddies

Ingredients:

1 Cup Nutella
12 oz. Chocolate Chips
½ Cup Butter
5 Cups Chex cereal
2 ½ Cup of powdered sugar

Nutella Muddy Buddies Ingredients

Directions:

Start by pouring the Chex cereal into a large bowl and set aside. I like to be prepared!

Second, place the chocolate chips and 4 tablespoons of butter into a medium size saucepan and heat on medium, stirring occasionally until melted. Once the chocolate is melted through, add in Nutella and stir until completely combined and smooth.

Nutella Muddy Buddies Process

Now the fun begins. Pour the yummy chocolately Nutella mixture over the top of the chex cereal and use a large spoon to mix well, completely coating all the cereal. I’m already tempted to taste just one!

The, pour the powdered sugar over the top of the chocolate/Nutella covered cereal and stir to completely coat with the powdered sugar. Or if you like living on the wild side, add the powered sugar to a ziplock bag, pour in the Nutella mixture and shake, shake, shake!

Nutella Process 2

If not serving immediately, store in an airtight container for later snacking.

These make excellent treats for snack time, sporting events and even giftables!

Nutella Puppy Chow

4.8 from 23 reviews
Nutella Muddy Buddies
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Author:
Recipe type: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Serves: 10-12 servings
Ingredients
  • 1 Cup Nutella
  • 12 oz. Chocolate Chips
  • ½ Cup Butter
  • 5 Cups Chex cereal
  • 2 ½ Cup of powdered sugar
Instructions
  1. #1. Pour the Chex cereal into a large bowl and set aside.
  2. #2. Place the chocolate chips and 4 tablespoons of butter into a medium size saucepan and heat on medium, stirring occasionally until melted. Once the chocolate is melted through, add in the Nutella and stir until completely melted.
  3. #3. Pour the Nutella mixture over the top of the Chex cereal and use a large spoon to mix well, completely coating all the cereal.
  4. #4. Pour the 2-3 cups of powdered sugar over the top of the Nutella covered cereal and stir to completely coat with the powdered sugar.
  5. #5. Store in an airtight container 1-2 weeks.
Nutrition Information
Serving size: ½ cup

 

Nutella Muddy Buddies Recipe

Enjoy!

Mom to Bed by 8 Recipes

Butter Nip Cake Shots

If you’re entertaining and planning on a crowd, these boozy little cake shots will be a serious crowd pleaser. The cakes are enhanced with butterscotch and Irish Cream liqueurs, and iced with a coffee liqueur and espresso whipped frosting. Attractive and addictive, these little cakes will be the hit of the party!

Butter Nip Cake Shots

Butter Nip Cake Shots

Makes 9 dozen mini-cupcakes

Ingredients

  • 1 cup butter, at room temperature
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1/2 cup butterscotch liqueur (like Buttershots Schnapps)
  • 1/2 cup Irish cream liqueur (like Baileys Irish Cream liqueur)
  • 5 eggs, room temperature
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 3 cups cake flour
  • 3 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

Ingredients for Butter Nips

 Instructions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 F.
  2. Place paper liners in mini-muffin pans.
  3. In a large bowl, thoroughly cream together the butter and sugar until fluffy, about 1 minute.
  4. Add the liqueurs and mix well.
  5. Add the eggs, one at a time, mixing well between each one. Beat well.
  6. Combine the cake flour, baking powder, and salt in a small bowl.
  7. With mixer on low, add half of the flour mixture. When it is fully incorporated, add half of the milk. Repeat. Mix on medium until well combined.
  8. Fill the mini-cake cavities a little more than half full. Don’t overfill – the liqueur adds sugar to the mixture, and if the cupcakes spread on top they will be difficult to remove.
  9. Bake for 11-12 minutes. Test with a toothpick. Turn out on racks to cool.

Well-whipped cake batter

Whipped Espresso Frosting

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup butter, softened
  • 5 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 teaspoon dry espresso powder
  • 4 tablespoons coffee liqueur (like Kahlua)
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream

Instructions:

  1. Cream together the butter, powdered sugar, and espresso powder.
  2. Add the coffee liqueur and beat well.
  3. On low speed, add the cream until combined. Turn speed up to med-high and beat for one minute. The frosting should look light and fluffy. Adjust to your preference by adding powdered sugar or cream.

Adding contrast icing

Finishing Touches:

To add a dark swirl in the frosting, (optional) combine 1 tablespoon coffee liqueur, 2 teaspoons espresso powder, and enough powdered sugar to make a very soft icing, then drip it inside the piping bag before adding the Espresso Whipped Frosting to the bag.

Pipe icing onto the cool mini-cakes, and top with a chocolate-covered espresso bean if desired.

Butter Nip Cupcakes

Enjoy!

Mom to Bed by 8 Recipes

Yoplait Light Banana Smoothie with Peanut Butter Drizzle

Many thanks to Yoplait for sponsoring today’s story and encouraging me to create a snack hack with Yoplait Light!

Watching what I eat has been a long time struggle for me. It is a sad confession day when I tell you that I have been considered plus size since I was around eight years old. No matter how many diets I tried, I have never been able to achieve that perfectly thin body. So today I am cheering for healthy snacking and sharing one of my family favorites, the Banana Smoothie. It is simple to make and you can top it with anything from the peanut butter drizzle seen below to fresh strawberries for a tangy twist.

Yoplait Light

It may have taken me nearly 10 years of misery to get to this point but about a year ago to this day I decided, I love me for me. Every since that moment my goal was no longer to be what magazines wanted me to be, but to be healthy for myself and my family. In the last year, I have slowly transformed my way of thinking from someone who would work 6+ hours online and then sit with my children to achieve those family moments to a mom that takes a break every 30 minutes or so to stretch, do some extra chores and even jog in place. One that spends time with my children outdoors or practicing taekwondo routines with them. These are simple practices that only take a little bit of time out of your day and add so much more to it. Even more so, I have become one that no longer thinks I have to force myself to starve to lose weight but simply by applying a routine of healthy snacking (like with Yoplait Light: 90 calories, 0% fat, 90 calories and 20+ flavors to choice from), regular meals and exercise. I feel full, happy and excited to continue my journey for a lifetime to come. You will never truly be able to change until you take that first step and I am glad to have a partner like Yoplait Light on my team.

Banana Smoothie

 

Banana Smoothie with Peanut Butter Drizzle

Smoothie Ingredients:

1 Ripe Banana

1 Yoplait Light Very Vanilla

4 ounces of non-fat milk

Peanut Butter Drizzle Ingredients:

1 tablespoon Creamy Peanut Butter

1 teaspoon Brown Sugar

Healthy Mid-day Snack Hacks Smoothie Instructions:

#1. Peel and slice banana into 1/2 inch pieces.

#2. Add Yoplait Light Very Vanilla, milk and banana to blender and mix. *I prefer mine a little chunky but this part is all up to you!

#3. Pour into glass and top with drizzle or fruit as desired.

Bananas Mixer

Peanut Butter Drizzle Instructions:

#1. Mix peanut butter and brown sugar in small bowl.

#2. Heat in microwave for 15 second intervals until you achieve a syrup consistency.

#3. Drizzle over the top and enjoy. Smoothie Boy

$200 and a Day in the Kitchen: 20+ Delicious Meals

ingredients

Recently, I started this whole journey of meal planning, and devoting some time to prepare and shop for a “menu” for the week for my family.  We were all sick of the old “open up the fridge and stare blankly only to discover that there were no fresh proteins, and eventually ending up resorting to pasta and sauce… AGAIN routine.”

Over the last few months I have been trying some new recipes and modifying them to find my family’s favorites, so that I can have a “go-to” list when doing my meal plans.  One day I had the bright idea to do the month rather than the week, and I set out to the grocery store list in hand.  I am going to warn you, that most of my recipes are going to be chicken based.  Reason #1 is that is typically what pleases everyone in my family, Reason#2 is because it is one of the only proteins I personally like to freeze, Reason #3 is that I wanted to keep things simple, and Reason #4 is because I can grab a 10 pound bag (or two) from the local butcher at an awesome price, so I will give you my favorite go to’s (with a few other odds and end mixed in) and you can use this as a base model, and either incorporate your own favorite recipes into your plan, or use alternate proteins on days you decide not to thaw one of your freezer meals.

When I know I am going to be meal prepping, I will usually take a trip to our local butcher on an off day (NOT a weekend) when I know I will not have to stand in a long line, and there are typically great bulk buy sales in the meat section.  I can get GREAT quality, farm raised chicken breasts for $2.72/lb (as opposed to the non-organic bulk price of $1.99/lb at our local Wegmans, which is still a great deal, but you really can taste the difference with good meat.)  This is my starting point.  If I am really ambitions, I will start to prep the meat now, otherwise, I will take my local grocery trip early on a weekend morning, so that I can be home and have my day in the kitchen, with all of my food out and not have to worry about putting everything away and getting it out again when I am ready to go to town.

Do yourself a favor, and START with a clean kitchen, clean counters, a clean freezer/fridge (you are going to be storing a TON of food for meals), an empty trash can, and an empty recycling can.  Spread out your foods, grab your freezer storage bags, a permanent marker, kitchen utensils, all of your pantry items*, and get to work!

I am going to include the recipes I use, any modifications that I personally make to them, what I break down for the week vs. freeze-for-later, and MY pantry list.  When you are making your shopping list, check your pantry, and mark off YOUR pantry list, as it may be different for you than me.

Here are the recipes you will have for the month when you are finished:

 

My Pantry List:

  • GOOD quality freezer bags, LOTS of them
  • Aluminum bake pans (I typically buy a large quantity at BJ’s and always have on hand.)
  • Glad Press and Seal wrap
  • Aluminum Foil
  • Canned Diced Tomatoes
  • Canned Corn Kernels
  • Canned Black Beans
  • Brown Rice
  • Canned broth (chicken and vegetable)
  • Flour
  • Cornstarch
  • Soy Sauce
  • Rice Wine Vinegar
  • Brown Sugar
  • Granulated Sugar
  • Minced Garlic (jar)
  • Ginger (tube)
  • Peanut Butter
  • Honey
  • Rolled Oats
  • Panko bread crumbs (whole wheat)
  • Eggs
  • Butter
  • Milk
  • Spices
    • Oregano
    • Thyme (dried)
    • Cumin
    • Onion Powder
    • Chili Powder
    • Garlic Powder
    • Salt/Pepper
    • Ranch Seasoning (large container not packets)
    • Paprika
    • Red Pepper Flakes
    • Nutmeg
    • Cinnamon
    • Taco seasoning

***Always grab all of your pantry items before you go to the store to see if you are running low before sitting down to attack a large number of recipes, there is nothing like going through the whole process to find out you are 3T short on soy or rice vinegar and having to make another trip to the store in the midst of your crazy cooking/prepping day!

Shopping List:

  • MEATS:

    • Chicken, base how many chicken breasts you need on how many you need to feed.  For instance, if a recipe calls for 4-5 breasts, I typically use 3 for our household.  If you have older children who eat more, or tend to need more for a meal for your family, simply modify your amount per bag/recipe.  Also, consider how large the breasts are, sometimes I end up getting very large breasts when I buy a bulk bag, I can cut them in half.  (I used 22 for the above to feed two adults for all meals, and one toddler who eats a little chicken himself.)
    • Sausage, either hot, mild, pork, turkey, whatever your pleasure.  I prefer turkey sausage, mild.  18 links for the above, but again, more or less depending on how many you are feeding)
    • Shrimp or Salmon for Scampi
  • FROZEN SECTION:
    • Frozen tortellini-2 16-20 oz bags, depending on what your store sells.  Cheese, beef, whatever your pleasure :)
    • Frozen veggies for pot pie, I use carrots and peas, but you can add whatever you like
    • Onion/pepper mix if you do not want to chop fresh for the sausage and peppers recipe
  • PRODUCE:
    • 1 orange
    • 3-4 lemons
    • 2 limes
    • 1 bag of Meyers Lemons
    • 4c blueberries (fresh and/or frozen)
    • fresh tomatoes if you want to brighten up scampi)
    • small piece of ginger root (unless you keep fresh in a tube like I do)
    • one head of garlic (unless you keep a jar of minced)
    • 1 bunch green onion
    • 1 bag of white onions
    • 4 shallots
    • 2-6 red bell peppers (depending on if you use fresh or frozen for sausage and peppers recipe)
    • 1 bag fresh spinach
  • DAIRY:
    • 4 packages cream cheese
    • 1c shredded Asiago cheese
    • 1/4c parmesan
    • 1/2c grated romano
    • 6c shredded cheddar
    • 6c shredded mozzarella
    • large tub of ricotta
    • 2c heavy cream
    • 4 sticks unsalted butter
    • 1 tube refrigerated buttermilk biscuits
    • 1 tube artisan whole grain pizza dough
  • CANNED GOODS (if not in pantry):
    • 4 cans black beans
    • 4 cans corn
    • 8 cans diced tomato (you can do plain, Italian style, or sometimes I do the Roasted Garlic and Onion as well)
    • Broth, you can often substitute chicken/vegetable.  I typically use one large can of reduced sodium chicken and one or two small cans.
    • Salsa (2 cups)
    • Taco seasoning
  • PASTA:
    • 2 boxes whole grain (or Super Pasta-Wegman’s brand) elbow macaroni
    • 2 boxes ziti or penne
    • 2 boxes linguini (or pasta of choice for scampi)
  • Peanuts
  • Cashews
  • Cheap Chardonnay (we have great $6 bottles at Wegmans)
  • Buffalo chicken sauce, I LOOOOOOVE Sweet Baby Rays!
  • ***ANYTHING ELSE on my pantry list that you do not have on hand***

Helpful Kitchen Tools to have out:

  • Mandolin
  • Two cutting boards (one for meat, and one for veggies)
  • Two sets of measuring cups/spoons
  • Juicer
  • Zester
  • Glass nesting bowls

Now that you’ve done the hard part, that is deciding which recipes to do, checking your list for what you already have, and then getting the shopping done, you are ready to get started!!

Like I said earlier, and I can’t stress this enough… Start with a clean kitchen, an empty trash can, and an empty recycling can.  If it so moves you, put on your favorite music and get yourself in the mood!  Make sure you are in comfy clothes that you don’t mind some splatter on, or wear an apron, and have on some comfy sturdy shoes too, you are going to be on your feet for a while.  (I always have a glass of wine on hand too, because #1, you won’t use it all in the cooking, and #2, you are doing all of the hard work, you deserve it!)

Start by having all of your recipes printed out or written out, and lay them on the counter next to your freezer bags.  Label all of your freezer bags with your meals, today’s date, and add any instructions on the bag for when you thaw and are ready to cook.  This way you don’t have to look in your freezer to see when something was originally frozen or search for your recipe to see how long it needs to cook.

prep

Measure out the nuts you will need for the recipes.  Place these in smaller sandwich bags and label so they don’t get eaten by others in the house.  If you are lucky enough to have a bulk nut section in your grocery store, you can get exactly what you need for the recipes, however in our house, we snack often on cashews and peanuts, so it is not always a bad thing to buy extra.

Now comes Hunter’s favorite part…. smashing the peanuts for the Thai Chicken!

smashingpeanuts

Next, I prefer to chop all of my veggies, and portion out all of my spices and sauces into nesting bowls.  This is the step that if you keep until the end, could stop you and cause you to want to take a break, so if you get the tedious stuff out of the way now, it will set you up for success and easy sauce making later :)  Even if you don’t portion out the T of juice, etc, zest all the citrus, squeeze them all into separate bowls and peel and dic those onions now and you will thank yourself later!  THIS is where I love having a mandolin… and if you have not heard me say it before, do yourself a favor and invest in one.  You can thank me later!

Preheat your oven now because you are going to need it soon to bake off 4-5 chicken breasts for your Chicken Pot Pie and Buffalo Mac and Cheese and Buffalo Chicken Pizza recipes.

While the oven is preheating, start my LEAST favorite task of cleaning up the chicken.  I always trim each breast and get the fat off.  I like to get this all out of the way now, and after I have trimmed the vegetables, and on a separate cutting board that is dishwasher safe.  After you have trimmed all of the chicken, take 2-3 breasts and cut into 1/2 inch cubes for the Orange Chicken recipe, throw in its ziplock bag and stick in the fridge.

When your oven is preheated, take 4-5 of the chicken breasts that are trimmed, and place them in a pyrex to bake for 25-30 minutes, or until juices run clear.

chicken

Since your bags are all labeled, you can also put the proper amount of chicken breasts into each bag now, or you can keep the chicken in a container in the fridge until you are ready.  I suggest the latter if it is your first time or you think you will have lots of interruptions, so the chicken is not sitting out on the counter long.

Set two large pots of water on the stove to boil, one for your macaroni for the Buffalo Mac and Cheese, and one for ziti for your baked ziti.

Also, set a pan to medium-high heat with 1-2T of canola oil or olive oil to sear your chicken for the Cashew Chicken.  When the oil is heated, coat 4-5 chicken breasts (or however many you are using for 2 recipes of the Cashew Chicken) in a flour mixture with a dash of salt and pepper, shake off excess, and place in pan for 2 minutes each side. Then set these pieces on a plate to cool before placing in the bag for that recipe.

Your water should be at a boil now, salt the water before adding your macaroni for two recipes of the Buffalo Mac and Cheese, and ziti for two Baked Ziti casseroles.  Because you are boiling a large quantity of pasta, make sure you stir the pasta well as it comes back to a boil, or you will end up with a lump of half done pasta at the end.  Boil both pastas to al dente.  (If you water is not yet at a boil, simply start the other steps until it is.)

While your pasta is boiling away, use the pan that you seared the chicken in a few minutes ago, if you need to add a little more oil, and again on medium-high heat, add your sausage or turkey sausage.  For this batch, I used links, so I added the whole link to the pan (I prefer to cook the links and then slice), but if you are using ground sausage for the tortellini, you can also add this to the pan.  If you are using a combination for the recipes, do the links first, then the ground at the end, or use a separate pan.  When cooked through, set on a plate to cool, or slice and then cool.

The hard part is done!!  All of the meat is organized and what needs to be cooked/seared is finished.

If your pasta is done now, drain the pasta in a colander and run under cold water so that it stops cooking.  If you skip this step, your pasta will be overcooked and it still needs to bake.

Now you can start the fun part, adding the ingredients to each bag for each recipe!  Measure out your already chopped veggies, spices, etc, and add to each bag.  For those recipes that call for sauces to be mixed, grab a couple of your nesting bowls and start measuring ingredients into the bowls and then add the sauce to the bag.  (Part of the reason I suggest two sets of measuring cups/spoons is that you will be using lots of different ingredients, wet and dry, so in order to keep you from having to constantly wash and dry your utensils, I find this to be easiest.)  **I prefer to start with the Orange Chicken sauce, so that I can add the appropriate amount to the bag of cubed chicken to marinate while I finish all of the other stuff.  The longer this chicken sits in the amazing sauce, the better it turns out in the end!

It’s amazing how good you feel as you start to complete the bags and push the air out to seal them shut, making your pile for the freezer. Your counters start to clear, and you realize how far a days worth of work is going and how much sanity it will save you on the nights you use a meal and don’t have to do this all every day.

onourway

Once all of your freezer bags are done, you can then assemble the bake pans with your macaroni and ziti.

Remember the chicken you baked that has now cooled off on the plate? Shred 2 breasts (or 3 if you used 5 total) and cube 2.  Place the cubed chicken in a sandwich ziplock or small tupperware and place in fridge. This will be used for the Chicken Pot Pie, which is one of this week’s recipes, not a freezer recipe.  Add the shredded chicken to a bowl, toss with your favorite wing sauce (I LOOOOOVE Sweet Baby Ray’s) and add the appropriate amount to each Buffalo Mac and Cheese pan, spreading out over the elbow macaroni.  Even though the recipe calls for a specific amount, you can add more or less depending on how hot you want it.  Take the extra and place in a sandwich ziplock or small tupperware as this will be for the Buffalo Chicken Pizza, which is also one of this week’s meals.

buffchx5

buffalo chicken macaroni

Now mix your ziti cheese mixture in a large bowl, and layer your ziti, sauce, cheese mixture in layers in the two bake pans for your ziti.

In a saucepan, finish the Buffalo Mac and Cheese recipe by cooking the cheese sauce, and add that to both Buffalo Mac and Cheese trays, top both with Panko bread crumbs,  and cover all four bake trays with press and seal first, then aluminum foil if you are freezing.  If you are not freezing, just the press and seal should be sufficient.  OR, you can bake and then freeze… but I prefer the first method..

PicMonkey Collage2

At this point you should only have two things left!  Scampi sauce and the Blueberry Lemon Oatmeal bake!

I usually tackle the scampi first (because it is usually the meal for that night).  Take the sauce all the way through to where you add the butter. BEFORE adding the butter, and separate the sauce in half.  Take one half and pour into an ice cube tray, making sure to get the shallots and garlic that tend to sit at the bottom and make sure there are some of those goodies in each cube.  You will be freezing this for easy scampi later, and all you will need to do when you reheat these cubes is add butter to the pan as it heats and your sauce will be complete!  Finish off the other half now if you are eating the meal tonight, if not, take the other half and put in a container in the fridge for tomorrow night’s dinner, and do the same thing where you add the butter to the pan as it heats.

scampi

Now last but not least (and if you are exhausted at this point, this CAN be assembled the next morning, but you have to then wait for it to bake to eat it!) assemble the Blueberry Oatmeal bake.

blueberry

Whew!!  It was a long day, but it was worth it!!

Your meals for the week:

  • Blueberry Lemon Oatmeal bake for breakfast
  • Scampi (salmon, shrimp, just pasta, whatever your pleasure!)
  • Chicken Pot Pie
  • Buffalo Chicken Pizza
  • Pick two others, we usually do a Buffalo Mac and a Tortellini

Your freezer meals…. Everything Else!!

chxpot pizza

I am always adding new favorite recipes, and plan on doing a WHOLE 30 soon, so I will be experimenting with new recipes that will fit the strict rules of that plan, and I will have the others on hand to please my family ;)  All in, I spent about 2 hours between making my list for shopping, and my trip to the grocery store.  My list broken down into sections helps cut down shop time drastically, and our local Wegman’s has a shopping list app that tells you exactly what aisle everything is in so if you can’t find something you don’t need to wander aimlessly.  I spent about 8 hours in the kitchen, but part of that is also because I forgot that my husband was going to be gone all day the day that I had set aside for my prep, and in addition there were contractors working on our house, so between the kids, the dogs, and the workers, I had more interruptions that I normally would have.

Happy New Year and happy meal planning!!

5.0 from 10 reviews
Creamy Shrimp Scampi
 
Author:
Ingredients
  • ¼ c cornstarch
  • 1 lb bag of frozen shrimp, peeled and deveined
  • 2 T canola oil
  • 4 T shallots, chopped fine
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 T lemon juice
  • ½ c Chardonnay
  • 1 c chicken broth, divided
  • 1 c heavy cream
  • ½ c butter
  • ½ c grated Romano cheese, divided
  • grape or cherry tomatoes for color
Instructions
  1. Rinse and pat dry shrimp, making sure they are dry
  2. Place shrimp and cornstarch in a ziplock bag and shake to coat, or you can individually roll shrimp in cornstarch on a plate, shaking off excess
  3. Heat oil in skillet over medium heat, when oil is hot, place shrimp in oil and cook approx 2 min per side, until pink, turning only once.
  4. Place shrimp on a plate lined with paper towel
  5. Add the garlic and shallots to the pan and stir constantly, so not to burn them, until soft and fragrant. Add the wine, ½ of chicken broth, and lemon juice, and deglaze the pan.
  6. Cook until wine is reduced, about 10 minutes.
  7. Add remaining broth, and heavy cream, and cook another 5-10 minutes.
  8. Add butter, stir until butter is melted.
  9. Add shrimp back to pan and cook 1-2 minutes.
  10. Sprinkle ¼ c Romano cheese into sauce, and stir.
  11. Serve over linguini or other pasta, sprinkle with remaining cheese, garnish with tomatoes and enjoy!
  12. **You can modify with salmon or chicken as well

 
5.0 from 10 reviews
Shredded Buffalo Chicken Ranch Pizza
 
Author:
Recipe type: Pizza
Serves: 4 servings
Ingredients
  • Refrigerated Artisan whole grain pizza crust
  • Ranch dressing
  • 1c mozzarella cheese, shredded
  • ¼c asiago cheese, shredded
  • ¾c cheddar cheese, shredded
  • 2 cooked chicken breasts, shredded
  • Sweet Baby Rays Buffalo Wing sauce
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 400
  2. Prebake pizza dough for 8 minutes, before adding ingredients
  3. Spread ranch dressing as "sauce"
  4. Spread shredded chicken tossed with wing sauce over pizza
  5. Top with mixture of mozzarella and cheddar cheese
  6. Sprinkle with Asiago
  7. Drizzle some extra wing sauce over pizza
  8. Return to oven and bake for another 6 minutes, or until cheese is bubble and edges golden brown

15 New Year’s Eve Drink Recipes

new-years-eve-drink-recipes

Mixed Berry Bellinis Made with Moscato d’Asti Recipe by Hot Eats and Cool Reads

Lemon Ball Drop by illi style

Very Berry Moscato by The Grant Life

green-apple-martini

Green Apple Martini Recipe by Hot Eats and Cool Reads

Cranberry Sparkler Mocktail by Cupcakes & Kale Chips

Raspberry Champagne by wishfulchef

champagne-jello-shots

Champagne Jello Shots Recipe by Practically Functional

Simple Mojito Recipe by The Grant Life

New Year’s Cocktail with Pomegranate and Champagne by A Tossed Salad Life

strawberry-champagne-bellini

Strawberry Champagne Bellini by Practically Functional

Blood Orange Champagne Cocktail by Heather Christo

Champagne Chantilly Shooters by Sprinkle Bakes

nutella-cocktail

Nutella Cocktail by What’s Cooking Love?

Sweetheart Sorbet Champagne Floats by Frugal Foodie Mama

Stroke of Midnight by Real Food Traveler

Enjoy!

Mom to Bed by 8 Recipes

Caramelized Onion Crostini with Bacon and Pecans

Caramelized Onion Crostini with Bacon and Pecans

Caramelized Onion Crostini with Bacon and Pecans

Ingredients:

2 Tbsp. Butter

1 Medium Onion, thinly sliced

1 teas. Sugar

1 teas. Garlic Powder

1 pkg. Cream Cheese

¾ teas. Salt

½ teas. Pepper

1 Baguette

½ Cup Pecans, toasted and chopped

6 Slices Bacon, cooked crispy and crumbled

ingredients

Instructions:

#1. Melt Butter in a pan over medium high heat and add the Onion stirring occasionally.

#2. When the onions start to brown reduce heat to medium and add the sugar, continue stirring occasionally. You may need to adjust the heat down, you want the onions to just be sizzling and avoid burning them.

in process 2

#3. Cook onions until they are a deep dark brown, takes 10-15 minutes. Remove from heat and let cool to room temperature.

in process 4

#4. Add the Onion, Cream Cheese, Garlic Powder, Salt, Pepper and 2 tablespoons of the Bacon to a food processor and blend until smooth, scrape down the sides at least twice with a spatula.

#5. Cut the Baguette in half lengthwise and spread the Onion mixture in a thin layer over each half.

in process 5

#6. Place on a baking sheet or pan and place under the broiler until the bread is toasted on the edges.

in process 3

#7. Chop Pecans for topping.

#7. Remove and cut into 1 inch pieces and top with Bacon and Pecans.

in process 7

#8. Serve immediately.

Any extra onion and cheese is great on crackers!

Caramelized Onion Crostini

Enjoy!

Mom to Bed by 8 Recipes

Homemade Thin Mints + Printable Gift Tag

Girl Scout cookie season has come and gone and I’ve been craving Thin Mints recently. You know, the yummy minty chocolate covered cookies? Did you know that you can make them at home for a fraction of the price? They are just as good and so easy to make. All you need are some Ritz crackers and mint chocolate and BAM, you’ve got homemade Thin Mints. With the holidays around the corner I like to make up a few extra batches to share with friends.

Thin Mints Jar

Homemade Thin Mints 

Ritz crackers, or comparable round crackers (you could also use chocolate grahams for some extra chocolately goodness)

12 oz. Wilton mint chocolate candy melts (located in the Wilton aisle at major retailers and craft stores)

Andes mint chocolate baking bits (optional but a cute touch)

16 oz. jar or other packaging to put them in

gift tag (available to print)

Twine or ribbon

Directions

#1. In a microwave safe dish melt the Wilton mint candy melts in 30 second increments stirring every 30 seconds until melted.

#2. Dip the crackers in the chocolate and flip them over to coat. Lift them up using a fork. Place the dipped cracker on a foil lined baking sheet to set. Sprinkle with a few of the Andes Baking Bits.

#3. Repeat with all the crackers until you’ve used all the chocolate.

#4.  Place the baking sheet in the fridge to set for 10-15 minutes and try not to eat them all prior to giving them away.

#5. Add the Thin Mints to your gift jar and attach the printable tag with twine or ribbon.

MultipleThinMintsTags

Enjoy!

Mom to Bed by 8 Recipes

Rice Krispie Treat Christmas Trees

Christmas Tree Rice Krispie Treats

Rice Krispie Treat Christmas Trees

Things Needed:

1 8 ct package of Original Kellogg’s Rice Krispie Treats

Wilton kelly green decorating icing (located in the Wilton section at craft stores and major retailers)

Wilton plastic tips (located right next to the frosting)

Mini M&M baking bits (locate dint he baking section however, they are not carried at all stores. You can use regular size M&M’s if needed)

Pretzel sticks

Kitchen knife

RCTrees1

Directions:

#1. Open each Rice Krispie treat and discard the wrappers. Use the kitchen to slice the sides of the treat making it triangular.

#2. Insert one pretzel stick into the base of each ‘tree’.

RCTrees3

#3. Place the basic tip on the end of the Wilton frosting tube and make a zig-zag pattern on your tree.

RCTrees4

#4. Add a yellow mini M&M on the top for a star and then decorate the frosting with mini M&M’s.

RCTrees5

*Makes 8 servings. 1 Tree = 1 Serving.

 These are super cute and easy to make even for the beginner to look like a pro. Put them in holiday treat baggies for school parties and even bake sales.

Enjoy!

Mom to Bed by 8 Recipes

Ranch Oyster Crackers

Looking for an easy to make holiday treat? Ranch Oyster Crackers are a huge favorite in my home this time of year. The kids not only love to munch on them during snacktime but we also found they make an excellent gift idea. Simply take the recipe below and add the finished goodies to a mason jar, decorate festively and gift. Happy holidays!

Ranch Snack Crackers

Ranch Oyster Crackers

Ingredients:

1 package of oyster crackers

1 individual packet of ranch seasoning package

1/3 cup vegetable oil

1 tsp dill weed

1 tsp garlic powder

Directions:

#1. Preheat the oven to 200 degrees.

#2. Combine the oil and seasonings in a small bowl mixing well

#3. Add the oyster crackers to a paper paper (or gallon Ziploc type bag) and then pour the seasonings in. Shake well to completely coat the crackers.

#4. Pour the crackers our on to a baking sheet and bake for 25-30 minutes. All ow to cool completely prior to serving.

Store in an airtight container for several weeks.

Crackers prep

Enjoy!

Mom to Bed by 8 Recipes

Toffee & Butterscotch Oatmeal Spice Cookies

As a mom, I am always looking for ways to make snack time as healthy as possible. I found with The Pure Pantry I can have a bit of both sides: deliciously sweet and natural, gluten-free ingredients. I know for some this way of life is a must and for others it is a choice. In either situation, I believe it is hard at times to find desserts that offer the features that we are looking for. Without this mix, I would have had a difficult time bringing certified gluten free oats to a cookie in time for Halloween class parties. So not only an I thankful but as always very impressed with the taste quality that The Pure Pantry offers.

Stay tuned this week as you will see more yummy creations using The Pure Pantry ingredients.

Toffee & Butterscotch Oatmeal Spice Cookies

Toffee & Butterscotch Oatmeal Spice Cookies

Ingredients ­

  • 1 Package of The Pure Pantry Wholegram Oatmeal Spice Cookie Mix
  • 3/4 cup unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tbs. water
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • 3⁄4 cup butterscotch chips
  • 3⁄4 cup toffee bits

Directions ­

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and spray your baking sheets with a non­stick cooking spray.
  2. In a large bowl cream together the softened butter and eggs.
  3. Mix in water and vanilla.
  4. Add contents of package, mix well and set aside.
  5. Fold in the butterscotch chips and toffee bits.
  6. Drop by tablespoon onto the greased cookie sheets about 2” a part.
  7. Bake 12 minutes for soft cookies and 15 for crispy cookies.
  8. Remove from oven and cool.

*Makes approximately 2 dozen cookies. Store in an airtight container for up to 4 weeks.