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There are two things that I am currently obsessed with: my Crock-Pot and Pinterest. If you haven’t heard of Pinterest you need to  check it out here- it will seriously change your life.  It has given me so many home decor and recipe ideas and since the engagement, wedding ideas too. But I digress.. I was elated to find, and pin, recipes that I could use my fix-it-and-leave-it Crock-Pot. Below I am sharing this quick and easy taco recipe for a busy weeknight dinner. It was so delicious and the chicken stayed so moist. Definitely will make this again. Enjoy!

 

Shredded Chicken Tacos

 

Ingredients 

3 Large Chicken Breasts

1  16 oz Jar of Salsa (I mixed 1/2 green chile sauce and 1/2 medium salsa)

1 Packet Old El Paso Low Sodium Taco Seasoning

Flour Tortillas

Garnish

Chopped Lettuce

Shredded Cheese

Sour Cream

Sliced Avocados

Lime Wedge

Directions 

1) Mix taco seasoning and salsa together in a small bowl. Place the uncooked chicken in the Crock-Pot and cover it in the taco-salsa mixture. Cover and cook for 7-8 hours on low. When chicken is done it should shred easily with a fork. Shred chicken, turn Crock-Pot to warm and keep covered.

2) To make the tortillas pre-heat your oven to 375 degrees. Place 4-5 tortillas in a damp paper towel and microwave for 20 seconds or until tortillas are warm. Take out the tortillas and “drape” them directly on the oven rack. I space the tortillas out between two grids to make them wider. Bake for 7-9 minutes and carefully remove from heat.

3) Place shredded chicken in baked tortillas and add your favorite toppings. Serve with a lime for garnish.

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Happy Patty’s Day everyone!

Nico and I had a great weekend celebrating KU’s win(s), their seed in the tournament (#1 seed woohoo!) and St. Patrick’s Day. Naturally our weekend was filled with green t-shirts, Irish Car Bombs and potato soup.

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Gloria (Nico’s mom) saved from a pinch with her green undershirt 

After a long hike Sunday morning, I was craving something to warm by bones. We stumbled upon this recipe and wanted to give it a try. It called for a whole pound of bacon (that sounded like too much bacon even for me…I know, what’s wrong with me) so we decided to add and take away ingredients to fit our tastes. This delicious recipe is modified from an allrecipes.com post. I hope you enjoy and make it yourself!

PotatoSoup

Mmmmm! So creamy and bacony..

Luck of the Irish Potato Soup

Ingredients 

8 strips bacon, chopped

2 1/2 stalks celery, diced

1 medium onion, chopped

3 garlic cloves, minced

8 potatoes, peeled and cubed 1”

4 cups chicken stock

3 tablespoons butter

1/4 cup flour

1 cup heavy cream

1 teaspoon tarragon

chopped cilantro (if wanted)

Milk to texture

salt and pepper to taste

Directions: 

1. In a large pot, cook chopped bacon over medium-low heat until done. Remove bacon from pan and lay on paper towels to remove excess grease. Drain all but 1/4 cup of the bacon grease (this will give your veggies extra flavor).

2. With the remaining grease in the pan, saute the celery and onion on medium-low heat until onions become opaque. Add garlic and continue cooking for another 3-4 minutes. Stir in potatoes and saute for another 4-5 minutes. Return bacon into the pot, leaving a few pieces for garnish (try not to eat your garnishing pieces-like me). Add chicken stock, cover and simmer until potatoes are tender.

3. In a separate pan, melt butter over medium-low heat. Whisk in flour and stir constantly for 1 minute. Whisk in heavy cream, tarragon and (if wanted) cilantro over medium heat until cream mixture starts to thicken. Pour thickened cream mixture into pot with potato mixture. Puree 1/4-1/2 of the soup (the more you puree the thicker it will be). Add milk if you would like it thinner and salt/pepper to taste.

Serve with sour cream, cheese, bacon, cilantro, and crusty bread.

Enjoy with a nice, cold Guinness!

Enjoy with a nice, cold Guinness!

This past Sunday I woke up early(..ish… 10 a.m…) to make a mouthwatering breakfast for Nico and myself-Bacon Waffles.

The salty bacon combined with the buttery, sweet syrup and the light, fluffy batter was godddddllllllyyyyy. I am seriously fantasizing about them at work.

Easy  to make from scratch or from a box. –Hey, I won’t judge.

 

Pumpkin Cookies with Browned Butter Frosting

Oh me, oh my, these cookies are heavenly! They are autumn rolled into delicious bite sized morsels. What I love even more about these cookies is that I had all the ingredients (except the pumpkin puree) right in my kitchen so the only guilt was eating more than the recommended serving size!

I first stumbled upon this recipe (Thank you Prevention RD) while checking up on my favorite food blogger website Tastespotting. If you haven’t checked it out, you definitely should. It’s like a food blog hoarders dream, every recipe imaginable right at your fingertips.

Ingredients: 

Cookies:
2/3 cup granulated sugar
2/3 cup packed brown sugar
3/4 cup unsalted butter, softened
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 cup pumpkin puree
2 eggs
2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp salt

Browned Butter Frosting:
3 cups powdered sugar
1 tsp vanilla
3 to 4 Tbsp milk
1/3 cup unsalted butter

Directions:

1) Heat oven to 375 F. In large bowl, beat granulated sugar, brown sugar, 3/4 cup butter and 1 teaspoon vanilla with electric mixer on medium speed, scraping bowl occasionally, until well blended. Beat in pumpkin and eggs until well mixed. On low speed, beat in flour, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt.

2) On ungreased cookie sheets, drop dough by heaping tablespoonfuls.

3) Bake 10 to 12 minutes or until almost no indentation remains when touched in center. Immediately remove from cookie sheets to cooling rack. Cool completely, about 45 minutes.

4) In medium bowl, place powdered sugar, 1 teaspoon vanilla and 3 tablespoons milk. In 1-quart saucepan, heat 1/3 cup butter over medium heat, stirring constantly, just until light brown.

5) Pour browned butter over powdered sugar mixture. Beat on low speed about 1 minute or until smooth. Gradually add just enough of the remaining 1 tablespoon milk to make frosting creamy and spreadable. Generously frost cooled cookies. Yield: 3 1/2 dozen cookies.

Aawhh autumn, what a wonderful season. The leaves are turning from vibrant green to reds and golds, the air is crisp and hearty soup is on the table. This past weekend was Homecoming and my mom came to Lawrence for a visit. We had a blast tailgating at the KU vs. Texas Tech game, decorating for Halloween, and my personal favorite, making tomato soup. I used a recipe from a newly purchased cookbook that I was dying to try out. The results were amazingly delicious that puts Panera’s tomato soup to shame.

Ingredients: 

3 tbsp olive oil

1 large red onion, finely chopped

3 garlic cloves, finely chopped

3 lbs Hunts whole canned tomatoes, quartered

3 tsp sugar

1 tbsp Hunts tomato paste

2  1/2 cups warmed vegetable stock

sea salt and fresh ground pepper

heavy cream for garnish (optional)

homemade croutons  (optional)

Directions: 

1) Heat the oil in a large pot, add the onions and cook over low heat for 10 minutes. Add the garlic when the onion softens. Stir occasionally.

2) Quarter the tomatoes and add them into the pot. Season with salt and pepper. Add the sugar and tomato paste, stir and cook over low heat for 30 minutes.

3) While the tomato mixture is simmering, you can start making your croutons. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Begin cutting up day-old or harder bread slices into bite-sized squares. Drizzle with olive oil and add salt and pepper. Spread them out on a cookie sheet and bake for 10 minutes turning them often. To make them extra crispy, after the 10 minutes broil them for 3 minutes.

By now the entire kitchen smells like your Italian grandmothers house. The rich tomatoey-garlic mixture brings visitors into the kitchen.

Norah wanted a taste!

4) After 30 minutes pour the stock into the pot and bring to a boil, then lower the heat and simmer for 10 minutes. Transfer to a food processor and pulse or blend until smooth. Salt and pepper to taste. Garnish with croutons, heavy cream and basil. Enjoy with friends and loved ones.

This is surf and turf, New Mexico style.

Grilled steak with green chili bacon wrapped shrimp

Inspiration for the green chile bacon wrapped shrimp may have come from Epic Meal Time in regards to the bacon, but the Hatch green chile is a New Mexico original.

Here’s what you need:

  • Your favorite cut of steak. In this case, I used flank steak.
  • Four frozen shrimp
  • Two Hatch green chile pods
  • Two strips of bacon
  • Salt and Pepper

The Steak:

Flank steak dusted with salt and pepper, the only seasoning necessary for a great steak.

Pre-heat grill to medium-high heat. Season steak with salt and pepper on both sides.

Grill steak on first side untill blood pools on the top of the meat, that means it is ready to be flipped (if you are going for medium-rare to rare). Grill meat on other side untill you get the same result. Remove from grill and immediately place meat on a plate and cover it with tin foil. The meat will continue to cook under the foil as the juices absorb into the meat.

The Shrimp:

Skewered shrimp wrapped in green chile and bacon.

Take the frozen shrimp and remove the shells and tails. Cut two bacon strips in half and line them up on a cutting board. The two green chile pods need to have the remaining charred skin removed from the roasting process and also need to be de-seeded. The seeds are what make the chile hot, onec removed, all that’s left is the sweet smokey taste of the chile.

On top of the bacon strips, line equally wide strips of green chile. Place the slightly thawing shrimp on top of the chile strip and begin to roll. The shrimp needs to be slightly froze because the bacon will take longer to cook than the shrimp, so the bit of frost even’s out the cooking time. Skewer the roll of chile, bacon, and shrimp so that the tasty package doesn’t fall apart.

Make sure the shrimp AND the bacon cook through, don't worry if the chili gets a little burnt in the process.

Grill on all sides untill the bacon browns and the shrimp is pink. (approximately 15 minutes on the grill)

 

 

 

 

When plated, un-skewer the shrimp and place next to steak. Pair with a nice red wine, in the case a bottle of Charles Shaw (2 Buck Chuck) Merlot, and a fresh garden salad. Welcome to grilling heaven.

 

 

A deep-fried burrito so stuffed with cheese and chicken that when you cut into its flakey crust, a river of melty goodness pours onto your sides of rice and beans. The cool creamy texture of sour cream and zesty salsa verde only add to the amazing taste and texture to what I like to call, my favorite dish in Lawrence. It only took one bite and I was hooked for life.

The Chicken Chimichanga at La Parilla Latin American Cuisine  in downtown Massachusetts St. in Lawrence, Kan. has been my and Nico’s favorite dinner-date spot for a little over a year. Pair this amazing chimichanga with a pitcher of their spectacular lime margaritas and you will fall just as hard as I have.

Nico enjoying a "chasty" margarita

My parents came to visit me in Omaha this weekend and I wanted to make something super special for their visit and for my dad’s birthday. My dad’s favorite cake is my Aunt Sue’s Classic Pineapple Upside-Down Cake (slightly borrowed from a Duncan Hines recipe). It is so easy to make, the hardest part is not eating all the sugar coated pineapple slices before the cake is finished.

My original plan was to make this cake a little boozy, but with little hands helping me in the kitchen I thought the PG version would be just as amazing. Never fear, I wrote down the booze substitutions for your drinking enjoyment. So go ahead and have a slice or two of this delicious, caramelized, pineapple cake.

Ingredients:

1 pkg Duncan Hines® Moist Deluxe® Pineapple Supreme Cake Mix

3 eggs

2  20 oz cans pineapple rings

1 1/3 cups pineapple juice (from the 2  20 oz cans)*

1/3 cup vegetable oil

1 stick butter

2-3 tbsps rum (optional)

1 cup packed brown sugar

Maraschino cherries

*For the boozy version use 1 cup pineapple juice and 1/3 cup spiced rum

Directions:

1) Preheat the oven to 350 degrees

2) In a medium bowl mix together the Duncan Hines® cake mix, eggs, pineapple juice and vegetable oil until smooth then set aside.

3) Melt butter in a a small bowl. (This is where you would add the 2-3 tbsp rum if you wanted to spice it up). Pour melted butter into 13 x 9 glass pan, completely covering the bottom. Sprinkle brown sugar over the buttered area.

4) Place pineapple slices on the butter-brown sugar mixture and place a single maraschino cherry inside each pineapple ring. Do this until the entire bottom is covered with pineapples and cherries.

5) Pour cake batter into the prepared dish, spreading evenly over the pineapple rings. Bake for 40-45 minutes or until the cake is a golden brown and not jiggly in the center. Let cool completely (20-30 minutes)

This might be the trickiest part so be extra careful so you don’t drop the cake. Though I wouldn’t judge if you ate it off the floor. 

6) Run a knife between the cake and the baking dish to make sure they won’t stick. Place cookie sheet face down on top of cool cake, hold the glass dish with your fingers and the cookie sheet with your thumb. When you feel secure flip the sheet and cake towards you and upside-down giving it a slight shake. The cake should easily fall out, revealing the perfectly caramelized pineapple.

Cut off a slice and share with your loved ones.

No booze here. Just a few of my favorite summertime ingredients thrown together on one plate. I’m always looking for an excuse to grill and this quick, easy recipe makes it possible. You can make this dish with any white, flakey fish with any combination of your favorite salad/salsa toppings. Your creativity and options are limitless.

Ingredients: 

Serves 1 to 2 people 

1-2 Tilapia Fillets

1-2 Ear(s) of corn

1 Avocado  (sliced or diced)

2 Lime wedges

1 1/2 Tbsp Cilantro

1 Tsp Olive Oil

Salt

Pepper

Directions: 

1) Prep corn for grilling (remove husks, hairs etc..)

2) Grill corn over medium heat, rotating till all sides are golden brown with few darkened kernels. (15 minutes) Remove and let cool.

3) Place fresh or thawed tilapia fillets on grill. Flip after 5-6 minutes.

4) In a medium sized bowl combine corn kernels, avocado, juice from 1 lime wedge, cilantro, olive oil, salt and pepper.

5) Place grilled tilapia on plate, squeeze lime over fish and serve with fresh avocado-corn salad.

Popsicles, especially homemade ones, are what I love most about summer. They are a snack/drink hybrid and they cost less than a dollar to make! Who doesn’t love that? When I was little I would love to help make (and eat) Cherry Kool-Aid pops. Now, at 23, I wanted to make an adult friendly version without sacrificing the ice-cold portable goodness. I had heard of  “vodka pops”  (vodka + Kool Aid/ juice), but had never tried them. Because the margarita is a classic summertime cocktail, I thought it would be a good place to start.

Ingredients:

Makes 4 small popsicles..and a little for the chef.

1/4 cup lime juice

1/4 cup Cointreau or other orange liqueur

1/4 cup Tequila*

3/4 cup water

1 1/2 tbsp sugar

Splash of orange juice (optional)

*I used 1/3 cup of Tequila and my popsicles came out like delicious wet snow, I would suggest using a little less.

Directions

1) Mix all ingredients and pour into plastic/paper cups or popsicle mold.

2) Freeze overnight and enjoy the next day.