Well! It’s another month, and another chance for me to poke around a food blogger’s site for the Secret Recipe Club.
This month my assigned blogger was Ashley at Cheese Curd in Paradise. Ashley lives in Green Bay, Wisconsin, and is mom to Kellen and another little boy due super-soon! She serves up some fun recipes, mostly family-friendly fare, which is of course my favorite. So many of her recipes looked like they would be home runs here at casa Weaver. I definitely want to try Split Pea Soup with Kielbasa, Chicken and Gnocchi Soup, and Ashley’s latest recipe, Loaded Cauliflower Casserole. But I decided for now to make this tasty BBQ Chicken Dip, loaded with lots of creamy stuff alongside chicken and bacon. It’s a great addition to any party table. Or you can just eat the whole sucker yourself. (OK. Maybe not. It makes a LOT.)
It’s not the prettiest dish in the world, but honestly, isn’t it the ugliest food that usually ends up tasting the best? This dip combines chicken and bacon with cream cheese, sour cream, ranch dressing, barbecue sauce, and hot sauce for a unique flavor profile that is pretty irresistible. You can of course adjust the flavoring to taste; use more hot sauce if you like things spicy! This amount was perfect for me, but I am a little bit of a wimp.
3 c. cooked, cubed or shredded chicken (about 2 large breasts)
8 oz. cream cheese
1/2 c. sour cream
1/2 c. Ranch dressing
3/4 c. barbecue sauce
1 1/2 T hot sauce (I like Frank's Red Hot)
4 slices bacon, cooked and crumbled
1/2 tsp. onion powder
1/2 tsp. garlic salt
1/2 tsp. black pepper
Combine all ingredients. Either heat in a slow cooker and serve from there, or heat in the microwave at 50% power for about 6-7 minutes, stirring occasionally, until cream cheese is melted and the mixture is hot. Serve with tortilla or corn chips.
I’m determined to make it through a bunch of the recipes I’ve Pinned this year. I have a mere 5,400+ Pins … and most of them are probably recipes. Because mostly I use Pinterest for its original intent: to have a visual bookmarking system.
Since I have a dorm full of high school boys waiting to be fed, I should have no problem finding someone to feed these recipes, right? Every Wednesday, Mr. V has a small group of boys (6), and then Thursday nights I aim to feed the whole dorm with a larger recipe (usually dessert).
I’m not sure if this coffee cake was a hit with the boys – I haven’t checked with Mr. V – because his small group is largely students from China and Hong Kong. The Chinese are not like Americans when it comes to sweets, I’ve found. But really, I don’t care. Because it’s AMAZING and I am so glad to have unearthed this recipe.
I also simplified the streusel and the frosting a little bit. And to be honest, I think I would like this even more without the frosting. I find buttercream to be too sweet for me – I prefer cream cheese frostings if any. But, sadly, the cake is not real pretty without it. Maybe if there was streusel on the top, too, it would help that? I may give that a try next time.
There is nothing really virtuous about this to make it breakfasty; the cake simply feels more like a coffee cake because it is dense, fruity, and has streusel. So tell yourself it’s breakfast, or be honest and serve it up for dessert.
(I had some for breakfast this morning. I won’t tell.)
2 T grapeseed oil or melted coconut oil or melted butter
Maple Buttercream Frosting
4 T butter, melted
2 c. powdered sugar
1 tsp. cinnamon
2 T maple syrup
2 T milk
For the Filling
In a large saucepan, combines peaches, cinnamon, brown sugar, and flour. Cook over medium heat 10-15 minutes, until it melds together and the peaches are very soft. Try not to eat all the filling. Set aside to cool.
For the Cake
Preheat oven to 350. Grease a bundt pan well.
With a mixer, cream butter and sugars together. Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add vanilla and sour cream and mix well. Sprinkle salt and baking powder over the batter, then turn mixer on low. Add flour 1/2 cup at a time until batter is uniform.
By hand, fold in the peach pie filling.
Make the Streusel
In a bowl, mix almond meal, brown sugar, and cinnamon together with a fork. Drizzle oil or butter over the top, and then stir until clumpy and oil is mixed throughout.
Back to the Cake!
Pour half the batter into the greased bundt pan. Sprinkle two-thirds of the streusel mixture on top of the batter. Spoon remaining batter on top, then sprinkle with the remainder of the streusel.
Bake 50-55 minutes, until a tester comes out clean. Cool in pan for 20 minutes, then turn over onto a plate, patting on the sides to release the cake. Cool before frosting.
Melt butter in a big bowl, then add powdered sugar and cinnamon and stir. Add maple syrup and 1 T milk. Add more milk if needed to reach a good consistency. If you want a runnier frosting, cut down sugar to 1 1/2 cups. For a more spreadable rather than pourable frosting, add more powdered sugar.
It’s certainly not that it’s BAD by any means! We love it here and gobble it up often. But sometimes it’s just fun to branch out, isn’t it?
I make something for my husband’s five dorm kids that he meets with every Wednesday morning for their meetings. I try to aim for breakfast food, since they meet at 9:45 a.m. I don’t think they’ve ever REFUSED cupcakes, but if they’re anything like I was in high school, they probably haven’t eaten any breakfast before class.
This week, I pulled out this egg bake recipe that I made when we were first married and my mother-in-law bought me a subscription to Simple and Delicious magazine. Back then, I was much more obedient and I am sure I followed the recipe.
Now, I’d rather take a simple recipe and make it a little bit better with my own additions. And this one I think I improved a lot with the easy add-ons of real milk, sour cream, salt, and garlic powder.
I was really excited when the One 2 One Network asked me to cook a few dishes using Carnation Evaporated Milk. Well, because it makes me feel a little like a food blogger! And because I get to share recipes AND a great little recipe booklet with you. I love to try new things and this was a great way to do it!
They’re trying to get the word out that evaporated milk is not just for baking, it’s also great for savory recipes. You can substitute evaporated milk for regular milk in many of your holiday or everyday recipes to add a really creamy quality.
My “assignment” was to pick one recipe from their Holiday Booklet [PDF] and one recipe of my own. Today I’m going to share with you this delicious Loaded Potato Potluck Favorite. In all honesty, I would TOTALLY make this to take to a dinner with friends, for a holiday meal, or maybe a half-recipe for me and Mr. V. The potatoes were fantastic.
First, I diced up eight of these white potatoes. I only peel potatoes if they’re the thick-skinned Idaho baking kind, and I enjoy potato peel in my smashed taters. You can use any kind of potato here. I scrubbed mine, cut them up, and dumped them in a pot with water to boil about 15 minutes or until fork-tender. (Do you know how to tell if they are fork-tender? When you try to stab one of them in the pot of hot water, it won’t stay on your fork if you try to lift it out of the pot.)
While the potatoes cooked, I gathered the rest of my ingredients and measured them out: Carnation Evaporated Milk, sour cream, shredded cheese, sliced green onions, and 4 slices of bacon that I cooked in the microwave until crisp and then chopped up.
Drain the potatoes and return them to the hot pot. Add the evaporated milk, sour cream, and some salt and pepper, and then mash them. I just use a potato masher because I like my mashed potatoes a little chunky. If you like them smoother, though, you can use a hand mixer to whip them.
Next stir in all but 1/2 cup of cheese and half the bacon. Mix well. Taste to make sure you don’t need more salt or pepper (I found it perfectly salted with 1 teaspoon, but I like things on the saltier side. I also really dislike pepper flavor so I just use a dash).
Spoon the mixture into a 70s casserole dish you found at Goodwill lovely 3-quart casserole (this one was a little small) and stick it in a 350 degree oven for 20-25 minutes. Top with the remaining cheese, bacon, and green onions, and bake an additional 3 minutes or until cheese is melted.
This dish was creamy, delicious, and how can you go wrong with bacon, cheese, and potatoes? I served it with some ham steaks cooked in BBQ sauce and sliced peaches. Mmm, mmm, good.
For a printable version of this recipe with actual measurements, go here.
While I would have never thought to use evaporated milk in mashed potatoes, it was a real winner! Stayed tuned for Part II of the challenge, my own recipe for Banana Couscous.
The One2One Network provided me with a gift card to purchase my ingredients and coupons for free Carnation Milk. I was not compensated otherwise. What I have stated here is my honest opinion.
But I also have a treasure of family recipes—my family, Mr. V’s family, close friends’ families. These are recipes I come back to again and again, because they are not only tasty but also sentimental.
When we were engaged, Mr. V’s mom gave us a small 3-ringed book, filled with pages on which you can write your own recipes. The green (YES GREEN. Mr. V thinks it’s blue, but he’s obviously blind) book is tattered, stained, and was obviously chewed on by our dog, but there’s no way I would let it go.
I remember spending nearly a whole day at their house, going through my MIL’s own stash of recipes and copying down the ones Mr. V insisted were keepers. I did the same at my home with the collection of church cookbooks and recipe cards my mom kept stashed in a cupboard above the microwave.
I thought it would be fun—now that I think I am at a place in my bloggy “career” where people might participate—to start a carnival where people share their family recipes. These are usually the BEST recipes because they are tried and true, perfected over time.
Cook beef and onion until meat is brown and onion is tender. (If using chicken, just saute onions then add in cooked chicken.) Drain fat. Divide meat into tortillas. Top meat in each tortilla with 1 oz. of taco sauce/salsa and 1 Tablespoon cheese. Roll the tortillas up and place them seam down in an oblong baking dish.
In saucepan, melt butter, then whisk in flour and bouillion. Stir in water. Cook and stir until thickened and bubbly, then stir in chiles. Remove from heat; stir in sour cream. Pour the sauce over the tortillas.
Cook at 350 for 15 minutes. Sprinkle with remaining cheese and bake until melted, another 5 minutes or so.
In case you’re not familiar with carnivals, here’s what you do! Write a post on your blog about one of your family’s “hand-me-down” recipes. Link here to THAT POST, not to your main blog page (if you need help doing that, you can e-mail me). If you don’t have a blog, leave the recipe in the comments. Then we all visit each other’s blogs and see the wonderful, delicious recipes that we can make over the weekend.
WIN IT! [CONTEST OVER!] Everyone who links their post here or leaves a recipe in the comments will be eligible to win this Cath Kidston Recipe Organizer so you can have a place to write all your treasured recipes. If you Twitter about this carnival, you’ll get another entry (just leave a comment that you did). Same for Stumbling/Kirtsy-ing/Digg-ing this post. US and Canada only, please. (Please still link if you’re international, you just won’t be eligible to win.) I’ll pick a winner on Saturday.
[since Mr. Linky went down after this post, I’m inserting the links myself.]