Friday, May 31, 2013

"Buffalo Balls"

"Buffalo Balls"

I forget how many this makes.

A recipe you could use for dinner or as an appetizer at your next party.
Source: Amazing Pinterest World

For the meatballs:1lb ground chicken or turkey2 oz cream cheese, softened2 eggs2 Tbl chopped celery3 Tbl crumbled blue cheese1/2 tsp black pepper

For the sauce:1/2 cup Frank's Red Hot1/2 stick (4 oz) unsalted butter

Combine all of the meatball ingredients in a medium bowl. Don't add salt because The Frank's is super salty as is the blue cheese so trust me you don't need to add more.   Form into balls and place them on a greased cookie sheet (with sides) and bake at 350 degrees (F) for 10 minutes.  

Meanwhile, combine the Frank's and butter in a small saucepan on medium heat, or place in a microwave safe bowl for 2 minutes on high.  After 10 minutes, remove balls from oven and dunk carefully (they are tender from the cream cheese and could fall apart if you are too rough) in the buffalo sauce.  ***I used a basting brush for this step.  

Put back onto the cookie sheet and bake for another 13 minutes.  If you have leftover sauce you could pour it over the meatballs and bake for another 3 to 5 minutes if you want them really saucy. Serve with celery stick.

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

The Aviator's Wife

The Aviator's Wife by Melanie Benjamin

Just like what's written in the book description below, this book reminded me of Loving Frank and The Paris Wife.  If you enjoyed either of those books, read this one!  It's an interesting glimpse into the marriage of Anne and Charles Lindbergh.  A little depressing, but a raw look at their life together.  I found the middle especially interesting, as it covered the Lindbergh baby kidnapping.

Book description from Amazon:

In the spirit of Loving Frank and The Paris Wife, acclaimed novelist Melanie Benjamin pulls back the curtain on the marriage of one of America’s most extraordinary couples: Charles Lindbergh and Anne Morrow Lindbergh.
“The history [is] exhilarating. . . . The Aviator’s Wife soars.”USA Today

For much of her life, Anne Morrow, the shy daughter of the U.S. ambassador to Mexico, has stood in the shadows of those around her, including her millionaire father and vibrant older sister, who often steals the spotlight. Then Anne, a college senior with hidden literary aspirations, travels to Mexico City to spend Christmas with her family. There she meets Colonel Charles Lindbergh, fresh off his celebrated 1927 solo flight across the Atlantic. Enthralled by Charles’s assurance and fame, Anne is certain the  aviator has scarcely noticed her. But she is wrong.
Charles sees in Anne a kindred spirit, a fellow adventurer, and her world will be changed forever. The two marry in a headline-making wedding. Hounded by adoring crowds and hunted by an insatiable press, Charles shields himself and his new bride from prying eyes, leaving Anne to feel her life falling back into the shadows. In the years that follow, despite her own major achievements—she becomes the first licensed female glider pilot in the United States—Anne is viewed merely as the aviator’s wife. The fairy-tale life she once longed for will bring heartbreak and hardships, ultimately pushing her to reconcile her need for love and her desire for independence, and to embrace, at last, life’s infinite possibilities for change and happiness.
Drawing on the rich history of the twentieth century—from the late twenties to the mid-sixties—and featuring cameos from such notable characters as Joseph Kennedy and Amelia Earhart, The Aviator’s Wife is a vividly imagined novel of a complicated marriage—revealing both its dizzying highs and its devastating lows. With stunning power and grace, Melanie Benjamin provides new insight into what made this remarkable relationship endure.

Monday, May 27, 2013

Chicken Bundles

Chicken Bundles

Makes 4 bundles.

One of my favorite recipes.  Easy, delicious, and a kid-pleaser for sure.  This is a great meal to take to new moms (especially if they have other children already), but is also a great option for a busy weeknight.  Leftovers reheat well, or you can pop them in the freezer for a future meal.
Adapted from: Allrecipes

8-oz. canister refrigerated crescent roll dough (buy the seamless sheet option to make things even easier!)
3-oz. pkg. cream cheese, softened
1 lb. chicken breasts, cooked and shredded (about 2 cups)
2 T. minced onion
Salt & pepper
1 T. milk, if needed

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Unroll crescent dough.  If you are working with the seamless sheet, simply cut into 4 rectangles.  If you have the traditional dough, separate into four rectangles, while simultaneously pinching together some of the triangles to form those rectangles.  That was wordy... hope it makes sense!  Basically, you want 4 equally-sized rectangles from the one sheet of dough.

Make chicken filling by mixing together cream cheese, shredded chicken, onion, salt and pepper, and a little bit of milk, if needed.  Place chicken mixture evenly on top of each rectangle.  Pull corners up and together to form little pockets, pinching together any open ends.

Place onto greased baking sheet.  Bake in a preheated oven for 25-30 minutes, or until golden brown.

Friday, May 24, 2013

Baked Oven Tacos

Baked Oven Tacos

Makes 18-20 tacos.

I used flour tortillas instead of the recommended hard taco shells.  They still tasted great, but, as you can imagine, they didn't hold their shape while baking.  This made for a messy eating experience, and not nearly as nice of a presentation, but do whatever floats your boat!
Slightly adapted from: Mommy, I'm Hungry

2 lbs ground beef (or turkey/chicken)
1 small onion diced1 small can diced green chilies2 T. taco seasoning1 (8 ounce) can low sodium tomato sauce 1 (16 ounce) can fat free refried beans 2 cups shredded reduced fat Colby-jack cheese 18-20 hard taco shells

Optional Condiments- Lettuce (shredded) Tomato (diced) Salsa Guacamole Sour CreamOlives, sliced  

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.  
In a large skillet brown ground beef and onion over medium-high heat. Drain off any excess liquid. Return to pan, add chilies, refried beans, tomato sauce, and taco seasoning. Mix well and cook for a few minutes if mixture seems runny. 
Spoon the taco meat mixture into the taco shells and place into a 9 x 13 inch baking dish, standing up. Sprinkle cheese over the top of the taco meat in each shell. Place into the oven and bake at 400 degrees for 10-12 minutes or until the cheese has melted and the tacos are heated through. Remove from the oven and top with any optional condiments for serving. 

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Me Before You

Me Before You by Jojo Moyes

We read this for book club, and while I didn't ever come to love this book, many of the people in my group did.  Amazon readers give it great reviews too, so don't let my so-so review stop you from reading this one!

Book description from Amazon:

They had nothing in common until love gave them everything to lose

Louisa Clark is an ordinary girl living an exceedingly ordinary life—steady boyfriend, close family—who has never been farther afield than their tiny village. She takes a badly needed job working for ex–Master of the Universe Will Traynor, who is wheelchair bound after an accident. Will has always lived a huge life—big deals, extreme sports, worldwide travel—and now he’s pretty sure he cannot live the way he is.

Will is acerbic, moody, bossy—but Lou refuses to treat him with kid gloves, and soon his happiness means more to her than she expected. When she learns that Will has shocking plans of his own, she sets out to show him that life is still worth living.

A Love Story for this generation, Me Before You brings to life two people who couldn’t have less in common—a heartbreakingly romantic novel that asks, What do you do when making the person you love happy also means breaking your own heart?

Monday, May 20, 2013

Classic Chicken Salad

Classic Chicken Salad

Makes enough to fill about 40 slider sandwiches.

I love a classic chicken salad... who doesn't??  This is as classic as classic can be, so feel free to jazz it up if you prefer grapes, or dried cherries, or nuts, or any additional ingredients.
Inspired by: Hezzi D's Books and Cooks

3.5 lbs. boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1 c. mayo
2 T. Dijon mustard
2 T. lemon juice
4 celery ribs, minced
1/4 c. red onion, minced
1/4 c. green onion, minced
Salt and pepper

Poach chicken breasts and then chop into small pieces.  Combine with remaining ingredients and fill sandwich buns, or refrigerate until you are ready to serve.

Friday, May 17, 2013

Banana Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting

Banana Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting

Makes 24.

These are easy and always a hit.  Such a great cupcake!
Source: 100 Things to do with a Cake Mix cookbook

1 yellow cake mix
1 box instant banana pudding
2 extra-ripe bananas, mashed
4 eggs
1/4 c. canola oil
1 c. water

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and prepare muffin tins by filling with liners.

Mix all ingredients; beat to combine well.  Fill muffin cups, 3/4 full, and bake for 18-20 minutes until beginning to become golden brown and a toothpick comes out clean.

Let cool for a few minutes in the pan, then cool fully on a wire rack.

Cream Cheese Frosting

8-oz. block cream cheese, softened
1/2 stick butter, softened
2 t. milk
1 t. vanilla
4 c. powdered sugar

Beat cream cheese, butter, milk and vanilla in medium bowl with electric mixer on low speed until smooth.
Gradually beat in powdered sugar on low speed, 1 cup at a time, until smooth and spreadable.
Frost cupcakes.

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

The Comfort of Lies

The Comfort of Lies by Randy Susan Meyers

This book is written from the perspectives of multiple people.  I like these kind of books.  The chapters seem to clip by and the material stays interesting.  I wasn't disappointed by this book, but I wasn't blown away either.  

Book description from Amazon:

“Happiness at someone else’s expense came at a price. Tia had imagined judgment from the first kiss that she and Nathan shared. All year, she’d waited to be punished for being in love, and in truth, she believed that whatever consequences came her way would be deserved.”
Five years ago, Tia fell into obsessive love with a man she could never have. Married, and the father of two boys, Nathan was unavailable in every way. When she became pregnant, he disappeared, and she gave up her baby for adoption.
Five years ago, Caroline, a dedicated pathologist, reluctantly adopted a baby to please her husband. She prayed her misgivings would disappear; instead, she’s questioning whether she’s cut out for the role of wife and mother.
Five years ago, Juliette considered her life ideal: she had a solid marriage, two beautiful young sons, and a thriving business. Then she discovered Nathan’s affair. He promised he’d never stray again, and she trusted him.
But when Juliette intercepts a letter to her husband from Tia that contains pictures of a child with a deep resemblance to her husband, her world crumbles once more. How could Nathan deny his daughter? And if he’s kept this a secret from her, what else is he hiding? Desperate for the truth, Juliette goes in search of the little girl. And before long, the three women and Nathan are on a collision course with consequences that none of them could have predicted.
Riveting and arresting, The Comfort of Lies explores the collateral damage of infidelity and the dark, private struggles many of us experience but rarely reveal.

Monday, May 13, 2013

Lemon Cupcakes with Raspberry Buttercream

Lemon Cupcakes with Raspberry Buttercream

Makes 24-28 cupcakes.

Mmmm, a perfect cupcake for spring.  Dense lemony cake with raspberry frosting.
Slightly adapted from: Baked Perfection

1 cup butter, softened
2 cups sugar
3 eggs
4 teaspoons grated lemon zest
4 tablespoons of lemon juice
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 cups sour cream

In a medium bowl combine the flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. In a separate mixing bowl, cream the butter and sugar. Beat in the eggs, one at a time. Add the lemon zest, lemon juice and vanilla; mix well. Add the flour mixture to creamed mixture alternately with sour cream (batter will be thick). Fill greased or paper-lined muffin cups 3/4 full with batter. Bake at 350 degrees F for 22-30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean. 
Cool completely.

2 sticks butter, softened
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/3 cup raspberry jam
pinch of salt
6 cups powdered sugar
2-3 tablespoons milk

Beat butter and vanilla until creamy. Mix in raspberry jam and salt. Add powdered sugar 1 cup at a time, beating until combined. Add milk 1 tablespoon at a time until you reach desired consistency.

Garnish with fresh raspberries, if you'd like!

Friday, May 10, 2013

Snickerdoodle Blondies

Snickerdoodle Blondies

Serves 20-24.

A great twist on a classic.  YUM!
Slightly adapted from: Lovin' From the Oven

2-2/3 c. AP flour
2 t. baking powder
1 t. cinnamon
1/4 t. ground nutmeg
1 t. salt
2 c. brown sugar
1 c. softened butter
2 eggs, at room temperature
1 T. vanilla extract
1 T. white sugar
1 t. cinnamon

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Lightly grease a 9x13 pan.  Combine flour, baking powder, 1 t. cinnamon, 1/4 t. nutmeg, and salt.  Set aside.

In a large bowl, beat together butter and brown sugar for 3-5 minutes.  Add in the eggs one at a time, then the vanilla, and beat until smooth.

Stir in flour mixture until well blended.  Spread evenly in prepared pan.  Batter will be thick.  Combine the 1 T. white sugar and 1 t. cinnamon in a small bowl, evenly sprinkle over the top of the batter.

Bake 25-30 minutes.  Cool before cutting.