December Top 5

 

  1. Hope you all had happy holidays! Sometimes the holidays leave me more tired than when I started (but happy) so this new years weekend is my catch up rest weekend before starting the new year. No late night parties (low of 4 degrees here anyway for NYE) but PJs and a fireplace.
  2. My mom and I made homemade ravioli for Christmas dinner this year, and it actually worked!
  3. And made so much more. This time of year always re-invigorates my love for cooking.
  4. Well the month of December got away from me with blogging as it tends to do. My resolutions for 2019 are: to find an instagram aesthetic, go out and experience more of Denver, and cook and blog MORE.
  5. My 2018 resolution was to take better care of my skin. Many ultra trips later, I think I am successful if my adult hormonal acne would learn to check itself a bit more.

Sponsored Post Learn from the experts: Create a successful blog with our brand new courseThe WordPress.com Blog

WordPress.com is excited to announce our newest offering: a course just for beginning bloggers where you’ll learn everything you need to know about blogging from the most trusted experts in the industry. We have helped millions of blogs get up and running, we know what works, and we want you to to know everything we know. This course provides all the fundamental skills and inspiration you need to get your blog started, an interactive community forum, and content updated annually.

November Top 5

IMG_1290

  1. Thanksgiving! Hope everyone had a good Thanksgiving. I cooked N and I a full meal  and had significantly fewer mishaps than last year. So that is a success.
  2. So we had lots and lots of leftovers. So a truly successful holiday.
  3. We also did the Turkey Trot in Denver before our big meal. Perfect weather for a turkey hat to keep me warm.
  4. 95% of my holiday shopping is done. So now I can just enjoy the holiday season.
  5. In non-holiday related news, in the middle watching Real Housewives reruns (mostly New Jersey), I finally watched Brooklyn 99 and love it. Binged all the seasons pretty quickly and now need a new show to binge

Thanksgiving Quesadillas

IMG_1324

Still have leftovers taking up precious space in your fridge? I know my fridge is bursting to the seams since we made a full Thanksgiving dinner for just two of us. So lots of leftovers, and some complaints from the peanut gallery that they need something other than Thanksgiving food.

Enter quesadillas. Now, I am a #1 fan of the Thanksgiving sandwich, and you definitely need to make sure to eat one to several of those in the days after Thanksgiving. But this quesadilla is a nice way to mix up the traditional Thanksgiving flavors to make it feel like you are eating something different. You can also mix and match what you want to put inside the quesadillas for any picky eaters complaining about the leftovers…

IMG_1323

THANKSGIVING QUESADILLAS

INGREDIENTS

Leftover turkey (dark meat reigns supreme here)
Cranberry sauce*
Pepper jack cheese, shredded
Chopped onion
Salsa*
Gravy
Tortillas
Butter

DIRECTIONS

Place desired amounts of turkey, cranberry sauce, pepper jack cheese, onion, and salsa on on tortilla. Season with salt and pepper (especially the turkey).

Heat pan to medium heat. Melt butter and rotate pan to coat. Place tortilla with filling down and top with another tortilla on top. Press down. Cook until golden brown, for approximately 3 to 5 minutes. Flip and cook until cheese is melted and tortilla is golden brown, 3 to 5 minutes.

Slice quesadilla and top with gravy and additional salsa.

*Use the well gelled sections/whole cranberries from your cranberry sauce. If you use cranberry sauce that is too runny, your tortillas can get soggy. Same for salsa, chunkier salsa works better in this.

Cake Batter Cheesecake with Blondie Crust

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

So I browned butter before it was even a thing. Not to brag. It was an amazing, life-changing experience. I would wear perfume that smelled like browned butter.

How do you take a browned butter blondie and make it even better? Add cheesecake on top. And add some cake batter to that cheesecake. Oh yes. I have learned that trying new baking and cooking projects on the weekend helps to de-stress me after a week of work. So, yes this is a little bit involved, but sometimes some time spent in the kitchen, away from the computer and work, is just what we all need. Or if you are not a baker, just find a friend who is and suggest this cheesecake in passing in a conversation.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

CAKE BATTER CHEESECAKE WITH BLONDIE CRUST
Adapted from Teenage Taste & Cinnamon Freud

INGREDIENTS

For the Blondie Crust:
5 tablespoons butter
1 cup all purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 egg
1 egg yolk

For the Cake Batter Cheesecake:
16 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
3/4 cup granulated sugar
2 eggs, room temperature
1 egg yolk, room temperature
1/2 cup & 2 tablespoons milk
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup yellow cake mix
1/4 cup sprinkles

DIRECTIONS

For the Blondie Crust:

Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease a 9 inch baking pan.

In a large bowl combine flour, baking powder, and salt. In a small saucepan, melt butter over medium heat. Cook for 6-8 minutes, until butter is golden brown. Pour into bowl and let sit for at least 10 minutes. Whisk egg and egg yolk into brown butter. Pour on top of flour mixture. Stir together until just combined. Press into greased baking sheet. Bake for 7-8 minutes. Cool completely.

For the Cake Batter Cheesecake:

In a large bowl whip cream cheese until fluffy, about 2-3 minutes. Beat in sugar until incorporated. Beat in eggs, milk vanilla extract, and salt. Stir in yellow cake mix. Stir in sprinkles. Pour on to of cooled crust.

Place baking sheet in a 9 by 13 inch baking dish. Pour warm tap water about 3/4 inch deep into the larger baking pan. Bake for 30-40 minutes. Cool at room temperature for 30 minutes. Chill at least 3 hours, preferably over night. Cut into bars and serve.

Shake and Bake Chicken Nuggets

IMG_1182

What do you do when you are carving McDonald’s chicken nuggets but are trying to eat healthy? Apparently, get some shake and bake?!

I’ve never used Shake and Bake– my only experience comes from watching Charlie’s Angels, so I was skeptical at first, but this chicken nuggets tasted like a chicken nuggets! They may not be the “chicken” from McDonalds but it tastes pretty good and is healthier.

Quincy definitely approved.

IMG_1184

Get the recipe here!

October Top 5

IMG_1137

  1. FALL, FALL, FALL. This time of year I become pretty much 100% basic (minus pumpkin spice anything) but I love this time of year.
  2. Quincy and I do one football game a year (MSU v. Michigan), and the highlight this year was definitely the frito chili pie.
  3. We got a Costco membership a few months ago, and it is AMAZING. We went int the other day, and truly explore the store. So much stuff, and it’s hard not to buy stuff because I love a good deal.
  4. This was back in September but we went up to Estes Park for the elk’s rut/mating season, and elk were right there with us in the road. Super fun and definitely want to try and squeeze in a few hikes before it gets too cold.
  5. Being back at the blog! I have been cooking a lot but not documenting all my work, making it hard to find recipes I had done before, etc. So here we go again!

 

Lobster Mac and Cheese for Two

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Or fully known as: Lobster Mac and Cheese for Two People who Actually want a good portion size and not the skimpy “for two” portion sizes that are out there.

I have made a lot of mac and cheese, since it is a general crowd pleaser in this household, but this batch was perhaps one of my best yet. The cheese mixture is melty and gooey, and the panko breadcrumbs add a lovely crunch to the top. And lobster…that ain’t bad at all.

This is rich an decadent and easy to make for a nice romantic dinner on a certain holiday that is upcoming.

LOBSTER MAC AND CHEESE
From Cinnamon Freud

INGREDIENTS

4-5 lobster tails
Butter
1/2 cup macaroni noodles
4 tablespoons butter
4 tablespoons flour
1 3/4 cup milk
8 ounces sharp Cheddar, shredded
4 ounces emmental or gruyere cheesed
Salt and pepper
1/2 cup panko bread crumbs

DIRECTIONS

Preheat broiler.

Remove lobster meat from tails. Sautee with a little butter until lobster is cooked and tender. Set aside. Cook pasta al dente according to package instructions.

In a large pot, melt 4 tablespoons butter. Stir in flour and cook 1 minute, until boiling. Slowly whisk in milk. Remove from heat and stir in cheese until melted. Season with salt and pepper. Stir in pasta and lobster. Pour into 9 x 9 inch pan. Sprinkle panko on top. Broil until golden brown and bubbly, about 4-5 minutes.

January Top 5

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

  1. Back on the interview trail again for my fellowship next year. Traveling can be great and awful at the same time.
  2. I survived the icepocalypse of 2017 here in STL. The midwest is pushing me to want to move further south with each ice storm….
  3. Celebrated N’s birthday. His last 20’s birthday, so already thinking of something fun we can do next year.
  4. I am feeling a little more into Valentine’s Day this year than other pears. I have requested a bunch of silly chick flicks from the library and have some v-day sprinkles ready for baked goods.
  5. I found the best new PJs are Target, and I cannot ever convince myself to change out of them on the weekends.