Friday, March 16, 2018

Shepherd’s Pie Potato Skins

Shepherd’s pie is just about the coziest of comfort foods you can imagine —meat, potatoes, gravy, and vegetables. It’s a staple in Irish cooking because the main ingredients are readily available, and it’s an economic way to use leftover ingredients. I can certainly attest this.

It was wonderful to be able to save money by using leftover ingredients already in my refrigerator for this week's recipe. Some of you may or may not know this, but I pay for all of the ingredients for my Kylee’s Kitchen recipes and segments on my own (with the exception of Challenge butter).

Depending on the recipe, it can get pretty expensive. So it was nice to be able to save a few bucks using leftover ingredients. In fact, this was actually one of the cheapest recipes I’ve created.
So if you’re looking for a hearty, tasty dish that’s inexpensive to make, definitely give this recipe a try!

Shepherd’s Pie Potato Skins
Yield: Makes 8 potato skins
For the filling
  • 1 pound ground beef or lamb
  • 1/2 yellow onion, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 (16 ounce) bag frozen peas and carrots (or about 2-3 cups fresh)
  • 1 cup beef stock
  • 1 (6 ounce) can tomato paste
  • 2 Tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 2 teaspoons oregano
  • 2 teaspoons thyme
  • 1 teaspoon pepper
For the potatoes
  • 8 large russet potatoes
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 4 Tablespoons Challenge butter, melted
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 2 teaspoons garlic powder
For the filling
  1. Add ground meat, onion, and garlic to large pan and cook over medium high heat until meat is browned and cooked
  2. Add remaining filling ingredients and stir to combine. Bring to simmer and continue to stir until meat mixture has thickened.
  3. Remove from heat 
For the potatoes
  1. Clean potatoes thoroughly and prick with fork about 5 times 
  2. Microwave potatoes for 10 minutes, rotating halfway through
  3. Cut off the tops of potatoes and scoop out center, making sure to leave the skin intact
  4. Dump scooped out potato in bowl; add milk, butter, salt, and garlic powder and mash until smooth
  5. Put mashed potatoes in piping bag with large tip
  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit
  2. Fill each “hollow” potato with filling, packing it down into potato
  3. Pipe mashed potatoes on top of filling
  4. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes; sprinkle with parsley if desired and serve
Recipe adapted from Recipe Tin Eats

Wednesday, March 7, 2018

Spring lasagna using seasonal vegetables

This is a sponsored post by Challenge Butter, but the text and opinions are all mine. Thank you for supporting brands that make Kylee's Kitchen possible!

I cannot stress enough the importance of eating seasonally and eating locally. First of all, fruits and vegetables are most flavorful when they’re in season. That’s because the produce is growing close to where you love, so it can be harvested at its peak when it is most flavorful. It’s not being harvested early and sitting in a shipping container awaiting a trip across the continent before reaching your table. Produce loses a substantial amount of taste when it ripens after it’s picked from the vine. Also, because the produce is being grown closer to where you live, you’re supporting local farmers by buying their products.

When talking about eating seasonally, I can’t neglect to point out the obvious — it’s significantly cheaper! I remember back in December I saw asparagus listed at $3.99 per pound. No wonder people think it’s expensive! But that’s just because it wasn’t in season. Asparagus is known as a spring vegetable, so of course it’s being shipped from somewhere far away in order for it to be available in December. But as asparagus season gets closer, this week I saw it as low aa $1.39 per pound. That’s a huge difference!

Speaking of asparagus, did you know that it’s actually one of the earliest crops available in Indiana. It’s season is from April to June. Spinach is also one of the earliest crops to pop up in the state. So in the spirit of eating seasonally, I decided to create a “Spring Lasagna” using both of those vegetables. It’s much lighter than a traditional red meat sauce lasagna. I think the lemon zest really brings out the flavor of the cheeses. I did not add meat to this lasagna because I haven’t shared any meatless recipes in a while, and I thought it was rich enough without meat. But if you are really dying to get that extra protein, I think pancetta sprinkled in between the layers would be delightful. Or also, you could add shredded chicken.

One last thing that’s important for me to note: I used oven-ready lasagna noodles. Why? Well, first of all, it’s easier, and you all know I opt for the route with less steps. And secondly, oven-ready lasagna noodles are generally thinner which contribute to this dish being lighter than most lasagna recipes.

Spring Lasagna
Yield: Serves about 9 people, depending how big you cut your slices
  • 12 ounces asparagus
  • 1/3 cup Challenge butter
  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 3 cups milk
  • 8 ounces Challenge cream cheese
  • 1 Tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon lemon zest
  • 1 teaspoon salt 
  • 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg 
  • 1/4 cup basil
  • 2 1/2 cups ricotta
  • 2 cups baby spinach
  • 1 1/2 cups mozzarella
  • 2 teaspoon Italian seasoning
  • 9 oven-ready lasagna noodles
  • 1/2 cup parmesan cheese
  1. Prepare asparagus by cutting off about the last inch of the stalk; proceed to cut asparagus into 1-inch pieces
  2. Microwave asparagus pieces in microwave-safe bowl for 3 minutes to make pieces more tender
  3. Separate asparagus tips from rest of asparagus pieces and set aside; this is because the tips are the “prettiest” part of the asparagus and they will be sprinkled on top in the final step
  4. Start making sauce by melting butter in large saucepan
  5. Add 1/2 cup flour and whisk for 1 minute to make a roux
  6. Add milk and whisk for about 10 minutes until sauce starts to thicken; do not let sauce boil
  7. Add cream cheese, lemon juice, lemon zest, salt, and nutmeg
  8. Stir in basil and set aside
  9. Make filling by mixing together ricotta, spinach, mozzarella, salt, and Italian seasoning; set aside
  10. Spray 9x13 pan and put a little sauce at bottom of pan before adding noodles
  11. Add 3 lasagna noodles over top of the sauce; followed by 1 cup of sauce. Spread sauce across noodles to coat evenly
  12. Add half of ricotta cheese mixture on top of sauce, and then add half of your asparagus pieces 
  13. Repeat the steps of this assembly one more time
  14. Finish by adding 3 lasagna noodles; 1 cup of sauce; parmesan; and asparagus tips
  15. Cover with aluminum foil and bake at 375 for 35 to 40 minutes

Thursday, March 1, 2018

Irish Cheddar Beer Soup

This is a sponsored post by Challenge Butter, but the text and opinions are all mine. Thank you for supporting brands that make Kylee's Kitchen possible!

Confession: I’ve never really been one to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day. Green is my least favorite color, so I don’t have any green clothing items and I always get pinched. Also, like I mentioned last week, I don’t drink, and I feel like that’s a big part of the holiday. So because I feel like I’ve neglected to celebrate it throughout the years, I decided to delve into the Irish cuisine and make something festive this year. This recipe is coming to you a little early because, to be completely honest, I thought St. Patrick’s Day was March 7 — not three weeks from now! Oh well! I hope you enjoy this Irish Cheddar Beer Soup! I’m telling you, what it lacks in nutritional value, it makes up for in taste!

Irish Cheddar Beer Soup
Yield: Makes about 8 cups of soup
  • 1 Tablespoon Challenge butter or bacon grease if you’re making bacon to garnish soup
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 3 cans (14.5 ounces) chicken broth
  • 16 ounces Irish beer
  • 1 pound cheddar cheese, shredded
  • 16 ounces Challenge cream cheese, cubed so it melts into the soup more easily
  • 2 Tablespoons dijon mustard
  • 1 Tablespoon Worcestershire sauce 
  • Optional: Crumbled bacon and green onions, if desired for topping
  1. Set a large pot over medium heat. Add butter, onion, and garlic, and sauté for for about 3 to 5 minutes, or until onion is translucent. 
  2. Sprinkle flour and cayenne pepper on top, and stir until everything is coated
  3. Pour the chicken broth and beer into pot and bring to boil
  4. Add cheddar cheese, cream cheese, dijon mustard and Worcestershire sauce to broth. 
  5. Whisk to melt the cheese and break up the cream cheese cubes. Continue to whisk at simmer until soup is completely smooth and slightly thickened, or about 10 minutes. 
  6. Garnish with bacon and green onions if desired.

Thursday, February 22, 2018

No-Bake Margarita Pie

This is a sponsored post by Challenge Butter, but the text and opinions are all mine. Thank you for supporting brands that make Kylee's Kitchen possible!

Some of you may know this about me already, but I don't drink alcohol. My parents don't drink, and I've never cared for the taste of it. Not to mention alcohol has a lot of empty calories. I've always said I would rather eat my calories than drink them, which I'm sure is not shocking after reading this blog.

You may be wondering why I would write about this in a post for a recipe titled "Margarita Pie." I thought it was appropriate to bring up because I want to make it clear that this recipe is enjoyable for both drinkers and nondrinkers. It can also be modified to include alcohol if that's something you enjoy.

I'm also including this "disclaimer" because I know my high school-age cousins and her friends read my blog (or at least they tell me they do), so it's important to me that none of my recipes exclude them.

Now, while we're on the topic of margaritas, can I just say how proud I am of the fact that I came up with this slogan for this pie (or maybe it's a saying, not a slogan): "Drink your margarita, and eat it too! I don't know if it's ever been said before. I'm not Googling it to find out. I just know that I came up with it using my own brain cells, so I'm claiming ownership.

No-Bake Margarita Pie
  • 8 ounces Challenge cream cheese
  • 7-ounces sweetened condensed milk (this is half of normal-sized can, which is why it looks like such an odd number)
  • 8 ounces margarita mix*
  • Optional: 2 Tablespoons to 1/4 cup tequila
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 8 ounces whipped topping, thawed
  • Zest of three limes
  • 1 prepared graham cracker crust
  1. In a large bowl, beat cream cheese until smooth, about 2 or 3 minutes
  2. Add condensed milk and cream until smooth; do the same with the margarita mix, optional tequila and salt
  3. Spoon in the whipped topping and lime zest and beat to combine
  4. Add mixture to graham cracker pie crust and smooth top
  5. Place in freezer for 4 to 6 hours or overnight
  6. Garnish with additional whipped topping and more lime zest if desired
*Notes: If you choose to add the optional tequila, I recommend reducing the amount of margarita mix to 6 ounces.

Tuesday, February 13, 2018

Celebrate Mardi Gras with King Cake Monkey Bread

This is a sponsored post by Challenge Butter, but the text and opinions are all mine. Thank you for supporting brands that make Kylee's Kitchen possible!

Are you all aware of how extremely difficult it is to find a tiny plastic baby in central Indiana the week before Mardi Gras? I started looking for a tiny baby over a week ago when I decided to make this King Cake Monkey Bread for Fat Tuesday. This obviously isn't a traditional King Cake, but I still wanted to stick a tiny plastic baby in the center just for fun. I even looked on Amazon, but I couldn't get any delivered before the holiday. They were all going to ship on February 15. What good does that do anyone? No one needs a tiny plastic baby after Fat Tuesday. My mom suggested that I make a tiny baby, which was a very... unique idea. But I was not up for the task. So that's the story as to why there is no tiny baby in this cake. All of you are "kings" or "queens" anyway. You don't need to get a tiny plastic baby in your slice of cake to tell you that!

King Cake Monkey Bread
For the Monkey Bread
  • 1/2 cup Challenge butter, melted
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1 (8-ounce) package Challenge cream cheese
  • 1/2 cup powdered sugar
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 2 (12-ounce) cans refrigerated biscuits (10 count)
For the icing
  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 Tablespoon milk, add more if too thick
  • Purple, green, and yellow sprinkles
For the Monkey Bread
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Spray a bundt pan with nonstick cooking spray. 
  2. Mix melted butter and brown sugar; set aside. 
  3. Cream together cream cheese, powdered sugar, and vanilla 
  4. Press the biscuits out with your fingers and scoop 1 teaspoon cream cheese into center, wrapping and sealing the dough around the cream cheese. 
  5. Place the prepared biscuits in the pan. 
  6. Pour the melted butter mixture over the biscuits.
  7. Bake for 35 to 40 minutes. 
  8. Remove from the oven and cool for 5 minutes. Place a plate on top and invert.
For the icing
  1. Mix together powdered sugar and milk to make icing and drizzle on top of monkey bread.
  2. Sprinkle with purple, green and yellow and sprinkles.

Wednesday, February 7, 2018

Valentine's Day desserts for 2 people

This is a sponsored post by Challenge Butter, but the text and opinions are all mine. Thank you for supporting brands that make Kylee's Kitchen possible!

It kills me when people say they aren’t very good at baking. Can you follow instructions? If the answer is yes, then I believe you can be a successful baker. You see, baking ingredients and directions should be followed with the same care as a TV stand from IKEA.

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve received emails from viewers telling me, “Hey this didn’t work.” When I inquire about their process, most always they tell me about a substitution they made or a step they skipped.

You cannot make substitutions without seeing an impact on the final product.

Unlike cooking where you can add a little more seasoning here, and substitute chicken for beef there, baking is a science, people! And what’s great about that is if you follow the directions and use the right ingredients, the end result should be the same every single time.

I wanted to bring this up on this particular blog post as a form of encouragement to any first-time bakers who may be attempting to treat their Valentine with a special dessert.

Red Velvet Cookie Skillet for 2
Yield: Serves 2 people or one really hungry person
  • 3/4 cups all purpose flour (90 grams)
  • 3 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder (16 grams)
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 cup Challenge butter, melted
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar (106 grams)
  • 1  egg yolk
  • 1/2 tablespoon milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • Red food coloring, about 1/4 teaspoon
  • 1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. Mix together flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.
  3. Mix together butter, brown sugar, egg yolk, milk, vanilla extract, and red food coloring. 
  4. Slowly mix in the dry ingredients until just combined.
  5. Stir in chocolate chips.
  6. Press dough into small, 6-inch skillet
  7. Bake for 15-20 minutes; remove from oven and serve warm with ice cream.

Peanut Butter Chocolate Lava Cakes for 2
Yield: Makes 2 servings
  • 2 Tablespoons peanut butter
  • 1 Tablespoon powdered sugar
  • 1/2 Tablespoon Challenge butter, melted
  • 3 ounces dark chocolate
  • 1/4 cup Challenge butter, room temperature
  • 1/2 cup powdered sugar (63 grams)
  • 1 egg and 1 egg yolk, room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 3 tablespoons flour (24 grams)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Prepare 6-ounce ramekins by greasing them well with butter or non-stick cooking spray.
  2. Combine peanut butter, 1 Tablespoon powdered sugar, 1/2 Tablespoon melted butter and set aside.
  3. Melt chocolate and butter in microwave bowl for 1 minute. If chocolate is not smooth after 1 minute, continue to melt in microwave at 15-second intervals.
  4. Add powdered sugar, egg, egg yolk, and vanilla to bowl, and mix until smooth.
  5. Add flour and salt mix until just combined.
  6. Evenly distribute 2/3 batter between two ramekins. Divide peanut butter mixture in two and drop in center of each lava cake. Top with remaining cake batter.
  7. Place ramekins on baking sheet so they’re easier to remove from oven.
  8. Bake between 12 to 14 minutes.
  9. Remove from oven and let cake sit for 1 to 2 minutes.
  10. Run pairing knife along edges of ramekin to loosen cake.
  11. Invert cake onto plate by placing plate upside down on top of ramekin and flipping the cake so that the plate is on bottom and the cake is upside down on top.
  12. Tap the ramekin a few times and then lift straight up.
  13. Garnish with berries, whipped cream, or ice cream and serve immediately.

Tuesday, January 30, 2018

Mini Philly Cheesesteak Sandwiches for the Super Bowl

This is a sponsored post by Challenge Butter, but the text and opinions are all mine. Thank you for supporting brands that make Kylee's Kitchen possible!

It’s 2:30 in the morning on a Tuesday, and I am crying uncontrollably. Why? Because onions. I love onions so much, but my eyes just can’t handle cutting them. I have tried every trick in the book, but nothing alleviates the burning sensation that takes over my eyeballs immediately after cutting through one. Sometimes I buy the pre-chopped onions at the grocery store just because I am unable to mentally prepare for the pain, but it’s like $3 more. And I needed a lot of onions for today’s recipe.

(Fun fact: The style of cutting onions in long strips is called Lyonnaise, named after the city Lyon in France)

As you all know, the Philadelphia Eagles are joining Tom Brady and his crew in Minneapolis for the Super Bowl. So I thought it would be appropriate to make Philly cheesesteak sandwiches in honor of the Eagles.

The Philly cheesesteak consists of (you guessed it) steak, green pepper, and onion. I wanted to make it as easy as possible, so I put everything on one baking sheet, and it turned out great. I think this method would also be good for steak fajitas as well.

Once the filling was prepared, I stuffed it into mini croissants with provolone cheese; placed them in a baking dish; brushed Challenge butter on top; and stuck it back in the oven for a few minutes until the cheese was melted. Delicious and easy!

Mini Philly Cheesesteak Sandwiches
Yield: Makes about 12 mini sandwiches
  • 1/4 cup Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 3 Tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1.5 pound skirt steak or ribeye steak
  • 2 green peppers, thinly sliced
  • 1 yellow onion, thinly sliced
  • 12 croissants
  • 12 slices provolone cheese
  • 1/4 cup Challenge butter, melted
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit
  2. Combine Worcestershire sauce, olive oil, and soy sauce and set aside
  3. Place steak in center of baking sheet; add pepper and onion to baking sheet without covering steak
  4. Pour sauce mixture over everything, making sure to rub it into the steak
  5. Bake for about 15 minutes or until the center of the steak is no longer bright pink
  6. Cut steak into small pieces
  7. Split open croissant and add one piece of cheese and steak / veggie mixture; place in baking pan and continue with remaining croissants
  8. Brush melted butter on top of each croissant and place back in oven for 5 minutes or until cheese is melted and serve warm
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