Monday, March 27, 2017

Pizza on a Stick




Oh pizza. Pizza is such a big weakness for so many people—myself included. But it doesn’t always have to be completely unhealthy.

The recipe I came up with for pizza on a stick is low in fat and loaded with veggies.

As I’ve mentioned before on my blog, I am currently going to school to become a registered dietitian. And even though a lot of the recipes I share on my blog are desserts and other indulgent treats, I am very passionate about childhood nutrition.



I obviously don’t have any children of my own, but I’ve been around enough kids to understand the struggle parents face when trying to get them to eat nutritious foods.

Fortunately, there are certain “tricks” to making vegetables and other healthy foods more appealing. One way is to get kids involved with the preparation of the meal. This pizza on a stick recipe is a great way to do that because kids will enjoy sticking the veggies and meats onto the skewers.

Also, it’s a lot more enjoyable for kids to eat food off a stick rather than a pile on their plate. And as you can imagine, anything is infinitely more fun when you attach the word “pizza” to it.

This recipe would also be great as an appetizer for a party because you can grab one and eat it while standing up and chatting.



Pizza on a Stick
Yield: Makes 8 pizzas on a stick
Ingredients
  • 1 (13.8 ounce) tube refrigerated pizza dough
  • 16 cherry or grape tomatoes
  • 8 small mushrooms, sliced in half
  • 6 sausage links, cut in thirds
  • 1 (7-ounce) package pepperoni
  • 1 large red pepper, cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 1 large green pepper, cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 1 large onion, cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 2 teaspoons oregano
Directions
  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit; if you are using wooden skewers as opposed to metal skewers, soak them in cold water while you prepare the ingredients.
  2. Unroll pizza dough onto flat surface and use pizza cutter to cut dough lengthwise into 8 equal strips.
  3. Pierce 1 tomato, 1 mushroom, 1 sausage, 1 or a few pepperoni, 1 pepper, and 1 onion onto skewer. Repeat process so there are 2 of each on the skewer.
  4. Spiral-wrap dough around each skewer, securing in place by piercing dough on either end.
  5. Repeat process for each skewer until no pizza dough remains.
  6. Place skewers onto prepared baking and sprinkle mozzarella cheese and oregano on top.
  7. Bake in oven for 10 to 12 minutes, or until pizza dough begins to turn golden brown.
  8. Remove from oven and serve with pizza sauce or pesto.
 Recipe adapted from My Turn for Us





Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Slow Cooker Big Mac Dip




The Big Mac is an iconic American food consisting of "two all beef patties, special sauce, lettuce, cheese, pickles, onions on a sesame seed bun." And we all know the sauce is what makes the Big Mac so special.

For years, the sauce recipe was a big secret, but now if you search "Big Mac sauce recipe" online, it yields nearly two million results. It's the contrasting sweet and tangy flavors that make it taste so good. That's why I decided it would make a perfect dip!



Chips and dip are my favorite part of parties, and they're a great centerpiece for social interactions.

I decided to make this a slow cooker recipe for several reasons. If you use  a slow cooker, you don't need to do worry about prep work or mixing because everything just melts together. Also, you can take the slow cooker with you to the party to keep your dip warm.

This dip is thick and meaty and could double as a meal. Not necessarily a healthy meals. But a good splurge meal nonetheless.

I used tortilla chips as my dipper, but you can definitely use any kind of chip. Actually, I saw these dill pickle-flavored potato chips recently that I really want to try with it next!



Slow Cooker Big Mac Dip
Yield: Comfortably serves 6 to 8 people
Ingredients
  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 1 pound Velveeta 
  • 8 ounces Challenge cream cheese
  • 3 Roma tomatoes, diced and seeded 
  • 1/4 cup onion, diced (you can add more if you like a lot of onion)
  • 1/2 cup French dressing
  • 1/4 cup sweet pickle relish
  • 2 teaspoons white vinegar
Directions
  1. Brown ground beef in skillet and drain; add to slow cooker
  2. Cut Velveeta into small cubes and add to slow cooker
  3. Add cream cheese, tomatoes, French dressing, relish, and vinegar to slow cooker.
  4. Cover and cook on high for 1 hour or on low for about 3 hours
  5. Stir and serve with chips





Thursday, March 16, 2017

Easy treats with 3 ingredients or less for St. Patrick's Day



I've always loved holiday-themed desserts! They're just so cute, and they seem to make everyone happy. I recently realized that I didn't have any St. Patrick's Day recipes in my repertoire. So I decided to make a variety of cute and very easy treats for everyone's favorite Irish holiday! Each recipe is more like a craft than  dessert, and I guarantee they'll be a hit wherever you take them!



Leprechaun Hats
Ingredients
  • 1 (11.5 oz) package Keebler Fudge Stripes Original Cookies
  • 1 (10 oz.) bag large marshmallows
  • 2 cups dark chocolate
  • 1 cup green candy melts (or white chocolate with green food coloring)
Directions
  1. Dip marshmallow into melted chocolate and set on parchment paper until chocolate hardens.
  2. Dip one end of marshmallow into melted green candy melts and set on fudge striped cookie
  3. Let chocolate harden so marshmallow adheres to cookie and serve
End of the rainbow marshmallow treats
Ingredients
Directions
  1. In large saucepan melt butter over low heat. Add marshmallows, stir until completely melted, and remove from heat.
  2. Add Fruity Pebbles to marshmallow mixture and stir until fully combined.
  3. Coat 9x13 pan with nonstick spray and press mixture into pan.
  4. Let cool and cut into squares.
Gold coin Oreos
Ingredients
  • 1 package Oreos
  • 1 container Wilton Gold Color Mist Food Spray
Directions
  1. Place Oreos on parchment paper and spray with color mist
  2. Flip Oreos on opposite side and spray again



Shamrock pretzels
Ingredients
  • 1 bag tiny twist pretzels
  • 1 bag Rolos
  • Green M&Ms
Directions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit
  2. Arrange 3 pretzels into shape of shamrock on baking sheet
  3. Place unwrapped Rolo in center of pretzel shamrock
  4. Place in oven for about 3 minutes
  5. Press green M&M onto Rolo
  6. Let cool before serving


Tuesday, March 14, 2017

5-Ingredient S'mores Pie




Every week I try to think of new ways to attract readers and differentiate myself from other food bloggers. I know your free time is very valuable, and it really is an honor to me that you’re spending that time reading my blog.

One way I’ve been trying to differentiate myself is by sharing more of my personal experiences and thoughts. I could just write a few paragraphs about how yummy this s’mores pie—I mean, the pie is the reason you clicked on this blog post in the first place, right? But I kind of feel like that would be redundant. I wouldn’t post the recipe in the first place if I didn’t think it was delicious!

So instead, I want to spend the next few minutes talking about success. You see, exactly one year ago I saw success with my blog like I’ve never seen before. My video for Samoas Pie went viral, and it racked up nearly 10 million views on Facebook. I was on cloud 9. I immediately began to expect that level of success with every single recipe I published, and every video that didn’t go viral felt like a failure. I spent months trying to figure out the perfect formula for a popular post, but one year later, I still have no idea what exactly propelled that recipe to internet fame.

Also, I no longer feel like I “failed” every time one of my recipes doesn’t take off. I ditched my ego and reminded myself why I started this blog in the first place—to share my favorite recipes, not become “internet famous.” I spend hours and hours developing these recipes to give you the best experience possible when you try them. And I really hope you try them. If you do, please tell me and give me your feedback! I’m always trying to improve my content for my readers!

If you took the time to read all of that—THANK YOU! I appreciate you! Now, let’s talk pie! I wanted to make a super easy pie that you could memorize and keep in your repertoire.

Since there are only 5 ingredients in this s’mores pie, it is important that every ingredient you use is the best quality ingredient available.

The first step is the pie filling, aka chocolate ganache. Normally the ganaches is equal parts chocolate and cream and a little butter. But I added more chocolate because I wanted it to be thick like fudge! Use whatever chocolate you want, but as I mentioned earlier, I recommend using high-quality like Ghirardelli. I tried this pie with milk chocolate, dark chocolate, and a combination of the two. If you have a major sweet tooth, go for all milk chocolate. My personal preference is the combination.

Also, make sure to use a high-quality butter, like Challenge Dairy butter. Challenge butter is made with 100% real cream from local dairies, and you can really taste the difference in quality. There seems to be some debate over whether or not to use butter in ganache, but I think it makes the ganache richer and it doesn’t taste so flat, if you know what I mean.

Next step is to pour the ganache in a graham cracker crust. I used a store-bought crust for this. Why? Because it was on sale for $1.19, and I think Keebler’s crust tastes delicious. However if you prefer, you can use your favorite graham cracker crust recipe. After the ganache is in the crust, let it refrigerate for a few hours so it’s solid.

The third step is to add the marshmallows to the top of the pie. Lay the marshmallows flat on their side and add as many to the top of the pie that will fit. I used nearly an entire 10 oz. bag of large marshmallows. Once the pie is covered in marshmallows, stick it in the broiler until the tops of the marshmallows are golden brown. Be careful and watch the pie the entire time because it burns quickly. My perfect broiling time was 2 minutes, but it may take less time in your oven.

You can serve the pie right out of the oven when the marshmallows are gooey, but forewarning, it will be very difficult to cut! I recommend refrigerating the pie once again, and then cutting it.

If you’re looking for more pie recipes on Pi Day, check out this No-Bake Snickers Bar Pie, this Chocolate Pecan Pie, and this Pumpkin Cheesecake Pecan Pie!



5-Ingredient S’mores Pie
Yield: Serves about 10
Ingredients
  • 2 cups milk, dark or semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1/4 cup Challenge butter
  • 1 graham cracker pie crust
  • 1 (10 oz. bag) of large marshmallows
Directions
  1. Melt chocolate chips, heavy cream, and butter in microwave for 2 minutes; stir to combine.
  2. Pour chocolate mixture into pie crust and refrigerate 2 hours.
  3. Lay marshmallows on top of pie until it’s completely covered.
  4. Stick in broiler for 2 minutes or until marshmallows turn golden brown.


Thursday, March 2, 2017

Thin Mint Sheetcake Cookies


I want to preface this blog post by saying I love Girl Scout cookies. LOVE THEM. As you know by now, I was a Girl Scout (and top cookie seller, obviously), so I support their cause and buy one or two or six boxes each year.

I've made several Girl Scout-inspired recipes throughout the years (like my Samoas Pie and Samoas Brownies), but it recently occurred to me that I have never honored Thin Mints. How rude of me! Chocolate and mint are such an incredible flavor combination which is probably why Thin Mints were voted America's favorite Girl Scout cookie.

I decided to create a Thin Mint recipe of my own because as much as I like the boxed cookie, I wanted a softer version. I've never really been a fan of crunchy cookies, or cracker cookies as I like to call them.  I want something I can sink my teeth into. So I started checking out some recipes online to see how others replicated the classic cookie, but their recipes seemed like a lot of work. I didn't want something that required you to roll out the dough and use a cookie cutter because I feel like the extra work can deter people from making a recipe. So I developed a cookie dough that doesn't need to be rolled out or use cookie cutters.

Additionally, for the coating, I decided it would be best to use a recipe that could be poured over the cookies because it really is a pain to dip them.  I saw a lot of people just use melted chocolate for the coating, but in my opinion, that's not very flavorful or inspiring. So I came up with an icing that's rich and creamy and made even better by using Challenge butter.

Challenge Dairy uses 100% real cream so the flavor of the butter really stands out, and when you use it you'll see that it combines really well when you melt it together with the milk and cocoa powder. Challenge also uses hormone-free milk and there are not unnatural additives, so nothing stands in the way of the rich butter taste.

As you can see by my pictures, these cookies turn out thicker than the original, but that's because they're softer and chewier. -- just the way I like them. The flavor is really outstanding, and I'm so excited with how these turned out! I won't call these a copycat Thin Mint cookie because I don't want to step on the Girl Scouts' toes, but I will say these are a Thin Mint-inspired cookie that are so rich and addicting, you'll have people lining up to buy them!

Thin Mint Sheetcake Cookies
Yield: 12 cookies

Ingredients
For the Cookies
  • 1/2 cup Challenge butter, room temperature
  • 1/3 cup granulated sugar (67 grams)
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/2 teaspoon peppermint extract
  • 1 and 1/3 cup all-purpose flour* (167 grams)
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips, melted
For the Icing
  • 1/2 cup Challenge butter,
  • 2 Tablespoons cocoa powder
  • 3 Tablespoons milk
  • 1 teaspoon peppermint extract
  • 2 and 1/2 cups powdered sugar (315 grams)
Directions
For the Cookies
  1. Preheat oven to 350° Fahrenheit*
  2. Line baking sheet with parchment paper or silicone mat and set aside.
  3. In large bowl, beat butter and sugar together until light, about 2 minutes.
  4. Add egg, vanilla, and peppermint extract and continue mix slowly until incorporated.
  5. In a separate bowl, mix flour, baking powder, and salt.
  6. Slowly add dry ingredients to butter mixture and mix on low until just combined.
  7. In a microwave-safe bowl heat chocolate chips on high in 30-second intervals until melted, stirring every 30 seconds.
  8. Add melted chocolate directly to bowl with cookie dough and mix until combined.
  9. Scoop out dough in Tablespoon-sized mounds, roll into ball, and place on baking sheet.*
  10. Bake for 7 minutes; they'll still appear very soft on the inside -- that's okay.
  11. Let cool before coating with icing.
For the Icing
  1. Add butter, cocoa powder and milk to medium saucepan on medium heat, whisking until melted together.
  2. Remove saucepan from heat; stir in peppermint extract and whisk in powdered sugar.
  3. Pour icing over cookies and allow icing to set before serving (about 1 to 2 hours).
*Make this recipe gluten-free by replacing all-purpose flour with Cup4Cup Gluten-Free Flour.
*I baked these cookies below 3500 feet elevation.
* You can refrigerate dough for about 10  to 20 minutes first so it's easier to work with.





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