Lettuce Be Healthy has a recipe for the once carbo-licious pancake, Paleo style!  Her Pumpkin Paleo Pancakes use gluten-free, healthy ingredients that make this breakfast favorite guilt-free.

 

Kim Lam has a few different versions of the recipe and we hunted them down.

 

To see the differences, take a peek at the chart below:

Paleo Pancake Recipes

 

To see the instructions that we followed,

click HERE for Recipes #1 and #2,

and HERE for Recipe #3.

 

If you’re like Maren, and start sweating when you hear the word “Paleo”, click here for a great introduction by Irena over at Eat, Drink, Paleo.

 

Reviewer #1 – Sheri

Mission: These little babies just sounded so delish I had to try them. Hearing that they were “Paleo” made me feel a whole lot better about eating pancakes.

Details:

I followed the instructions provided by Turtlewoman (aka Kim Lam). What I really loved about her post was how she explained the benefits of each ingredient. I also went with Recipe #1.

  • It took me quite a while to find Coconut Flour, but then remembered that a local store carried a ton of Bob’s Red Mill’s products. Sure enough, they had it!
  • I realized I didn’t have any Pumpkin Pie Spice so I just added a little extra Cinnamon.

Tips & Tricks Learned:

Step 2 states: “Then whisk the wet ingredients in a separate bowl: eggs, coconut oil, apple cider vinegar, maple syrup and pumpkin puree.” I believe that is “Maple Syrup” is supposed to be the milk. The Maple Syrup is for drizzling on top.

I first tried making the pancakes in my stainless steel skillet with melted Coconut Oil on the bottom of the pan, but flipping them was a challenge. I then tried my electric griddle set at 350° and it worked much better.

The consistency of the batter was different than traditional pancake batter. You have to sort of shape your pancakes.

I found that letting them cook a few minutes to the point where they were nearly cooked through on the first side made them easier to flip. There was some trial and error for the first couple.

We Tried It - Pumpkin Paleo Pancakes!

Pros:

Such a healthy recipe and delicious.

Cons:

Just the flipping challenge, which I was able to tackle.

We Tried It - Pumpkin Paleo Pancakes!

Conclusion:

These pancakes were delicious! My husband loved them. Unfortunately between the two of us we ate them all and didn’t save any for the kids. Ooops!

I certainly love that fact that they are packed with fiber and protein and rarely any carbs or sugar. They’re a winner in my book.

I’m thinking of taking this recipe and swapping the pumpkin puree for some smashed bananas! I think my kids would LOVE them!

Reviewer #2 – Sarah

Mission: To try another paleo breakfast recipe to add to my cookbook! I love eating Paleo and eat that way most of the time. I made the switch about two years ago and have never felt better!!

Details:

Tips & Tricks Learned:

I scooped a heaping spoonful of batter for each pancake and smoothed it out a bit as directed to thin them out.

I ended up getting eight pancakes out of the batter.  This was enough to feed myself, my kiddos, plus have a few left over.

The pancakes are a little tricky to flip. I just couldn’t get my spatula underneath of them very well. Since this batter doesn’t bubble up like a “normal” pancake, I waited about three minutes before I flipped them and that seemed perfect!

We Tried It - Pumpkin Paleo Pancakes!

Pros:

This recipe was fairly easy to prepare and all the ingredients are easy to find.

Plus, if you live a Paleo lifestyle, you will have most of these ingredients on-hand already. And, they were very tasty when done!

Cons:

There was definitely some skill needed to flip these pancakes!

With their spongy consistency, they never really got firm and it made them somewhat hard to flip.

We Tried It - Pumpkin Paleo Pancakes!

Conclusion:

I really liked these pancakes! They were easy to make, had a nice texture to them and were very tasty! I served them with sliced bananas and sausage links.

I will definitely make these again. They would be super tasty in the fall with a pumpkin spice latte!

Reviewer #3 – Kristy

Mission: I love trying new Paleo recipes especially breakfast ones as I get bored with eating eggs every morning!  A little twist for my hubby, too!

Details:

Tips & Tricks Learned:

The directions made it sound so easy, but my dropping of the batter into the pan was not an easy task!  I attempted to use a spoon to smooth the batter out and it kept sticking to the spoon so with my figures and spoon, I did the best I could.

Cook on low as I found the outside was cooking a lot faster than the interior of my pancake.

Beware of popping seeds! Yes siree, my husband and I thought we had blown up the house!  I had covered the pancakes with a lid to allow the interior to cook, by doing so it must have overheated a flax seed and BOOM, our hearts skipped a beat with the loud pop!

We Tried It - Pumpkin Paleo Pancakes!

Pros:

Hmmm…used pumpkin that has high levels of Vitamin C and antioxidants!?!

Cons:

Not a lot of flavor and a bit on the dry side.

Tricky to spoon onto the pan, may need a little practice.

We Tried It - Pumpkin Paleo Pancakes!

Conclusion:

I am a fan of many Paleo recipes but one wasn’t my favorite.

The recipe seemed to be simple to follow and the pictures seemed so tasty on the blog!  Maybe I missed a step?  You all know, I am not always the best at following instructions!

Reviewer #4 – Amanda

Mission: I have been eating clean for a couple of months now and pancakes have been sparse. I am a pumpkin lover so these looked right up my alley!

Details:

  • I went with Recipe #1.
  • I did not have any organic pumpkin puree so I went with a can of Libby’s that I had on hand.
  • I also only ended up using about an ⅛ of a cup of Almond Milk as my batter was just a little thick but didn’t call for the entire ¼ per the recipe.
  • I currently use Bob’s Red Mill Coconut Flour and it works fine for me. Amazon is a great resource for specialty flours and I find their prices to be much better than what I can get locally.

Tips & Tricks Learned:

BE PATIENT! I turned a couple too soon and they ended up a pile of batter.

Also, don’t add the almond milk right away. Chances are you will not need all of it. Mix your ingredients then let them sit for a few minutes while your pan heats. You will know at that point if you need more.

We Tried It - Pumpkin Paleo Pancakes!

Pros:

Great flavor! I liked the combination of spices and the pumpkin.

The texture is pretty typical for a Paleo recipe so someone that is new to cooking this way may find it a little grainy but for those of us who eat minimal carbs it doesn’t phase us!

Cons:

The recipe has a lot of ingredients but very little of each.

I felt I could have used less Maple Syrup. ¼ of a cup seemed like a lot.

We Tried It - Pumpkin Paleo Pancakes!

Conclusion:

I really liked these and may play around with the flour a bit. Maybe a combination of Coconut Flour and Almond Flour would make for a better texture that is a little sturdier.

All in all I will definitely be making these again!


The lovely
Pumpkin Paleo Pancakes and photo by Lettuce Be Healthy

We Tried Them!  Pumpkin Paleo Pancake


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Budget Gourmet Mom has a sweet twist on an Easter dinner essential with her Orange Bunny Rolls. She even offers a lime option, too!

With Easter right around the corner, we hopped right to it!

 

Please click here to visit Budget Gourmet Mom and see the instructions that we followed!

 

 

Alicia - TCCReviewer #1 – Alicia

Mission: Easter is just around the corner and these little pastries are so darn cute.  Why not?!

 

Details:

Make sure you read and re-read the directions. It can be a bit overwhelming to look at but not bad once you get started.

  • I decided to go with the Cinnamon and orange route, as I did not have Cardamom on hand.

Tips & Tricks Learned:

When warming the milk concoction, be sure to use softened butter. I made the mistake of using cold butter and I left it on low heat to melt. In reading the directions, this mix should have reached 120 degrees to 130 degrees. Using a candy thermometer is very helpful as my mix reached nearly 145 degrees. Whoops! I waited for this to cool before adding to dry mixture with eggs. Scrambled eggs or curdling is not what I am shooting for. Ha!

As far as measuring the dough to a specific 14×10 inch rectangle and all the jazz. I totally eyeballed it. I am all about making my life easy.

Keep your flour out because the dough can get sticky

We Tried It - Orange Bunny Rolls!

Pros:

Fun idea and the kids liked the end result!

Cons:

No cons really – just that the whole process of waiting for the dough to rise can be time consuming.

We Tried It - Orange Bunny Rolls!

Conclusion:

So my bunnies turned out good, but not great!

They are delicious when first out of the oven with the glaze on top and the orange gave it a really nice flavor.  The next day though, not as great – so be sure that you eat them up right away!

I am not 100% sure I would make them again as there were quite a few steps and my kids tend to get bored after about 15 minutes!

 

 

Reviewer #2 – Amanda

Mission: I thought these rolls were too cute to pass up. I am also a sucker for baked goods of all varieties, especially the themed kind.

 

Details:

  • I chose Allspice over Cardamom simply for the fact that is what I had in my pantry.
  • To make quick work of zesting my fruit I used my handy Microplane Grater similar to this one!
  • Although the recipe suggested using a hand mixer and kneading by hand I busted out my KitchenAid Mixer. It is like having a room full of minions do your work while you sit back and sip mimosas (I imagine that is what you would drink while minions do your work).

Tips & Tricks Learned:

Not sure where things went wrong but my bunnies were not as pretty and perfect as shown in the post.

I found it hard to roll my snakes out without making them look all rough. You definitely want to cut your pieces long enough. I made only the small bunnies and even those seemed mammoth.

We Tried It - Orange Bunny Rolls!

Pros:

These are REALLY delicious and fresh tasting thanks to the fruit juice/zest and the fluffy dough.

My kids loved them!

Cons:

I found the recipe to be a little fussy, plus I failed miserably to achieve the adorable bunnies when all was said and done.

That is no fault of Krista from Budget Gourmet Mom! This epic fail was all me.

We Tried It - Orange Bunny Rolls!

Conclusion:

The end result was really great but I think next time I will stress less about the shape and simply turn these into rolls.

The flavor will be the same minus the fluff. Get it? Like bunny fluff! That’s all folks!

 

 

Reviewer #3 – Kristy

Mission: I have been on a big citrus kick lately so combining oranges for these cute bunnies was a no brainer! And a great project to practice for my future kiddos!

 

Details:

  • I made a couple of modifications with Allspice, tangerine peel and orange juice.
  • I got to break out my favorite kitchen appliance, my KitchenAid Mixer, and my new Zester which worked like a charm for the tangerine rind.
  • I goofed on following instructions as usual, I ended up making 2 extra-large bunnies and only 3 small bunnies!

Tips & Tricks Learned:

I don’t have a Rolling Pin so a straight-sided glass cylinder vase worked perfectly for the dough!

I also used wax paper for rolling out dough onto flour for super easy clean up.

Cutting the dough was a cinch by using my Pizza Cutter!

I used aluminum foil under my cooling racks to catch the leftover icing from icing the bunnies and for more easy clean-up.  A spoon worked best for drizzling the icing on the hot out of the oven bunnies!

We Tried It - Orange Bunny Rolls!

Pros:

Pretty easy to follow and taste great!  Love the variations you could make!

Cons:

It may take a while to get those cute bunny ears!

We Tried It - Orange Bunny Rolls!

Conclusion:

Perfect for a holiday tradition by allowing kids to cook, too!

My taste testers were my office co-workers and my husband, who all gave a big thumbs up for this recipe.  Simple, yet delicious!

 

 

Reviewer #4 – Sarah

Mission: To make these darling bunny rolls for our little cuties and their cousins for cousin weekend! I have not made any form of bread in quite awhile, so I knew I’d be rusty going into this one.

Details:

I didn’t have Cardamom, but I found a tip online that noted to substitute equal parts Cinnamon and Nutmeg together. I had both of those on-hand, so that was the route I went and it worked well!

Tips & Tricks Learned:

I didn’t realize I was short powdered sugar until I had the bunnies baking and I needed to prep the glaze!

I only had ¼ cup on hand, so I used: ¼ cup powdered sugar, 1 tsp. fresh squeezed lime juice, 1 tsp. lime peel, 1 T. milk. It made just enough glaze to cover the little bunny rolls, which was just what I needed!  Phew!

We Tried It - Orange Bunny Rolls!

Pros:

Was fairly easy to prepare the dough and the rise time was perfect for clean up time.

Overall, I really enjoyed making these and I really loved the lime and cardamom flavor. I just may have to try the orange flavor next!

Cons:

I was surprised to see that some of the bunny rolls did not maintain their shape while baking. But, it sure didn’t change the taste!

We Tried It - Orange Bunny Rolls!

Conclusion:

These bunny rolls are adorable and will be perfect to serve at Easter brunch!

We served them at lunchtime with the rest of the meal for our little kiddos and their cousins. Out of the seven of them, three really loved these and the others thought they were so-so. I had no problem downing a few of the left over ones myself!

 

 

Reviewer #5 – Sheri

Mission: Well these little bunnies were just too cute not to try! Look at those little tails, seriously! I really thought my children would get a kick out of them.

 

Details:

  • The original recipe called for either Cardamom or Allspice.  I went with Allspice.
  • Based on my learning experience with the Pull Apart Cinnamon Sugar Pumpkin Bread, I made sure that the room was nice and warm for the dough to rise.
  • I’m always nervous about screwing up the recipe; adding too much or too little.  While I was concentrating on adding the remaining flour to the dough to get that soft consistency, I was so worked up that I completely forgot to add the orange juice! Fail.
  • I let the kids help with making the bunnies. They thoroughly enjoyed putting the little bunny tails on. Unfortunately I didn’t get any pictures because my hands were covered in flour.
  • Into the oven they went and I hoped they would turn out okay. They were a little “plump” so I baked them a little bit longer.
  • For some reason my Confectioners Sugar was a little lumpy, so the glaze didn’t come out so well.

Tips & Tricks Learned:

I highly recommend a Microplane Grater to get a nice fine grate.

Also, I would have used my Mixer and dough hook had I thought ahead. Although mixing with a wooden spoon provided a good arm workout.

We Tried It - Orange Bunny Rolls!

Pros:

They were really super cute.

Cons:

My kids weren’t too crazy about the flavor.

The allspice was a little overpowering, which might not have been the case if I had remembered the darn orange juice.

We Tried It - Orange Bunny Rolls!

Conclusion:

Overall these are really cute. Of course mine didn’t come out picture perfect like the ones displayed, but then again I’m a novice baker when it comes to dough.

The kids had fun making them, but weren’t too crazy about eating them. I think that would have been different if I had remembered the orange juice! Duh!

I may try making these adorable bunnies with my aunt’s egg biscuit recipe which I know they will enjoy!

 
 

We Tried It - Orange Bunny Rolls!


The darling and very tasty
Orange Bunny Rolls and photo by Budget Gourmet Mom

 


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Dinners, Dishes & Desserts has a great new take on a family favorite!  The Roasted Garlic, Chicken & White Herb Pizza has a bold flavor with the homemade tastiness we all love.

 

You had us at pizza!

 

Please click here to visit Dinners, Dishes & Desserts and see the instructions that we followed!

 

 

Reviewer #1 – Maren

Mission: Pizza from scratch.  Those are scary words.  I am still learning about making bread dough, so the thought of encountering it makes me nervous.  But I do love pizza, so this just may be the push that I needed!

Details:

  • I made Fail-Proof Pizza Dough from Lauren’s Latest, except I accidentally added 2 Tbsp of salt instead of 2 Tsp… more on that later.
  • To save time, I used rotisserie chicken.
  • I went a little heavy on the mozzarella.  I love cheese!
  • We have a baking stone, but it was way too small.  I just used a large baking sheet instead.

Tips & Tricks Learned:

Watch that flour!  The second it even looks like it’s going to firm up, get it off that heat and add your cheese.

To melt my mountain of cheese, I broiled the pizza on the top rack for a couple minutes.

I don’t eat a whole lot of meat.  I think that this pizza would be terrific as veggie-only; maybe add some mushrooms and tomatoes!

Thank goodness my husband and I both love onions and garlic.  We can’t get enough over here!

We Tried It - Roasted Garlic, Chicken and Herb Pizza - Yum!

Pros:

A great combination!  Rich flavors and oh so garlic-y!

Cons:

Oh my god the salt… My measurement blunder nearly killed the pizza.

My salt-loving husband didn’t mind, but I ended up eventually picking the toppings off and eating them without the crust!

We Tried It - Roasted Garlic, Chicken and Herb Pizza - Yum!

Conclusion:

Yum!  I’m glad that I gave this recipe a try.  Homemade pizza is not as scary as I had built it up to be!
The sauce was delish, too!  I’m looking forward to playing a little more with this recipe in the future.

 

 

Reviewer #2 – Kristy

Mission: Mike and I love making homemade pizzas, we typically make sausage and pepperoni, so this is a twist!

 

Details:

  • I used Udis Gluten Free Pizza Crusts instead of making my own. 
  • Almond flour was substituted for all-purpose flour.
  • Substituted dried parsley for fresh, didn’t have fresh on hand.
  • Used minced bottle of garlic instead of fresh.

Tips & Tricks Learned:

Watch the flour so it doesn’t burn when cooking!

Check the caps are secure on your spices…you can see I had a little oops with my parsley in the picture!

I broiled on high to get the fresh mozzarella bubbly and golden for a few minutes.

We Tried It - Roasted Garlic, Chicken and Herb Pizza - Yum!

Pros:

Easy to make and a twist on our traditional pizzas!

Cons:

Lots of garlic, I wonder if fresh garlic would taste a bit better!

We Tried It - Roasted Garlic, Chicken and Herb Pizza - Yum!

Conclusion:

Mike’s first word after his first bite, “Wow”! He said there was a lot of garlic but he loved it more than our traditional pepperoni and sausage pizza.  I prefer the traditional, I am not a fan of chicken on my pizza! Ha!

Overall, success…this is perfect for get-togethers!  Simply cut in squares and serve up as appetizers!

 

 

Reviewer #3 – Amanda

Mission: This adult version of pizza really appealed to my taste buds as our house is often catered to the kiddos.

 

Details:

  • I used some rotisserie chicken I had in my freezer from a visit at Sam’s Club where I stocked up and prepped for the busy upcoming holiday season. It works great for recipes like this!
  • I started by whipping up a batch of No Fail Pizza Dough  from Lauren’s Latest which has quickly become my go-to dough recipe as it is always good and couldn’t be easier.
  • Once I had the dough mixed up and raising I popped the garlic in the oven to roast. It is such a simple method and really gets your mouth watering because as it cooks it fills the house with the delicious, warm aroma of garlic. YUM!

Here is a simple how-to if you haven’t roasted garlic before.

  • We Tried It - Roasted Garlic, Chicken and Herb Pizza - Yum!I had all the ingredients on hand minus the fresh herbs. Since the recipe does call for some of the herbs to be fresh vs. dried.

I wanted to be sure I was using the right amount so I went to Martha for a little advice on how to convert. If the recipe calls for a tablespoon of fresh herbs then you would use a teaspoon since there are 3 teaspoons in a tablespoon.

Tips & Tricks Learned:

Don’t over cook the sauce. Nothing worse than burnt dairy!

Rotisserie chicken is a real time saver – use it.

Dried herbs were totally fine but fresh is always best so if you have the means splurge.

We Tried It - Roasted Garlic, Chicken and Herb Pizza - Yum!

Pros:

This pizza was even better the next day!

I am planning to make it again for a belated holiday party for friends. I am certain it will be a hit.

Cons:

I really don’t think there are any.

This is a simple pizza with a more complex flavor than your average pepperoni and sausage pie!

We Tried It - Roasted Garlic, Chicken and Herb Pizza - Yum!

Conclusion:

Be daring and give this a try. I promise your adult taste buds will thank you!

 

 

Alicia - TCCReviewer #4 – Alicia

Mission: You had me at pizza- seriously! My two favorite things in this world is pizza and cheese.

 

Details:

I am so glad this recipe did not call for homemade crust. Anything with yeast and dough rising is not my bag of tea. It always fails and falls flat- no joke.

  • I found this delicious, ready to bake pizza dough from Trader Joes for like $2 bucks.

The rest of the ingredients and recipe were fairly simple to follow.

  • To save time, I used Tyson grilled and ready chicken breasts from the freezer section (not too shabby and the flavor was good).
  • Added black olives

Tips & Tricks Learned:

Getting the pre-made dough out of the darn bag was the death of me. It was stuck like glue. You needed arms of a blacksmith to get it out. Flour is your best friend here.

Also, be sure that when sauté the garlic, keep an eye on it. I tend to get distracted when I cook and almost had a burned mess on my hands.

I would strongly recommend using a baking stone. We got one as a wedding present 10 years ago and I never used it and eventually sold it in a garage sale. I am now kicking my own ass for selling it. What was I thinking??!!

We Tried It - Roasted Garlic, Chicken and Herb Pizza - Yum!

Pros:

This garlic cream sauce tastes like heaven.

Cons:

The cream sauce can be tedious to put together.

We Tried It - Roasted Garlic, Chicken and Herb Pizza - Yum!

Conclusion:

My hubby does not like pizza. WHAT THE?! Who is this person and how did we ended up together because it is my favorite.  It was DELICIOUS.  Worth noting: my desert island choices would be pizza, cheese and something carbonated with caffeine.

It takes a little time to make and come together but totally worth it.

 

We Tried It - Roasted Garlic, Chicken and Herb Pizza - Yum!


The oh-so-yummy
Roasted Garlic, Chicken & White Herb Pizza and it’s photo by Dinners, Dishes & Desserts

 


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Movita Beaucoup has a great addition for your Irish feast that won’t interfere with your parade plans!
Her Slow Cooker Beef Stew is a stick-to-your-bones recipe sure to please the meat and potato lovers in your life.

 

This simple twist of an old favorite had us at “slow cooker,” so you can bet we were ready to dive right in!

 

Please click here to visit Movita Beaucoup and see the instructions that we followed!

 

 

Reviewer #1 – Sarah

Mission: To whip up this crock pot stew for a warm and yummy dinner!

 

Details:

As I’ve mentioned before, I love crock pot cooking – it’s low mess, low maintenance and recipes cooked in the crock pot usually turn out tasty. I liked this recipe right away for it’s minimal ingredients; most of the items are things I typically have in my pantry and fridge.

  • I did all the chopping prep of my vegetables the night before and then started again early in the morning (I was up extra early due to my youngest cutting her teeth). I first heated up my pan and cut up the beef roast for browning. Once that step was done, I began to place all of the ingredients into the crock pot as directed and then set the temperature to high. I mean, how easy can getting a dinner going be – the hardest part was shredding carrots!
  • I ended up only having one jar of my mom’s canned Iowa garden tomatoes and peppers (they are amazing!) so was a bit short of the called for amount. I made a quick run to Target that day and added the rest in after the stew had been cooking for 4 hours.
  • At the end of the cooking time, I added the frozen peas and the cream mixture. Seriously easy peasy!

I served this stew with some buttered toast and a side of fruit. My husband and kids enjoyed it! I even tried to take some of the potatoes out first and mash them up before scooping the stew over the top. Yum!

Tips & Tricks Learned:

If you are using a beef roast you already have in your freezer, be sure to take it out the day before to thaw out.

Prep the vegetables the night before so your morning prep goes quickly.

We Tried It!  Slow Cooker Beef Stew!

Pros:

EASY!!! Not much for prep work and an easy way to have a filling dinner. And being March, it has a wonderful Irish feel to it.

Cons:

A little on the heavy side, so may be more filling than you’d like.

We Tried It!  Slow Cooker Beef Stew!

Conclusion:

This was a very easy recipe to follow and overall a tasty dinner.

It made a lot of stew, so I ended up freezing what was left over and plan to use it for another dinner soon. Might be a great dinner to prepare when you are having company over!

 

 

Reviewer #2 – Kristy

Mission: Always enjoy a good recipe and we are meat eaters in my household!  In a crock pot, even better!

 

Details:

  • I used a mix of potatoes, chopped sweet potatoes for added nutrients and small red potatoes cut in half.
  • Picked up 2 packs of stew meat, already trimmed and cut at the grocery.  Easiest way!

Tips & Tricks Learned:

Best product to use for easy crock pot clean up, Reynolds Slow Cooker Liners. Best Tip!

Cooking for two?  Halve the recipe.

We Tried It!  Slow Cooker Beef Stew!

Pros:

Very easy to make in the crock pot.  Just a lot of chopping!

Cons:

Became mushy, not sure this could freeze well and it makes a ton of food for 2 people.  Hate being a food waster!

We Tried It!  Slow Cooker Beef Stew!

Conclusion:

Mike and I both liked it, although not one of our favorite recipes.  Mike isn’t a slow cooker meat and potato guy.

It was pretty heavy of a dish, so definitely hearty for the cold winter months!

 

 

Reviewer #3 – Amanda

Mission: When I saw this recipe I knew I would have to wait until my husband was home to make it. He is the beef stew lover in the house (me not so much on the beef part).

 

Details:

The recipe was very easy to follow. Not much in the way of prep other than cutting up some veggies and browning the meat.

  • I used regular red potatoes vs the small potatoes suggested in the original recipe. They worked just fine when cut into 4 pieces.
  • I have this great peeling tool I found at an Asian market that makes anything look “fancy” so I used that to peel the carrots. Gave the stew a little flair!
  • I cooked the stew for about 9 hours before adding the peas and slurry, then I cooked it another 20 minutes per the recipe. It had a nice thickness to it after adding the slurry.

Tips & Tricks Learned:

Not a lot you can do to mess up this dish! Basically put it together, stir and wait.

One thing I think I would change for next time is to add a full cup of broth to the half cup of flour for a looser consistency. It was hard to mix the “paste” into the stew without lumps.

We Tried It!  Slow Cooker Beef Stew!

Pros:

Simple, hearty and a real “man pleaser”.

My husband saw what I had made and said “REALLY??” as if I was serving ice cream for dinner. He LOVED it. My kids not so much but they tend to be funny about dishes where everything is in one pot.

Even though I am not much of a beef eater but I have to admit this stew was really good and because I chose lean meat it didn’t seem really chewy or fatty.

Cons:

I see none!

We Tried It!  Slow Cooker Beef Stew!

Conclusion:

This stew was the perfect Sunday night meal that literally warms you from the inside out. Key for us Minnesotans who have endured a BRUTAL winter. There should be SOME perks after all right?

 

 

Alicia - TCCReviewer #4 – Alicia

Mission:  To make a delicious beef stew from a crock-pot because I have tried and failed many times. Very optimistic about this recipe.

 

Details:

This recipe is very straight-forward and super easy to follow.

  • I had most of the ingredients on hand except for the stew meat (sounds gross but so good).
  • I omitted peas because I think they taste disgusting. Texture, people!!!
  • I also had to create an Italian seasoning because I did not have. I tossed in a pinch of each: oregano, parsley, thyme, garlic and a tiny amount of basil.

Tips & Tricks Learned:

Browning/searing the meat is a must. I usually skip this step and the final result never turns out quite right

We Tried It!  Slow Cooker Beef Stew!

Pros:

Add everything to the crock-pot and wait

Cons:

None – although I have no patience to wait 10 hours for the stuff to cook

We Tried It!  Slow Cooker Beef Stew!

Conclusion:

Okay seriously, this weather and coldness is such a downer. I mean, full on depression over here. The only thing that makes this winter bearable is the hearty soups and stews we have been eating. This beef stew is no slouch and the flavor is perfect. My hubby loved it!!

 

 

We Tried It!  Slow Cooker Beef Stew!
The savory Slow Cooker Beef Stew and it’s photo by Movita Beaucoup

 

 


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skinnytaste has a healthy version of a lazy-day favorite with her Crock Pot Chicken Taco Chili!

This easy meal looks just as tasty as it appears easy to make.

We love an easy dinner, so we couldn’t wait to give this recipe a try!

 

Please click here to visit skinnytaste and see the instructions that we followed!

 

Reviewer #1 – Sarah

Mission: To try out a crock pot recipe in hopes it will become a family favorite!

 

Details:

I love crock pot cooking – it’s low mess, low maintenance and recipes cooked in the crock pot usually turn out tasty. This recipe was easy from the get-go and the ingredients were all easy to find with nothing being out of the ordinary.

  • I got all of the ingredients in the crock in the morning and placed four chicken breasts on the top as noted and went about my day.
  • I let it sit on low heat for 8 hours before taking out the chicken and shredding it up. By 8 hours, everything seemed to be cooked through and the chicken was very soft and ready to go at that point.
  • Once I shredded the chicken, I added it back in and gave a few good stirs to the chili before getting the cilantro chopped and prepping the other fun toppings.

Each of my family members chose their own toppings. I prepped plain Greek yogurt, shredded cheese, cilantro and chopped black olives. I used cilantro and the Greek yogurt on mine. It was very tasty!

Tips & Tricks Learned:

To turn up the heat a bit, I used a poblano pepper in addition to a red bell pepper.

Instead of using the taco seasoning the recipe called for, I added 1 tsp. of garlic powder, an additional tsp. of chili powder and 1 tsp. of paprika.

We Tried It!  Crock Pot Chicken Taco Chili from skinnytaste!

Pros:

EASY!!! Not much for prep work and an easy way to have a filling dinner.

My daughter LOVED this chili – she went on an on about it as we were eating!

Cons:

It was much more of a stew vs. a typical soup or chili. There wasn’t much of a broth at all, which I really wanted more of.

I think adding more tomato sauce or some chicken broth would help in that area. Or maybe using just three chicken breasts might help as well.

We Tried It!  Crock Pot Chicken Taco Chili from skinnytaste!

Conclusion:

This was a very easy recipe to follow and overall a good outcome. I’m not sure we will make it again, but it was a great one to try!

 

 

Reviewer #2 – Maren

Mission: Two of my favorite things in one crock pot: tacos and chili!  I was actually a little scared to try this one though, since I couldn’t quite imagine how these two favorites would taste together.

Details:

I followed Gina’s recipe to a T (mostly)!

Tips & Tricks Learned:

Always spray your crock pot’s interior with cooking spray before adding your ingredients!

As I have shared before, my Crock Pot cooks at warp speed.

I went for the “Cook on High for 4 Hours” option and my chili was bubbling in 2.  The chicken was totally done in 3 hours and was falling apart (what I call “self-shredding“) at 3 1/2 hours.  Awesome.

We Tried It!  Crock Pot Chicken Taco Chili from skinnytaste!

Pros:

I’m not sure that I have ever made anything so awesome with such little effort exuded.

I think that the corn, cilantro and added chilies are what give this chili more of a taco taste.  It still tastes like just a really good chili though, so no need to be scared about the combo.

This chili also freezes really well!

Cons:

I would pass on the frozen diced onions next time.  That was not the best idea.  I had a few bites that had hard little onion pieces in it.  I have used fresh, diced onions since my initial run and was much happier with the results.

We Tried It!  Crock Pot Chicken Taco Chili from skinnytaste!

Conclusion:

We loved it!  In fact, I used this recipe as my official 2013 entry into the Annual Chili Cook-Off that we host each year at our home with our college pals.  We didn’t win, but tied for second!  Now that’s a good chili!

 

 

Reviewer #3 – Kristy

Mission: Love a new chili dish especially in this fall weather! And find a chili recipe that my husband likes.

 

Details:

  • We Tried It!  Crock Pot Chicken Taco Chili from skinnytaste!

    I added one can of red kidney beans instead of two as my husband doesn’t care for too many beans.

  • I had a can of whole tomatoes instead of diced, so I roughed chopped them then added one can of diced green chilies.
  • I used Ortega Taco Seasoning.

Tips & Tricks Learned:

Use handy dandy crock pot plastic liners for easy clean up. They are life savers!

Pros:

Simple to put together, just dump and cook!

Yummy, meal to come home to!

Cons:

The cilantro, in my opinion, wasn’t needed.

It tasted more like a traditional chili without it and more like a Mexican Tortilla Soup with it!

We Tried It!  Crock Pot Chicken Taco Chili from skinnytaste!

Conclusion:

Delicious, and would be just as tasty with ground beef!  I was skeptical about adding the taco seasoning packet, but it had great flavor!

Quick and easy, couldn’t ask for more!

 

 

Reviewer #4 – Amanda

Mission: Put my crock pot to use making this quick chili to warm us up in this chilly weather.

 

 

Details:

I woke up excited to get this going in the crock. I love nothing more than my house filled with the aroma of good food!

  • I mostly followed the recipe minus corn. I am not a huge fan of corn in chili so I just left it out.
  • I also ended up adding 1 cup of chicken broth after it cooked on low for 3.5 hours. I just felt that it was a little thicker than I wanted it to be after adding the shredded chicken back into the pot (I used 4 pretty small chicken breasts).

Tips & Tricks Learned:

Watch your chicken! Mine was done at 3.5 hours on low and was likely done at 3 but I didn’t expect that so I was only checking and stirring once an hour.

Once my chicken was done I shredded it while it was warm then mixed it back into my pot. I then changed the temp to just warm because really everything was really cooked at this point – even the onions!

I served it up with Fritos for crunch, pepper jack cheese and a sprinkling of cilantro.

We Tried It!  Crock Pot Chicken Taco Chili from skinnytaste!

Pros:

Truly simple with VERY little prep. The only cutting was the onions. Other than that I had some cans to open and a little mixing to get it put together.

This could be completely cooked in less than 4 hours on low which is awesome.

It would be great for family event or a lazy Sunday.

Cons:

My only complaint is how thick it was before I added the broth but that was easily fixed so really this dish is a complete winner!

We Tried It!  Crock Pot Chicken Taco Chili from skinnytaste!

Conclusion:

This chili is bomb and was crazy simple to throw together. Even my bean-hating hubby gave it a thumbs up! I will definitely be making this again.

I ended up freezing a couple of jars and look forward to seeing how it holds up in the freezer too.

 

 

Alicia - TCCReviewer #5 – Alicia

Mission: To create a healthier version of chili with chicken – yes, please!

 

Details:

My family does not like beans. Kidney, black, brown, grey – whatever, we do not like and will not eat! The texture is really gross and it turns into gag city around here. I know, I know – beans are so good for you. Blah!

  • I totally skipped over the beans and did not add them at all.
  • I also used 2 frozen chicken breasts instead of 3-4.

Tips & Tricks Learned:

The recipe said to cook on low for 10 hours and on high for 6 hours. What the?! That seemed really long to me and especially with chicken.

Mine cooked on low for 6 and it turned out perfectly.

We Tried It!  Crock Pot Chicken Taco Chili from skinnytaste!

Pros:

Combine and wait – how easy is that?

Cons:

None

We Tried It!  Crock Pot Chicken Taco Chili from skinnytaste!

Conclusion:

Like the wise man Ron Popeil once said, ” Set it and forget it”.   I am all about crock pot cooking! So easy and delicious and this recipe is no slouch. I thought it really had a great flavor and would definitely make this again, minus the beans.

 We Tried It!  Crock Pot Chicken Taco Chili from skinnytaste!


The yummy
Crock Pot Chicken Taco Chili and photo by skinnytaste

 


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Sunny Side Up‘s Pull-Apart Cinnamon Sugar Pumpkin Bread looks like a combination of monkey bread and a pumpkin spice latte that needs to get in our bellies!

 

What more do we need to say?  This one was going down the hatch one way or another!

 

Please click here to visit Sunny Side Up and see the instructions that we followed!

 

 

Reviewer #1 – Amanda

Mission:  I am a sucker for all that is fall and anything pumpkin. Trying this bread was a no brainer for me!

 

Details:

  • I ended up using some left over canned pumpkin puree that I had from making pumpkin pie a few days prior when we celebrated Canadian Thanksgiving. Yes…we are lucky enough to get not one but TWO Thanksgiving celebrations in one year. I LOVE it. Hands down my favorite holiday BTW. The only thing you are expected to do is eat, enjoy and nap. Who can argue with that? Okay back to the bread now.
  • I busted out my handy KitchenAid Mixer to do the muscle work in this recipe. Six minutes of kneading by hand is a little more than I am willing to do for a sweet treat.
  • I did decide to use the Spiced Rum for the glaze but since I was on the fence I did half rum and half vanilla extract.

Tips & Tricks Learned:

You really do have to stick with the 6 minute rule when kneading bread like this. I have learned to turn my mixer on and let it go while the timer keeps track for me. I typically set it to med speed if the recipe doesn’t specify.

I found that I didn’t need nearly as much of the sugar mixture inside nor the glaze as what was called for. I would say about half is all you need. I did end up putting a bit of the sugar mixture on top before baking it because I couldn’t stand to waste so much!

Pull-Apart Cinnamon Sugar Pumpkin Bread - We tried it!

Pros:

Crazy good. Bakery good.

My kids ate every crumb and what they didn’t eat I snuck when they weren’t looking.

I will definitely be making this again.

Cons:

The recipe felt a little hard to follow but I know now that I have made it once before I wouldn’t feel like such a novice the next time around.

It is a little fussy too with the rolling out and layering.

I think you could easily do this in a Bundt Pan and simply cut the dough into chunks then layer it in the pan.

Pull-Apart Cinnamon Sugar Pumpkin Bread - We tried it!

Conclusion:

This bread is definitely part of my personal cook book now and I intend to make it again and again…maybe for our second Thanksgiving!

 

 

Reviewer #2 – Maren

Mission: I see this recipe constantly on the Pinterest, so I was excited to give it a try.  I’m glad I made it when I did, because it was just the next day that my husband informed me that he can’t handle anymore pumpkin recipes.

Details:

Since I haven’t made anything like this before, I stuck to the recipe to a T.

  • I used my KitchenAid Mixer to do all the mixing.  Ain’t nobody got time for that.  Thank God I have one of those suckers.  When the recipe called for 6 minutes, I ran the mixer on low and set my timer.
  • I did add 1 extra Tbsp of flour to the dough as Jessica recommended, since it was a little on the sticky side.
  • I went with good ol’ Bacardi for my rum and was happy when I could taste a bit in the glaze.  I love boozy desserts.

Tips & Tricks Learned:

The dough hook – who knew?  That thing was great!  I have never used it before and it worked like a champ.  I especially love how it didn’t blow up a huge puff of flour when I first started the mixer up.  I’m using that thing for everything now!

Clearly I have no experience making bread dough.  I had no idea what I was doing.  What’s an oiled bowl?  I didn’t know and I had too much sh*t on my hands to Google, so I added 1 Tbsp of Vegetable Oil to a big bowl and rolled it around to cover the interior of the vessel.  Then, I dumped out the excess.

I also don’t think that my dough ever got as big as it was supposed to.  I think that “warm place” is more like what I think of as a “hot place”.  I had mine sitting under a very warm light and not much happened.

Pull-Apart Cinnamon Sugar Pumpkin Bread - We tried it!To stack the strips of dough, I moved the sugar that fell off to the front of the bottom strip, then used that to help the spatula slide under the next strip.  Does that make sense?  In other words, I sort of used the sugar like you would use flour to lift cut out cookies off the counter.  This little trick worked really well.

After cutting the dough into strips and layering into the pan, I scooped up the excess cinnamon sugar mixture and sprinkled it on top of the dough.  I wouldn’t recommend doing this.  Said cinnamon sugar mixture wasn’t totally absorbed into the dough/melted and was a little sickeningly sweet to eat.

I suggest cooking for just a bit longer than you think you should.  Mine didn’t seem 100% done in the very center.

Even after looking at all the notes, I still didn’t really know what I was supposed to be doing for the glaze.  So, I just heated it all up as directed and poured it over the bread.  Side note:  apparently you are also supposed to dump the bread out onto a plate first.  That would be made it easier to pull-apart.  Duh, Maren.

Pull-Apart Cinnamon Sugar Pumpkin Bread - We tried it!

Pros:

I was very impressed with the results!

Now that I [sort of] know what I’m doing and what to expect, I think that making similar recipes in the future will be less daunting.  This was a good first lesson.

Cons:

This recipe took a total of 4 hours from start to finish.

I am more of an instant gratification baker… let’s mix it up, bake for a few and eat it!

Pull-Apart Cinnamon Sugar Pumpkin Bread - We tried it!

Conclusion:

I now have a whole new appreciation for pastries, especially caramel and cinnamon rolls.  Even though this recipe was very good, it was a little more labor intensive than I like.  I do have friends who happen to love recipes that take such care to make and this one is definitely for them!

 

 

Reviewer #3 – Sheri

Mission:  Well if you have ever read my reviewer profile, you know I pretty much steer clear of any recipes that involve yeast. It’s all so much like chemistry to me. In chemistry I just sat back and let my cute lab partner do all the work while I recorded the results. However, at the first sight of this incredible looking pumpkin bread I just had to throw my apron on and confront my fears.

Details:

I won’t lie to you, this was a process and it took up a good portion of my afternoon. I read the directions multiple times before starting. There’s a lot of melting butter.

  • Pull-Apart Cinnamon Sugar Pumpkin Bread - We tried it!I followed the directions to a T… so I thought. I didn’t notice the asterisk notes at the end. I should have added the milk after it was room temperature rather than cold because it would clump. The look of it got a little nervous. It sort looked brain-like, but it worked.
  • After getting the dough together it needed to rise for 60-90 minutes. I waited and waited. I went and picked the kids up from school and came back. It wasn’t rising. “There you have it!” I thought, “Yeast and I don’t mix.” I felt like a failure. Then I realized the temperature in my house was rather chilly. I put on a fire and put the dough near it. There we go, it began to rise. I was slowly feeling a bit more confident.
  • After the dough was nearly ready I began making the super yummy cinnamon and sugar mixture. So easy!
  • I punched the dough down, which was super fun by the way, and then rolled it out. I took that yummy cinnamon/sugar mixture and pressed it into the dough. I then cut it into pieces and layered the pieces into the bread pan (the wrong direction). Oops.

When the bread was done I took it out and put it on a plate. While it cooled a bit I made the sugary glaze. I turned for a moment and then half the bread was gone and my children were eating it all.

Tips & Tricks Learned:

Read the directions multiple times to get a good feel of the process.

Pull-Apart Cinnamon Sugar Pumpkin Bread - We tried it!

Pros:

OMG so, so good.

Cons:

Cleaning up the cinnamon sugar goodness I got all over the counter. I was contemplating licking it. Horrible that it went to waste.

Pull-Apart Cinnamon Sugar Pumpkin Bread - We tried it!

Conclusion:

This bread was amazing!! My oldest asked if it came from heaven. My other son said he wants to eat it “everyday!” My husband’s first word was “WOW.” The entire loaf was gone in a day and they’re already asking me to make it again. Pure deliciousness. Yeast, no problem.

 

 

Pull-Apart Cinnamon Sugar Pumpkin Bread - We tried it!


The delish
Pull-Apart Cinnamon Sugar Pumpkin Bread and it’s photo by Sunny Side Up


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irrelephant has captured one fab way to grab that last taste of summer with her Caprese Pasta Salad full of the freshest ingredients in your garden.

 

Easy to make, and easy on the wallet, we couldn’t wait to dive in to this delish dish!

 

Please click here to visit irrelephant and see the instructions that we followed!

 

 

Alicia - TCCReviewer #1 – Alicia

Mission: To make a delicious and refreshing pasta salad with a few basic ingredients. Potato salad and chips get old, fast!

 

Details:

  • We Tried It!  Caprese Pasta Salad @thecraftycollabAny type of pasta works great. I used Penne because that is what I had on hand.
  • I planted an herb garden on the deck this year and I used a few handfuls of sweet basil for this recipe
  • Fresh mozzarella is always best
  • My hubby ate half of my grape tomatoes, so I had to cut mine in half to get more bang for my buck
  • Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • Balsamic vinegar although recipe calls for a dressing.

Tips & Tricks Learned:

The recipe states to cool or chill the pasta 4-6 hours before adding the dressing. Yeah right! If any of you know me at all, I have zero patience for waiting. I rinsed my pasta off in cool water and then drained it thoroughly. Next, I popped it in the fridge for a few minutes before adding all the ingredients and dressing.

Pros:

So easy to make.

Cons:

None!!!

We Tried It!  Caprese Pasta Salad @thecraftycollab

Conclusion:

I was pleasantly surprised! This salad has such a light and yummy flavor and will definitely make this again with that yummy fresh mozzarella.

 

 

Reviewer #2 – Amanda

Mission: Create a fresh and light pasta dish that would complement any BBQ cookout!

 

 

Details:

  • DSCN8222I stuck with Bow Tie pasta and used Newman’s Own Balsamic Vinaigrette. It has the perfect balance of tang and flavor.
  • For the cheese I used one of my favorites Bel Gioioso Fresh Mozzarella Pearls. I like to have these on hand for an impromptu mommy dinner complete with a nice glass of wine, some olives and crispy crackers (all while sitting in a dark closet where my children can’t find me).
  • The tomatoes and basil were harvested out of my deck garden. YUM and cheers to super fresh eats!

Tips & Tricks Learned:

I definitely suggest testing your dressing to salad ratio before chilling. You hate to have a flavorless side!

Pros:

This salad is a cinch to throw together and a serious crowd pleaser. I had family over when I made this and they loved it.

Cons:

None. Not a single thing to complain about or be disappointed in with this dish.

We Tried It!  Caprese Pasta Salad @thecraftycollab

Conclusion:

This will now be in permanent rotation in our house. I can’t wait to get invited to a BBQ or potluck so I can serve this to friends!

 

 

Reviewer #3 – Kristy

Mission: Perfect dish for a family get together!

 

Details:

  • I am not a huge pasta eater, but love the Bow Tie pasta!
  • Grabbed a handful of fresh basil then picked up a ball of fresh mozzarella and grape tomatoes.
  • Be sure to coat the pasta with the olive oil, I think this is what helps the pasta stay moist and soak up the dressing!

Tips & Tricks Learned:

Buy fresh ingredients, it makes this salad taste so yummy!

Pros:

Easy and flavorful! Tastes great even the next day so perfect for leftovers!

Cons:

None!

We Tried It!  Caprese Pasta Salad @thecraftycollab

Conclusion:

Great for get together…I love this as a side dish or main course!  Throw in some grilled chicken or shrimp, or simply add-on the side as I did!

 

 

Reviewer #4 – Sheri

Mission: Caprese salad is one of our all-time summer favorites. I’m a huge fan of fresh mozzarella combined with a tangy balsamic vinaigrette. When I saw this recipe I instantly knew it would become a summer staple for cookouts with the family.

 

Details:

  • This was a very, very simple recipe with minimal ingredients. I started with getting my pasta water boiling. I used a whole wheat fusilli pasta because I was all out of my favorite Campanelle pasta.
  • I diced up the fresh mozzarella and I chose to split the grape tomatoes in half making them more bite-size. I sprinkled both with some black pepper.
  • I contemplated making my own balsamic vinaigrette but then decided to use my favorite  Newman’s Own Balsamic Vinaigrette.
  • I combined the ingredients, tossed, and then ribboned the basil leaves and put them in.

Tips & Tricks Learned:

Use a serrated knife when cutting the mozzarella and tomatoes. It keeps the edges nice and clean and not all squished.

Salt your pasta water after it comes to a boil.

We Tried It!  Caprese Pasta Salad @thecraftycollab

Pros:

Freaking yummy and super easy, using minimal ingredients.

Cons:

Absolutely none!

We Tried It!  Caprese Pasta Salad @thecraftycollab

Conclusion:

This recipe of course was delicious. Everyone at the party enjoyed it. You can jazz it up a bit more too; I often like to add black olives or diced salami, both keeping with the Italian theme. So if you like the classic caprese salad, you will love this pasta salad. Quick, easy, and delizioso!

 

 We Tried It!  Caprese Pasta Salad @thecraftycollab


The gorgeous
Caprese Pasta Salad and it’s photo by irrelephant


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Inspired by a much loved Mexican Bean Salad, Once Upon a Chef has perfected her Black Bean Salad with Corn, Red Peppers, Avocado & Lime-Cilantro Vinaigrette, making it positively drool-worthy!

 

With warm temps outside, we’re up for any dish that doesn’t need the oven or stove; and who can resist a chance to eat up some of the season’s freshest ingredients?

 

Please click here to visit Once Upon a Chef and see the instructions that we followed!

 

 

Reviewer #1 – Kristy

Mission: Healthy, fresh and delicious is always a key when trying new recipes! This hit the spot!

 

Details:

Get ready to chop…lots to chop, but well worth it.

  • I grilled the corn on the grill first then added it to the dish.
  • I used minced garlic out of the jar since I didn’t have any cloves.
  • I may add some green onions next time for some extra flavor.

bb salad 1

Tips & Tricks Learned:

Definitely get a juicer for the lime. I don’t have one, and that would have definitely been handy.

We enjoyed ours with some tilapia from the Blackened Tilapia Taco recipe!

 

 

Pros:

I had it marinate for an hour and it was still delicious so don’t hesitate to make it last-minute.

It’s even great the next day!

Cons:

Absolutely, none.

Kristy - BB Salad

Conclusion:

Mike and I both enjoyed!  It’s perfect as a side salad with a meal or great with tortilla chips as a dip!  I will definitely be making next weekend!!

 

 

Reviewer #2 – Amanda

Mission: This recipe was a great way to attempt to get my hubby to eat black beans.

 

 

Details:

  • For the most part I followed the instructions from Once Upon A Chef exactly (minus the fact that I forgot to add the cilantro).
  • I did add a jalapeno for a little heat but that was the only change I made intentionally.
  • I did cut it in half since I am the only one that really loves beans in our house.

Tips & Tricks Learned:

Definitely doesn’t make a great left over (gets very runny and strange-looking – although it still tasted pretty good but we eat with our eyes so who are we kidding here).

I could have cut the recipe down to just a ¼ but the thought of that math makes my head hurt.

 

Pros:

This would make a perfect accompaniment to add to a fish taco. You could whip up a batch of the fabulous Blackened Tilapia Tacos we reviewed a while back and add it to them. MMMM.

This is a great summer dish since produce is best this time of year and our markets seem to be overflowing with beautiful color. I tried this as a salsa too and it is great with chips!

Cons:

Really just the leftover thing. It just didn’t “look” like it would taste good the second day and I had to close my eyes to take the first few bites.

Amanda - BB Salad

Conclusion:

YUM. Two thumbs up! This is going straight into my recipe book. My gal pals will love it (even if my family wasn’t on board).

 

 

Reviewer #3 – Sheri

Mission: The sight of this recipe made me drool. With 4th of July coming I was looking for a light side that will please the crowd.

 

Details:

The recipe is very easy to follow, basically just throw all the ingredients into a bowl (saving the avocado for last). Mix, chill, and serve.

  • I took a short cut and used frozen corn instead of cutting from the cob. I’m a sucker for a time saver. It gave me time to make my own pitas. They’re delicious and paired perfectly with this recipe.
  • I highly suggest letting the salad chill in the refrigerator for a while as suggested in the original post. Let the flavors come together

Tips & Tricks Learned:

Squeeze some lime juice on the avocado before tossing it in. It helps prevent them from browning.

Sheri - BB Salad 1

Pros:

Incredibly delicious and sure to please a crowd.

Cons:

I divided the recipe in half and really wish I had more.

Sheri - BB Salad

Conclusion:

I absolutely LOVED this recipe. It had many of my favorite ingredients. I’m avocado obsessed.

Paired with my homemade pita chips, I was all ready to enjoy my Saturday night. This recipe is definitely a winner and full of yummy goodness.

I know what I’m bring to this week’s 4th of July cookout!

 

 

Reviewer #4 – Maren

Mission: I could not wait to make this recipe, it’s right up my alley!  I am a lover of each and every ingredient in this salad.  Yum!

 

Details:

  • I don’t love red peppers, so I went with orange!
  • I used a 12 oz. bag of frozen sweet corn – worked like a charm!  I eat this brand all the time and I do feel like it’s crunchy and fresh tasting when allowed to thaw on it’s own.  I’m pretty sure that I used more than called for, but whatever, I love corn!
  • I went a little heavy on the lime juice and garlic.

Tips & Tricks Learned:

IMG_3476

I use lime juice in just about every recipe that we eat.  I love it!  Every couple of months, I buy a bag full of limes and take some time to squeeze them all, then pour the juice into ice cube trays so that I always have real lime juice when I need it.  Way better than the stuff you buy in the little plastic lime bottle at the store.

Enjoy with Xochitl tortilla chips.  They are the best!

If you’re chop-challenged, you can use a pizza cutter!

Pros:

I LOVE this salad so much!  I have made it 6 times and have ingredients in the fridge for more!  I eat it on chips, on it’s own, and have even added rotisserie chicken!

Cons:

Even though I am a huge lover of avocado, I actually liked this salad better without it.  Not really a con, but my own preference.

Maren - BB Salad

Conclusion:

This recipe is great.  It’s so fresh and light, perfect for summer noshing.

While I do prefer this salad without the avocado, it’s great with it, too!  Versatile and easy to make, this one was a fast favorite.

 

 

Reviewer #5 – Sarah

Mission: I’m always on the lookout for easy and tasty recipes to prep for events. This one sounded like it was one of those, and in addition sounded healthy!

 

Details:

I modified this recipe from the start!

  • I decided to make it more of a chip dip vs. a salad. I picked up tortilla chips when gathering the ingredients to serve with the dip and it was a hit!!
  • Though I like to eat as many healthy fats as I can, I have never been a lover of avocado. I just can’t get used to the taste and texture, so I left them out of this recipe – I know, selfish! Though, in my case, it helped as I made this dip for two separate events where it would have been too difficult to add to the salad right before serving.
  • I really love a recipe that calls for ingredients I have on-hand. I had Iowa sweet corn from my parent’s farm in the freezer, mini sweet peppers and garlic in the fridge and sweet onions in the pantry, which I used instead of shallots. In addition, I already had all of the seasonings that were called for.
  • At the grocery store, I picked up the black beans, limes and cilantro and then got to work.
  • The only items I had to dice were the peppers, onion and garlic. And then I zested the limes with my handheld grater, which worked great!
  • To cut-up the cilantro, I used my kitchen shears and added closer to 3/4 cup to the mix.
  • After prepping, I let the dip sit in the fridge for 2-3 hours before attending each event I served this at.

It was a huge hit and was gone by the end of the night!

Tips & Tricks Learned:

chips_dip

Using a handheld grater to zest your limes works great – just watch your fingers!

Cut the sugar down to 1 tablespoon, or even omit altogether. In my opinion, it wasn’t necessarily needed.

If you make this as a chip dip, cut down the amount of olive oil added. I only used 6 tablespoons.

 

Pros:

Easy to make and oh so tasty! And, with the addition of the cayenne, it had a nice spicy kick!

Cons:

Honestly can’t think of any – loved it and will definitely make again.

Sarah - BB Salad

Conclusion:

Loved this dip! It was easy to modify for your own needs. Even my husband ate it and went back for seconds, and that’s saying something!

 

 BB Salad Conclusion


The gorgeous
Black Bean Salad with Corn, Red Peppers, Avocado & Lime-Cilantro Vinaigrette and it’s photo by Once Upon a Chef


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A little birdie told us that Sarcastic Cooking was spilling the secret to the special blackening seasoning that turns ordinary tilapia into a spectacular dish with a Latin twist!

 

Served with a healthy helping of avocado, their Blackened Tilapia Tacos sounded truly delish.

 

Please click here to visit Sarcastic Cooking and see the instructions that we followed!

 

Reviewer #1 – Sheri

Mission: Honestly, I’m not a huge fan of tilapia; however, I’ve only tried it once. Fish tacos? I’ve only tried those once as well. I figured I should practice what I preach and give it another try. Avocado with anything usually makes me say “yum.”

 

Details:

The directions were easy to follow.

  • Sprinkle the tilapia fillets with the blackening seasoning and cook them in the skillet with some olive oil.
  • Cut up some creamy avocado with some red onion and load it all onto a warmed tortilla.

One of the great thing about tacos is you can add anything you like; black olives, tomatoes, salsa, corn.

Tips & Tricks Learned:

Make sure to heat the oil in the skillet beforehand. You don’t want them sticking.

Sheri - Tilapia 1

Pros:

This is a really quick meal to prepare. Great for a healthy mid-week meal.

Cons:

I can’t get my husband to even try them.

Sheri - Tilapia 2

Conclusion:

I actually liked them and I didn’t think that I would. The fish tacos I had at On the Border, grossed me out. I must say that Stefanie from Sarcastic Cooking really does have a yummy blackening seasoning. I’ll be using it often. So I enjoyed my tilapia tacos all by my lonesome with a cold beer…they don’t know what they’re missing.

 

 

Reviewer #2 – Kristy

Mission: Mexican and a little Louisiana blackened fish…can’t beat it!  This was a no brainer!

 

Details:

  • I used my go to seasoning mix, Tony Chachere’s as it includes all of the ingredients that we wanted for our fish and provides a good spicy kick!
  • Instead of sliced avocados I purchased a southwest avocado dip which included green peppers, black beans, and corn.
  • Sprinkle of cheddar cheese!
  • All organic products used!

Tips & Tricks Learned:

Keep it simple and healthy!

Pros:

Simple and delicious!!

Cons:

None, it’s perfect!

Kristy - Tilapia

Conclusion:

Mike and I enjoyed this meal!! Add some Mexican Rice (our favorite recipe is from The Pioneer Woman) and black beans to make it a complete meal!  I kept it simple, always in a rush in the evening!! Will definitely make it again, shrimp maybe my next ingredient to add!  Maybe a mango salsa…wow, you can get creative!

 

 

Reviewer #3 – Maren

Mission: This recipe sounded like the perfect way to get my husband to try some fish (which he usually hates).  I’m new to the fish taco thing myself.  Something about fish in a taco never sounded quite right; but I gave it a shot a few years back and found a new favorite!  I was looking forward to giving them a shot at home.

Details:

  • I used flour tortillas, simply because I haven’t found a store brand of wheat tortillas that I really like.
  • We had plenty of fresh pico de gallo with our tacos.
  • I also drank a lot of beer with this meal, which probably completely negated the fact that I was enjoying a nice, healthy, light dinner.  This was direct result of my pico de gallo taste-testing early in the cooking process, landing right on a jumbo jalapeno and having my mouth nearly burst into flames.  A beer… or two, was the obvious solution to this problem.

We enjoyed our first round just as Sarcastic Cooking suggested, with plenty of avocado and lime juice.  I don’t really believe in eating any Mexican dish without plenty of lime… and Corona!  We loaded in the pico de gallo for our “seconds”.

Tips & Tricks Learned:

My mom taught me to always thaw frozen fish in milk to get rid of any “fishy” taste.  I forgot about this until after the fact… they were just fine.  lol

Make sure to cook the fish through and through, because there is really nothing grosser than mushy fish.  *gag*  This also makes the blackened seasoning extra yummy!

I won’t cook anything in oil without my grease cover.  Can’t live without that thing.  I think that I got ours at IKEA for a couple bucks.

My trick to removing fish from the pan without having it fall apart – Big flipper on the bottom, Spatula on the top!

Maren - Tilapia 1

Pros:

Tasted great!  The honey even said that he’d eat them again… not all the time, but he’d eat them again.

Frankly, you could taste the seasoning and accoutrements much more than the fish itself, as [tilapia] is pretty bland as is.

Cons:

None, other than the fact that it can be tricky getting really great, fresh fish here in the Midwest that won’t cost an arm and a leg.

Maren - Tilapia 2

Conclusion:

I’m really glad that we tried this recipe together.  It’s always nice to know that you have some other options up your sleeve when your usual dinner menu starts repeating itself.  This is especially the case when you’re someone like me, who loves Mexican and eats it as much as humanly possible, only to make your significant other want to cry when he sees the tell-tale ingredients coming out of the fridge…  Mua haa ha!

On another note, I am so grateful to have this special seasoning recipe from Stephanie at Sarcastic Cooking.  I am already eager to add it to other recipes, like her yummy looking Blackened Chicken with Cilantro Lime Quinoa.

 

 

Alicia - TCCReviewer #4 – Alicia

Mission: Believe it or not, I have never had a fish taco.  Not sure why as I love tacos and fish.  I was super excited to try this recipe.

 

Details:

I followed this recipe closely and to a T…

  • Well, I guess we are not a wheat tortilla kind of family, so I used the regular tortillas instead.
  • I also added shredded cheese. Who doesn’t love cheese??!!

Tips & Tricks Learned:

This is the first time I have ever sliced an Avocado.  Fun times and not so hard!  I also added extra salt and pepper to jazz up the taste.

Alicia - Tilapia 1

Pros:

Adding cheese and lime definitely added to the flavor.

Cons:

Tilapia is a very mild fish. I might try halibut next time.

Alicia - Tilapia 2

Conclusion:

This was an easy and delicious recipe!  I prefer my tacos loaded with the good stuff – sour cream, cilantro, salsa and of course cheese, just to name a few; I was pleasantly surprised with the taste of this and loved the blackening seasoning.  Very good! Even better with a Corona or Margarita!!!

 

 

Reviewer #5 – Sarah

Mission: To find a quick, easy and healthy dinner that my family will enjoy, and one that will remind me of being on a Mexican vacation.

 

Details:

I gathered all of the fresh ingredients – the avocado, tomatoes, whole wheat tortillas and limes while on my weekly Super Target run.

  • I also picked up onions as I can’t have tacos without onions!

While I was prepping things for dinner, I found that we didn’t have tilapia in our freezer like I had thought. So, I sent my hubby to our local market to pick that up. They have the best seafood section!

The prep for this dinner was so quick – I think I had everything ready to start cooking within 10 minutes. Once the oil was hot, I began cooking the seasoned tilapia. The recipe called for about five minutes per side, but we ended up cooking ours about seven minutes per side as our filets were cut a bit thick.

Once the fish was done, we flaked it up a bit and layered it on our shells to each of our liking. I added avocado, onion, tomatoes and squeezed fresh lime over the top. My hubby added onion and black olives. Our kiddos ate just the fish! Everyone enjoyed it.

Tips & Tricks Learned:

Make sure to cook your fish all the way through – and it adds more flavor to the blackened aspect the longer you cook it!

Make sure to buy a ripe avocado if you plan to eat it soon. The one I grabbed wasn’t soft enough, so that made prepping it a bit more intensive.

Sarah - Tilapia 1

Pros:

Easy meal to prepare!

Cons:

Can be more costly than planned if you have to hit up the local grocery store for tilapia. Plan ahead!

Sarah - Tilapia 2

Conclusion:

Quick and delish! We will definitely be making this again. I really enjoyed learning the basics of cooking a blackened style fish. Next time, I’ll make sure I have margaritas handy as well!

 

 Tilapia Conclusion


The delish
Blackened Tilapia Tacos and photo by Sarcastic Cooking


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Six Sisters’ Stuff has done it again, showing us the easy way to a delish Italian dish!  Their Slow Cooker Lasagna recipe looks like a busy day’s dream come true!

 

Lasagna without an hour of prep work?  Sign us up!

 

Please click here to visit Six Sisters’ Stuff and see the instructions that we followed!

 

Reviewer #1 – Kristy

Mission: Love a quick way to put together a dish and come home to a yummy meal!

 

Details:

  • I added fresh chopped basil that I had on hand.
  • I used ground sirloin and cooked with chopped onion, garlic powder, salt and pepper.
  • All of the products that I used were organic!

Tips & Tricks Learned:

Definitely watch it once it is done cooking. Mine cooked for 3 hours on high and was amazing as I took a couple of bites! Then I went on a shopping spree while it was on warm and I came back to a slightly drier dish.

Kristy - Lasagna 1

Pros:

Very easy, just layer and put on high or low then you will come home to a good meal.

Cons:

It needs a little spice! I think I may use spicy Italian sausage next time to get it a kick!

 Kristy - Lasagna 2

Conclusion:

YUMMO!! Mike loved it!  I thought I wasn’t going to get the crunchy edges that I love so much from pan lasagna, but you definitely get crispy edges.  Ideas to add more vegetables, I love adding shredded carrots to my tomato sauce and using zucchini slices instead of noodles!

 

 

Reviewer #2 – Sheri

Mission: Okay, I have always wanted to try this. The one thing that has been holding me back is that no one in my family will eat lasagna! Weirdos.  I personally love it, so I was excited to finally try it.

 

Details:

Now usually when I use the slow-cooker, I prefer not to have to cook anything beforehand. However, this called for browning the ground beef or sausage.

  • I opted for sausage and I made my own sauce.
  • I also only used ricotta cheese on half of the lasagna just so I could get my husband to eat it…again, weird.

You basically layer the lasagna just as you would if you were cooking it in the oven, but you don’t cook the lasagna noodles first (regular noodles, not no-bake). I was curious to see if this would actually work!

Tips & Tricks Learned:

Careful breaking up the noodles to fit in the slow-cooker. I recommend wrapping them in a towel or putting them in a storage bag before you start cracking.

Sheri - Lasagna 1

Pros:

I’m a big fan of the set it and forget it.

Cons:

The noodles were a bit soft for my taste, I prefer them a bit more al dente.

 Sheri - Lasagna 2

Conclusion:

Overall I was surprised that it actually came out well. I really wasn’t sure what to expect. I think I want to try adding veggies next time. My husband ate it but requested that next time I add prosciutto.

 

 

Reviewer #3 – Maren

Mission: I’m not generally a big fan of “American” Italian food, but I am loving learning more about this magical contraption they call the “Slow Cooker”.  I was really excited to give this recipe a try, especially since I love Six Sisters’ Stuff!

Details:

I stuck with the plan, but here are some specifics.

  • Prego Chunky Garden Combination Pasta Sauce
  • 93% Lean Ground Beef
  • Dried Parsley (as opposed to fresh)
  • I also added a little extra cheese… of course!

Also worth noting, my crock pot cooks food at warp speed.  I learned this after crying out for help to my Facebook friends when my last crock pot experience was done and bubbling out of the pot in 1/4 of the recommended cooking time!  It’s the Rival Smart-Pot 5 Quart Crock-Pot.

In my turbo crock pot, this dish was lookin’ pretty done after about 2 hours (on low), however we didn’t eat it until it had been almost 4 hours.  At the 2 hour mark, I used my “toothpick trick” (trick details forthcoming) which probably helped cool it down in there and keep the dish from overcooking.

Tips & Tricks Learned:

Spray the inside of your crock pot with cooking spray before adding any of the ingredients.  This trick not only helps get the food out, but makes clean-up pretty easy, too.

If your slow cooker starts to pop the lid with steam and make a “clink clink” sound, prop it open just a bit with a toothpick.  Works like a charm!

I picked up zuccini and mushrooms to add, but I forgot about them!  Next time, I won’t forget and I might also add just a little more sauce or water to compensate for the added ingredients and prevent the dish from getting dry.

Maren - Lasagna 1

Pros:

Where do I begin?  Although not a big pasta girl, I loved this lasagna recipe and was giddy about the two good-sized containers of leftovers that we had.  More for me!

Cons:

None!  With a little maneuvering, I was even able to get each piece out without turning it into slop!

 Maren - Lasagna 2

Conclusion:

LOVED IT!  So easy, so yummy, frickin’ awesome.  I feel excited to have this recipe in my book; since most of the items are in the cupboard, this is a great meal to make when you have a busy day at hand.

 

 

Reviewer #4 – Amanda

Mission: To take lasagna where it has never gone before – the crock pot!

 

 

Details:

  • I went with an Italian pork sausage and think I would change that for next time. I found the meat a little chewy. I think I would actually mix it with ground turkey for the flavor.
  • I also used my own homemade sauce. I used 24 oz like the recipe called for. I ended up adding a little at the end however because I like it to be a little more saucy.
  • Also, I added 3 or 4 more noodles than what was called for. 6 just didn’t seem like enough.
  • After 3 hours it was pretty much done and I should have set the crock pot to “warm” at that point because after 4 hours it was really done – almost too done (mushy noodles don’t appeal to me!).

Tips & Tricks Learned:

Use a slow cooker liner! They will literally change your life. I used Reynolds Slow Cooker Liners. They are amazing and made clean up seriously quick. Much quicker than a large pan of lasagna that is for sure! I would also suggest cutting the cook time way down. I don’t know if my crock pot runs really hot but it cooked almost completely at about 3 hours. Next time I make it I plan to switch it to “warm” at the 3 hour mark.

Amanda - Lasagna 1

Pros:

EASY! Delicious and basic ingredients for the most part.

Cons:

My kids didn’t like the ricotta cheese so I may need to omit that next time. Or maybe I will just force them to try it again! My hubby also prefers how the oven makes the top crispy so I may need to put a little section in the oven on broil to appease him too.

Amanda - Lasagna 2

Conclusion:

I will be making this again for sure! It would be ideal for a large group to have a few crock pots going.

 

 

Reviewer #5 – Janet

Mission: It seemed like an interesting recipe to try in the crock pot. I’m always game for trying new recipes and making a meal that is good left over for lunch at work.

 

Details:

I got all the ingredients at the grocery store!

  • I swapped out the ricotta for a container of cottage cheese.
  • I used dried parsley and added some shredded mozzarella cheese to the recipe as well.
  • I also had a half-full open jar of sauce that I added in addition to the full jar the recipe calls for.

Tips & Tricks Learned:Janet - Lasagna 1

The recipe only called for two layers of noodles, but I put in three. After making, I could have even put in another two layers. It all depends on the size of your crock pot.

I had put it on high for about 1 hour and then turned it to low for 2-3 hours. Once you notice that all the cheese is melted and the edges start to crust and brown, it is done.

Put extra cheese in on top, you know you want to! It is lasagna after all!

Pros:

Easy to throw together, but most lasagna recipes are that way. It made a lot and I ended up putting it all into small containers for lunch. I put half in the freezer and the other half in the fridge.

Cons:

It tasted good, but just wasn’t the same as cooking it in the oven. It fell apart and was a little too liquid-y. I wished I had put in more noodles when layering it.

Janet - Lasagna 2

Conclusion:

After getting it all started, I began to question why one would ever have the need to make lasagna in their crock pot? It might be a good way to make lasagna in the summer if you didn’t want to turn your oven on, but it just didn’t have the same flavor as it would if you were to cook in the oven. It was interesting to try, however I am not too sure that I will make it again.

The best part about this project for me though was not the food, but learning about the Six Sisters’ blog!  They have some awesome recipes and ideas; I urge you to check out their site!

 

 Lasagna Conclusion

 

The tasty Slow Cooker Lasagna and it’s photo by Six Sisters’ Stuff


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Jennifer, over at Savoring the Thyme has unlocked the secret to a truly tasty and budget-savvy meal with her Greek Inspired Chicken.  Even better is that this not-so-boring chicken can be kid friendly!

 

Better brush up on your Sirtaki!  Opa!

 

Please click here to visit Savoring the Thyme and see the instructions that we followed!

 

Reviewer #1 – Sheri

Mission: I’ve been dying to try Savor the Thyme’s recipe. When I first spotted it on Pinterest, I drooled on my computer. Any excuse for me to use feta in a recipe. Not to mention, I’m tired of the same old chicken. I’m trying to only serve lean protein and we’re all getting bored with it. “Chicken again?”

Details:

  • The directions we’re easy to follow.  Just flour the chicken breasts (season first) and cook them in the frying pan with some olive oil.
  • The fun part was putting together the Greek goodness. Olives, Feta, and tomatoes! Yum.

Tips & Tricks Learned:

Use a cutting board that has a lip around the edge so the tomatoes and olives don’t go rolling off when you try to slice them.

Sheri - Greek Chicken 1

Pros:

Simple and so delicious! And it has feta!

Cons:

None, aside from the fact that I should have made more of the topping just to throw on a salad.

Sheri - Greek Chicken 2

Conclusion:

First of all my husband was pleased not to have to eat the same old chicken recipes I usually make! This one had a ton of flavor and was truly easy to make. It’s definitely something I can whip up quick when I get home from work. Did I mention I LOVE feta!? I’m sure this would be a great crowd pleaser for a group as well. It’s not only flavorful, it’s eye appealing as well. I’m going to try this a little different next time…marinating the chicken in Greek dressing first. We’ll see how it goes.

 

 

Reviewer #2 – Kristy

Mission: To cook healthier meals for the New Year…always a resolution! And this looked delicious!

 

Details:

  • I am trying hard to follow the Paleo diet so I had to use almond flour to coat the chicken instead of all-purpose flour.
  • I changed it up a bit by sautéing the spinach with the garlic (yummy…I used lots of garlic) then I topped the finished dish with fresh chopped basil.
  • Despite trying to keep the Paleo diet I still topped with the crumbled feta.  A gal still needs cheese, it makes everything a little more scrumptious. And what’s Greek inspired if it doesn’t contain olives and feta!?!

Tips & Tricks Learned:

Be certain to defrost the chicken…I was too lazy to and it took a bit longer for my chicken to cook.  It came out a bit dry because of this.

Kristy - Greek Chicken 1

Pros:

Very easy to make, healthy and the ingredients were super cheap!

Cons:

Nothing really, my chicken was dry but that was because of my own laziness!

Kristy - Greek Chicken 2

Conclusion:

Mike and I both thoroughly enjoyed it. I will definitely be saving this to make it again! Very healthy dish that is super quick to make!

 
 

Reviewer #3 – Janet

Mission: My first thoughts, Yum! But the picture looks too good to be true, no way could I make mine look that yummy.

 

Details:

  • I had feta on hand, so before that went bad, I decided to whip up the meal. I grabbed the rest of the goods at the grocery store.
  • I used soy flour and coconut oil that I also had on hand.

Tips & Tricks Learned:

I let the chicken cook for quite a while…uncooked chicken frightens me.

The coconut oil worked really well for cooking, I just always forget to use it to substitute olive and veggie oil.

The recipe was really easy to follow, I didn’t deviate much from it.

Pros:

Did I really make something this delicious and fresh tasting? And it actually looked like something I could serve to guests? Awesome!

Plus, it actually keeps really well left over for those who are making it just for themselves.

Cons:

Nothing here, except cooking chicken in the skillet makes my apartment stink for the next 4 days. Can’t wait until I get a house someday!

Janet - Greek Chicken

Conclusion:

I already have this on my docket of go-to meals. It was so yummy, light and fresh, it almost made me forget it was winter!

I am so proud of myself for actually making something that somewhat resembled the picture and that would actually be appetizing for my fiance or guests. This is a must try recipe!

 

 

Reviewer #4 – Sarah

Mission: To find a delicious, healthy and quick meal for my family.

 

Details:

YUM! This recipe sounded great from the get-go and really turned out amazing.

  • This recipe had minimal ingredients, that were all easy to find, so that was a plus from the start.
  • Our family tries to steer clear of gluten as much as possible, so I substituted almond flour for the regular flour it called for.
  • In addition, I added chopped onion when the tomatoes and olives were tossed in the oil as we love onions in this house!

This recipe was so easy to prep and cook so we will definitely be making it again! I couldn’t believe how quick it all came together – I think I was in the kitchen no more than 20 – 25 minutes before it was done and on the table.

Next time we make this, I may try using kalamata olives in place of the black olives for a little extra zing.

Tips & Tricks Learned:

Make sure your oil of choice is hot before you start cooking your chicken. The chicken breasts I used were a bit thick, so the cooking time was more like 5-6 minutes per side vs. the 3-4 it called for.

Sarah - Greek Chicken 1

Pros:

Easy, healthy and delicious! This would be a great go-to recipe for entertaining.

Cons:

Nothing!

Sarah - Greek Chicken 2

Conclusion:

So delicious and my husband and kids loved it! I can’t wait to make it again!!!

 

 

Reviewer #5 – Amanda

Mission: Try a new way to spruce up the good ole chicken breast (let’s be honest – it can be rather boring!).

 

Details:

  • I used 5 chicken breasts instead of a package of three but I think the lbs. were about the same.
  • I did finish the dish with some thinly cut fresh baby spinach.

Tips & Tricks Learned:

I am a true chicken-over-cooker at heart and have a VERY hard time not turning the meat several times and NOT cutting into it to check the doneness at the end. Both of these issues usually result in over cooked chicken but I got lucky this time and that did not happen. I did however; lose a lot of the delicious, crispy goodness due to my excessive turning. Moral of the story boys and girls, just turn it once. That really is all you need!

Pros:

Easy, quick, cheap, fairly on hand ingredients or at least ones that even I can get in the back woods I call home.

Cons:

Well my children. They are the only con. Having zero to do with the dish itself (it was truly insanely delish and would be a major crowd pleaser for a group of adults) my kids didn’t like the fact that there was “stuff” on top of the chicken. I kind of new that would happen but for the sake of a picture I topped it anyway. They lived by either not eating it or scraping it off.

Amanda - Greek Chicken

Conclusion:

I will DEFINITELY be making this again. My hubby ate two servings and raved about it (which can be rare since I do usually overcook chicken). The flavor was SO good!

 

Greek Chicken Conclusion

 

The delectable Greek Inspired Chicken and it’s photo by Savoring the Thyme


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Iowa Girl Eats has taken that gorgeous gourd we all love to a whole new level with her Stuffed Acorn Squash.  A healthy dish that is hearty enough to stand on it’s own and pretty enough to grace your holiday table.

 

Since squash isn’t just for fall, we dove right in to this seasonless recipe!

 

Please click here to visit Iowa Girl Eats and see the instructions that we followed!

 

Reviewer #1 – Sarah

Mission: To try my hand at another healthy and quick meal option.

 

Details:

  • I LOVE squash – of all kinds, so I was instantly excited to give this one a try.
  • I followed the recipe as noted, but in place of the sausage links, I used venison breakfast sausages. My husband is an avid deer hunter, and let me just say our freezer if FULL of venison, so when I can find a good use for it, I go for it!
  • I did add onion to my mixture – one of my favorite savory flavor additions to recipes and it added a great texture and flavor.

Tips & Tricks Learned:

If you are a breakfast fiend, like my family is – make sausage links for breakfast and then use your left overs to make this for dinner!

As I mentioned previously, add in onion and you could also add in bell peppers or carrots or even shredded zucchini to give it more body.

My stuffing was a bit dry, and honestly, that is the one part of this recipe I would not include the next time. I try to stay as gluten-free as possible with my diet, so it would be good to instead use a pound of ground sausage or add pecans/walnuts or zucchini, etc. vs. the stuffing the next time I try this.

Sarah - Squash1

Pros:

Pretty easy to prep and make and very tasty!

Cons:

My husband and my kiddos weren’t interested in trying this one – but also a pro as I got to eat it all by myself!

Sarah - Squash2

Conclusion:

A quick and semi-easy meal option that is not only healthy, but fills you up in a good way!

 

 

Reviewer #2 – Sheri

Mission: I’m not a huge fan of squash but I am of stuffing, and this was just appealing to the eye. Sure to get the guests talking.

 

Details:

  • I like the shortcut of getting the squash going in the microwave first.  I was a little disappointed that my grocer was out of my favorite turkey sausage. I ended up using a chicken sausage instead, and I wasn’t too fond of the consistency of it. The great thing about using sausage is that it is already seasoned with savory flavors.
  • I prepared the stuffing and added the sautéed apples and sausage. Into the squash it went, and then a quick broil. A simple recipe for something that looks so elegant.

Tips & Tricks Learned:

The recipe was so well written and easy I can’t really provide any tips. However, I would maybe try making my own stuffing with fresh herbs instead of using Stove Top.

Sheri - Squash1

Pros:

Super easy and appealing to the eye.

Cons:

None!

Sheri - Squash2

Conclusion:

I enjoyed making this one even though I’m not a big squash fan. The flavors blended well and it really looked beautiful.

 

 

Reviewer #3 – Janet

Mission: I love the Iowa Girl Eats blog and was so excited to try one of her recipes!

 

 

Details:

  • Found all the goodies at the grocery store.
  • I was making it just for myself, so picked out a smaller acorn.
  • Substituted bacon for the sausage because I had it on hand.

Tips & Tricks Learned:

It might be a good suggestion to cook the squash cut side down in 1/2″ of water. The way the recipe calls for, cooking the squash cut side up, made it pretty dry. I don’t know how it would turn out, but it might be worth trying.

Pros:

The stuffing was awesome! I had to snag a little from the pan for an appetizer! 🙂

Cons:

The squash turned out dry and was hard to eat out of the skin.

I ended up spooning out the squash “guts” so I could actually eat it together with the stuffing.

Janet - Squash

Conclusion:

Will have to keep this recipe in my collection! A great, healthy recipe to try in the new year!

 

 

Reviewer #4 – Kristy

Mission: Mike and I get so bored with the same old dinner recipes so I am always looking for new ones and this looked delicious!

 

Details:

  • I have to be honest, I have never eaten Stove Top Stuffing and now I can’t imagine not eating it.  Yum!
  • I had a bit of a mess up with my ground pork, freshly cooked…Mike dropped the bowl on the ground. Things happen, so I used Italian sausage that I had on hand.

Tips & Tricks Learned:

I thought the stuffing was a bit too dry so I added a little more than a cup of chicken broth. But basically, follow the directions and this will turn out perfectly!

Pros:

Yummy! Mike and I both thought it was delicious! I can’t wait to start stuffing other vegetables!

Cons:

Only that we didn’t have much for left overs!

Kristy - Squash

Conclusion:

This is definitely a winner recipe and will be made again.  It was quick and didn’t involve too many ingredients which I liked.  The presentation is great so this would be a perfect dish for the holidays and for friendly gatherings!

 

Squash Conclusion


The lovely Stuffed Acorn Squash and it’s photo by Iowa Girl Eats


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Sugar & Spice by Celeste has shared the recipe for her Favorite Quiche!  This recipe looks like the perfect secret weapon for your holiday brunch or last-minute get together.

 

With the holidays right around the corner and house guests on their way, we couldn’t wait to test this one out!

 

Please click here to visit Sugar & Spice by Celeste and see the instructions that we followed!

 

Reviewer #1 – Sheri

Mission: I have never in my life made quiche. I’ve always been a frittata kind of gal. However, I know my mother loves quiche. I figured it would be great to have a nice brunch with my mom.

 

Details:

  • I read the recipe a few times first because I’ve never done this before. I seriously had no clue that you actually bake the pie crust a little before you make the quiche. I also did a little dance when I saw I could use a store-bought crust. Score!
  • While the crust was baking I sautéed the onions and mushrooms and cooked the bacon. I put the egg mixture together and wilted the spinach. When the spinach was about wilted I turned off the burner and started shredding the Gruyère. It was truly an easy recipe to follow.
  • I combined the ingredients and poured it into the crust shell. Dang! There seemed to be too many ingredients. The egg mixture went up over the crust.

Tips & Tricks Learned:

Roll the crust out a bit more so it reaches the top of the baking dish.
Sheri Quiche 1

Pros:

Easy and tasty. Perfect for a brunch with friends.

Cons:

None, especially seeing I got to use the store-bought pie crust.

Sheri Quiche 2

Conclusion:

Wow, the flavor! This quiche was fantastic. Even my father had two pieces and he’s not a huge fan of quiche. The only thing I would have done different is rolled the pie crust out a bit and baked it a little longer prior to putting the quiche together.

This recipe is being filed under “awesome for brunch.”

 

 

Reviewer #2 – Janet

Mission: My first thoughts, “Looks yummy and recipe seems simple!”

 

 

Details:Janet - baby quiche

  • Prior to making the quiche, I had prepared a cherry pie for my family’s Thanksgiving meal. Homemade crust is freezable (after checking with my mom of course), so I wrapped it and stuck it in the freezer until a day prior to making the quiche. I didn’t have enough for a full 9-inch crust, but opted to cut the ingredients down a little and make it in a few smaller dishes.
  • As for the ingredients, the cheese was the priciest of everything (found one brand for $11!) but Target offered a slightly cheaper smoked Gruyère ($5) and was made just next door in Wisconsin. After Googling for a substitute, swiss cheese can work as well.

Tips & Tricks Learned:

This recipe allows for some rough estimation of ingredients. Since I decided to make a few smaller quiches, I used only two eggs, a splash of milk, and cut down the other ingredients to about half of what the recipe called for.

Cook it longer than you think. It may start to look light brown on top, but you want to make sure that the egg is cooked through, so just give it a few more minutes than the recipe calls for.

Pros:

Worked pretty well to make with my smaller dishes. Turned out really yummy! Great as leftovers as well.

Cons:

Though it turned out perfect, the small dishes were precarious to get into the oven without spilling! No other cons with this recipe!

Janet Quiche

Conclusion:

Definitely going to keep this one handy in my recipe box. I brought my leftovers to work and my coworkers were impressed with my chef-skills. They even asked to get the recipe!

If you want to make your coworkers jealous of your lunch, you have got to try out this quiche! (hehe)

 

 

Reviewer #3 – Amanda

Mission: Test out a simple recipe in hopes of having a new dish for the holiday company.

 

 

Details:

  • I chose Alpenhaus Le Gruyère which was a little pricey at about $8.00 for 8oz but I only needed about half the block so not too bad.
  • I did not have a tart pan (although it has been added to my Christmas wish list!). I used a fluted 9 inch glass pie pan instead and that worked just fine!

Tips & Tricks Learned:

The recipe said 45-55 minutes. I would definitely suggest 55. I was bringing my quiche to a party and was in a hurry so it only got 50 minutes and it was just a little softer than I wanted. Still delish though!

Amanda Quiche 1

Pros:

A nice mix of flavors a little deeper than your standard quiche. Pretty quick to throw together too!

Cons:

The cheese is kind of a budget breaker but I think you could sub that for something cheaper or use less.

Amanda-Quiche-2

Conclusion:

I will definitely make this again and may mix up the ingredients by using sausage instead of bacon or even ham.

 

 

Reviewer #4 – Katie

Mission: Dazzle and delight your family and friends with this delicious dish!

 

 

Details:

  • This recipe was very easy to follow and I even made my pie crust from scratch!
  • I made one quiche per the recipe and one modified to my boyfriend’s taste: no onions.

I fed a house-full and this dish was a total hit!

Tips & Tricks Learned:

Super simple to modify the recipe to your taste…I added Chipotle TABASCO sauce to mine for added kick!Katie Quiche 1

Pros:

Tastes great, easy to make and healthier than waffles

Cons:

None!

Katie Quiche 2

Conclusion:

Total hit and definitely adding to my recipe repertoire!

 

 

Quiche Conclusion

 

 

The lovely Favorite Quiche and it’s photo by Sugar & Spice by Celeste


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Sticky Bun Breakfast Ring

The Jones Way has caught our attention with her easy way to make Sticky Buns at home!  The Sticky Bun Breakfast Ring sounds almost too good to be true, so of course we had to find out to be sure!

 

Please click here to visit The Jones Way and see the recipe that we followed!

 

 

Reviewer #1 – Kristy

Mission: Oh, yum! My childhood memories consist of sticky buns for breakfast! My Aunt Faye makes the best sticky buns so I decided to test these to see if this new twist with syrup and cinnamon could beat her recipe!

Details:

  • I used dark brown sugar instead of light! I hope the only difference is the color and not taste.
  • I used walnuts, good brain food and I have them on hand!
  • Ugh…I am not a baker! I always mess up with baking anything…even as simple as this recipe! I forgot to add the cinnamon so I sprinkled it across the top of the biscuits.
  • Being that I am too cheap to get a Bundt Pan which I don’t think I would ever use again; I instead opted for a 9in baking dish.

Tips & Tricks Learned:

I don’t know about you, but I always hate buying brown sugar because I rarely use it and when I do it for that rare recipe…it is hard as a rock! I decided to find a way to prevent this and found a bear. This little bear is supposed to help but again if you are like me and too cheap to do so… simply toss a piece of bread in with your hard brown sugar and viola…2 days later the sugar will be moist again!

Pros:

Quick and easy! Very tasty treat!

Cons:

Sticky…ha, hence the name! There are no “cons” here!

Conclusion:

YUMMY! Yes, Paleo friends…I ate them and enjoyed every bite! I had to eat them for the sake of the blog! Mike’s comments, “Un-Real” and “Phenomenal”! I did bring what was left of the dish to my coworkers who all devoured them!

This would be a great recipe for a shower or holiday brunch!

 

 

Reviewer #2 – Sarah

Mission: Being pregnant has made my sweet tooth crave even more than normal! This breakfast treat looked too yummy to pass up!

 

Details:

I haven’t bought biscuits in forever – and in all honestly, I have a fear of opening those darn biscuit tubes…my husband always gives me a hard time about this!

This recipe looked amazing and sounded pretty easy to whip up, so we gave it a whirl!

  • I was super excited to use my grandmother’s Bundt Pan for this, as this was the first time I had put it to use and it is so darling.
  • Outside of the pain of opening the biscuits, this recipe was so easy and went together super quickly! We just zapped the butter in the microwave, added the agave syrup and then followed the steps noted. My kids helped by nibbling on brown sugar crumbs

Tips & Tricks Learned:

I substituted the pancake syrup with organic blue agave sweetner as that is what I had on-hand and prefer. This worked amazing and helped me feel a bit less guilty about all the sugary sweetness!

Pros:

Super easy to prep and make, delicious and both of my kiddos enjoyed it! That’s a plus!

Cons:

Left me begging for more!

Conclusion:

Two thumbs up! An awesome sweet breakfast treat and we loved it so much, we made it again a week later!

 

 

Reviewer #3 – Amanda

Mission: Create sticky, gooey, delish sweet bread for the family to devour.

 

 

Details:

  • I used two small tubes of Pillsbury Buttermilk Biscuits and Aunt Jemima Syrup (this is the ONLY brand we buy in our house). The other ingredients are mostly generic.
  • I couldn’t find my Bundt Pan so I opted to layer it in a bread pan and it worked just as well! It would probably be prettier in a Bundt pan but why fuss if you don’t have to. Plus my kids really could care less about the shape. They just wanted the gooey goodness inside the pan.

Tips & Tricks Learned:

It is definitely key to coat the pan well with nonstick baking spray. It would be oh so disappointing if it stuck.

Pros:

It really does taste homemade even though there are some obvious shortcuts. Win-win if you ask me!

Cons:

It is TOO good. Couldn’t. Stop. Eating. It.

Conclusion:

This sweet breakfast treat is the perfect thing to whip up on a special morning to impress company with. They will definitely be fooled into thinking you were up early slaving in the kitchen!

 

 

Reviewer #4 – Sheri

Mission: I really wanted to find an easy and delicious, crowd-pleasing breakfast treat. This recipe seemed to fit just right. Who can resist sticky buns?

 

Details:

I could not get over how incredibly easy this recipe was. A wet mixture (butter and syrup) and a dry mixture (brown sugar and cinnamon). I literally had this put together and in the oven in less than 5 minutes.

Tips & Tricks Learned:

I used butter to grease the pan instead of cooking spray…it added a little more flavor.

Pros:

Super easy, quick, and totally yummy.

Cons:

They don’t call it “sticky” breakfast bun for nothing.

Conclusion:

I was surprised how easily this sticky concoction just dropped right out of the pan and onto the plate. It was beyond delicious! Pleasing to both the eyes and the taste buds. I will definitely be making this often. It was just so easy. Who doesn’t love some cinnamon and brown sugar yumminess in the morning with their coffee?

 

 

Reviewer #5 – Maren

Mission: I grew up looking forward to sticky buns at my aunt and uncle’s house on Sunday mornings.  I knew that making them was a special tradition that wasn’t something that they just threw together.  Learning about this so-called quick and easy way to make a brunch favorite sounded almost too good to be true!!

Details:

  • In typical Maren fashion, I used rounded measurements and went a little heavy on… everything.
  • I am not a huge nut person, so I omitted them altogether.
  • I used my beloved Butter Flavored Pam.

Tips & Tricks Learned:

I actually cooked this, covered it in foil, and then rode 45 minutes in the car to my mom’s house and put it back in the oven to warm it up.  I felt that the biscuits were a tad doughy in the middles, but no one else thought so, nor did they care as they all grabbed seconds and nearly licked their plates!

Pros:

I could hardly get a photo of this thing!  As soon as I turned to pick up my camera, my family dove in head first!

Everyone loved it.  Everyone.

Cons:

You can’t really tell when it’s done… just go with it!

Conclusion:

This super easy recipe is heading straight into my recipe book!  I can’t wait to impress our friends by making it at our next brunch!

 

 

 


The drool-worthy
Sticky Bun Breakfast Ring and it’s photo by The Jones Way


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WHAT?!  You heard us!  Pumpkin Scones, a la StarbucksWe Heart Food has shared with us the stuff that legends are made of.

Be prepared to be in high demand for every brunch, shower, birthday party, conference, book club… you will hold the key!

 

Please click here to visit We Heart Food and see the instructions that we followed!

 

 

Reviewer #1 – Amanda

Mission: To bake something that I won’t consume the entire pan of upon completion. Major fail for me here which means these really were WTFOMG good!

 

Details:

  • I did not have half and half so I used ½ heavy cream and ½ whole milk, thanks to my kiddos.
  • Instead of using a fork to mix the butter into the dry ingredients I used a Pastry Cutter. So easy to get it all mixed in this way with a lot less effort.
  • To mix the dry ingredients with the wet, I started off using a wooden spoon but quickly realized I should have just used my KitchenAid. So I dumped it into the metal bowl and within a few seconds it was mixed perfectly. Sometimes I am pretty wise.
  • Also, I included testers of the 5 and under age group. HUGE success with that target market (not too shabby with the 30+ age group either).

Tips & Tricks Learned:

Use a mixer if you have one instead of your own brawn. Totally worth the end result with no sweat involved.

I decided that I would cut my scones even smaller since I knew kids would be consuming them. I didn’t get a chance to count them (that is how quickly they were eaten) but I dare say you can get nearly 2 dozen out of this recipe.

Pros:

UM seriously tasty and so appropriate for fall. Scones initially made me a little intimidated but these really were pretty simple and so worth making.

Cons:

I ATE TOO MANY. That is all.

Conclusion:

I will definitely be making these again. It would be fun for a Thanksgiving brunch or even around Christmas time.

 

 

Reviewer #2 – Sheri

Mission:  I have never in my life made scones. They’re a treat I recently discovered that I absolutely love; I’m just hoping I can do it. At least it’s not a dough that requires yeast, that would increase my chances of failure. My husband is not a huge pumpkin fan and if I can impress him with these I will consider this a success.

Details:

The instructions from We Heart Food seemed quite easy.

I finally got to use that little contraption my kids are always asking about, the Pastry Cutter. I don’t bake much so I’ve never used it before. It worked like a charm.

I also got to use the dough hook that came with my KitchenAid mixer. I’ve always been more of a cook than a baker.

The combination of the cinnamon, clove, ginger, and nutmeg was phenomenal.

My dough was rather sticky but I was able to get it rolled out into a 1-inch thick slab by just using my hands. As far as cutting the dough, the directions didn’t seem right or I read them wrong so I created my own way which worked great.

Tips & Tricks Learned:

The frosting: follow the instructions perfectly. You don’t want it too runny because it will slide right off the scones. The second glaze needs to be a little thicker than the first for a reason…it blends all together if it’s not.

Pros:

Really easy and beyond delicious!!

Cons:

Me and confection sugar glaze have had a battle with each other since my elementary school days, but I FINALLY got it right this time!

Conclusion:

These are definitely a winner! My husband came downstairs asking what smelled so awesome. When I told him they were “pumpkin” scones he looked a little bit disappointed. That was until he ate one. He too exclaimed, “Oh My God!” followed by an obscene word and an “awesome!”

The kids had them for breakfast this morning and couldn’t believe I really made them. I’m taking the compliments as a success. Now I need to go see if they left me any.

 

 

Reviewer #3 – Maren

Mission: After laughing hysterically reading the post by Chris and Lisa of We Heart Food, I was pumped to make these scones! I have a scone recipe that is my old standby, but am always looking for tasty new flavors like pumpkin!  Mmmm!

Details:

I super stuck with the program on this recipe. I even leveled off my cups and spoons with the back of a knife!

I used a really handy trick for the drizzled icing.  Pour your icing into a baggie and snip off a teensy bit of the corner!  Instant pastry bag!

Tips & Tricks Learned:

The next time I make these, I think that I’ll try using my Pastry Cutter and Hamilton Beach Hand Mixer which I LOVE! I would just like to see the difference in texture.

I floured the crap out of this dough, as it was a little sticky to roll out while still being able to pick them up to place on the baking sheet.  The texture wasn’t negatively affected, and the scones were a perfect, delicate baked consistency when done!  A little lighter and fluffier than your average heavy, dense scone, which I liked!

Careful that you don’t go overboard though.  There were a couple of scones that had excess flour on them and the first layer of icing didn’t want to adhere to those areas.

Cutting the scones… um, I somehow failed this part of the scone baking process. I just ate the stupid looking ones first.  Problem solved!

Pros:

Holy S#!T these ARE amazing!  I feel so proud of myself!

I feel like freaking Julia Child, minus the Julia Child voice {said with the Julia Child voice}

The drizzled icing has a strong presence of clove that really emphasizes the pumpkin flavor!  It is PERFECT!

Cons:

Apparently cutting 1 rectangle into 12 triangles is too complicated for me.

Conclusion:

I LOVE WTFOMG SCONES!!!  I cannot wait for my next chance to make these incredible treats to share! I want to show off this incredible recipe that practically turns me into Martha’s protégé!  I also want to eat mass quantities of this treat so I will have to always make double batches… note to self!  I just want to shout it to the world!

 

 


The drool-worthy
Pumpkin Scones and their photo by We Heart Food


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Who doesn’t love tomato soup?  We discovered a fresh new take on this favorite at More Fruit Please.  She has created an enticing recipe for Tomato, Basil and Cheddar Soup that (thanks to a special ingredient) is both creamy and healthy!

Okay, you’ve got our attention!

 

Please click here to visit More Fruit Please and see the instructions that we followed!

 

Reviewer #1 – Sheri

Mission: Fall always makes me want to cook. Usually it’s the comfort foods that I really crave. When I saw this recipe it was a MUST. I wanted to try it. I have never made a puree type soup. I pretty much stick to making chicken soup in various ways or making my turkey chili.

 

Details:

I followed the easy to read recipe from More Fruit Please.

It was truly very simple. Saute some onions and garlic, add two cans of diced tomatoes and some vegetable broth, add the basil and other seasonings, and let it all simmer. Add in the Greek yogurt and some shredded cheddar and puree with an Immersion Blender.

Tips & Tricks Learned:

The big tip I have to offer you…do not ribbon the basil. Chop it very finely or it gets all caught up in the Immersion Blender.

Pros:

It was an easy recipe and the flavors together were fantastic.

Cons:

I personally wasn’t too in love with the texture. I can’t figure it out.

Conclusion:

This soup was really easy and inexpensive to make. It was definitely a more flavorful tomato soup. There was just something about the texture. I don’t know if it was the yogurt or the shredded cheddar. It just wasn’t as creamy as I imagined it was going to be. It still went well with my grilled cheese.

 

 

Reviewer #2 – Kristy

Mission: Cold weather brings out my love of soups so I felt this was a perfect recipe to try for the chilly winter months coming ahead! Added bonus, tomato soup is Mike’s favorite!

Details:

I broke out my handy dandy Oster Blender for this recipe!  Ok, I have to admit…I personally haven’t used it for its food processing capabilities, not even for this project. I had my friend, Heather, over for dinner and she used her amazing chef skills to puree!

The soup curdled with the Greek yogurt!  Sounds gross, right? I went into a panic, the soup wasn’t looking pretty!  Have no fear since once you blend the soup, there will be no more signs that things went array!

Oops, 2 cups of cheese were added! With two cooks in the kitchen something will go wrong, right!

Tips & Tricks Learned:

I have goggled for you why the soup curdled and how to prevent it!  From reading, I think it was from adding the yogurt too quickly or maybe because it was too cold, so two options poor the yogurt in slowly or let it sit to room temperature before adding.

Suggestion, a hand held Immersion Blender may be best to prevent a mess as Heather had to blend the soup in batches.

Pros:

Very quick and easy! Yummy!

Cons:

Curdle…ugh, I can’t even handle the word!

Conclusion:

I loved this soup!  Mike is my tomato soup connoisseur! He was a fan but commented it was bit too cheesy!  Next time, just one cup of cheese!  Heather’s comment was that it needed a little tomato paste to give it a bit more tomato flavor…I think less cheese may do the trick!

When you are chilled this winter, this is the perfect soup to warm you up!  I paired the soup with grilled chicken and salad…I thought it all looked too yummy to not share!

I would also recommend pairing the soup with a cheesy sourdough grilled cheese for a perfect winter meal!

 

 

Reviewer #3 – Sarah

Mission:  I absolutely love soup – and tomato soup at that! This recipe sounded easy and didn’t sound like it had an excessive amount of ingredients, which to me is always a good sign. I also had some yummy canned tomatoes from my mom’s Iowa garden that I had been looking to add to a recipe.

Details:

This recipe sounded really straight forward from the get-go and I had many of the ingredients already on-hand, which is a huge plus in my book.

I was able to use up some of my FAGE plain Greek yogurt and had pre-shredded cheddar cheese ready to go in addition to many of the other ingredients.

I sautéed the onions and garlic and continued to follow the recipe as directed. Each step was very straight-forward and easy. The process was simple and quick and came together with ease.

Tips & Tricks Learned:

I used as many ingredients as I had on-hand – one less trip to the grocery store is always awesome in my eyes. Not having to load up my crew to just leave the house is a huge benefit.

I love using fresh summer produce! I was able to use my Mom’s canned Iowa tomatoes as well as fresh basil from my own garden.

Pros:

Super easy to prep and make and had pretty good flavor.

Cons:

Because I used my mom’s canned tomatoes, I think there may have been more natural water already, so I feel I could have skipped adding in the vegetable stock all together as the soup was more watery than I had desired.

I feel the onions and garlic could have been cooked longer to soften them more and bring out more of their flavor before moving on to the next step.

In addition, I stupidly forgot that I have a Magic Bullet, so I kept the soup “chunky” in style vs. blending it smooth. I love soup with texture, so I was totally fine with that, but my only complaint is that the Greek yogurt did not ever really fully melt/smooth into the soup.

Conclusion:

Super easy recipe and a great way to use some fresh produce! I enjoyed it, but am not sure I’ll be making it again as it just wasn’t my favorite soup ever.

 

 

 

 

The lovely Tomato, Basil and Cheddar Soup and it’s photo by More Fruit Please


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Stick a Fork In It has done the heavy lifting for us by narrowing down the barrage of crock pot recipes and delivering this one perfect formula for Crockpot Barbecue Chicken!

Generally speaking, “Crock Pot” = easy, and we like that!  Let’s see if this carefully curated recipe is all it’s cracked up to be!

 

Please click here to visit Stick a Fork In It and see the instructions that we followed!

 

 

Reviewer #1 – Maren

Mission: Whip up some tasty sandwiches for my family with minimal effort!

 

Details:

  • Since I’m not a huge BBQ connoisseur, I stuck with the recommendation and used Sweet Baby Ray’s Barbecue Sauce.  I needed more guidance on the “1 bottle BBQ sauce.”  I narrowly escaped a meltdown in the BBQ aisle when faced with Sweet Baby Ray’s in 400 different varieties and 3 different sizes.  After much searching, I finally found the “Original” flavor and decided that the most logical choice would be the mid-sized bottle, which was 28 ounces.  I mean, I’m the middle child and I’m perfect, so that must mean something.
  • I only checked on it a couple of times, flipping the breasts over and spooning the sauce over the top.

Tips & Tricks Learned:

My most recommended trick for any crock pot recipe is to first spray the crock with Pam Olive Oil Cooking Spray.  Makes clean-up a breeze.  Those liners gross me out because they look like shower caps.

The chicken practically shredded itself when I was removing it from the crock pot!  I hardly needed to even piece it apart with the fork!  I put it in a bowl, and then stirred in some of the extra sauce for more flavor.  It was incredible on a bun!

Pros:

Wow!  This was ridiculously easy!

Cons:

None!

We Tried It!  Crockpot BBQ Chicken!

Conclusion:

This recipe was great, I hardly had to do anything!  Who doesn’t love a meal like that?  I think that this would be a great item to make for a group, or bring to a party.  I imagine that it is highly customizable with the plethora of sauce choices out there.  I will definitely be hanging on to this one!

 

 

Reviewer #2 – Amanda

Mission: Bust out an easy crock pot recipe to please any crowd!

 

 

Details:

I ended up making a few small changes.

  • I did use Sweet Baby Ray’s Barbecue Sauce but opted for chicken drummies instead of breasts (it is all I had on hand).
  • I cooked them for 5 hours (hour 4 with the cover off and on high in hopes of thickening the sauce a bit).
  • After removing the meat from the pot I still felt like the sauce didn’t coat it well enough and needed to get them a little more crusty so I opted to put them on a foil (Reynolds Non-stick Foil) lined pan on broil for about 10 minutes or so. This created a nice crust and seemed to secure the sauce to the meat a little better. Downside it also dried my meat out a bit. Bummer.

Tips & Tricks Learned:

Not sure to be honest. It seemed like the pic was not realistic to the end results although the sauce tasted great.

Pros:

Would have been easy had it turned out how it looked in the blog post from Stick a Fork in it.

Cons:

Wasn’t what I was hoping for. The sauce was definitely too runny.

We Tried It!  Crockpot BBQ Chicken!

Conclusion:

Maybe if I had used less sauce and also chicken breast this may have turned out differently? Not sure I will make it again although I feel like this COULD be a good method. Might have to stick to the grill for now…

 

 

Reviewer #3 – Janet

Mission: Make an easy meal in the crock pot!

 

 

Details:

Tips & Tricks Learned:

The chicken breasts can be thrown in before being thawed. This made it much cleaner and easier to put together.

The recipe is pretty basic, so if you are looking to use some spices up or like I did, use apple cider vinegar instead of white vinegar (because its been sitting in the cupboard for months!! It doesn’t go bad, right??), this recipe is flexible enough to do so.

Pros:

Perfect for a family meal and for people who live alone.

The leftovers could be shredded to make BBQ sandwiches.

So easy, a caveman could do it

Cons:

None that I know of.

We Tried It!  Crockpot BBQ Chicken!

Conclusion:

This is a recipe that works for my lifestyle because it is so easy, doesn’t make much mess, and gives me leftovers for my work lunch for the rest of the week. This recipe isn’t made to show off your culinary skills, so it probably is best to serve your family when you are short on time. Overall a decent crock pot recipe.

 

 

Reviewer #4 – Kristy

Mission: I am from the South, of course I love barbeque so I had to try this recipe!  Then to top it all off, it’s in a crock-pot…easy cooking, just my style!

 

Details:

  • 6 ingredients: chicken breasts, BBQ sauce, vinegar, red pepper flakes, brown sugar and garlic powder.
  • I only had 4 chicken breasts so I only used about ¾ of the Sweet Baby Ray’s Barbecue Sauce which is Mike’s favorite!
  • I didn’t have brown sugar on hand so I substituted for ¼ cup honey instead.

Tips & Tricks Learned:

Use the plastic disposable crock pot liners…they are amazing when it’s clean up time.  Reynolds Slow Cooker Liners are my favorite. I unfortunately, was out and had to soak the pot for 2 days and scrubbed for what seemed like endless hours. Not worth the aggravation.

Don’t overcook.  I had left my crock pot on low for 6 hours and I think because I had less chicken…mine came out a little on the dry side. Be sure to check along the way so the chicken is just as you would like it.

Pros:

Easy and delicious! Just throw everything in the crock pot and forget about it!

Cons:

Cleaning the crock pot is not fun.

We Tried It!  Crockpot BBQ Chicken!

Conclusion:

Great recipe, Mike loved it!  I still prefer BBQ chicken on the grill…especially my dad’s but this is great when you are on a time pinch!  Perfect for topping a salad when you have leftovers!

 

 

 

The great shot of Crockpot Barbecue Chicken taken by Stick a Fork In It


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Mexican food, check.  Avocado, check. What’s not enticing about Spicy Avocado Chicken EnchiladasThe Novice Chef shares her Cinco de Mayo recipe featuring that green goodie, avocado, chicken and salsa verde.

 

Please click here to visit The Novice Chef and see the recipe that we followed!

 

Reviewer #1 – Sheri

Mission:  When I first saw this Pinned on Pinterest all I could say was YUM, YUM, YUM!

Not only am I an avocado lover but I love making enchiladas for my husband and I. I had never seen a recipe like this before. No traditional red enchilada sauce? I immediately struck the Pin and went to the site, The Novice Chef.

Seeing I recently got my husband to start eating avocados I was excited to share this with him. I even called my parents and suggested I go on over and make them for us all.

Details:

I would like to thank The Novice Chef for not using the word “roux” in the recipe even though I was tossing butter and flour into a pan. If you want to know what that’s all about go read my bio.

I started with making the sauce. It’s pretty simple. Butter, garlic, serrano pepper (which I had to substitute with cubanelle), chicken stock, cumin, cilantro, and sour cream. Adding the sour cream to hot chicken stock kind of turned my stomach a bit but all the ingredients coming together smelled amazing.

After finishing the sauce I started my enchilada assembly line and stuffed and rolled those babies.

I poured the remaining sauce over the enchiladas and hoped for the best. After all I was feeding my parents…my dad can be quite the critic when it comes to new things.

Tips & Tricks Learned:

I baked the chicken breasts ahead of time and let them cool a bit. No need to burn the fingers.

Pros:

Super yummy and filling. Not too difficult to do.

Cons:

I’m not a fan of cilantro. It wasn’t over powering, but I would leave it out next time.

Conclusion:

These were delicious, but I have a few suggestions. When I make “my” enchiladas I always add black beans. They add to the flavor and texture. So I would definitely add them the next time I make this recipe.

A suggestion from my husband and my father: hot sauce! They added a little bit of hot sauce and said it “blended the flavors together.” Just the right kick.

I was glad everyone enjoyed them. I will never again use enchilada sauce out of a can.

 

 

Reviewer #2 – Sarah

Mission: To try out a new recipe on my family that sounded quick, easy and delicious! We LOVE Mexican food, so was really hoping for a delicious meal that I can make again.

 

Details:

With this recipe, I changed just a few of the key ingredients based on what I already had on-hand and wanted to tame the heat a bit since we have two young kiddos to feed as well.

  • I substituted the Serrano pepper for a pablano pepper, used up the Manchango and sharp cheddar cheese I already had on-hand.
  • For the salsa, I used my favorite Jack’s Special Medium Garden Salsa from Costco. Delish!
  • In addition, my husband and kids aren’t fans of avocado, so I ended up only using half of one within four of the enchiladas and then made four without.

Tips & Tricks Learned:

I prepped all of my ingredients earlier in the day during my kiddos nap time – it made the actual “make” time very easy. For my family, we made half of the enchiladas without any avocado and half with.

Pros:

Super easy to make and really tasty!

It was a hit with my husband, even though my kids didn’t seem as keen on it.

Also made enough for left overs which made lunch the next day great 🙂

Cons:

Uses some ingredients that may take a special trip to the store.

 

Conclusion:

Definitely plan to make again – would be a wonderful dish to make for a quick dinner with friends!

 

 

Reviewer #3 – Maren

Mission: I could eat Mexican food every damn day, so I was excited to see a variation like this one by The Novice Chef!

We are currently shacking up with my in-laws, so I was hoping to make something both full of new flavors and that everyone would like.

Details:

  • In wall of salsa at my grocery store, I only saw a couple in “Salsa Verde” form.  I picked Guy Fieri’s Mean & Green Salsa Verde solely because I love him… and the packaging was cooler.
  • My mother-in-law doesn’t like spicy food or avocados; so I only used 2 avocados, and fortunately my Salsa Verde was already “Medium” as recommended by The Novice Chef.
  • I couldn’t find “Cabot Monterrey Jack” cheese or figure out what the hell it was, so I just used regular Monterey Jack. (I later learned that this is just a brand.  Oh.  Smart moment.
  • I actually made my chicken a couple of months ago – it’s Chocolate Therapy’s Crockpot Chicken Taco’s recipe!  Easiest thing ever, and absolutely perfect in any mexican dish!  Makes a boat-load if it’s just you and your honey, like us – so be sure to take advantage and freeze it in smaller portions!
  • I also ended up adding twice the amount of cheese in an attempt to win over my taste testers.

Tips & Tricks Learned:

My cilantro was also frozen… I wouldn’t do that again.  It tasted fine but was mushy and really grossed me out when I was adding it to the sauce.

I wouldn’t add the flour until after the chicken broth.  Instant blob.  Thankfully, I was able to break it up while the broth and spices melded.  Phew!

Always wear gloves while cutting peppers.  Always.  That is, unless you like the feeling of your eyeballs bursting into flames when you take your contacts out 4 hours later.

Pros:

These were great!  Everyone loved them!  We were so excited to wolf these things down, I barely got a photo before they were gone!

The salsa verde had a strong “smokey” smell, which scared me, but the flavor was great.

They weren’t too spicy, and the avocado simply added a creamy texture and milder flavor – my [anti-spicy/anti-avocado] mother-in-law went back for seconds!  She thought they had a nice “Zing.”  My father-in-law however, thought they had “No zing.” 🙂

Cons:

I could have used a little more spice, but I liked the salsa that I used.  Next time I’ll add another serrano pepper!

Conclusion:

Everyone loved these enchiladas, regardless of whether they thought they were spicy or not!  They certainly had a unique flavor which was a nice way to switch up your “Taco Night”.  I felt like I was eating something that I had ordered from a restaurant!

 

The lovely Spicy Avocado Chicken Enchiladas photo taken by The Novice Chef


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Skinnytaste has whipped up a gorgeous Grilled Flank Steak with Tomatoes, Red Onion and Balsamic that is said to be easy to make and sure to please!

 

Please click here to visit Skinnytaste.com to see the recipe that we followed!

 

Reviewer #1 – Sarah

Mission:  Make a healthy, delicious dinner for my family.

 

Details:

  • Flank steak
  • Tomatoes
  • Onions
  • Basil
  • Olive Oil
  • Balsamic
  • Salt and pepper

Tips & Tricks Learned:

A little side of homemade mashed potatoes and some grilled baguette bread are great additions!

Pros:

Easy preparation!

Looks gourmet and tasted like something you would order at a restaurant.

Cons:

I honestly don’t have any cons for this dish. It was truly great!

Conclusion:

This was such an easy dinner to prepare, it looked gourmet and tasted AMAZING! Plus, the cost for this meal was very doable for our family of four. It was right around $20. And I even got to use some goodies from our vegetable garden, which is a win-win!

I will definitely be making this again – it has been added to the recipe box and my husband enjoyed it 🙂 I would highly recommend this for anyone!!

 

 

Reviewer #2 – Kristy

Mission:  I knew Mike and I would love this meal…grilling is one of our favorite methods of cooking.  I must be honest I am not the griller but for this recipe I decided to learn!  Since we have an electric grill, it was easy to get fired up and ready for grilling.

Easy enough to get started and very few ingredients equals perfect recipe for me.

Details:

  • The ingredients, all fresh which is the best way to cook! I have learned its best to have everything you need ready to go for efficiency and to not forget ingredients. It was also time to fire up the grill at this time.
  • Instead of flank steak, I substituted with a skirt steak.  I couldn’t find the flank steak in the beef section.  Piercing the steak with the fork was an easy task.  I seasoned first and I am thinking you should potentially do the piercing first so the seasoning can seep into the meat.
  • Next, I headed to the grill.  I fear eating meat that is still alive so I was hoping when I took it off it was going to be cooked and not still mooing. Once I took the steak off the grill, the bloody juices ran across my white platter so I made a judgment call to put the steak back on the grill for a few more minutes.
  • The tomato salsa needs to be made prior to the grilling so you give it time to marinate.  It’s simple with just chopping, pouring and mixing.
  • After letting the steak rest, just dump the salsa on top and viola! Looks tasty and smells great!  (Notice, my picture was taken after I started eating…I almost forget to take a picture! It was that good that you would have done the same!)

Tips & Tricks Learned:

Let the meat rest, holds in the juices!  Simple and fresh ingredients can make some of the best dishes.

Save one day a week for chopping so when you are rushed for time, you can quickly put together dishes such as this on even the busiest of days. Sundays or Mondays are my chosen days.

Pros:

It was simple to follow and allowed me to learn to grill!  I started making the tomato salsa as my lunch salads for the week.

Cons:

None!

Conclusion:

I can’t wait to make it again.  I love to eat fresh ingrediants and have easy meals to put together.  This recipe is for keeps!

 

 

Reviewer #3 – Maren

Mission: To grill up a delicious and healthy dinner that shouldn’t wipe me out before even getting to eat it!

 

Details:

  • I always forget something!  This time it was the red onion, so I substituted for some diced shallots that I had in the freezer – they worked perfectly!
  • Our local butcher was out of flank steak, and we had also planned on halving the recipe – so we used two small tenderloins instead.

Tips & Tricks Learned:

We experienced a torrential down pour with about 5 minutes left to go on the grill!  The steaks were way too rare, so I wrapped the plate in foil for the 5 minutes and they turned out perfectly!

The tomato topping is exactly what you would pair with a bruschetta!  Since we halved the steak part, and then forgot to halve the tomato part, we ate up the remaining topping on some sliced baguettes – delish!

Pros:

This was a super easy dinner to make – even weeknight worthy!

Cons:

My mom and husband were in LOVE with the tenderloin that we got – my husband almost fell out of his chair when I said that I had only seasoned it with garlic salt, salt & pepper.  They both felt like the tomatoes overpowered the flavor of the meat.  I however, am not as big of a meat fan as they are and felt like the tomatoes were the perfect match for our steak!

Conclusion:

We really enjoyed this easy meal!  My husband and I also really enjoyed the tomatoes on their own, and with a bit of bruschetta!  This is great any night of the week, and also for summer, when you can grow the produce right in your garden or pick up at the farmers market!

It was so quick and versatile that I will most definitely put it on our list of recipes to make when we not only have company, but entertain lots of friends!

 

 

The beautiful shot of the Grilled Flank Steak With Tomatoes, Red Onion and Balsamic taken by Skinnytaste


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Six Sisters’ Stuff has shared their very own Copycat Recipe for P.F. Chang’s Mongolian Beef!

Always on the hunt for meals that the whole family will love, The Crafty Collaborative just had to try it out!

 

Please click here to visit Six Sisters’ Stuff and check out the recipe that we followed!

 

Reviewer #1 – Sarah

Mission:  To make a delicious dinner while trying to replicate the tasty P.F. Chang’s Mongolian beef.

 

Details:

  • Tasty ingredients
  • Sauté pan
  • Wok
  • Oil
  • Messy kitchen (during the cooking!)

Tips & Tricks Learned:

I replaced cornstarch with flour – at 2 T. flour to 1 T. cornstarch. It worked fairly well, but seemed to be a bit thicker than cornstarch would have been.

In addition, we love sautéed vegetables and I always have fresh veggies on-hand, so we made a mix of bell peppers and radishes as a side to this tasty entre.

Pros:

Easy to make – even for those faint of heart in the kitchen.

Relatively inexpensive for a family of four – cost under $25.00 total.

Cons:

Required a few ingredients that some may not have on hand – i.e. fresh ginger. But, such a key ingredient!

Conclusion:

This dinner turned out fabulous! It was a fairly easy process for preparing and cooking and was easy to pair with sautéed vegetables. My hubby LOVED this dinner.  The sauce was spectacular!  I’m so excited that we have leftovers! I plan to make this again for sure!!!

 

 

Reviewer #2 – Amanda

Mission:  The goal was to test the theory that this dish is a good as the one served at P.F. Chang’s Mongolian Beef.

 

Details:

  • I decided to use pork loin instead of beef (in my kitchen – I am the cook and since I don’t “do” beef no one I am serving does either)
  • I only used half the amount of oil required to cook the meat (1/2 cup)
  • I also doubled the sauce recipe in part because I am lazy and I also hate wasting fresh ingredients like ginger and garlic
  • I did not put the dish in the oven to warm through after adding the sauce and green onions. Instead I warmed the entire dish in the pan I cooked the meat in (I poured out the oil and wiped the pan out first).

Tips & Tricks Learned:

It is no joke that the garlic and ginger will burn brown VERY quickly if you don’t have the liquids ready to toss into the pan within seconds of putting the garlic and ginger into the oil. Also, dredge or coat the meat in small portions otherwise all your meat sticks together. Don’t cut the meat too thin either. I started with a serrated knife because I thought my other knives would be too dull. It caused the initial pieces to be far too small.

Pros:

The sauce was really simple and it will be great to have it for yet another meal since I doubled it. The meat got nice and crispy which added dimension to the dish.

Cons:

My children didn’t like it but that isn’t saying much since they are kids after all with unrefined pallets.

Conclusion:

This dish was fairly simple and REALLY delish! I think it could actually be great on chicken and even shrimp.

 

 

Reviewer #3 – Kristy

Mission:  I love Beef and PF Chang’s so this was a perfect recipe for me.  I try my best to eat Paleo friendly/gluten free when I can so I substituted and changed the recipe to better fit!  I found PF Chang’s complimentary recipe for Gluten Free Mongolian Beef so I went for it. Both recipes seemed easy to follow just a few changes to meet my dietary needs.

Details:

  • Instead of flank steak, I used 12 oz of beef tenderloin, which cut quite nicely and tasted even better.
  • I browned my meat in sunflower seed oil instead of vegetable oil from original version. Gluten free version called for soy bean oil…which I didn’t have so I used what I had.
  • I tossed in garlic with the beef then the soy, wine, sugar mixture.  Now here is where I may have gone wrong, I assumed rice wine vinegar and not rice wine. I am still not sure if that was a correct assumption.
  • I also used 2 tbsp. regular sugar instead of brown sugar, I wish I would have eliminated all together.
  • I used a natural soy sauce alternative instead of regular soy sauce.
  • The mixture was then reduced and tossed with green onions.  Looked delicious but some of the changes must have affected the outcome.

Tips & Tricks Learned:

Be sure your phone is camera and not record, ha!

Better meat equals a better dish!

Pros:

It was really easy!  Simple steps so not many to mess up!  It’s my kind of cooking…cut, mix and throw in the pot.

Cons:

Sugar, I wasn’t sure if the gluten version wanted brown sugar or regular sugar, next time I should call PF Changs!

Conclusion:

Overall, the recipe was very tasty, the beef was surprisingly tender. My finance found it was too salty.  I think this was because of the soy sauce.  I eyeballed it and I think I will measure next time.

We definitely, had different taste buds, I thought it was too sweet, so I would definitely eliminate the sugar next time or I think using a teaspoon of honey would have definitely been better than using sugar.

I will be making this again, it was really easy and fun to make!

 

 

The mouthwatering photo of the Copycat P.F. Chang’s Mongolian Beef  taken by Six Sisters’ Stuff


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Six Sisters’ Stuff tempt us with a recipe for Chili’s Copycat Salsa!

Our mouths were watering just thinking about this delicious snack!

 

Please click here to visit Six Sisters’ Stuff and see the recipe that we followed!

 

Reviewer #1 – Maren

Mission:  I love Chili’s Salsa!  These instructions were super easy to follow.  I feel confident that even “College Maren” could have handled this recipe!  I did refer to the forwarding blog, Six Sisters’ Stuff, for more specific info on the jalapeno situation.

Details:

  • I wasn’t paying attention to the recipe and did not drain the tomatoes – ooops!  I think that this actually made the consistency looser though, which is what I was hoping for.  For my jalapenos, I used a full [4 oz] can of Ortega Japapenos, lightly drained.
  • The lime juice that I added was frozen ahead of time thanks to a pin that I saw on Pinterest!  That trick is great if you like to cook with lime juice, or add it to your drinks!  I actually used onion that I had chopped and froze a week or two earlier too.  I’m just discovering the miracle of “freezing.”

Tips & Tricks Learned:

The most important lesson learned from this experience, the ingredients absolutely DO NOT FIT into a Cuisinart Mini Prep.  I was too lazy to get out my full sized Cuisinart, and that was clearly the incorrect choice.

After my salsa explosion, I scooped out [and off the counter] half of the overflowing salsa and continued in half batches until I got a smooth, pureed consistency.  I then reflected upon how things would have gone differently had I just gotten out the G. D. Cuisinart.

Pros:

SUPER Easy and delicious!  Had some serious kick, but wasn’t too hot.  Works well in recipes and on it’s own.

Cons:

Requires a blender or food processor, both of which are heavy and in hard-to-get-at locations in my kitchen and therefore never get used.

Conclusion:

This salsa was ridiculously easy to make!  I fed it to my salsa-loving husband and he said, “It tastes like chili.  It’s good.”  Translation, “I taste the cumin.  I like it.”

Don’t be scared by his comment!  We partake in a chili cook-off with our college friends each fall.  In an overly competitive panic to submit the BEST chili, it is not uncommon for me to make several different kinds in the month preceding the event and feed them to my husband until he can hardly stand hearing the word “chili.”  Therefore, as we approach our fourth year, my husband has eaten more cumin…I mean chili, than the average Joe.  I didn’t think that it was overly cumin-y at all.

Since it’s just my honey and me in our home, I froze half of the salsa for another day!  Thawed it out and used it to make some chicken – it was great!  I also like knowing that there isn’t any weird shit in it that I don’t know about.  Love this salsa!

 

 

Reviewer #2 – Sheri

Mission:  I’ve spent many wonderful evenings catching up with girlfriends over a bowl of chips, Chili’s Salsa, and iced-cold Coronas. Now we all have kids and our get togethers are rare occasions. How great would it be to invite the girls over for some Copycat Chili’s salsa and chat time?

I referred to the Six Sisters’ Stuff blog for a copycat recipe, and it looked surprisingly easy.

Details:

I was at first a little saddened that there would be very limited chopping or dicing, and no fresh ingredients, but then again the recipe was SUPER easy and I had an entire batch of salsa done and to the table in five minutes. You literally just put the ingredients into a blender or food processor and press the button. It’s ridiculously simple.

I chose to use the blender because my food processor is too small. I tossed in the whole tomatoes, canned jalapenos, and onion. I added the salt, sugar, cumin, and lime juice then just hit the button briefly. DONE.

Tips & Tricks Learned:

1.) Wash your hands immediately after touching jalapenos. Do. Not. Touch. Your. Eyes!

2.) A blender might not be the right choice. Complete puree. You would have thought I used tomato sauce instead of whole tomatoes.

Pros:

This can be put together so fast! So, so fast. You can have this all done and cleaned up in a matter of ten minutes. The flavor is pretty darn close to Chili’s salsa.

Cons:

It is definitely on the soupy puree side, and I prefer a chunky salsa. I don’t recall Chili’s salsa being so soup like.

 

Conclusion:

If you can use a can-opener and press a button YOU can make this salsa. I personally thought there was a little more cumin than I remember Chili’s salsa tasting like. I would adjust that a bit next time. I also don’t remember Chili’s salsa being so soupy, but that was most likely my mistake for using the blender. I’ll just have to add some ice and vodka and have a spicy bloody mary instead.

 

 

The lovely photo of Chili’s Copycat Salsa taken by Six Sisters’ Stuff


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