Ally's Sweet and Savory Eats

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

One Carton of Ice Cream Melts Into...3 Amazingly, Easy Desserts

Take one half gallon box of ice cream and turn it into THREE DIFFERENT DESSERTS. 
You'll be famous by Monday.

One Carton of Ice Cream Melts Into...3 Amazingly, Easy Desserts (

So, here's a story.

A few months back I was on the phone with a PR rep from Blue Bunny.  Just typing that out sometimes baffles me.  I mean, who knew a few years ago I'd be on the phone with any PR rep, let alone one that represents an iconic Midwest ice cream brand, right?

It is exactly why I love what I am doing.

And what I love about Blue Bunny is they always want my input, my views, my ideas.  They know I love ice cream, they know I'm from Iowa {where they are headquartered} and they know I'll spread the love.

And while this post is NOT sponsored by them {we got too busy!}, I still wanted to share my idea that they also loved.  Their holiday flavors are out in stores {pumpkin, peppermint, etc.} and while walking by the freezer section one day it hit me.

Why not turn melted ice cream into an array of different desserts?  Most desserts call for a milk or cream of some sort, so if I would just melt down the ice cream it would be an already flavored cream ready to dive into a batter or drink.


So if you have been paying attention to the blog over the past month or so, I've featured three different desserts that had melted ice cream as an ingredient.  And not to brag, but these desserts have been going over like gangbusters on social media.  People are loving them!

Dessert #1 do I event begin to explain this one?  I love cake.  I love big, sheet cakes that feed a million people.  I love cakes with a browned butter frosting that makes people turn their heads and go "hmmm....what is in this?".  I just really, love cake.

One Carton of Ice Cream Melts Into...3 Amazingly, Easy Desserts (

Every single person that was in this cake's presence the weekend I made it, loved it.  It reminds you of a traditional pumpkin bar {you know the one} but at the same time so, very different.

And why the Iowa tie?  Well, because I can.  I wanted to top Texas and their ever-so-popular sheet cake.  I'm starting a trend.  Jump on with me, will ya?

One Carton of Ice Cream Melts Into...3 Amazingly, Easy Desserts (

Dessert #2

My kids love hot chocolate.  To the point that in the winter every-single-time they come inside from playing in snow they feel they need to have it.  Like how spaghetti needs sauce. It has to be there, ready and waiting or else their day in the snow isn't complete.

Once again, I got creative and thought melted ice cream as the 'cream' if you will as the base would be perfect in a hot drink.  Was I ever right on this one!

And remember....drinks don't contain calories.

One Carton of Ice Cream Melts Into...3 Amazingly, Easy Desserts (

Dessert #3

You know the trick to perfect cookies?  You need to use a mixture of butter and shortening in the batter.  It will give them the crispy edge, yet a soft, chewy center.  Adding melted ice cream to the batter?  

It flippin' just puts everything over the top.

I found pumpkin chips at the grocery store, but cinnamon chips would be great too.  Heck, even white chocolate chips would be good.  These cookies went over so well, I almost made a second batch.

One Carton of Ice Cream Melts Into...3 Amazingly, Easy Desserts (

I got all wild and crazy and made these cookies twice the size of normal cookies, but feel free to make them smaller and get more out of the batch.

And if you decide to use regular vanilla ice cream in the batter, it works just the same.  Fancy it up and use whatever flavor combinations you want.  The ice cream police will not come calling.

One Carton of Ice Cream Melts Into...3 Amazingly, Easy Desserts (

Let's get real here for a second.

Do you think you could do this?

Could you buy a half gallon box of ice cream and turn it into three {heck, probably even more...} desserts to impress your guests?

I think you can do it.  It's kinda fun.  The only hard part is keeping your family from not eating the ice cream in the freezer until you are done with it.  It was a struggle in our house. For real.  But we survived.

One Carton of Ice Cream Melts Into...3 Amazingly, Easy Desserts (

With the holidays coming up, give this one a try!

Peppermint ice cream would be fun.  Or red velvet.  Or if you are boring, scared or timid, use a premium vanilla.

And let me know how it turns out!

Sunday, November 22, 2015

Texas Butter Roasted Chicken

Disclosure: This post is part of my relationship with the Stubb's Insiders Program.  
Product and compensation have been provided, but all opinions are my own. 
#ad #sponsored

texas butter roasted chicken (

It's been a bit of a monumental week at our house.

We are nearing close to Thanksgiving.  Today I shoveled 9+ inches of SNOW off our back deck, plus two sets of sidewalks.  And we put up the Christmas tree.

Two out of those three things did not make me happy.

I did not believe we would receive this much snow the week prior to Thanksgiving.  It does not happen often in November.  January?  Yes, of course.  But for November?  Usually an inch or two will suffice.

On top of that, I begged and pleased with my family to wait until after Thanksgiving to put up the Christmas tree, but I was quickly out voted by the husband and kids.  And then who did most of the work?  You got it.  Me.  Oh well, it's done and it's twinkling.

But...I am excited it is nearing Thanksgiving.

Whose with me?

texas butter roasted chicken (

Also, I have a confession to make.

I have never hosted a Thanksgiving {hello, super small house} and I have never roasted a whole turkey.

But, I have roasted my fair share of chickens.  And in my heart of hearts I tell myself that the turkey and chicken {cousins, of course} cook relatively the same.  One just much longer.  So, I could do it, right?

Here's my chicken in all her raw glory.  I got this one at Aldi's.

texas butter roasted chicken (

Although many of you know, I partnered with Stubb's during 2015.  This friendship has been incredible.  I've been able to showcase many of my recipe creations with you featuring their products. It has been fun!

Let's take a look back....

About a month ago they sent me my final package {shed a tear with me, will ya?} and per usual it was chock full of goodies.  A Chili Fixins Cookin' Sauce, a Smokehouse Bourbon Cookin' Sauce, Hickory Liquid Smoke {literally ONE day after I made my first ever batch of homemade oven ribs} and today's featured ingredient Injectable Texas Butter.

I mean, hello, injectable butter?

It was like I was 5 again and Santa gave me everything I had ever asked for.

texas butter roasted chicken (

This here is my bird all rubbed down, injected and molested.  I was a wee bit intimidated to use the liquid butter.

Will I poke the chicken in the wrong place?  Will I put in too much?  Turns out you can't really mess up.  With any syringe type injector {used for food purposes}, the directions basically say to plunge deep in all the nooks and crannies and let it rip.

So that is exactly what I did.

And it worked!  Stubb's Texas Butter is full of mustard, onion, garlic, many spices and well....butter. Just sniffing it smelled heavenly.  Did I want to take a sip?  Maaaaaaaaaaybe.

But honestly, if you can't get your hands on Stubb's Texas Butter {but, seriously, just order HERE}, you could easily make your own.  Melt butter, add a bit of oil, some mustard, fresh garlic and your favorite spices.  Ta-da!  Done.

texas butter roasted chicken (

So to come full circle, in case you are a bit lost, I roasted a chicken for this dish, but a turkey would be fantastic too, considering Thanksgiving is less than a week away.

Anyone still deep fry their turkey?  It was all the rage a few years back, but perhaps one too many grease fires and burns killed the excitement?  I've had both deep fried turkey and chicken....and both had been injected with liquid gold.  And oh boy, what a different in flavor!  I mean, why not do this?

And here's another secret.  While roasting this chicken I continued to baste it with melted butter about every 20 minutes during the last hour.

The more butter the better right?

This chicken is tender, juicy and very flavorful.  Give it a try!

Texas Butter Roasted Chicken

1 whole 5-6 lb. chicken
1 bottle of Stubb's Texas Butter {or anything equivalent}
1 whole lemon
extra melted butter for basting

1.  Preheat the oven to 450 degrees.
2.  To prepare the chicken, remove any giblets in the chicken cavity {may come in a bag}.  Rinse the chicken with cold water and pat dry.
3.  Place the chicken on a wire rack in a large roasting pan.  Slice the lemon in half and place inside the chicken cavity.
4.  Inject the chicken with the Texas Butter, under all joints and under all sides of the chicken's skin. Generously salt and pepper the chicken.
5.  Bake for 2 hours or until juices between the leg and thigh run clear.  During the last hour of roasting, baste with melted butter every 20 minutes.
6.  Allow the chicken to rest at least 15 minutes before carving.

texas butter roasted chicken (

This post was sponsored by Stubb's, as part of the Stubb's Insider Program.  All opinions are my own.

Thursday, November 19, 2015

Traditional Slow Cooker Sunday Red Sauce

Put this sauce on to simmer and your worries will literally melt away.

traditional slow cooker sunday red sauce (

I do not have any Italian heritage in my name, but if I were allowed to pick, that country would be first on my list.  

At my high school graduation party when all my other friends were serving cold meat sandwiches and watery potato salad, I was serving baked ziti, homemade bread and salad catered by the lone Italian goddess in my hometown {hi Rosemary!}.

It was fabulous.  And much needed.

When you attend 15 graduation parties over the course of a weekend {hello, small town living} you get sick and tired of eating the same slop.

I am also the girl who had a four-tiered layered chocolate cake {with ALL chocolate frosting} at her wedding.

What can I say?  I dare to break the rules.

So growing up jarred sauces and I were pretty good friends.  I cannot remember my mom ever making a homemade red sauce and nothing against her or them, we just didn't take the time to make them.  But then I got married, had kids and got all Betty Crocker-ish and started making my own.  I have a few different versions.    This simple 30-minute marinara is for when I'm in a super time pinch. And this slow cooker basil marinara sauce has a completely different taste and uses fresh tomatoes out of the garden.

What I'm getting at is, it is okay to use different red sauces for different occasions.  I have certain ones I use during various times of the year.  But this sauce?  It is perfect for fall and winter.

traditional slow cooker sunday red sauce (

It's hearty and robust from the addition of red wine.  It could cook all day or all night and never fail you as the flavors just get better and better together.

The kids and I sampled this sauce with big hunks of crusty bread about an hour before dinner and let me tell you.....they are now also hooked.  I've roped them in.  They want to be Italian just like me.

This batch makes a lot and we got three meals out of it.  That first night I served it with these crispy, pan-fried chicken cutlets {another one of my favorites - hello, chicken parm!}.  The kids gobbled it up like it was no tomorrow.

We had the leftovers for lunch the next day, then served the sauce over spaghetti the night after, and finally just last night almost a week later we had it in my pepperoni pizza lasagna roll-ups.

Traditional Slow Cooker Sunday Red Sauce

*slightly adapted from The Lemon Bowl

1 T. olive oil
1 small onion, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 t. salt
1 t. pepper
32 oz. can whole tomatoes
32 oz. can crushed tomatoes
2 15 oz. cans tomato sauce
1 c. red wine
2 c. sliced fresh mushrooms {optional}
fresh basil and parsley

1.  In a skillet over medium heat, add in olive oil and diced onions, cooking until translucent.  Add in the minced garlic towards the end.  When finished transfer the onions and garlic to a large slow cooker.
2.  Add remaining ingredients into the slow cooker, breaking up the large whole tomatoes with your hands or kitchen scissors, leaving as chunky as you like.  I like to add around 1 T. of fresh herbs {basil and parsley} to the sauce before cooking and then again after to garnish.
3.  Cook on LOW for 6-8 hours, or as long or little as you need it to.  It would be ready after 4 hours but could probably go as long as 10 hours.

And in my quest, to give you photos of my "real life".  Remember people get on me about is one from last weekend.  The husband and I had a blast with friends at the dual Iowa Hawkeye wrestling meet and football game.

We love the Hawkeyes {or I should say "I" love the Hawkeyes....long story}, so tailgating is my thang.  I love it.  I would do it every weekend if someone bought me season tickets.

Any takers?

There is one home game left this weekend with the chance for them to go 11-0.  It is a big deal.  And snow is in the forecast.  I'm sure it will be interesting!

Monday, November 16, 2015

My Top 10 Educational & Learning Toys for Holiday Gift Giving

Each year I pick some of my favorite holiday gifts.  
I mean, I've already done the shopping for you!
Browse this list and pick your favorite.

I can't believe I'm saying this but it is now mid-November and we are creeping up on Thanksgiving and Christmas.  Say what?

It feels like I was just on summer vacation and my kids were just starting school....but alas, we are here.  We've been lucky around these parts for some great Fall weather, so obviously, I'm blaming the weatherman for me thinking it is still early October.

Each year I pick my favorite holidays lists if you will.  Some years it's stocking stuffers. Some years it was books and then foodie gifts.  Some years it is a hodge podge of it all.  {All still awesome lists you should check out}.  This year my first anticipated holiday gift list is all about the kiddos.

And let me preface this by saying, toys and I don't get along very well.  I have a small house and I do not like clutter.  But I will make room for ones that are meaningful.  Otherwise when anyone asks what my kids want for Christmas I always, always, always give them this list:

Gift cards to their favorite restaurant 
Membership to our local Children's Museum
Tickets to a a football/basketball game
Kid's magazine or book subscription 

I feel the best gifts are those given as experiences.

BUT, this is a unique and special list.  These aren't the toys that you wait in line for at Toys 'R Us on Black Friday.  These are the toys that make the gift giver feel good.  They are educational.  They make your child think and zone out on {in a good way} for more than 30 minutes.  Basically they aren't junk and you as a parent will be happy to let your child play to their heart's content.

So let's get started!  And yes, all products here are affiliate links.  Meaning, if you would purchase via my link, I will get a mini small profit from your purchase.  It does NOT affect your price, it just helps me keep this little blog going.  

So....happy shopping.

IQ Fit - $9.99

Do me a favor and bookmark this page, you'll need it for your holiday shopping!  Why not give the gift of something educational, yet still fun to your kids, grand kids, nieces, nephews or even that special little someone in your life.

Happy Shopping!

This post does contain affiliate links.

Friday, November 13, 2015

Caramel Apple Crumble

This dish screams Fall and colder weather, so jump on the chance and serve it up!

          caramel apple crumble (

I have so many baked apple dishes in my repertoire it's a bit embarrassing.  And you know what? This Fall I made zero.  Zilch.  I even accompanied our middle child on a trip to the apple orchard, came home with a bucket of apples and STILL didn't make a dessert out of them.

There are these apple pie bars, which in turn has people hounding me for the recipe.  And then, this apple butter which is amazing on toast, bagels, English muffins, pancakes or in oatmeal.  This pumpkin apple sweet bread?  Killer.

You guys I made none of this.

I felt a bit like a failure.

I've said many times how on the weekends I will often bake up have a 'treat' for the weekend.  It has come to the point where the kids and husband will now ask what their treat is for Saturday and Sunday.

They are like a bunch of salivating dogs.

             caramel apple crumble (

For whatever reason this particular weekend my mind went immediately to some sort of apple crisp or crumble.

Maybe it was because I had been neglecting this fruit for so long {other than eating them fresh}. Maybe it was because I didn't have the energy for a cake or homemade brownies or the patience for cookies.  Maybe it was just plain because I was craving it.

And listen, when the baker is craving something, they will make it.  Everyone else should just be thankful they are getting a dessert.


               caramel apple crumble (

So I set off to make this delicious crumble and then got all wild and crazy and threw in half a jar of caramel.

Because all baked apples taste better when drowning in caramel.  It's a fact.  I've done the research. And when you top the apples with a crumbly brown sugar and oatmeal crust, well, hell, it takes it over the top.

Caramel Apple Crumble

4 apples, peeled, dice and cored
1/2 c. sugar
2/3 c. oatmeal
1/2 c. flour
2 t. cinnamon
1/3 c. brown sugar
1/2 c. unsalted butter, melted
1 c. jarred caramel topping

1.  Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and grease a 8x8 baking dish.
2.  Combine the diced apples with 1 t. of the cinnamon, tossing to coat.  Lay the apples in the bottom of the baking dish, then pour on the caramel topping.
3.  In a bowl combine all dry ingredients.
4.  Pour melted butter over the dry ingredients, stirring to combine.  Sprinkle over the apples.
5.  Bake, uncovered, for 40 minutes.
6.  Let dish sit for 10-15 minutes.  Serve warm with ice cream or whipped topping.

                                                 caramel apple crumble (

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Saucy Shredded Pork Enchiladas

saucy shredded pork enchiladas (

This past weekend my college girls and together after about a 5 year break.  I spent 24 glorious hours at my alma mater without a care in the world.  The kids were in the safe arms of grandma and grandpa and the husband was visiting friends himself.  Everyone was taken care of.

We started the day with drinks at my friend's house watching our beloved Hawkeyes {kick butt!}, then traveled to Whiskey Road for dinner and proceeded to travel and hop to all our old establishments.

Do I dare say we passed by an old hang out thinking they were closed, but soon realized we are just super old and had arrived BEFORE they even opened?

We are so cool.

These girls, plus two others, and I were known to get into a bit of mischief back then.  How did we not end up in jail?  How did we actually graduate?

Anyway, sometimes I get flack for not sharing more personal stories about my life {that doesn't center around food}, so that was my weekend!  How about that?

What did you do?  Anything fun?

Eat any enchiladas?


Then this recipe is for you.

saucy shredded pork enchiladas (

Here's the thing.

I love a good corn enchilada at restaurants, but I can never, ever make them at home.  They just didn't taste right and those darn corn tortillas always broke on me and it ended up looking like one huge pile of snot by the time I was done.

Which is okay if you are eating them yourself, but when taking photos, it certainly was never eye-appealing.

So this time I carefully got a fresh, new package of corn tortillas {another good point, don't use ones that have been sitting in the fridge for awhile} and carefully wrapped them in paper towels, microwaved them for about 30 seconds and kept them warm while filling and wrapping.  This seemed to do the trick. They stayed together nicely and looked a hell of a lot prettier.

I will also say, don't over stuff these bad boys.  In your heart you will want too.  I know, I've been there.  The more stuffing the better.  But trust me, they'll bust out of their seams faster than you can sneeze.  It just doesn't work.

Saucy Shredded Pork Enchiladas

3 c. cooked shredded pork
1 15 oz. can green enchilada sauce
1 15 oz. can red enchilada sauce
4 oz. cream cheese
12 corn tortillas
2 c. shredded mozzarella cheese

1.  Preheat the oven to 400 degrees and grease a 9x13 baking dish.
2.  In a sauce pan combine the cooked shredded pork, cream cheese and half of each of the enchilada sauces, as well as salt and pepper.  Melt over warm heat until all combined.
3.  Pour a bit of each enchilada sauce over the bottom of the greased dish.
4.  Wrap tortillas in paper towel and microwave for 30 seconds or until warm.  
5.  Remove one tortilla, remembering to wrap the rest up to stay warm while not using, and place two spoonfuls of the pork mixture down the middle, carefully rolling up and placing seam side down in the pan.  Continue until all tortillas are filled.
6.  Pour the remaining enchilada sauces over the tortillas and top with cheese.
7.  Bake for 25-30 minutes or until golden and bubbly.
8.  Serve warm, topping with sour cream, salsa, lettuce, tomatoes, black olives or crushed tortilla chips.

saucy shredded pork enchiladas (

Okay, here is a sneak peak of what is coming.

Caramel Apple Crumble

A slow cooker red sauce that is good on anything {and yet to be named}

Texas Butter Roasted Chicken

Buffalo Chicken Hand Pies, another meal plan {I know, you've been asking, I've been delaying}

Saturday, November 7, 2015

Melted Ice Cream Hot Chocolate

Cozy on up with a hot mug of this cocoa and your day will get started on the right foot!

melted ice cream hot chocolate (

So far, this "Fall" season has been pretty darn good to us.  Just this week I was wearing flip flops and enjoying seventy degree weather.

The pattern went a bit like this....a couple days of warm weather, one rainy, cold, wet day, then another few warm days, then a couple chilly, windy days.  It's been a bit up and down. Which is all fun and good when you have those warm days thrown in, but also a bit of pain as you never know what to wear out the door.

I know our time is coming.  It won't be long before the snow will be stacked up outside and I'll be clawing at the walls of my house trying to get out.  So, I'm desperately trying to enjoy every last little bit of this Indian summer we are having.

On one of those cold and wet days {when I still keep the windows open and freeze my buns off just because I cannot GIVE UP my fresh air}, I made this cocoa.

Because if a hot mug of whatever is in your hands, I truly feel it warms your body up in a heartbeat.

melted ice cream hot chocolate (

I had talked about using melted ice cream in two previous recipes a couple weeks back {have you tried the Iowa Pumpkin Sheet Cake yet?  Or the Chewy Pumpkin Chip Cookies?} and since I still had some in my fridge....I did it again.

In my head I figured if it was MELTED and non-noticeable in whatever I was making, then I wasn't really eating ice cream.  Right?

Makes total sense to me.

The day I made this, the older two kids had been at each other's throats all day long and frankly I was over it.  The husband took them outside and made them start running sprints from one side of the yard to the other.

Guess who was getting along after about sprint 10?

But being a mom with a heart, I made them this hot chocolate for when they came in.  It was drizzly and pretty chilly out and since they looked like drowned rats coming in, I figured a little pick-me-up wouldn't hurt them.

They like what I offered.

This cocoa is thick, creamy, rich and sinful.  Since I used a ice cream with some fall flavors in it, it was also a bit cinnamon-y.  But, certainly feel free to use whatever ice cream you have on hand. Mint chip would be awesome, even a plain jane vanilla or chocolate.

Remember if it's melted, you're not 'technically' eating it.

Melted Ice Cream Hot Chocolate

1 1/2 c. whole milk
1 c. ice cream
1/4 c. powdered sugar
1/4 c. cocoa powder
pinch of salt

1.  In a saucepan combine all ingredients over low to medium heat, whisking to combine.
2.  Continue to whisk until all ingredients are dissolved and the cocoa is hot.
3.  Serve warm, makes 4 cups of cocoa.

melted ice cream hot chocolate (

Still struggling with what to make or bring to Thanksgiving?  You're in luck.  I have a round-up of 50+ Thanksgiving Side Dishes going a bit bonkers on the blog.  Give it a gander and pick out your dish!