Ally's Sweet and Savory Eats

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Creamy Chicken Gnocchi Soup

This hearty, warm, comforting soup needs to be on every dinner menu.
Your family and friends will devour it!

creamy chicken gnocchi soup (

This post contains affiliate links for your convenience.

Before I talk about this over-the-top humdinger of a soup, let's talk about being a parent. Sometimes I think being a parent makes me a crazy person.

I've never been a particular HIGH STRUNG person, but there are times during this whole parenting thing where I feel like I've gone over the edge.  I was having this conversation with the husband last week and both of us agreed I need to make a bit more time for myself.  

You see, I have a seven year old that is a perfectionist and a sweetheart and I need to make more time for him.  He's a peach, that one.  I also have a five year old that tests my every button, but is so special in her own right.  Then I have this two year old that rocks our world, who is hilarious, yet is a bit suctioned cupped to my right leg 24/7.

I've found that all of my energy is going towards those munchkins lately {as it should}, but at the same time it's been kinda draining me.

So, I'm making an effort to make some more time for myself.  I'm trying this whole "waking up super early" to exercise, read and get some silence before all chaos ensues, I'm putting down my phone in the evenings, I'm talking long walks when I can jamming to various podcasts, I'm having a glass of red wine even when I probably don't need a glass of red wine.

Are there any mamas out there feeling the same way?

Oh, and I'm also cooking.  I'm doing lots and lots of cooking.  And baking.  And recipe creating.  That stuff right there is a de-stressor for me.  Give it a try!

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I made this soup on a cold day last week {ahem, today it is 83 degrees and I'm wearing shorts} when I needed something hearty and comforting in my belly.  I also think it was one of those particular days when I was going a bit crazy.

I poured myself a glass of wine while making it {it was after 5:00, in case you are worried}, turned on some tunes and just dove in.  I threw a Krusteaz Beer Bread mix in the oven and had dinner on the table in an hour.

A long, long conversation was had with the kids about what gnocchi was....potato dumpling? Why is it spelled that way?  Why not pasta?


In the end all was well.

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Also, I need to say this soup is a Sunday meal.  It's a meal where you don't care about calories. Perhaps a meal you take to a friend who has a nagging cold {save a bowl for yourself}.  A soup that a group of your girlfriends need to place in the middle of the table, ladel out and eat over some much needed chatter.

Its chalk full of veggies.

And heavy cream.

Garlic too.

And beer bread as a dunker on the side is a must.

Creamy Chicken Gnocchi Soup

3 T. unsalted butter
1 T. olive oil
1 small onion, finely diced
2 stalks celery, finely diced
1 large carrot, finely diced
1 c. frozen spinach
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/3 c. flour
2 c. half and half
3 c. chicken stock
2 c. diced chicken breasts
16 oz. package potato gnocchi

1.  In a large stock pot or dutch oven {I use my favorite Lodge Cast Iron dutch oven} combine the butter and olive oil over medium-high heat.  Add in the onions, celery, carrots and garlic and saute until tender.
2.  Sprinkle in the flour, stirring to combine creating a roux.  Cooking for an additional minute.
3.  Slowly add in the half and half and chicken stock stirring until it starts to thicken. 
4.  Add in the chicken, gnocchi and spinach and let the soup simmer for another 5-8 minutes until the gnocchi is tender and soup is thick.  If it gets too thick just add in a bit more chicken stock.
5.  Season with salt and pepper to taste and serve immediately.

creamy chicken gnocchi soup (

I love creamy soups.  My waist doesn't, but often I'd rather eat good than worry about my waist size. Here are a few of our favorites!

Friday, October 14, 2016

Dorito Burrito Bake

Our family loves this dish!
I top mine with sour cream, salsa, guacamole and crushed Doritos.

Dorito Burrito Bake (

This post contains affiliate links for your convenience.

I need to confess something.  I've made this Dorito Burrito Bake since college.  So, circa 2002 when I finally got myself out of the dorms and my roommates and I were in an apartment with a full kitchen.  Well, we liked to call it a "town home", but I digress.

Regardless I've been making this simple, tasty dish for 15 years and it started well before I had a husband or a family.  I was simply feeding whoever wandered into our apartment town home. Basically this means anyone can make it.  No talent is required other than knowing how to read.

Let's fact it.  My primary focus in college was how to survive Friday morning at work when I drank way to much on Thursday night.

And I could STILL come home that night and whip this together.  Everyone loves Mexican food. Everyone loves a dish in a 9x13 pan.  And everyone loves Doritos.

Yes, we all love Doritos.  Don't lie.

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I made this a few days back and baked it up early in the day, fully knowing we'd all be eating at different times that night due to flag football games.

Can I speak about that for a moment?

I love sitting at those games and watching our oldest play his heart out.  It's so fun!  Minus the drizzle, wind, rain and cold.  One game I'm drenching wet and the next game I'm ripping off layers sweating.

But anyway, on those nights some of us eat prior to the games and some of us eat after {hence, the boy playing football}, so I like to have something that is quick to reheat or ready to go in the crock pot.  This one is perfect, as heck you could bake it up the day prior and just reheat a square at a time when needed.  Love that!

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This Dorito Burrito Bake is not fancy.  This is a meal you can feed your kids or even company, because guess what?  It tastes good!

Take some help from the crescent roll bottom, a taco meat layer and cheese {of course} and lastly top it with whatever you want!  We love shredded lettuce, sour cream, salsa and homemade guacamole, but do whatever you want.

Dorito Burrito Bake

2 c. crushed Cool Ranch Doritos, plus additional for topping
1 lb. hamburger
1/2 c. sour cream
1/2 c. salsa
2 c. shredded Colby cheese
shredded lettuce, salsa, sour cream, crushed chips for topping

1.  Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
2.  Grease a 9x13 baking dish with cooking spray.  Unroll the crescent rolls and layer on the bottom of the pan, pinching seams together.
3.  In a saucepan, cook the hamburger until no longer pink and drain off the grease.  Stir in the sour cream and salsa.  Spread the crushed Doritos over the crescent rolls then spread the meat mixture over the crescent rolls.  Top with cheese. Bake for 25 minutes.
4.  Remove from the oven and cut into squares.  Top with additional lettuce, salsa, sour cream and crushed Doritos.

And that cutting board shown in these photos?  That is my Epicurean Iowa Shaped Cutting Board.  It was sent to me a few years back from the company and I love it!  I'm not sure if you can still get these boards in the shape of your state, but I do love this 3-piece set!

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You know what else I make using the convenience of crescent rolls?  Here are a few of my favorites.

Monday, October 10, 2016

Cheesy Alfredo Chicken Casserole

This post is sponsored by Veetee, but all opinions are my own.

cheesy alfredo chicken casserole (

This post does contain affiliate links for your convenience.

This casserole dish has clearly pushed all of our other favorite casserole dishes to the curb and confidently moved into the #1 spot.

At one point I thought my Chicken Teriyaki Casserole was the clear winner.  Then came along my Garlic Knot Pizza Casserole and it received rave reviews.  But this Cheesy Alfredo Chicken Casserole, my friends, has sauntered it's way into first place.

My family gobbled this dish up and it reheated perfectly on night number two when we were scrambling for food in between flag football games.  The only problem was we all wanted more on the second night!

Note to self.

Make a double batch next time.

cheesy alfredo chicken casserole (

This recipe is my 3rd installment as a Veetee Brand Ambassador.  I have had so much fun working with this company!  They are open to my ideas and I have really enjoyed showcasing their convenient on-the-go rice.

In case you missed the first two.  I started off with my Chinese Chicken Lettuce Cups.  Whoa! Did people love those.  It's a nice, light, yet tasty meal that both kids and adults love.  Love Chinese food? You'll love those lettuce cups.

My second recipe hit the ball out of the park.  By far my highest rated blog post of September...these Fried Stuffed Rice Balls.  They look fancy, but they are so easy to make. Eat them as a party appetizer or be crazy like me and eat them for lunch on a random Tuesday.  Just have a side of marinara for dipping!

cheesy alfredo chicken casserole (

I honestly created this casserole dish because I was in dire need of an easy family style meal that we could eat off of for a day or two.  We had a very busy week of school activities and I wanted something that I could mix up the day prior, stick in the fridge and bake off the following day.

This dish does JUST THAT.

It's low maintenance and incredibly tasty.  Love alfredo sauce?  It's in there.  Love grilled chicken? In there too.  Love a crunchy cracker topping?  Got it.

One of my kid's most favorite meals is fettuccine alfredo.  Especially with my homemade Garlic Alfredo Sauce.  And while I'm all about homemade, I took the convenience of a jarred alfredo sauce on this one.  I wanted it to be simple.  Casseroles are supposed to be simple!

Hey busy mamas, this one is for you.

cheesy alfredo chicken casserole (

If you're craving something comforting, creamy, tasty and easy, put this dish on your weekly meal rotation.  It's perfect for this time of year and will be top notch in the heart of winter when it's bone chilling cold.

Make this today!

Cheesy Alfredo Chicken Casserole

2 packages Chicken Flavored Veetee rice {or 4 c. any chicken flavored rice}
22 oz. jar Alfredo sauce
2 c. broccoli florets
2 c. grilled or rotisserie chicken
1 c. shredded Monterey Jack cheese
1 t. salt
1 t. pepper
1 c. crushed Ritz crackers

1.  In a bowl combine the cooked rice, alfredo, broccoli, chicken, cheese and seasonings.
2.  Spread mixture in a 9x13 greased casserole dish.
3.  Top with crushed crackers.
4.  Bake in a 375 degree oven, uncovered for 30 minutes or until bubbly and golden brown around the edges.

Feel free to prep this casserole a day or two ahead.  Simply omit the cracker topping until ready to bake.

cheesy alfredo chicken casserole (

Love the speckled egg dishes shown in the above photos?  I got my set on a trip to Galena, Illinois back in the day, but the Paula Deen line has a fun set too!  You can check hers out HERE.

A big thanks to Veetee for sponsoring this post.

Thursday, October 6, 2016

Upside Down Apple Bacon Pancake

One giant pancake for the family to share loaded with bacon and apples!
Nothing beats this breakfast.

upside down apple bacon pancake (

This post contains affiliate links for your convenience.

We are headed up north this weekend to Gopher country {ahem...Minnesota} to spend time with my family {kid free!} and to attend the Iowa vs. Minnesota football game on Saturday.

I'm stoked.  No kids.  Just the husband.  Plus my brother and sister and my parents.  No kids.  No distractions running under my feet.  Football.  Great food.  Tailgating.  Drinks.  No kids.  A quiet car ride.  Meaningful conversations that won't get interrupted.  A good night's sleep.  My Hawkeye friends and family.  No kids.

I'm excited.

It's not often we get away so I'm taking full advantage of a weekend to ourselves with family. I may be freezing my tail feather off at the game but it will be worth it!  Especially if the Hawks can pull it together on Saturday and show us what they are made of.....we hope.

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My excitement for this weekend just about equals my excitement for this GIANT pancake. I've heard of big skillet pancakes being made in the oven, but I never attempted them as I didn't have oven safe skillets.

Earlier this summer, or late spring, I can't remember, a good friend suggested a set of new pans for me and after saving up my Amazon gift cards and all the rest of my pennies I finally bought the set.  Our old set had seen better days and it was TIME.  I purchased this Cuisinart Multiclad Pro Stainless Steel 12-piece Set.  And hint, hint, it's about $30 cheaper now then when I purchased earlier this year!

You have to have an oven safe skillet for this recipe.  Sorry, you just have too.  Do not put a teflon coated plastic skillet in the oven.  Don't, okay?  If you are not up for purchasing a full set, you can always just buy the one piece, you can find it HERE.  

upside down apple bacon pancake (

So, finally here we go....this pancake.

It is full of diced, salty, brown sugar coated bacon and a juicy shredded apple and a delicious pancake batter.

As this skillet pancake bakes, it gets puffy and fluffy.  Seriously, it's almost like eating cake for breakfast.  Which is just about as good as eating ice cream for dinner.  And then guess what?  You let it cool a bit, flip the darn thing and drizzle it with maple syrup.

It's like heaven on a plate.

And in case you want to make it just for yourself that is fine.  Don't stuff yourself, slice that baby up and freeze the slices individually and enjoy for breakfast all week long.

Enjoy life people.

Upside Down Apple Bacon Pancake

Print this Recipe!

4 slices of bacon, diced
1/8 c. brown sugar
1 apple, grated
1 1/2 c. milk
1 t. vanilla
maple syrup, for topping

1.  Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
2.  In your stainless steel skillet brown and crisp up the diced bacon.  Remove the bacon from the pan and let drain on a paper towel lined plate.  Remove grease from the pan.
3.  In a bowl combine the pancake mix, milk and vanilla and stir until just combined.  Fold in the shredded/grated apple.  {Don't bother peeling the apple, the skin is good for you!}.
4.  Spray the skillet generously with cooking spray, including up the sides.  Place the bacon back in the pan, sprinkle with the brown sugar and pour the pancake batter on top.  Spread the batter evenly with a spatula.
5.  Place the skillet in oven and bake for 20 minutes or until puffy and firm to the touch with the top golden brown.  Allow to cool for 10 minutes.
6.  Taking a spatula loosing the sides of the pancake and quickly flip the skillet onto a large plate.
7.  Cut into slices and serve warm with maple syrup.

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If you are a long time follower you know I'm a bit of a pancake maniac.  I've made a million variations and I love them all.  Here are a few of my favorites!

Sunday, October 2, 2016

Fudgy Pumpkin Brownies

How can you make a brownie even better?
In the Fall, you add the flavors of pumpkin.  Hands down.

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This post contains affiliate links for your convenience.

Autumn, Fall, the-best-season-ever, is finally approaching us. I consider it Fall when September rolls around and most definitely now that October is here. Yes, we may still have temps in the 80's here and there, but the calendar has turned and I'm loving it.

Bring on stretchy leggings, sweatshirts, mugs of cappuccino, crisp morning air, sweet and salty apple crisps, hot cider, football games and bonfires under blankets. I love it ALL.

With all of the above also comes pumpkin. Love it or hate it, it surrounds us this time of year, whether as decoration on your front porch or in the desserts on our table.

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I prefer both {shocking, I know}. I load my front steps with gourds and pumpkins of all sizes and I plan my baking schedule around the darn things. I'm that girl who bakes one dessert a week, usually on the weekends, for us to snack on. Cookies, brownies, a cake, a crumble or crisp in the Fall, whatever, as long as it contains sugar we are good.

Pumpkin, becomes a dessert staple in our house this time of year. We love it!

Now, these brownies. Oh, wow! I used my staple homemade brownie batter mix {super easy} and added a pumpkin cheesecake layer on top.

For added pumpkin flavor I added pumpkin baking chips to the brownie batter. It gives the brownies a cinnamon, nutmeg taste, yet doesn't overpower them, not letting the fudgy chocolate fully come through.

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These brownies are the perfect choice for any get together.

Tailgating before the big game? Yes.

Weekend potluck with friends? For sure.

Lazy Sunday with family? Yes, indeed.

Make these and watch everyone drool. But, make sure and bring a gallon of milk along with you. You'll need it! Rich, fudgy and delicious, they will be your hit dessert of the Fall.

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Fudgy Pumpkin Brownies

Brownie layer:
2 eggs
1 stick unsalted butter
½ c. milk
1 t. vanilla
1 c. sugar
½ c. brown sugar
1 t. salt
2/3 c. cocoa
2 c. flour

Pumpkin layer:
4 oz. cream cheese, softened
1/3 can of pumpkin
¾ c. powdered sugar
1 t. vanilla

1. For thicker brownies grease an 8x8 baking dish. For thinner brownies grease a 9x13 baking dish. Prehat the oven to 350 degrees.

2. In a saucepan melt the butter over low heat. When melted add in the cocoa powder and stir to make a chocolate sauce. Remove from the heat and stir in vanilla. Pour this mixture into a stand mixer or a large mixing bowl if using a hand held mixer.

3. Add both sugars and the eggs to the chocolate batter, stirring to combine.

4. Sift in the flour and salt. The batter will be very thick. Add in the milk to loosen. Spread the brownie batter into the pan and set aside.

5. Cleaning out the mixing bowl, now combine the softened cream cheese, pumpkin and vanilla. When smooth sift in the powdered sugar until combined.

6. Spread the pumpkin mixture over the brownie layer, swirling with a knife if desired.

7. Bake the brownies for 30 minutes if using an 8x8 dish, 25 minutes if using a 9x13 dish.
Test with a toothpick for doneness. If still gooey, bake another 5 minutes. Allow the brownies to cool completely before cutting, they are very fudgy!.

Like PUMPKING ANYTHING LIKE ME? Cool, here are a few more of my favorites.

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Buttermilk Ranch Cornflake Chicken

My family flipped for this chicken.
Crispy, crunchy and flavorful!

buttermilk ranch cornflake chicken (

This post contains affiliate links for your convenience.

You know there is a reason why moms do certain things and dads do others.  Like moms tend to most of the child sicknesses, the family dinners and the nasty bathrooms.  Dads will often tend to the lawn care, the car maintenance and their kid's sports activities.

Of course, all of these things can intermingle, but generally, at least in our house, I do the girly stuff and the husband does the boy stuff.

So when the husband asked me to come outside this past Sunday while I was prepping dinner to "help show our oldest a play in football" I wasn't excited.  Apparently his younger sister wasn't being a good fill-in and I seemed the next viable option.


Two plays in, the dog took off at the exact same time I became our son's lead blocker and well a collision ensued ending with me on the ground and our dog happily chasing a squirrel. Now, let me clarify, I was in sports, specifically volleyball and golf, I would consider myself semi-athletic {at least in my glory days}, but football was a sport I never took part in. 


I landed hard, on what I'm not sure, but I have a rolled ankle and a HUGE goose egg on my calf muscle {opposite leg of course}.  I'm hurtin'.

There is no point to this story, other than I was making THIS EXACT chicken dish when it happened and I will forever think of football when eating this.

The end.

buttermilk ranch cornflake chicken (

Once I caught my breath {and regained my composure} we sat down to dinner.  I served this delicious chicken with some classic crock pot mac and cheese and green beans.  Simple and delicious.

I can even say my 5 year old daughter helped in breading the chicken.  Kids will love helping with this recipe.  With only seven ingredients total, it's easy to break down, albeit a bit messy.  But you know, they are only young once right?

One bowl for the buttermilk, ranch dressing, hot sauce mixture and one bowl with the crushed corn flakes, garlic powder and Italian seasoning and you're ready!

Who said corn flakes were just for eating in a cold bowl of cereal?


Buttermilk Ranch Cornflake Chicken

6 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1/2 c . buttermilk
1 1/2 c. ranch dressing
2 t. hot sauce
5 c. corn flakes, crushed

1.  Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
2.  Grease a large rimmed baking sheet with cooking spray.
3.  In one bowl combine the buttermilk, ranch dressing and hot sauce.  In another bowl combine the crushed corn flakes and seasonings.
4.  Dip the chicken breasts in the dressing mixture coating both sides and then press into the corn flake mixture again coating both sides.  Lay on the baking sheet.
5.  Bake for 40-45 minutes or until golden brown and chicken juices run clear.
6.  Serve warm with your favorite sides.

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Sunday, September 25, 2016

Salsa Verde Chicken Tortilla Casserole

All the best flavors in one dish!
This creamy, comforting casserole will delight all your Tex-Mex fans.

salsa verde chicken tortilla casserole (

You know how I have this on going love affair with all foods Mexican?  It's real.  Right behind pizza, I'd gladly eat a taco, an enchilada, a fajita or a big bowl of chips and salsa just about any old day. Hands down, this food group firmly sits in second place.

With school back in session our meals are a bit more thought out {hello...organization is needed} so I firmly plant a dish covered in salsa {because it's like water to me} on the dinner menu at least once a week.

Hopefully on Tuesdays if I can time it right.

Last week it was Thursday and I got an earful about it.

Why can't they just be happy with dinner set before them?

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Even though it was Thursday as soon as they took their first bite, they regretted giving me such a hard time.

This casserole is super creamy from the sour cream, salsa verde and monterey jack cheese.  I mean, that trio would be good on a flip-flop, but honestly it might be one of my new favorite combos.

Right behind pretzels, beer and pizza.  Or cheese, crackers and wine.  Or chips, salsa and margaritas. You get the picture, right?

It's a great combo.  End of story.

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It also reminded me to use corn tortillas more instead of flour tortillas in dishes like this. They get crispy and crunchy on the edges of the dish, yet get soft and squishy in the middle layered between all that sour cream and jack cheese.

Kind of like a person, hard and crispy on the exterior, yet warm and fuzzy on the inside once you get to know them.

Bust this dish out for your family, or a girl's night Mexi-style or to take to a friend that just had a baby, or whatever.  Make this dish.  Serve it up with a big bowl of chips and extra salsa on the side for dipping!

Salsa Verde Chicken Tortilla Casserole

*revised from this recipe

2 c. shredded chicken
1 c. sour cream
1 1/2 c. salsa verde
12 corn tortillas
1 tomato, chopped
2 t. dried cilantro
2 c. Monterey jack cheese

1.  Preheat the oven to 400 degrees and grease an 8x8 baking dish.
2.  In a bowl combine the sour cream, salsa verde and chicken.
3.  Pour the remaining salsa verde in the bottom of the dish.
4.  Cut the tortillas into triangles.  Layer half of the tortillas on the bottom of the dish, then half of the chicken mixture, half of the tomatoes, half of the cilantro and half of the cheese. Then repeat with another layer.
5.  Bake uncovered for 25-30 minutes or until golden and bubbly.

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Crave Tex-Mex once a week like me?  Here are a few more of our favorites!