Ally's Sweet and Savory Eats

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Sheet Pan Pineapple Chicken Fajitas

Who doesn't like dinner served with just one dirty dish to clean up?
These Sheet Pan Pineapple Chicken Fajitas do just that!

sheet pan pineapple chicken fajitas (

This post contains affiliate links for your convenience.

Hey y'all.  How ya doing?  I'm a bit flabbergasted that October is nearing an end {it's my favorite month of the year}.  I want to hold on tight like a girl does with her first college love. Seriously, I heart the month of October.

I can easily get away with pants or shorts or flip flops or hot chocolate or a margarita all in the same day.  It's like heaven on earth!  Today I sit in leggings and a t-shirt, while sipping on ice water, yet dreaming of the soup dinner we are having tonight.  See?  October let's you do anything.

Just like October, I feel like fajitas can be eaten any time of the year.  Blazin' hot in the summer or a cold dead of winter night, they always taste good.  Traditionally they are cooked in a hot skillet or a wok, but I made it even easier and cooked it all on a huge rimmed sheet pan in the oven.

Genus, right?  Hey, I'm all about the clean up and this dinner's clean up is easy peasy. Because I just don't have time for ultra messy dinners.

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Now, when I usually make fajitas I just throw on some seasonings {chili powder, cumin, salt and pepper} and call it good.  This time I wanted to do something different.

I love the taste of chipotle peppers in adobo sauce, but that stuff can get HOT and SPICY. Like real hot and spicy, to the point of where my family would probably die on me, so I needed to figure out a way to tone it down.

We all love pineapple around here so I thought to myself, "what if I just combine the two?" It made sense in my foodie brain that the pineapple would bring down the heat and give the chicken a sweet, yet smoky taste.

I gave it a go.

It worked.

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Now, let me tell you this.  My kids are not the biggest fans of peppers and onions, but that doesn't keep me from cooking with them.  In this case I prepped myself for this and sliced those little buggers super thin, because frankly that is how I like them too, but I sensed that if they were thin and got all caramelized in the oven then the munchkins wouldn't complain as much.

This worked too.  I'm 2 for 2!

I wrapped up their fixings in a warm tortilla and no one mentioned a thing.  A thing!  Do you know how refreshing that is?  To have not a single person complain about anything during dinner?  It's fantastic.

It was an October miracle.

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I served these Sheet Pan Pineapple Chicken Fajitas on warm tortillas, then topped them with salsa, sour cream and my new favorite Cabot Cheese Extra Sharp Cheddar.  Traditional? Probably not, but they sure tasted good.

Sheet Pan Pineapple Chicken Fajitas

4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into strips
1 red, yellow and orange pepper, sliced thinly
1 onion, sliced thinly
1 c. pineapple juice
1 c. pineapple chunks
1 T. chili powder
1 T. cumin
1 T. onion powder
1 T. garlic powder
1 t. salt
1 t. pepper

1.  In large bowl combine the sliced chicken, chipotle peppers, pineapple and it's juice and all of the seasonings.  Toss to coat.  Cover with a lid and marinate this for 2-3 hours.
2.  Preheat the oven to 400 degrees and spray a large rimmed baking sheet with cooking spray.
3.  Place the marinated chicken on the baking sheet and top with the thinly sliced peppers and onions.
4.  Bake for 40 minutes, turning/tossing the mixture halfway through.  
5.  Serve warm with tortillas and your favorite toppings.

sheet pan pineapple chicken fajitas (

If you've made it this far and you're still reading...I've got some BIG news!  Who is excited for the holidays?  Is it too soon for you?  Not soon enough?

I'm a bit in the middle, yet still excited.  I am vowing to get stuff done early this season.  Year after year I am THAT person who is wrapping presents the night before my kids open them. I want to be done early.  Like super early.

Anywho.  That is how I'm feeling.

But, you know what else is fun about the holidays? Winning free stuff!  I have partnered with 12 wonderful companies and I'll be hosting my 12 Days of Holiday Giveaways right here on the blog from December 1-12th.

Each day a different company will be featured.  Each day I'll be giving away cool prizes. Each day you'll see new, fun, unique recipes.  I'm stoked!  Tell your friends about this my peeps. What a great time to start reading my blog!

Saturday, October 22, 2016

Apple Peanut Butter Cheesecake Bars

This rich and creamy cheesecake bars is beyond words.
Crunchy spiced apples, flaky topping, they are hard to resist!

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I've been in full on Fall mode over here lately.  I'm currently sitting underneath a heavy blanket all tucked in, shivering mind you, working on this post as I still refuse to turn on the heat because it's October.

I just walked on our back deck that is flooded with sunshine and I'm fairly certain it is a lot warmer OUT THERE than it is in my own house.  For a nanosecond I considered working outside, but that would involved sunglasses, power cords and the elements.

So here I sit slightly frozen busting my way through this post about these delicious Apple Peanut Butter Cheesecake Bars.

Oh, they are so delicious.

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The one crisper drawer in our fridge is always full of apples.  Anytime of the year really.  I've currently been buying Honey Crisp apples at ALDI.  I'm a slight bit addicted to them.  Our littlest has one each day, snacking on it throughout the day, usually leaving it in a very random places {bathroom counter, living room floor, diaper changing table, etc.} when she gets bored with it.  I'm simply rinse it off and place it back in the fridge for when the mood strikes her again.  Because, you know, third child.

What I'm getting at is...we eat a lot of apples.  The kids were begging for apple crisp this past weekend, but I just wasn't feeling it.  I mean, I love my Caramel Apple Crumble, but I wanted something different.

I opened the fridge pulling out some apples and three packages of cream cheese were starring back at me.  I have no idea what the purpose of those three packages of cream cheese were initially, but I instantly knew their new purpose was cheesecake.

Any form of cheesecake my friends is good.  Plain, covered in cherries or this version chalk full of diced, spiced apples and peanut butter.  It's all delightful.  And add the streusel topping people.  It's essential.

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This recipes makes a 9x13 pan.  It's a LOT.  The bars are thick and rich, so plan on making this for a gathering.

I didn't take my own advice.  I made this on a Sunday, each of us devouring a piece.  We repeated this step on Monday.  By Tuesday, the husband said, "this dessert is seriously award-winning, but you need to get rid of it".  So on Wednesday, I cut out a WHOLE ROW {painful} and gave it to a friend.

So take my advice and make this for a big group or halve the recipe or else you'll be in a cheesecake coma for approximately 4 days.

Which I loved.

But others didn't.

Apple Peanut Butter Cheesecake Bars

2 c. flour
1/2 c. sugar
2 sticks unsalted butter, softened

3-8 oz. packages cream cheese, at room temperature
3/4 c. creamy peanut butter
3/4 c. sugar
3 eggs
1 T. vanilla extract
3 apples, finely diced
1 T. cinnamon
1 t. nutmeg

Streusel Topping:
1 c. brown sugar
1 c. flour
1/2 c. oats
1 stick unsalted butter, softened

1.  Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  Line a 9x13 high sided baking pan with foil.  Spray the foil generously with cooking spray.
2.  Combine the crust ingredients and with your fingers press it down flat in the bottom of the pan. Bake for 15 minutes.
3.  In a stand mixer or using a hand held mixer combine the cream cheese, peanut butter and sugar until smooth.  Add in the eggs one at a time along with the vanilla.  Pour this mixture over the warm crust, spreading evenly.
4.  In a bowl combine the chopped apples {no need to peel them} with the cinnamon and nutmeg. Place the apples onto the cheesecake filling.
5.  In another bowl combine the streusel ingredients; brown sugar, flour oats and softened butter. Using your hands mix it all together and sprinkle over the filling.
6.  Bake for 45-55 minutes or until the center is set.  Remove from the oven and allow to cool for at least an hour.  Then keep in the fridge for storage.  Cut into squares once cold and serve.

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If you know me, you also know my love of cheesecake.  Here are some more of my favorites!

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!

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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.

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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.

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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!

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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.

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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.

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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.  

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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!