Ally's Sweet and Savory Eats

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Smoky Bar-B-Q Burgers

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

smoky bar-b-q burgers (

The Fourth of July is fast approaching {like 4 days away!} and everyone has barbecue on their minds. From potato salads to brats to freshly cut watermelon and berry pies, this is the day we celebrate our Independence with fresh, fun food.

This is the second recipe I have developed for the Stubb's Insider Program {be sure to visit my Sweet Heat Chicken Asian Slaw recipe here}.

I love, love, love when a Stubb's box arrives on my doorstep!  My kids think it's Christmas, and frankly so do I.  In this package I received: Sticky Sweet Bar-B-Q Sauce, Spicy Bar-B-Q Sauce, Bar-B-Q Spice Rub and their Pork Spice Rub.

Decisions, decisions.

smoky bar-b-q burgers (

Like all of their products, their sauces and rubs are gluten-free, made with real ingredients and contain no artificial preservatives, flavors, colors, MSG or high fructose corn syrup.  And not to get too political, but their sauces are enrolled in the Non-GMO Project and are in the process of receiving non-GMO verification.  I love this about them.  It is definitely hard to find a bottled barbecue sauce without all of these.  Kudos to them!

In the end, I decided to use their Bar-B-Q Spice Rub in my burger mix and their Sticky Sweet Bar-B-Q Sauce in my burger sauce.

You guys, I almost died when I took the first bite.

Then my husband almost died when he took his first bite.

Our kids were almost orphans.

smoky bar-b-q burgers (

Between the juicy burger, the creamy sweet sauce and the caramelized onions.....whoa.  That is really all I can say.

And heck, I'm not even a huge onion fan!  But trust me, when you caramelize them, they become sticky and sweet and just the ultimate burger topper.

Plus, here is the big secret.

I cooked these burgers in the oven.  IN THE OVEN PEOPLE.  I love my grill, but golly it was so much fun cooking these burgers on broil in the oven.  Four minutes a side and they were done!  So easy.

Smoky Bar-B-Q Burgers

1 lb. ground beef
1/4 c. shredded cheddar cheese
2 T. worcestershire sauce
1 T. Stubb's Bar-B-Q Spice Rub
2 T. oil
1 white onion, thinly sliced
1/2 t. balsamic vinegar
1/2 c. mayo
1/2 c. Sticky Sweet Bar-B-Q Sauce

1.  In a bowl combine the mayo and barbecue sauce.  Set aside.
2.  Heat the oil in a skillet to medium-high heat.
3.  Thinly slice the onion and place in the skillet.  Generously add salt and pepper.  Cook, stirring often, for 20 minutes or until golden brown and caramelized.  Add in the balsamic vinegar the last minute of cooking.  Remove from the heat and set aside.
4.  To prepare burgers, add ground beef, shredded cheese, worcestershire, spice rub, salt and pepper to a bowl.  Gently mix and pat into four hamburger patties.
5.  Line a rimmed baking sheet or broiler pan with foil.  Turn the oven broiler on to HIGH and place your top oven rack on the highest rack.
6.  Place the burgers on the pan.  Cook one side for 4 minutes, flip and cook the other side for another 4 minutes, or until each side is a deep golden brown.  Do not leave the oven while these are cooking!
7.  To assemble, spread the mayo/bbq spread on both sides of the hamburger bun and top the burger with the caramelized onions.  

smoky bar-b-q burgers (

What is on your ideal burger?

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

Sunday, June 28, 2015

Layered Greek Dip

Perfect for summer, this quick and easy appetizer will win over your crowd!  
Ready in just 5 minutes it is a definite no-fuss warm weather snack.

layered greek dip (

I cannot believe June is almost over.  This first un-official month of summer has flown by in our house.  Once school was out our older two dived right into warm weathered activities and they haven't stopped since.  From swimming to play dates to summer bible school to adventures with Grandma and Grandpa, just looking at our calendar makes my head spin.

The past few days the older two have spent some time with their relatives and the husband and I enjoyed a bit of quiet time with the babe.  Minus having to take her to urgent care this morning for an ear infection, she has been great!

We've been to the library, the farmer's market, played in the pool and so much more. Secretly I think she is enjoying having her mama all to herself!

layered greek dip (

Naturally with just one child at home and the husband traveling for work this past week, I invited a few girlfriends over one night for appetizers, snacks and drinks.  It was like a vacation in my own home.  There is nothing better than chatting with your friends, eating good food {including chocolate!} and having a glass of wine.

With no kids under feet.

We actually finished all of our sentences without being interrupted.  It was glorious.

I contributed a couple things to our spread and one of them was this layered dip.  It came to me very easily.  I had feta cheese, olives, tomatoes and Greek yogurt already on hand.  The only thing left to do was purchase some Sabra hummus and pick a handful of cilantro from my garden.

Honestly, start to finish on this dip is about 5 minutes.

layered greek dip (

Later this week we are headed to Wichita, Kansas over the 4th of July holiday for my sister-in-law's wedding.  It will be fun to see everyone and participate in the wedding {two flower girls, one ring bearer, one groomsmen}, but I'd be lying if I said I wasn't worried about the 8 hour drive with three kids under the age of 5.

It should be fun.

I'm planning on packing snacks, activity books and alcohol, lots of water for the ride down. Plus the portable DVD player to keep them occupied when the boredom sets in.

Wish us luck!

Layered Greek Dip

8 oz. Sabra Sun Dried Tomato Hummus
1 1/2 c. plain Greek yogurt
1/2 c. chopped black olives
1 chopped, de-seeded tomato
1 c. crumbled feta cheese
handful of chopped cilantro

1.  On a serving platter, layer and spread the ingredients in the order listed.  Chill for at least one hour.
2.  Serve cold with pita chips.  {my favorite are Stacy's Parmesan Garlic & Herb}

*feel free to also add chopped cucumber, if desired

layered greek dip (

What is your go-to, easy-peasy summer appetizer?  
Please share!

Thursday, June 25, 2015

10+ Five Ingredient Dinners

Having a hard time getting dinner on the table?  Haven't gone to the grocery store in awhile? One of these dinner WILL work for you!

10+ five ingredient dinners (

You asked, I've answered.

So, so, so many of you want meals that require little effort and minimal ingredients.  I'm come to your rescue.

I went and scanned through hundreds of my recipes and found ones that used 5 ingredients or less {minus some spices} and that were easy on the brain.  You know, ones that require little to no effort.

Some are slow cookers meals, some get thrown in the oven, one is a grilling masterpiece and heck one can be done in the microwave.  All of them are easy.  And tasty.  And family friendly.  Are you ready?

I hope some of these help you get supper on the table with a bit more ease.  We are all busy, it's okay! Take help where you can get it...and that is me.  Use my website to your advantage.

If you'd like to see some of my sample meal plans, you can find them HERE and HERE.

After you are done checking out these 5 ingredients meals and plans, take a moment and also click over and see some of my FAVORITE meal planners.  We all meal plan different, have different sized families, and so on, so here are a few of the ones I think are pretty neat.

meal planner (

Weekly Meal Planner - this one is cute, organized and ideal for those that like to keep record of what they've eaten and/or want to look back on prior weeks for ideas.

meal planner (

Tear Off Meal Planning Pad - this chic weekly planner is great for those that want to write it all down, grocery list included, and take it along with you to shop!

meal planner (

Magnetic Fridge Pad - for those that want their meals at eye level, this one is magnetic for your fridge.

All of these planners are under $15!  In my opinion, completely worth it.  I don't know about you but, I feel much more 'with it' when I'm organized.  

Which 5 ingredient meal looks good to you?  
And which planner is calling your name?

*DISCLOSURE: This post does contain affiliate links.  If you purchase those items through my links I will earn a small commission.  You will NOT pay more for the product when buying through my link.  All blog income helps me to continue this great adventure in blogging.  Thank you, in advance for your support! 

Monday, June 22, 2015

Peanut Butter & Chocolate Swirled Baked Oatmeal

Bake this oatmeal off on Sunday night and eat it throughout the week!

peanut butter and chocolate swirled baked oatmeal (

My kids LOVE oatmeal.  I'm not sure why God graced my kids with a love for the stuff, but I am thankful, as I know many, many kids hate the stuff.

My usual go-to recipe is my Slow Cooker Steel Cut Oatmeal Recipe.  I'll throw it all in the crock pot on Sunday afternoon and once it is cooked, I'll divide it into a week's worth of containers to cool, topping each with some pure maple syrup, cinnamon, nuts or homemade granola and a bit of milk to thin it out.  I have one kid who loves it with fresh blueberries and one that loves it with some homemade strawberry jam.

We all have our own little containers to heat up during the week and we do just fine.

But you see, sometimes I have to deviate from our weekly plan and make something different.  I've made a Baked Blueberry Oatmeal in the past, and its great, but I wanted something a bit more...can you say decadent?

Breakfasts at our house are pretty simple and healthy.  Whole grain toast with peanut butter, fresh fruit, Greek yogurt with a spoonful of jam, eggs or occasionally cereal.  I wanted to surprise the kids with something out of their norm, a bit more fun.

After all it is summer!

peanut butter and chocolate swirled baked oatmeal (

I'll be the first to admit that this baked oatmeal tastes a bit like a big old peanut butter cookie.  But whose asking?  It's really, really good.  And when you pair it with some fresh fruit or yogurt, you can't feel that bad about eating it to start your day.

At least we didn't feel bad.

In fact, we munched on it for about 4 days until it was gone at which point we collapsed on the floor in a pool of our own tears.

I let my four year old spread on the chocolate {and lick the spoon}.  It is a great dish for the kids to throw together with a bit of help.  I promise it gets them excited about eating it!

Peanut Butter & Chocolate Swirled Baked Oatmeal

3/4 c. peanut butter
1/4 c. melted coconut oil
1/4 c. brown sugar
1 t. baking powder
1 t. cinnamon
pinch of salt
1 1/2 c. old-fashioned oats
3/4 c. milk
1/2 c. chocolate chips

1.  Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  Mix together the peanut butter, coconut oil, brown sugar and vanilla.
2.  Stir in the oatmeal, baking powder, cinnamon and salt.  Pour in milk to combine.
3.  Pour mixture into a greased 8x8 baking pan.
4.  Microwave the chocolate chips in 10 second intervals until smooth.  Drop by spoonfuls onto the un-baked oatmeal, swirling around with a knife.
5.  Bake for 20 minutes.
6.  Keep covered and it will last close to a week.

Friday, June 19, 2015

Chocolate Cheesecake Strawberry Tart

There is nothing more mouthwatering than fresh berries on top of a creamy cheesecake filling, melted chocolate and a sugar cookie crust.  The quinnessential summer dessert!

chocolate cheesecake strawberry tart (

A couple of weekends back I was in my hometown for a blogger event.  While I was away mingling, eating and learning all-things-blog {always SO much to learn and keep up on}, my kids were playing with Grandma and Grandpa and munching on this tart.

My mom whipped it up the afternoon we arrived and I was snapping photos of it before she could get it into the fridge.  And I had the first piece while they were busy with the kiddos that night.

The photographer needs to sample too right?

chocolate cheesecake strawberry tart (

Now, I don't have a tart pan at home.  But I want this one!  Maybe for a birthday gift.  Anyway, if I were making this at home I'd use a regular old 9x13 baking pan.

{So for all my college roommates reading this and rolling their eyes thinking 'here goes Ally, with her fancy pans'...chill out}

Now, I am going to get a bit pretentious and beg you to use fresh, just picked berries.  Oh, strawberries that are from the farm, dipping with juiciness are just the absolute best.  They laugh in the face of their supermarket cousins.  Frozen berries will make it too watery.

So, get the fresh ones, mm-kay?

chocolate cheesecake strawberry tart (

I will say these tart pans can be the devil.  I was balancing it with one hand, holding my camera in the other and juggling a toddler with a death grip on my leg.  Luckily I didn't drop my camera, step on the toddler or most importantly drop the tart.

Now, my mom spread melted chocolate chips on the crust...but now I'm thinking wouldn't Nutella be lovely on this crust?

I almost came THIS CLOSE to buying discounted jars of Nutella at an Amish discount grocery story yesterday.  Does Nutella go bad?  In my heart I was saying "no, of course not", but in my head I was saying "do I really need multiple jars of Nutella in my house for easy access?"

My head won.

Anyway, use whatever melted chocolate is your fave.

chocolate cheesecake strawberry tart (

This dessert needs to stay in the fridge giving it that cold bite {and so it doesn't melt all over the place}, but keeping it in the fridge will help it last a few days.

I'm not sure if it will last that long, but go ahead and give it a try.

Chocolate Cheesecake Strawberry Tart

1 pkg. refrigerated sugar cookie dough {or homemade if preferred}
3 oz. milk chocolate chips
2 - 8 oz. packages cream cheese, softened
3 T. heavy whipping cream
2 t. vanilla
1 3/4 c. powdered sugar
2 1/2 c. fresh strawberries, sliced

1.  Grease or spray a tart pan generously with cooking spray.  Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
2.  With your fingers spread the cookie dough evenly on the bottom and up the sides of the tart pan.
3.  Bake for 12-15 minutes or until the crust is golden brown, allow to cool.
4.  In a microwave safe bowl heat the chocolate chips in 15 second intervals, stirring after each heating, until smooth.  Spread the chocolate over the cooled crust.  Place in the fridge.
5.  In a mixer combine the cream cheese, whipping cream and vanilla until smooth.
6.  Sift the powdered sugar into the cream cheese mixture.  Once combined spread over the chocolate.
7.  Arrange the sliced strawberries over the cream cheese mixture.  Brush with the strawberry jam.
8.  Place in the fridge for 2 hours prior to eating.  Store in the fridge to keep fresh.

chocolate cheesecake strawberry tart (

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

10+ Strawberry Recipes

Tis the season for strawberries!  This juicy fruit is in season right now and there are one million plus ways to enjoy them.  Here are a few of my favorites!

We have two strawberry plants in our garden.  I am fully aware that these two plants will not produce an over abundance of berries, but we threw them in there for fun.  I figured they would give me enough to snack on while I was weeding the garden.  Right?

When I first started seeing those green berries the first part of May I almost peed my pants. Excited was an understatement.  Then when they started turning red you'd think it was Christmas Eve.  About a week or two ago I went out to check on these beauties and I noticed my two huge juicy berries were getting eaten.  EATEN!  Our 2.5 ft. fence around the garden wasn't doing the trick with some critter.

The bunnies couldn't get in, I never saw a squirrel make their way in {although they could}, but after watching I saw birds.

Stinking, flipping, birds.

All I wanted to do with these few strawberries was gather them up, hide them, and eat them with some dark chocolate and wine after the kids were in bed.  

Is that TOO much to ask my feathered friends?

When I finally caught the darn things I went running outside, swinging my dish towel and cussing like a sailor.  I'm sure my neighbors were impressed.

So....with all this being said, I did make it to my local strawberry farm last week and picked two flats. Half went into freezer jam and the others went into a new recipe {coming!} and just basic frozen strawberries to be used in smoothies for the coming year.

If you are like me and cannot get enough of this fruit, here are 10+ great recipes to use them in.  I picked some of my favorites from many Iowa food bloggers and other friends.  Enjoy!

Did you find one you want to make?

It's a toss up between the Strawberry Cheesecake Banana Soft Serve and the Chocolate Strawberry Trifle for me.  Although they ALL look fabulous, don't they?

Take a moment and pin the image below so you can come back to all of these insanely delicious recipes later!

Peace out!

Saturday, June 13, 2015

Homemade Enchilada Sauce

I never knew making your own homemade enchilada sauce was so easy.  
No-fuss and so tasty!

homemade enchilada sauce (

I think I've mentioned that my son has declared each Tuesday as Mexican night, or in his words, "Taco Tuesday".  Now the kids could eat plain old tacos week after week, but us adults think that is a bit boring.

So, I've had to put my big girl panties on and get creative so we aren't eating plain old tacos each Tuesday.  I rotate between this fiesta pasta bake, these shredded chicken tacos, this family style taco salad and heck, one night I threw tortilla chips on a huge baking sheet covered them with all the fixings and just made nachos.

Those were a hit by the way.

Last week I did some researching on making my own enchilada sauce.  I've got a creamy homemade white sauce down, but I had yet to tackle the classic red.

homemade enchilada sauce (

I was surprised at how easy this was!  I've never been a fan on the can varieties, but I love red sauce on enchiladas at I'm guessing they aren't using the canned versions!  This is basically a "throw-it-all-in-a-pot-and-let-it-simmer" kind of sauce.

My kind of sauce.

Because, you know, I usually have a kid on the hip, one tugging at my leg and one completely unaccounted for.

So...naturally I don't have time for complicated sauces.

homemade enchilada sauce (

This recipe made enough for two 8x8 pans of enchiladas {hello, freezer meal!}, plus an extra half pint jar.  Which I just threw in the fridge for next Tuesday's meal, but it could easily be frozen as well{or canned in a hot water bath if you want to go to all THAT work}.

Homemade Enchilada Sauce

Print this Recipe!
adapted from Damn Delicious

28 oz. can crushed tomatoes
1/4 c. extra virgin olive oil
1/4 c. flour
2 T. chili powder
1 1/2 t. oregano
1 t. cumin
1 t. garlic powder
1 t. onion powder
2 T. brown sugar
1 t. salt

1.  Heat olive oil in a saucepan over medium heat.  Whisk in the flour until combined, 1-2 minutes.
2.  Pour in remaining ingredients and bring it to a boil then reduce to a simmer for about 10 minutes or until thickened.
3.  Use in any Mexican dish right away, store in the fridge for a couple of weeks or freezer for later use.


In case you have nothing going on today be sure to follow me on social media!  Me, along with a handful of other Iowa bloggers are attending the 1st Annual Iowa Blogger Conference, hosted by Sawdust & Embryos {seriously, check out their blog}.  Be sure to follow our hashtag #iowabloggersunite ALL DAY TOMORROW.

We'll be giving you sneak peaks during the conference.  What we're talking about, whose speaking and of course what we are eating!

Instagram and Facebook will be our friends tomorrow!