Ally's Sweet & Savory Eats: October 2010

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Bacon Puffs

I again stole/adapted this recipe from my sister-in-law. She usually makes them for family gatherings, and about a week ago I was craving them.

Don't judge, it had been since last Christmas, so I was due.

These are a great appetizer you can make ahead and then bake when needed. I'm thinking of even freezing a batch, to pull out and stick in the oven when this craving again hits.

And trust me, it will.

Bacon Puffs
1 pkg. crescent rolls
8 oz. cream cheese
bacon bits/crumbled cooked bacon
garlic powder

Like I said this is the adapted version from my sister-in-law, so I'm sure she makes them a little different, but mine turned out great!

Unroll crescent rolls and place on greased baking sheet. Mix together cream cheese, bacon and seasonings. I start with about a tablespoon each of the seasonings and then taste, if more is needed, I add a little more. Spread cheese mixture on crescent rolls and then cut into smaller squares and roll up.

Bake in 350 degree oven for 10-12 minutes until golden brown. These are best eaten warm fresh out of the oven!


In other news, we'll be finding out the sex of our little one mid-November, so stay tuned for that post! I'm still thinking a girl, but because of that I'm sure it will be a boy. Regardless, as long as he/she is healthy, we are happy with that!

Have a great weekend everyone, and for all you Iowa Hawkeye fans out there today, beat Michigan State! I don't know about you, but my eyes will be glued to the TV all afternoon...

Monday, October 25, 2010

Frugal and Filling: Oatmeal

*Today I am featuring a guest post from Maria Rainier, a freelance writer and blog junkie. She currently is a resident blogger at First in Education, researching areas of online colleges and blogging about student life. In her spare time she enjoys square-foot gardening, swimming and avoiding her laptop*

**On a side note, the appetite is back, flu is gone, and 16 week baby doc appointment went well today!**

Now, eat your oatmeal!

For those of us trying to squeeze by the recession, oatmeal - a veritable visual sludge - can be our knights in shining armor. Like many foods bland in and of themselves (like pasta and rice), oatmeal is versatile. I could go on and on about oatmeal cookies, muffins and pancakes, but this post will be about oatmeal and toppings you can find around the house that can be varied enough to make you feel like you've broken your fast in a different kitchen every morning.

Here are some basic tips:
  • Add fresh or frozen fruit. Bananas are great fresh (and with a little peanut butter) and frozen blueberries will add a wonderful temperature and texture contrast.

  • Add dried fruit like cranberries, dates, cherries, raisins and even shredded coconut for a trail mix taste. Add chocolate chips and granola bits if you want to take the theme all the way. Plus, the texture difference between the oatmeal and granola will keeps things interesting.

  • Chopped nuts (almonds are a great choice) will add not only texture but protein to your meal.

  • Sprinkle cinnamon and sugar and drizzle maple syrup for a fall-inspired breakfast. Add chopped apples - either fresh or cooked in a skillet with butter and a dash of cinnamon - for more variety.

  • You'll be surprised what a spoonful of yogurt does both for taste and texture in your oatmeal. The same can be said for jam or fruit preserves. If you have more than one type of jam in your house, you can add variety during your week.

If you are looking for easy, specific combinations, try these:

  • Banana Cream (thinly sliced bananas, cinnamon, and some non-fat sweetened condensed milk

  • Blueberry Almond (frozen blueberries, almonds, milk and flaxseed)

  • Coconut Banana (shredded coconut, light coconut milk, bananas and almonds)

  • Peaches and Cream (canned diced peaches, half and half and brown sugar)

  • Pumpkin Pie (canned pumpkin, maple syrup, cinnamon, nutmeg and sliced almonds)

Try stopping by your local farmer's markets (if still in season) and see what fruits you can get your hands on. Many vendors also sell their own homemade fruit and jam preserves that don't have the unhealthy chemicals and fake-tasting high fructose corn syrup.

So, if you are ever at a loss of what to make for breakfast (quickly and cheaply, lest the kids wake up to a distinct lack of yummy smells from the kitchen), break out the oatmeal and your arsenal of toppings and mixtures for a healthy, filling and delicious meal.

Friday, October 22, 2010

2 Ingredient Pumpkin Spice Cake the weather I have been. The stomach flu hit me smack in the face on Wednesday and finally today I feel a little better.

Wowsa. I think it wiped me out even more just being pregnant. Poor little bean inside probably wondered what in the &*^$! was going on!

Needless to say after talking to a co-worker, she was the only one left in our department yesterday as everyone else had the flu. Who spread these nasty flu germs all over our desks?

Enough of my sickness. How about a fall dessert?

I made this cake for a food day at work earlier this week, initially planning to make them into cookies, but time got the best of me, so I opted to dump all the batter in the cake pan instead. Still tasted great!

2 Ingredient Pumpkin Spice Cake
1 box spice cake mix
1 can pumpkin

Mix the dry spice mix and canned pumpkin together until it is all incorporated. It takes a little longer to come together, since you aren't adding eggs, oil, etc. Pour into 9x13 baking pan and bake according to the boxed directions.

I frosted mine with some cream cheese frosting, but I'm imaging a good dusting of powdered sugar would be nice as well!

Have a nice weekend everyone!

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Trio Enchiladas

When I make Mexican food, it is usually just tacos or enchiladas, leaning more towards the enchilada as they get ooey, gooey and melty in the oven.

This recipe was my latest taken on a good 'ol enchilada.

And again, as always, I halved the recipe into two pans and stuck one in the freezer. Instant Mexican for one night to come when I'm short on time!

Trio Enchiladas (meaning bean, rice and beef...)
1 pkg. tortillas of choice
3 c. Mexican rice (store bought or homemade)
1 c. refried beans
1 lb. ground beef
1 can Rotel diced tomatoes and chilies
block cheeses of choice (I used muenster/cheddar)

Cook ground beef and drain. Mix in Mexican rice. Spread 1/4 can of Rotel on bottom on sprayed casserole dish. To assemble enchiladas, layer refried beans, 2 slices of thick cut cheese, and then meat mixture. Roll up and place seam side down in pan.

When all enchiladas are rolled up and placed in pan, pour remaining Rotel over and top with shredded cheddar cheese. Bake for 30 minutes at 375 degrees. Top with your favorites - shredded lettuce, tomato, salsa, black olives, crushed tortillas chips, etc.

This was a HUGE hit in our house, I hope it is in yours!

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Guess What's Coming!

Sorry, for my lack of posts lately. Being a working mom has caused my used-to-be-ever-perfect schedule to be really thrown off lately - but I haven't forgotten about you!

Please don't leave me.

Here are two recipes that are coming up!
  • 2 Ingredient Pumpkin Spice Cookies (yes...I said 2 ingredients!)
  • Crock pot Barbecue Meatballs

Can you tell we are having a food day at work? Ha!

I hope everyone has a great Friday tomorrow and enjoys their weekend...stay tuned for these easy-peasy recipes, plus a guest post later next week!

Monday, October 11, 2010

Crock Pot French Dip Sandwiches

This is one of our go-to meals. Especially now that I qualify as a "working mom". Throw in the crock pot and go...

I will say even though the last year I didn't have a "paying" job, I was still working. Raising a kid is hard work!

The husband had to stay home with the little man today as our daycare provider was sick, and let me just say I came home to a disaster. A tornado of sorts tore through the house, all while I was at work. Thank god, he goes back to work tomorrow and the little man heads to daycare. My house can't take it! Lets just say he got into a roll of toilet paper, and, well, you can just imagine the rest.

Make this easy meal soon, you'll be glad you did!
Crock pot French Dip Sandwiches
roast, of your choice
1 can of beer (or beef broth, even water, if you don't want to use alcohol)
2 T. minced garlic
1 T. Lawry's seasoning salt

Place roast in crock pot and sprinkle with seasonings and garlic. Pour in beer. Place on low anywhere from 4-8 hours, depending on the size of your roast. The last hour, shred with fork and let sit in the juice, it will soak up lots of flavor!

Serve on a bun and enjoy!

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Baby Bump

So, you've all been begging for a baby bump shot and here it is! A friend at work took this for me this week, I guess you could officially call it my 14 week bump.

I definitely think I look smaller than this some days, as this particular day I was wearing my belly band, which I think just enhances the fullness! For those that don't know belly bands hold up your pants, shorts, etc, when you just can't quite button or zip them anymore. I wore it a ton for the little man, so I imagine I'll be wearing it a lot again! They are comfy:)

I definitely was not this big at 14 weeks with the little man, but they do say the second one always pops out faster.

I have proved that to be true.

Ignore the bad hair - I won't even tell you how long it has been since I've gotten it cut or highlighted, but that is hopefully coming later next week!

Have a great weekend everyone!

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Chicken and Wild Rice Soup

So earlier this week it was nice and chilly, perfect for soup. Tomorrow it is supposed to be 80 degrees. Go figure. The joys of living in the Midwest.

I got this recipe from my mom, who got it from a good friend, who as far back as I can remember has never made anything that tasted less than delicious (Hi, Maureen!).

Even the little man gobbled it up, which is pretty good these days considering his appetite has been par from the course while recovering from a cold and ear infection. See? Soup really does make you feel better!

Chicken and Wild Rice Soup
2 boxes wild rice
3 large diced carrots
3 stalks diced celery
2 cups cooked chicken
1/2 c. butter
3/4 c. flour
8 c. chicken broth
1 c. half and half (or milk)
1 t. pepper

In a separate saucepan cook rice. In a stockpot saute chopped vegetables in butter. Once they are tender, sift in flour a little at a time and stir for 2 minutes. Add chicken broth, chicken and rice. While keeping on very low heat, add in half and half, be sure to not boil.

Adjust seasonings as needed or when reheated. We like to serve with saltines and a good sandwich on the side!

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Melt in Your Mouth Banana Muffins

I have a love/hate relationship with Sundays. I love them this time of year because they are usually spent at home, with family, watching football, eating a home cooked meal, etc. I hate them because the next day is Monday.

Anyone else feel the same way?

This weekend has been pretty low-key, but we've also had an under-the-weather little man. This morning he woke up with a temp of 100.6 and spent most of the morning just laying on my lap. Which for those of you that know him, never happens! He's usually running around, getting into everything, so that just shows you how bad he feels.

Regardless of the sick child, I do plan on doing some cooking today, and yesterday I baked up these delicious muffins. So delicious in fact, that there is only one left.

Melt in Your Mouth Banana Muffins (yields 12 muffins)
2 egg whites
1 c. yogurt (I used vanilla flavored)
1/4 c. canola oil or applesauce
1 large banana, mashed
1 t. cinnamon
1/2 t. salt
1 1/4 t. baking soda
1/3 c. brown sugar
1/2 c. flax seed
1 1/2 c. flour

Mix together egg whites, yogurt, oil, banana and brown sugar. Sift in all dry ingredients and stir until just combined. Spray cupcake liners in muffin tins and fill 3/4 full. Bake at 400 degrees for 20 minutes.

Delicious straight from the oven and slathered with butter, but also store great in a container for many days!

*Stay tuned for Homemade Chicken & Wild Rice Soup!