Ally's Sweet & Savory Eats: October 2013

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Muffin Tin Pot Pies

I wanted something "hearty" to make over the weekend.  It was chilly, we had already eaten soup during the week and I didn't feel like getting out the slow cooker.

So enter in these Muffin Tin Chicken Pot Pies.

Oh and did I mention the husband jokingly said to me "I don't think you've made dinner the past three nights".  I didn't appreciate the comment and of course gave him crap about it....but....he was right.  I hadn't made dinner the past three nights.  We were just kinda "winging it".

Hey, sometimes a mom gets tired okay?

These turned out to be the perfect dinner.  I'm kicking myself I didn't make another batch and freeze them, but I'll have time for that at some point.  But this version will make 6 cute little chicken pot pies that are all homemade but the crescent rolls {hey, I take help wherever I can get it}.

You could really stuff whatever you want in them - a variety of veggies or even beef if you are not a chicken fan.  But honestly, I think this is the BEST version.

Just saying.

Muffin Tin Chicken Pot Pies

1 pkg. Pillsbury crescent rolls
1 boneless, skinless chicken breast
1 carrot, finely diced
1 stalk of celery, finely diced
1/2 c. peas, fresh or frozen
3/4 c. chicken broth
1/4 c. cream or milk
1 T. Dijon mustard
1 t. minced onion
1/4 t. dill
2 T. unsalted butter
2 T. flour
1 t. salt
1 t. pepper

1.  In a small saucepan, place chicken breast and cover with water.  Sprinkle in minced onion.  Bring to a boil.
2.  Allow chicken to cook in the boiling, seasoned water until cooked through, about 10 minutes.  Remove and allow to cool.  Save the cooking broth.
3.  Meanwhile, in a skillet saute the carrots and celery in a bit of olive oil for 5 minutes or until tender. Remove the veggies from the skillet and set aside.
4.  In the same skillet place in the butter and allow to melt.  Sprinkle in the flour and whisk together.  Allow this mixture to cook for 1-2 minutes, getting bubbly.
5.  Take 3/4 c. of the cooking {chicken} broth and place in the skillet.  Allow this mixture to thicken.
6.  Add in cream or milk, combine.
7.  Season with salt, pepper and Dijon mustard.
8.  Dice the chicken breast, then combine with the veggies and sauce.  Set aside.
9.  Roll out crescent rolls on a floured surface.  Cut into squares to fit the muffin tins {you may have extra dough left over - this is okay}.
10.  Scoop chicken/veggies mixture into the dough lined muffin tins, filling to the top.
11.  Fold over the dough to cover the tops, using the extra dough if needed.
12.  Bake for 25 minutes or until golden brown.
13.  Allow to cool in the pans for 5 minutes before serving.

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Creamy Spinach & Artichoke Dip Pizza

We are smack dab in the middle of the season of Halloween parties and football tailgating parties.  And this pizza?  Well, it is perfect for those parties!

If you are one of the millions who love spinach and artichoke dip {lets face it, don't you see it on practically every restaurant menu these days?} then you'll love this pizza.  I figured, I usually like to serve my hot spinach and artichoke dip with crispy bread toasts anyway, so throwing the dip ON TOP OF PIZZA DOUGH was like having the dip without having to....well.....dip.

And maybe better portion control?  Maybe just maybe you'd limit yourself to one slice of pizza instead of 20 dips into the bowl.

We can hope, right?

Bake this on a pizza stone and the crust gets super crispy, yet still chewy and the dip portion just melts all over.  It's perfect!

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Mini Caramel Pecan Sticky Buns

Well, do I have a yummy, pop able little treat for your mouth today!

When I do go to a diner or bakery for breakfast {which is like....never} one of my favorite heart attack inducing foods to get is a big, giant 'ol sticky bun.  Dripping with caramel and pecans, it is like heaven on a plate.

Anyone ever attend the Sunday brunch at the popular restaurant chain Granite City?  If so, they bring a huge plate of these rolls complimentary to your table right when you sit down.  I could live on those rolls at that brunch alone!  {Their cheesy hash browns are killer there too}.

Anyway, I love a sticky bun.  Did that come across yet?  And guess what.....these only have 6 ingredients! There is no FUSS with these rolls - super simple.

Mini Caramel Pecan Sticky Buns

1 pkg. Pillsbury crescent rolls
1/2 c. brown sugar
1/2 c. chopped pecans
1/2 stick of unsalted, softened butter, plus 2 T. 

1.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2.  Lightly grease a 24 cup mini muffin pan.
3.  In a bowl combine brown sugar, pecans and 1/2 stick of softened butter.
4.  Place 1 T. of mixture into the bottom of the muffin tin and press down.
5.  Lightly flour a flat kitchen surface and roll out crescent rolls, pinching seams together.
6.  Lightly dab with remaining 2 T. of butter and generously sprinkle with cinnamon and sugar.
7.  Roll up the crescent rolls {horizontally} and slice into 1/2 slices.
8.  Press sliced crescent rolls on top of the brown sugar/pecan mixture.
9.  Bake for 12 minutes.
10.  Invert rolls using a fork onto a plate and serve warm.
11.  Keep extras in a air tight container, will stay fresh for 2-3 days.

Monday, October 21, 2013

Family Style Taco Salad

Don't turn your back on salads just yet!

Yes, the weather is turning chilly {we have yet to turn that dial to "heat" in our house - I'm holding out!}, we are looking for more comfort foods - soups, casseroles and warm and hearty dinners.  But, this salad is pretty darn hearty, so don't let the word salad fool you.

I've been to many potlucks or family gatherings where someone brings a big bowl of already mixed up and ready to eat taco salad.  I love the stuff, but never, ever made it for myself.

I think I was a bit afraid of pre-mixing a salad all together and making sure it didn't turn into a soggy mess. But, I've learned the crisp iceberg lettuce holds up well and as long as you toss this all together right before it is time to eat, it works just fine!

Even my two year old ate two bowls.

She does eat almost anything, but if a two year old likes it, I'm sure your family will too.

Saturday, October 19, 2013

Spicy Dr. Pepper Pulled Pork

Feeding a crowd?  Want to warm up the house with a delicious smell?  Create a meal that takes no time at all?

This is the one!

It's football Saturday at this house and this would be a great dish to bring {all right in the slow cooker}to a party or a friend's house.  Cook it all night or if it is a night party cook it all day.  It will be ready to go just in time to eat.  Shred it up and go!

It does come with a bit of a kick from the chipotle chiles, so if you can't handle some of the heat just reduce the amount you put in the slow cooker.  But, I would not omit it completely because it gives the meat GREAT flavor.

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Fun Fall Food for the Kiddos

I have come across some really fun, family friendly and fun kid food.  Just in time for Fall and the Halloween season.  I'm not sure where you live, but it is down right chilly here.  The leaves are falling, it's been a bit dreary and unfortunately I can just feel the "cold" in the air.

I love Fall, so I like it, but it still makes me worry about the upcoming winter season.  Ugh.

So, to get out minds off of that - let's talk fun fall food for the kiddos!  I hope to make a couple of these in the next week.  The kids love to get in the kitchen and I {mostly} love to be in the kitchen with them.

Minus the mess.

These darn things look super addictive.  What kids don't love popcorn and candy?  I'm imagining we'd make these and I would HAVE to give some away.  Otherwise the kids would want them every hour on the hour.

Something a bit healthier perhaps?  We always have a bag of apples in our house, eating them up like candy. This would be a fun twist!

Roll me over and stick a fork {or toothpick!} in me.  I think my family would love these at Christmas time. We got a bit crazy with appetizers and munchies.  So family members reading....should we put these on the menu?

Sometimes it is a bit of a mess {especially with kids} when trying to eat a whole caramel apple.  Heck, it's a bit of a mess eating one as an adult!  These bite-sized versions look fun and easier to just pop in your mouth.  Great for a party!

On my list to make this weekend....or at least a similar version of these cookies.  If you haven't tried putting a dry pudding mix in your cookie batter - what are you waiting for? Trust me, it does something to the batter and takes the baked cookie to a whole 'nother level.

Monday, October 14, 2013

Milky Way Bars {2 ingredients!}

I made these bars over the weekend for a local library fundraiser.  You know you go to the library a LOT with your kids when the staff starts asking you to partake in committees and fundraisers.  But that is okay! Its fun and rewarding to help out where needed.

I had all intentions of making two different desserts, but time got the best of me and it didn't happen.  Kids can really reek havoc on your daily schedule.

Give me a heck ya if you like desserts that only require two ingredients??!!!

These were so simple and make a nice big batch so if you need to bring a dessert, here you go!

Milky Way Bars

2 packages refrigerated chocolate chip cookie dough
1 bag snack size Milky Way bars

1.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2.  In a large rimmed baking sheet - I used a 17 x 25 in. pan.
3.  Spray the cookie sheet with cooking spray.
4.  Press all the cookie dough down into the pan evenly.
5.  Bake this for 10 minutes.
6.  While it is baking, remove candy bars from the packaging and cut into chunks.
7.  Place all of the candy bar chunks into the cookie dough, pressing them down into the par-baked dough.
8.  Place back into the oven and bake for another 20 minutes or until golden brown.
9.  Allow to cool and cut into bars.

Friday, October 11, 2013

Simple Fall Chili in 4 Easy Steps!

Our first big pot of chili was made today....the first batch of the fall season!  And this chili is so simple its almost a bit embarassing.  I feel like chili should be more complicated, but it isn't. Yes, you can add fancy peppers, beer or four different kinds of beans to make it a bit more exciting, but this recipe is the one I make most often.

It's simple and more importantly tastes good.

So here we go.  Write this down!

Step 1:  In a large stockpot saute one chopped onion and 3 cloves of minced garlic.

Step 2: Add in 2 lbs. of ground beef, cooking with the onion and garlic.  When meat is cooked, drain off fat.

Step 3: To the pot add: 3 T. chili powder, 1 T. cumin, 1/2 t. red pepper flakes, 1 t. garlic powder, 2 8 oz. cans tomato sauce, 32 oz. tomato or vegetable juice and 1 15 oz. can chili beans, undrained.

Step 4: Stir, simmer and serve.

Seriously, a robot could make this chili.  Don't you think?

We like to top ours with those little saltine oyster crackers.  Regular saltines work just fine, but I like how these stay crunchy from your first bit to your last bite.

Other toppings could be shredded cheese, sour cream, crushed tortilla chips.....really whatever you want!

So tell me, who is going to ditch their complicated chili recipe and make this easy one?

And as most know, chili always tastes better the next day.  All of the spices and flavors have time to meld together.  This recipe will make enough for two meals {at least, depending on how many are in your family}so NO cooking on day two!

That really is the best part.

Happy chili makin'.

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Red Beans & Rice with Grilled Chicken

If you know me well, then you know that is not a typical meal I would make.  But when a friend brings dinner over for you and you promptly inhale the whole dish, then it is one that I HAVE to share with my readers.

She had a friend growing up whose mother cooked this for them, probably a bit more authentic than it was made this weekend, but nonetheless, delicious.  This is also the friend that took me out for Indian food about a month back - she is really getting me out of my shell!

Really, this is a no-fuss meal.  Besides one special ingredient that makes the dish, the rest are just pantry staples.  And healthy pantry staples I might add!

I even have a scarce amount leftover for my lunch today - plus her homemade green chile baked mac and cheese.  Yes, I said green-chile-baked-mac-and-cheese.  I really was spoiled by her this past weekend.

And I haven't even mentioned the homemade corn muffins and the turtle pumpkin pie.

I'm stuffed.

But, I was smart and when at her house yesterday I wrote down ALL the recipes.  Stay tuned!

Saturday, October 5, 2013

Apple Pie Bars {a family favorite!}

My mom is here for the weekend to give me a bit of a reprieve.  The husband took an all guy hunting trip to North Dakota and is gone until Wednesday.

Just typing that gave me heart palpitations.

Two kids under the age of 4 are a LOT of work by yourself.  Two little kids with a lot of energy between the two of them.  Not that I can't handle it, but it sure is nice to have an extra hand for a couple of days.

And when my mom comes here, she usually is making things in the kitchen as well.  She brought a yummy pasta casserole along for dinner one night, English muffin bread for breakfasts and all the ingredients to make her famous Apple Pie Bars.

We only seem to eat these in the fall when apples are in season.  Thank god, as they are SO good, you find yourself grabbing piece after piece.  It is basically apple pie but in bar form with a nice sweet drizzle of frosting on the top.

I actually prefer these bars to regular apple pie.

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Some Fall Favorites

My oldest headed to the apple orchard this morning with his preschool class for some apple picking.  He woke up at 5:45 a.m. dressed and ready to go.  Mom on the other hand was NOT ready to go at 5:45 a.m. He just cannot contain his excitement about school and I love it.

Let's hope that the excitement continues once the homework starts.

So with his little field trip on our brains today I thought I'd share some cool and neat fall recipes circulating around the web lately.  We all seem to be engrossed in pumpkin, apples and chili - and I love that!

Here are some of my favorites.

Pumpkin Chocolate Cheesecake - um, yeah!  Not much could get better in my opinion.

Sparkling Apple Cider Float - I'm usually not a huge fan of ice cream floats.  I like to keep my liquids and ice cream separate (I know....) but for some reason I want to try this one!

Super Easy Caramel Sauce - I've never met a caramel sauce I didn't like.  In fact, I usually pick it over chocolate when given the option.  I know!

Salted Caramel Apple Popcorn - my kids would INHALE this.  In fact, the little man asked the other night "why don't you make popcorn anymore?"  Yeah, I need to get back on track.

Happy Fall Printable - I really wish I had the desire lately to make cards and get crafty.  Or in the very least print off this free printable and send it out to some friends.  Where has by ambition gone?

Pumpkin Pie Bites - thank god, with these I finally don't have to eat the whole pie.

Slow Cooker Roasted Garlic Mashed Potatoes - everything tastes better in the slow cooker come Fall.  I'm imagining mashed potatoes would fall into this category.

So what are you favorite Fall recipes?

Send some links my way!