Monday, January 26, 2015

Mini SNICKERS Football Eclairs #BigGameTreats

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #CollectiveBias #BigGameTreats


Football season has become an extremely fun time of the year for our family. We love tuning in the games (especially the big game) and cheering on our favorite team while enjoying some yummy finger foods! Okay, so It's true that I do love any excuse to make a bunch of snacks and will jump at the chance, but, I have really embraced my love of Football and have been enjoying watching the games with my family! You will find me jumping up and down, yelling at the TV and screeching when my team scores a touchdown. I am very invested.



You definitely won't find me in the kitchen for very long during the Big Game... which is why I like to make sure all my food is prepared ahead of time and completely ready to serve once it starts. I usually start planning my menu about a month in advance and I try to make sure to cover all the basic Football food groups: Cheesy, Crispy, Gooey and my favorite group of all... satisfyingly sweet.


This year, I'm going to be making these adorable Mini SNICKERS® Football Eclairs to cover the "satisfyingly sweet" group. Eclairs have always been one of my favorite, scratch that... They've always been my favorite dessert since I was a little girl. My family and I would often travel the central coast and there was one special bakery where I would always, always, always get a chocolate eclair. I didn't eat any other chocolate eclairs throughout the year... just that one. But, i've decided, now that i'm older, wiser and able to create delicious food on my own, I'm going to tackle the eclair and make it my own (did you get that football reference?!) 

So, of course, the first thing I had to do was head to Walmart and grab all my delicious supplies! I stopped in on the candy aisle to grab my 6-pack of SNICKERS. 4 for the recipe and 2 for... eating! To give me energy to make the recipe, of course. I also grabbed a bag of Skittles®... you'll see why in a bit :)




First off, let's start by making an adorable "Game On" Football Bunting to display over your eclairs. Shall we?

“Game On” Football Bunting Tutorial

Supplies: 
1 12"x12" sheet green paper, a few scrap pieces of brown paper and white paper, white ribbon, 2 wooden skewers, glue, scissors

Step 1: Take a piece of 12”x12” scrapbook paper and cut off two 1-1’/4 strips from it. Fold strips in half and then in half again, to form 4 equal pieces. Repeat with other strip so you end up with 8 pieces.

Step 2: Cut off corners (as demonstrated above) to resemble a trapezoid. 

Step 3: Print out the letters to make the words “GAME ON.” Cut out letters and paste onto one side of your trapezoid. Use brown paper to cut out two football shapes and use small pieces of white paper or a white pen to create laces. Paste onto remaining 2 pieces.

Step 4: Lay out your letters and the footballs on each side of the letters, cover the inside of the green paper with glue. 

Step 5: Place in your ribbon, close and seal tightly.

Step 6: Tie the ends of your ribbon onto 2 wooden skewers.

And you're done!! :)



Now it's time to make the dessert! Gotta unwrap that chocolate...


Chop, chop, chop...


Mixing it into the pastry cream before adding it back to the pot to melt...


Mixing up the dough for the eclairs.


The piping was fun and easy thanks to my hubby... he got me this cake decorating tool for Christmas (like 2 years ago) and I somehow completely forgot about it until today!


Straight outta the oven. Nice and puffy!



Filled and dipped in dark chocolate... Now we're cookin'!



I served these tasty little footballs up on a platter with Skittles to give it some color! You could also divide the Skittles into your team's colors and only use those! That would be super cute. But, I liked all the color they brought to the final product... Plus... wait until you see the bunting!


Isn't it so cute?? My hubby's small glasses filled with colorful Skittles made the perfect weight for the bunting! I couldn't love it more. Really, I couldn't.

Everything looks good enough to eat, don't you think?



So, when you're trying to think of that perfect dessert to serve up at this year's Big Game... whip up a batch of these tasty and adorable mini SNICKERS football eclairs and wow your guests! I promise they'll say "wow." How could they not?

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Mini SNICKERS Football Eclairs: 

Ingredients:

Cream Puff Dough:
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1 stick salted butter, cut into tablespoons
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1 cup flour
  • 4 eggs, room temperature
Pastry cream:
  • 2 cups milk
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 4 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 4 SNICKERS bars
  • 1 cup dark chocolate chips
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 1/4 cup  white chocolate chips

Directions:

Chop SNICKERS bars into very small pieces, or you can use a food processor.

Place milk, sugar and cornstarch in a medium saucepan and whisk. Turn on meat to medium and whisk until mixture thickens to the consistency of a thick salad dressing. Stir in chopped snickers and whisk until melted. Remove from heat and whisk in vanilla and butter. Place in bowl, cover with saran wrap and place in fridge to chill for at least 3 hours.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Bring milk, water, butter, sugar and salt to a boil. Dump in the flour and stir continuously until dough becomes a ball. Transfer dough to a mixer and add in eggs, one at a time (make sure egg is incorporated before adding the next egg!) Your dough should be sticky and somewhat stiff. Place dough in a piping bag or a fun little cake decorating tool fitted with a round tip. Pipe “football shaped” (thin on the ends, thicker in the middle) lines about 2 inches long. You should be able to get between 32-36. 

Place into oven for 16-18 minutes, or until they are beginning to turn golden brown. Prop oven open slightly and bake for additional 5 minutes. Remove from oven and baking sheet to cool.

Cut each shell open on one side. Place pastry cream into pastry bag or tiptop bag and pipe into cooled shells. Place in the fridge until chilled, about 30 minutes. 

Meanwhile, in a microwave-safe bowl, heat oil and dark chocolate, stirring every 30 seconds, until chocolate is completely melted.

Dip chilled eclairs into chocolate and set on parchment paper or foil to harden. Once chocolate has hardened, melt the white chocolate chips and place into ziptop bag. Pipe laces onto the top of the eclairs to complete your football. Place in fridge and chill until ready to serve!



Makes about 32 mini chocolate footballs





Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Creamy Tomato, Sausage & Tortellini Soup


I'm going to be honest here and admit something... I'm not really a "soup person." There, I said it. Everyone always goes on and on about how chicken noodle soup is the most comforting food of all and I just sit there shaking my head, in my head. I don't actually shake my head physically... just mentally. I mentally shake my head. 

Maybe I should be a little more specific here... it's mostly broth-based soups that I'm not a huge fan of, I guess. I do love a good creamy soup from time to time! Loaded potato soup, chicken & corn chowder... well, those are okay in my book. 

Oh, and did I mention Creamy tomato soups? I do love those, too. Okay, so maybe I do like soup. Just not all soup. Maybe it's chicken noodle I have something against? 

The one thing I can be certain of is that this Creamy Tomato, Sausage & Tortellini soup I'm sharing with you today is my favorite soup. That's a fact. And the picture above is my favorite picture of it. I feel like it really captures the true essence of this soup and who or what it is, as a soup. Okay, that sounded a little rehearsed, didn't it? And it didn't really make sense, did it? Okay, I'll stop now...


Let me just say that I really, really love the colors in this soup! I'm finding that as I age it becomes more and more important to me to have a variety of colors in whatever it is I'm eating. I love the yellow from the bell pepper, the red from the sun-dried tomatoes and the green from the spinach! So pretty and so fresh looking.

 

I could eat this soup every day if I had to. Maybe it's the sausage, maybe it's the tortellini, maybe it's the delicious creamy tomato-y ness... or maybe it's a combination of them all. Whatever it is, this soup is killer. My hubby's favorite part was the sausage nuggets that he said were "just the right size." When you come across one it's like finding a little ball of treasure. See? Eating soup can be fun!


Okay, so I've just convinced myself that soup is a wonderful thing. I know you guys were already a step ahead of me and you were probably shaking your head in disbelief when you read my first paragraph, but, don't worry, I'm with you now. We're on the same page. Now, just go make the soup and we'll forget about this whole thing...



Creamy Tomato, Sausage & Tortellini Soup:

Ingredients:
  • 24 ounces tomato sauce
  • 3 cups half and half
  • 2 cups chicken broth
  • 1 pound sweet italian sausage
  • 9oz package cheese tortellini
  • 1 teaspoon dried italian seasoning
  • 1 teaspoon dried basil
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon white sugar
  • 2 teaspoons lemon juice
  • 1 medium yellow pepper, sliced
  • 1/2 onion, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 cup diced sun-dried tomatoes
  • 2 cups fresh spinach, chopped
  • 1/2 cup shredded parmesan cheese
  • fresh parsley, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil

Directions:

Roll sausage into small balls, or "nuggets" about the size of a quarter and place in a skillet over medium heat. Cook until no longer pink.

Meanwhile, in a dutch oven, over medium heat, place olive oil, onions, garlic and bell pepper. Cook until bell pepper begins to soften, about 4-5 minutes. Pour in tomato sauce, add sugar, lemon juice, pepper, basil and italian seasoning and allow it to simmer for about 5 minutes. Add chicken broth, half and half, sun-dried tomatoes and cooked sausage. Bring to a boil and allow soup to cook for 5 more minutes, then, add in your tortellini and cook according to package directions (mine was 8 minutes). Stir in spinach during last 2 minutes of cook time.

Top soup with shredded parmesan cheese and a little fresh parsley and serve!

Enjoy!

Monday, January 19, 2015

Churro Cheesecake Bombs



It's easy to wake up on Monday morning and think to yourself "wow, I really could have used my free time this past weekend a lot better."  Or feel like you didn't get enough rest in, or that you didn't get enough free-time or me-time. This past weekend was a perfect weekend for me, one full of relaxing, spending time together as a family and watching some sports games that didn't end at all how we had hoped. Oh well.

The hardest part about the weekend for me is trying to keep my almost-2-year-old from destroying the house so we can actually enjoy lounging, instead of sitting there, surrounded by billions of little toys, feeling like we live in a dump... a toy dump. I love my son, I do, but right now he's at the stage where his idea of "playing with toys" is actually just to take a toy, place it in a random spot in the house, then get another toy and place it in the trash, then get another toy and throw it at his sister, and so on. If I find one more puzzle piece in the sink I'm probably going to break.

On Sunday we had planned to watch the Packers vs. Seahawks game, followed by the UFC fight and it was going to be my job to make all the snacks (of course!) I made my Crispy BBQ Wings, Jalapeño Popper dip (coming later this week!) and these amazing Churro Cheesecake Bombs that I'm going to share with you right now!


The first step in making a truly delicious Cheesecake Bomb is by making a truly delicious cheesecake mixture! Then, you take that truly delicious cheesecake mixture and stuff it inside of a triangle of crescent roll dough. Easy peasy, right?


The next step is baking them until they're golden brown...

Like this! Then you roll them in some cinnamon sugar...


And Voilà! You now have yourself a plate of delicious Churro Cheesecake Bombs to serve to your sports-watching crew! How easy was that? Try not to eat them all before you serve them... I know it will be a challenge!

These bombs taste great slightly warm or at room temperature, it just depends on your preference! I haven't tried refrigerating them yet because they never stick around for very long. If you have any that do make it into the fridge, leave me a comment below and tell me how they taste ;)



Churro Cheesecake Bombs:

Ingredients:
  • 2 cans crescent roll dough
  • 2 (8 ounce) packages cream cheese
  • 1 egg
  • 1 cup granulated sugar, divided
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice
  • 1 heaping tablespoon cinnamon
Directions:

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Place cream cheese, egg, 1/2 cup sugar, vanilla and lemon juice in a stand mixer and beat on medium speed until light and fluffy (about 2-3 minutes), making sure to scrape the bowl at least twice (gotta get those cream cheese clumps incorporated!)

Unroll crescent dough and divide into triangles. Place a rounded tablespoon full of the cream cheese mixture on the wide part of the crescent roll, fold over, seal all edges, forming a "ball" shape, then fold the thin end of the crescent dough over the top of your bomb. Place on your baking sheet and repeat with remaining crescent rolls.

Allow bombs to cool slightly, then combine cinnamon and remaining sugar in a shallow dish and roll each bomb in the cinnamon sugar to coat.

Bake in preheated oven for 14-16 minutes, or until golden brown.

Makes 16 Bombs.








Linked to:
Flour me with love, skip to my lou, the ny melrose family, buns in my oven, ducks in a row


Saturday, January 17, 2015

Tuscan Turkey Melt



Let's be honest with each other for a minute here, okay? I make a lot of food and *most* of the food I make comes out really, really yummy and I'm usually very happy with it. Well, I'm not sure how to properly convey the message I'm wanting to convey here but I'll give it a try...

You. Have. To. Make. This. Sandwich.

Did you understand what I was trying to say there? I care about you deeply and I want only the best food for you... So, I need you to make this Tuscan Turkey Melt and then I need you to come back here and tell me how it made you feel afterward. I'm pretty sure this sandwich has changed my life and opened my eyes to a whole new world of sandwich-eating.


You see this? This is the beginning of a very beautiful sun-dried tomato sauce that is one of my favorite things EVER. I would eat this with a spoon if I could, but that would just be weird...


It becomes a very beautiful color once it's blended. See? How could you not want to eat it?


It's stacked with delicious herbed turkey and dry salami (placed beautifully by my darling husband!) Let's all give my hubby a hand for being such an amazing salami-placer. Great job, honey!


Now it's starting to look pretty...


Cheese! Lots o' cheese! This is a melt afterall, so we're going to need a whole lot of cheese.


Then, a little spinach... 


And roasted red bell peppers! My favorite. They're so beautiful, aren't they? I just love their vibrant color! They just scream "Look at me! I'm so pretty and you should devour me!"


And then... and then... the sauce. The SAUCE! Hands down the best part of the sandwich. I was tempted to just dump the whole thing of sauce on just one of the sandwiches but my hubby talked me out of it and brought me back to reality, where just because something is delicious, it doesn't mean you have to overdo it. Darn him and his wisdom.


Just looking at this picture, you know you're in for a treat. You know that there is no way this isn't going to be the best Tuscan Turkey Melt you've ever had. Or maybe even the best sandwich you've ever had *fingers crossed*. 

So, before you do anything else, put down whatever it is you're doing, go to the store and buy the ingredients for this sandwich. Then, at your earliest convenience, make this Tuscan Turkey Melt. Make it. Do it. Peer pressure!! You won't be sorry. Your tastebuds will thank you. All will be well in the world. Now, go!


Tuscan Turkey Melt:

Ingredients:
  • 4 slices sourdough bread 
  • 6 thick slices herbed deli turkey (we used a garlic herb turkey breast!)
  • 12 slices dried salami
  • 6 slices provolone cheese
  • 1 cup fresh spinach leaves
  • 1 red bell pepper, stem removed, halved and deseeded
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • Sea salt


for the Sun-dried tomato sauce:
  • 5 sun-dried tomatoes (not packed in oil), chopped
  • 1/2 cup + 1 tablespoon mayonnaise
  • 1 large clove garlic, minced
  • 2 large basil leaves, torn in half


Directions:

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Place bell pepper on a baking sheet, drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with a little sea salt. Roast in oven, turning twice, for about 25-30 minutes, or until skin is charred and wrinkly. Remove from oven, place in ziptop bag and set aside for 10-15 minutes. Turn oven down to 400 degrees.

Place sun-dried tomatoes, mayonnaise, garlic and basil in a food processor and pulse until it becomes a pretty coral color, but there are still chunks of sun-dried tomato left. Set aside.

Butter one side of your sourdough bread and place it on a baking sheet. Repeat with other bread slices. Now, layer on the turkey, then the salami, then the provolone on two of the bread slices. Remove stems from the spinach and layer on top of the cheese.

Remove peppers from bag and remove skin, Cut pepper into 3 equal pieces and place over the spinach. 

Spread half of the sun-dried tomato mixture over the remaining bread (the non-buttered side!) Top sandwich with bread (butter side out!)

Place a heavy baking sheet over the top of the sandwiches and place in the oven. Bake for 18-20 minutes, check bread and make sure it's getting crispy, then remove the top baking sheet, crank oven to 475 degrees and bake for additional 5 minutes.

Remove from oven when bread is crispy and starting to brown and cheese is melty and delicious.

Cut sandwiches in half and serve right away to hungry family members.

Enjoy!

Makes 2 (large) sandwiches.





Thursday, January 15, 2015

Brown Butter Ravioli with Sun-Dried Tomatoes & Toasted Pine Nuts




Hello all you wonderful, wonderful people! I'm officially back from my mini-bloggy-vacation and I couldn't be more excited! I've missed you all and I've missed this... you know, this... sharing delicious food, talking about delicious food and making lots of delicious food! But, now that i'm back I feel like it's important to start everything off with a BANG! Which is why today I'm bringing you a recipe that is so simple, so delicious and just, well, it's mouthwateringly amazing... But, we'll get to that in a minute!


First I want to start off by saying that I am both happy and sad that the holiday season is over. My favorite time of the year has come and gone and even though it was amazing, I still can't help but feel a little sad that my house feels empty without all of my cozy Christmas decorations making it feel so warm and festive. I miss watching movies next to the Christmas tree and snuggling on the couch under our Christmas blankets, watching Christmas movies... but, I'm also glad that It's a new year and I feel like big things are coming! I'm hoping 2015 is going to be a year of awesome food, fun adventures, big opportunities and, hopefully some amazing memories will be made!


Just because Christmas is over and all Joy is lost doesn't mean there aren't other fun holidays to look forward to. Like, for instance, we've got Valentine's Day coming up in less than a month! I actually adore V-day, especially now that I'm married.  I love putting together the parties for my daughter's class, I love helping her create her Valentines to hand out to her friends and I love having a special dinner with my hubby and enjoying the delicious chocolates (See's Candy *cough**hint*) that he gets me every year.

  
So now that we're all excited for Valentine's Day to get here and are in no way sad about the fact that Christmas is over for a whole year, I thought I could share a recipe that would actually be a great way to celebrate love day with your loved ones! It's fancy enough to be a celebratory dinner, but easy enough to make that you won't be standing in the kitchen all night cooking! Hooray!

Be warned, as soon as we finished eating this yummy dish we immediately wanted more. It's super addictive! It makes a great lunch, {meatless monday} dinner, or would be great as a side dish! I hope you love it as much as we did. Actually, I know you will. You have to. You must!



Brown Butter Ravioli with Sun-Dried Tomatoes &
Toasted Pine Nuts:

Ingredients:
  • 1 (24 ounce) bag of small, round, cheese-filled raviolis
  • 1 stick of unsalted butter, cut into tablespoons
  • 3 tablespoons of pine nuts
  • 3 tablespoons chopped, sun-dried tomatoes
  • 2 large cloves fresh garlic
  • 3 tablespoons basil chiffonade
  • Sea salt & freshly cracked black pepper


Directions:

In a small, dry skillet over medium heat, place pine nuts and continue tossing until golden brown. Remove from skillet and set aside.

Now, to make your brown butter... In a large pot or dutch oven, over medium heat, place butter and allow it to melt fully. Once melted, butter should soon begin to foam and bubble. Stir butter continuously so it browns evenly. Once it's starting to turn a nice brown color (not too dark, more like golden brown) add in your fresh garlic and sun-dried tomatoes. Cook for 2-3 additional minutes, while continuously stirring. Remove from heat and stir in fresh basil and about 1/2 teaspoon of sea salt and 1/2 teaspoon black pepper.

Meanwhile, cook ravioli according to package directions. Drain and toss in brown butter mixture. Spoon onto plate, drizzle with some of the extra brown butter sauce, sprinkle about 2 teaspoons of pine nuts over the top and finish with a little sea salt and freshly cracked black pepper. {Being able to see the sea salt and cracked pepper on the ravioli really does make the dish look fabulous!} 

Garnish with a couple of basil leaves on the top and serve immediately.

Enjoy!




Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Delicious Appetizer Idea: Boursin Cheese

This post has been sponsored by Smiley360 and it's advertiser. #BoursinCheese


Even though it seems like the holiday season should still be happening, there were so many new and delicious foods I got to try that I'm not bitter about it at all. Really, i'm not! This past Christmas and New Year's Eve was hosted at our house this year, which meant that it was my job to come up with the menu, including all the delicious appetizers (which is one of my favorite parts!)

The truth is, I'm an app girl. It's who I am. I love all things cheesy, gooey, creamy when it comes to my appetizers and this year I found one of my new favorite go-to items: Boursin Cheese! I first tasted Boursin when my daughter and I were walking through Winco back in early December. The texture was creamy and smooth with a nice (not overpowering) garlic flavor. I knew I was going to have to get some to serve at both Christmas and New Year's Eve! 


This year I kept my apps pretty simple for Christmas and served the Boursin cheese with crackers along with my spinach artichoke dip and my barbecue meatballs (yum!) Everything was completely gone before dinnertime, which, in my book, means it was a success! 

I know that I will be serving up more Boursin cheese in the coming months, especially since we're going to be hosting our annual Oscar Night Party here at our house in February! I'm super excited to have another (cheesy!) delicious appetizer idea that I can put in my arsenal and I can't wait to hear your thoughts!

Have you tried Boursin cheese? 



Follow Boursin on Facebook for more delicious ideas.
Follow Boursin on Twitter 

I was given free Boursin products to try

Saturday, December 20, 2014

Last Minute Gift Idea for the Foodie in your life! (Mary's Secret Ingredients Winter 2014 Box Review)




So... today i'm here to give you a great idea for a last minute gift idea for the foodie in your life! If you remember earlier this year I reviewed their spring box and went over some of the details behind Mary's Secret Ingredients. Each bos is priced at $25.95 and you can order them one at a time or you can order an entire year's subscription! Right now you can save $16 on a one year subscription by using the code "SWEET16" at checkout. Who wouldn't love to get a year's worth of delicious goodies delivered to their door as a gift? Let's take a look at some of the items from this season's box!


Okay, so... when I first opened the box I was really excited to see a wide variety of items that I had never tried! That's one of the things I love about these boxes... the element of surprise!



Red Snapper Hot Chili Pepper Sauce: First off... my hubby was extremely excited about this little gem. As soon as he saw it he said "I'm barbecuing oysters immediately."



PaperChef Lotus Cups: Next item were these adorable little parchment cups! I'm going to be using these to throw together some muffins for the fam this week! Honestly, I've never bought parchment cups for myself, but these are so adorable that I might have to reconsider.


Dutch Spirits American Era Cocktail Bitters: This was another one that got my hubby super excited! He swears he's going to whip up a bunch of drinks for us this Christmas using these. I love, love, love the packaging on these and the names!



Maddy’s Sweet Shop Lil’ Maddies Sweet Peppermint: Okay, so, this was probably my favorite thing (and my daughter's!) in the box! I'm a dessert freak and these light, airy little cookies with just a hint of peppermint and the perfect crunch really hit the spot. My hubby would have really liked these if I had actually given him a chance to try one...


SerendipiTea Once Upon a Tea and Holiday Cheer and Tea Infuser: Have I mentioned lately that I want to start getting into tea? It seems like everyone drinks tea and I want to be one of the cool kids, too! :) Let me just say that this tea is awesome! I'm a big fan of festive holida

Gran Luchito Smoked Chili Paste: This one excited both my hubby and I! I can already see all the delicious things I'm going to be making with this! Smoked chiles are kind of my thing...


Peeled Snacks Apple Aplenty Trail Mix: Oh... my... gosh! So good. I love a good trail mix and dark chocolate is one of my favorite things of all time, so this one is really the most perfect trail mix of all time! You could definitely make some delicious cookies with it... or, if you're like me, you'll just sit and devour the whole bag before you even think about baking with it...


Overall, everything in this basket either appealed to my hubby or I (or both of us!) and there wasn't anything that I thought "hmm... what in the world could I do with that?!" All the items are good quality items that are perfect for inspiring you in the kitchen and getting your creative juices flowing!

So, if you have someone in your family that you are still searching for the right present for, I would highly recommend ordering them a subscription (or even just one box!) to Mary's Secret Ingredients! They're bound to love (or know someone who will) every ingredient in the box. Just give it a try and see :)

Visit Mary’s Secret Ingredients and order yours today!








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