Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Pepperoni Pizza Sliders

Superbowl weekend is coming up.  Frankly, it wasn't even on my radar until I heard people talking about how this crazy polar vortex that we're going through may result in the game being played on a Saturday...or even a Friday...due to the extreme cold weather.

For those still looking for something quick and easy to put on their Superbowl spread, this ought to do the trick.  Same goes for the uber delicious Hawaian roll ham and cheese sliders.  There's something about mini sammies, melted cheese, and butter that makes for happy people.  Since both can be assembled in advance, you could have them in the fridge ready to bake for whenever that game ends up being.  It's sure to be a hit with your guests!

More Superbowl food ideas:
And umm...go...well...yeah.  I don't even know who's playing this year so guess I'm not rooting for anybody in particular!

Pepperoni Pizza Sliders


For the sandwiches
  • 3/4 cup pizza sauce 
  • 12 Hawaiian rolls 
  • 48 slices large deli pepperoni (or 1 lb pepperoni slices) 
  • 1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese 
  • Sliced onions, green peppers, olives (optional)
For the topping
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted 
  • 1/2 tablespoons onion powder 
  • 1/2 tablespoons garlic powder 
  • 1/2 tablespoons Italian seasoning
  • A few dashes Worcestershire sauce  
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. 
  2. Spread pizza sauce onto both sides of the center of each roll. Place 2 large slices (or a few small slices) of pepperoni and a some shredded cheese inside of each roll. If you want, dress them up with your desired veggies.  Close rolls and put into a large baking dish or heavy cookie sheet so that the sandwiches are touching each other. 
  3. In a small bowl, whisk together all of the topping ingredients. Pour evenly over all of the sandwiches, just enough to cover the tops; let sandwiches sit for at least 10 minutes to absorb the butter and seasonings. If desired, sandwiches can be assembled and buttered a day ahead, covered and kept in the fridge until ready to bake. 
  4. Cover with foil and bake at 350 degrees for 12-15 minutes or until cheese is melted. Uncover and cook for 2 additional minutes or until tops are slightly brown and crispy. Serve warm. 
Source: Barely Modified from What's Cookin' Chicago

Monday, January 20, 2014

SRC: S'mores Bites (Dairy-Free/Vegan)

It's a somewhat sad day for me because this is my last Secret Recipe Club.  After being a part of this group for a few years now I've decided that I needed to step away from it all.  I simply don't have the time to dedicate to creating things on a set schedule and commenting on others' posts like I used to.

For my final assignment I am honored to have my fellow Cincinnati blogging friend Desi of SteakNPotatoesKindaGurl.  We "met" through this club.  Though we live in the same city, we have never actually met in person.  She did, however, contribute a beautiful guest post of Grilled Filet with Bourbon Butter to my blog when I was on vacation.  If I learned anything about Desi it's that the girl LOVES bacon.  So when I went to choosing a recipe, I thought I'd make something with bacon in it.  Then I took a completely different direction when I saw her post for one of her other loves...s'mores.  I considered throwing some bacon crumbles in with the chocolate center and/or on top as a garnish as a tribute but tried to stay true to the recipe ;).

Many of you know that I've gone dairy-free for my son who is nursing and I suspect to be sensitive to it.  Since I could customized the cookies, I made mine dairy-free while using regular Hershey milk-chocolate for my husband's cookies.  I tried to make some substitutions of coconut oil instead of butter and dark chocolate instead of milk to keep it dairy-free (and vegan for that matter!).  Finding graham cracker crumbs that were dairy-free was also surprisingly challenging.  I usually buy store brand to save a few bucks but the store brand and most national brands for that matter had dairy in them.  Boo!  The only dairy-free graham crackers I could find were Nabisco Honey Maid.

The taste was awesome.  I actually loved the not-so-subtle coconut flavor.  It kind of reminded me of my favorite Girl Scout Cookie, samoas...which, I also can't eat right now.  Sad face.  The only problem was that my cookie crust was too crumbly and totally didn't hold together right on removal.  I'm not sure if substituting my coconut oil 1:1 for butter was the issue or if I just didn't bake it long enough.  Still experimenting with this whole dairy-free baking thing.  The fact that my cookie crumbled didn't stop me from enjoying these little s'mores bites straight out of the pan with a spoon ;).  Don't judge.

As I say goodbye to my SRC friends I want to thank you all for being awesome and for helping me to discover your wondering blogs.  And of course a special shout out to our hostess, Debbi.  I hope that you all will continue to follow me even as I leave the club...and probably post less frequently.

On an unrelated note...have you entered my Wildtree giveaway??

S'mores Bites (Dairy-Free/Vegan)

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F.  
  2. If using whole graham crackers, place inside a ziplock bag and then crush with a rolling pin.  Combine graham cracker crumbs, sugar, and melted coconut oil into a bowl. 
  3. Divide crumb mixture into each cup of a 24 cup mini muffin pan. Press crumbs to form shallow cups.
  4. Bake for 4-5 minutes or until edges are bubbling. 
  5. Meanwhile, break two of the candy bars into rectangles. Break the rectangles in half. 
  6. Remove pan from oven; place 2 rectangle halves into each cup. Place one marshmallow half, cut-side down, into each cup. Return to oven for 3 minutes or until marshmallows are just slightly softened.  If desired, flip on the broiler to lightly toast the tops.  Watch them carefully because they burn quickly!  
  7. Using remaining candy bars, break into rectangles and top each marshmallow with a piece of chocolate.
  8. Cool on a cooling rack for 15 minutes before carefully removing cups from pan. Cool completely on wire rack.
Source: Modified from SteakNPotatoesKindaGurl

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Best of 2013: Blogger's Choice

Each year I do not only a Reader's Choice post but also a Blogger's Choice because sometimes I feel like there are some hidden gems that should not be missed!  To see previous year's Best of Lists, click on the Recap tag!

In no particular order, here are my Top 10 personal favorites from 2013:

1. Tomato Florentine Soup.  I'm a sucker for a good hot bowl of soup.  Especially when shrouded in bitter cold like most of us in the US have been lately.

2. Lasagna Soup.  Keeping with the soup theme for a moment.  This packs all the flavor and comfort of lasagna into an easy to make soup.  It'll warm you to the core and make for a happy tummy.

3. Bravo's Shrimp Florentine Pasta.  Who doesn't love a good copycat recipe?  Even if you're not familiar with this Italian chain restaurant, its light creamy lemon sauce will win you over upon first bite.

4. Bourbon Street Chicken.  Not at all authentic Chinese food and doesn't contain any bourbon but gosh is this one delicious!

5. Steak, Asparagus, and Chimichurri Pasta.  Is one of your New Year's Resolutions to eat healthier and maybe even go paleo?  This will fit the bill.  Regardless, give this recipe a try!

6. Peanut Butter Pudding Cookies.  I call them Candy Explosion Cookies.  These are the softest, most delicious cookies ever!

7. Brownie Pudding.  Everyone went back for seconds when it came to this rich, molten chocolate goodness.  When topped a la mode?  Heaven.

8. Honey Baked Sriracha Chicken Tenders.  You know a recipe is good when I need to drop everything and stay up after baby has slept in order to blog about it.  There's no added oil in these baked chicken tenders and they're incredibly crispy!  Plus, the sweet spicy flavor is baked right in.  Click the link to find out the secret!

9. Asparagus and Ham Stuffed Potatoes. Since it's made in the microwave, it makes it even easier to have everyone make it their own way!  Customize the fillings to fit your tastes but I must say it's delicious as written and would be a good way to use up the leftover Easter ham.

10. Hawaiian Roll Ham and Swiss Sliders.  Why it took me so long to make these I do not know.  Consider making them for your upcoming Superbowl Party.  Though, after a bite you'll wish you had made them all for yourself instead of sharing!  They're seriously addicting.  Don't way I didn't warn you.

BONUS!  Normally I ask my husband to pick a recipe to add to this list of favorites but undoubtedly he'd pick the Brownie Bottom Peanut Butter Cheesecake which already appears on the 2013 Reader's Choice List.  So, instead, I'm giving the honor of the bonus pick recipe to our son Alex.

Chewy Butterfinger Cookies.  Dubbed "Labor Cookies" by my friend as they were the last thing I baked before going into labor.  I can't say that they in fact induce labor but seems like Alex liked them enough to FINALLY make his arrival into the world (10 days late!).

Monday, January 6, 2014

Best of 2013: Reader's Choice

Happy New Year!

First, let me start out by saying thank you for following my little blog.  I know that 2014 will be challenging for me to keep up with posting with the same frequency as I did in 2013 given I now have a little guy to care for.  I hope you can bare with me and promise it will be worth it to keep following along :).

Each year I do a little recap of the top recipes as chosen by the readers and then separately, myself.  You can find the others by clicking on the Recap tag.

Here are the Top 10 Reader Favorite Recipes in 2013:

#10 - Salted Browned Butter Rice Crispy TreatsKicking off the list strong with this simple "gourmet" twist on traditional rice crispy treats!  If you all didn't pick it for your Top 10 list for the year, I certainly would have.  Once you get a taste of the nutty browned butter, you'll wonder why you didn't always make rice crispies this way!

#9 - Balsamic-Honey Glazed Roast Beef Sandwiches with French DipSeriously guys, we're on the same wavelength here!  Love!  Out of all of the easy savory recipes from this year, this was one of my absolute favorites.  If you're lazy, you could skip the balsamic reduction and it'd still be delicious.  Now go put that slow cooker to work all day so you can take a dip into nirvana tonight!

#8 - Chocolate Chip Peanut Butter Cookie CakeMove over grocery store cookie cakes!  From the outside it looks like a regular single layer cake but just wait until you cut it open.  It's a giant cookie with a crunchy exterior, chewy interior, and enveloped in a luscious frosting!

#7 - Ginger Chicken Jook (Chinese Rice Porridge). Spot on with this pick again, my friends.  This is the equivalent of Chinese Chicken Noodle Soup and will definitely take the chill of your bones.  Some swear it even cures the common cold.  Since I've discovered this recipe I just make it anytime I have a rotisserie chicken carcass on hand...

#6 - Cadbury Creme Mini Egg CupcakesA Secret Recipe Club Editor's Choice recipe!  This is sure to brighten up your child's Easter basket.

#5 - Chocolate Oreo Poke CakeDoctored cake mix, Cool Whip, and Oreos never looked so good (or so easy)!  I'm not sure if this one is popular because of Pinterest (follow my boards here!), my blogiversary giveaway, pure delicious, or maybe all of the above.

#4 - Peanut Butter Cup BarsI'm not usually a big sweets fan but this one certainly won me over.  Very rarely do I make a recipe more than once and this is one of them that had the honor of being a repeat in my kitchen.  Click the link to find out what gives this recipe its surprisingly special texture in the peanut filling!

#3 - Grilled Cheese DonutsI'm not at all surprised to see this recipe make an appearance on this list.  After all, who doesn't love grilled cheese?...and donuts?...buttered and then smashed together into a single sweet and salty delight.  It may sound odd but I assure you your taste buds will sing when you take your first buttery bite into this Tom+Chee copy cat recipe!

#2 - Philly Cheesesteak Sloppy JoesA twist on the traditional Joe!  This was not only a reader favorite but also a household favorite.  Fans have written to tell me that when you're feeling especially lazy, you can skip the sauce and just add a slice of cheese.  But then that would be too neat...

#1 - Peanut Butter Cup Brownie Bottom CheesecakeMy husband's pride and joy.  His first post to my blog and subsequent claim to internet fame.  There was no doubt in my mind that this recipe would take the title of 2013 Reader Favorite Recipe!  This photo (and recipe) has been shared on facebook, pinterest, twitter, etc more times than we can count.  Sadly often times it is done without any link back to us :(.  And yet, over 66,000 of you eventually made it to this post on my page (and hopefully became loyal readers because you saw what you liked!).  Thank you so much for the love!  It's popular because it's mind boggling to think about and looks (and tastes) really freaking delicious.  In fact, my husband once told me that when someone eats his desserts, he only wants them to think about how deliciously over the top it is.  It's a brownie crust, ganache, peanut butter cheesecake, more ganache, and lots of Reese Peanut Butter Cups.  Don't even think about the calories...something this indulgent just needs to be enjoyed without remorse!