Monday, August 22, 2011

Baked Oatmeal

I can't remember if I've ever truly loved oatmeal. I never hated it, but I don't ever crave it. I think my years working at Perkins and trying to use regular oats to make instant oatmeal at 2 in the morning really turned me off. But, Stephanie O'Dea has always given me something new to try in the slow cooker. I was at least going to try this! My oatmeal turned out extremely dry to the point that it was almost uneatable. I tried to salvage it, but that just didn't happen. I think I might try this again, but I'll just have to watch it a little more. You can really make this your own by adding your favorite fruit or seasoning (some people in the comments of Stephanie's blog said they added cocoa powder). Overall, a 2.5/5, but I want to try this again!

Baked Oatmeal
Baked Oatmeal-adapted from "Make it Fast, Cook it Slow" by Stephanie O'Dea
Total Time: 5 hours
Serves 8
  • 3 cups rolled (not instant) oats
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar, firmly packed
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 3/4 cup dried fruit
  • 1 cup milk
  • 4 tablespoons butter, melted
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
Use a four quart slow cooker. Put the dry ingredients into the stoneware and add the dried fruit, milk, butter, vanilla and eggs. Stir well to combine. Cover and cook on low for 3-5 hours, checking after 90 minutes. The oatmeal is done when the edges are brown and are beginning to crust, the center is set, and a knife inserted comes out clean. Let it sit in the cooling cooker for at least an hour before attempting to cut it. The longer you let it sit, the more set and brownie-like the pieces will be.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Butter Poached Tilapia & A Must-See Website!

I've had some frozen tilapia fillets in my freezer for a little while. I also didn't have a whole lot of money to go grocery shopping with last week. So I went to my new favorite website: You seriously need to check out this website ASAP! Basically you put in what you are craving to eat (or the main ingredient you have) and what other ingredients you have on hand. It then comes up with a bunch of recipes from some of the best food bloggers for you to try! It is my new obsession! I'm never letting anything go bad in my fridge or cupboards again!

Now, back to the recipe. This is just simple. And easy. And quick. And delicious. If you have some tilapia laying around, make this for a quick dinner some night! I felt as though I didn't have quite enough butter to poach with (I had always been told the liquid needed to cover the meat completely), so I added about a 1/4 cup each of chicken broth and white wine. It turned out delicious! I'd give it a 3.5/5. Nothing fantastic, but definitely something to add to our regular meals soon!

Butter Poached Tilapia-adapted from Okie Dokie Artichokie
Total Time: 15 Minutes
Serves 2
  • 2 tilapia fillets
  • 4 tablespoons good butter
  • 1/4 cup chicken broth
  • 1/4 cup white wine
  • 1 clove garlic
  • salt and pepper to taste
Add butter, chicken broth, wine, garlic, salt and pepper to a sauce pan and cook over medium low heat. When the butter is almost melted, add the tilapia fillets. Cook slowly until the fish turns opaque-about 7 minutes. Do not let the butter brown, so adjust the stove accordingly.

When the fish has finished cooking, you can serve it with the extra butter if you wish (I suggest it!) I think it goes great with mashed potatoes and buttermilk dinner rolls--you don't need any additional butter for the rolls!

Stacked Enchilada Bake

Like I've said before, we love Mexican food! After making the corn & spinach enchiladas last week, I had leftover corn tortillas. So I decided to make this dish! It is technically vegetarian, but after making it and reading the reviews over at  I think I would add some chicken or ground beef next time. This time I bought one can of chili beans and one can of chili just to mix things up. There were way to many beans for my taste. I think I would use pinto beans instead of chili beans, just because I like them better. And I might do one layer over refried beans instead of whole beans, once again just because I like them! I would also add black olives. Cheese is definitely necessary after the first layer as well. You can never have too much cheese!

I also just realized I didn't follow the recipe completely. I never even saw that you're supposed to rip up the tortillas! I put them in whole. It turned out just fine, but I'll keep the recipe the same. Overall, I'd give this a 2.5/5, but I think I can make it work. I'll just have to make it again!

Before it went in the oven!

Just out of the oven!

It didn't end up coming out of the casserole quite as pretty, but it tasted alright!

Stacked Enchilada Bake adapted from
Total Time: 30 Minutes
Serves 6

  • 12 corn tortillas (5 to 6 inches in diameter), torn into pieces
  • 1 can refried beans
  • 1 can pinto beans, undrained
  • 1 cup shredded cooked chicken or ground beef
  • 1 can enchilada sauce
  • 1 1/2 cups shredded Monterey Jack cheese
  • 3 medium green onions, slicked
  • 1 can sliced black olives (if desired)
Heat oven to 400 degrees. Spray 2 quart casserole with cooking spray.

Place half the tortillas in the casserole; top with refried beans, half the meat and sprinkling of cheese.  Place other half of tortillas on top, followed by meat, beans, and enchilada sauce. Add the remainder of cheese, green onions and black olives on top. 

Bake in oven for 20 minutes uncovered or until  bubbly around the edges.

Kalamata Olives and Sun-Dried Tomatoes on Cream Cheese

This is a great, simple recipe that is great as a snack (as I use it) or as an appetizer for a party. You can mix all the ingredients together for a daily dip, or put the basil, olives and tomatoes neatly on top for a nice-looking kind of dip. Both taste great! When I first made it, I just put the ingredients on top of the cream cheese (pictured below). I didn't eat all of it, so I ended up mixing it together in a tupperware container to eat as a snack later! The cream cheese definitely tones town the saltiness of the olives and tomatoes. I had some troubles finding fresh basil, so I used dried basil leaves and only put in 1 tablespoon so not to overwhelm the dish. 3/5 This isn't something I'd make all the time, but it definitely will be made again! Oh! And I finally am remembering to take my own pictures again! They aren't quite as pretty as the ones online, but they're mine :)

Kalamata Olives and Sun-Dried Tomatoes on Cream Cheese
Kalamata Olives and Sun-Dried Tomatoes on Cream Cheese-adapted from
Total Time: 10 Minutes
Serves 10
  • 20 kalamata olives, finely choppped
  • 2 tablespoons, finely chopped, drained sun dried tomatoes in oil
  • 1 tablespoon oil from sun dried tomatoes
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil, or 1 tablespoons dried basil leaves
  • 1 teaspoon cider vinegar
  • 1/8 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1 medium garlic clove, finely chopped
  • 1 package (8 ounces) cream cheese, softened
  • Assorted crackers for eating
In a small bowl, stir together all ingredients except cream cheese and crackers.

To serve, option one: place softened cream cheese on a platter and spread evenly across. Spoon olive mixture over cheese evenly. Serve with crackers.
Option two: mix cream cheese and olive mixture together. Serve with crackers.

Buffalo Chicken Lasagna

Scott was extremely excited to try this recipe! Once again, we love slow cookers and we love trying new things! I went shopping for this recipe and made a mistake and bought hot sauce instead of buffalo sauce. Scott wasn't happy. But we improvised and made our own instead! It wasn't the best sauce ever (I would suggest going with store bough stuff) but we definitely didn't ruin the dish because of it! Overall, I wasn't a fan of the dish, but it was just because of the heat from the sauce. I'm not a big hot sauce/buffalo sauce fan, in general. But if you are, it definitely brings something new to lasagna! Overall, I'd say 3/5 (Scott would give it 5, I would give it 3--we go with my number!) Once again Stephanie O'Dea comes through with another great slow-cooker recipe!

Buffalo Chicken Lasagna-Adapted from Make it Fast Cook it Slow by Stephanie O'Dea

  • 4 cooked boneless, skinless chicken breast halves, chopped
  • 1 26-ounce jar pasta sauce
  • 1 cup buffalo wing sauce
  • 9 to 10 uncooked traditional lasagna noodles
  • 1 (15 ounce) container ricotta cheese
  • 2 red, yellow or orange bell peppers, chopped
  • 2 cups shredded cheese 
  • 1/2 cup blue cheese crumbles
  • 1/4 cup water

Use a 6-quart slow cooker. In a mixing bowl, combine the chicken, pasta sauce and buffalo wing sauce. Ladle a big spoonful of the sauce into the bottom of your stoneware. Cover with layer of uncooked lasagna noodles. You'll have to break them to get a proper fit. Add a smear of ricotta cheese to the top of the noodles. Add a layer of bell peppers and top with some shredded cheese. Repeat the layers until you run out of ingredients. Add the blue cheese crumbles. Put the water into the empty pasta sauce jar and shake. Pour the liquid over the top of the entire lasagna. Cover and cook on low for 6 to 7 hours, or on high 4 to 5 hours. When the cooking time is complete, unplug the crock and take off the lid. Let the lasagna sit for 20 minutes before cutting.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Heat's Homemade: Buffalo Wing Sauce

When I was at the store buying ingredients for Buffalo Chicken Lasagna, I made the great mistake of buying hot sauce instead of buffalo sauce. In my defense-they were in the exact same location and the store brand bottle of hot sauce looked just like the buffalo wing sauce bottles! So, instead of going back to the store, we decided to improvise and make our own buffalo sauce. I don't know if we would make this again, but it definitely works if you don't have buffalo sauce in the house and need it for a recipe! The one thing I would suggest for this recipe is to definitely taste as you go. I wasn't completely satisfied with either recipe together. But overall it's a good start. We combined two recipes (recipe one and recipe two) from allrecipes and here is our adaption:

Buffalo Wing Sauce
Total Time: 20 Minutes

  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 1/4 cup hot sauce
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 clove minced garlic
  • 1/4 cup ketchup
  • 2 tablespoons honey
Combine all ingredients in a saucepan over medium low heat. Simmer until butter is melted an all ingredients are well mixed. Serve on chicken wings or as a dipping sauce.

Creamy Corn and Spinach Enchilada Casserole

Scott and I are huge Mexican food fans! Almost every restaurant we go to is awesome: quick, delicious and relatively inexpensive! Now that we're cooking we want to make our own! I absolutely LOVE Stephanie O'Dea! Her blog, and two cookbooks (both of which I own, btw) are absolutely awesome! As I've said before, slow cookers are the greatest! They can make life so incredibly easy! I always do my best to use the slow cooker on low heat. This time, however, we put this together the evening we ate it and cooked it on high--it still turned out great!

But back to the recipe: we would definitely give this a 4.5/5! We used chicken, but these would definitely be great with shredded or even ground beef! We weren't sure about the corn, but overall we really enjoyed it! If we made this again next time, we would probably take out the jalapenos-we just dont need quite that much spice! Also, we though of maybe switching out the creamed corn for black or pinto beans, and just not draining them. The corn made the enchiladas a little sweet. We would also add black olives. But that's just because we love black olives! Overall, though, if you enjoy Mexican food--make these!

Creamy Corn and Spinach Enchilada Casserole-adapted from Make it Fast Cook it Slow by Stephanie O'Dea
Serves 6
Total Time: 5 hours

  • 1 cup shredded cooked meat
  • 1 (14.5 ounce) can creamed corn, or pinto beans, undrained
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped fresh cilantro leaves
  • 1 cup baby spinach leaves, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons chopped sliced jalapenos (if desired)
  • 3 tablespoons chopped blacked olives (if desired)
  • 2 cups shredded cheese
  • 8 to 10 corn tortillas
  • 2 cups green enchilada sauce
  • 2/3 cup sour cream
Use a 4 quart slow cooker. In a large mixing bowl, combine the shredded meat, creamed corn or bean, cilantro, spinach leaves, jalapenos, black olives, and 1 1/2 cups shredded cheese. Mix until spinach leaves are wilted and coated with the corn.

Place a corn tortilla into the bottom of your stoneware. Add a hearty spoonful of filling. Top with another corn tortilla. Repeat the layers until your crock is full. In a mixing bowl, combine the green enchilada sauce with the sour cream, and pour on top. Add the remaining 1/2 cup shredded cheese. Cover and cook on low for 5 to 7 hours, or on high for 2 to 4 hours. Let stand with the lid off for 20 minutes before cutting.

Monday, August 1, 2011

Original Recipe:Turkey-Spinach-Artichoke-Sandwich

Scott and I are in love with the Turkey Artichoke Paninis from Panera. We decided to make our own. The recipe amounts won't be a precise as usual, because we really didn't measure. But you get the idea. We bought store made spinach dip, and added artichokes. But you could very well make your own spinach and/or artichoke dip to go with this as well. Or use leftovers to make the sandwiches. We were absolutely in LOVE with this! Obviously, it's not overly healthy, but when you're craving a really yummy warm sandwich, this will definitely do the trick! 5/5 all the way!


Total Time: 20 Minutes
Total Servings: 2

  • Melted butter
  • Loaf french bread, sliced into sandwich-sized pieces
  • Deli-style turkey
  • Sliced Asiago cheese
  • Warmed spinach artichoke dip
Butter one side of one piece of bread. Once warm, add the cheese, turkey, and spinach artichoke dip. Place other slice of bread on top, and lightly butter the top. Flip the sandwich when the first side is browned. Cook until turkey is warm and cheese is melted. ENJOY!!

Southwest Chicken Hash Browns

Another recipe from Pillsbury's Fast and Healthy Cookbook! This was a different kind of recipe that isn't for everyone, but if you like a little bit of heat, you will like! We added some cajun seasoning to the chicken, which I think was a little too much for me. Overall, 3.5/5 (Scott thought it was a 4, I thought it was a 3. We compromised!)

Southwest Chicken Hash Browns
Total Time: 30 Minutes
Serves 2

  • 2 boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into 1/4 to 1/2 inch pieces
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped red onion
  • 1 3/4 cups frozen hash browns, thawed
  • 1/8 teaspoon cajun seasoning
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/4 cup fat free sour cream
  • 1/4 cup chunky salsa
In a medium bowl, mix chicken, onion, and potatoes. Stir in cajun seasoning and salt.

In a large skillet, heat 2 teaspoons of oil over medium-high heat. Spread potato mixture evenly in skillet. Cook, without stirring, 6 to 9 minutes or until chicken is no longer pink in center and bottom of potato mixture is golden brown and crisp.

With spatula, divid chicken mixture in half; place on two plates. Top each with sour cream and salsa.

Chicken Bacon Ranch Wraps

So this is really a recipe that doesn't need a recipe. You can really make it your own. But I wanted to give credit where credit is due. We got the idea for this recipe one night from Pillsbury's Fast and Healthy Cookbook (definitely one of our favorites). If you are new to cooking, or just like to add cookbooks to your collection, buy this one (pictured below)! Almost everything we have made from here has been fantastic!

Chicken bacon ranch wraps are probably mine & Scott's go to wrap. It's simple and always delicious. We're huge ranch fans! I love that this recipe calls for the rotisserie chicken. I think this is genius! When you just don't feel like cooking or don't have the time, just pick up an already cooked chicken at the store! We've put it in casseroles, salads, and now, wraps! It's always delicious and just makes life easier-which is always good! 

This recipe is definitely a 4/5. You can make this to your liking. We added some onions, and realized we like a little more lettuce in the wraps as well. Use what you have on hand to make it your own! We didn't do the first step in the recipe. We just made our wraps as we wanted. But you can definitely make everything ahead of time to have a week's worth of wraps! One last tip-heat the tortillas to make the rolling go smoother!

Chicken Bacon Ranch Wraps
Total Time: 15 Minutes
Serves: 8 Wraps
  • 2 1/2 cups shredded deli rotisserie chicken
  • 1 cup shredded Monterey Jack cheese
  • 4 slices cooked bacon
  • 1/4 cup chopped green onions
  • 1 cup fat-free ranch dressing
  • 1 package flour tortillas for burritos (8 inch)
  • 4 cups shredded lettuce
In a large bowl, gently mix all ingredients except tortillas and lettuce. Cover; refrigerate up to 3 days. (if desired)

To make 1 wrap, in a small microwavable bowl, microwave generous 1/3 cup chicken mixture, loosely covered, on High 30 to 45 seconds or until hot. Spread chicken mixture on tortilla and top with 1/2 cup shredded lettuce. Roll up.


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