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Halloween Chex Mix

31 Oct

It’s been a crazy month!  I mean CRAZY!  My nephew turned one, my brother got married, and “The Husband” and I celebrated 5 years of being together.  I felt guilty for not finding the time to blog but I just couldn’t manage to find the time to squeeze it in.  Now everything is finally calming down a little bit before the holidays start taking up my time.

I did find some time this week to experiment in the kitchen a little bit and I came up with my own Halloween Chex Mix.

“The Husband” works at one of the best companies ever and he has a great team of people that he is working with.  He’ll come home with stories of what happened during the day or talk about some get together that is being planned and it just makes me jealous.  Then I remember that I still get the perks of going to these amazing parties.  Occasionally they’ll have Saturday morning overtime parties where the boss buys pizza and they all hang out and work together.  It’s like a more laid back work day.  I always take pity on them and bring in treats during the day like cookies or cupcakes, which then lead me sending “The Husband” in to work with treats on holidays.  I couldn’t let Halloween pass me by without doing something.  They refer to me as their “Room Mother” like those we had in elementary school.

I secretly love that.

Since “The Husband” can’t eat gluten, I do a lot of Chex mixes because they are easy and quick and the recipes are really easy to make in small batches.    Which is awesome since there are two of us and we are trying to lose weight.  A real favorite with us is the Chocolate Caramel Crunch mix.

Seriously. Look at that. It looks like Heaven from a Cereal Box.
Image Copyright by General Mills

I used this recipe for my base and made my Halloween Chex Mix.  I was told it was a real crowd-pleaser among “The Husband”s coworkers.

Halloween Chex Mix

Adapted from Chocolate Chex Caramel Crunch Recipe.

Ingredients

5 cups Chocolate Chex Cereal

3 cups mini pretzels

1 cup dry roasted peanuts

1 cup candy corn

1 cup fall colored M&M candies

3/4 cup packed brown sugar

6 Tablespoons of melted butter

3 Tablespoons of light corn syrup

1/4 teaspoon of baking soda

Directions

1. Line a cookie sheet with wax paper and set aside.

2. In a large, microwave-safe mixing bowl stir together the cereal and the pretzels and set aside.

3. In a microwave safe bowl stir together melted butter, corn syrup, and brown sugar.  Heat in the microwave on high for 1 1/2 minutes.

4. Stir the baking soda into the sugar mixture until dissolved.

5. Pour the mixture over the cereal and pretzels and stir to coat.

6. Microwave the mixture on high for 3 minutes, stirring the cereal every minute.

7. Spread the cereal on the wax paper and let cool, stirring every few minutes to keep the pieces from sticking.

8. When the cereal and pretzels are completely cool place the pieces in a large bowl and add the peanuts, the candy corn, and the M&M candies and stir until mixed.

Store in an airtight container.

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Creamy Paprika Chicken

21 Aug

About a year ago a wonderful woman I used to work with introduced me to chicken paprikash.  If you’ve never had it, it is a delicious creamy chicken and dumplings dish.  I took home her recipe and made it for “The Husband” and he loved it.  Then we found out he is allergic to Gluten and some changes needed to be made to the recipe so he could eat it.  Since my husband is ever the food critic he had other requests for changes to the recipe.  You know.  Since I was doing it anyway.

Turns out “The Husband” likes his chicken paprikash the same way he likes his women…  Saucy.

Just the way “The Husband” likes it.

So the final result is the dumpling-free, slightly healthier, extra saucy bastard child of chicken paprikash.

Ingredients

  • 1 stick melted butter
  • 1 tsp minced garlic
  • 1/2 chopped onion
  • 1 lb chicken breasts (for thicker sauce use bone in)
  • 2 Tbsp paprika
  • 1 cup plain Greek yogurt
  • 1 tsp onion salt
  • cooked rice

Directions

  1. Cut the chicken breasts into cubes and place into a medium sauce pan.
  2. Add the butter, garlic, and onions to the sauce pan and cook on low heat, stirring periodically for more even cooking.
  3. When onions are clear and chicken is cooked all the way through, remove the sauce pan from heat.
  4. Stir in the paprika, onion salt and yogurt.  (You can add more of these ingredients for texture and / or taste)
  5. Spoon the creamy chicken mixture over cooked rice and serve.

James Bond Broccoli

17 Aug
The wonder food.

The wonder food.

“The Husband” is one of the pickiest eaters on the planet.  If you mention the words “healthy” or “low fat” he runs for the hills.  If you utter “vegetable” he gets so frightened that he seizes up and plays dead like a possum in the hopes that you will decide that he no longer needs to eat his veggies.

In my effort to be a good wife and ensure that he is around for a long time, I have been experimenting with ways to make veggies more tasty to him.  I remembered my dad making Brussels sprouts when I was a kid and they were always really tasty.  He said that he picked up how to make them when he worked at a French restaurant when he was in college.

*Side Bar: My dad used to occasional regale us with tales of his previous work experiences.  My mom and I are tossing around the idea of getting a background check done on him because he had so many jobs that we can’t keep them straight.  It’s hard to believe the stories some of the time.  My theory is that my dad used to work for the government as an international spy and all these “jobs” he had were used as covers.  It’s the only reason I can think of that he would have had so many different employers in the 70’s.  Seems legit, right?

We’ll just tell them I “work” at UPS.

Back to the veggies!

So I thought it would be worth a shot to try cooking veggies like the way my dad does.  The man got 3 small children to eat Brussels sprouts.  He had to be on to something.  “The Husband” gave me a list of vegetables that he finds “semi-tolerable” and I picked broccoli for the grand experiment.

The verdict?

He absolutely loved it!  We actually fight over who gets to eat the last one.

So for all you parents and spouses who can’t get their loved ones to eat veggies, or even the person who hates veggies and wants to be healthy I bring you…  Drum Roll…

James Bond Broccoli

* Inspired by the international cooking spy (unverified)  hi-jinx of my dad.

Ingredients

  • 2 Tbsp butter
  • 1 bag of frozen broccoli florets
  • salt and pepper to taste

This is what the start of greatness looks like.

Directions

    1. Melt the butter in a skillet over medium heat.
    2. When butter is melted pour all the broccoli on top.
    3. Let it sit without disturbing for 5 minutes, then flip the broccoli.
    4. Keep repeating step 3 until the broccoli begins to burn.  The blackening is good, it adds a caramelized butter flavor to the broccoli and helps to soften it.  The more blackened the veggies, the richer the taste.
    5. When broccoli is at the desired level of blackness / softness remove from heat and serve immediately.

Gluten Free French Breakfast Puffs

16 Aug

Image Copyright by General Mills

We’ve been a Gluten free house for a couple years now and over the years I have tried really hard to make tasty GF foods.  It is really hard if you are a texture person like I am.  I don’t know how my husband stands it, but I hate that feeling of sand in my mouth after I’ve eaten something sans gluten.

One baked good that my husband was missing in particular, was his mom’s French Breakfast Puffs.  When I asked her for the recipe she told me it was an old favorite from Betty Crocker.  I saw this as a great opportunity to try out a new product that my mom had give me for Christmas.  It is Lehman’s Dough Enhancer, and I must say after using it I am a believer in tasty GF foods.

These muffins came out so light and fluffy and smooth and grit free that I was completely flabbergasted.  I think Carl fell in love with me all over again.  He ate 4 while they were still hot and then a couple more after dinner.  It was a hit and it completely satisfied his cravings for his mom’s cooking.

I feel like I should note too that I am not a paid sponsor for any of these products.  They just happen to be my favorites to use.  No money scheming here!

Ellie’s cooking FOR THE WIN!

Here’s the recipe!

Gluten Free French Breakfast Puffs*

* Adapted from the original Betty Crocker Recipe

Ingredients

Directions

  1. Heat oven to 350ºF.
  2. Grease a muffin pan with 12, medium sized muffins.
  3. In a large mixing bowl, stir together GF flour, Xanthan Gum, Dough Enhancer, salt, baking soda, nutmeg, and 1/4 tsp cinnamon.  Set aside.
  4. Cream sugar with 3/4 sugar.  Then add the egg and beat until smooth.
  5. Stir in flour mixture alternately with milk until smooth.
  6. Divide batter evenly among muffin cups.
  7. Bake 20 to 25 minutes or until muffins are golden brown.
  8. Mix 1/2 cup sugar and the cinnamon.
  9. Roll hot muffins immediately in melted butter, then in sugar-cinnamon mixture.
  10. Serve hot.
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