My Latest Obsession: Veggie Noodles

Cooking

For the past year, I’ve been making a conscious effort to eat healthier. Not that I ever ate poorly, per say, but there was definitely room for improvement. On my mission to incorporate more vegetables into my diet and cut out “empty” calories, I came across one of the trendiest health foods: veggie noodles (or “zoodles,” if you will).

I’ve come to truly adore this alternative to traditional pasta (despite my Italian roots) and now use them quite often for quick week-night meals or bring-to-work lunches. This is how easy they are to make:

  1. Sauté the noodles in a pan for 5 minutes
  2. Add your favorite sauce
  3. Top with additional vegetables or protein, if desired

My favorite variation has been finishing the noodles with pesto and topping with lean protein, such as chicken.

You can also enjoy shopping for these noodles in a variety of vegetables (which equates to lots of color!)  and can find them made from zucchini, sweet potatoes or, as pictured above, beets!

Whether you’re a health-nut or not, I encourage you to give zoodles a try. I think you may be pleasantly surprised!

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How to Make Muddy Buddies

Food

This time of year, it’s easy to become cookied-out. In other words, feel as if one more Christmas cookie will simply cause you to burst, being as sick of them as you are.

So what sweet treat do you make when planning for a New Year’s Eve get together? Simplest answer: Muddy Buddies.

One of the easiest dessert snacks you can make in THE entire world, this treat is immensely satisfying and (quite frankly) a bit addicting.

Ingredients:

  • 9 cups of wheat Chex cereal
  • 1 cup of semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 1/2 cup peanut butter
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 and 1/2 cups of confectioners’ (powdered) sugar

Directions:

  • Measure your cereal out into a large bowl
  • Melt the chocolate chips, peanut butter and butter together in the microwave (approximately 1 minute)
  • Stir your melted ingredients
  • If not fully melted, place in the microwave for an additional 30 seconds
  • Stir in the vanilla extract
  • Pour melted ingredients over top of the cereal
  • Mix everything together
  • Place the coated Chex cereal into a sealed plastic bag with the confectioners’ sugar
  • Shake it up!
  • Lay the Muddy buddies out on waxed or parchment paper to cool
  • Store in an air-tight container in the refrigerator or in a cool space
  • Enjoy!

Whether you’ve made these a million times or are a muddy buddies novice, I know you will enjoy this sweet and savory treat!

*Recipe and featured image retrieved from Chex.com

 

Thanksgiving Pumpkin Roll Recipe

Food

‘Tis the season for pumpkin spice and nothing is more decadently delicious than a pumpkin roll!

As I’ve mentioned before, this dessert certainly looks more complicated then it truly is. So if you’re looking to break the usual thanksgiving pie cycle, look no further.

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • 3 eggs
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 2/3 cup canned pumpkin
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice
  • 3/4 cup all purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1 1/2 cups confectioners’ sugar, plus more for sprinkling
  • 9 oz of cream cheese
  • 1 1/2 sticks of butter (3/4 cup), room temperature
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Directions to make the cake:

  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
  • Grease and flour a 17 1/2- by 12 1/2-inch jellyroll pan.
  • Beat the eggs, granulated sugar, pumpkin and lemon juice until smooth, using an electric mixer.
  • Sift together the flour, ginger, salt, baking powder and cinnamon.
  • Add the sifted ingredients to the egg mixture and blend until fully combined.
  • Spread the batter in the jellyroll pan.
  • Bake until a cake tester inserted in the center comes out clean, approximately 15 minutes.
  • Cool the cake in the pan for 5 minutes.
  • Sprinkle some of the confectioner’ sugar on a large tea towel.
  • Invert the cake onto the towel.
  • Fold the sides of the towel over the cake.
  • Roll the cake up in the towel starting with a 12 1/2-inch side. (In other words, roll it “hamburger style”).
  • Cool in the refrigerator for 45 minutes.

Finishing touches:

  • Combine the confectioners’ sugar, cream cheese, butter and vanilla and beat until smooth.
  • Unroll the cooled cake and spread the mixture on top of the cake.
  • Re-roll the cake and refrigerate until ready to be sliced and served.
  • Dust with confectioners’ sugar just before serving.
  • Enjoy with family and friends!

pumpkin-roll

The original recipe has been adapted by the author, resulting in the recipe above.

How to Make Homemade Applesauce

Food

If you’re looking for a fall food favorite that’s simple to make while still encapsulating the essence of the season, then you’re best bet is homemade applesauce. Requiring a mere five ingredients, this recipe is as easy as it is delicious.

What you’ll need:

  • 4-6 apples (I use Cortland apples myself, but any red variety of apple will do.)
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 3/4 cup water
  • A sprinkle of nutmeg

Directions:

  • Peel your apples and cut them into cubes.
  • Mix all ingredients together in a large pot or slow cooker.
  • If using a large pot, cook on medium heat for twenty minutes, or until apples become soft. Mash with a fork if necessary or until desired texture is achieved.
  • If using a crock pot, cook on low heat for 2-6 hours. (Cater the cooking time to your preferred texture of applesauce.)
  • Enjoy immediately OR store is a freezer-safe container and enjoy up to a year later!

The perfect fall addition to your Thanksgiving Day menu!

*This recipe has been adapted by the author, but the original recipe was retrieved from AllRecipes.com.

Spicy Football Sunday Bean Dip

Food

In our household, as in most households, football Sundays are associated with cooking tailgate-style foods.

While we try to change it up from week to week, making chicken wings, jalapeño poppers, cheese dip and other assorted goodies, this spicy bean dip has become a football Sunday staple.

Extremely simple to put together and requiring few ingredients, this hot and savory dip is the fastest way to enjoying a perfect game day.

INGREDIENTS

  • 1(16 ounce) container of sour cream or plain Greek yogurt (Being as I work at Chobani, I use Plain Chobani yogurt instead of sour cream)
  • 1(16 ounce) can of refried beans
  • 1(8 ounce) package of cream cheese
  • 1/3 cup or 1 package of taco seasoning
  • 3-4 jalapeño peppers
  • 2 cups of Mexican blend and/or cheddar cheese

DIRECTIONS

  1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit
  2. Mix all ingredients except for the shredded cheese together in baking dish. (I highly recommend leaving the cream cheese out ahead of time to soften, making it easier to mix).
  3. Mix in half of the cheese.
  4. Slice your jalapeño peppers and lay the slices on top of the dip.
  5. Spread the remaining shredded cheese on top.
  6. Bake for about 30 minutes, or until the cheese on top is thoroughly melted.
  7. Enjoy with tortilla chips!

 

How to Cook Butternut Squash in the Slow Cooker

Food

To me, butternut squash is everything you could ever want in a vegetable. It’s versatile, beautifully colored and rich, making it the perfect ingredient for fall and winter cooking.

squash2.jpg

While making it the main component of a soup or casserole is a fan-favorite idea, there is nothing quite like a simple recipe, allowing you to truly enjoy the flavor of the vegetable.

Squash4.jpg

Having grown butternut squash in our garden this year, I was really looking forward to enjoying the rich and satisfying taste of the squash without loading it up with cream, butter or cheese.

squash1

That being said, one of the easiest ways to cook butternut squash is in the slow cooker. While you can throw the whole thing in (skin and all) to make mashed squash, follow these instructions if you are going for a more roasted technique:

  1. Peel your squash and cut it into cubes.img_0737
  2. Place the cubes in your slow cooker.
  3. Mix in 1 tablespoon of olive oil.
  4. Add kosher salt and ground pepper to taste.
  5. Cook on high for two hours or low for four hours.
  6. Enjoy!

Popovers

Food

Looking for something different for breakfast? Then I would highly recommend popovers. Easy to make, these pastries reheat well and can act as great on-the-go breakfasts during the week.

All you will need are a handful of ingredients and a muffin tin (if you don’t have a popover tin handy).

Ingredients:

1 cup of milk

1 cup of flour

1/4 tsp salt

1 tablespoon melted butter

2 tablespoons chilled butter

Instructions:

  1. Preheat your oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. Whisk together all ingredients except for the chilled butter. The consistency should resemble heavy cream.
  3. Spray your pan with non-stick spray and place on the center rack of your oven. Allow the pan to preheat for 2 minutes.
  4. After the pan is hot, cut the chilled butter into 12 even pieces and put one in each muffin cup. Place the pan back in the oven until the butter is bubbly.
  5. Fill each cup with an even amount of batter and bake 20 minutes.
  6. After 20 minutes, reduce the heat to 325 degrees Fahrenheit and bake for another 15 to 20 minutes.

*Do not open the oven while your popovers are baking. This will affect the consistency.

When they are done, they should look something like this:

#popovers for #breakfast!

A post shared by Emilee Smith (@emileejaysmith) on

While I like to eat them with butter, you can also pair them with jam or syrup. So next time you are stuck with limited ingredients and are craving something different for breakfast, I hope you give popovers a go!

Pumpkins. Everyone loves pumpkins.

Food

As heavily suggested by the title, this post is about pumpkins. More specifically, pumpkin-flavored baked goods! As we all know, eating pumpkin-flavored everything in the fall is extremely trendy, HOWEVER, my favorite pumpkin eats are the ones that I make myself.Perhaps you have already made these items yourself, but if not, here are some of the things that I like to bake in the fall along with the recipes I have used.

The first has quickly become one of my all-time favorites: Chocolate chip pumpkin cookies. Why do I like them so much? Several reasons. First and foremost, they are delicious. Second, the pumpkin gives the cookie a soft texture and, unlike many other cookies, they stay fresh for up to a week. pumpkin cookie batter

Third, due to the large amount of pumpkin used in the recipe they are actually more economically sensible to make than average chocolate chip cookies. In other words, you get more cookies for what you pay for.

I used this recipe minus the cloves. I have made these cookies many times and can vouch that they are delicious even if you omit this ingredient. They are, however, best when milk chocolate chips are used, not your typical semi-sweet.

pumpkin cookies

The second recipe I am focusing on today is that of a pumpkin roll. I had neither tasted nor made a pumpkin roll until very recently, but was pleased with how simple it was to complete. Aside from being delicious, I also like  the aesthetic of this dessert. pumpkin roll

No matter how you spin it, people are impressed when they see a cake (something that is typically brittle and breakable) rolled up in a swiss-roll fashion. So if you are looking for a seasonal dessert to bring to a party, I would recommend this one!

(Very impressive indeed!)

So this weekend if you are feeling creative (or perhaps inspired by “Halloween Wars” on Food Network) perhaps try your hand at one of these recipes. I know that your friends, family and whoever you live with will be happy you did!

(Both recipes courtesy of Food Network)