Magic Dream Bars

22 Apr

Introduction:

Dear Readers, did you think we forgot about you? Well, to make it up to you here’s a recipe that will take your taste buds to heaven! Some people call them “magic bars”, some call them “dream bars” but at TCF we call them “Magic Dream Bars” (how original right?). These bars are so easy to make, so delicious, and really flexible. They always end up being a what’s-in-the-cupboard kind of dessert, so feel free to experiment. We’ve had so many combinations of these…with nuts, toffee, butterscotch, peanut butter chips etc. They always taste delicious; so just go crazy and don’t worry about quantities. In our experience, if you ever serve these tasty treats people will think you’re a gourmet chef.

Ingredients:

  •  1/4 cup butter
  • 1 cup graham cracker crumbs
  • 1/2 cup chocolate chips
  • 1/2 cup toffee pieces
  • 1/2 cup white chocolate chips
  • 3/4 cup chopped nuts
  • 1-1/2 cup coconut
  • 1 (14 oz) can sweetened condensed milk

Instructions:

1.) Preheat oven to 350 degrees. While oven is warming, melt butter in 9×13 pan in oven. When melted, take out of oven and mix in graham cracker. [Optional: Put back into the oven to crisp (5-10 minutes).]

2.) Layer your chocolate chips, toffee pieces, white chocolate chips, and nuts. Add the coconut to the top. Pour the can of condensed milk over the top.

3.) Bake 20-25 minutes until golden and beautiful!

4.) Let cool, cut and serve.

The printer friendly version of this yummy-ness is over here.

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Chicken Bacon Avocado Quesadillas

16 Jan

Introduction:

While stumbling for recipes across the vast expanses of the inter-web (one of Emster’s favorite past-times), we found this idea for dinner. Of course it sounded so good, that we immediately made it and ate it all! It is so delicious and such a great combination of flavors, there is simply no need to improve upon the concept. Anyways, let’s give credit where credit is due…thank you Kevin and Amanda for a great recipe. Together we can spread the Avocado-y Bacon-y goodness one blog post at a time.

Ingredients:

  • tortilla shells
  • 1 lb chicken
  • 1/2 lb bacon
  • 1-2 avocados
  • 1 large onion
  • salt
  • pepper
  • garlic powder
  • onion powder

*This recipe makes about 4-5 quesadillas.

Instructions:

1.) Cook bacon.

2.) Cut chicken into bite size pieces. Season to taste with salt, pepper, garlic powder and onion powder. Saute chicken in the frying pan with olive oil and onions until chicken is thoroughly cooked and onions are translucent. Drain chicken and pat dry.

3.) Peel and slice avocados. Shred cheese and wipe pan clean.

4.) Over medium-high heat, lightly grease the pan (butter, etc.) and place tortilla in the center. Place chicken, bacon, avocado and cheese on your tortilla. If you’re going to spread it over the entire tortilla, make sure not to put too much filling (we learned this the hard way). You can also load up only half with filling and fold the other half over.

5.) Flip quesadilla over until both sides are nicely browned.

6.)Serve with sour cream, salsa, or any other toppings you might like!

Just in case anyone actually uses these printer friendly versions, here you go!

Peppermint Kiss Cookies

20 Dec

Introduction:

This recipe is a variant of one of our favorite cookies…the delicious peanut butter kiss cookie. You can think of this as the holiday version perhaps. A couple years ago we stumbled across a new seasonal delight from Hershey’s, the Peppermint Kiss. Now, if you haven’t had the privilege to bite into one of these buddies, then you don’t know what you’re missing. Go out and buy yourself a pack right now before they’re gone from the stores for another year!

Our recipe starts with a basic sugar cookie (feel free to use your own recipe or try ours out). We thought about adding some peppermint extract to the dough but felt it might make the cookies too mint-y and ended up leaving it out. If you’re feeling adventurous and want to try with the mint extract please let us know how it comes out! Another variation that we hope to try out soon uses chocolate cookies instead of sugar cookies (we’ll let you know how that goes :D). In the end, the sugar cookie/peppermint kiss combo was a really delectable combination, try it out if you’re looking for something delicious.

Ingredients:

  •  2 ¾ cup flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • ½ tsp baking powder
  • 1 cup butter, softened
  • 1 ½ cup sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp vanilla

*This recipe makes about 3-4 dozen cookies.

Instructions:

1.) Preheat oven to 375F. In a small bowl stir together flour, baking soda and baking powder

2.) In a large bowl cream together butter and sugar. Beat in egg and vanilla. Gradually add the dry ingredients.

3.) Roll small teaspoonfuls into balls and place on ungreased pan. Bake for 8-10 minutes or until slightly golden.

4.) Add an unwrapped peppermint kiss to each cookie. Let cool for 2 minutes on the tray and then move to a cooling rack.

Like to be green? Printer (and environment) friendly version over here.

Garlic Spinach and Bean Tortellini

29 Nov

Introduction:

Hooray reader suggestions! One of our devoted readers asked for “tortellini and a yummy sauce”, so hopefully she likes what we’ve come up with!

Over here at TCF, we’ve gone spinach crazy the last couple of weeks and try to include spinach in a lot of our meals. For those who aren’t aware, spinach is a great veggie to cook with. It’s very good for you and also tastes great (especially with garlic!). Cannellini beans also have their own pocket aces, protein and fiber! We have two nutritious pros going for this meal, add the fact that it’s superbly simple and tastes divine…what are you waiting for?

You can also do this recipe with other pasta besides tortellini, but if you do then we’d recommend adding some type of cheese to add some great flavor.

 Ingredients:

  • crushed red pepper
  • salt
  • pepper
  • 1 Tbsp butter/margarine
  • 1 large onion
  • 6 medium cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 lb (16 oz) spinach
  • 1 can cannelloni beans (15.5 oz)
  • 1 package tortellini (13 oz)

*This recipe serves 2-3 people.

Instructions:

1.) Put water on to boil. Proceed to the next step, but remember to add tortellini when the water has come to a boil.

2.) Dice onions. Saute with 1 Tbsp butter. Season with salt, pepper and red pepper flakes.

3.) Once onions become slightly translucent add minced garlic. Cook on low for 8-10 minutes until garlic becomes soft and the same color as onions.

4.) Drain beans and rinse with cold water. Add to onion-garlic mixture.

5.) Add washed spinach. Cover frying pan, and let everything cook for a few minutes until spinach is soft.

6.) Mix with cooked tortellini and enjoy your pretty easy, super cheap, incredibly delicious dinner!

The printer friendly version can be found here.

Buffalo Chicken Calzone

6 Oct

Introduction:

If you’re ever in the Boston area and looking for a delicious meal, stop by Ma Magoo’s for their buffalo chicken calzone! Seriously one of the best things either of us has ever had. We always try to share this fantastic food with everyone we can whenever we’re in town.

After a lot of “we should make this some time”s, we finally got around to actually trying it out. This time we just used a rotisserie chicken from the supermarket. Next time, however, we’re going to try mixing cooked breaded chicken cutlets with hot sauce. Serve with a big salad or some kind of veggie, because on it’s own this is really not a healthy meal.

Ingredients:

  • 2 ½ cups shredded chicken
  • ⅔ cup hot sauce
  • 1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
  • ½ cup shredded cheddar cheese
  • 16 oz pizza dough
  • 2 Tbsp flour (for rolling out the dough)
  • 1 Tbsp cornmeal (optional)

*This recipe serves 3-4 people.

 Instructions:

1.) If you aren’t using a rotisserie chicken, boil 2-3 chicken breasts for 20 minutes (until they are no longer pink inside). Shred the chicken and mix with the hot sauce. Feel free to add more/less hot sauce to your own liking.

2.) Preheat the oven to 400F. Roll out or stretch the dough on a lightly floured surface so that it’s circular and roughly 16” in diameter. – The flour prevents the dough from sticking to your counter.

3.) Sprinkle a layer of cheese down on one half of the circle. Next, add a layer of your buffalo chicken goodness. Top it off with another layer of cheese.

4.) Fold the dough in half to cover your toppings. Spread a little water along the bottom edge of the dough to make the seal stick as you press the seams together. Cut a few slits in the top of the calzone to allow venting. Spray your pan with nonstick spray and sprinkle with cornmeal. – The cornmeal helps prevent the bottom of the calzone from getting soggy.

5.) Bake calzone for 20-30 minutes or until golden brown.

Printer friendly version can be found over here.

Shepherd’s Pie

15 Sep

Introduction:

Now that school is starting again (or work for those “grownups” out there) and summer has come to an end, we’re all looking for easy delicious dinner ideas. Let’s be real, if you’re at all like us at TCF, you’re always looking for quick and yummy meal ideas! Potatoes, corn, ground beef – how can you go wrong? Just add a veggie and you’re all set with a soon to be family favorite!

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb beef
  • 3-4 large potatoes
  • 1 medium onion
  • 1 Tbsp Worcestershire sauce
  • ½ Tbsp onion powder
  • ½ Tbsp garlic powder
  • ½ Tbsp salt
  • ½ Tbsp pepper
  • 1 can of corn
  • ¼ c milk
  • 1 T butter

*This recipe serves 3-4 people. It can easily be scaled up or down. The pictures that follow show a double recipe.

Instructions:

1.) Cut potatoes into bite sized pieces; leave on the skins for some extra flavor and nutrition if you’re cool with that. While you’re at it chop up the onion too.

2.) Place your cut potatoes into a pot of water so that potatoes are just covered by the water. Boil with salt on high heat for about 20 minutes or until potatoes are tender when stuck with a fork.

3.) While potatoes are cooking, preheat your oven to 350F. In a large frying pan, sautee the onions and ground beef with seasonings (Worcestershire sauce, onion powder, garlic powder, salt and pepper). Cook meat until it is browned throughout. When it’s done, taste test and add more seasonings as needed.

4.) When your potatoes are done boiling, drain the water and get ready to MASH! If you have an electric mixer you can use that, or a plain old hand masher is more than fine too. Add the butter and milk and get mashing/mixing. Continue mashing/mixing until the potatoes reach your desired consistency. You can add in more milk or butter if you need. They should be somewhat creamy, but some lumps are probably okay too. Feel free to mix in some garlic powder to your potatoes too for a tasty addition.

5.) Finally it’s time to combine your ingredients and find out if the total is greater than the sum of the parts. First layer the bottom of an 8×8 pan with the meat. Add the corn on top, trying to make sure it is evenly spread. Lastly come the potatoes! Once you have layered, put the dish in the oven and bake for 20-25 minutes (or until you can’t stand the delicious smell anymore and just HAVE to eat). Enjoy 🙂

Printer friendly version can be found over here.

Baked Apple Pancakes

6 Sep

Introduction:

Do you often find yourself looking for something different and delicious for breakfast/dessert? Well look no further! Baked apple pancakes give you a sweet treat that can be enjoyed at ANY TIME OF THE DAY! This little dish was a childhood favorite in Emster’s home; Eric just likes eating them, no back story required. Also, they are a nice way to use up extra apples (hint hint almost time to go apple picking).

Ingredients:

  • 3 eggs
  • ½ cup flour
  • ½ cup milk
  • 2 T butter
  • 1.5 – 2 apples
  • ¼ cup sugar
  • ½ t cinnamon

*This recipe serves 3-4 people and can easily be doubled.

Instructions:

1.) While the oven is preheating to 450F, put two tablespoons of butter into a 9 inch pan and place the pan into the oven to melt the butter. Cut up your apples into thin slices, as thin as you can slice them.

2.) Lightly beat the eggs, and add the flour and milk. In a separate bowl, mix the sugar and cinnamon together.

3.) Once the butter is melted, arrange apple slices evenly on the bottom of the hot pan.

4.) Pour the egg mixture on top.

5.) Sprinkle the cinnamon sugar mixture over the pan.

6.) Put right back into the oven and bake for 15 to 20 minutes until eggs are set. Serve immediately. Top with whipped cream or anything else you’d like.

YUM!Printer friendly version can be found over here.