Fall Foodie: Slow Cooker Glazed Carrots

Good Morning and Happy Monday, everyone!

It’s a short work-week for me, with Wednesday being a half day, Thursday being Thanksgiving- and then my office remaining closed on Friday so we can all recover from our food comas (thank God)– so today and tomorrow are pretty packed with pre-holiday/long weekend paperwork and preparations.

In the spirit of alleviating any last minute stress and hopefully assisting some of you with a quick, “set it and forget it” recipe- I wanted to share an incredibly easy, packed with flavor vegetable side dish you can make in your crock pot while you tend to other, more important matters on Wednesday night or Thursday morning (like watching the parade- which I’m determined to wake up in time for this year!)

WHAT YOU’LL NEED:

  • 2 lbs. carrots peeled and sliced into ½ inch pieces
  • ¼ cup butter melted
  • ⅓ cup brown sugar
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon cinnamon
  • ⅛ teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1 tablespoon chopped parsley

READY? HERE’S WHAT YOU DO:

  1. Place the carrots in a slow cooker. In a small bowl, whisk together the butter, brown sugar, salt, cinnamon and nutmeg.
  2. Pour the brown sugar mixture over the carrots and toss to coat.
  3. Cook on HIGH for 3 hours or until carrots are tender. If you’d like to thicken the glaze, remove the cover and cook on HIGH for an additional 15 minutes.
  4. Sprinkle with parsley and serve.

So simple, right? And believe me when I say this ridiculously easy recipe is delicious. It’s the perfect combination of sweet, salty- and the tender texture of the carrot slices is savory- not sloppy. If you’re feeling extra creative (and no nut allergies permitting)– you can even add some sliced almonds to the mix for an extra bit of crunch. I’ve done it before- and it’s awesome!

But I’m off to try and stay ahead of my caseloads today and get another cup of coffee. Here’s wishing you all a wonderful start to your week!

xx

– Ashley –

Fall Foodie: Parmesan Roasted Cauliflower

Good Morning and Happy Monday, everyone!

Thanksgiving is next week- and in the days leading up to it- I’ve got a couple of Friends-givings to attend around the city. While I’m preparing menus, seating arrangements, decor and a *fantastic* playlist- I’ve also been experimenting in the kitchen with different vegetables to incorporate some new dishes into the lineup for the big meal. This past weekend, it was cauliflower’s turn for a transformation.

When I was a kid, I hated cauliflower. The texture and taste reminded me of Styrofoam- but as I got older and saw just how many endless and delicious possibilities it can be used for, I can’t get enough of it. For this quick dish- all you need is a handful of ingredients (including cheese, which automatically makes everything so much better) and just over a half hour of time to make a crunchy, savory side for your next holiday meal!

WHAT YOU’LL NEED:

  • 7 cups cauliflower florets, cut to bite sized pieces
  • 3 to 4 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 cup Italian bread crumbs
  • ½ teaspoon garlic powder
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ⅓ cup Parmesan cheese

READY? HERE’S WHAT YOU DO:

  1. Preheat oven to 425ºF. Line a large, rimmed baking sheet with foil and spray liberally with non-stick cooking spray. Set aside.
  2. Combine the cauliflower and olive oil in a large Ziplock bag or a large bowl and shake or toss to coat the florets evenly.
  3. Add the remaining ingredients to the bag/bowl and shake/toss until coated, pressing slightly to help the breading stick to the florets.
  4. Pour the coated florets onto the baking sheet and spray the tops of the cauliflower with cooking spray and bake for 20 minutes.
  5. Stir the cauliflower and continue to bake an additional 10 minutes. Serve hot and enjoy!

If you’ve got fussy eaters (particularly kids who are anti-vegetable)– then this is a good way to get them to eat cauliflower without protest. The cheese and garlic taste incredible together, and the breading gives the otherwise soft cauliflower a much-needed crunch and extra flavor.

Add a little ranch dressing on the side and you’ve got the perfect vegetable appetizer to serve before the turkey and stuffing! Best of all? These are light- which means they won’t make you feel like you ate too much or weigh you down before it’s time to dive into the main course(s)!

But that’s all for me today. It’s time to chug my morning coffee and get to work. Now that the holidays are coming up- things tend to get a little busy around the office- so I’m trying to stay one step ahead!

Have a great Monday, everyone!

xx

– Ashley –

Game Day Eats: Loaded Baked Potato Chips

Good Morning and Happy “Hump Day”, everyone!

I took today off from work- not only to get some errands done and spend time with friends/family visiting from the West Coast this week- but I’m also getting ready to go live on-air for Morning Glory at Indie617 bright and early this A.M. before I head on over to the Black Rose on State Street to grab lunch and catch an acoustic set by The Wombats!

There’s going to be plenty of updates on my Instagram for those looking to follow along!

With last night being Game 1 of the World Series (go Sox, by the way!)– I thought I’d share one of my favorite “Game Day” and tailgating party recipes I like to whip up before my local teams’ big games. It’s a fun spin on loaded baked potatoes- since you can serve these like nachos, instead!

WHAT YOU’LL NEED:

  • 5 medium red potatoes
  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 6 pieces cooked bacon, crumbled
  • 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
  • ½ cup sour cream
  • 3 tablespoons chopped chives

READY? HERE’S WHAT YOU DO:

  1. Preheat the oven to 425°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. Slice the potatoes into ¼-inch-thick rounds. Brush both sides with olive oil and arrange in a single layer on the prepared baking sheet.
  3. Season the potatoes with salt and pepper, and roast until they begin to turn golden brown on the base, about 15 to 20 minutes. Flip the potatoes over and roast until they are golden on the other side, 12 to 15 minutes more.
  4. Remove the tray from the oven and top each piece of potato with ½ – 1 teaspoon of crumbled bacon. Top with 1 teaspoon of cheddar cheese, and then return to the oven. Bake until the potatoes are golden brown and the cheese is melted, 6 to 8 minutes.
  5. Let the potatoes cool for 5 to 10 minutes, then garnish each with ½ teaspoon sour cream and ¼ teaspoon chives. Serve warm or at room temperature.

I could honestly eat an entire serving of these on my own if the opportunity presented itself- but sharing is caring and I made sure a couple of friends I had over last night to watch the game had enough of these chips to eat, too!

With plenty of nail-biting sporting events coming up, I know I’ll be making more of these in the next few weeks- and may or may not share them the next time around!

With a busy day ahead of me, I’ve got to get going- but here’s wishing you all a wonderful Wednesday! See you again on Friday!

xx

– Ashley –

Fall Foodie: Mini Shepherd’s Pot Pies

Good Morning and Happy Friday, everyone! We made it to the end of another week!

This coming weekend- kicking off when I leave work a little later on this afternoon- is sure to be a busy one. I’ve got to make an appearance at local horror movie convention tonight, possibly swing by a midnight screening of ‘IT’ (the Tim Curry version!) in the middle of the woods- yes, really- and prepare for a weekend in the city with friends when we all get together for our bride-to-be-BFF’s bachelorette party before she ties the knot in a few weeks!

But before I start racing around and more than likely tripping over myself- I wanted to share a pretty great recipe I found via PUREWOW earlier this week. If you’re a meat and potatoes type of person- this may be right up your alley, but if you’re a meat and potatoes AND mini versions of food enthusiast- then you’re going to love this and want to whip a batch of these up immediately!

WHAT YOU’LL NEED:

  • 1 package refrigerated piecrust (2 x 9″ inch pie crusts)
  • ½ lb. lean ground beef
  • 1 (1 oz.) envelope onion soup mix
  • 1 tablespoon all purpose flour
  • ¾ cup beef broth
  • 1 cup frozen vegetables (corn, peas and carrot blend)
  • 1 package Bob Evans Classic Mashed Potatoes

READY? HERE’S WHAT YOU DO:

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Unroll both piecrusts and use a 3” circle cookie cutter (or small round bowl) to cut out 12 circles (re-roll scraps of dough to get remaining circles). Line each cup of a 12-cavity muffin tin with the pie dough and bake for 8 to 9 minutes, or until lightly browned.
  2. Meanwhile, brown the ground beef in a skillet over medium heat until cooked and crumbled. Stir in the onion soup mix and 1 tablespoon of flour and cook for 1 minute. Pour in the beef broth, scraping any browned bits from the bottom of the skillet and then add in the frozen vegetable mix. Continue cooking and stirring for an additional 2 to 3 minutes until the liquid has thickened and the veggies are mostly heated through.
  3. Scoop ¼ cup of the meat mixture into the piecrusts, then top each mini pie with 2 tablespoons of Bob Evans Classic Mashed Potatoes.
  4. Continue baking for an additional 20 to 25 minutes, till the piecrusts are golden brown. Turn on the top broiler for the last 2 minutes to lightly brown the mashed potatoes if desired. Run a butter knife around the edge of the mini pies to gently remove and serve warm.

If I had to make one criticism for these otherwise delicious pies- it’s that you may want to consider going a little easy with the onion soup mix. One full package left these pies tasting very strongly. It wasn’t terrible by any means, since I do like onion- but it may not be for everyone and if you’re serving these to guests- you’re going to want to be sensitive to their taste buds.

That aside, I loved these pies! They were warm, flavorful and filling- the perfect treat to end a rainy, brisk Autumn day. I can’t wait to make more!

But for now, I’ve got to get some work done and then hit the ground running come 4:30 PM. Here’s wishing you all a wonderful and safe weekend. I’ll be back on Monday!

xx

– Ashley –

Backyard BBQ Recipes: Chicken and Snap Pea Stir-Fry

Good Morning and Happy Hump Day, everyone!

In the midst of wrapping up my end-of-the-month “To Do” checklist at my office, booking a vacation to the West Coast near the end of September, and soaking up as much sun as possible during my lunch breaks and after work since it’s been pretty hot out these past few days- I’ve also been whipping up the last of my favorite Summertime recipes before it’s time to skim through the Autumn cookbooks again.

This 10 minute recipe- infused with soy sauce, garlic and plenty of vegetables- is a quick, easy and delicious side dish to serve up at your Labor Day Weekend cookout this coming weekend.

WHAT YOU’LL NEED:

  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 bunch scallions, thinly sliced
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 red bell pepper, thinly sliced
  • 2½ cups snap peas
  • 1¼ cups boneless skinless chicken breast, thinly sliced
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 3 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons rice vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons Sriracha (optional)
  • 2 tablespoons sesame seeds, plus more for finishing
  • 3 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro, plus more for finishing

READY? HERE’S WHAT YOU DO:

  1. In a large sauté pan, heat the oil over medium heat. Add the scallions and garlic, and sauté until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add the bell pepper and snap peas, and sauté until just tender, 2 to 3 minutes.
  2. Add the chicken and cook until it is golden and fully cooked and the vegetables are tender, 4 to 5 minutes.
  3. Add the soy sauce, rice vinegar, Sriracha (if using) and sesame seeds; toss well to combine. Allow the mixture to simmer for 1 to 2 minutes.
  4. Stir in the cilantro, then garnish with a sprinkle of extra cilantro and sesame seeds. Serve immediately.

I kept a couple of separate dishes with the sesame seeds and cilantro on the side so that my friends could garnish their plates with as much/little as they wanted- and kept some extra soy sauce within reach for those who wanted more of a kick to their chicken and vegetables.

Overall, this was a hit- and it’s not overly filling which meant I could still scoop some macaroni salad and grab an ear of corn during the BBQ and not feel stuffed.

I’m off to get some work done, but I hope you all have a wonderful Wednesday! I’ll be back here bright and early on Friday morning to bid a proper farewell to August, and to Summer 2018!

xx

– Ashley –