Happy Waffle Day: Mint Chocolate Chip Waffles

Hi everyone! Sorry for the late post but I was reading some of my favorite blogs today and I noticed several people paid homage to National Waffle Day. There is a day for everything! Since I love waffles so much, I decided to partake in this special day.

I had some mint left over from my Mint Aioli recipe I posted last week so I decided to make mint chocolate chip waffles.

The only thing I had to work out was how to mix real mint into waffle batter. I decided to mix the mint, vanilla extract and milk in my ninja. The ninja did the trick, cutting the mint into tiny indistinguishable pieces.

I thought it came out great. It had a real mint flavor that was perfect for dinner time. It was actually a beautiful green color until I mixed in the chocolate chips. Check out my recipe below and have a happy waffle day!

Waffle Ingredients:

• 2 cups flour

• 1/4 cup honey

• 1 tbsp plus 1 tsp baking powder

• 1 tbsp cocoa powder

• 1/2 tsp salt

• 1 3/4 cups milk

• 1/3 cup butter melted

• 2 large eggs

• 2 tsp vanilla extract

• 1/2 tsp apple cider vinegar

• 1/4 cup of mint

• 1/4 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

Waffle Directions:

1. Whisk the flour, baking powder, cocoa and salt in a large bowl.

2. Take the mint, 3/4 cup of milk and vanilla extract and place it in a blender. Blend until you can no longer see the mint. Set aside.

3. In another bowl, whisk the remaining milk, melted butter, eggs, vanilla, honey, mint mixture, chocolate chips and vinegar.

4. Make a well in the dry ingredients and pour the wet ingredients in. Wisk until barely smooth.

5. Heat your waffle iron according to the manufacturers instructions. Spray the waffle iron with cooking spray and then pour batter into the center of the waffle iron. Let it cook until crispy.

Saint Patrick’s Day Chicken and Waffles

Today my good friend and I were chatting while hungry (very dangerous). We were discussing the best food trucks in town. I told her about this barbecue truck I liked and she told me about a new chicken and waffle food truck she liked. She described the most heavenly chicken and red velvet walnut waffles. I was really hungry by the end of our conversation so I asked her where I could find this truck. She said the truck posted its whereabouts on instagram. I am so bad at technology and directions that I decided it was better to make my own at home. Definitely faster than looking for the truck. Instead of making red velvet, I thought it would be cool to make them green in honor of Saint Patrick’s Day.

First I got my party wings and tossed them in a flour, salt and pepper ziplock bag. Next, I laid the wings on a lightly greased baking pan and sprayed them with some olive oil. I put the wings in the oven for 25 minutes at 375 degrees. I turned them and let them cook another 20 minutes. I waited until they were brown and crispy.

While the wings were cooking, I made the waffles. I didn’t have a lot of green food coloring so I hoped what I had would be enough.

After the waffles were done, I pulled the wings out of the oven and put the two items together. They were perfect. My family loved the festive meal. My daughter thought we were doing a Seuss themed dinner and wanted green eggs to go with her waffles.

Waffle Ingredients:

• 2 cups flour

• 1/4 cup honey

• 1 tbsp plus 1 tsp baking powder

• 1 tbsp cocoa powder

• 1/2 tsp salt

• 1 3/4 cups milk

• 1/3 cup butter melted

• 2 large eggs

• 2 tsp vanilla extract

• 1/2 tsp apple cider vinegar

• 2 tbsp green food coloring

Waffle Directions:

1. Whisk the flour, sugar, baking powder, cocoa and salt in a large bowl. In another bowl, whisk the milk, melted butter, eggs, vanilla, honey, food coloring and vinegar. Make a well in the flour mixture and pour the milk mixture in. Wisk until barely smooth.

2. Heat your waffle iron according to the manufacturers instructions. Spray the waffle iron with cooking spray and then pour batter into the center of the waffle iron. Let it cook until crispy and GREEN.

Wings Ingredients:

• 1-2 lbs of chicken wings

• 1 cup flour

• salt and pepper

• olive oil cooking spray

Wings Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

2. After cleaning wings, dry them well with paper towels. Dryer wings are more crispy.

3. Combine flour, salt and pepper in a plastic bag. When thoroughly mixed, add wings. Shake well.

4. Line a large baking sheet with foil and spray with olive oil just slightly.

5. Add wings to the pan and spray with olive oil cooking spray.

6. Bake for 25 minutes and turn.

7. Bake for another 15 to 20 minutes or until crispy and done.

Watch this quick video for more:

Italian Sausage and Tortellini Soup

Hi everyone, I am back with my final Italian sausage recipe for the week.  I recently went to Olive Garden for a work luncheon and I ordered the soup/salad/bread sticks…my usual at Olive Garden.  Well it was quite busy on this particular day and they literally ran out of food.  They were rationing out the parmesan cheese.  Anyway, when my soup arrived, it was “soupy.”  I love a hearty soup so I was a bit disappointed at how barren my bowl was.  I vowed to make a hearty soup when I got home.  Originally I wanted to mimic Olive Garden’s Soup but when I got home, I realized I did not have any chicken broth.  So, instead, I made a beef broth based soup which turned out just as good.

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This recipe ended up being great.  It was quick and easy for a weeknight meal.  I wasn’t sure if the kids were going to eat it but they did.  My oldest did a visual inspection for beans.  When she didn’t see any, she decided it was safe to eat.

Ingredients:

  • 1 tbs butter
  • 1 small white onion, diced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 5 cups beef broth
  • 1 cup diced tomatoes
  • 1/2 cup parmesan cheese, shredded
  • 1 Tablespoon italian seasoning
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • 1 lb of Italian Sausage
  • 9 ounce refrigerated tortellini
  • 2 cups spinach
  • 1/2 cup of flour
  • 1 large zucchini

Directions:

  1. In a skillet set over medium-high, cook the sausage until browned. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the cooked sausage to a paper towel lined plate to drain; set aside.
  2. In a pot over medium heat, heat up the butter. Add onion, garlic and zucchini and cook until tender. Add flour and stir.  Gradually add broth and stir.  Add diced tomatoes, Italian seasoning, salt and pepper. Bring to a simmer.
  3. Add the Italian sausage, tortellini, and spinach. Let simmer for 10 minutes to thicken up and for the tortellini to cook.  Garnish with cheese.

Watch this quick video for more!

Stuffed Zucchini Boats

I saw a picture of stuffed zucchini’s on instagram and I went nuts.  I decided to stuff my very own zucchini’s.  What I liked about this recipe is that the stuffing possibilities are endless.  But of course I just use what I have on hand.

 

Today I had some Italian sausage that I cooked yesterday, some diced tomatoes, garlic, onions, bread crumbs and cheese.

I mixed all my ingredients up and scooped them into my boats. This quick recipe baked in about 20 minutes.  The best part of this recipe is the breadcrumbs that get sprinkled on in the end.  They give the recipe great texture.  I think I will add breadcrumbs to the filling mixture next time, especially after looking in my pantry and discovering enough bread crumbs to feed a small army.

Ingredients:

  • 4 medium zucchini
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil 
  • 1/2 lb Italian sausage 
  • 1 clove garlic, minced 
  • 1 small onion, chopped 
  • 1 cup tomatoes, diced 
  • salt and pepper, to taste 
  • 1/2 cup Parmesan, shredded
  • 1/2 cup mozzarella, shredded
  • 1/4 cup breadcrumbs

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

Take a veggie peeler and cut skin off zucchini.  Cut the zucchini in half, length-wise.  With a small spoon, scoop out the zucchini flesh to make a boat.  Place the zucchini boats on a foil-lined pan. Chop up the zucchini flesh and set aside.

In a pan over medium-high heat, add Italian sausage,and cook until no longer pink. Drain the grease from meat, completely.

In a bowl, add the garlic, onion, chopped zucchini flesh, tomatoes, Italian sausage, cheese and salt and pepper. Mix to combine

Spoon the mixture in the zucchini boats.

Sprinkle breadcrumbs over top. Place in oven and bake for about 20 minutes.

Pineapple Chicken and Rice

This is my last chicken meal for the week and also my favorite.  It was my favorite because it was the quickest.  I make this meal often but I try to add new elements to make it better each time.  This time I was in the grocery store and found some cool things in the asian food section of Harris Teeter.  I found fortune cookies and black sesame seeds.  These two things made this meal extra fun.  At the end of dinner, everyone opened their cookies and got great fortunes, except for me.  Mine said “pick another cookie.”  Go figure.

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To start, I loosely chopped my pineapple, onion and bell peppers because I wanted them chunky and used my rice cooker to make my rice sticky.

 

When I was done cooking the meat and veggies, I mixed in an easy, sweet pineapple sauce while everything was still in the skillet.  When the chicken and sauce was well blended, I scooped it out of the skillet and put it on top of a bed of rice.  I garnished the meal with black sesame seeds and a fortune cookie for a fun twist.

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Ingredients:

  • 8 oz can diced pineapple, reserve 1/3 cup juice
  • 1/3cuplow sodium soy sauce
  • 1/3cuplow sodium chicken stock
  • 1/3 cup of honey
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2tsp cornstarch
  • 1 tbs toasted sesame seed oil
  • boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into 1-inch cubes
  • 1 onion, sliced
  • 1 bell pepper, sliced
  • black sesame seeds, for garnish (optional)
  • fortune cookies (optional)
  • rice, for serving
  • salt and pepper, to taste

Directions:

1.  In a medium saucepan, whisk together the pineapple juice, honey, soy sauce, chicken stock and cornstarch. Bring the mixture to a boil and cook until the mixture is the consistency of syrup. Set the sauce aside.

2.  Add the toasted sesame seed oil to a large nonstick skillet set over medium-high heat. Add the garlic, onion, and bell pepper and cook until softened, 1-3 minutes.  Add the chicken to the pan and season it with salt and pepper. Add the chicken and stir until it is no longer pink, about 5 minutes.

3.  Add the sauce to the pan and stir until combined with chicken. Add the pineapple and cook for an additional minute.

4.  Serve the chicken atop a bed of rice.  Garnish with sesame seeds and a fortune cookie.
Check out this easy video for more!

Valentine Dinner Surprise

Happy Valentine’s Day! Now that my girls are old enough I decided to teach them to appreciate this special day. We started off by making cards for class. Found some cool card seedlings that grow if planted. She will have a ball passing them out. And I hope parents will appreciate the non-candy gift.

Next, we made Valentine’s Day breakfast smoothies. I’m not sure why but my kiddos don’t have huge sweet tooth’s – unlike me. So instead of baking something sweet, we made smoothies together. Smoothies are so easy with a Ninja. The kiddos couldn’t wait to eat the heart shaped strawberries.

Finally they opened Valentine’s Day gifts after dinner. I think this will be our Valentine’s Day traditions from now on.

Strawberry Nutella Smoothie

Ingredients:

• 1 whole banana

• 3-5 fresh strawberries

• ½ cup of milk

• ¼ cup of crushed ice

• 1 tablespoon of cocoa powder

• 1 tablespoon of Nutella

Instructions:

1 Add banana, strawberries, crushed ice, Nutella, cocoa powder and milk to blender.

2 Blend until smooth.

3 Top with a strawberry and enjoy!

Slow Cooker Chicken and Avocado Soup

I am back to cooking with chicken this week and I finally get to share one of my favorite slow cooker recipes. This chicken soup has everything.  It has cheese, avocado and even home made tortilla strips – it’s amazing. Slow cooker meals are my favorite because you can get everything ready in the morning, go to work and then come home to a fabulous dinner. Of course I always start by chopping my veggies but this can be done the night before. After I get my ingredients together, I dump everything in the crockpot, literally.

I normally set my slow cooker to the lowest setting so that it is just finishing when I get home.

Sometimes slow cooker meals can be bland but not this one. The cheese helps this dish out a lot. When I made the tortilla strips, I added a little cinnamon sugar on the kids’ strips. This usually helps with any fuss that may occur. This meal did take a long time to cook but you won’t even notice – Yeah Crockpots!  And this was enough to repeat.  I just cut up more avocados, cilantro, and tortillas for easy “no fuss” leftovers. By the way, there are a few ingredients that are totally optional but will take this soup to the next level.  Try it and let me know what you think.

Ingredients:

2 – 2.5 lb. boneless/skinless chicken thighs

4 c. chicken broth

3 celery stalks, sliced

3 carrots, chopped

1 onion, chopped

3 cloves garlic, chopped

1 tbsp. ground cumin

1 tbsp. ground coriander

salt and pepper, to taste

2 15 oz. cans white beans, drained

8 oz. shredded cheese, any light cheddar

2 tbsp. lime juice

1 avocado, sliced

cilantro leaves, optional

sour cream, optional

2 -3 Tortillas (corn or flour), cut into strips

Directions

1 Add chicken, broth, celery, carrots, peppers, onion, garlic, cumin, coriander, beans, salt, and pepper to slow cooker. Cover and cook on low 4 to 6 hours.

2 With a knife and fork, shred chicken in the slow-cooker.

3 Add cheese, lime juice and 1/4 teaspoon salt to slow cooker.  Stir until cheese melts and soup thickens.

4 Baked Tortilla Strips: Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Slice the tortillas to desired size. Arrange in single layer on large baking sheet. Spray lightly with nonstick cooking spray and add a pinch of cumin, salt, and pepper. Bake 4 to 5 minutes until desired crispness is achieved.

5 Spoon into bowls and serve topped with cheese, avocado and tortilla strips. Sprinkle cilantro and a dollop of sour cream, if desired.

Check out my videos on Youtube!