Hot Eats and Cool Reads: January 2013

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

The Ultimate McMuffin Recipe




Breakfast is my absolute favorite meal of the day! These "Ultimate" McMuffins definitely hit the spot when it comes to breakfast sandwiches. I am a huge guac lover and one of my favorite ways to serve it is with breakfast. It makes a great addition to any egg sandwich, egg dish or these McMuffins. 

I also love using Bay's English muffins. I swear once you try them, you never want to eat another brand of English muffins again, unless of course you make them homemade. Nothing can top that! When I make this sandwich, I wanna scream "Mcdonald's ain't got nothing on me." You can't pay me to eat their food anyways lol! Enjoy!!

The Ultimate McMuffin (print recipe)

What you need:
Bay's English Muffins
Sliced Deli Turkey
Sliced Sharp Cheddar Cheese
Eggs
Sliced Tomatoes
Guacamole

Directions:
Cook eggs however you desire. (I like mine fried)

Split and toast English muffins

In a frying pan, fold the deli turkey in half and top with a slice of sharp cheddar. Cover and heat on medium until the cheese is melted.

Spread guacamole on one or both halves of the English muffin, Layer the tomato, egg, and turkey with melted cheese on one half of the muffin and top with the other! (Warning: this is a very messy sandwich!)

If you liked this recipe, follow the Hot Eats and Cool Reads board on Pinterest here!

On the blog... one year ago: Rosemary Baked Chicken with Potatoes and Mushrooms

This recipe was shared at: 
Whatcha Whipped Up Wednesday at DJ's Sugar Shack
Show & Share Wednesday at Semi Homemade Mom
Wonderful Food Wednesday at At Home Take 2
Wednesday Extravaganza at Hungry Little Girl
All My Bloggy Friends at Love Bakes Good Cakes
Recipe Sharing Monday at Jam Hands
Mealtime Monday at Couponing & Cooking
Marvelous Monday at This Gal Cooks
Church Supper at Everyday Mom's Meals
Scrumptious Sunday at Addicted to Recipes
Strut Your Stuff Saturday at Six Sister's Stuff
Weekend Potluck at Sunflower Supperclub
Thursday's Treasures at Recipes for my Boys
Full Plate Thursday at Miz Helen's Country Cottage
Tasty Thursdays at Mandatory Mooch



Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Book Review: This World We Live In (The Last Survivors #3) by Susan Beth Pfeffer




Summary from Goodreads:
It’s been a year since a meteor collided with the moon, catastrophically altering the earth’s climate. For Miranda Evans, life as she knew it no longer exists. Her friends and neighbors are dead, the landscape is frozen, and food is increasingly scarce.

The struggle to survive intensifies when Miranda’s father and stepmother arrive with a baby and three strangers in tow. One of the newcomers is Alex Morales, and as Miranda’s complicated feelings for him turn to love, his plans for his future thwart their relationship. Then a devastating tornado hits the town of Howell, and Miranda makes a decision that will change their lives forever.


My thoughts:
I loved this book as much as I loved the first two in the series, Life as We Knew It and The Dead and Gone. This book brings the main characters Miranda and Alex together. Like the others, this story has you at the edge of your seat. You want and need to keep reading to see who will survive and who doesn't. Food and supplies are hard to come by and you never know what's going to happen from one day to the next. I highly recommend this book! No disappointments here! I just found out on Goodreads there will be another book to this series. GEEKED!! :)

I rate this book 5 out of 5 stars! 

Monday, January 28, 2013

Sausage and White Bean Soup Recipe

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Good evening!! I hope everyone had a great Monday! It's been super cold here in Minnesota these last few weeks. Soup is always the best food to make when it's cold outside and this Sausage and White Bean soup sure warms you up! I shared this recipe last month over at Mandatory Mooch and now I get to share it with all of you!! 

My daughter, Ella and I loved this soup! The flavors are so good and it's so hearty and filling. This is a pretty big batch of soup, so you might have leftovers for lunches, which is great because it's almost better leftover!! Enjoy!!


Sausage and White Bean Soup (print recipe)

What you need:
1 pound sausage of your choice, I used pork
1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 cup onion, diced
1 cup shredded carrot
7 cups chicken broth
1- 15 ounce can diced tomatoes
1- 15 ounce can cannellini beans, rinsed and drained
1 cup small pasta
salt and pepper, if desired

Directions:
In a soup pot, brown sausage, garlic, and onion seasoned with the Italian seasoning and salt and pepper until sausage is no longer pink. Add carrots, and saute for another 2-3 minutes. Pour in the chicken broth, tomatoes, and beans. Bring to a boil and add pasta. Reduce heat and simmer until pasta is al dente, about 10 minutes, depending on which pasta you use. Add salt and pepper as desired.

On the blog... one year ago:
Lime Cranberry Muffins

This recipe was shared at:
Recipe Sharing Monday at Jam Hands
Mealtime Monday at Couponing & Cooking
Marvelous Monday at This Gal Cooks
Scrumptious Sunday at Addicted to Recipes
Strut Your Stuff Saturday at Six Sister's Stuff
Weekend Potluck at Sunflower Supperclub
Thursdays Treasures at Recipes for my Boys
Full Plate Thursday at Miz Helen's Country Cottage
Tasty Thursdays at Mandatory Mooch
Work it Wednesday at High Heels and Grills
Show & Share Wednesday at Semi Homemade Mom
Wednesday Extravaganza at Hungry Little Girl
Wonderful Food Wednesday at At Home Take 2
Whimsy Wednesdays at The NY Melrose Family
All My Bloggy Friends at Love Bakes Good Cakes
Tuesday Talent Show at Chef in Training
Trick or Treat Tuesday at Inside BruCrew Life
Totally Tasty Tuesdays at Mandy's Recipe Box
In and Out of the Kitchen at Feeding big 

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Weekly Favorites 1/19/13- 1/26/13

This is a weekly series highlighting my top 6 posts every week! They might be newer posts, or oldies. Either way, you may discover something you've missed!

Top post of the week: Blueberry Pie Bars


#2 Sparkling Leprechaun Kiss


#3 Korean Ground Beef Lettuce Wraps


#4 Garlic Butter Baked Pollock Fillets


#5 Chicken Parmesan Rice Skillet


#6 Slow Cooker Cafe Rio Chicken


If you liked these recipes, follow the Hot Eats and Cool Reads board on Pinterest here!

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Blueberry Pie Bars Recipe





I got a fantastic deal on some blueberries at Trader Joe's a couple weeks ago and needed to find a recipe to use them in. After browsing Pinterest for awhile, I stumbled on this recipe and I knew it would be the perfect one to try! I just love how these bars turned out. They have just enough sweetness and the filling goes great with the crust. These would be a great dessert for picnics or BBQ's in the summer, or for dinner and family gatherings during the winter. You could also substitute any berry depending on what you have, or what's on sale! Enjoy!!

Blueberry Pie Bars (print recipe)

What you need:

Crust & Topping:
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
3/4 cups sugar
pinch of salt
1 1/2 sticks chilled butter, cubed

Filling:
2 large eggs
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup sour cream
1/3 cup all purpose flour
pinch of salt
3 cups fresh blueberries

Directions:

Crust & Topping:
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Grease a 8x11 glass baking dish. In a large bowl, combine flour, sugar, salt and cubed butter with an electric mixer until you reach a crumbly consistency. Set aside 3/4 cup of the mixture for the topping, and press the rest of the crust mixture into the bottom of the glass baking dish. Bake for 15 minutes or until golden brown. Remove from the oven and set aside while you make the filling.

Filling:
Whisk the eggs in a large bowl. Add sugar, sour cream, flour & salt. Gently stir in the blueberries. Spoon the mixture evenly over the crust. Sprinkle the reserved crust evenly over the filling. Bake for 45-55 minutes or until the top is lightly browned. Cool for 1 hour before serving.

Recipe source: Joy the Baker (adapted)

If you liked this recipe, follow the Hot Eats and Cool Reads board on Pinterest here!

On the blog... one year ago: Turkey, Broccoli, and Cheddar Grilled Cheese





This recipe was shared at these fun parties:
Strut Your Stuff Saturday at Six Sister's Stuff
Work it Wednesday at High Heels and Grills
Show & Share Wednesday at Semi Homemade Mom
Wednesday Extravaganza at Hungry Little Girl
Wonderful Food Wednesday at At Home Take 2
Recipe Sharing Monday at Jam Hands
Whimsy Wednesdays at The NY Melrose Family
All My Bloggy Friends at Love Bakes Good Cakes
Tuesday Talent Show at Chef in Training
Trick or Treat Tuesday at Inside BruCrew Life
Totally Tasty Tuesdays at Mandy's Recipe Box
In and Out of the Kitchen at Feeding Big
Mealtime Monday at Couponing & Cooking
Church Supper at Everyday Mom's Meals
Weekend Potluck at The Better Baker
Tasty Thursdays at Mandatory Mooch
Full Plate Thursday at Miz Helen's Country Cottage
Tasty Thursday at Fantastical Sharing of Recipes
Thursdays Treasures at Recipes for my Boys

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Korean Ground Beef Lettuce Wraps Recipe... Surprise Recipe Swap!




Jutta from Hungry Little Girl contacted me awhile back asking if I'd like to participate with her and other bloggers in a "Surprise Recipe Swap". Each month we are assigned a different blog to chose a recipe from, then we cook it, and post about on our blog. I was super excited to participate and couldn't wait to get started.

This month I was matched up with Jutta and her awesome blog, Hungry Little Girl. I just love browsing through her recipes and after much consideration, I ended up choosing her recipe for Korean Ground Beef Lettuce Wraps


Let me say, I absolutely loved this recipe and was so glad I tried it! The flavors were delicious and it is such a quick and easy meal. I love that the ground beef and rice are wrapped up in the lettuce leaf. The lettuce adds such a perfect crunch when biting into it! This is something I would definitely make again!

If you'd like to join the fun and participate in the Surprise Recipe Swap, please visit Jutta's blog for more info. You can also find the sign up form there by clicking the button below!

HungryLittleGirl


Korean Ground Beef Lettuce Wraps (print recipe)

What you need:
1 pound lean ground beef
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 tablespoon sesame oil
1 teaspoon chili powder
3 tablespoons brown sugar
1 teaspoon fresh ginger, grated
1/4 cup soy sauce
3 green onions, sliced
cooked white rice
lettuce leaves

Directions:
In a large skillet, brown the ground beef and garlic over medium high heat. Reduce heat to medium. Add the sesame oil, chili powder, brown sugar, ginger and soy sauce. Simmer for 5-7 minutes. Serve with the rice rolled inside the lettuce leaves.

If you liked this recipe, follow the Hot Eats and Cool Reads board on Pinterest here!

On the blog... one year ago:
Mini Garlic Monkey Breads

This recipe was shared at these fabulous blogs:
Weekend Potluck at The Better Baker
Tasty Thursdays at Mandatory Mooch
Full Plate Thursday at Miz Helen's Country Cottage
Tasty Thursdays at Fantastical Sharing of Recipes
Thursdays Treasures at Recipes for my Boys
Show & Share Wednesday at Semi Homemade Mom
Whatcha Whipped up Wednesday at DJ's Sugar Shack
Wednesday Extravaganza at Hungry Little Girl
All My Bloggy Friends at Love Bakes Good Cakes
Trick or Treat Tuesday at Inside Bru Crew Life
Totally Tasty Tuesday at Mandy's Recipe Box
Mealtime Monday at Couponing and Cooking
Mix it up Monday at Flour Me with Love
Marvelous Monday at This Gal Cooks
Scrumptious Sunday at Addicted to Recipes
Church Supper at Everyday Mom's Meals

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Weekly Favorites 1/12/13- 1/19/13

This is a weekly series highlighting my top 6 posts every week! They might be newer posts, or oldies. Either way, you may discover something you've missed!

Top post of the week: Slow Cooker Cafe Rio Chicken


#2 Chicken Parmesan Rice Skillet


#3 Sparkling Leprechaun Kiss 


#4 Garlic Butter Baked Pollock Fillets


#5 Ham & Eggs Baked in Crispy Hashbrown Cups


#6 Easy Deviled Eggs


If you liked these recipes, follow the Hot Eats and Cool Reads board on Pinterest here!

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Easy Deviled Eggs Recipe




Most of the people in my family are huge deviled egg lovers! We have them at almost every get-together. This recipe is super easy to whip up and would be a great appetizer to serve at a Super Bowl party! You can adjust the recipe to make as little or as many as you need, depending on the number of people attending. I've tried a few different add-ins when making deviled eggs, but I always come back to this basic recipe. It's the best! Enjoy! 

Easy Deviled Eggs (print recipe)

What you need:
12 large eggs, hard boiled
1/2 cup Miracle Whip
1 tablespoon mustard
1/2 teaspoon sugar
salt and pepper, as desired
paprika

Directions:
Cut each egg in half lengthwise and scoop the yolks into a bowl. Set whites on a serving platter. 

Mix yolks, Miracle Whip, mustard, sugar, salt and pepper until mixture is smooth. Scoop yolk mixture into a ziploc bag, snipping off the corner of the bag. Pipe yolk mixture into each egg white and sprinkle paprika on top. Refrigerate until serving.

If you liked this recipe, follow the Hot Eats and Cool Reads board on Pinterest here!

On the blog... one year ago:
Homemade Spanish Rice

This recipe was shared at:
Show & Share Wednesday at Semi Homemade Mom
Whatcha Whipped Up Wednesday at DJ's Sugar Shack
Wednesday Extravaganza at Hungry Little Girl
All My Bloggy Friends at Love Bakes Good Cakes
Trick or Treat Tuesday at Inside Bru Crew Life
Totally Tasty Tuesday at Mandy's Recipe Box
Mealtime Monday at Couponing and Cooking
Mix it up Monday at Flour me with Love
Marvelous Monday at This Gal Cooks
Scrumptious Sunday at Everyday Mom's meals
Church Supper at Everyday Mom's meals
Creative Thursday at Michelle's Tasty Creations
Weekend Potluck at The Better Baker
Foodie Friends Friday
Full Plate Thursday at Miz Helen's Country Cottage
Thursdays Treasures at Recipes for my Boys

Monday, January 14, 2013

Slow Cooker Cafe Rio Chicken Recipe




I've had a huge Mexican food craving these last few weeks. With the holidays and life just being busy, cooking has been on the back burner (along with the blog). I finally cured my Mexican food craving. This recipe for Cafe Rio Chicken is SO good! It's easy to throw together, and you can cook it in either the oven or slow cooker. I love being able to use chicken instead of the usual ground beef. It's so much healthier, and for being on healthy side, this recipe is not lacking in flavor. We would definitely make this again! Enjoy!


Cafe Rio Chicken (print recipe)

What you need:
1 pound of chicken breast tenderloins
1/2 cup zesty Italian dressing
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 cup onion, diced
1 pickled jalapeno, diced (use can also use fresh, this is what I had on hand)
1 tablespoon ranch dressing mix
1/4 cup water
1 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon chili powder
black pepper, as desired

Directions:
Combine all ingredients in a crock pot or dutch oven.

Bake at 350 degrees, for 1 hour. (covered) Shred the chicken, then bake an additional 15-20 minutes.

Bake in a slow cooker on high for 3-4 hours or low for 7-8 hours. Shred.

Serve with tortillas, tostadas, chips for nachos, or as a taco salad.

Recipe source: Crumbs and Chaos (adapted)

If you liked this recipe, follow the Hot Eats and Cool Reads board on Pinterest here!

On the blog... one year ago:
Potato Chip Baked Chicken

This recipe was shared at:
Mealtime Monday at Couponing and Cooking
Mix it Up Monday at Flour me with Love
Marvelous Monday at This Gal Cooks
Scrumptious Sunday at Everyday Mom's Meals
Church Supper at Everyday Mom's Meals
Creative Thursday at Michelle's Tasty Creations
Weekend Potluck at The Better Baker
Foodie Friends Friday
Full Plate Thursday at Miz Helen's Country Cottage
Thursdays Treasures at Recipes for my Boys
Recipe Round Up at Gooseberry Patch
Wednesday Extravaganza at Hungry Little Girl
Whimsy Wednesday at Smart School House
Show & Share Wednesday at Semi Homemade Mom
Totally Tasty Tuesdays at Mandy's recipe Box
All My Bloggy Friends at Love Bakes Good Cakes
Tuesday Talent Show at Chef in Training

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Book Review: The Dead and the Gone (The Last Survivors #2) by Susan Beth Pfeffer




Summary from Goodreads:
Susan Beth Pfeffer’s Life as We Knew It enthralled and devastated readers with its brutal but hopeful look at an apocalyptic event--an asteroid hitting the moon, setting off a tailspin of horrific climate changes. Now this harrowing companion novel examines the same events as they unfold in New York City, revealed through the eyes of seventeen-year-old Puerto Rican Alex Morales. When Alex's parents disappear in the aftermath of tidal waves, he must care for his two younger sisters, even as Manhattan becomes a deadly wasteland, and food and aid dwindle.

With haunting themes of family, faith, personal change, and courage, this powerful new novel explores how a young man takes on unimaginable responsibilities.


My thoughts:
I love when you read a series, and the second book is just as good as the first. This book follows Alex, a teen who lives in New York City, when the Asteroid hits the moon. His struggle is much different than Miranda's, from the first book in the series, Life as We Knew It. Alex's parents disappear in the madness and he is responsible to take care of his two younger sisters. Imagine being so hungry and desperate, that you need to steal valuables from dead bodies to survive. This is Alex's new life. What these characters have to go through is unimaginable. This book is a page turner and I could not put it down. I highly recommend this series to anyone who loves apocalyptic books. Don't let the "Young Adult" label fool you. These books are for everyone who enjoys a great read!

I rate this book 5 out of 5 stars!
 

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Chicken Parmesan Rice Skillet Recipe




Easy weeknight meals are always something I'm on the lookout for. This Chicken Parmesan Rice Skillet can be ready in 30 minutes and is so tasty! You can make it a complete meal by serving with some veggies or a salad on the side. I am so blessed my daughter is an adventurous eater and is willing to try everything I make. She does great for a 5 year old. This recipe turned out to be an instant favorite for both her and I! Enjoy!

Chicken Parmesan Rice Skillet (print recipe)

What you need:
1 tablespoon butter
3 cloves garlic, minced 
1 chicken breast, cut into bite sized pieces
3/4 cup mushrooms, sliced
1 cup uncooked jasmine rice
2 cups chicken broth
1/2 cup shredded parmesan cheese
2 tablespoons fresh basil, chopped
salt and pepper, as desired

Directions:
In a large skillet, melt the butter over medium to medium high heat. Saute the garlic and chicken for about 4-5 minutes, add the mushrooms and saute for another few minutes. Add salt and pepper if desired.

Add the rice and broth. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat, cover and simmer for about 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add parmesan and basil, simmer for an additional 5 minutes or until rice is cooked through and liquid is absorbed.

If you liked this recipe, follow the Hot Eats and Cool Reads board on Pinterest here!

On the blog... one year ago:
Homemade Butter Garlic Croutons

This recipe was shared at these fun parties:
Gooseberry Patch
Recipe Round Up at Gooseberry Patch
Wednesday Extravaganza at Hungry Little Girl
Whimsy Wednesday at Smart School House
Show & Share Wednesday at Semi Homemade Mom
Totally Tasty Tuesdays at Mandy's Recipe Box
All My Bloggy Friends at Love Bakes Good Cakes
Tuesday Talent Show at Chef in Training
Manic Monday at Bobbi's Kozy Kitchen
Weekend Potluck at Sunflower Supper Club
Creative Thursday at Michelle's Tasty Creations
Foodie Friends Friday at A Lil Country Sugar
Full Plate Thursday at Miz Helen's Country Cottage
Thursdays Treasures at Recipes for my Boys
Tasty Thursdays at Mandatory Mooch

Monday, January 7, 2013

The Best Frosted Sugar Cookies Recipe




This is my absolute favorite sugar cookie recipe! Our family first started using this recipe when my sister, Shannon was pregnant with my nephew, which is almost 17 years ago! The recipe was found in a Taste of Home magazine and it was titled "Baby Shower Sugar Cookies". How perfect for a new baby on the way. We made them for her baby shower and they were a hit!

Ever since then, I've made them quite regularly for Christmas cookies, or just because I love them. The almond flavoring is delicious and they turn out great every time! Well, except once when my sister Shantel and I used the wrong ingredient. Baking powder, cream of tartar, salt and baking soda should never mistaken for one another. Disastrous! :)

I hope you enjoy this recipe as much as we have over the years!!

The Best Frosted Sugar Cookies (print recipe)

What you need:
1 cup butter, softened
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon almond extract
2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon cream of tartar
1 tub of frosting
food coloring (to color frosting if desired) and sprinkles

Directions:

In a large bowl, cream butter and sugar. Add egg, beat well. Beat in extracts. In a separate bowl, combine flour, baking soda and cream of tartar. Gradually add to the wet mixture. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes before using. 

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Roll dough into 1 inch balls, set on parchment lined cookie sheet and flatten slightly with the palm of your hand leaving 1-2 inches between each cookie. Bake for about 10 minutes or until edges are slightly browned.

Cool and decorate with frosting and sprinkles. 

Recipe source: Taste of Home 


If you liked this recipe, follow the Hot Eats and Cool Reads board on Pinterest here!


On the blog... one year ago:

Homemade Chicken Rice a Roni

This recipe was shared at:

Recipe Round Up at Gooseberry Patch
Weekend Potluck at Sunflower Supper Club
Creative Thursday at Michelle's Tasty Creations
Foodie Friends Friday at A Lil Country Sugar
Full Plate Thursday at Miz Helen's Country Cottage
Thursdays Treasures at Recipes for my Boys
Tasty Thursdays at Mandatory Mooch
Whimsy Wednesdays at The NY Melrose Family
Wednesday Extravaganza at Hungry Little Girl
All My Bloggy Friends at Love Bakes Good Cakes
Trick or Treat Tuesday at Inside BruCrew Life
Totally Tasty Tuesdays at Mandy's Recipe Box
My Turn for Us

Saturday, January 5, 2013

Weekly Favorites 12/29/12- 1/5/13

This is a weekly series highlighting my top 6 posts every week! They might be newer posts, or oldies. Either way, you may discover something you've missed!

Top post of the week: Sparkling Leprechaun Kiss


#2 Linguine with Chicken, Tomatoes and Spinach Pesto


#3 Ham & Eggs in Crispy Hashbrown Cups


#4 Roasted Garlic Rosemary Chicken with Potatoes


#5 Caramelized Baked Chicken


#6 Apricot Fruit Tart Dessert

 
If you liked these recipes, follow the Hot Eats and Cool Reads board on Pinterest here!