Hot Eats and Cool Reads: March 2014

Mar 31, 2014

Reese's Peanut Butter Puffs Bars Recipe and Throwback with Big G Retro Cereals! #CerealThrowback

Calling all peanut butter lovers!! Today's recipe and post is a pretty great one! Reese's Peanut Butter Puff Bars, anyone?



 

Have you been to the cereal aisle at Target lately?

For a limited time, exclusively at Target, you can find throwback boxes of select General Mills cereals. Talk about childhood memories for some of us!! They are very fun to look at, and of course yummy to eat too! 

You can find coupons for these cereals by visiting this website!

Aren't these cereal boxes awesome?? I just love the cute bowl on the Lucky Charms box!




My daughter devoured her favorite, Lucky Charms and I decided to whip up a batch of Reese's PB Puff Bars!

These bars are super quick to make and are a perfect snack for any time of the day. We ate some, and I dropped some off with a few family and friends. Everyone loved them! Enjoy!

Reese's PB Puffs Bars (click here to print recipe)

What you need:
3 tablespoons butter
1- 10 ounce bag mini marshmallows
1/2 cup peanut butter
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
6 cups Reese's PB Puffs Cereal
sprinkles, optional

Directions:
Grease or line a 9x13 glass baking dish with parchment paper.

In a large bowl, melt butter for about 30 seconds. Add the mini marshmallows, stir to coat. Microwave for another minute or until marshmallows are melted and puffy. Stir in peanut butter and vanilla, then add cereal and stir until cereal is completely coated. Pour into 9x13 pan and spread evenly. Add sprinkles if desired. Cool completely, then cut into squares!



Disclosure: The information and free cereal have been provided by General Mills through Platefull Co-Op. This does not influence my opinion in any way.

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On the blog... one year ago: Penne with Chicken and Asparagus



Two years ago: Homemade Pan Pizza Crust


This recipe is shared at these blogs: Inside BruCrew LifeLiving Better TogetherLove Bakes Good CakesThe Better Baker

Mar 26, 2014

Creamy Zucchini and Carrot Soup Recipe

This easy and delicious soup is so perfect for lunch, dinner or freeze for later! Add leftover rotisserie chicken, bacon, cheese or herbs to make it your own!


Creamy Zucchini and Carrot Soup



This easy and delicious soup is so perfect for lunch, dinner or freeze for later! Add leftover rotisserie chicken, bacon, cheese or herbs to make it your own! Great way to use extra zucchini or yellow summer squash from the garden!


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Mar 24, 2014

Kalamata and Bell Pepper Orzo Salad Recipe

It's Monday again. How do the weekends go by so fast?

We stayed at home most of the weekend and took it easy. My daughter watched frozen and Honey Boo-Boo a hundred times. I now have them mostly memorized lol. We had a huge Sunday dinner yesterday. Roasted chicken, stuffing, mashed potatoes, gravy and asparagus! Love those good comfort food meals and can't wait to eat the leftovers for dinner tonight!



 

Today's recipe is for a light and fresh salad. Kalamata and Bell Pepper Orzo Salad! I really like these ingredients, especially the olives. They add a perfect touch of saltiness. The peppers have wonderful flavor from being sauteed and orzo? Orzo is wonderful and this salad wouldn't be the same without it. One of my favorites! Enjoy!

Kalamata and Bell Pepper Orzo Salad (click here to print recipe)

What you need:
1/2 pound orzo
2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
1 clove garlic, minced
3/4 cup green pepper, diced
3/4 cup red pepper, diced
3 tablespoons fresh parsley, minced
1/3 cup kalamata olives, chopped
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
salt and pepper, as needed

Directions:
Cook pasta according to package directions. Drain and rinse. 

Meanwhile, add 1 tablespoon of olive oil to a medium sized skillet, over medium heat. Saute garlic, green and red peppers for about 5-7 minutes, until peppers are softened. 

Put orzo back into the saucepan you cooked it in. Add the remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil, peppers mixture, parsley, olives, lemon juice, salt and pepper and warm for 2 minutes over medium heat, stirring to combine. Remove from heat and serve!

Recipe Source: Cooking Planit

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On the blog... one year ago: Reese's Pieces PB Banana Bread



Two years ago: Stovetop Velveeta Mac & Cheese


This recipe is shared at these blogs: Memories by the Mile, Inside BruCrew Life, Kathe with an E, Feeding BigLove Bakes Good CakesA Dash of SanityThe Best Blog RecipesThe Country Cook, Simple Living and Eating,

Mar 19, 2014

Broccoli, Bacon and Red Grape Pasta Salad Recipe

I've had some major salad cravings lately. Potato salad, lettuce salad, pasta salad... you name it! 

This salad definitely helped curb some of those cravings! I'm a lover of all things sweet and salty and this recipe has that perfect combo.

Chunks of crispy broccoli, sweet grapes, salty bacon and toasty pecans all mixed with some pasta and a sweet, tangy sauce. Heaven, I tell ya. I seriously ate half of it for dinner one evening, and the rest for lunch the next day. I still wanted more. Be smarter than me, make a double batch. You won't regret it!



 

Tomorrow will be 3 whole months in our new Habitat house!! We are loving every minute of home ownership so far, except for shoveling the 20,000 feet of snow we got this winter! Luckily I have some awesome neighbors. The older gentleman 2 houses down always blows my snow for me. I have a corner lot with 2 LONG sidewalks, so that is much appreciated! There's also an older lady who lives a couple more houses down and she brought my daughter and I some homemade butterscotch chip cookies today. Bless their hearts! Great home and great neighbors. Makes me smile! :)

Here's her lovely cookies!



Broccoli, Bacon and Red Grape Pasta Salad
4-5 servings

What you need:
1/2 pound bowtie pasta
1/2 cup pecans
1/2 cup mayo
2-3 tablespoons sugar (I used 3, but start with 2 and add more as needed)
3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
2 cups fresh broccoli, cut into small florets
4 strips crispy bacon, chopped
1/4 cup red onion, finely diced
1 cup seedless red grapes, halved
1 tablespoon fresh parsley, chopped
black pepper and salt if needed

Directions:
Cook pasta to al dente. Rinse with cold water and drain.

Heat oven to 350 degrees. Toast the pecans on a baking sheet for 5 minutes. Set aside to cool.

In large bowl, whisk together the mayo, sugar, and red wine vinegar until smooth. Add pasta, pecans, broccoli, bacon, onion, grapes and parsley. Stir until combined. Add pepper and salt, as needed. Refrigerate until serving. 

Note: If making this salad ahead of time, you may need to mix another batch of sauce and stir in when serving. Otherwise, it may be dry from the noodles absorbing the sauce. 



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On the blog... one year ago: Loaded Chicken & Bacon Tator Tots



Two years ago: Buttery Garlic Bread


This recipe is featured at: The Country Cook

This recipe is shared at these blogs: Love Bakes Good CakesThe Best Blog RecipesA Dash of Sanity, The Better BakerThis Gal CooksFlour Me with Love, Memories by the MileInside BruCrew LifeKathe with an EFeeding Big, Simple Living and Eating,

Mar 18, 2014

Restaurant Review: Val's Rapid Serv St Cloud, Minnesota

This restaurant review has been a long time coming. Val's is a staple here in St Cloud, Minnesota. If you are craving a fast, cheap burger and fries, this is the place to go!



Val's has been around since the late 1950's and is still owned and operated by the same family. How cool is that?? This little hole in the wall is not too far from Highway 10 and sits on the corners of St Germain and Lincoln Avenue. The building is super tiny and retro as all get out. It's all part of Val's charm!

When you walk in you see a small basic menu, 5 computer monitors for touch screen ordering and the kitchen!! Ordering on the touch screen is half the fun! The menu is basic. Burgers, shrimp burgers, fish sandwiches, fries, shakes and pop! This place is so tiny, you can watch the food being prepared while you wait. It's quite impressive and fun to watch!


Then comes your food.... in a greasy white paper bag. You know it's gonna be good, especially with all that grease! Check out those prices too... a total of 3 burgers and a large fry.. less than $11! The large fry is enough to feed 2-3 people.


I always order a bacon cheeseburger with fried onions, pickles and ketchup! I love the bacon... it's circle shaped so you get some in each bite. And fried onions?? Yes, please!


The fries are phenomenal!! They are salty, seasoned with a orange-ish colored popcorn salt.


It's always a treat to stop and grab some food from here. We can hardly wait until we get home to start eating it! If your in the St Cloud area and want a good burger and fries, make sure you stop here! It's like stepping back in time, with a touch of modern technology!

Val's Rapid Serv
628 E St Germain St
St Cloud, MN 56304
320-251-5775

Mar 17, 2014

Sausage, Asparagus and Mushroom Rigatoni Recipe

Asparagus is in season. This makes me very happy! My daughter and I both love eating it raw and cooked, and have been eating tons of it these last few weeks!!

I was browsing through my asparagus pins on Pinterest looking for some asparagus pasta inspiration and came across a recipe from Creole Contessa. Have you ever visited her site before? If not, you are missing out! She has some amazing creations. I adapted this recipe from one on her blog and I absolutely love how it turned out. It has so much flavor and the sausage and asparagus go great with each other along with the light sauce. It's a great springtime dish and would be quick enough for weeknights.




Sausage, Asparagus and Mushroom Rigatoni (click here to print recipe)


What you need:
1/2 pound rigatoni
1/2 pound ground Italian sausage
1/2 onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 teaspoon creole seasoning
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
1 cup baby bellas, sliced
1/2 pound asparagus, woody ends removed, and cut into quarters
1/2 cup chicken broth
1/4 cup pasta water
1/2 cup shredded parmesan cheese, divided
1 tablespoon fresh parsley, chopped
black pepper, as needed

Directions:
Cook rigatoni according to package directions. Reserve 1/4 cup pasta water.

In a large skillet, Cook the Italian sausage, onion, garlic, creole seasoning and onion powder until sausage is cooked through. Within the last few minutes, add the baby bellas to saute. Then, add the asparagus, chicken broth, pasta water and cook for about 5 minutes, until asparagus is tender. Stir in 1/4 cup parmesan, parsley and cooked pasta and heat through. Serve topped with remaining 1/4 cup parmesan.



Adapted from: Creole Contessa

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On the blog... one year ago: Green Apple Martini



Two years ago: Pasta Fresca inspired by Noodles and Company


This recipe is shared at these blogs: Time to Sparkle at Inside BruCrew Life, Treasure Box Tuesday at Memories by the Mile, In and Out of the Kitchen at Feeding Big, You're Gonna Love it at Kathe with an EShare your Stuff at Table for Seven, Tasty Tuesdays at Anyonita Nibbles, Whimsy Wednesdays at The NY Melrose Family, Cast Party at Lady Behind the CurtainFreedom Friday at Love Bakes Good CakesThe Best Blog RecipesA Dash of SanityThe Better BakerThis Gal CooksFlour Me with Love

Mar 12, 2014

Roasted Mushroom and Asparagus Vegetable Wraps Recipe

This post contains affiliate links. HECR receives a small commission from purchases made through these links at no cost to you! Thanks for your support!

This healthy wrap is a delicious lunch or dinner option! It's savory flavors come from onions, bell peppers, rosemary, balsamic, garlic and hummus!


This healthy wrap is a delicious lunch or dinner option! It's savory flavors come from onions, bell peppers, rosemary, balsamic, garlic and hummus! Roasted Mushroom and Asparagus Vegetable Wraps Recipe  from Hot Eats and Cool Reads



Hello!! I hope your week's been great so far!

Today I have a wonderful recipe for you, plus reviews and a giveaway for two great cookbooks!


Mar 10, 2014

2 Ingredient Strawberry Cream Cheese Fruit Dip Recipe

Hey! I hope you had a great weekend! It feels like spring right now in MN, so we spent some time outside this weekend. Temps in the 40's, compared to below zero, was a major heatwave! My daughter had a blast riding her bike up and down the sidewalk. We're really going to enjoy our yard and neighborhood once all the snow melts!

Today's recipe is amazing and SO simple!! I've been making this fruit dip for years, and most recently made it for my daughter's snack at her last girl scout meeting. The girls were busy making fairy gardens, with basil planted in them, and completely devoured the fruit tray when they were finished! It was a fun evening for them!

The best thing about this dip, is how easy it is. Two ingredients.... strawberry cream cheese spread, and marshmallow cream. Perfect snack in minutes. My kinda recipe! Enjoy! :)




 

Strawberry Cream Cheese Fruit Dip (click here to print recipe)

What you need:
1- 7 ounce container marshmallow creme
1- 8 ounce container cream cheese

Directions:
Mix both ingredients together until combined. Serve with any fresh fruit.

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On the blog... one year ago: Hungarian Mushroom Soup



Two years ago: Sparkling Leprechaun Kiss


This recipe is shared at these blogs: Time to Sparkle at Inside BruCrew Life,  Weekend Potluck at The Better BakerShow me Your Plaid at The Plaid and Paisley KitchenRecipe Sharing Monday at Jam HandsMix it Up at Flour Me with LoveMarvelous Mondays at This Gal CooksTreasure Box Tuesday at Memories by the MileIn and Out of the Kitchen at Feeding BigYou're Gonna Love it at Kathe with an E, Share your Stuff at Table for SevenTasty Tuesdays at Anyonita NibblesWhimsy Wednesdays at The NY Melrose FamilyCast Party at Lady Behind the Curtain

Mar 6, 2014

Creamy Lemon Spinach Tuna Casserole Recipe (No Cream Soup!)

Hello lovelies!

I hope you're having a fantastic week so far! I have a wonderful recipe for you today. Full of cheesy, creamy goodness! Creamy Lemon Spinach Tuna Casserole! It's great for those of you who participate in Lent, or those looking for an affordable and delicious homemade meal!




The lemon and tuna flavors work so great with each other and adding the spinach gets you some much needed veggies! I love making casseroles that don't have cream of can soup in them, and this one is still super easy to prepare, even with making the sauce from scratch!


What are your favorite casseroles??

Creamy Lemon Spinach Tuna Casserole (click here to print recipe)

What you need:
8 ounces penne pasta, cooked al dente
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 medium onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 1/2 tablespoons flour
1/2 cup chicken stock
1/4 cup sour cream
1 cup half and half
zest from 1 small lemon
juice from 1/2 small lemon
1 teaspoon dried parsley
3 cups fresh spinach, chopped
1- 6 ounce can tuna, drained and flaked
1/2 cup shredded parmesan cheese, divided
1/2 cup shredded mozzarella cheese, divided
salt and pepper

Directions:
Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

In a large skillet over medium heat, drizzle the olive oil and saute the onion and garlic for about 4 minutes. Sprinkle with the flour and stir to combine. Cook for 1 minute then add the stock, sour cream, half and half, zest, lemon juice, parsley salt and pepper. Cook for another 2-3 minutes until the sauce starts to thicken then add the spinach, tuna, 1/4 cup parmesan and 1/4 cup mozzarella. Stir constantly until the cheese melts. Add the cooked pasta and combine.

Pour into a greased 8x11 inch baking dish and top with remaining parmsean and mozzarella. Bake for 15-20 minutes, until cheese is melted.

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On the blog... one year ago: Linguine with Ground Turkey Meatballs and Marinara


Two years ago: Easy Baked Sweet and Sour Chicken


This recipe is shared at these blogs: Freedom Fridays at Love Bakes Good Cakes, Weekend Potluck at The Better Baker, Time to Sparkle at Inside BruCrew LifeShow me Your Plaid at The Plaid and Paisley KitchenRecipe Sharing Monday at Jam HandsMix it Up at Flour Me with LoveMarvelous Mondays at This Gal Cooks

Mar 4, 2014

Grape Sherbet Recipe

Hey! Sorry I haven't posted in awhile! My blogging computer is on the fritz, so it's been hard getting a post up and ready with an unfamiliar computer! Hopefully it will be up and running soon!

Today's recipe is an easy and tasty one! Grape Sherbet! I bought an ice cream machine about 6 months ago, but never got around to using it with the move and everything else. I finally used that bad boy and I am now addicted. I cannot wait to experiment some more. My friend Stacy and her son gave this recipe 2 thumbs up! Stacy is a professional ice cream eater, I swear, so I was glad it won her approval! Haha!




 

Grape Sherbet (click here to print recipe)
1 quart

What you need:
1 3/4 cups grape juice
3 tablespoons fresh squeezed lemon juice
1/2 cup sugar
1 3/4 cup half and half

Directions:
In a large bowl, combine all ingredients. Pour into the cylinder of a one quart ice cream machine. Freeze according to manufacturers directions, around 20 minutes for my machine. You may need to transfer to a bowl and freeze for 1-2 hours if the mixture is too thin.

Recipe source: The Best of Country Cooking 2003

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On the blog... one year ago: Turkey, Barley and Vegetable Soup



Two years ago: Restaurant Review... House of Pizza, St Cloud, MN


This recipe is shared at these blogs: Freedom Fridays at Love Bakes Good Cakes,  Weekend Potluck at The Better BakerTime to Sparkle at Inside BruCrew Life,

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