Thursday, December 26, 2013

Red Velvet Trifle

Did you have a good Christmas? We had a great Christmas. I didn't do much cooking or meal planning,  but I did pick a few dishes that I felt I could make without getting in the way too much. One of those dishes was this Red Velvet Trifle. I had been wanting to make this, but I didn't have a trifle bowl, which by the way has been remedied, thanks mom! I used my mother-in-law's trifle bowl and we had this for Christmas dinner.

One of the best parts of this trifle is that you can make it ahead. There is already enough going on Christmas day to be stressing about a dessert! I also think this would be great for an office party, you keep it in a fridge and it is perfect cold or at room temperature. Another reason I love trifles, is that you just crumble everything and just layer it, there isn't a lot of stress for it to be perfect, you know, like a perfectly iced caked or a cheesecake {with no cracks!}

This tasted just as delicious as it is beautiful, it is rich and decadent. It has 3 of my favorite ingredients, red velvet, marscapone, and chocolate ganache. Yum! Make this and you won't be disappointed.
Source: Fat Girl Trapped in a Skinny Body

For the Cake:
2 1/2 cups of All-Purpose Flour
1 teaspoon of Baking Powder
1 teaspoon of Salt
2 tablespoons of Cocoa Powder,  unsweetened
2 oz. of Red Food Coloring
1/2 cup of Butter, unsalted & room temperature
1 1/2 cups of Sugar
2 Eggs,  room temperature
1 teaspoon of Vanilla Extract
1 cup of Buttermilk, room temperature
1 teaspoon of White Vinegar
1 teaspoon of Baking Soda

For the Ganache:
1/2 cup of Half and Half
1 cup of Dark Chocolate Chips, chopped + extra for layering

For the Frosting:
8 oz. of Marscapone Cheese, room temperature
4 oz. of Cream Cheese, room temperature
1/3 cup of Sugar
2 cups of Heavy Whipping Cream

First, preheat the oven to 350 degrees and prepare 2, 9 inch cake pans, or 3, 8 inch cake pans; coat with butter and flour or spray liberally with Baker's Joy.

Now, in a medium sized bowl, mix together the flour, baking powder, and salt; set aside.

Next, in a small bowl, mix the cocoa powder and food coloring together until they form a paste; set aside.

Now, in the bowl of your stand mixer, beat together the butter and sugar, until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add the eggs one at a time, making sure each is fully combined. Add the vanilla and red cocoa paste. Mix until well combined. Add 1/3 of the flour mixture, when it is fully mixed in, add half of the buttermilk, another 1/3 of the flour, last 1/2 of buttermilk, and last 1/3 of flour mixture. Scrape down the bowl of the mixture and make sure it is completely mixed.

In a small bowl, combine the vinegar and baking soda. Add to the cake mix and combine well.

Divide the cake batter into prepared pans and bake for 25-30 minutes.

Remove from oven and let cool on wire racks for 10 minutes. Allow the cakes to completely cool before assembling the trifle.

Now, make the ganache. In a small saucepan, bring the half and half to a simmer, not a boil. Stir in the chocolate until it is smooth; set aside.

Next, make the frosting, in a stand mixer bowl or a bowl with a hand mixer, beat the marscapone, cream cheese, and sugar together on high speed until light and fluffy. Reduce the speed to medium and add the cream in and beat until it looks like soft whipped cream.

When you are ready to assemble the trifle, crumble the cake and place 1/3 of the cake crumbs on the bottom of your trifle bowl, top with 1/3 of the ganache, 1/3 of marscapone frosting, and a sprinkle of mini chocolate chips, repeat layers 2 more times.

Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve.


Happy Cooking,
The Barbee Housewife

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Puppy Chow Cookies

I know that there is some controversy in what the chex mix cereal covered in peanut butter and chocolate then tossed in powdered sugar is called, some people call it muddy buddies and some people call it puppy chow. I have always called it puppy chow, so here I introduce to you puppy chow cookies.

They are just as messy to make and just as good to eat. One of my friends, said that powdered sugar is the glitter of the cooking world, I just love that quote. So. True. These are just as good to eat, however, you may not aimlessly eat half of a ziplock bag full, you may just have one cookie. I think it is a little easier to have self-control with these cookies, compared to a huge ziplock bag.

To make these cookies and have the most success, I recommend cooling the cookies completely before coating in chocolate. You can easily start this recipe at night, cool the cookies overnight, and finish the next morning!
Source: Cookies & Cups

For the Cookie:
1/2 cup of Butter, room temperature for 30 minutes
1 cup of Peanut Butter, creamy
1/2 cup of Granulated Sugar
1/2 cup of Light Brown Sugar
1 Egg, large
1 tablespoon of Vanilla
1 teaspoon of Salt
1 1/4 cup of Flour

For the Coating:
1 1/2 cups of Semisweet Chocolate Chips
2 tablespoons of Vegetable Oil
1/3 cup of Peanut Butter, creamy
1/4 cup of Butter
2 cups of Powdered Sugar

First, preheat your oven to 350 degrees and line a baking sheet with a silpat mat or parchment paper.

Now, in your mixing bowl, cream the butter and peanut butter together until until smooth. Add the sugar and light brown sugar and beat for 2 minutes. Add the egg, vanilla, and salt and mix well. Reduce the speed to low and gradually add the flour in until combined.

Next, using a tablespoon measurement, scoop out the cookie dough and roll into your palms to form a ball, fit 12 cookies on a baking sheet. Use the bottom of a glass cup and barely press on the cookie to flatten it to 1/2 inch thick.

Bake for 9-10 minutes until golden at the edge. Let cool on the pan for 5 minutes before removing to a wire rack to cool completely.

After the cookies have cooled completely, in a microwave-safe bowl, combine the chocolate chips, vegetable oil, peanut butter, and butter. Place in the microwave for one minute and stir, remove and repeat in 30 second intervals until the chocolate has melted. Place the powdered sugar in a shallow dish.

Place one cookie in the chocolate and flip using a spoon and coating each side well; remove from the chocolate to the powdered sugar dish, coat in the sugar and place on wire rack to harden. Repeat until all cookies are finished.

Store in an airtight container. I stored mine in a large gallon ziplock bag laying down with wax paper in between each layer.


Happy Cooking,
The Barbee Housewife

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Peppermint Crunch Bark

Holiday barks are one of the best and easiest treats. You can make lots of different kinds and they really do not take that long, at all.

Peppermint bark has long been Ethan's favorite, I even tried to sway him last year with Salted Chocolate Toffee Pretzel Bark, but to no avail, he was still loving his peppermint bark. This peppermint crunch bark has everything you love about regular peppermint bark, but it is amped up, just a little bit. You add rice krispie cereal to it! It gives it an extra crunch and does not mess up the flavors, that part is still traditional. When Ethan tried this one, he has a new favorite, it is that good!

Make this for someone who needs a holiday treat, your hair stylist, the mailman, package delivery guys, or your next door neighbors. It is so easy and everyone loves homemade holiday treats. 'Tis the season!
Source: Shutterbean

1 lb. of White Chocolate, + 2 tablespoons of Vegetable Oil if using chips
2 cups of Rice Krispie Cereal
6-7 Candy Canes, unwrapped and crushed
Wax Paper

First, prepare a baking sheet with wax paper or a silpat mat.

Now, place the chocolate (& oil, if using just chips) in the microwave and heat for one minute, stir, and repeat in 30 second intervals, until the chocolate has melted.

Next, stir the cereal into the melted chocolate. Spread onto the baking sheet and spread out into a thin layer with a spatula. Sprinkle the crushed candy on top, you may not use all, just cover the surface.

Now, take a sheet of wax paper and press the candies into the chocolate/cereal mix. The wax will help your hands from getting burned and sticking to the chocolate. Once all of the candies have been pressed in, discard the wax paper. Place the baking sheet in the freezer for 20-30 minutes. Break into pieces.

Store in an airtight container, keep in the refrigerator if your kitchen keeps warm.


Happy Cooking,
The Barbee Housewife

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Chocolate Covered Cinnamon & Peanut Butter Chex Bites

Okay, yes the name is long- the other option was Dessert Chex Bites, which is not near descriptive enough, in my opinion. Anyway, I digress, don't let the name scare you away. These are so, so, so easy to make and keep forever in the refrigerator.

These are a holiday snack that isn't too sweet, because it still has the saltiness from the cereal and nuts. I love that. It also is the perfect size bite, because they are made in a mini-muffin tin. I tried out some in a big muffin tin and much preferred the perfect size bite.

I think the old Southern saying, if it moves, monogram it applies to the holidays as well, in regards to chocolate, cover all the things in chocolate.
Source: Half Baked Harvest

2 cups of Corn Chex Cereal
1 cup of Rice Chex Cereal
1 cup of Wheat Chex Cereal
1 cup of Bite-Size Pretzels
1 cup of Popcorn, plain & air-popped
1 cup of Mixed Nuts
1/4 cup of Butter, salted & melted
1 teaspoon of Cinnamon
1 teaspoon of Vanilla Extract
1 cup of Creamy Peanut Butter
1 cup of Karo Syrup, light or dark
1 cup of Brown Sugar, light or dark
3 cups of Semisweet Chocolate Chips
1-2 tablespoons of Vegetable Oil

First, prepare your muffin tins; spray with nonstick spray. This recipe yields 24 regular sized muffins or 48 mini muffins. You could make bars, for this just spray a 9 x 13 pan.

Now, in a large bowl, combine the cereals, pretzels, popcorn, and nuts. Toss well to combine.

Next, in a small bowl, whisk together the melted butter, cinnamon, and vanilla extract. Pour over the chex mix and stir well, making sure every piece is coated, using your hands. Set aside.

In a medium-sized saucepan, melt the peanut butter, karo syrup, and brown sugar; bring to a boil. Once the mixture begins to bubble, stir for one minute and remove from heat. Pour over the chez mix and combine well with a spatula.

Using a cookie scoop, spoon, or tablespoon measurement, spoon the mixture into your prepared cupcake pans.

Now, melt the chocolate and one tablespoon of vegetable oil over medium-high heat in the microwave for one minute and stir, add more vegetable oil if it is not smooth enough and microwave in 30 second increments until is is fully melted, stirring in between.

Spoon a tablespoon of chocolate over each chex mix in the muffin tins. When finished, place in the freezer for 20-30 minutes to harden.

Store in a airtight container in your kitchen or if it runs warm, in the refrigerator.


Happy Cooking,
The Barbee Housewife

Monday, December 16, 2013

Coffee Toffee

You will be seeing more desserts, cookies, treats, and candies from me in the next two weeks and maybe a few slowcooker meals in thrown in the mix, too. We have to eat dinner, but most of the time is devoted to baking. It is one of the things that I look forward to the most about the holidays, the baking. I have already been baking and giving away to my dear friends and family and this has had some of the best reviews already. I guess it shouldn't have surprised me, but it did. It was one of the easiest things I made thus far; I have actually made it 3 times already.

If you do not have a candy thermometer, I cannot recommend enough to just get one. I just got one myself in October and had been putting it off and pushing recipes aside that needed them. That was such a shame, it is not hard to use, you literally just clip it onto your pot/pan and it was like five bucks?! Shocking. I think the accuracy from the candy thermometer is what makes this toffee so easy, it takes the guessing game out of, is it done? is it burning? questions that come with making toffee.

This toffee is spiked with espresso powder, molasses, and flaky sea salt. You really can't go wrong there.
Source: Smitten Kitchen Cookbook

8 tablespoons of Butter
1/2 cup of Light Brown Sugar
1/2 cup of Granulated Sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons of Molasses
1/2 teaspoon of Sea Salt
1 1/2 teaspoons of Instant Espresso Powder
1 cup of Semisweet Chocolate Chips
1/2 cup of Hazelnuts, chopped

First, line a baking sheet with a silpat mat or parchment paper.

Next, in a medium- sized saucepan, with your candy thermometer attached, melt the butter, brown sugar, sugar, molasses, sea salt, and espresso together over medium-high heat. Cook, whisking occasionally, until the thermometer reads 250 degrees, and then stir constantly until it reaches 300 degrees.

Pour the mixture on your prepared baking sheet. Sprinkle the chocolate chips on top and let rest for a minute. Now use an offset spatula to spread the melted chocolate over the toffee. Sprinkle with the chopped hazelnuts.

Place in the freezer to harden, 20-30 minutes. When it has hardened, break into pieces and store in an airtight container.

*If your kitchen is warm or you are in a warm climate, you may want to keep it in the refrigerator to prevent melting & stickiness.


Happy Cooking,
The Barbee Housewife

Friday, December 13, 2013

Gingerbread Pancakes

I love making breakfast. There is something about starting off the day with something special. Ethan loves pancakes, so I love to make them for him. They are super easy to make and they are one of his favorites, it is a win-win situation. I will always take extra pancakes and layer them between wax paper and place them in a ziplock for later use. You can easily pop them in a toaster or a microwave to warm them up and it is a homemade breakfast in just seconds.

Gingerbread is a flavor that I often overlook during the holidays, I am always all about the chocolate. However, I am learning to appreciate it more and more. Ginger snaps and maple gingerbread cookie dough ice cream, yeah I think that will change anyone's mind about the gingerbread flavor. These pancakes were just icing on the cake or syrup on the pancake to our new gingerbread fascination. 

I choose this recipe from The Red Headed Baker's cooking blog as part of a cooking swap that is hosted by A Taste of Home Cooking. They are always so much fun. I love choosing something delicious and these were perfect! 

1 cup of All-Purpose Flour
1/2 teaspoon of Baking Powder
1/8 teaspoon of Baking Soda
1/8 teaspoon of Salt
1 1/2 teaspoon of Ground Ginger
1/2 teaspoon of Ground Allspice
1/4 teaspoon of Ground Cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon of Ground Cloves
1 Egg, large
2/3 cup of Milk
2 tablespoons of Molasses

First, in a medium-sized bowl whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, ginger, allspice, cinnamon, and cloves. Set aside.

Now, in a small mixing bowl, whisk the egg, milk, and molasses together. Pour over the dry ingredients and stir until just combined.

Next, heat a griddle pan to medium heat, spray with nonstick spray. Using a 1/4 cup measurement, scoop the batter onto the pan. Let cook for a few minutes until lightly browned, flip and cook until the other side is lightly browned, a few more minutes.

Serve with butter and maple syrup.


Happy Cooking,
The Barbee Housewife

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Baked Buffalo Shrimp

I love quick and easy dinners. This shrimp takes about 5 minutes to prepare and that is being generous, and it only takes 15 minutes to bake.

This recipe is reminiscent of one of our favorites, Lemon-Butter Shrimp. I said that exact statement to Ethan, and his response was, "Oh yeah, that recipe. Everyone raved about that and loved it." There was definitely a sound of so, why aren't we making that for dinner instead?

During dinner, he said he thought this recipe was better. I am not sure about better, because they are both so, so, good. This shrimp gets a kick from the buffalo sauce and amazing flavor from the Greek seasoning. You should definitely put a loaf of crusty bread in the oven for the last five minutes to warm up for dipping in the sauce. We served this with a side salad and dinner was ready. This is a perfect weeknight meal.
Source: Oysters & Pearls

2 Lemons, sliced
1 lb. of Shrimp, shell removed, tail on
2 tablespoons of Greek Seasoning
1 stick of Butter, melted
1/2 cup of Hot Sauce, like Frank's

First, preheat your oven to 350 degrees and prepare a baking sheet, double line it with aluminum foil.

Now, spread the sliced lemons on the baking sheet; top with shrimp. Spread the seasoning on top of the shrimp, drizzle the butter on top, and then drizzle with hot sauce.

Bake for 15 minutes. When it comes out of the oven, give it a big stir to mix it all together.


Happy Cooking,
The Barbee Housewife

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Chicken and Dumplings

I should have made this meal a long time ago, it is one of Ethan's favorites. There is just something about getting in the kitchen and making a special meal for someone you love. I pushed up my sleeves and got excited about making a dough, rolling it out, cutting it into rectangles, and freezing it, while a whole chicken was boiling.

A bonus to this meal, I had about 8 cups of extra delicious chicken broth to add to my quickly depleting stash in our freezer. This time of year I cannot make it fast enough. All of our meals are warm and comforting. This recipe made four generous servings.

This meal was a little work, but I enjoyed it and it was well worth it. Ethan said it was up in the top two best he has ever had, that was very high praise to me. The dumplings puffed up in the broth and became thick and delicious and my favorite part of the meal. This was perfect for the cold and rainy weather that was outside, I can only imagine how perfect it would have been if it was snowing.
Source: The Kitchn

For the Chicken:
1 whole Chicken, neck and gizzards removed
1 Onion, peeled and halved
3 carrots, peeled and cut into large pieces
3 stalks of Celery, cut into large pieces
Salt and Pepper, to taste

For the Dumplings:
3 cups of All-Purpose Flour
3/4 teaspoons of Salt
3/4 teaspoons of Baking Soda
4 1/2 tablespoons of Shortening
1 cup of Whole Milk

First, you are going to prepare your chicken. Place the chicken, onion, carrots, and celery in a large stock pot. Fill the pot with water, until the chicken is completely covered; liberally sprinkle with salt and pepper, be generous with it. Bring the water to a boil and then reduce to a light simmer. Cook for an hour or until the chicken reaches an internal temperature of 165.

Once the chicken is cooked, remove it from the stock to a bowl to cool. Strain the stock and discard the vegetables. You will only need 6 cups of stock for the chicken and dumplings, save the rest for a later time.

While the chicken is cooling, start on the dumplings. In a large bowl whisk together the flour, salt, and baking soda. Use your hands to work in the shortening, until it is pea shaped and distributed evenly. Pour in the milk in 1/4 increments and work together with your hands, until it just comes together. Do not overwork.

Lightly flour a work space or large cutting board, roll the dough out until it is 1/4 inch thick. Cut your dough into rectangles about 2 inches long and 1 inch wide. Place the cut dumplings on a baking sheet lined with parchment or wax paper. Place in the freezer for about 30 minutes.

While the dumplings are in the freezer, shred the chicken. Remove all skins and bones and pick the chicken into medium sized pieces. You will need 3-4 cups for the chicken and dumplings, save the rest for chicken salad or chicken noodle soup.

Bring the 6 cups of chicken broth to a light simmer in a dutch oven or stockpot, over medium-low heat. Add the dumplings, do not stir, let them cook for 6-7 minutes. Add the chicken, do not stir, just press it down to submerge it in the broth and reduce the heat to low, let simmer for 15-20 minutes or until the mixture has thickened. Liberally salt and pepper the dish and give one light stir, trying not to break the dumplings.

Ladle into bowls.


Happy Cooking,
The Barbee Housewife

Monday, December 9, 2013

Hot Cocoa Cookies

When the cold weather rolls around, everyone wants hot chocolate. I had not had hot chocolate in YEARS, until recently, about last week, actually. It was freezing and my mom made hot chocolate, I was in shock, I have since realized that sipping chocolate isn't exactly the most healthy thing ever and do not drink it, usually. I had one sip of her's and realized why everyone loves hot chocolate, I fell in love all over again with hot chocolate. All of my previous inhibitions about why sipping chocolate is bad for you went out the window.

These cookies encompass everything you love about hot chocolate and more. They are the perfect chocolate cookie, that is topped with a chocolate that melts, and a marshmallow, and then more chocolate. These are a perfect treat for when it gets cold outside, they are easy to make and look so pretty. They keep well in an air-tight container, especially if you pop them in the microwave a few seconds to let them get melty and ooey-gooey again.

The cookies call for a one hour chilling time in the refrigerator, don't skip this step. This step makes sure you cookies don't spread and are fluffy.
Source: Everyday Rachel Ray, via Pip and Debby

1 stick of Butter, unsalted
7 bars of Semi-Sweet Chocolate, 3.5 oz. each, 12 oz. chopped, 7.5 oz. cut into 1 inch squares, the rest for garnish
1 1/2 cups of Flour
1/4 cup of Cocoa Powder, unsweetened
1 1/2 teaspoons of Baking Powder
1/4 teaspoon of Salt
1 1/4 cups of Light Brown Sugar
3 Eggs, at room temperature for at least 30 minutes
1 1/2 teaspoons of Vanilla Extract
30 Marshmallows, large size, snipped in half

First, in a medium saucepan, melt the butter and 12 oz. of chopped chocolate, stirring frequently, over medium heat. Let cool for 15 minutes.

Now while you chocolate is cooling, in a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, and salt. Set aside.

Next, using your stand mixer, beat together the brown sugar, eggs, and vanilla extract on low for 2 minutes. Mix in the cooled chocolate until just blended. Add in the flour in two batches and mix until just combined. Refrigerate the dough for one hour.

When ready to make the cookies, preheat your oven to 325 degrees and line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper or silpat mats.

Using a tablespoon measurement, measure out a tablespoon of dough and roll each into a ball. Line on your cookie sheet, flatten them slightly with your palm or the bottom of a glass, 16 should fit on one tray.

Bake for 12 minutes, or until the tops are crackly.

While your cookies are baking, place one piece of chocolate on the cut side of the marshmallow.

Remove the cookies from the oven, and place the chocolate side down onto each cookie, bake the cookies for 4 more minutes. Transfer the pans to cooling racks, and let cool for 5 minutes and spread additional grated chocolate on top. Transfer the cookies to the wire racks to cool completely. Repeat until all cookies have been made.


Happy Cooking,
The Barbee Housewife

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Chicken Tortilla Soup

I love hearty soups for lunch with a side salad or a big bowl for dinner when it is chilly outside. I actually love soup all the time and make it often during the summer, too! This soup encompassed everything I love about mexican food, without the carbs and laden with cheese. It has enough spice to brighten up the chicken and the broth is so delicious.

I took a short cut with this soup and moved away from tradition by not frying my own tortilla strips, however, the crumbled chips work perfectly, and save a few extra calories as well!

This soup was perfect reheated as well, so get in your kitchen and make a batch, leave out half for lunches and dinner and freeze the rest. It is not easy to make a small amount of soup, so it is important that it reheats well for me!
Source: adapted from, So Tasty, So Yummy

2 Chicken Breast, boneless and skinless
3 teaspoons of Cumin, divided
1 teaspoon of Garlic Powder
1 teaspoon of Onion Powder
1 tablespoon of Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1/2 of a Small Onion, chopped
2 cloves of Garlic, chopped
1 medium Jalapeño Pepper, slice 4 slices, and dice the remaining pepper
6 cups of Chicken Broth
1 can of Rotel diced tomatoes with chiles, drained
1 can of Corn, drained
1 can of Black Beans, rinsed and drained
1/2 teaspoon of Salt
1 ripe medium Avocado, sliced
1/2 cup of Monterrey Jack Cheese, shredded
1/2 cup of Tortilla Chips, crumbled
1 Lime, sliced into wedges
4 tablespoons of Sour Cream

First, preheat your oven to 375 degrees.

Now, combine 2 teaspoons of the cumin, garlic powder, and onion powder together and rub all over the chicken breast. Bake the chicken for 25-30 minutes until the meat is at 165 and cooked thoroughly. Shred the chicken in your stand mixer or with 2 forks. Set aside.

Next, in a dutch oven or stock pot, heat the olive oil over medium heat, sauté the onion for 2 minutes; add garlic and diced jalapeños and cook for another 30 seconds. Add the broth, rotel, corn, black beans, salt, and remaining 1 teaspoon of cumin. Heat to boiling, reduce heat and simmer for 15-20 minutes. Add chicken and heat for another 5-10 minutes until the chicken has warmed through.

Ladle the soup in 4 bowls and top with avocado, cheese, tortilla chips, squeeze of lime wedge, and a dollop of sour cream.


Happy Cooking,
The Barbee Housewife

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Granola-Crusted Nuts

I love making snacky foods for cocktail hour or game watching parties and nuts are always a good choice. They are easy to eat, fun to make, adaptable, and almost everyone loves them, not to mention, they are always addicting.

Granola has been a long time favorite of mine and I am always making a new batch to keep around. These nuts could be consider granola and go in yogurt or they could be considered nuts and in a bowl, meant for snacking. I have eaten these nuts both ways and they are both delicious.

These were so simple to make, I made them for my sister-in-law's care package and Ethan ate them all before I could package them up, they were that good. I quickly whipped up another batch, I could not send off the package without these!

You can adapt these in so many ways. Feel free to try a different nut, like walnuts, you can also replace the pepitas with pistachio or sunflower seeds and you can switch out the dark brown sugar for light brown sugar. This recipe below was our favorite, find your favorite!
Source: Smitten Kitchen

3/4 cup of Rolled Oats
1/4 cup of Coconut, shredded and unsweetened
2 tablespoons of Pepitas
1/4 cup of Dark Brown Sugar
1/8 teaspoon of Cinnamon
Few pinches of Sea Salt
1 large Egg White
2 teaspoons of Water
2 cups of Pecan Halves

First, preheat your oven to 300 degrees and prepare a baking sheet with a silpat mat or parchment paper.

Now, place the oats, coconut, pepitas, brown sugar, cinnamon, and sea salt in a food processor or blender and pulse until it is very well chopped, but not powdery.

Next, in a large bowl, beat the egg whites and water together until frothy. Add the pecans and coat well, you want the egg whites to get in between all of the cracks. Pour the granola mixture on top and give a big stir, one or two times. I found the more you stir, the granola does not stay on well. Pour the nuts onto your prepared baking sheet and spread any extra granola on top.

Bake for 20 minutes, stirring once around 10 minutes, the nuts may go up to 10 minutes longer if they do not look toasty enough, but be very careful, they could burn quickly.

Let the nuts cool on the baking sheet and then break into clusters and store in an airtight container.


Happy Cooking,
The Barbee Housewife

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Pumpkin, Maple, & Pecan Cheesecake

This cheesecake is not overly pumpkiny because it has the yummy maple to counteract it; it tastes just like Fall. Cheesecake is my all time favorite dessert, well one of them, and I have always been so intimidated to make it.

This cheesecake is going to be my go-to Thanksgiving dessert from now on. Number one it is perfect, you are forced to make it the day before, so no scrambling or losing track of time and it can't be done the day before. Number two, if your cheesecake cracks, which it probably will, you spoon a delicious glaze on top and no one knows! I guess we should do a number three, it is amazingly, sinfully delicious.

Add this to your Thanksgiving menu, you will not regret it!
Source: Food Network

10 Graham Crackers, finely ground, about 1 1/3 cups
1/4 cup of Sugar
5 tablespoons of Butter, melted
3 packages of Cream Cheese, 8 oz. each, at room temperature
3 large Eggs, at room temperature for 30 minutes
1 can of Pumpkin Puree, 15 oz.
1 can of Sweetened Condensed Milk, 14 oz.
3 tablespoons of Pure Maple Syrup
2 teaspoons of Cinnamon
1 teaspoon of Nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon of Salt

For the Glaze:
1 cup of Heavy Cream
2/3 cup of Pure Maple Syrup
3/4 cup of Pecan Pieces

First, preheat the oven to 325 degrees.

Next, pulse the graham crackers and sugar in a food processor or blender unit they are finely ground; place in the bottom of your springform pan. Pour the melted butter over the crumbs and press with your hands into a crust onto the bottom of the pan.

Now, beat the cream cheese on high speed until it is very fluffy. Reduce the speed and add in the eggs, bring the speed back up to incorporate the eggs. Add the pumpkin puree, condensed milk, and maple syrup, continue beating on high. Add the cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt and beat for a few more minutes, the more you beat the mixture the lighter and fluffier your cheesecake will be.

Pour the cheesecake mixture into the pan and tap the pan a few times on the counter to remove any air pockets.

Bake for 1 hour and 15 minutes, remove and let it cool on a wire rack for 1 hour. Refridgerate it overnight or at least 4 hours.

In a medium saucepan, combine the heavy cream and maple syrup, bring to a boil, stirring for about 15 minutes or until thick. Stir in the pecan pieces. Cover and chill overnight.

Before serving warm up the glaze, until it can be poured, about 30-45 seconds on high in the microwave. Pour over the cheesecake before serving.


Happy Cooking,
The Barbee Housewife

Monday, November 25, 2013

Fall Harvest Salad

I hosted my very first Thanksgiving dinner this year, before I head home to my parent's house for our big Thanksgiving day celebration. It was so much fun. I loved all of the planning that went into it and of course the outcome of all of my dishes. I made everything from scratch and had a blast doing it.

This salad was one of my favorites from the meal. I feel like there are always so many delicious carbs on the table at Thanksgiving, as it should be, and no one would dare touch a boring side salad, at least on Thanksgiving. This salad was anything but boring, it encompassed a few of my very favorite ingredients, so I knew it would be winner.

This salad will not be a lone dish that does not even get touched at your meal, you will even have people going back for seconds. This salad can't really be prepped too far in advance, because the apples will turn and the vinaigrette would solidify in the refridgerator, but you can make the pecan clusters a day or two in advance.  It takes a little work, but you aren't doing anything else on Thanksgiving besides cooking (and maybe football, later on.)
Source: Smells Like Home 

2 cups of Butternut Squash, peeled and cubed, about 1 large
3 tablespoons of Extra Virgin Olive Oil, divided
Sea Salt & Freshly Ground Black Pepper
1/2 cup of Pecans, chopped
1 tablespoon of Unsalted Butter
2 tablespoons of Brown Sugar
1 bunch of Kale, stems removed and chopped into 1-2 inch pieces
6 oz. of Brie, cubed
1 Apple, cored and chopped
1/2 cup of Dried Cranberries

 For the Vinaigrette:
2 tablespoons of Pure Maple Syrup
1/3 cup of Olive Oil
1 teaspoon of Dijon Mustard
1 tablespoon of Apple Cider Vinegar
3/4 teaspoon of Sea Salt

First, preheat your oven to 425 degrees. Now, cover a baking sheet with aluminum foil, spread the squash on top. Drizzle the squash with 2 tablespoons of olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Roast the squash for 15-25 minutes, until fork tender.

While the squash is roasting, make your pecan clusters. Prepare a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silpat mat. Heat a medium size sauce pan over medium heat and melt the butter and brown sugar. Cook and stir the butter mixture until it turns to a dark amber color and the sugar has liquified. Toss the pecans with the mixture, coat well, and pour onto your prepared baking sheet. Let cool and then break into clusters.

Now, make the vinaigrette, in a small bowl or mason jar mix all of the ingredients well by whisking or shaking.

In the bowl which you are going to serve your salad in, place the chopped kale inside, drizzle with one tablespoon of olive oil and massage for 2-3 minutes until the kale starts to turn bright green and glossy. 

Layer the salad, place the roasted butternut squash, brie, apples, cranberries, pecan clusters, and drizzle with all of the vinaigrette.


Happy Cooking,
The Barbee Housewife

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Green Beans Gremolata

Green beans have been my favorite vegetable, before I liked most vegetables. I have been enjoying green beans using many different preparations; however, one of my favorites is the step of blanching first. It makes sure that they aren't raw, but they still have a snappy crunch and the bright green color.

This dish would be a perfect Thanksgiving recipe, you can blanch them a day ahead and have the topping ready. When you are ready to serve them, you use your iron skillet to reheat them. There won't be any oven scheduling on this green bean dish. The topping you coat these with is a light flavor that won't overpower any main dish. This is such a versatile side dish and goes with almost anything!
Source: Ina Garten, Foolproof


1 lb. of French Green beans, trimmed
2 teaspoons of Garlic, minced
1 tablespoon of Lemon Zest, grated from 2 small or 1 large lemon
3 tablespoons of Parsley, minced, flat-leaf
3 tablespoons of Parmesan, freshly grated
2 tablespoons of Pine Nuts, toasted
2 1/2 tablespoons of Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Kosher Salt & Freshly Cracked Black Pepper

First, bring a large pot of water to a boil. While you water is coming to a boil, prepare a bowl of ice water. When the water is boiling, Add the green beans and blanch for 2-3 minutes. Place them immediately in the bowl of ice water.

Now, for the gremolata, combine the garlic, lemon zest, parsley, parmesan, and pine nuts in a small bowl.

When ready to serve the green beans, heat the olive oil in a skillet over medium-high heat. Pat the green beans dry and add them to the skillet. Cook until heated through, about 2 minutes. Off of the heat, add the gremolata and toss well; sprinkle with 3/4 teaspoon of salt and 1/4 teaspoon of pepper.


Happy Cooking,
The Barbee Housewife

Monday, November 18, 2013

Mustard-Roasted Fish

One of the main reasons I love having fish for dinner is that it cooks so quickly. Fish makes for perfect weeknight meals. This fish had so much flavor that I think it would be impressive enough to serve to guests as well. We used halibut, but tilapia, cod, or red snapper would also work.

We have fallen in love with whole grain mustard. It is guaranteed that if I find a recipe using whole grain mustard, I know it will be a winner for us. We love it with fresh pretzels and we especially loved it on the Pan-Seared Pork Tenderloin with Whole Grain Mustard Pan Sauce. This fish was no different, it was delicious.

We served this meal with the sea salt & rosemary crusted potatoes and a simple spinach salad. The potatoes and fish cook at the same temperature, so it was easy to put the fish in during the last 15 minutes of baking. This recipe can easily be halved for just two.
Source: Ina Garten, via Food Network

4, 8 oz. Fish Fillets, Halibut, Red Snapper, Tilapia, or Cod
Kosher Salt & Freshly Ground Black Pepper
8 oz. of Creme Fraiche
3 tablespoons of Dijon Mustard
1 tablespoon of Whole Grain Mustard
2 tablespoons of Shallots, minced
2 teaspoons of Capers, drained

First, preheat your oven to 425 degrees.

Next, place the fish fillets skin side down in a oven-proof pan or a sheet pan lined with parchment paper; sprinkle generously with salt and pepper.

Now, in a small bowl, combine the creme fraiche, dijon mustard, whole grain mustard, shallots, and capers. Spoon the sauce over the fish fillets, making sure they fish is all covered.

Bake for 10-15 minutes until the fish is done. Spoon extra sauce from the pan over the fish and serve.


Happy Cooking,
The Barbee Housewife

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Roasted Potato, Onion, & Garlic Soup

I have really started enjoying soup for lunch. It is warm, comforting, and not too filling. I usually pair it with half of a sandwich or a small salad with some meat on top. I have been making a huge batch of soup and sending half of it to my aunt and eating the other half myself. It is hard to just make a little soup. I am sure you could of guessed, but I have been sending it to my aunt because Ethan doesn't like soup! He will eat a very small bowl before dinner, in place of a salad, but that is about it.

This soup is a game-changer. When I had this on the meal-plan he warned me not to be upset if he just ended up having a sandwich, well it is safe to say, he had two huge bowls of this soup. I even put it in the refrigerator instead of the freezer for lunches that same week. I do feel bad for my aunt, as she did not get to try this delicious soup, but so excited to have a soup that Ethan and I both love.

The roasted garlic really adds a great flavor to the soup, so don't skip the roasted garlic. This soup will have a permanent spot on our fall and winter soup schedule. I am officially obsessed! It really has all of the flavors you look for in a soup, it is smooth, garlicky, a little spice, yum, pretty close to perfect.

I chose this recipe from Mary Ellen's Cooking Creations for part of a recipe swap that was hosted by A Taste of Home Cooking. Mary Ellen has lots of great soup recipes and I cannot wait to try more!
Source: Mary Ellen's Cooking Creations

3 tablespoons of Butter
1 large Onion, chopped
2 cloves of Garlic, raw
2 large Potatoes, peeled and cubed
1/2 Bulb of Roasted Garlic
28 oz. of Vegetable or Chicken Broth
1 cup of Heavy Cream
1/8 teaspoon of Cayenne Pepper
1/4 teaspoon of Red Pepper Flakes
Salt and Pepper, to taste
Parsley, optional for garnish

First, melt the butter in a large pot over medium-high heat.

When the butter has melted, add the onions and raw garlic. Cook for 4-5 minutes.

Now, add the potatoes and cook for 4-5 more minutes.

Next, add the roasted garlic and broth and bring to a boil; lower the heat to low and cover. Let cook for 30-40 minutes until the potatoes are tender.

Remove the soup from heat and blend in a blender/food processor/or immersion blender.

Now, add the cream and spices. I found that it needs a large amount of salt and pepper, more than you would think, keep tasting! Gently reheat the soup, over low heat for about 20 minutes.

Garnish with parsley if desired.


Happy Cooking,
The Barbee Housewife

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Sea Salt & Rosemary Crusted Potatoes

Easy side dishes are about as important as an easy main dish for dinner.  I was so excited to find a bag of baby potatoes varying in color at our grocery store. I have realized that they aren't as hard to find as I once thought, keep your eyes peeled and you will probably see them at your local grocery, too! These baby potatoes are so pretty with the purples, reds, and yellows, however, when I cooked them some of the colors went away. This is normal. 

Roasting potatoes is always a go-to side in our house. You can get your carb fix and avoid eating lots of cheese and butter with it. The potatoes impart great flavor through the roasting and different seasonings can help you not get in a rut. These were so easy to prepare, delicious, beautiful, and seemed impressive. 
Source: Mel's Kitchen Cafe

4-5 lbs. of Baby Potatoes, I found a variety bag of purple, red, and yukon, 1/5 - 2 inches each
1 tablespoon of Kosher Salt, coarse
2 tablespoons of Olive Oil
2 tablespoons of fresh Rosemary, minced

First, preheat your oven to 425 degrees and line a baking sheet with aluminum foil or parchment paper.

Next, in a large bowl, toss the potatoes, salt, olive oil, and rosemary. Toss until well combined.

Now, transfer the potatoes to prepared pan and bake for 20 minutes.

After 20 minutes, toss the potatoes and bake for 18-22 more minutes, until fork tender.

Serve warm.


Happy Cooking,
The Barbee Housewife

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Lobster Mac n' Cheese

Sometimes, you just want to indulge. The heart wants what the heart wants and in this case, it was lobster mac n' cheese. This is a dish I rarely ever order out; I fear that the restaurants will use not as fresh lobster in hopes over covering it in cheese, so I made it at home. It was beyond easy and beyond delicious, albeit, a little pricy. I counteracted the last part by cutting out our date night and having it at home and that problem was solved.

The ingredient list for the mac n' cheese is short and in typical Barefoot Contessa style, use only the best of what you can find. I mean really go to the special part of your grocery store and get delicious cheese and the fish supplier and ask for lobster tails. Many grocery stores will steam the lobster tails for you, for free! Just ask. 

This dish is easily the star of any show. It is perfection served with a simple salad and a hearty glass of wine. This dish will serve 8, feel free to half it and receive the same results. 

2 tablespoons of Vegetable Oil
Kosher Salt
1 lb. of Elbow Noodles
1 quart of Whole Milk, 4 cups
8 tablespoons of Butter, unsalted, divided
1/2 cup of All-Purpose Flour
4 cups of Gruyere Cheese, grated, about 12 oz.
2  cups of Extra-Sharp Cheddar Cheese, about 8 oz.
1/2 teaspoon of Black Pepper
1/2 teaspoon of Nutmeg
1 1/2 lbs. of Cooked Lobster Meat, 1/2 inch dice
1 1/2 cups of fresh Bread Crumbs, about 5 slices of bread, crust removed

First, preheat the oven to 375 degrees.

Next, add the oil to a pot of boiling water. Cook the pasta according to package directions. Drain well and set aside.

While the pasta is cooking, in a medium saucepan warm milk on low, do not boil it. 

Now, in a large pot, big enough to add all of the macaroni and sauce to, melt 6 tablespoons of butter. When the butter has melted, whisk in the flour, stirring for 2 minutes.  Whisk in the warm milk and cook for 1-2 minutes until the mixture has thickened. 

Remove the pot from heat and stir in the cheeses, by the handful, whisking until smooth after each addition. Add in the pepper, nutmeg, and 1 tablespoon of salt. Stir in the lobster meat and pasta.

Pour into a large gratin pan. Mix the breadcrumbs with 2 tablespoons of melted butter and spread over the top.

Bake for 30-35 minutes until golden and bubbly. 


Happy Cooking,
The Barbee Housewife

Monday, November 11, 2013

Fall Chex Mix

Around the Barbee household, we always keep a mix of some sort for easy snacking. It might be traditional party chex mix, herbed ritz bits, or a surfer granola mix, but there is always something. These mixes are always easy to put together and easy to grab a handful when dinner isn't going to be ready for another hour or when the afternoon craving hits.

This isn't really a recipe, more of an idea, but it is a delicious idea. It is the perfect combination of salty and sweet and is easily adapted to fit your needs. I think this would be a perfect and easy hostess gift for any Halloween or Thanksgiving party. I am also sending this in a care package to a few students preparing for their finals, perfect brain food. Another good use for this chex mix would be to take it on a car ride!  It is easy to make in a big batch and then divide it into small zip locks for a special treat.
Source: Munchkin Munchies

Cheese Itz
Salted Peanuts
Air-Popped Popcorn
Reese's Pieces
Caramel Corn
Honey Nut Cheerios
Cocoa Puffs

What you'll do, in your largest bowl, or 2 largest bowls, put one cup of each ingredient and mix until combined.

Store in an air-tight container.


Happy Cooking,
The Barbee Housewife

Friday, November 8, 2013

Flat-Roasted Chicken with Tiny Potatoes

I want to kick myself for waiting so long to make this recipe. Let's be honest, I was a little intimidated by it. I had never spatchcocked a chicken or even roasted a whole chicken. I wrote it off as not being made because I couldn't find tiny potatoes. Low and behold, I was in the grocery store and spotted tiny potatoes, I knew what had to be done. I picked up a whole chicken and some fresh thyme and added it to my cart, it was officially on the meal plan. In typical Caroline fashion, this was also going to be served to guests.

If you can't find tiny potatoes, don't let that stop you, just cut up some small potatoes. You could also cut up some sweet potatoes, green beans, mushrooms, brussels sprouts, to add in with the potatoes to roast to make this a complete meal. I made some simple green beans and homemade biscuits to round our meal out.

I could not believe how easy this meal was. If you are feeling nervous about the spatchcocking, watch a youtube video first. I just got to cutting and found it fairly easy and this was without my kitchen shears! I am going to remedy that today. Once you get past the spatchcocking, this meal is so, so, so easy.

The simple flavors are divine. I can't wait to try more variations of roasted chickens. Flat-roasing the chicken will give you a much quicker cook time, which makes it easier to have on a weeknight. In fact, I think this is a perfect weeknight meal. You throw everything in one pan and bake 35-45 minutes, easy peasy.
Source: The Smitten Kitchen Cookbook, by Deb Perelman 

3-3.5 lb. Chicken
Kosher Salt & Freshly Cracked Black Pepper
1 1/2 pounds Tiny Potatoes
2 tablespoons of Melted Butter or Olive Oil
1 Lemon
1 tablespoon of Thyme, fresh

First, pre-heat your oven to 450 degrees.

Now, using a sharp pair of kitchen shears, cut the backbone from the chicken. Sprinkle the cavity generously with salt and pepper, flip over into an iron skillet and sprinkle the top with lots of salt and pepper.

Next, nestle the potatoes in around the chicken, drizzle with melted butter or olive oil.

Bake for 35-45 minutes, until the chicken registers at 165 degrees internal temperature and is cooked thoroughly.

Finish the dish by squirting the juice of one lemon over the chicken and topping with fresh thyme.

Cut the chicken in half across the breast, and the legs and wings off the side.


Happy Cooking,
The Barbee Housewife

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Ginger Salad Dressing {Japanese Steak House Copycat}

I have been obsessed with the ginger or house dressing at hibachi restaurants for as long as I can remember. I have tried countless bottles from the grocery store and none of them bring the same punch or kick. This recipe hit the target right on.

The fresh ginger gave it such an amazing flavor. I kept with the traditional style salad, romaine lettuce and it tasted just like what I remembered. The ingredients are interesting and I thought they would never work, but they are perfect.

This dressing helps give the normal everyday side of salad a unique twist. I couldn't get enough of my side salads with this dressing. We served the salads with chicken fried rice, teriyaki chicken, and lo mein.
Source: Todd Wilbur, Top Secret Recipes

1/2 cup of Onion, minced
1/2 cup of Peanut Oil
1/3 cup of Rice Vinegar
2 tablespoons of Water
2 tablespoons of fresh Ginger, peeled and minced
2 tablespoons of Ketchup
2 tablespoons of Celery, minced
4 teaspoons of Soy Sauce
2 teaspoons of Sugar
2 teaspoons of Lemon Juice
1/2 teaspoon of Garlic, minced
1/2 teaspoon of Salt
1/4 teaspoon of Black Pepper

Blend all of the ingredients until smooth in a blender or food processor.

Chill in an airtight container for at least 30 minutes before serving.


Happy Cooking,
The Barbee Housewife

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Pepperoni Pizza Sliders

I am always looking for the perfect game day snack. These are easy to make, filling, and a different twist on the normal pizza. These sandwiches are highly addictive and if making for more than 3-4 people, I would recommend making more than one pan.

These have everything you love about pizza, but on a hawaiian roll. There is plenty of oozy cheese and cutting the pepperoni into 1/4's will ensure that you get a piece of pepperoni in every bite. We used our favorite homemade pizza sauce for this. I always make a batch and keep it in the freezer and microwave it when we need it, feel free to use your favorite sauce!

The tops of the buns get nice and crispy in the last few minutes of baking and the butter and seasonings provide a great savory aspect on the sweet bun.
Source: What's Cookin' Chicago

12 Hawaiian Rolls
3/4 cup of Pizza Sauce, your favorite or my homemade version
1/2 lb. of Pepperoni Slices, about 24, cut into 1/4's
1 1/2-2 cups of Mozzarella Cheese, shredded
4 tablespoons of Unsalted Butter, melted
1/2 tablespoon of Onion Powder
1/2 tablespoon of Garlic Powder
1/2 tablespoon of Italian Seasoning
4-6 dashes of Worcestershire Sauce

First, pre-heat your oven to 350 degrees.

Next, cut all of your hawaiian rolls in half.

Now, spread a little bit of pizza sauce on each side of the inside of the hawaiian rolls. Fill each roll with 2 pepperoni slices and layer with the cheese. Close the roll and place in a 9 x 13 inch baking dish.

Next, in a small bowl whisk together the butter, onion powder, garlic powder, italian seasoning, and worcestershire sauce. Pour over the top of the filled rolls.

Cover the pan with foil and bake for 12-15 minutes, until the cheese is fully melted. Remove the foil and bake for 2-5 more minutes until the tops get crispy and browned.


Happy Cooking,
The Barbee Housewife

Monday, November 4, 2013

Bacon & Sage Meatballs with Buttermilk Gravy

Fall is here and so are the chilly temperatures, there is a bite in the air and the grill has gotten no use in the past few weeks. I got a dutch oven and I have been cooking warm and comforting foods, I love the change of seasons. This meal is a twist on traditional meatballs and has tons of flavor.

The fresh herbs really help this dish pop, so I would not suggest skimping on them. Sage is one of those ingredients that  has a memory attached to it for me. Every Thanksgiving my mom opens the sage and has me and my sister smell while we are making the dressing, the smell of sage takes me back to Thanksgiving week.

You can make this a complete meal by serving it over steamed rice and serving some slightly wilted spinach with it. This dinner will be ready in 30-40 minutes making it a great weeknight meal.
Source: adapted from, The Kitchn

1/2 cup of Milk
1/4 cup of Breadcrumbs, fresh- the quickest way to do this is grate sliced bread
3 slices of Bacon, thick-cut
1 lb. of Ground Pork
1 Egg, beaten
3 tablespoons of Parmesan Cheese
4 tablespoons of Sage, chopped
1/8 teaspoon of Cayenne
1 teaspoon of Salt
1/2 teaspoon of Black Pepper

For the Buttermilk Gravy:
Pan from Bacon/Meatballs
3 tablespoons of Butter
3 tablespoons of Flour
1 teaspoon of Thyme, dried
1/2 cup of White Wine
1 cup of Chicken Broth
1/4 cup of Buttermilk
Salt and Pepper

First, pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees.

Now, place the breadcrumbs in the milk and stir until combined. When the breadcrumbs are soft, squeeze out the milk and discard the milk. Place breadcrumbs in a large bowl.

Next, slice the bacon in half lengthwise and then cut into 1-inch pieces. Cook in a skillet over medium heat until crispy. Remove and place on a plate lined with paper towels. Reserve pan.

Add the pork, egg, parmesan cheese, sage, cayenne, and salt and pepper to the breadcrumbs in the large bowl. Mix well.

Now, form meatballs into walnut sized balls. Heat the skillet from the bacon back to medium-heat and sear each meatball, working in batches, until browned on all sides. Place into a oven-safe baking dish.

Cook for 20 minutes in the oven or until the meatballs are cooked thoroughly.

While the meatballs are cooking, make the gravy. Place the 3 tablespoons of butter in the same skillet you used from the bacon and meatballs over medium-heat. When the butter is melted, add flour and thyme. Stir until the flour has browned and formed a paste, 2-3 minutes. Next, stir in the wine and chicken broth; bring to a boil and continue whisking until it has thickened, 2 minutes. Whisk in the buttermilk and bring it back to a boil, remove from heat and season with salt and pepper.

Serve the meatballs over rice with gravy poured on top.


Happy Cooking,
The Barbee Housewife

Friday, November 1, 2013

Sea Salt & Caramel Snickerdoodle Cookies

Quick! Raid your children's Halloween stash, take all of the Rolo's. You need 35, don't have enough? Get in the car and drive to the closest gas station/grocery store. You will want to make these cookies today.

These are by far some of my favorite cookies I have made. They seemed to encompass everything that makes a perfect cookie, soft, salty, sweet, gooey, and of course, unbelievably yummy. I have already planned on making them again next week to send to my sister-in-law during her finals. I rarely make things this close together, so you know they have to be good.

I have recently fallen in love with Vietnamese Cinnamon from Penzey's. I used an entire container in just 2 weeks, it smells so delicious and sweet, I can't wait to go pick up another jar. If you ever find yourself in a Penzey's or browsing their website, definitely pick some up! *This is not a paid advertisement, I just wanted to share and express my love with you guys!

Source: The Comfort of Cooking


For Cinnamon-Sugar Topping:
1/4 cup of Granulated Sugar
1 tablespoon of Cinnamon

For Cookies:
1 1/2 cups of Granulated Sugar
1 cup of Unsalted Butter, softened
2 Large Eggs
1/4 teaspoon of Vanilla
2 3/4 cups of Flour
2 teaspoons of Cream of Tartar
1 teaspoon of Baking Soda
1/8 teaspoon of Salt
5 packages of Rolo Candies, about 35 individual pieces, unwrapped
Coarse Sea Salt

First, pre-heat your oven to 375 degrees. Prepare your baking sheet with parchment paper or a silpat mat.

Now, combine the cinnamon and sugar for the topping in a shallow dish, set aside.

Next, in your mixing bowl or a large bowl, beat the sugar and butter until light and fluffy on medium speed. Add the eggs in one at a time, then the vanilla.

Now, in a small bowl, combine the flour, cream of tartar, baking soda, and salt. Add into the dough with the speed on low, until the dough is all combined.

Use one tablespoon of dough, flatten it in your hand, place a rolo in the middle and roll the dough around it into a ball. Roll in the cinnamon sugar and place on your prepared baking sheet, leaving enough room for the cookies to spread. I fit 12 cookies per baking sheet. Sprinkle with sea salt.

Bake 7-8 minutes. The cookies will not appear to be done, let cool for 5 minutes on the pan and then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.


Happy Cooking,
The Barbee Housewife

Thursday, October 31, 2013

Pumpkin Alfredo Sauce

My serious love for pumpkin did not start until I was in college. I still am not really fond of pumpkin pie, but I love pumpkin spice lattes and other pumpkin sweet treats. I was really hesitant to try this pumpkin alfredo sauce, it just seemed weird to use it in a savory way. Do not be hesitant, the cream, cheese, and shallots provide a great savory note and it pairs perfect with pasta.

I served this over whole wheat penne, so I did not feel as guilty about indulging in an alfredo sauce. We loved this twist on traditional alfredo, it is perfect for fall.
Source: Does Not Cook Well with Others, originally Food Network

1 tablespoon of Butter, unsalted
1 Shallot, small and finely minced
1/2 cup of Pumpkin Puree
Pinch of Nutmeg
1 1/4 cups of Heavy Cream
1/4 cup of Parmesan Cheese, freshly grated
Salt & Pepper, to taste
Favorite Pasta, for serving

First, melt the butter in a large saucepan over medium-high heat.

Add the shallots and saute, stirring until softened, about 2 minutes. Stir in the pumpkin puree & nutmeg and cook for another minute.

Now, stir in the cream and bring to a slow {not rolling} boil. Immediately reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer, stirring constantly, until the sauce thickens.

Season with salt and pepper.

Serve over your favorite pasta or with cheese tortellini.


Happy Cooking,
The Barbee Housewife

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Quick Coq Au Vin

When meal planning for the week, if I am having trouble deciding what to make or lacking inspiration, I start thinking about my favorite restaurants and what I order there. I have recently discovered a great french restaurant and love ordering the coq au vin. I decided to make it at home and then I was looking through recipes and immediately decided, this is not a weeknight meal, until I found this recipe.

This recipe is a quicker version on coq au vin that cuts down on time and not on flavor.  There is some waiting during the preparation, but you can easily set a timer and leave the kitchen {!!!} and continue on with your nightly chores or catch up on your tv shows for that night. This is truely a one-pot meal, which makes clean-up so easy. You can make mashed potatoes or just have a loaf of crusty bread to complete the meal and soak up the amazing juices.
Source: adapted from, The Kitchn

6-8 Chicken Thighs, large with skin-on, about 3 lbs.
Kosher Salt & Freshly Cracked Black Pepper
1/2 cup of Pancetta or Bacon, diced into 1/2 inch pieces
1 Yellow Onion, large and cut into 1/2 inch pieces
2 Carrot, medium and cut into 1/2 inch pieces
5 cloves of Garlic, minced
2 tablespoons of Tomato Paste
3 cups of Red Wine, dry & fruity, such as Zinfandel
1 cup of Chicken Stock
2 Bay Leaves
6-8 sprigs of fresh Thyme
3/4 cup of Baby Bella Mushrooms
Fresh Parsley, for garnish

First, sprinkle both sides of the chicken with salt and pepper, liberally.

Now, in a large 4-6 quart saucepan or dutch oven with a lid {big enough to hold all of the chicken}, brown the pancetta over medium heat for 5-7 minutes. Add the onions and cook until they begin to soften. Turn the heat up to medium-high heat and add the chicken, skin-side down and brown for 3-5 minutes on each side.

Next, add the onions, carrots, garlic, tomato paste, wine, chicken stock, bay leaves, and thyme to the pot. Cover, reduce heat to low, and cook for 20 minutes or until the chicken is cooked until the internal temperature of 160 degrees. Remove the chicken to a plate and cover with foil.

Now, add the mushrooms to the pot and bring the liquid to a boil, reduce the liquid by 1/3 or 1/2. Remove the bay leaves and thyme sprigs.

Add the chicken back to the pot and let it warm back up, about 10 minutes.

Serve in a bowl with a chicken thigh and a ladle of gravy over top, garnish with fresh parsley.


Happy Cooking,
The Barbee Housewife

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Autumn Squash Soup {Panera Copycat}

When it is chilly or cold outside, all I want for lunch is a bowl of soup and half a sandwich or salad. Panera has been on my mind pretty much 24/7 when I am thinking about lunch. I decided to make this soup at home to satisfy my cravings, and it is delicious. It tastes so similar to the soup at Panera and the best part is that it cost a fraction of the price. I also don't have to fight the crowd at Panera!

This soup was a breeze to make and would be absolutely divine with the Frico Grilled Cheese that I posted last week. Go ahead, treat yourself to lunch today. You won't regret it.
Source: Homemade Cravings

1 Butternut Squash, large and cut into pieces or 20 oz. of pre-cut butternut squash
1 tablespoon of Olive Oil
Salt and Pepper, to taste
1 15 oz. can of Pumpkin Puree
1 cup of Vegetable or Chicken Broth
1 cup of Half and Half
1 cup of Apple Cider
1 1/2 tablespoon of Honey
1/4 teaspoon of Curry*
1/2 teaspoon of Cinnamon
1 1/2 teaspoons of Salt
1/4 teaspoon of Pepper
Optional: roasted pumpkin seeds or pepitas for topping

* If you don't have any curry powder, you can just barely shake/sprinkle some of each, chili powder, cayenne pepper, ground mustard, turmeric, coriander, cardamom, and cumin.

First, pre-heat your oven to 450.

Now, line a baking sheet with aluminum foil and toss the squash with olive oil and salt and pepper. When the oven is pre-heated roast the squash for 25 minutes. Let cool for 5 minutes.

Next, using a potato ricer or blender/food processor if you don't have a ricer, press squash through ricer into your food processor or blender. Blend the squash and pumpkin together, pour in the vegetable broth, half and half, and apple sauce while pureeing.

Transfer to a large saucepan over medium heat and add honey, curry, cinnamon, and salt and pepper. Bring to a gentle boil, then reduce heat to low and simmer for 10 minutes.

Serve with toasted pumpkin seeds or pepitas on top and with a piece of crusty bread.


Happy Cooking,
The Barbee Housewife

Monday, October 28, 2013

Roasted Shrimp Enchiladas with Jalapeño-Cream Sauce

I am always on the lookout for new and creative ways to eat shrimp and fish. I always put 2 seafood dishes on our meal plan for the week, which ends up being about 8-10 days, instead of 7. We inevitably   will eat leftovers an extra night, be out watching a game, or I will cave and we will get take-out.

I have never had shrimp enchiladas, until now, I loved them. I think I have been wary of ordering them out, because the shrimp is covered in cheese, hiding the fish, it just seemed dangerous. Now, making them at home is a completely different story. I know my shrimp is fresh as can be and the cheese isn't hiding a thing.

The shrimp roast in the oven to provide a quick preparation and give you some time to prepare the other ingredients for filling. The addition of spinach and carrots give a great crunch to these and the chipotle gives smokiness and of course, a little spice.
Source: Damn Delicious, originally from Gimme Some Oven

1 lb. of Shrimp, medium sized, peeled & deveined
2 tablespoons of Olive Oil, divided
Kosher Salt & Cracked Black Pepper
2 cloves of Garlic, minced
1 small Onion, diced
2 cups of Green Cabbage, shredded
1 Carrot, peeled and grated
3 cups of Baby Spinach
2 tablespoons of Adobo Sauce
1/4 teaspoon of Oregano
1/2 teaspoon of Cayenne Pepper
12 Flour Tortillas
2 cups of cheese, Monterrey Jack or Sharp Cheddar
Cilantro, for topping

For the Jalapeño-Cream Sauce:
2 tablespoons of Butter, unsalted
2 tablespoons of Flour Jalapeno
1 1/2 cups of Chicken Stock
3/4 cup of Sour Cream
2 Jalapeños, seeded and chopped
1/2 teaspoon of Garlic Powder
Kosher Salt & Cracked Black Pepper
1/4 cup of Cilantro, chopped

First, pre-heat the oven to 425 degrees.

Next, toss the shrimp with one tablespoon of oil and coat with salt and pepper. Spread shrimp in a single layer on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Bake for 6-8 minutes. Remove shrimp and let cool. Reduce oven to 375 degrees. When cool, chop into pieces. Set aside.

Now, heat the remaining tablespoon of olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. When hot, sauté the onions and garlic, until translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the cabbage, carrot, spinach, adobo sauce, oregano, and cayenne pepper and sauté until the spinach wilts, 1-2 minutes. Toss with shrimp and set aside.

Now make the sauce, melt 2 tablespoons of butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Sprinkle the flour over the melted butter, whisk for 1-2 minutes, until golden brown. Whisk in the chicken stock, for 1-2 minutes, until well combined. Stir in the sour cream. Add the jalapeños, garlic powder, salt & pepper, and cilantro. Reduce heat to low and stir until the sauce has thickened about 2 minutes. If desired, pulse in a blender/food processor/ or immersion blender.

Spray a 9x13 inch pan with non-stick cooking spray.

Next, place 1/3 of the shrimp mixture into a tortilla, sprinkle with cheese, and roll up, place in the pan, seam-side down. Continue until all of the mixture has been filled. Cover the enchiladas with half of the cream sauce.

Bake for 20 minutes until golden and bubbly. Top with additional cream sauce and garnish with cilantro.


Happy Cooking,
The Barbee Housewife