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Rustic Italian Chicken Sandwich

Here is a simple rustic Italian chicken sandwich recipe that's affordable and easy to prepare. I purchase a loaf of freshly baked bread from our local bakery, which yields 4 good-sized sandwiches. My favorite breads include poppyseed (as shown in the picture), sesame seed, and of course, Italian.

It's best to marinate the chicken for at least 30 minutes to infuse the Italian dressing flavor. It's even better if you can marinate for a few hours. This Italian chicken sandwich is perfect for lunch or dinner and is always a favorite at family gatherings. 

RUSTIC ITALIAN CHICKEN SANDWICH
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Servings: 4
Marinate time: 30 minutes to 2 hours
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 14 minute

INGREDIENTS:

1 loaf Italian bread, quartered
1-1/2 cups bottled Italian Dressing
4 (4-ounce) Chicken Breasts
1 medium Tomato, sliced
4 Romaine lettuce leaves, chopped
1 cup grated Parmesan cheese

DIRECTIONS:

1. Pour Italian dressing into a resealable plastic bag. Add chicken breasts and gently massage dressing into each piece. Refrigerate for 30 minutes to 2 hours. 

2. Slice bread loaf lengthwise, then cut into 4 sections. Wrap in foil and set aside.

3. Slice tomato and chop lettuce; set aside.

4. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. 

5. Heat a large skillet over medium heat for 3 minutes. Remove chicken from marinade and place in skillet. Cook for 6-7 minutes per side, until no longer pink.

6. While the chicken is cooking, place bread in oven and heat for 7-8 minutes.

7. Assemble sandwiches and sprinkle each chicken breast with 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese. Serve immediately. Pairs well with chips and a pickle spear!

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Introducing Spinach and Kale Chips from The Better Chip

When The Better Chip asked me to review their new Spinach and Kale chips, I was hesitant. I love raw spinach and baked kale chips, but couldn't imagine combining these flavors into a tortilla chip. This is probably why I'm a food blogger instead of a recipe developer.

I was pleasantly surprised by the flavor of the The Better Chip spinach and kale chips. They were incredibly fresh and had a nice crunch. Each chip had the perfect amount of sea salt which enhanced the flavor of the kale.

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While the chip wasn't lacking in flavor, I wanted to experiment with various types of dips. First, I dipped the spinach and kale chip in guacamole. It was pretty good, but I felt the avocado wasn't the best match for the flavor profile. Next, I tried salsa and enjoyed the contrast between the tomato and spinach.

Finally, I tried my all-time favorite Beau Monde dip consisting of cream cheese, onions, and Beau Monde seasoning. For me, this was the perfect match because the cream cheese married well with the spinach and kale. In fact, it was so good that I soon devoured almost half a bag – oops!

In addition to sending a full size bag of kale and spinach chips, The Better Chip also sent snack pack bags of Sweet Onions, Red Pepper, and Jalapenos chips. I also received an awesome T-shirt that has a really pretty green design on the front. It's made from super soft fabric and is very lightweight; making it ideal for the hot weather we've been experiencing.

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I thoroughly enjoyed all the flavors, but my all-time favorite is the Red Pepper chip. It has a lot of zing and paired well with the salsa.

What I like most about The Better Chip snacks is they are made with fresh ingredients that you can actually see in the chip. Even better is these chips are non-GMO and gluten-free. They are perfect for vegans, vegetarians, and carnivores who enjoy real food manufactured from natural ingredients.

Overall, I'd rate all the chips at a 10. I am still surprised at how much I enjoyed the spinach and kale chips. I'm very glad I had the opportunity to sample them because I have found a new snack that I can enjoy without feeling guilty. Learn more about The Better Chip at www.TheBetterChip.com or follow them at Facebook at www.Facebook.com/TheBetterChip.


Florida Red Royal Shrimp Scampi with Linguini

This dish was prepared using Florida Red Royal shrimp from our local Farmer's Market. It uses fresh shrimp broth made from the shells and heads for an extra boost of flavor. Use the leftover shells to fertilize garden plants. They contain chitin, which activates plants' natural defense mechanisms and minimizes fungus growth. 

Florida Red Royal shrimp is very similar to rock shrimp. The meat's texture is comparable to lobster. It is considerably more salty than other types of shrimp, so be careful when adding salt. Additionally, it requires about half the cooking time of shrimp. 

FLORIDA RED ROYAL SHRIMP SCAMPI WITH LINGUINI

INGREDIENTS:

Shrimp Broth:
1 Tablespoon coconut oil or butter
3 cups Water
Shells and heads from 2 pounds shrimp

Shrimp Scampi:
2 pound red royal Florida shrimp, peeled and deveined
1 Tablespoon coconut oil or butter
1/2 medium Onion, thinly sliced
2-3 cloves Garlic, minced
Juice of 1/2 Lemon
1/2 cup White Wine
1/2 cup Shrimp Stock
2 Tablespoons Butter
2 Tablespoons fresh flat leaf parsley, finely chopped
1/2 box Linguini
Salt and freshly ground pepper

DIRECTIONS:

1. Place shrimp in a colander and rinse with cold water. Cut off heads and remove shells. Using a paring knife, butterfly each shrimp and devein. Place peeled shrimp in a bowl and put in refrigerator until ready to cook.

2. In a 3-quart saucepan, melt coconut oil over medium-high heat. Add shrimp shells and heads and cook for 2-3 minutes; stirring frequently.

3. Add 3 cups water, stir gently, and reduce heat to simmer. Gently press shells to release flavor into the water and simmer for 5-7 minutes. Place a bowl under a colander. Strain shrimp shells and set stock aside.

4. In a 2-quart saucepan, fill 2/3rd with water and a pinch of salt. Over high heat, bring to a boil. Add linguini and cook for 10-12 minutes or until soft to the tooth.

5. While linguini is cooking, lightly season shrimp with salt and pepper.

6. In a large skillet, melt coconut oil over medium-high heat. Add shrimp and sauté for 2-3 minutes, or until they begin to turn pink. Remove from pan and set aside.

7. Reduce heat to medium and add onions. Sauté for 2-3 minutes, then add garlic and sauté for 30 seconds.

8. Add lemon juice, white wine, and shrimp stock. Bring to a boil and reduce stock by two-thirds; about 5 minutes. Reduce heat to low and add shrimp and butter.

9. Drain linguini and add to shrimp mixture. Gently stir until well incorporated and finish with parsley. Transfer to serving plates and enjoy!

NOTE: Store leftover shrimp stock in refrigerator for up to 1 week. Or, pour into ice cube trays and freeze, then transfer to a plastic bag. Add frozen cubes to soups and stews, or use for sautéing vegetables.

 

 


 

 


Deep Fried Bacon and Cheese Biscuit Appetizers

Okay, so I know there is absolutely nothing healthy about these deep fried bacon and cheese biscuit appetizers, but sometimes a person needs a little guilty pleasure. This is one of mine. Chances are it will become one of yours too!

Not only are these bacon and cheese biscuits deliciously tasty, they are also super easy to make. You can enjoy these wicked appetizers in about 20 minutes from start to finish. Experiment with different types of bacon and cheeses to create your own flavor profile.


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DEEP FRIED BACON AND CHEESE BISCUIT APPETIZERS
Yield: 20 appetizers
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 3-4 minutes

INGREDIENTS:

6 cups vegetable or peanut oil, for frying
1 can of 5 count Buttermilk biscuits
10 slices bacon – medium to thick cut works best
20 1-inch cube Mozzarella cheese
20 toothpicks

NOTE: It's best to use a deep fryer, but if you don't have one use a large skillet.

DIRECTIONS:

1. Heat oil in deep fryer or skillet to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
2. While oil is heating, quarter each biscuit and set aside.
3. Cut Mozzarella cheese into 1-inch cubes.
4. Cut bacon slices in half.
5. Gently flatten biscuit quarters into rounds. Place cheese cube in center; fold sides over cheese; and roll into a ball. Wrap with ½ slice bacon and cover as much of the biscuit as possible. Secure with toothpick.
6. Carefully drop biscuits into hot oil and cook for 1-2 minutes, then flip. Remove from oil when bacon is crisp. Transfer to plate lined with paper towels to absorb excess grease. Serve and enjoy!

 


Super Easy Chicken Sausage and Bean Soup

I love hearty soups that can be served as a meal. This chicken sausage and bean soup offers robust flavor that will fill you up and leave you satisfied. It pairs well with a garden salad and homemade yeast rolls.

What's great about this sausage and bean soup is you can make it with just about any type of sausage. Mild or spicy Italian pork sausage, Chorizo, chicken or turkey sausage, or even breakfast sausage works well. The same holds true for the beans. I like to use 1 can each of dark red kidney and white cannellini, but have also used pinto, navy, and even butter beans. Have fun creating your own unique flavor profile. 

Chicken Sausage and Bean Soup
Serves: 4
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 1 to 1-1/2 hours

Ingredients:

1 (32 oz) container chicken broth or 4 cups homemade stock
1/2 medium onion, chopped
2 medium carrots, thinly sliced
2 medium stalks celery, thinly sliced
4-5 chicken sausage links, halved and cut in thin slices
*I used chicken sausage stuffed with mozzarella cheese which added a nice flavor
1 (15 oz) can EACH red kidney beans and cannellini beans, or 2 cans of one kind
1 tsp. dried parsley
1/2 tsp. dried oregano
1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese

Directions:

1. In a stock pan, add 1/4 cup chicken broth and bring to boil over medium high heat. Add onion, carrots, and celery and cook for 1 minute. Reduce heat to medium and cook until onion becomes translucent; about 5-7 minutes. Add chicken sausage and stir to combine ingredients.

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2. Drain juice from one can of beans. Add remaining juice and both cans of beans, along with herbs. Stir to incorporate ingredients. Reduce heat to low and simmer for 1 to 1-1/2 hours.

3. Ladle into soup bowls, top with grated cheese, and serve immediately.

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Bacon Wrapped New Potatoes

My husband saw someone making bacon wrapped new potatoes on a TV show and decided to try them. They were so yummy that they quickly became one of our favorite side dishes.

Besides being delicious these bacon wrapped new potatoes are easy to prepare and quick to cook. They can be baked, broiled or grilled and make a great side dish or appetizer.

Since the bacon is secured to potatoes using toothpicks it's best to soak the picks in water for a few minutes to prevent them from burning – unlike the ones in the photos.


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BACON WRAPPED NEW POTATOES
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Servings: 12-18 potatoes (varies depending on number of potatoes in cans)
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 12-15 minutes

INGREDIENTS:

8 slices thick Bacon, cut in half (adjust according to number of potatoes)
2 (15 ounce) cans whole new potatoes, drained
Salt and pepper, to taste
Toothpicks

DIRECTIONS:

1. Place toothpicks in small bowl, cover with water, and soak for 5 minutes. Drain and set aside.
2. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
3. Wrap each potato with half-slice of bacon and secure with toothpick.
4. Place potatoes in baking dish and bake for 12-15 minutes, or until bacon is crisp. Turn potatoes halfway through cooking time.
5. Remove from oven and transfer to plate lined with paper towels to absorb grease. Let sit 2-3 minutes then transfer to serving plate.

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Italian Sausage Pasta e Fagioli Soup

If you're looking for soup with substance you'll love this Italian Sausage Pasta e Fagioli Soup. Not only is it packed with a tremendous amount of flavor, it's incredibly easy to make and ready in about 30 minutes.

The following Italian Sausage Pasta e Fagioli Soup was adapted from a copycat recipe I found for Olive Garden's soup. I tweaked the ingredients to make it more suitable for our palates. I added Italian sausage and used a combination of white and red kidney beans. Feel free to adapt it for your tastebuds!

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ITALIAN SAUSAGE PASTA E FAGIOLI SOUP
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Serves: 6
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes

INGREDIENTS:

1 pound ground Italian Sausage
4 cloves Garlic, chopped
1/2 white Onion, chopped
2 medium Tomatoes, diced
2 cups organic Chicken Broth
2 teaspoons dried Oregano
1 teaspoon Black Pepper
1 teaspoon Sea Salt
1 can (15-ounce) Red Kidney Beans (undrained)
1 can (15-ounce) Cannellini (White Kidney) Beans (undrained)
1/4 cup fresh Parsley, chopped
8 ounces Ditalini Pasta
1/4 cup Parmesan cheese, grated
6 cups water, plus 1 teaspoon salt and 1 teaspoon olive oil (for pasta)

DIRECTIONS:

1. In a large saucepan, heat Italian Sausage over medium-high heat until cooked, about 7 minutes.

2. Add garlic and onion and sauté until translucent, about 4 minutes.

3. Add tomatoes, chicken broth, oregano, pepper and salt. Reduce heat to medium and cook for 5 minutes, stirring frequently.

4. Add kidney beans with brine, and parsley. Cook for 10-12 minutes, stirring frequently.

5. In a medium-size saucepan, add 6 cups of water, 1 teaspoon salt and a teaspoon of olive oil and bring to a boil. Add pasta and cook until just barely tender, about 9 minutes. Drain and add to soup. Cook for 5 minutes, stirring frequently.

6. Transfer to serving bowls and top with parmesan cheese.

 

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Baked Mahi Mahi Fish with Strawberry Mango Salsa

Mahi Mahi fish is one of my favorite white fish. It has a mild flavor that is comparable to Cobia or Cod. It's very versatile and can be baked, broiled, grilled, sautéed, pan fried, and even turned into fish tacos.

Baked mahi mahi fish pairs well with an assortment of side dishes. It can be served with vegetables, pasta, rice, potatoes, and fruit. One of my favorite side dishes is bacon and bleu cheese potato pockets.

I also like to serve the fish with a refreshing strawberry mango salsa that has a hint of spiciness from jalapeno pepper. Another option is a tomato-cucumber-red onion salsa that can be found here.


BAKED MAHI MAHI FISH WITH STRAWBERRY MANGO SALSA
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Serves: 2
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Bake Time: 20 minutes

INGREDIENTS:

1 pound Mahi Mahi fish filet, skin removed
1 Lemon, sliced into rounds
1 teaspoon Everglades Seasoning (This stuff is great on all kinds of food!)
1 teaspoon Beau Monde Seasoning (I use this in almost everything I cook)
Salt and Pepper, to taste

SALSA INGREDIENTS:

1 medium ripe Mango, skin removed, diced
8 medium Strawberries, diced
1 small Jalapeno pepper, seeds removed, diced
1/4 small Red Onion, diced
2 Tablespoons fresh Cilantro, finely chopped
1/8 cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1-1/2 teaspoons Mandarano Balsamic Sauce (substitute with 3/4-teaspoon Balsamic Vinegar)

DIRECTIONS:

1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit.
2. Prepare salsa and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
3. In a 9"x12" glass baking dish, arrange lemon slices in two rows.
4. Add seasonings to both sides of mahi fillets and place on top of lemon slices.


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5. Cover with foil and bake for 18-20 minutes or until meat is fork-tender and flakey.
6. Carefully remove foil and transfer to serving plates. Top with salsa and serve immediately.

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Bacon and Bleu Cheese Potato Pockets

Bacon and blue cheese potato pockets are one of my favorite side dishes. Not only are they easy to prepare, they are perfect for grilling out and tailgate parties. They pair well with hamburgers, steaks, hot dogs, and chicken and can even serve as a vegetarian dish if you don't add the bacon.

I add coconut oil to add another layer of flavor to my bacon and bleu cheese potato pockets. Sometimes, I'll swap it out for bacon grease or olive oil, but you can also use vegetable or peanut oil depending on personal preference. If you're feeling extra adventurous consider adding chopped jalapeno peppers with or without the seeds.

Bacon and Bleu Cheese Potato Pockets
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Servings: 4
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cooking Time: 35-40 minutes

Ingredients:

4-6 slices thick Bacon, cooked and chopped
2 large Russet Potatoes, quartered and thinly sliced
1 small Onion, diced
2 cloves Garlic, minced
4 ounces Bleu Cheese, crumbled
2 Tablespoons Coconut Oil
Salt and pepper, to taste

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.
2. In a large skillet, cook bacon until crisp; about 12-15 minutes. Transfer to a plate lined with paper towels to absorb grease. Let cool and chop into small pieces.
3. In a large bowl, mix all ingredients together except coconut oil.
4. Tear off 4 sheets of aluminum foil. Place 1/4 of mixture on the center of the foil.

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5.Add 1/2 Tablespoon of coconut oil to each. Pull foil together in the center and fold over edges.

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6. Place on a baking sheet and bake for 35-40 minutes. Carefully unwrap foil and serve immediately. 

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Slow Cooked Cuban Flank Steak and Rice

If you're looking for an exceptionally flavorful slow cooked Cuban flank steak recipe, I think you'll love this one. Although this version is served over rice, you could substitute with quinoa or pile the meat and veggies onto Cuban bread and make a sandwich.

While this slow cooked Cuban flank steak is perfect for dinner, it's also ideal for pitch-ins and parties. It's super easy to make and requires zero pre-cooking, other than the rice. All you have to do is place everything in the slow cooker and enjoy all the goodness later in the day.

 

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Slow Cooked Cuban Flank Steak and Rice
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Serves: 4
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 6-8 hours

Ingredients:

1 small white Onion, thinly sliced
1/2 Red Bell Pepper, sliced in ½" strips
1/2 Green Bell Pepper, sliced in ½" strips
2 large cloves Garlic, minced
1 pound Flank Steak, sliced in ½" strips
2 teaspoons ground Chili powder
1 teaspoon ground Oregano
1 teaspoon Sea Salt
1 Lime, juice only
1 cup organic Beef Broth
1 (15 ounce) can organic Black Beans, drained and rinsed

Directions:

1. Lightly grease slow cooker with oil, butter, or cooking spray,
2. Place onions, peppers, and garlic on bottom of slow cooker.
3. Add sliced beef.
4. In a small bowl, combine chili powder, cumin, oregano, and salt. Mix together and sprinkle over meat.
5. Squeeze juice from lime and drizzle over meat. Add beef broth.
6. Cover and cook over low for 6-8 hours.
7. Remove beef and transfer to cutting board. Shred beef using two forks and return to slow cooker. Add black beans. Turn heat to high and begin preparing rice.
8. Cook rice according to package directions.  When done, scoop onto plate and add flank steak, veggies, and stock.


Homemade Sour Cherry Cobbler

Personally, I find homemade sour cherry cobbler to be one of the best comfort foods. It's a dessert that can satisfy your sweet tooth without being overly sweet. Or, it can be sweetened up more by adding a scoop of vanilla ice cream or a dollop of whipped cream.

Today, I'd like to share my mom's homemade sour cherry cobbler recipe and hope that it becomes a family favorite. One challenge I had when making this recipe is finding sour cherries. A few gourmet shops had them, but wanted over $8 for an 8-ounce jar.

I ran across a great deal at Nuts.com. Their cherries are only $4.99 for a 24-ounce jar and they taste amazing! I have shopped at Nuts.com for years and highly recommend them. They have thousands of products, including organics, at very affordable prices.

Home Sour Cherry Cobbler Recipe
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Yield: (1) 8"x8" pan
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Bake Time: 15-20 minutes

Ingredients:

24 ounces Sour Cherries (reserve drained juice)
1-1/4 cup granulated Sugar
2 cups+2 Tbsp. unbleached, all purpose Flour
1 Tbsp. Baking Powder
3/4 teaspoon Sea Salt
1 teaspoon pure Vanilla Extract
6 Tbsp.unsalted Butter, softened
2/3 cup Half-and-Half (or whole milk)

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit.
2. Lightly grease 8"x8" glass or metal baking dish with butter.
3. In a small bowl, drain cherries and set juice aside. Place cherries in pan and arrange in an even layer.

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4. In a small saucepan, add cherry juice, 1/4 cup sugar, 2 tablespoons flour, and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Heat over medium-high heat and bring to a light boil. Stir constantly until mixture reduces into thick syrup.
5. Remove from heat and add vanilla extract. Stir to incorporate, than pour over cherries.

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6. In a mixing bowl, sift together remaining flour, salt, baking powder, and sugar. Add butter and blend until mixture becomes crumbly. Add 1/2 cup half-and-half and stir until ingredients are combined.

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7. Use a tablespoon or cookie scoop and drop topping over cherry mixture.

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8. Using a pastry brush, lightly brush topping with remaining half-and-half or milk. Sprinkle with sugar to taste.
9. Bake for 15-20 minutes or until crust is medium golden brown.

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How to Make High Heel Cupcake Shoes

Have you ever wondered how to make high heel cupcake shoes? They've become all the rage and bakeries charge an arm and leg to make them. The good news is you can make these gorgeous edible shoes for a fraction of the cost. Better yet, recipients will be highly impressed with your baking talent.

Making homemade high heel cupcake shoes isn't difficult, but does take some time. It takes about two hours to make a dozen shoes from start to finish. Here's what you'll need to prepare the shoes, along with a step-by-step pictorial.

Homemade High Heel Cupcake Shoes
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Yield: 12
Prep Time: 2 hours

Ingredients:

1 box Cake Mix
1 container Frosting
12 designer paper cupcake tins
12 Graham Crackers (regular or chocolate)
12 Pirouette Cookies
3 ounces Ready-to-Use Gum Paste
Food coloring
½ cup granulated Sugar

Directions:

1. Prepare cupcakes according to package directions. Use elegant, funky designs, or colored cupcake papers.

2. Make a shoe stencil by cutting a piece of paper the length of a graham cracker and trimming the edges at an angle. Place stencil over each cracker and trim edges with a sharp knife.

3. Apply a thin coat of frosting to each cracker and let air dry for 30 minutes.


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4. Once cupcakes are done let them cool completely before applying frosting.

5. Add a small amount of food coloring to icing. I used the colors of gold and red to create different styles of shoes.

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6. Frost each cupcake and top with colored sugar, sprinkles, or edible gold dust.

7. Now it's time to assemble the cupcake shoes. Begin by placing a small ball of gum paste on the pirouette cookie and gently attach to the angled portion of the graham cracker.

8. Place the graham cracker about 1/3rd of the way on the top of the cupcake. Carefully position the heel and pipe a thin layer of icing to hold it in place.

9. Pipe icing around edge of cracker and across the edge that rests on the cupcake.

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10. Make embellishments from the remaining gum paste. I made bows and balls which I attached to the back of the shoe and on top of the cupcake.

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Red-cupcake-shoes

11. Put a pair of shoes in a small cake box and surround with tissue paper to prevent them from sliding around.


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12. Stick a candle in a designer cupcake shoe and give them as a birthday gift!

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Chocolate Covered Peanut Butter Balls with Bacon

My all-time favorite holiday candy is chocolate covered peanut butter balls, or Buckeyes. I've been making these homemade candies for over 20 years (yikes!) and last year I decided to amp them up a bit by adding bacon. After all, everything tastes better with bacon, right?

Not only do these chocolate covered peanut butter balls with bacon taste amazing, they are relatively easy to make. The most time consuming part is dipping the balls in melted chocolate.

One thing I have found to be incredibly helpful is to insert a toothpick into the center of each ball than freeze for at least an hour before dipping in chocolate. Also, when dipping in chocolate I work in batches of no more than 20 balls at a time since it doesn't take long for them to thaw out.

Another tip is to line baking sheets with parchment paper. This is especially helpful to keep dipped PB balls from sliding around while the chocolate is wet. Remove toothpicks right after dipping. The toothpick is a great tool for spreading chocolate over the top and covering up the hole.

Last, but not least, sprinkle bacon bits on top of balls right after dipping in chocolate. Dipping chocolate sets up fast once it hits the cold candy. If it dries too quickly the bacon bits won't stay attached. I usually dip 2 to 3 balls than sprinkle bacon bits, instead of stopping between each one. If you're making a lot of peanut butter balls it is helpful to have an assistant who can add the bacon bits.

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CHOCOLATE COVERED PEANUT BUTTER BALLS WITH BACON

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Yield: 60 (1-inch) balls
Prep Time:  1-1/2 hours
Freeze Time: 1 hour

INGREDIENTS:

1 pound Cherrywood Bacon, cooked and finely chopped
1 cup smooth Peanut Butter
1 stick unsalted Butter, softened
2 cups Confectioner's Sugar
16 ounces milk or dark Chocolate Candy Wafers

DIRECTIONS:

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
2. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper. Place bacon on sheet and bake for 20 minutes or until crisp. Turn slices halfway through. Transfer to a plate lined with paper towels to absorb grease. Once cooled, chop into small bits.
3. In a mixing bowl, cream together peanut butter and butter until smooth. Gradually add confectioner's sugar and 1/2 of the bacon bits until well incorporated.
4. Line baking sheets with parchment paper. Using a small cookie scoop, roll into 1-inch balls and insert a toothpick in the center. Freeze for 1 hour.
5. Add chocolate candy wafers to a double boiler or small saucepan. Heat on low setting until wafers melt. If chocolate becomes too thick add a teaspoon of coconut oil or vegetable shortening.
6. Transfer 20 balls at a time to a small baking sheet lined with parchment paper.
7. Dip 2 to 3 balls in chocolate. Remove toothpick and sprinkle with a pinch of bacon bits. Repeat until all balls are coated and topped with bacon.
8. If desired, transfer peanut balls to decorative paper cups and package in colorful boxes.

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No time or desire to make homemade candies? No worries! Send handcrafted candies to loved ones every month through Clubs of America "Chocolate of the Month Club." They'll love you for it! Click the banner below to place your order.

Monthly Chocolate Club


Monthly Clubs make Great Holiday Gifts

If you've ever wondered if 'monthly clubs' are a good gift idea, I say yes they are! I've given beer of the month club subscriptions and received fruit of the month and chocolate of the month club packages. All offered unique treats I'd never seen before.

I've promoted monthly club programs for quite a few years, after getting a subscription for my husband. While these gifts aren't necessarily cheap, they are a good value and consist of exceptionally high quality goods.

Clubs of America offers 8 different 'of the month club' subscriptions including beer, wine, flower, fruit, cigar, coffee, chocolate, and pizza. Prices range from $27.95 to $64.95 per month and include free shipping, gift letter, and a monthly newsletter subscription.

 

Wine-of-the-month-clubWine of the Month Club offers 2 delightful varietals delivered monthly. Choose from all red, all white, or one of each. Click here to give wine.

Chocolate of the Month Club provides one pound of premium chocolates delivered monthly. Crafted by hand using the finest ingredients shipped fresh from specialty chocolatiers. Click here to give chocolate.

Flower of the Month Club offers one exquisitely fresh and unique flower bouquet delivered to the recipient's door each month. Exotic arrangements include large, fragrant flowers from the world's top growers. Click here to give flowers.

Coffee of the Month Club serves up 1-1/2 pounds of premium coffees in two distinctive selections each month. Choose from whole bean or ground. Click here to give coffee.

It's not too late to get your holiday order in. In fact, this is a great last minute gift because you can send recipients a gift certificate or email notice that can be delivered moments after submitting your order.

Click here to visit Clubs of America and explore all their 'of the month club' subscriptions.

 


Italian Sausage, Bacon, and White Beans Casserole

This Italian sausage, bacon, and white beans casserole is a hearty meal that will keep you warm on chilly winter nights. It's packed with amazing flavor and topped with refrigerated biscuits for a complete one-dish meal.


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ITALIAN SAUSAGE, BACON, AND WHITE BEANS CASSEROLE
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Servings: 4
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Bake Time: 20 to 25 minutes

INGREDIENTS:

6 slices thick Bacon, chopped
1 pound bulk Italian Sausage
1 medium Onion, chopped
3 large cloves Garlic, finely chopped
1 can (15 ounces) Cannellini Beans, drained and rinsed
2 medium Tomatoes, diced
1 teaspoon dried Basil
1 teaspoon dried Oregano
1 teaspoon dried Parsley
1 can (12 ounces) refrigerated Buttermilk biscuits

DIRECTIONS:

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. Spray 2-quart casserole dish with cooking spray.

2. In a 12-inch nonstick skillet, cook chopped bacon over medium-high heat until crispy. Transfer bacon to a small bowl lined with a paper towel to absorb grease.

3. Add Italian sausage to skillet and cook until no longer pink inside; about 8 minutes.

4. Add onions and garlic and cook until translucent; about 2-3 minutes.

5. Stir in beans, tomatoes, and herbs. Heat to boiling over high heat; about 2 minutes. Remove from heat and transfer to casserole dish.

6. Separate refrigerated biscuits and arrange over casserole.

7. Bake 20-25 minutes or until casserole is thoroughly heated and biscuits are golden brown. Let sit for 5 minutes and transfer to serving plates.

Italian-sausage-white-bean-casserole-with-biscuits
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Potato Chip Cookies | Great Food Blogger Cookie Swap

This is the first year I've participated in the Great Food Blogger Cookie Swap and I must say it was a lot of fun. Not only did I receive three dozen yummy homemade cookies, I also met four new food bloggers.

While it was challenging to choose one cookie to exchange with my newfound foodie friends, I decided upon Potato Chip Cookies. Reason being, they are one of my all-time favorites and since they contain greasy potato chips they stay fresh for quite some time.

Before revealing the recipe for Potato Chip Cookies, I wanted to share these photos and introduce you to the cookie swap partners.

Great-food-blogger-cookie-swap
The first batch of cookies I received were Boozy Salted Fennel Pollen Shortbreads sent from Culinary Adventures with Camilla. Pictured above on the top right, these square shortbreads were packaged in adorable green and red polka dot containers. Very festive! They had a really unique licorice-honey flavor from the fennel pollen and the slightest hint of Ouzo. Tasty!

The second batch of cookies was Peppermint Tea Shortbread dipped in White Chocolate and dusted with Christmas sprinkles sent from Amber at Bluebonnets and Brownies. They are pictured above on the bottom right. It's easy to spot them by the colorful sprinkles! These cookies were crisp on the outside, soft in the middle, and had a delightful undertone of peppermint. I found them to be perfect for dunking in a cup of tea. I was going to try them with hot cocoa, but by the time I got around to it they were gone!

The third batch of cookies was good old fashioned chocolate chip cookies from Amishi at NaiveCookCooks.com. I was very happy to receive these cookies because they are definitely one of my favorites. Amishi packaged her cookies in a super cute red box covered in snowflakes. It was such a great touch and very much appreciated. Not only was the packaging great, the cookies were amazing!

My cookie exchange partners included Camilla from Culinary Adventures, and Amber of Blue Bonnets and Brownies, along with Kimberly from Eat the Evidence.

What's great about the Great Food Blogger Cookie Swap is it is helping raise funds for my favorite organization, Cookies for Kids' Cancer. You might recall that this past October, The Cheap Gourmet hosted Team Logan Bake Sale in honor of my friend Sherry's son Logan and to raise money for this non-profit organization.

Cookies for Kids' Cancer is doing great things to advance pediatric cancer research and is one of the most honest and ethical charities I've ever had the pleasure of working with. I hope you will support them by hosting your very own bake sale, cookie swap, or donating funds.

Since I had some packaging supplies and marketing materials left over from the bake sale, I decided to package my cookies with CFKC stickers. Since the potato chip cookies are somewhat fragile I hoped the packaging would provide extra cushion during shipping.

Cookies-for-kids-cancer-potato-chip-cookies
The ladies who organized the Great Food Blogger Cookie Swap provided an array of stickers and labels, so I prepared gift tags and printed an ingredients list which included their logo.

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Here is a box of Potato Chip Cookies ready to go to Kimberly.

Potato-chip-cookies-packaged
One of the reasons I chose Potato Chip Cookies is they are sweet and salty. Normally, when I prepare these cookies I drizzle them with melted chocolate chips. Since I was shipping cookies across the country I elected to leave off the chocolate for fear it would make a mess.

POTATO CHIP COOKIES RECIPE

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Yield: 4 dozen
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Bake Time: 20-22 minutes

INGREDIENTS:

2 cups (4 sticks) unsalted Butter, softened
1 cup granulated Sugar
3-1/4 cups all purpose Flour
2 teaspoons Vanilla extract
1-1/2 cups Potato Chips, coarsely crushed (I use crinkle cut chips because they are thicker than regular chips)

DIRECTIONS:

1. Preheat oven to 300 degrees Fahrenheit

2. In a large bowl, cream butter and sugar. Slowly add flour and vanilla extract until well blended.

3. Stir in crushed potato chips and mix well.

4. Using a cookie scoop, drop one scoop of dough onto ungreased cookie sheet. Use a fork to slightly flatten each cookie in a criss-cross pattern. (Flattened cookies on left and center rows and non-flattened cookies on right)

Potato-chip-cookies-drop
5. Bake for 20 to 22 minutes, or until light golden brown around edges. Let cookies stand for 5 minutes and transfer to wire rack until completely cooled.

Potato-chip-cookies-baked
6. If desired, sprinkle cooled cookies with confectioners' sugar or drizzle with melted chocolate. To make melted chocolate, place 1/2-cup semi-sweet chocolate chips and 1 teaspoon vegetable shortening in a small bowl and heat in microwave for 45-60 seconds.


Chocolate Chip Cookies with Orange Zest and Vanilla Bean

Want to add a twist to traditional chocolate chip cookies? If so, you'll love the following Chocolate Chip Cookies with Orange Zest and Vanilla Bean! The addition of these two basic ingredients creates an amazing flavor profile that will leave everyone asking for more.

Baked-vanilla-orange-chocolate-chip-cookies
CHOCOLATE CHIP COOKIES WITH ORANGE ZEST AND VANILLA BEAN

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Yield: (30) 2-inch cookies
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Bake Time: 8-10 minutes

INGREDIENTS:
2 tablespoons freshly grated orange zest
2 vanilla beans, pulp only
2-1/4 cup unbleached all purpose flour
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
1 large egg, at room temperature
1 cup (6 ounces) chocolate chip morsels

DIRECTIONS:
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
2. Using a grater, scrape orange zest into small bowl.

DSCF2060

3. Scrape pulp from vanilla beans and add to orange zest.

Vanilla-bean
4. In a small bowl, sift together flour, baking soda, and salt.
5. In a mixing bowl, beat together butter, granulated and brown sugars until smooth, about 2 minutes. Add egg and mix well.
6. Gradually add flour mixture and beat until well-incorporated.
7. Stir in orange zest, vanilla bean pulp, and chocolate chips.
8. Using a cookie scoop, drop dough onto ungreased baking sheets.

Orange-vanilla-chocolate-chip-cookies
9. Bake for 8-10 minutes or until light golden brown. Cool on baking sheets for 2 minutes, then transfer to wire racks until completely cooled.

Baked-vanilla-orange-chocolate-chip-cookies-be-good-cookie-spatula

Click here to learn more about the "Be a Good Cookie" spatula.


Flirty Aprons Holiday Flash Sale

This Flirty Aprons Flash Sale has expired, but you can still get great deals by clicking this link for Womens Flirty Aprons.

 

I love a great sale and I love Flirty Aprons, so when I found out about their one day holiday flash sale I just had to share with you! The Flirty Apron Holiday Flash Sale is TODAY ONLY and you can save a whopping 50% off select women's aprons including:

  • Mistletoe
  • Deck the Halls
  • Dear Santa
  • Classic Damask Black
  • Classic Damask Red

To receive your 50% discount click on the link below, select the aprons you want, then enter the code holiday50 at checkout. Don't delay! This offer is only good until midnight MST on December 6th, 2012. 

 

Today 12/5 only 50% off these Holiday and Classic Aprons only with code holiday50

 

www.FlirtyAprons.com


Incredibly Flavorful Slow Cooked Chicken Tortilla Soup

Years ago, I had the most scrumptious chicken tortilla soup on the planet. It was made by a sous chef at a private country club where I worked as a line cook/prep chef. This soup had a rich broth that erupted into a smoky-sweet heat at the back of the throat from the jalapeno and poblano peppers.

Chef Grady's chicken tortilla soup had a flavor unmatched by any other. He never relinquished the recipe and I spent years trying to recreate it. Nearly a decade later, I believe I've finally mastered the flavor profile.

Although there are quite a few ingredients this soup is pretty easy to make. It takes about 30 minutes to put together and can be cooked in a slow cooker or on the stovetop. I like to add homemade tortilla strips, but this soup can also be served with tortilla chips, rolls, bread and butter, or bread and dipping oil. It's also amazing all by itself!

I'm excited to share this chicken tortilla soup recipe with you and hope that you and your family and friends enjoy it as much as we do. From my house to yours!

Chicken-tortilla-soup
SLOW COOKED CHICKEN TORTILLA SOUP RECIPE

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Servings: (4) 8-ounce bowls
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 3 to 4 hours

 

INGREDIENTS:

1 pound boneless skinless Chicken Breasts, cooked and diced
2 Tablespoons Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1 small Red Onion, diced
2 medium Jalapeno peppers, diced, seeds removed
1 large Poblano pepper, roasted and diced with seeds
3 large cloves Garlic, minced
1 Tablespoon ground Cumin
2 teaspoons Chili Powder
2 teaspoons Sea Salt
8 cups homemade Chicken Broth, or store bought organic broth
2 (15 ounce) cans Black Beans, drained and rinsed
3 large Tomatoes, diced
2 Limes, juice only
4 ounces shredded Cheddar Cheese
1/4 cup fresh Cilantro, chopped
1 Tablespoon Extra Virgin Olive Oil
2 (10-inch) Flour Tortillas, cut into 1/2-inch strips

DIRECTIONS:

1. Set stove burner to medium heat and add oil to skillet. Sauté chicken until meat is thoroughly cooked; about 6 to 8 minutes. 

2. While chicken is cooking, roast Poblano pepper either on a gas stovetop burner or under the broiler. The pepper skin needs to be charred until it's very dark and almost blackened. Place cooked pepper on a plate and let cool, then dice.

3. Remove chicken from skillet and set aside. Add onion and jalapeno to skillet and cook until soft; about 5 minutes.

4. Place chicken, peppers, and onion into slow cooker. Add chili powder, cumin, and salt and mix well.

5. Pour in chicken stock and add black beans, tomatoes, and lime juice. Mix ingredients together. Cook on high setting for one hour, than reduce to low setting for 3-4 hours.

6. Prepare tortilla strips about 15 minutes prior to serving. Preheat oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit. Place tortillas on top of one another and slice in half. Cut crosswise into ½-inch strips and place on a rimmed baking sheet. Toss with 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil and season with sea salt and ground black pepper. Spread in a single layer and bake until light golden brown; turning halfway through. Total bake time is 8 to 10 minutes. Let cool.

7. Ladle soup into bowls and top with 1 ounce shredded Cheddar cheese, a sprinkling of fresh Cilantro, and baked tortilla strips.

 


Red Velvet Crinkle Cookies | Red Velvet Cake Mix Cookies

Sometimes the best holiday cookie recipes are the ones found on the side of a packaged cake mix box. A good example is these Red Velvet Crinkle Cookies from Duncan Hines. Those of you who have followed The Cheap Gourmet for awhile know that I can't resist deviating from original recipes. However, I only modified this one a little bit.

What I like about these Red Velvet Cake Mix Cookies is they are super easy to make and ideal for shipping. They are also great for holiday cookie exchange parties. It's hard to find sturdy cookies that won't crumble after being tossed around in a postal truck. It's also hard to find cookies that won't lose their moistness while enroute to family and friends. Not only are these cookies durable AND moist, they taste amazing!

Red-velvet-crinkle-cookies-baked
RED VELVET CRINKLE COOKIES

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Yield: 36 (2-inch) cookies
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Bake Time: 9-11 minutes

INGREDIENTS:

6 Tablespoons unsalted Butter
1 cup Confectioners Sugar, sifted
1 teaspoon Cornstarch
1 box Red Velvet Cake Mix
2 large Eggs
2 Vanilla Beans, pulp only
2 teaspoon fresh Orange zest

DIRECTIONS:

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.

2. Melt butter in a small saucepan over low heat or in a microwave; set aside to cool.

3. Place confectioners sugar and cornstarch in a small bowl. Mix with a fork to blend. Set aside.

4. In a large mixing bowl, add cake mix, cooled butter, eggs, vanilla pulp, and orange zest. Mix by hand until well blended and a dough ball forms.

5. Use a cookie scoop and roll dough into 1-inch balls. Roll in confectioners sugar and shake off excess.

NOTE: I found it easiest to roll out all the balls first,  then dip in powdered sugar.

Red-velvet-crinkle-cookies-balls-powdered-sugar

6. Place cookie balls about 2 inches apart on an ungreased cookie sheet.

Red-velvet-crinkle-cookies-powdered-sugar
7. Bake one sheet at a time, in center of oven until set. Cool for a few minutes, then transfer to a wire rack. 

Red-velvet-crinkle-cookies-baked-2

8. Store in airtight container and separate cookies by placing sheets of wax or parchment paper between layers.

Click here for the original Duncan Hines Red Velvet Crinkle Cookies recipe.


BBQ Turkey Crostini Appetizer

Looking for something different to make from Thanksgiving leftover turkey? Try this tangy BBQ turkey crostini. It's super easy to make and only requires a few basic ingredients. Best of all, this tasty appetizer is ready in less than 30 minutes.

The BBQ turkey crostini appetizer is perfect year-round. If you don't have leftover turkey, a good alternative is packaged turkey meat chunks, smoked turkey legs, or use chicken or pork instead.

Bbq-turkey-crostini-appetizer
BBQ TURKEY CROSTINI APPETIZER

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Yield: 6
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Bake Time: 10 minutes

INGREDIENTS:

6 slices Farmer's Bread
1-1/2 cups Turkey meat, chopped
1/4 small Red Onion, diced
2/3 cup BBQ Sauce (try this homemade sweet and tart BBQ sauce)
4 slices cooked Bacon, chopped
6-8  slices Sharp Cheddar Cheese

DIRECTIONS:

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
2. Add turkey, onion, and BBQ sauce to a small skillet. Cook over medium heat for 5-6 minutes or until sauce begins to bubble. Stir frequently.

Bbq-turkey-meat
3. Place bread slices on ungreased baking sheet. Top each slice with 1/4 cup BBQ turkey mixture.

Bbq-turkey-crostini-spread

4. Add 1-2 tablespoons chopped bacon.

Bbq-turkey-crostini-with-bacon

5. Top with cheddar cheese. If bread slices are long, you might need to break cheese slices into smaller pieces to cover the entire crostini.

Bbq-turkey-crostini-with-cheese
6. Bake for 10 minutes or until cheese bubbles and begins to turn brown.
7. Let sit for 2-3 minutes. Transfer to serving dish and enjoy!

Bbq-turkey-crostini-with-bacon-cheese-baked

 


OXO "Be a Good Cookie" Spatula Review

As a member of the OXO Blogger Outreach Program I receive products to try out and share my opinion about. Last week, I received the OXO "Be a Good Cookie" spatula which helps raise awareness and funds for my favorite charity, Cookies for Kids' Cancer.

I was introduced to OXO while organizing the Team Logan Bake Sale event for Cookies for Kids' Cancer. Gretchen Witt, founder of the non-profit, works for OXO and the company developed the "Be a Good Cookie" spatula to help raise funds her organization. 50% of the proceeds of each spatula sold go toward pediatric cancer research.

Oxo-be-a-good-cookie-spatula
There are many things I like about this spatula. First of all, it is relatively small which makes it ideal for lifting cookies, as well as the perfect size for kids. Secondly, the head is flexible; making it easy to lift cookies from baking sheets even when they are close together. Also, the handle includes a soft, non-slip grip that keeps it tight in your hand.

The spatula head is made from stainless steel. On the front, the words "Be a Good Cookie" is etched on the steel, while the back reflects the website address. The head is coated in orange silicone so you'll never have to worry about the words rubbing off.

The OXO spatula is designed specifically for cookies, but it can be used for other types of cooking. It's great for flipping eggs and dollar size pancakes and is ideal for stir-fry prepared in a wok. It is also perfect when cooking sticky foods, such as teriyaki glaze, because of the non-stick coating. At only $7.99, this spatula is a great bargain and makes a great gift for all your baking friends. Click here to order your "Good Cookie" spatula from OXO.

To give the OXO "Good Cookie" spatula a good workout, I whipped up a batch of my favorite Orange Vanilla Chocolate Chip cookies. These cookies are small and dense, yet packed with flavor. Best of all, they are incredibly easy to make!

Baked-vanilla-orange-chocolate-chip-cookies
ORANGE VANILLA CHOCOLATE CHIP COOKIES

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Yield: (30) 2-inch cookies
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Bake Time: 8-10 minutes

INGREDIENTS:

2 tablespoons freshly grated orange zest
2 vanilla beans, pulp only
2-1/4 cup unbleached all purpose flour
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
1 large egg, at room temperature
1 cup (6 ounces) chocolate chip morsels

DIRECTIONS:

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
2. Using a grater, scrape orange zest into small bowl.

DSCF2060

3. Scrape pulp from vanilla beans and add to orange zest.

Vanilla-bean
4. In a small bowl, sift together flour, baking soda, and salt.
5. In a mixing bowl, beat together butter, granulated and brown sugars until smooth, about 2 minutes. Add egg and mix well.
6. Gradually add flour mixture and beat until well-incorporated.
7. Stir in orange zest, vanilla bean pulp, and chocolate chips.
8. Using a cookie scoop, drop dough onto ungreased baking sheets.

Orange-vanilla-chocolate-chip-cookies
9. Bake for 8-10 minutes or until light golden brown. Cool on baking sheets for 2 minutes, then transfer to wire racks until completely cooled.

Baked-vanilla-orange-chocolate-chip-cookies-be-good-cookie-spatula
Enjoy these Orange Vanilla Chocolate Chip cookies with a steaming hot cup of coffee or cocoa and a great book such as "Those We Love Most" by Lee Woodruff. I received this book as a gift from Cookies for Kids' Cancer after answering a question on their Facebook page.

Orange-vanilla-chocolate-chip-cookies-coffee-book
The author has dedicated this book to Gretchen Witt's son, Liam, who is the inspiration behind the organization. "Those We Love Most" is an amazing story about the trials and tribulations of a family caused by secrets they kept and is a MUST-READ!

Interested in raising funds for Cookies for Kids' Cancer? Consider hosting a holiday cookie swap. Currently, GLAD is donating $1 per cookie exchanged to the organization. This is a fantastic way to complete your holiday baking while helping out a good cause.  Click here to learn how to host a Cookies for Kids' Cancer bake sale.


Mom's Super Easy Homemade Yeast Rolls

One of my fondest childhood memories is my mom's homemade yeast rolls. She would make an enormous batch a few times each week. Most were made into dinner rolls, but some were transformed into the most amazing cinnamon rolls served for Sunday brunch.

When mom passed away, I inherited her recipe collection. I've made many of her favorite recipes over the past few years, but always shyed away from yeast rolls. Honestly, I've never been able to master anything made with yeast.

For some reason, I started craving mom's homemade yeast rolls and couldn't stop thinking about them. So, the other day I opened her cherished recipe box and pulled out the recipe. I was determined to conquer my fear of yeast and vowed to replicate mom's goodness. I am happy to report that her recipe is super easy and the rolls were light, crisp, and ever so tasty!

Homemade-yeast-rolls
MOM'S HOMEMADE YEAST ROLLS RECIPE

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Yield: 12 rolls + 1 supersize roll
Prep Time: 15 minutes + rise time
Bake Time: 11-13 minutes

INGREDIENTS:

2 Tablespoons Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1/2 cup granulated Sugar
1 cup hot Water
1/8 cup warm Water for yeast
1 package active-dry Yeast
3 cups all-purpose unbleached Flour

DIRECTIONS:

1. Put oil, salt, sugar and hot water in large mixing bowl and mix together.

2. In a small bowl, add yeast to warm water and let dissolve.

3. Let water cool, then add yeast and flour with oil, salt, and sugar mixture.

4. Using a dough hook, mix ingredients until combined.

5. Lightly spray hands with cooking oil and roll dough into a ball. Return to mixing bowl and place in refrigerator for 30 minutes.

6.Lightly spray muffin tins with cooking oil. Punch down dough ball, then separate into 2-inch balls. Place two balls in each tin.

7. Let rolls rise for 2-1/2 to 3 hours, or until double in size.

Homemade-yeast-rolls-proofing
8. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Bake for 11-13 minutes or until medium golden brown.

NOTE: I had extra dough and decided to make a supersize roll instead of dirtying up another muffin tin for 2 rolls. I used a 10-inch souffle dish and it turned out perfectly!

Yeast-rolls-and-leftover-dough
Supersize-homemade-yeast-rolls


Calling All Bakers - Now Casting CBS Baking Show

Have you dreamed of being a celebrity baker? Do you want to strut your baking skills and show the world your amazing baked goods? Can you whip up impressive cupcakes, breads, cakes, or pastries? If so, you should seize the moment and audition for the new CBS Baking Show Competition!

CBS is NOW CASTING NATIONWIDE AMATEUR BAKERS for a fun new BAKING COMPETITION SERIES!

Amateur skilled bakers will compete against one another in baking challenges that will test every aspect of their baking skills. At the end of the competition, one baker will ultimately be crowned the winner. The series follows the trials and tribulations of the competitors – young, old, from every background and every corner of the United States – as they attempt to prove their baking prowess.

We are seeking all types of non-professional bakers from across the country, whether you're an athlete, teacher, trucker, or retiree, as long as you have the zest for baking, we want to hear from you!

APPLY TODAY: http://cbsbakingshow.com/

 


Barracuda's Bar and Grille: Best New Restaurant in New Smyrna Beach

I've quickly grown to love Barracuda's Bar and Grille in New Smyrna Beach. The place opened a few months ago and I've been there three times. Each has been a fun experience with great serivce, great food, and great cocktails.

What I like about Barracuda's Bar and Grille is they serve really fresh food and offer an eclectic menu with something for everyone. In fact, their menu is why we chose this restaurant for a birthday celebration. Our guests were a mix of vegan, vegetarian, and carnivores and everyone was happy with the options.

One of their specialties is oven baked flatbreads. My favorites are Ocean Gardens (great for vegetarians) and Jamaican Chicken Chorizo (great for carnivores). They also have an interesting Caribbean Jerked Pulled Pork flatbread that is next on my list of things to try.

If you love fresh garden salads you'll be impressed with the selection at Barracuda's.  One of the most unique is their Grilled Hearts of Romaine. Yes, they actually grill a wedge of romaine then top it with croutons, shredded carrots, and caesar dressing. 

You can also get a house salad, traditional Greek salad, spicy buffalo shrimp salad, or their really yummy Sunrise Yogurt Salad that has fresh fruit, shaved almonds, and a low-fat yogurt dressing.

If you're looking for something a little heartier select from the Barracuda Big Bites or Killer Sandwiches section. My favorite entrees are the Tropical Fish Tacos and Barracuda Buffalo sandwich. One of my vegan friends said the 3rd Ave Veggie Burger was the best she'd ever eaten. There is also a great selection of wraps, including a Cordon Bleu Bacon wrap that is also on my "to try next" list.

A great feature of Barracuda's is the upstairs gathering area. It's a nice place to hang out with friends and enjoy cocktails or soak up the ocean view and gentle breezes while waiting for your table.

You'll find an abundant selection of specialty drinks, great wines, and beers. If you love chocolate martinis, you must order the Terry Dactyl. It truly is the best chocolate martini on the planet.

There's always something going on at Barracuda's throughout the week, so check their event calendar to take advantage of specials. Guys will appreciate Manday Monday with half-off select drinks, 50 cent wings, and $5 burgers. Gals will love T.G.I. Ladies Night each Thursday. Not only are flatbreads half-out, but can you also get that Terry Dactyl chocolate martini I mentioned earlier for only $5. 

Barracuda's Bar and Grille is located at 203 S. Atlantic, directly across the street from the Flagler Avenue beach parking lot. You can't miss the bright yellow, orange, and green building with the awesome Barracuda fish logo.

Phone:  386.957.3931

Website:  www.barracudasnsb.com

Facebook:  www.facebook.com/BarracudasNSB

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Team Logan Bake Sale Update

We are making great progress with the Team Logan Bake Sale and wanted to provide an update. Our event is scheduled for Saturday, October 13th and will take place from noon to 8pm EST at Christmas Park on Canal Street in New Smyrna Beach, Florida. 

I am excited to let you know that we have received approval from Guinness Book of World Records to proceed with our attempt to break the current world record of "Most Baked Goods Sold at a Community Bake Sale."

The current record holder is  Sandra Lee of Semi-Homemade. This Food Network Star sold 9,654 baked goods and raised $25,578 for the Food Bank of New York. Our goal is to sell 10,000 baked goods in 8 hours and raise $26,0000 (or more) for Cookies for Kids' Cancer; a non-profit organization that raises money for pediatric cancer research.

Team Logan Bake Sale is a celebration to honor 6-year old Logan Wight, who was diagnosed with a rare brain tumor known as AT/RT in 2010. Logan had a love for chocolate cake and the movie, "Cars" so it only made sense to partner with the East Coast Cruisers Car Club to share Logan's passion for cool cars.

East Coast Cruisers puts on a monthly Classic Car Show in New Smyrna Beach the second Saturday of every month. They have graciously offered to expand their usual 4-hour event into an 8-hour show to support the bake sale while we attempt to break the world record.

HOW YOU CAN HELP:

We are currently seeking help from the New Smyrna Beach community to help us prepare and sell baked goods. We also need a few more corporate sponsors to help offset the costs associated with putting on an event of this size. Cookies for Kids' Cancer is a registered 501(c)3 non-profit, so all donations are tax deductible. 

If you'd like to join our team as a volunteer or corporate sponsor, contact me by via email at info [at] thecheapgourmet.com or subscribe to our Facebook fan page at www.Facebook.com/TeamLoganBakeSale.

TEAM LOGAN BAKE SALE CORPORATE SPONSORS

We would like to thank Dr. Tina Bennett and Port Orange Chiropractic for their generous donation to cover the cost of our special event permit with the city of New Smyrna Beach.

We'd also like to thank AM1230 WSBB Radio, for providing us with FIVE radio interviews to talk about Team Logan Bake Sale and the progress we are making.   

TEAM LOGAN BAKE SALE ADVISORY BOARD TEAM

We have an amazing Advisory Board Team which includes:

Dr. Tina Bennett of Port Orange Chiropractic in Port Orange, FL

Christine Turner-Plinska - Pampered Pooch Parlor in New Smyrna Beach, FL

Kathy Blackman of Sophie's Circle Pet Food Pantry in New Smyrna Beach, FL

Barbara Mason  at Deb's Klip & Kurl Salon in Edgewater, FL

Roxanne Hicks, founder of New Smyrna Beach Mom Blog in New Smyrna Beach, FL

Brad Grissom of Kenny Brown Performance New Smyrna Beach, FL office

AM1230 WSBB Radio New Smyrna Beach - September 23, 2013 Interview:

Kathy Browning 9 23 (1)

 

 

AM1230 WSBB Radio New Smyrna Beach - August 1, 2012 Interview:

Click the link below to listen to our first radio interview promoting Team Logan Bake Sale. A big thanks to Skip and Barb Diegel for giving our group air-time!

WSBB Radio Interview 8-1-12

 

WSBB Radio Interview 8-28-12

 

WSBB Radio Interview 9-11-12

 

WSBB Radio Interview 9-25-12

 

WSBB Radio Interview 10-9-12



 



 

 



Restaurants Where Kids Eat Free in New Smyrna Beach Florida

Looking for "Kids Eat Free" restaurants in New Smyrna Beach?  The following NSB restaurants help tourists reduce travel expenses while visiting this traditional Old Florida beach town, as well as helping locals slash food budgets.

Most NSB restaurants only provide kids eat free offers during weeknights of Tuesday through Thursday. Some offer complimentary kids meal throughout the day, while others restrict to certain hours.

If you're visiting the area take advantage of these money-saving deals. It's best to call ahead to confirm restaurants are still providing special offers.

Monday:

Lost Lagoon Wings and Grill offers great beach pub food including fish and chips, burgers, and of course, wings. Kids eat free is available all day Monday through Thursday with 1 free kids meal per adult entrée purchase.

515 North Dixie Freeway
New Smyrna Beach, FL 32168
Phone: 386-366-3360

Tuesday:

Denny's Restaurant is a family favorite because it offers so many food choices. Everyone can find something they like; making it an ideal dining spot while vacationing. Kids aged 12 and below can eat for free every Tuesday at the New Smyrna Beach location. Offer limited to 1 complimentary kids meal per purchased adult entrée.

1830 State Road 44
NSB, FL 32168
Phone: 386-427-5384

Find more dining deals and download the Denny's Mobile App at www.Dennys.com.

Wednesday:

The Taco Shack is a family owned and operated establishment serving great quality food at affordable prices. Kids eat free from the Lil' Ripper menu when an accompanying adult purchases an entrée. Available to children 12 years of age and younger, from 5pm-9pm.

642 N. Dixie Freeway
New Smyrna Beach, FL 32168
386-428-9882

The Taco Shack has nightly specials each night of the week. Check their website at www.TheTacoShack.net.

Thursday:

New Smyrna Beach Dairy Queen has a kids eat free special every Thursday evening from 6:30pm-8:30pm. This location does not have indoor seating, so be prepared to eat ice cream quickly during hot summer days. One free meal for kid's age 12 and younger with an accompanying adult who buys a meal.

Dairy Queen
729N. Dixie Freeway
NSB 32168
386-428-8066

Join the Blizzard Fan club at Dairy Queen website to receive six buy one get one free coupons throughout the year.


Cutting Out Eating Out Can Save You Hundreds

If you’re like most people, you enjoy having a nice meal out at a restaurant from time to time. The problem is, for many, eating out has become a much more regular occurrence. You can cut back on your expenses by finding discounts and coupons for restaurants that are offered on sites like CouponCravings.com. But even with additional savings, eating out regularly can really add up. An even better solution for saving money is to forgo the restaurant experience altogether, in favor of an evening at home.

OutofYourRut.com explains that a couple eating at a mid-priced restaurant can easily spend $40. Making this a weekly habit ends up being more than $2000 a year. Many couples and families go out more than once a week, which can double or even triple the expense. It’s much safer to stay home and cook your own meals. Here are a few tips that will save you money and keep eating at home as exciting as eating out.

Experiment with different dishes.  Like most people, you probably have a set group of meals that you rotate through every week. This can get boring if you’re not careful. Try introducing a couple new recipes each month. The keepers can be added to the weekly rotation.

Invite company for Friday night. Having friends over can break up the monotony of staying at home. Plus it’s a great reason to spend time catching up with old friends.

Keep a full pantry. According to OrganicConsumers.org keeping a stocked pantry is important. You need to have ingredients on hand in order to make meals and avoid a last minute decision to go out to eat. Buying in bulk can be a good way to maintain your supply and save money as well.

If you find yourself unavoidably drawn to a restaurant meal, there are ways you can cut the costs of eating out. FinancialExcellence.net gives several ideas for how to discount your dinner out. Here are a few of these ideas.

Share a meal. Most restaurants give you much more than a single serving of food. It will be good for your wallet, and your waistline to divide a meal with a friend or spouse.

Skip drinks and dessert. These items will increase your bill by a lot. If you really want them, consider stocking some ice cream and mixed drink fixings for when you return home from the restaurant.

Look for special promotional nights. Many restaurants have deals on certain nights of the week or during certain hours. If you have children, look for kids-eat-free specials.

Your best option for saving money on your food budget is to cut out your restaurant trips and make meals at home. This will likely save you hundreds of dollars. But if you do go to a restaurant, be smart about your choices and you can make the trip fairly inexpensive. Just remember not to make it a weekly habit.


Pepperoni and Cheese Crescent Roll Pizza Bites Recipe

Today, I'm happy to provide a delicious Pepperoni and Cheese Crescent Roll Pizza Bites recipe contributed by guest blogger, Brianna Collins. I'd like to take this opportunity to personally thank Brianna for taking time to supply this recipe to The Cheap Gourmet blog.

From Brianna...

As a college student, I am constantly searching for new and easy recipes to make. It's hard to fight the temptation to spend each meal in the drive thru or at happy hour with friends.

Upon browsing Pinterest I came across a picture of what looked like a crescent with pepperoni and cheese. I was instantly interested. While a commercial pizza oven would be amazing to have for any time you're craving some homemade pizza, we don't always have the luxury.

I worked on the recipe and came up with a delicious and extremely quick way to make these pizza rolls! Cheap and easy, this recipe is fun and tasty.

PEPPERONI AND CHEESE CRESCENT ROLL PIZZA BITES
Servings: 8 rolls

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Ingredients:

1 Bag of pepperonis
1 Can of refrigerated crescent rolls
2 Mozzarella string cheese
1 Can of marinara sauce
1 Bag of parmesan cheese
1 small bunch of parsley

Directions:

1.  Preheat the oven to 375°F.
2.  Slowly warm marinara sauce on low heat.
3.  Unwrap the string cheese and cut each one into fourths.
4.  Unroll the crescent dough and lay out on sprayed baking sheet.
5.  Lay down around 3 pepperonis on the larger part of the crescent rolls.
6.  Place the fourth of string cheese on top of the pepperonis on each triangle crescent rolls.

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7.   Roll each triangle crescent up.
8.   Sprinkle parmesan and parsley on the top of the rolled crescent.
9.   Put in oven for 12-15 minutes or until golden brown.
10. Take out of oven and let cool off.
11.  Place a spoonful of marinara sauce on each roll.

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AUTHOR BIO:  I'm a Texas Longhorn with an appetite for learning new things, experiencing the world around me, and communicating with all types of people. I plan on graduating in May of 2013 with a degree in Multimedia Journalism and a minor in Sociology. Get to know me more and view my work at www.b-collins.com. Follow me on twitter @BriannaCCollins


Give Dad a Beer of the Month Club Fathers Day Gift

Fathers Day is next Sunday and there's no better gift than a Beer of the Month Club subscription. I've ordered annual subscriptions from Clubs of America as a birthday and Christmas gift for my husband. He really enjoyed the microbrewed beers and was bummed when the subscription expired.

What's great about the Beer of the Month Club subscriptions at Clubs of America is you can choose from 1 to 12 months, or ongoing subscriptions. The cost is $42.95 per month and includes 12 bottles of freshly brewed craft beer.

In case you're wondering that breaks down to $3.58 per bottle. Not a bad price for unique and rare microbrew beer. Best of all, every shipment includes the finest domestic varieties from all over the United States.

Beer-of-the-month-club-subscription
Each month, your dad will receive three bottles each of four varieties freshly brewed in small batches for Clubs of America members. Recent selections have included IPA and Turbo Dog Lager from Abita Brewery in Louisiana and White Ale and Oatmeal Stout from Millstream Brewery in Iowa. My husband's all-time favorite was the Snake River Zonker Stout.

Beer-of-the-month-club
Club members also receive Beer Expeditions; a monthly newsletter that explores handcrafted beer. Better yet, shipping is free and beer is backed by a 100 percent satisfaction guarantee.

If your dad isn't a beer man, Clubs of America also offers wine, cigars, coffee, pizza, fruit, chocolate, and flowers. Of course, many of these are also very appealing to moms and make a fantastic Mothers Day gift.

It's super easy to order Beer of the Month Club as a Fathers Day Gift.

Just click here, select the membership length, month to start, and delivery schedule and you're all set.

 

Disclosure: The Cheap Gourmet blog earns revenue as an affiliate for Clubs of America when our visitors make a purchase. This income lets us continue to operate this blog and provide information and resources at no cost. Thank you for shopping with our carefully selected merchant partners.