Cranberry Orange Sauce

I am definitely am one of those that loves the sweet tart taste of cranberry sauce with my turkey on Thanksgiving or on a sandwich of leftovers.  But making it at home takes it to a whole new level of good.

Cranberry Orange Sauce

1 (12 oz) bag Ocean Spray cranberries
1/2 cup water
zest of 1 orange
juice of 1 orange
2 cups sugar (or more to taste)

In a medium saucepan bring ingredients to a boil
Cook on medium low for 15-20 minutes stirring occasionally
Remove from heat and cool to room temperature
Serve warm or cold

Craisin Quinoa Salad

I love quinoa and everything about this salad!  It is a perfect mix of fall flavors with craisins, pecans, feta, and a bright orange citrus dressing.  You could even add some chunks of turkey to it for an amazing main dish as well.

Craisin Quinoa Salad
Adapted from {Our Best Bites}

2 cups chicken stock
1 cup quinoa, uncooked
1/2 cup feta cheese, crumbled
1/2 cup pecans, chopped & toasted
1/2 cup green onion, chopped
1/2 cup reduced sugar craisins

zest of one orange
1/4 cup orange juice
2 Tbl olive oil
1 tsp garlic, minced
2 tsp coarse grained mustard
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper

Cook quinoa in chicken stock according to package directions
Cool quinoa completely
In a medium bowl fold together quinoa, cheese, pecans, onion, and craisins
In a small bowl whisk together all dressing ingredients
Pour dressing over quinoa mixture and toss to coat evenly

Parmesan Ranch Chex Mix

Football season is in full swing and I have an amazing snack recipe whether you have a bunch of people over or you are cheering on your favorite team by yourself.  This recipe is quick, makes a lot, and better yet it's easy on the wallet if you're like me and you don't mind using store brands.

Parmesan Ranch Chex Mix

8 cups rice chex cereal
2 cups mini pretzel twists
2 cups cheez-its
2 cups sesame sticks
1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted
1/3 cup canola oil
1 (1 oz) pkt ranch seasoning mix
1/3 cup grated parmesan cheese

In a large microwave safe bowl mix together cereal, pretzels, cheez-its, and sesame sticks
In a small bowl whisk together butter, oil, ranch mix, and cheese
Pour butter mixture over cereal mixture and stir to coat evenly
Microwave on high for 6 minutes stirring every 2 minutes
Pour snack mix out evenly on two cookie sheets to cool 

Crockpot Three Cheese Stuffed Shells

So I happened across this post on Everyday Good Thinking about how you can cook pasta in the crockpot and I was like...What?  Why have I not heard about this before?  You are probably thinking, Dah!  But I was excited.  So I rounded up my own recipe for Three Cheese Stuffed Shells and added some spinach.  I even thought they were easier to stuff dry...and to my delight...IT WORKED!!  This opens up a whole world of possibilities.  Now, to be fair you do have to be careful.  Your pasta can go from perfect to over cooked and mushy in a heart beat.  So you do have to keep an eye on it at the end for sure.

Crockpot Three Cheese Stuffed Shells
Adapted from {Everyday Good Thinking}

1 (45 oz) jar pasta sauce
1 box jumbo shells
1 (15 oz) ricotta cheese
3 cups mozzarella, shredded & divided
1/4 cup parmesan, shredded
1 (9 oz) box frozen spinach, thawed & drained
2 tsp garlic, minced
1 Tbl dried parsley
1/2 tsp dried oregano
1 egg, beaten

Pour a third of the pasta sauce in the bottom of the crockpot
In a medium size bowl combine ricotta, 2 cups mozzarella, and parmesan
Fold in spinach, garlic, parsley, and oregano
Stir in beaten egg until combined
Fill dry shells with cheese filling and layer in crockpot until filling is gone
Cover filled shells with remaining sauce
Sprinkle with 1 cup mozzarella cheese
Place crockpot on high and cook for 3 hours.

Corn Chowder with Bacon

It's finally here!!  This week is the first day of fall and I am so ready.  What better way to celebrate than with a warm and delicious chowder?  The weather man is promising it will feel like fall by the end of the week even though it's been 90° for the last couple of days.  But hey, that's how we roll here in Utah!

This soup is thick and creamy with a very fresh flavor of corn, potatoes, onions, and of course bacon!  It makes a lot which is great to freeze for another meal.  My only suggestion is if you don't like soggy bacon don't throw it all in.  I add a little of the bacon for flavor, but keep the rest for garnish because the bacon will get soggy sitting in the soup for too long.  If you don't care about that though, be my guest and toss all that bacon goodness in there.

Corn Chowder with Bacon

8 slices of bacon, chopped
1 cup onion, diced
1/4 cup unsalted butter
1/4 cup flour
2 cups chicken stock
2 cups heavy cream or half and half
2 cans (14.75 oz) cream style corn
2 cans (15 oz) white corn, drained
2 cans (14.5 oz) diced new potatoes, drained
1-2 bay leaves
1 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper (or to taste)
chives for garnish

In a large pot on medium-high heat, place chopped bacon and cook until crisp
Remove bacon from pot and drain on a plate lined with paper towels
Drain all but one tablespoon of bacon grease from the pot
Place diced onion in tablespoon of bacon grease and saute until translucent and soft
Add butter and allow to melt
Sprinkle in flour and stir until flour, butter, and onions are combined
Pour in chicken stock and stir until thickened
Add remainder of ingredients to the pot and simmer on low for 20 minutes
Serve with reserved bacon and chives on top


I FINALLY got to eat at my first food truck!  I know, I know...your saying what took you so long?  I don't know really, but now I am hooked!

We went to a food truck rally and got to sample the offerings of several of the trucks (more reviews to follow).  One of our favorites was CUPBOP Korean BBQ in a cup.  First off the environment of their truck was so different than all the others. You can tell a lot about someones food by the passion they put into it and these guys didn't disappoint. They had music playing and you could tell the guys in the truck were having fun and loved what they did and it was reflected in their food.

With so many tempting choices, we decided to try the B Bop.  It was a bowel of Korean style beef with rice and lettuce.  Now I've had Korean beef with rice but having lettuce mixed in was new and quite frankly it was surprisingly good.  The lettuce added some good crunchy texture to the dish.  We added some Mandu or Korean dumplings on top and they were so good.  The bowel was topped off with some of their secret sauce drizzled over it all.

The beef was cooked perfectly and they didn't skimp on portion size.  The combination of rice and lettuce was a great compliment to the beef and there was the perfect amount of sauce.  Not too much to make things soggy, but just enough to get some in every bite.  The dumplings were a tad chewy, but packed with flavor.  Overall it was great!  Reasonably priced and enough that I had some leftovers.  I would highly recommend looking them up to check them out! Thanks @cupbop.

Crockpot Smothered Pork Chops

This is what it's all about!  A few months ago a friend of mine shared one of her family's favorite dinners.  I was really excited to check it out, especially since pork chops are one of the things I don't usually have a lot of recipes for.

They were AMAZING!  So easy (like fail proof easy!) and fall apart tender!  My favorite way to serve them is with a big scoop of homemade mashed potatoes to go with all the gravy.

Thank you Katie for sharing, because now it's one of my family's favorite dinners too!

Crockpot Smothered Pork Chops
Adapted from {Katie Gee}

8 boneless pork chops
1 (10.75 oz) can Campell's Cream of Mushroom with Roasted Garlic soup
(OR 1 can cream of mushroom and 2 tsp minced garlic)
1 (10.75 oz) can cream of celery
1 cup onion, diced
1 Tbl beef bullion

Place pork chops in crockpot and add soups, onion, and bullion
Cook on high for 4 hours OR low for 6 hours

Cowboy Caviar

A fresh and healthy snack you can eat like a salad or with tortilla chips.  It is also great to have at an end of the summer cookout.

Cowboy Caviar
1 (15oz) can black beans, drained and rinsed
2 cups frozen corn, thawed
2 dozen cherry tomatoes, quartered
1/2 cup red onion, petite diced
1/4 cup fresh cilantro, chopped

1/4 cup olive oil
1/4 cup fresh lime juice
1 Tbl red wine vinegar
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper

In a medium size bowl combine beans, corn, tomatoes, onion, and cilantro
In a small bowl whisk olive oil, juice, vinegar, salt, and pepper
Pour dressing over vegetables and fold together to coat
Place in refrigerator for at least an hour for flavors to combine

Crockpot Dr Pepper Pulled Pork

I am a big fan of pulled pork and Dr Pepper.  Together they are delicious, and I really love that I put this in the crockpot and let it go for a few hours and not worry about it.  You can feed a group of people or just a few and have leftovers to freeze.  My favorite way to eat them is with coleslaw on top.  I'll have to post that recipe the next time I make them.

Crockpot Dr Pepper Pulled Pork
3-5 lb pork roast

celery salt
onion salt
Lawry's season salt
garlic powder
liquid smoke
12 oz Dr Pepper
1 cup bbq sauce, your choice
(I use Sweet Baby Rays)

Place meat in the crockpot
Sprinkle liquid smoke and cover meat thoroughly
Sprinkle seasonings over meat
Turn over meat and repeat
Pour in can of Dr Pepper
Cook roast 4 hours on high OR 6 hours on low
Reserve 1/4 cup of liquid and drain the rest
Shred roast by pulling apart with two forks
Stir in the reserved liquid and bbq sauce until desired consistency
(I use very little bbq sauce to begin with so others can decide how much they want later)
Serve with extra bbq sauce if desired

Giant Ice Cream Cookie Sandwich

So here is my so long to summer!  For fun I decided to take my favorite chocolate chip cookie recipe and split it in half and bake two large cookies on pizza pans.  Then we put a whole gallon of our favorite ice cream between.  It was epic!  The kids loved it.

Giant Ice Cream Cookie Sandwich

1 chocolate chip cookie recipe, homemade or store bought
(*my favorite is at the bottom)
1 gallon ice cream of your choice, softened
ice cream toppings, optional

Preheat oven to 350°F
Split chocolate chip cookie batter in half
Spread one half of the mixture into a large circle on a pizza pan
Spread the other half of the batter into a large circle on the other pizza pan
Bake for approx 15 minutes
Cool completely
Turn over one of your large cookies onto the pizza pan
Spread softened ice cream over the cookie
Place second cookie on top
Cut into pie shaped pieces and decorate with ice cream toppings of your choice

*Chocolate Chip Cookies
Adapted from {365ish days of pinterest}

3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
3/4 cup brown sugar
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1 egg, beaten
2 tsp vanilla
2 cups flour
2 tsp cornstarch
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup semisweet chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350°F
In a large bowl beat butter until smooth
Add both sugars and combine completely until light in color
Stir in the egg and vanilla
Combine the flour, cornstarch, baking soda, and salt
Fold in chocolate chips
Using a cookie scoop drop onto cookie sheets about an inch apart
Bake for 8-10 minutes until just set but not brown
Remove and cool on wire rack