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LumberJack Baked Beans

Baked beans is pretty much my favorite side dish.

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So I made this side dish to go with the Scrumpitious grilled chicken and it was a match made in heaven! Gah I still can’t get over how good that chicken was… But these beans definitely hold their own. Sweet and tangy, very easy to prepare and best part you get use your crockpot 🙂 Crowd pleaser for sure! And the leftovers, well let me just tell you, you are going to be hoping there are leftovers. Because they are soo good you want them all to yourself. In fact make a big batch just for you. And eat it out of your crockpot with a spoon and some crusty French bread. I won’t judge.

Recipe Review:

Stars: 5+++

Level: Easy

Comments: Semi-homemade, perfect baked beans. It all starts with a can of Bush’s baked beans crazy right? But then you add pinto, butter, red kidney beans and you make a sweet and tangy brown sugar/onion sauce. You combine it in your crockpot, add some cooked bacon to the mix and in about 3hrs you have outstanding baked beans.

Negatives: For those of you who don’t like using canned goods, this recipe is probably not for you. But since I don’t mind I though it was awesome!

Will I make it again? Definitely!!! This will be my go-to baked beans recipe.

LumberJack Baked Beans

Serves: 8

Ingredients:

  • 8 slices bacon, diced
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1/3 cup rice vinegar (can use apple cider instead)
  • 1 tsp dry mustard
  • 1 tsp ginger
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • 15oz can butter beans, rinsed
  • 15oz can pinto beans, rinsed
  • 15oz can red kidney beans, rinsed
  • 20oz Bush’s Homestyle Baked Beans

Directions:

  • Heat a skillet over medium high heat.
  • Once hot, add the bacon and cook until crispy.
  • Remove bacon to a paper towel lined plate and discard most of the bacon fat.
  • Add the onion to the hot skillet and sauté until translucent.
  • Add the brown sugar, rice vinegar, dry mustard, ginger, salt and pepper let it come to a low boil then turn the heat down and simmer for 10mins.
  • To your crockpot add the Bush’s baked beans, pinto, butter and kidney beans. Add the brown sugar glaze and bacon and stir to combine.
  • Cook on LOW for 3hrs.

Adapted from: JamieCooksItUp

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Scrumptious Grilled Chicken with Spicy Honey Bacon Sauce

So we had my dad and my sister over for dinner tonight and at first I had no idea what to make.IMG_0354edited

None at all.

My dad is very old school Bulgarian so if it’s not Bulgarian food or chicken wings he most likely won’t like it.  He’s probably the only person I know (and in the world) that doesn’t like Italian food! Who doesn’t like Italian food!? Well that is excluding pizza of course but if it’s pasta he probably won’t eat it. If you are not familiar with Bulgarian food it consists of a lot of salads and a LOT of meat. Mostly pork, chicken, veal and lamb.

Of course I can try to make some traditional dish that I’m sure he would love but what’s the challenge in that? I love making him explore new foods and if I get his stamp of approval then you know it’s really good.

So then I saw this recipe over at the Pioneer Woman and I had to make it right away. What’s soo special about this chicken? Well it’s a little sweet. There’s brown sugar in the marinade and honey in the glaze/sauce. Pretty sweet chicken (with a little heat) definitely a new experience for my dad. But guess what he loved it! 🙂

Recipe Review:

Stars: 5+++

Level: Easy

Comments: This chicken was spectacular! The marinade was sweet and tangy, the sauce was also sweet but with some heat and then you add bacon to the mix – to.die.for!

Negatives: None. Pretty much licked my plate clean.

Will I make it again? Most def! I think it might become a regular when grilling chicken 🙂

Scrumptious Grilled Chicken with Spicy Honey Bacon Sauce

Serves: 4

Ingredients:

  • 4 chicken breasts, cut into thick strips diagonally
  • Marinade:
  • 1/3 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 3/4 cup olive oil
  • 3 tbsp. brown sugar
  • 2 tbsp. steak seasoning
  • Sauce:
  • 3/4 cup honey
  • 5 slices bacon, diced
  • 3 tbsp. Worcester sauce
  • 1 tbsp. hot sauce

Directions:

  1. In a zip lock bag combine all the ingredients for the marinade.
  2. Add the chicken and marinade for at least 3hrs.
  3. Once marinated, grill chicken until cooked through, discarding extra marinade.
  4. In a saucepan fry bacon until crispy. Transfer to a paper towel lined plate.
  5. Drain bacon fat and the Worcester, hot sauce and honey to the hot skillet.
  6. Stir to combine and let thicken slightly.
  7. Add bacon back to the sauce.
  8. In a bowl combine the grilled chicken and the sauce and serve!

Adapted from: PioneerWoman

HowSweetFridays: Chicken Enchilada Spaghetti

I love anything and everything enchiladas.
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And pretty much anything that is Mexican food. Period.

But wanna know something funny? I didn’t eat any traditional Mexican food when I was in Mexico…not even once.

I know how crazy is that? It’s just that we were staying in a fancy shmancy resort that had about 8 different gourmet restaurants of which only 1 was Mexican food.

But it was definitely not the Mexican food I had in mind. I was expecting some comforting enchiladas, tamales, quesadillas, fish tacos things like that. Instead I got some cornbread pie-like dish with steak and some fried cactus. I mean it was delicious and totally different but soo not what I had in mind. So mental note next time make sure to go eat in town at least once.

And speaking of Mexico, can I get transported there like right now? It was amazing.

Even though we have 2 upcoming trips (PA and Chicago) I just can’t stop thinking about it.

Cancun in January? I don’t see why not…

Anyways moving on to this recipe!

Recipe Review:

Stars: 5

Level: Easy

Comments: This was amazing! Very easy to prepare and you can have it on your dinner table in no time! Extremely flavor, the level of spice is perfect, spicy but not overpowering. Normally I associated spaghetti with Italian food and marinara sauce but this is a very nice different spin on pasta! We loved it and I’ll definitely put it in our rotation!

Negatives: Absolutely None.

Will I make it again? Most definitely!

Tips: I usually don’t like pasta leftovers because the sauce tends to dry out but this was awesome reheated! Nice and saucy and maybe even better than the first day 🙂

Chicken Enchilada Spaghetti

Serves: 4

Ingredients:

  • 1 tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 1 red pepper, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1/2 tsp chili powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp paprika
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper
  • pinch of cayenne
  • 1 lb grilled chicken, diced
  • 8 oz whole wheat spaghetti
  • 10oz can red enchilada sauce
  • 3/4 cup sharp cheddar, grated
  • parsley and extra cheddar for garnish

Directions:

  1. Boil pasta according to package instructions.
  2. While pasta is cooking make the sauce:
  3. Heat a large skillet over medium high heat and add oil.
  4. Add the onion and pepper and cook until soft about 5 mins.
  5. Add garlic and cook for 30sec.
  6. Add the cumin, chili powder, paprika, salt, pepper, cayenne, chicken and enchilada sauce.
  7. Let the sauce heat up for a minute then turn the heat down to low.
  8. Drain the cooked pasta and add to the sauce.
  9. Add the cheese to the sauce and stir to combine.
  10. Let the cheese melt and serve the pasta with parsley and extra shredded cheddar on top.

Adapted from: HowSweetEats

Things I’ve been loving…

1. Watermelon. The seedless kind. So freaking refreshing I can pretty much eat my weight in watermelon in a day. But definitely the seedless kind. I bought one yesterday that had seeds and I basically had a mini meltdown…Not sure why but the seeds just really freak me out. Big time.

2. Goat cheese. OMG. I bought a blackberry goat cheese from Trader Joe’s and it’s to.die.for. Also there’s a peach flavor at Costco which is really good too. I could eat it everyday.

3. Candy crush. More like love it or hate it but either way I can’t stop playing it. Too addictive. And if you’re not playing it, don’t start. Trust me.

4. We are going to State College, PA next week to visit my husband’s family 🙂 So even though I’ll be gone and won’t be cooking I’m making a bunch of things this week and I’ll have scheduled posts for next week! From here on I think I’ll try to have regular posts Monday-Friday so expect a lot more new material on a regular basis.

5. Speaking of PA, we are staying at Reynold’s Mansion Bed and Breakfast which is a historic mansion from 1880s. It looks beautiful in the pictures and I can hardly wait! Oh and they serve a 3 course gourmet breakfast every morning so needless to say I’ll probably gain 5lbs during our 5day stay…

6. What would you like to see on this blog? I have been improving my photography to give you some better pictures and so far I think there’s been a big improvement. But what else would you like to see? More healthy recipes? Gluten-free? Vegan? Desserts? Anything else? Cast your vote in a comment 🙂

5. If you are not following me on Facebook what are you waiting for? 🙂 Press here: https://www.facebook.com/TheRecipeCriticBlog

Peanut Butter Banana Oatmeal (Vegan)

My breakfast normally consists of a bottle of Starbucks Frappuccino. Not the healthiest option I know.

So today I decided to have real breakfast. No not pancakes or french toast. None of that, something healthy to fuel me up.

I decided on oatmeal. Fairly quick and super easy.IMG_0332edited

But when it comes to oatmeal I get a little picky. There’re a few things that are absolute must:
1. Old fashioned oats. Yes, they take longer the cook but definitely worth it.
2. It has to be sweet. Like dessert for breakfast kind of sweet.
3. It has to have some fruit. Bananas and apples are some of my fav.
4. It has to be super creamy. Like super duper creamy. So I simmer mine for about 10 mins.
5. There’s gotta be a crunch. Whether crunchy peanut butter or some nuts I gotta have the contrast between the creamy oats and crunchy nuts.

What’s your favorite way to eat oatmeal? 🙂

Recipe Review:
Stars: 4.5
Level: Easy
Comments: Really tasty oatmeal. Sweetness of the banana and saltiness of peanut butter worked great, the slowly simmered oats were creamy, crunchy nuts, I also added some maple syrup on top.
Negatives: Not sweet enough for me. Next time I will add some honey to the oats.
Will I make it again? Yes with some honey it will be perfect!

Peanut Butter Banana Oatmeal

Serves: 1

Ingredients:

  • 1 large ripe banana, chopped
  • 1 tsp coconut oil
  • 1/2 tbsp peanut butter
  • 1/2 cup old fashioned oats
  • 1 cup almond milk
  • 1/2-1tsp chia seeds, optional (didn’t have any)
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/8 tsp nutmeg
  • pinch of salt
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • Toppings: nuts, cinnamon, peanut butter, maple syrup

Directions:

  1. Add the banana and coconut oil to a small saucepan and cook over medium high heat for 5 mins, stirring occasionally.
  2. Add the peanut butter, oats, milk, chia seeds, cinnamon, nutmeg, salt, vanilla and stir to combing.
  3. Bring to a low boil, turn the heat to low and cook for 10mins, stirring occassionally.
  4. Transfer to a bowl, add desired toppings, grab a fork and go to town! 🙂

Source: OhSheGlows

HowSweetFridays: Peanut Butter Drizzled Milk Chocolate Chunk Cookies

If you guys don’t already know HowSweetEats is one of my favorite food blogs.

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Like totally obsessed with it but not in a weird stalker kind of way, ok maybe a little 🙂

Jessica always amazes me with her creative out-of-the-box recipes, mouthwatering pictures, hilarious stories and her love for shoes, glitter and sprinkles. On her blog she’s got a lot of indulgent desserts, out of this world ice cream, crazy pizzas and some healthier dinner recipes and they all seem really easy to make! So every Friday I will choose one of her amazing recipes to try out and let you know how it worked for me 🙂

So to start things off I went through her recipes and stumbled upon this one. OMG. Chocolate chunks. Peanut butter. Cookies. How can you go wrong? Umm… you can’t!

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Here’s the review 🙂

Stars: 5

Level: Easy
Comments: This recipe is really easy to make, the dough doesn’t need chilling and the best part no creaming butter so you don’t need your mixer! Very rich cookies, slightly crispy, the chunks of chocolate get all gooey and the peanut butter drizzle balances the sweetness really well!
Negatives: None. Very easy and super filling! 1 cookie goes a long way!
Will I make these again? Yes. I only baked 9 cookies and froze the rest so I’m not tempted to eat all of them in one sitting! I’m excited to have cookie dough premade in the freezer for whenever cravings kick!
Tips: To freeze cookie dough: Shape dough into about 1 1/2 in balls and place on a aluminum foil covered baking sheet. Freeze for 1hr and transfer cookie dough balls to freezer zip lock bags. When ready to bake, preheat oven, place on a baking sheet and bake for 2-3 mins longer than original time. While cooling make the peanut butter glaze. Drizzle. Cool. Serve. EAT!

Peanut Butter Drizzled Milk Chocolate Chunk Cookies

About 24-27 cookies

Ingredients:

  • 1 2/3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup cocoa powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 1/2 sticks (12 tbsp.) butter, unsalted melted and cooled
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 1 egg + 1 yolk
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 8 oz high- quality milk chocolate, chopped into chunks
  • 1/4 cup peanut butter (I used natural)
  • 1 tbsp. coconut oil

Directions:

  • Preheat oven to 325F.
  • In a bowl combine flour, cocoa, baking soda and salt.
  • In a large bowl combine butter and sugars. Whisk in egg, yolk and vanilla.
  • Slowly add the dry ingredients to the wet and stir to combine.
  • Fold in the chocolate chunks.
  • Shape dough into 1 1/2 in balls and place on baking sheet. Bake for 9-12 mins or until cookies are set but still a little undercooked.
  • Melt peanut butter, add coconut oil and stir to combine. Drizzle over cookies.
  • Let cool for 10-15 mins and devour!

Source: HowSweetEats

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Chunky Monkey Pancakes

Breakfast. The one meal I normally skip. IMG_0289

Yes, I understand it’s the most important meal of the day and all but who has the time to make breakfast now days?

And who has the energy? I can’t even function before I have a bottle of Starbucks Frappuccino let alone make breakfast.

So on those days (which is basically everyday) I open up my freezer and see what I have in there.

Normally when I make pancakes I make a double even triple batch and freeze the extras.

Pancakes not only freeze beautifully but also reheat in a pinch. About 90 seconds in the microwave and breakfast is served.

For those of you who want to freeze pancakes but don’t know how here’s how I do it:  I make the pancakes and place them on an aluminum foil covered baking sheet and let them cool. Once cooled I transfer the baking sheet to the freezer and flash freeze them for about 30 to 45 mins. Then I transfer the pancakes to individual freezer zip lock bags, label the bags and return to the freezer. Super easy and then you have pancakes for breakfasts to come. Other things that are great frozen are waffles, French toast and muffins.

Recipe Review:

  • Stars: 5
  • Level: Easy
  • Comments: Loved these pancakes! They are fluffy and sweet with chunks of bananas, chocolate chips and pecans.
  • Negatives: None
  • Will I make these again? Most definitely!

Chunky Monkey Pancakes

Makes about 10 pancakes

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 tbsp. sugar
  • 3/4 cup buttermilk
  • 3 tbsp. melted butter (used unsalted)
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 large bananas, diced
  • 1/2 cup mini chocolate chips
  • 1/4 cup chopped pecans, optional

Directions:

  1. Preheat a skillet or griddle to medium heat.
  2. In a bowl whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and sugar.
  3. In a separate bowl whisk together buttermilk, butter, eggs and vanilla.
  4. Add the wet ingredients to the dry and stir to combine. Mixture will be lumpy.
  5. Fold in the bananas, chocolate chips and pecans.
  6. Drop 1/4 cup of batter on the griddle and cook until little bubbles form on the surface of the pancake.
  7. Flip and cooked until browned.
  8. Repeat with remaining batter.
  9. Serve with chocolate syrup, whipped cream, chocolate chips and pecan pieces.

Source: OneSweetAppetite

M&M Cupcakes with Peanut Butter Frosting & Blog Makeover!

In our household we are complete chocolate freaks so me making a yellow cake cupcake is pretty much unheard off. Unless its mixed with m&ms and topped with peanut butter frosting that is. Then it’s totally ok. IMG_0272

So this little blog got a complete makeover! From the appearance to the name, everything is new and better! It’s still a work in progress so bare with me while I figure out the kinks. I’m also working on improving my photography a bit to give you some better pictures they are not going to be magazine worthy or anything since I am too lazy busy to read up on food photography so with trial and error hopefully you’ll see some improvement 🙂

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Recipe Review:

  • Stars: 4
  • Level: Easy
  • Comments: The cupcakes were nice and moist and you get some m&ms in every bite! The recipe was very easy to follow and the process was fairly simple. I love that it uses cake mix even though it tastes totally homemade 🙂 The peanut butter frosting was awesome light and fluffy and not overly sweet.
  • Negatives: The recipe made waay to little frosting to frost 24 cupcakes so I had to double it. Also the cupcakes were sticking a lot to the liners so I recommend spraying the liners with cooking spray before pouring in the batter.
  • Will I make these again? Yes If you love peanut butter and m&ms these cupcakes are for you!

M&M Cupcakes with Peanut Butter Frosting

24 cupcakes

For cupcakes:

  • 1 box yellow or white cake mix (I used yellow)
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1/3 cup oil
  • 1 cup milk or buttermilk (used buttermilk)
  • 1/2 cup sour cream or plain yogurt (used sour cream)
  • 1 tbsp. vanilla extract
  • 1 cup mini M&Ms

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350F.
  2. In a bowl sift cake mix.
  3. In a large bowl combine the eggs, oil, milk or buttermilk, sour cream or yogurt and vanilla extract.
  4. Add the cake mix to the wet ingredients and stir to combine.
  5. Gently fold in the M&Ms.
  6. Fill 24 cupcake liners with the batter.
  7. Bake for 17-22mins or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean.
  8. Let cool completely before frosting

Peanut Butter Frosting

  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 cup smooth peanut butter (used all natural)
  • 4 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
  • 4-8 tsp milk

Directions:

  1. Beat peanut butter and butter in a mixer until smooth.
  2. With the mixer on low add the vanilla and powdered sugar.
  3. Beat until fluffy and add milk to reach desired consistency.
  4. Frost cooled cupcakes and decorate with extra M&Ms if desired.

Source: YourCupofCake

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