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Thursday, October 30, 2014

Cheesy Denver Breakfast Skillet

We love Brinner (breakfast for dinner, that is) at our house.  It usually happens weekly.  It's also usually my favorite night of the week for 2 reasons.  First, breakfast usually comes together pretty quickly and doesn't involve a lot of planning or prep work. Second,  we can eat breakfast foods that w typically don't have time for on rushed mornings.  I love breakfast foods and I guess I just can't get my fill in the mornings.  This was a perfect dinner for me.  My kids also gobbled it right up after dipping it in ketchup.  I might have told them it was french fries.  Either way, we had full happy tummies at our house.

The potato part of the recipe is really flexible.  When I made them I used frozen hashbrowns.  Lu made them with grated fresh potatoes that she microwaved briefly.  I also think they would be super delicious with these skillet potatoes that I have been loving lately.  I'm a big fan of working with whatever you've got on hand.  Just do what works for you.    
    
breakfast, hashbrowns, skillet, eggs, potatoes, ham

Cheesy Denver Breakfast Skillet


Ingredients:


2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons finely chopped onion
2 tablespoons finely chopped green and/or red bell pepper
4 eggs, beaten
1 cup refrigerated hash browns*
1/4 cup finely chopped cooked ham
½ cup shredded colby jack cheese

Directions:


Melt 1 tablespoon butter in 10-inch nonstick skillet until sizzling; add onion and bell peppers. Cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, 1 minute. Add eggs. Cook, lifting and stirring slightly with spatula to allow uncooked portion to flow underneath, 2-3 minutes or until eggs are set.

Remove from skillet. Cover; keep warm. Melt remaining butter in same skillet until sizzling; add hash browns. Cook, stirring occasionally, 4-5 minutes or until lightly browned. Add ham; continue cooking until ham is heated through.

Spoon scrambled eggs over hash browns in skillet; top with cheese. Cover; cook until cheese is just melted.

Notes:


*Use whatever kind of hash browns/ potatoes you have or like.  It works great with diced or shredded potatoes or frozen hash browns as well.  

Recipe Source:


Slightly adapted from Land O Lakes


 So yummy even chubby little baby fingers can't resist!


Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Swiss Bacon Salad

If I had to pick a favorite green salad, this one would probably be the winner.  The sweet and tangy dressing, the mushrooms, the salty bacon--it's all just too much.  I love it.  Even my hubby, Jeff, loves it.  And he's not a salad guy.  So that is definitely saying something. If you ask him, he will tell you the only 3 food groups that matter are bread, meat, and cheese.  But if I *make* him choose a salad, he always chooses this one.  It's a crowd-pleaser and comes together really quickly.  Make it.  Love it.  Then come back and tell me about it.     

swiss bacon salad, spinach salad, poppy seed dressing, mushrooms

Swiss Bacon Salad

Ingredients:


8- 10 cups salad greens, washed and torn into bite-sized pieces
½ pound bacon, cooked and crumbled--or about ½ cup bacon bits
8 oz. mushrooms, sliced
¼-½ pound shredded swiss cheese
¼ cup finely sliced red onion, optional

For the Dressing:
1 T poppyseeds
½ cup oil
½ cup sugar
½ cup red wine vinegar
½ teaspoon dry mustard
1 teaspoon salt

Directions:


Combine all dressing ingredients.  Toss greens and toppings with dressing.  (You may not need all of the dressing.)  Serve immediately.  
Notes:


Feel free to use your favorite greens.  I usually use all spinach or a spring mix, but it would be delicious with a leaf lettuce or romaine or a mixture, too.

If you have a hard time finding swiss cheese in block form, you can cut pre-sliced swiss into small strips or use another type of cheese.  Pictured here is colby jack.  

Recipe Source:


My mom, Diana King, has made this as long as I can remember!



Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter Brownies


Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter Brownies | Leesh & Lu's Recipe Box

I follow this blog, and saw these brownies a few months ago.  You all know me - I couldn't think about anything else until I had a taste. As soon as I saw the recipe I decided they sounded divine, just like Melissa said, and I immediately wrote all the ingredients on my shopping list.  

A few weeks later my cousin came to visit (Hi, Christina!), and we HAD to make these.  I mean, what else do you do with your cousin/friend, etc than making yummy dark chocolate goodness?!?  

We all thought we'd died and gone to Brownie Heaven!  These are so yummy! Fudgy, dark chocolate goodness with a swirl of creamy peanut butter on the top! What is not to love?!?!  We of course had to enjoy them with a cup of cold milk to wash them down.  And we kept coming back for more.  The pan full was gone in no time!  

My husband was looking through my gallery of food pictures the other night and he said, "oh boy, those were good, we need to make them again soon!" 

These will be a favorite go-to brownie from here on out! 

Enjoy!  Please comment and let me know how you like them!  I love to hear from you!

-Lu
Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter Brownies | Leesh & Lu's Recipe Box

Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter Brownies

Printable Version {Click Here}

Ingredients:

5 ounces bittersweet chocolate chips
2 ounces unsweetened chocolate bar, chopped coarse (I used Baker’s)
3 tablespoons cocoa powder (I used Hershey’s Special Dark cocoa)
½ cup butter
1¼ cup white sugar
3 eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla
½ teaspoon salt
1 cup flour
⅓ cup creamy peanut butter

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line an 8 or 9 inch square glass baking pan with foil, let the foil hang over the edges a few inches for easy removal. Spray grease the foil.

In a microwave safe bowl,add chocolate chips, chopped chocolate, and butter. Microwave in 30 second to 1 minute intervals, stirring often, for 1 to 3 minutes until the mixture is smooth. Add cocoa and stir until smooth. Let the mixture cool slightly.

In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the sugar, eggs, vanilla, and salt. Stir in the melted chocolate mixture until combined and smooth. Mix in the flour until it’s incorporated, don’t over mix. Using a rubber spatula, scrape the batter into the prepared pan and smooth.

Drop small dollops of peanut butter with a spoon on top of the brownie batter, trying to spread them evenly. Use a knife or thin spatula to cut through the peanut butter and pull it through the brownie layer a bit to make it swirl. Bake  for 35-40 minutes or until you insert a tooth-pick into the middle of the brownies and it comes out with just crumbs.  If it’s still doughy bake a few more minutes. You will see a bit of chocolate residue from all the melted chocolate.  

When they are done baking remove from the oven and let them cool on a wire rack until they are completely cool (if you can possibly wait). Remove the brownies from the pan using the foil that’s over hanging to lift them out. Place on a cutting board and cut into squares.  Enjoy! And try not to eat them all at once. ;)

Recipe Source:

From Melissa at Bless this Mess Please Blog - Thanks for sharing, Melissa! These are so good!

Thursday, October 16, 2014

{Our Favorite} Taco Meat

Good old tacos.  In one form or another they make an appearance at our house at least monthly.  They probably aren't really something you need a recipe for, but Linds and I both thought this idea was worth sharing.  I've been making them with the addition of beans and tomatoes for about a year now, and I won't go back.  The beans make the meat go a bit further so you can put a hearty scoop of meat on your taco without eating 1/2 of a pound of beef.  

We really like these with ground turkey and black beans, but make them with your favorite combination of meat and beans.  On busy nights, I make this in advance and throw it in the crock pot on warm until we are ready to eat.  It is perfect for taco salad and I often send any leftover filling along with some tortilla chips for the hubby's lunch.  I also put it in my kids' quesadillas to make "taco-dillas" and they gobble them right up.  It's pretty versatile and darn right delicious!

{Our Favorite} Taco Meat | Leesh & Lu's Recipe Box


{Our Favorite} Taco Meat



Ingredients:

1 pound lean ground beef or turkey
1/2 medium yellow onion, diced (optional)
1 can black beans, drained and rinsed (use your favorite kind--they are pictured here with kidney beans)
1 can diced tomatoes and their juices
Taco Seasoning--use a packet or Lu’s recipe
Salt and Pepper, to taste

Directions:

Cook meat and onion in skillet over med-high heat until meat is fully cooked.  Season with salt and pepper, to taste.  Add beans, diced tomatoes, and taco seasoning.  Cook 5 min more.  Serve immediately or keep in crockpot on WARM until ready to serve.  


{Our Favorite} Taco Meat | Leesh & Lu's Recipe Box

{Our Favorite} Taco Meat | Leesh & Lu's Recipe Box


Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Homemade Meatballs {For Spaghetti & Sauce}


Spaghetti & Meatballs | Leesh & Lu's Recipe  Box

If I ever ask my husband what he wants me to put on the menu, 98.5485% of the times he requests Spaghetti. But when we were first married we always made it with ground beef in the sauce, and that was something I couldn't do when pregnant the first time around. I will spare you the details. After that I had a aversion to ground beef mixed in the sauce.  However, Steven kept requesting it and still does.  So I decided we need to go with meatballs.  So after trying and trying several recipes, I finally created my own variation that we love.  This is the only way I like to eat Spaghetti now! And to be technical it's always Angel Hair pasta, I like it more than Spaghetti. 

Spaghetti & Meatballs | Leesh & Lu's Recipe  Box 

These meatballs are waaaaaay better than any frozen meatballs you can find in stores.  And my favorite thing about making these, is I usually make enough for 3+ meals, so I freeze my own for quick/easy future dinners. When I can do this with any meal that we love it becomes an instant favorite!  Having those frozen meatballs in the freezer on nights that I just don't want to cook or don't have time is a lifesaver!  I simply heat them in my favorite spaghetti sauce on the stove and there are done in about the time the pasta is! It's easy, simple, fast, and tasty!  Those are 4 things I just NEED sometimes!   We like to serve the Spaghetti and meatballs with these bread sticks and a green salad.

I hope you enjoy!

Spaghetti & Meatballs | Leesh & Lu's Recipe  Box

Homemade Meatballs {For Spaghetti & Sauce}


Ingredients:

1 pound ground beef
1 pound ground turkey
4 slices of bread, broken into small pieces
⅔ cup buttermilk
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon oregano
1 teaspoon basil
½ teaspoon black pepper, fresh ground
1 egg
½ cup parmesan cheese, grated
Cooked pasta (spaghetti or angel hair)
Spaghetti sauce (my favorite is Hunt’s Garlic and Herb)

Directions:

1. Break bread slices into small pieces and place in a large mixing bowl. Mix bread pieces with buttermilk to form a paste.  Add the garlic, salt, oregano, basil, black pepper, egg, and parmesan, to the bread mixture and stir until smooth.  

2. Add the ground beef and turkey to the mixture and mix with a large fork or with your clean hand (I like to use disposable kitchen gloves so I don’t have to this all over my hand) until it’s mixed well.  

3. Form meatballs into 1 - 1½ inch balls and place on a foil lined and greased baking sheet.  Bake at 375 degrees for 20-30 minutes, turning once about halfway through. Test meatballs for doneness with a meat thermometer. They should reach at least 170 degrees F.

4. Heat your favorite pasta sauce and add the cooked meatballs and heat until hot.  Serve over cooked pasta.  

Notes:

You can also cook them in a large nonstick skillet on the stove until done. I prefer doing the oven for ease and less babysitting.  I add the spaghetti sauce when they are done and simmer until hot.

We enjoy serving this with bread sticks and a green salad. 

Source: Leesh & Lu's Recipe Box, by Lu, with inspiration from ATK & yummly.com

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Creamy Caramel Dip

Creamy Caramel Dip | Leesh and Lu's Recipe Box

If you like apples you need this dip in your life.  It is creamy and dreamy and the perfect snack any time of the year.  It couldn't be simpler to make either.  My 3-year-old loves to make this.  He dips his apples in it, but ends up eating it with a spoon most of the time.  It takes only 4 ingredients and you probably already have them on hand.  

I made this last year and we used it to sample lots of different varieties of apples.  Turns out that Honeycrisp apples are our favorites with Gala and Pink Lady tying for second.  I also like a good Granny Smith apple--especially when it's paired with a sweet caramel dip.  I'm not sure why Red Delicious apples even exist--not to mention the fact that they are so widely available. I've never had a delicious one and the texture is weird to me.  Maybe I'm just weird.  What is your favorite variety of apple to munch on? 

 - Leesh


Creamy Caramel Dip | Leesh and Lu's Recipe Box

Creamy Caramel Dip

Ingredients:


8 ounces cream cheese, softened (low-fat works really well here)
½ - ⅔ cup brown sugar--depending on how sweet you like it
2 teaspoons vanilla
2 teaspoons lemon juice


Directions:


Stir ingredients together until well combined.  Refrigerate until ready to serve.  Serve with sliced apples or any other fruit.  


Notes:


I like to make sure the cream cheese is really soft so you don’t get lumps in the dip.  I do this by placing it on a plate and microwaving it at 20% power for 30 second intervals until it’s super melty.  


Recipe Source:


A to Z cookbook for Kids, by Jacque Wick

Monday, October 6, 2014

Caramel Apple Cinnamon Rolls


Caramel Apple Cinnamon Rolls | Leesh and Lu's Recipe Box


When I made Apple Butter last month it smelled amazing! I made bread a few days later and while the bread was baking I could smell the Apple Butter again.  The apple butter smell mixed with the bread smell was amazing.  It made me think of apple cinnamon bread. Yum!  That gave the the idea of making all sorts of apple breads (more recipes to come).  My first thought was Apple Cinnamon Rolls with Caramel Frosting.  

I told my husband, mom, and Leesh about it. And I really couldn't think about anything else.  When I have an idea or a food craving like this, my mind won't quit til I get a taste!  It was a good taste! These Caramel Apple Cinnamon Rolls really were like a dream come true. They tasted just how I was imagining them.  I made them two ways.  I fill half of the dough with Apple Butter, something my mom suggested. And half with cooked diced apples.  They both turned out great! I liked them both a lot, but if I had to choose I'd pick the one with the chunks of apple. I like chunks better in something like this. 

Caramel Apple Cinnamon Rolls | Leesh and Lu's Recipe Box

I used the same soft tender dough recipe that I do for my Original Cinnamon Rolls. The dough is perfect for cinnamon rolls, it's so soft and tender.  I then and added the apples/apple butter, cinnamon sugar, and topped it off with some caramel frosting.  We shared these with some of our friends, and the reviews were great from everyone.  I can't say I'll only make Caramel Apple Cinnamon Rolls, because well, I really just love a good old Original Cinnamon Roll too. But these were perfect for Fall, and gave me another way to put to use all those apples that are STILL coming from our tree out back!  Yum, yum!   

 Caramel Apple Cinnamon Rolls | Leesh and Lu's Recipe Box

I hope you enjoy! Is your mouth watering yet? Mine is!

And I'd love to hear from you. What you think of the recipe, and how you like it!  Thanks!

Caramel Apple Cinnamon Rolls | Leesh and Lu's Recipe Box

Caramel Apple Cinnamon Rolls

Apple filled cinnamon rolls with a caramel frosting

Ingredients:

Dough:
1 tablespoon yeast (I use instant yeast)
½ cup hot mashed potatoes (instant potatoes work okay or reheated leftovers)
¼ cup vegetable oil
¼ cup sugar
1 ½ tsp salt
1 ¼ cup scalded milk
1 egg
4 to 4 ¼ cups all-purpose flour

Filling: Diced Apple or Apple Butter
Melted butter (¼-½ cup I always say the more the better it tastes)

Diced apple filling:
⅔ cup sugar with as much cinnamon as you like 1-2 tablespoons
6 cups apples, finely diced
3 tablespoons butter
   
    Apple Butter Filling:
½ - ¾ cup apple butter

Frosting:
½ cup butter
¾ cup brown sugar
¼ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon soda
2 cups of powdered sugar
4 tablespoons milk

Directions:

In a small bowl mix potatoes, oil, sugar and scalded milk and salt.   (To scald milk you cook in a saucepan over med-high heat until it starts to bubble on the edge, not really boil, but nice and hot - when I’m lazy I just put it in a microwave safe 2-cup measuring cup and nuke it for a minute or so.) Cool the potato, oil, sugar, and milk mixture to lukewarm and put it in your mixer (or if doing by hand you’ll want it in a large mixing bowl).  Add the yeast, egg, and 2 cups of flour.  Mix until smooth. Mix in two more cups of flour. Only add more if you need it to help the dough clean the side of the mixer and until the dough is smooth and elastic.  Continue mixing/kneading for 5 minutes in mixer or by hand.

Form the dough into a ball, and place it in a lightly greased bowl. Turn the dough ball once to coat and cover the bowl with a clean towel or spray-greased plastic wrap. Leave it in a warm place and let it rise until doubled (about one hour).  

Prepare cooked apples and cinnamon sugar mixture while it rises.  For apples dice 3 cups finely and cook in a saucepan with 2 tablespoons butter stirring occasionally until apples are soft and most of the moisture has cooked out.  They will be damp, but not soggy/wet. You want them fairly dry so the dough will cook through as they bake.  Mix cinnamon and sugar in a small bowl until combined.  

You can also prepare the frosting while the dough finishes rising.  To make frosting, melt butter in a medium size saucepan, add brown sugar and boil 1 minute.  Remove from heat; and add the salt and soda; stir the mixture to combine. The soda makes it expand and rise, so make sure your pan isn’t too small.  Add powdered sugar and milk and whip with a hand mixer until smooth and fluffy.  Add more milk if you’d like the frosting more runny and add more powdered sugar to thicken it to the desired consistency.

After the dough finished rising, punch it down and roll into a rectangle shape (about the size of a large baking sheet).  It should be about ¼ inch thick.  Leaving about ½ inch uncovered on one of the long edges (so you can easily pinch the seam closed), spread with butter and then sprinkle the cinnamon sugar and cooked apples. Or use the butter and apple butter if you prefer.   Roll tightly and pinch the seam shut.  Cut into 1 ½ inch slices and place on a greased cookie sheet 11x17.  Press them down slightly and let rise until doubled again, about one hour.  

Bake at 400 degrees for 10-12 minutes or until golden brown.

Frost with Caramel Icing.

Source:

From Leesh & Lu’s Recipe Box, by Lu


Caramel Apple Cinnamon Rolls | Leesh and Lu's Recipe Box

Caramel Apple Cinnamon Rolls | Leesh and Lu's Recipe Box

Caramel Apple Cinnamon Rolls | Leesh and Lu's Recipe Box

Caramel Apple Cinnamon Rolls | Leesh and Lu's Recipe Box

Caramel Apple Cinnamon Rolls | Leesh and Lu's Recipe Box

Caramel Apple Cinnamon Rolls | Leesh and Lu's Recipe Box

Caramel Apple Cinnamon Rolls | Leesh and Lu's Recipe Box

Caramel Apple Cinnamon Rolls | Leesh and Lu's Recipe Box

Caramel Apple Cinnamon Rolls | Leesh and Lu's Recipe Box

Caramel Apple Cinnamon Rolls | Leesh and Lu's Recipe Box

Caramel Apple Cinnamon Rolls | Leesh and Lu's Recipe Box

Caramel Apple Cinnamon Rolls | Leesh and Lu's Recipe Box

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