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Monday, April 25, 2016

Hawaiian Haystacks {with a Creamy Garlic Chicken Sauce}

I hadn't eaten this dish for years, until last night.  It was quick, easy, and my kids loved it--so it will definitely start appearing more frequently here.  My kids thought it was so fun to have all the toppings in little dishes so they could customize it as they wanted. It was a nice break from the complaining that has been happening at our dinner table lately.  


Lu came up with this delicious sauce as an alternative to the traditional cream of chicken soup that the chicken gravy is made with.  I thought it was perfect.  Give it a try and let us know what you think!


PS. These Rice noodles are way more crunchy and delicious than the traditional chow mein noodles!



Hawaiian Haystacks with Creamy Garlic Chicken Gravy

Ingredients:

2 tablespoons butter
2 cloves garlic, minced
¼ cup flour
3½ cups milk (or 3 cups milk + ½ cup cream)
2 teaspoons chicken base or 2 cubes bullion
Salt & pepper to taste
2 cups cooked chicken (shredded or cut into bite-sized pieces)
Hot cooked rice for serving

For full recipe, directions and printable version click here.




Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Perfect Deviled Eggs


It's a few days after Easter and we still have a dozen plus boiled eggs hanging around.  Last night my husband said, are we going to have Deviled Eggs sometime? We really love this recipe. It's my Grandma King's recipe - and I tell you what, these things are addicting. I ate 3 whole eggs without thinking about it last time I made these and then my hubby polished off the last 3. Grandma has some of the best recipes and I love keeping them alive in the family.  This recipe is simple and sure, and everyone loves them. They are perfectly seasoned, and if you're feeling fancy and want to give them a pop of color you garnish them with chives or green onions.  


Every Easter my favorite foods are Carrot Cake, Deviled Eggs and Egg Salad Sandwiches. So far I've had all but the Deviled Eggs, but I'll be fixing that right after I publish this post.  

Enjoy!

Deviled Eggs
PRINTABLE VERSION {CLICK HERE}
Yield: 6 whole eggs (12 halves)
Ingredients:


6 eggs
3 tablespoons mayonnaise
¼ teaspoon onion salt (or ⅛ teaspoon onion powder and ¼ teaspoon salt)
1 teaspoon dijon mustard
½ teaspoon lemon juice
Dash of white pepper
Dash of tabasco sauce

Directions:


Hard boil 6 eggs. Our preferred way is to cover them in large sauce pan with water and bring to a boil, once boiling, turn heat off and cover the pot with the lid and let them sit for 10 minutes. Once 10 minutes is up, drain the warm water and fill pan with water and ice to cool.

Once cool peel and cut in half lengthwise.  Remove yolks and place in a small mixing bowl, add the mayo, onion salt, mustard, lemon juice, pepper and tabasco sauce - mix until smooth.  Pipe or scoop the yolk mixture back into the hole of the egg white.  Garnish with paprika or chopped chives if desired.

Recipe Source:


From our grandma, Kathy King - Originally shared on Landee Lu

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Lemon Blueberry Cheesecake


My birthday was a few weeks ago and since I'm not a huge cake lover (except for carrot cake and a few other over the top cakes) I usually go for cheesecake or my other favorite, Strawberries & Cream Mile High Pie.  This year I changed up my favorite lemon cheesecake (the one I had the previous 2 years) to be lemon blueberry (one of my all time favorite flavor combos).  Oh man, it tasted even better than it looks.  And I loved the vibrant purple color next to the lemon, the colors were beautiful. 

My favorite thing about this cheesecake recipe is how light it is. If you've made many baked cheesecakes before you know that it's mostly made of cream cheese. This cheesecake has just as much sour cream as cream cheese, making the texture so very "melt in your mouth"....oh my goodness, it's divine. I do love classic NY cheesecake, but I'd take this version hands down any day if I had the choice between the two. 




Can we just talk a little bit about my love for blueberries?  They are so pretty and delicious! When ever I use them in a recipe I go a little crazy taking pictures of them.  This pictures just does my heart good! 

My husband needs to receive all the credit for this beautiful cheesecake, because he made it just for my birthday (love that man). I just stole a little of the filling and topping while he was mixing it up and blended in some blueberries and swirled it around.  The result was just what I had been dreaming of, it doesn't always work out that way, but when it does, it's pretty much the best!  The color and flavor of the blueberries was a perfect addition to my favorite flavor, lemon! 



This cheesecake looks so "springy" and fresh. Perfect for Easter dessert (or anytime during the spring or summer time).  I hope you'll enjoy this as much as we did.  We savored every bite!

I hope you'll enjoy the loads of pictures, I couldn't help myself. I took way more than what I've shared in this post, but it was so pretty I had to share some of my very favorites! PS. I wrote very detailed instructions for making this cheesecake, it's not hard, I just wanted to share all that I could to make sure your cheesecake turns out just as amazing! 


Lemon Blueberry Cheesecake

Yield: 1 (9 inch) cheesecake
Ingredients:


For the crust:
2 cups packed golden Oreo crumbs (or graham cracker in Notes option below)
2 tablespoons butter, melted
For the filling:
2 (8 ounce) packages cream cheese (full fat preferable), softened
3 large eggs
1 cup granulated sugar
¼ teaspoon salt
3 cups sour cream (full fat preferable)
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 teaspoon lemon extract
2 tablespoons lemon zest (zest then juice)
½ cup fresh lemon juice, strained  (about 3 lemons depending on how juicy they are)
3 ounces fresh blueberries
Topping:
¼ cup sour cream
¼ cup sweetened condensed milk
1 ½ tablespoons fresh lemon juice, strained
1-2 tablespoons blueberries
Heavy Duty Aluminum Foil/crock pot liner
Notes:


*If you’d rather do a graham cracker crust follow this: 1 ½ cups graham crackers, crushed, 3 tablespoons granulated sugar, 6 tablespoons butter, melted - combine cracker crumbs and sugar and stir until incorporated, add the melted butter and mix until the texture is uniform. Press the mixture into the bottom of a 9 inch springform pan.
*Full fat cream cheese and sour cream will result in a much better texture and flavor of cheesecake.
*There is a light blueberry flavor in this cheesecake. Blueberries have a lot of natural occurring pectin in them and adding too many I thought would ruin the texture of the cheesecake. But it makes for a gorgeous color and light blueberry flavor.
Directions:


If you want to do the golden Oreo crust, start by placing about 24 Oreos in the food processor) or in a large gallon ziplock back.  Crush the cookies in the food processor or use a rolling pin to crush them in the bag until you have crumbs.  Mix in a small bowl with the melted butter. Press into the bottom of a 9 inch springform pan  If you prefer the graham cracker crust, see notes in the NOTES section.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.

In a large bowl (or bowl of stand mixer) beat (with electric mixer or stand mixer) the cream cheese until smooth, scraping the bowl as needed, making sure to get all the lumps out of the cream cheese.   Add the eggs one at time, mixing each one in as you go. Add the sugar, salt, vanilla and lemon extract and mix until smooth.  Add the sour cream and mix til smooth. Add the lemon zest, lemon juice, and beat until light and fluffy and combined, scraping the sides of the bowl as needed. Scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl to make sure no cream cheese is stuck to the bottom, if it is, beat again until there are no remaining lumps.

Remove 1 cup of the filling into a liquid 2 cup measuring bowl (or blender jar) and add the 3 ounces of blueberries. Blend with a stick blender or in the blender jar until smooth.  


This cheesecake bakes in a water bath, so covering the pan in foil or with a crock pot liner  helps the cheesecake not to leak out and the water not to leak in (we don’t want a soggy crust). Most springform pans are not leak proof. Place heavy duty foil or crock pot bag around the bottom of the springform pan so that it wraps several inches up the side.  If you can, try to only use one piece of foil so that there won’t be any leaking. If you need to use two pieces make sure you fold them back several times to get a tight seal.

Pour half of the remaining lemon filling into the pan on top of the crust.  Dollop ½ of the 1 cup of blueberry filling by the  spoonful on to of the lemon filling.  Pour the remaining lemon filling on top.  Dollop with the last ½ cup of blueberry filling. Using a thin spatula or butter knife cut through the dollops making a swirly design in the cheesecake, don’t over do it. You want swirls of lemon and lemon blueberry.

Place a larger baking or roasting pan in the oven with the springform pan on it.  Use a pitcher or measuring cup to pour water into the large pan/roasting pan (so that it goes ½ way up the sides of the springform pan). Bake in the preheated oven for 35-60 minutes or until the center is firm, but jiggly (like set up jello). When it’s reached that point, turn the oven off and crack the door open a few inches and let the cheesecake cool until you can handle the pan (1-2 hours).  Remove the springform pan from the water bath and allow it to cool completely on a flat cooling rack.  Once completely cool wrap in foil or plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight (or at least 8 hours).


When you’re ready to serve, carefully remove the sides of the springform pan. And then make the topping. In a small bowl and using a wire whisk, whisk the ¼ cup sour cream, ¼ sweetened condensed milk, and 1 ½ tablespoons of lemon juice. Spread ⅔ of the mixture over the top of the cheesecake. With the remaining ⅓ of the topping - add the few tablespoons of blueberries and blend until smooth.  Place small dollops of the lemon blueberry topping around the top of and use a thin spatula to swirl them around, taking care to not swirl too much, you want there to be lemon and blueberry spots for a pretty look. 

Top the cheesecake with a handful of blueberries if desired and a lemon wedge if desired. Slice and enjoy!

Recipe Source:


Adapted from my favorite Lemon Cheesecake from Our Best Bites 


Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Baked Pastrami Sliders


There are a few reasons why these heavenly baked pastrami sandwiches are so perfect.  1) You can make them ahead of time (or not.).  We're all about make-ahead meals here and anything that makes dinnertime less hectic.  2) They all come out of the oven at the same time and are ready to serve.  This may not seem like a big deal, but it seems like when we have panini or other hot sandwiches for dinner they are never all ready at the same time so it makes it harder to sit down and enjoy dinner together.  And last but not least, 3),  they come together super quickly--no slaving over a hot stove all afternoon.




Click here to head to Or So She Says where we are sharing this scrumptious recipe!

Tuesday, March 1, 2016

Chewy Andes Mint Chocolate Chip Cookies


When I think of St. Patrick's day, green obviously comes to mind. And I'm a huge fan of no food coloring added as much as possible.  So when I'm coming up with a St. Patrick's day menu, I'm looking for things that are edible looking. No green pancakes, no green eggs and ham.  I have to be able to want to eat it when I look at it.  These Chewy Andes Mint Cookies are right up my alley of ok (green-ish, they really don't have a ton of green in them, just bits of Andes mint pieces) food to eat. Chocolate mint screams St. Patty's day to me. You? 


These also make a great holiday cookie around Christmas time too!


These cookies are seriously amazing! Just check out what's in them!

First is the blended oats.  Blending up the oatmeal gives you the chewiness that only oatmeal can add to a chocolate chip cookie, but with a smoother texture that makes for a pretty and irresistible cookie.   


The second thing that makes these different than your average chocolate chip cookie is the grated chocolate bar.  I can't even find words to explain it, but it makes these cookies exponentially better.  More chocolate in every bite is never a bad idea.  Just try it and you'll understand.  It also doesn't hurt that this makes one GIANT batch of cookies-perfect for gifting to neighbors, saving cookie dough for snitching, or storing baked cookies in the freezer for unexpected guests!

These cookies got rave reviews at both of our houses!  Santa or Mr. Leprechaun is sure to love them, too! 


Chewy Andes Mint Chocolate Chip Cookies

Printable Version
Ingredients:

2 cups butter
2 cups granulated sugar
2 cups brown sugar
4 eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla
2 teaspoons baking soda
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
4 ½ cups all-purpose flour
5 cups oatmeal, blended (measure before, then blend in blender until powder)
1 ¾ cups Andes mint pieces
1 ¾ cups dark chocolate chips
3 cups chopped nuts (pecans or walnuts, optional)
1  (6-8 ounce) chocolate bar, grated
Sea salt for sprinkling

Notes:

I added ½ cup extra flour to the original recipe b/c we are at about 5,000 feet above sea level.  If you are below 5,000 feet you can probably get away with 4 cups of flour.

Directions:

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Line baking sheets with parchment, silicone baking mats or just on the cookie sheet (un-greased is fine).   

Cream butter and sugar on high in a mixer for 3 minutes, until light creamy. Add eggs and vanilla, mix one more minute. Measure 5 cups oats into a blender jar and blend until a fine flour.  Mix all soda, baking powder, salt, flour, blended oats together in a large mixing bowl. Add the dry mixture to the butter/sugar mixture. Mix together and add Andes mint pieces, chocolate chips, grated chocolate bar and nuts, mix until combined.

Make golf ball sized cookies place 2 inches apart. Bake in preheated 375 degree oven for about 6-8 minutes.   Let cool on a cookie sheet for 2 minutes and the on a wire rack until completely cool.  Store in an air-tight container. Freeze for longer lasting cookies. Makes 112 cookies.

Recipe Source:

Slightly adapted from a recipe from our grandma and mom - added Andes mint pieces, ½ cup flour, and sea salt. Originally posted on Eigtheen25.

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Sprinkledoodles {on a stick}

How fun would these rainbow sprinkle cookies be for St. Patty's Day?  Cookies on a stick are a fun tradition in our family and the kids go crazy for them.  Especially this colorful version!  Really they can be adapted to any holiday/season by changing up your sprinkles.  They are perfect for parties or gifting.  They package up nicely and transport easily.  Our mom used to bring them to school on our birthdays.  They are happiness on a stick.


These cookies can be summed up in 6 simple steps:
1) Start with a snickerdoodle cookie dough base.  2) Roll in your favorite sprinkles.  3) Insert popsicle sticks and flatten slightly.  5) Bake until they begin to set up.  6) Be the coolest mom/neighbor/friend ever!






Quick tip on the sprinkles:  you can often ask for seasonal sprinkles at your local bakery and they will sell any amount you need to you in a little tub super inexpensively!  We have tried this successfully at both Smith's/Kroger and Wal-mart.  



Is it wrong (or lame?) that this gif is so fun for me to watch?







Sprinkledoodles {on a stick}

Ingredients:

1 cup butter, softened
3/4 cup white sugar
3/4 cup brown sugar
2 eggs
2 ¾ cups + 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons cream of tartar
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
Sprinkles
Popsicle sticks

Directions:

Cream butter and sugars. Add eggs and mix until well combined. Add flour, cream of tartar, baking soda, baking powder, and salt.

Refrigerate dough for 30 minutes.

Preheat oven to 350. Roll into balls (about golf ball sized). Roll each ball in sprinkles. Insert popsicle sticks about halfway into cookie dough balls. Place on a lined baking sheet. Gently press each cookie with a glass or other flat surface.

Bake until edges begin to set up, about 8-10 minutes.

Notes:

I safely can bake 6 cookies per sheet (11x17 pan) - golf ball size is much bigger than most cookies I do. And since you don’t want the cookies running into the other popsicle sticks as they spread and bake is a good reason to bake fewer per sheet. Arrange the sticks and cookies so they don’t spread into each other.
Recipe Source:

A Leesh and Lu original, by Lu. Originally posted on landeelu.com


Pinnable image

Friday, February 19, 2016

Greek Chicken Pita Pockets

Have you ever tried making pita bread? Lu and I have both given it a try recently and maybe I'm easily entertained, but it was so thrilling watching it puff up to form those pockets.  But whether or not you make your own pita bread isn't important here.  In fact the bread isn't important in this conversation.  It's merely a vehicle to get the deliciousness that is this chicken salad into your mouth.  

You must try this recipe.  It is light, fresh, filling, and the perfect quick dinner as the weather begins to warm up--or any day really! Click over to OSSS where we're sharing the recipe and grab the printable.  You won't regret it!





P.S.  This dressing from Sprouts is amazing!!