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Cheddar Soup and Beer Bread

I made this soup and bread one day in mid-October when a cold front hit Texas. A much, much needed cold front. And it stayed cold for about a day. I took full advantage of that chill in the air to make some “fall” recipes I’d been storing away for that very moment- the first chill of fall. It also worked out really nicely that my best friend happened to be coming over for dinner that night. So she got to be a guinea pig for my new recipes ūüôā We got to have a lovely, candlelit dinner on the patio.

This cheddar ale soup pairs perfectly with the beer bread. The soup was a somewhat challenging and involved recipe, but definitely worth it. We later decided it would be great with some potatoes added in. I didn’t take the best pictures of this because I was focused on hanging out with my friend, but you’ll just have to make it for yourself and see how yummy it looks and tastes!

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Ale and Cheddar SoupCloset Cooking

  • 1/2 pound bacon (preferably smoked or double smoked), cut into 1 inch slices
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 2 stalks celery, diced
  • 2+ jalapeno peppers, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon thyme, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 1 (~12 ounce) bottle/can ale
  • 2 cups chicken broth or vegetable broth
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 1 teaspoon dijon mustard
  • 1 tablespoon worcestershire sauce
  • 2 cups cheddar cheese, shredded
  • cayenne to taste
  • salt and pepper to taste
  1. Cook the bacon in a pan over medium heat and set aside on paper towels to drain, reserving 2 tablespoons of the grease in the pan.
  2. Add the onion, celery and jalapeno and cook until tender, about 10 minutes.
  3. Add the garlic and thyme and cook until fragrant, about a minute.
  4. Add the butter and let it melt and get all bubbly then sprinkle on the flour and let it cook until it starts to turn golden brown, about 2-3 minutes.
  5. Add the ale and broth and deglaze the pan before adding the bacon and then let cook for 10 minutes.
  6. Add the cream, mustard, Worcestershire sauce, and cheese and cook until the cheese has melted without bringing it back to a boil.
  7. Season with cayenne, salt and pepper to taste.

Buttery Honey Beer BreadCookie Monster Cooking

  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 cup bread flour (but all-purpose can be substituted)
  • 1 Tbsp sugar
  • 1 Tbsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 3 Tbsp honey
  • 1 bottle (12 oz) beer
  • 4 Tbsp unsalted butter, melted and slightly cooled
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 9×5 in loaf pan with cooking spray or butter.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt. Add in the honey and beer and mix until just combined.
  3. Spread the batter evenly in the prepared pan. Evenly pour the melted butter over the top of the batter.
  4. Bake for 50-60 minutes, until a cake tester inserted in the middle comes out clean and the top is golden brown.
  5. Cookie Monster Cooking also has a recipe for honey butter to go with the bread. I didn’t make it, but you can check that out here.

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Pumpkin Cinnamon Rolls

One morning a couple weeks ago, the Pioneer Woman posted a recipe for Pumpkin Cinnamon Rolls. That combines like three of my most favorite things: Pioneer Woman, pumpkin, and cinnamon rolls. I HAD to make them. And I did, that very night. Well that night and into the next morning since it took me four hours to make them. But maybe that was just me. And they were WELL WORTH THE TIME. Lots of cinnamony, pumpkiny, cream cheesy goodness.

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It may have also taken me four hours because around 11:30, in the middle of making them, I discovered A SNAKE on our living room floor. Michael was already asleep and so I screamed and screamed until he woke up and came into the living room very confused. It was a harmless snake… BUT STILL. NOT OK to be in the house. I was freaking out, but did get close enough for a picture (because who was going to believe me without proof??). Michael did pick it up and take it outside unharmed (but I think maybe slightly traumatized by my screaming). (Side note: Our house is really nice and in a nice area, it is not normal for creatures to come in!).

Proof.

Proof.

So back to the cinnamon rolls… they took a long time to make, but it was a fun challenge. I had never made any kind of “sweet rolls” before and it’s about time to learn! I definitely need to perfect my rolling technique, but I’m sure I will be making these a lot more, and also plan on trying her regular cinnamon rolls around Christmas.

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Ready to be rolled up!

This recipe made four pans of rolls, so I sent some to work with Michael. One of his co-workers loved them so much that he paid me to bake him some for a Halloween party! My first baked good sale. Very exciting.

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The recipe is pretty detailed and Ree gives such excellent directions and pictures on her web site so I am going to direct you there for the recipe. Her pictures are very necessary the first time you make these.

I hope you make them and let me know what you think!

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Award-Winning Salsa

A few weeks ago, Michael entered a salsa contest at work. They do fun things like that from time-to-time. Salsa, chili, beans, watermelon seed spitting… Of course he waited until the night before to find a recipe and buy the supplies, and I was tasked with scouring Pinterest for a good salsa recipe. I came across the Pioneer Woman’s (of course!) and it sounded perfect so that is what we settled on.

He ended up winning Second Place! (First Place was green sauce which really shouldn’t even count….).

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I didn’t have a chance to take a picture of it, so here is one he took during the contest

This recipe was easy, delicious, and cheap.

Restaurant Style Salsa from The Pioneer Woman

  • 1 can (28 oz) whole tomatoes, with juice
  • 2 cans (10 oz each) Rotel
  • 1/4 cup onion, chopped
  • 1 jalapeno, quartered and thinly sliced
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1/4 tsp sugar
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp cumin
  • Juice of half a lime
  • 1/2 cup cilantro (or more!)
  1. In a blender or food processor, put all the ingredients.
  2. Pulse several times until it is the consistency you like.
  3. Enjoy with chips! So easy! (and perfectly delicious)

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It’s Fall Y’all

Fall is the best. The weather starts getting cooler, the leaves change colors, football is in season, a fresh school year. Everything just seems better in the fall. I so enjoy decorating my house and making it all festive and fall-like. I think I decorate more for fall than I do for Christmas! One of my favorite parts of fall is PUMPKIN. I’m a huge Starbucks Pumpkin Spice Latte fan (though I don’t allow myself one until it’s cold outside…) and I love baking with pumpkin. I guess I could do that year round, but then it wouldn’t be special.

So far I have made three different pumpkin recipes- cake, cookies, and a layered dessert. (I had to make the cookies twice because I forgot to take pictures the first time… oops?…)

Pumpkin Spice Cake. Now I know this recipe is all over Pinterest, but my mom taught me to make it long before Pinterest was around. It’s so simple. Two ingredients. A box of spice cake mix and a can of pumpkin.

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Mix together (I also like to add a bit of pumpkin pie spice to amp up the flavor some), put in a 9×13 pan, and bake according to box directions. No oil, eggs, water- just those two ingredients! I then frost mine with cream cheese icing, but that’s up to you. So easy, and so delicious.

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[Random story about this cake… our honeymoon took place over Thanksgiving. We spent that day in our cabin in the mountains cooking and eating a Thaknsgiving feast. We made this cake, and between the two of us, we ate it all in less than 24 hours…]

Pumpkin Spiced Oatmeal Cookies- from Skinnytaste 

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  • 1 cup flour
  • 2 cups oats
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 2 tsp pumpkin pie spice
  • 2 Tbsp butter
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 6 Tbsp canned pumpkin
  • 2 tsp vanilla
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray cookie sheets or cover with parchment paper
  2. Whisk together the flour, oats, baking powder, baking soda, salt, pumpkin pie spice, and cinnamon.
  3. In a mixer, cream the butter and sugars, then add the egg, pumpkin, and vanilla. Mix well.
  4. Stir in the flour/oat mixture until just combined.
  5. Drop by Tablespoons (or however big/small you want them!) onto cookie sheet. Bake 10-12 minutes.
  6. Prepare for amazing, moist, pumpkin deliciousness!

Layered Pumpkin Dessert- from Kraft

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  • 25 Nabisco Ginger Snaps, finely crushed (about 1 and one-third cups) (I couldn’t find Nabisco brand…)
  • 1/4 cup butter, melted
  • 16 oz (2 packages) cream cheese, softened
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1.5 cups canned pumpkin
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 packages (3.4 oz each) Instant Vanilla pudding
  • 2 cups cold milk
  • 1 tub (8 oz) Cool Whip topping, thawed
  • 1/2 cup chopped pecans
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees
  2. Mix cookie crumbs and butter; press into 9×13 pan. Bake 10 minutes.
  3. Beat cream cheese and sugar until well blended. Add pumpkin and spices, mix well. Add eggs, one at a time, beating on low until just blended. Pour over crust and bake for 30 minutes. Let cool for 1 hour.
  4. Beat pudding mixes and milk with whisk for 2 minutes. Stir in 1 cup of Cool Whip. Spread over dessert.
  5. Cover with remaining Cool Whip
  6. Refrigerate for 3 hours or until firm. Sprinkle with pecans before serving.

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Pioneer Woman Burritos

Another Pioneer Woman recipe. I told you, I’m obsessed. Last week we made delicious Beef and Bean Burritos.

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This picture doesn’t do them justice. Please go to her site to see how amazing they really are! (Someday my photography will get better…)

These are so simple, but everything comes together so wonderfully to make a really great meal. They are so filling too. We both ate two, but that was more than enough.

You can find the recipe and her helpful tips and beautiful pictures here, but I will also post the recipe below.

Beef and Bean Burritos- The Pioneer Woman

  • Ground beef, 2 lbs.
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 1/2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1/4 tsp oregano
  • 1/4 tsp chili powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 14 oz. enchilada sauce
  • 28 oz. refried beans
  • 3/4 cup grated cheddar cheese, plus more for sprinkling on top
  • 12 burrito-size flour tortillas
  • fresh cilantro
  1. In a large skillet over medium heat, cook the ground beef and onion. Once the beef is cooked and onion soft, add the cumin, oregano, chili powder, and salt. Stir to combine.
  2. Add half the can of enchilada sauce (7 oz) and simmer for 5 minutes.
  3. While that is simmering, empty the refried beans into a saucepan and heat over medium-low heat.
  4. This is the best step! Add the 3/4 cup cheese to the beans and stir until the cheese melts. DELICIOUS.
  5. Once the beans and beef mixtures are ready, heat the tortillas in the microwave for 1 minute.¬† (Only heat as many as you are going to be eating. If there’s only two of you, 12 might be a bit too many)
  6. Spread beans, beef and any other toppings you’d like (we added rice, cheese, and cilantro)
  7. Fold the ends of the tortillas and then roll them up.
  8. Put two burritos on a plate and pour enchilada sauce over them and sprinkle with more cheese.
  9. Heat each set of two in the microwave for 1 minute.
  10. Sprinkle with fresh cilantro and ENJOY!!

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Pioneer Woman Pasta

I LOVE The Pioneer Woman. I first fell in love with her in 2011 when I read her book Black Heels to Tractor Wheels, a novel about how she met, dated, and married her husband. It mirrored my relationship with my husband in a lot of ways and it was so fun reading their story and how she went from a city girl to a country wife! From there, I started reading her blog and making some of her recipes. I own her two cookbooks (and a third is coming out soon!). She is just so down to earth and sweet and funny. I don’t get to watch her tv show because all we have are rabbit ears, but I wish I could!

We also share a love for the television show “24” as shown through these tweets. (I nearly DIED when she tweeted me back, TWICE. Never mind that she replies to most of her fans… it was to ME!) (Also, yes, I grayed out my personal twitter handle…. It’s not a private account, but I just feel weird putting it on my blog. I don’t really tweet much anyway. You’re not missing out.) (Also, the pictures are out of order, but it won’t cooperate to fix. So, read right to left.)

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Another thing I LOVE is pasta. If I had to choose three foods to eat for the rest of my life they would be pasta, bread, and cake. Clearly I could never do Atkins. (But maybe I need to.)

Last week I made Pasta with Tomato Cream Sauce from Pioneer Woman’s cookbook, Food From my Frontier. We had recently had a similar dish at the Cheesecake Factory and I was very excited to find a make-at-home dish that tasted just as good. In the past, I’ve tried mixing alfredo sauce and marinara to make “creamy tomato”, but it just doesn’t work out for me. I’m pretty picky, especially in the sauce department. (I don’t generally like sauces of any kind.)

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[Someday there will be beautiful pictures of the cooking process and finished product… Clearly not for this recipe, but hopefully for future posts. Need to make picture taking a priority as I cook!]

This sauce was the perfect blend of tomato-y and creamy. I may cut down on the onion next time (just because I don’t like onions), but other than that it was delicious! Of course it was, PW never lets me down! Though I got this recipe from her cookbook, she also has it posted on her blog (along with her wonderful commentary and pictures) so head over there to check out the recipe!

See Related Posts:

One Pan Pasta

Pioneer Woman Burritos

Pumpkin Cinnamon Rolls

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One Pan Pasta

I have gotten kind of lax in the meal planning department. I used to sit down every Sunday and plan out all our meals for the week and we would try new recipes and we always had a great (but mostly unhealthy) meal each night. Then a few months ago we decided to attempt to eat healthier, and it all fell apart. I am NOT good at planning healthy meals. I hate vegetables, weird healthy things, and weird meat (as in, not beef or chicken). So, with this new “healthy” focus, nearly every night our meals consisted of chicken or steak with green beans or corn. Well, that got boring after a while…. and we fell back into our old ways. So that’s where we are at now.

All that to say, I am back to trying a new recipe each week! A couple weeks ago (I’m behind on blogging) was a Martha Stewart recipe I found on Pinterest called One Pan Pasta.

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You basically take pasta, onions, tomatoes, basil and a few other things and throw it in a pot and let it all simmer together.

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I’m still unsure of “rules” for reposting recipes, so click on the link above for the full recipe. My hubby LOVED it and asks for it again even though we JUST had it.¬† I didn’t love it… probably because I don’t like tomatoes and onions…. and it has a bit of red pepper flakes which made it too spicy for me, so watch out for that if you’re sensitive to spiciness! It did all come together to create a nice creamy texture. I was surprised by that!

Let me know if you try it and what you think! Also, if you have any great healthy recipes that you love and aren’t weird, I’d be much appreciative if you shared them.

See Related Posts:

Pioneer Woman Pasta

Salsa

Cheddar Soup

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