Monday, December 15, 2014

Italian Roasted Potatoes {Somewhat Simple}

This is a super easy, delicious side dish.  It's perfect for summer BBQ's, or in the middle of December when you're tired of all the treats and want something simple and delicious.  Wait.  Did I say tired of treats?  Ha!  Sorry.  We'll go with when you want something simple and delicious.  We love roasted potatoes, and this is one of our favorites!

italian roasted potatoes 12

All you need are three simple ingredients. Potatoes, oil, and dressing mix. It doesn't get much easier! I've switched to avocado oil for roasting because it has the highest smoke point at 500 degrees (plus it's a healthier oil than regular vegetable oils, and it's non-GMO).

italian roasted potatoes 1
Cut your potatoes into uniform bite-size pieces. Place potatoes in a gallon size zip-top bag and drizzle with avocado oil. Seal the top of the bag and shake to coat. Open bag, add the dry dressing mix, seal the top, and shake again to coat. I've made potatoes this way for years, because I found that if I coated the potatoes in oil first, then the seasoning distributes more evenly. If I add the oil and seasoning at the same time, the seasonings tend to clump with the oil and it takes a lot more shaking to coat the potatoes.italian roasted potatoes 6

Pour the seasoned potatoes onto a foil-lined baking sheet and toss it in the oven. That's it! Then you can start your meat, make a salad, change a diaper, kiss an owie, set the table and chat with your guests.

italian roasted potatoes 10 main

Italian Roasted Potatoes

Ingredients:

  • 2 lbs red potatoes
  • 3 Tbsp avocado oil
  • 1 packet Good Seasons Italian Dressing mix (dry)

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 425.
  2. Wash potatoes and cut into bite-size pieces.
  3. Place potatoes in a gallon-size zip-top bag and drizzle with avocado oil. Seal the top of the bag and shake to coat.
  4. Open bag, add the dry dressing mix, seal the top, and shake again to coat.
  5. Pour the seasoned potatoes onto a foil-lined baking sheet.
  6. Place in oven for 30-35 minutes.
  7. If you want your potatoes extra crispy, turn the broiler on for the last 2-3 minutes. Watch them carefully so they don't burn.

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Thin Mint S'mores {Somewhat Simple}

I posted this for Somewhat Simple back in July, so it's about time to have it here!  If you like Thin Mints and S'mores, this is a MUST TRY!  And with only 4 ingredients, I think you can handle this one.  Easy peasy!

I've always been a sucker for Thin Mints.  Since I was a girl scout selling cookies door to door (in the days before they set up tables in front of grocery stores, which is totally genius), Thin Mints were the only cookies I ever wanted, and the best seller among my neighbors.  Well, combine a homemade thin mint with a toasty marshmallow?  It's ooey gooey heaven!  (And if you just want regular thin mints, check out the instructions HERE.  And be sure to make a Tim Tam Slam, because your life will never be the same!!)thin mints smores 5

There are three easy ways to put these together, depending on what you have in your pantry, or what you want the end result to be. You can make these with marshmallow cream or regular marshmallows, and you can have a single layer of cookie, or make it a double-decker.

thin mint smores 4a

Start out by separating your Oreo cookies and scraping off the cream filling with a small spatula. If you use regular marshmallows, cut them in half so you have two rounds. Place the cut side down on the filling-free cookie. When all of your cookies are prepared, place them under a hot broiler, watching carefully, until the marshmallows are golden on top, about a minute. Remove from oven. If you are not topping your s'more with another cookie half, dip them in melted minty chocolate. If you are topping it with another Oreo half, dab some melted chocolate on the side that says "Oreo" and then place it, chocolate-side down, on the toasted marshmallow. This will keep it in place during dipping.thin mint smores 1

Your s'mores will be different thicknesses depending on how you build them. For thin s'mores, use marshmallow cream. For a medium thickness, use a marshmallow round. For a thick, filling cookie s'more, sandwich your marshmallow between two cookie halves.thin mint smores 8

Thin Mint S'mores

Ingredients:

  • 10-20 Oreo cookies {20 for double decker s'mores}
  • 10 marshmallows, cut in half {or marshmallow cream}
  • 1-1/2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 1-1/2 tsp peppermint extract

Directions:

  1. Separate cookies and scrape off cream filling.
  2. Place marshmallow halves, cut-side down, on oreos halves and place under broiler for about one minute, or until marshmallows are golden. Watch carefully, they can burn very quickly!
  3. Put chocolate chips in a microwave-safe bowl and heat for one minute. Stir, add peppermint extract, and stir again. If chocolate is not melted, microwave for 15 second intervals, stirring in between.
  4. If topping with a cookie half, dab some melted chocolate onto the "Oreo" side of the cookie and place it chocolate-side down on the marshmallow.
  5. Drop one s'more into the melted chocolate, cover completely, then lift out with a fork and tap gently against the side of the bowl to remove excess chocolate.
  6. Place on a parchment-lined cookie sheet to harden.
  7. If your kitchen is too warm for the chocolate to harden, place the dipped s'mores in the fridge.
*My melted chocolate was too thick for dipping, so I added one square of chocolate almond bark and another 1/4 tsp peppermint to thin it slightly.

thin mint smores main

Monday, December 1, 2014

{Gluten Free} Rolo Stuffed Peanut Butter Cookies

I have an early Christmas present for you...more than 40 fabulous cookie recipes!  I've teamed up with some amazing bloggers to bring you all sorts of amazing cookies.  Perfect for neighbor gifts, exchanges, or even Santa!  Check out my new favorite recipe for Rolo Stuffed Peanut Butter Cookies, and then scroll down to see over 40 more fantastic recipes!

If you are gluten-free, baking can get tricky with different flours and added ingredients to make up for the missing gluten. These cookies are not just gluten free, but they are flourless, so there's no tricky substituting here! Just a handful of ingredients, 10 minutes in the oven, and you are feasting on warm, gooey goodness! I sent one of these to my friend who is gluten-free (I needed a good quality control opinion), and she loved it! As did my picky kids. If they like something, just about anyone will like it!


{Gluten-Free} Rolo Stuffed Peanut Butter Cookies

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup creamy peanut butter
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 egg
  • 12 Rolos (unwrapped)
  • 1/4 cup white sugar
  • 1/4 tsp pumpkin spice

Directions: 

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Combine the peanut butter, brown sugar, baking soda and egg in a mixing bowl.  
  3. Combine the white sugar and pumpkin spice in a small bowl and set aside.
  4. Using a medium cookie scoop, make cookies by scooping two balls of dough, placing one on top and one underneath a Rolo.  Press the dough around the Rolo so no chocolate is exposed.  Continue until all cookie dough and rolos are used.
  5. Roll each cookie dough ball in the sugar/spice mixture, and place on an ungreased baking sheet.
  6. Bake for 10-12 minutes, or until cookies are just beginning to turn golden.  
  7. Let cool and share with all of your gluten-free friends!  Or eat them all yourself. I won't tell.  Or judge.
TIPS: 
  • These cookies don't spread as much as regular cookies.  If you'd like your cookies less rounded and more flat, flatten the Rolo a bit and form the cookie as rounded/flat as you'd like.  It will flatten some, but will hold most of its shape. 
  • I used an organic white sugar (from Costco) that's a larger granule than regular white sugar.  This will work with regular sugar too.
  • If you over-mix the cookie dough (which I've done in my kitchenaid!), the dough comes out dryer and harder to work with.  The end result is more crumbly too.  This recipe is easily made without a mixer!

    I'm excited to be partnering with some of my favorite food blogging friends today to bring you a virtual Christmas cookie exchange. We all love Christmas Cookie Exchange Parties because you go to the party with one kind of cookie, but come home with dozens of cookies to taste! There's nothing better than seeing all of the cookies out on all of their plates and getting to go around and fill up your bags with other people's delicious recipes. Here are 40+ delicious cookie exchange recipes so you can find the perfect cookie to take to the party this holiday season!
    Be sure to follow along on the Cookie Exchange Pinterest board for year round cookie recipe inspirations!
    Follow Reasons To Skip The Housework's board The Cookie Exchange on Pinterest.



    40+ cookie exchange recipes

    cookies 1
    Andes Mint Cookies
    Double Chocolate Mint MnM Cookies
    Hot Cocoa Cookies

    cookies 1
    Peanut Butter Cake Box Cookie
    Raspberry Almond Meltaways
    Olaf Nutter Butter Cookies

    cookies 2

    Snowflake Meltaway Cookies
    Chocolate Turtle Cookie
    Candy Cane Brownie Blossoms

    cookies 3

    Peanut Butter Chip Cookies
    Cranberry Almond Shortbread Bites
    No Bake Eggnog Cookies

    cookies 4

    Double Chocolate Rum Balls
    Magic Cookie Bars
    Christmas Molasses Ginger Cookies


    cookie exchange 2

    cookies 5 Rosettes
    Mint Chocolate Truffle Cookie cups
    Cornflake Christmas Wreath Cookies

    cookies 6
    Christmas M&M Cookies
    Peppermint Chocolate Cake Mix Cookies
    Easy Sugar Cookie

    cookies 7
    Jelly "Popper" Cookies
    Key Lime Pie Bars
    Gingersnaps with Dark Chocolate Chips

    cookies 8
    Maple Bacon Snickerdoodles
    Peppermint Shortbread Cookies
    Christmas Chocolate Thumbprints Cookies

    cookies 9
    Christmas Tree Brownie Pops
    My Favorite Things Cookies
    Old-Fashioned Gingersnap Cookies

    cookies 10
    Peanut Butter Cup Cookies
    Holiday Confetti Sandwich Cookies
    Lemon Oatmeal Lacies Christmas Cookie

    cookies 11
    Snowball Cookies
    Healthy Biscochos (Vegan, Raw, & Grain-Free)
    Almond and Milk Chocolate Ganache Thumbprint Cookies

    cookies 12
    Porcelain Sugar Cookies
    OREO Dipped Christmas Cookies
    Rolo Stuffed Peanut Butter Cookies {Gluten Free}

    cookies 14
    Chocolate Mint Cream Cheese Cake Mix Cookies
    Giant Monster Cookies
    Crispy Coconut Pecan Butter Cookies
    cookies 2
    Candy Cane Sugar Blossoms
    Candy Cane Frosted Sugar Cookies

    cookie exchange 4







    Wednesday, November 26, 2014

    Meal in a Bag - Chicken & Tomato Pasta {Somewhat Simple}

    I was lucky enough to participate in the Somewhat Simple ABC Create with Me! series in September.  I shared this awesome shelf-stable meal in a bag. 
    m is for meal in a bag

    The idea behind this Meal in a Bag is that you have everything for your meal ready to go all in one bag (which, of course, must be made up of shelf-stable ingredients). Then you can just grab it off the shelf and whip it up in a few minutes! It really is that simple, and since all the spices are pre-measured and the cans and packages are all together, it goes together super fast. The instructions are attached to the bag, so even (older) kids can make dinner! One of our favorite Meals-In-A-Bag is this Chicken & Tomato Pasta. It's full of flavor and ready to go in about 20 minutes.
    Chicken & tomato pasta

    As great as a Meal Bag is for busy days, it's also great for other occasions:
    • camping
    • cooking on vacation
    • emergency situations (power outages, home evacuation, etc)
    • unexpected dinner guests
    • taking to a friend who is especially busy, just had a baby, recovering from surgery, sick, etc.
    I like to buy enough ingredients to make several at a time, so even if I use one, I still have more in my
    arsenalpantry. If I can find what I need on sale, then I can put my bags together for around $5-$6 per meal. Our family will usually get about 10 servings out of this recipe, so that makes it about 50-60 cents per serving! Not only is that a lot cheaper than a fast food dollar menu, but it's faster and healthier. Win!

    meal bag collage

    Chicken & Tomato Pasta

    Ingredients:

    • 8 cups water
    • 1 lb bowtie pasta
    • 1 (14.5 oz) can Italian Style Diced Tomatoes
    • 1 (12 oz) can evaporated milk
    • 1 (12.5 oz) can chicken breast, including broth

    In a zip-top sandwich bag:

    • 1 chicken bouillon cube
    • 1 Tbsp dried basil
    • 1 1/2 tsp Italian seasoning
    • 1/2 tsp garlic powder

    Directions:

    1. In a stock pot, bring water to boil. Cook pasta according to package directions. When pasta is cooked to desired tenderness, drain and return to stock pot.
    2. While pasta is cooking, Combine remaining ingredients in a medium saucepan. Cook over medium heat for about 10 minutes.
    3. Toss chicken & tomato sauce with pasta until thoroughly coated.
    4. Serve warm. This pasta is great with crusty bread and a simple green salad.
    5. If you have shredded Parmesan cheese on hand, sprinkle some on top just prior to serving.
    Chicken & Tomato Pasta 3
    For a handy printable recipe for your meal bags, click this link: Chicken & Tomato Pasta.
    I hope you love this Meal Bag as much as we do!
    For all the latest comings and goings, be sure to check me out on
    For more delightful bites, try some of these recipes:


    Friday, November 21, 2014

    Banana Bundtlets with Maple & White Chocolate Icing {Somewhat Simple}

    I have felt so busy with life lately that this poor blog has suffered.  My new recipes tend to stay written on sticky notes and attached to my cupboard door, instead of getting posted here so I don't lose them.  Chicken marinades, black bean hummus, amazing mashed potatoes and more...all stuck to my cupboard.  :(  I also realized I haven't been reposting my Somewhat Simple posts, which is sad because they are some of my favorite posts!  I give them the most thought since I have an entire month in between, so I can't just ignore them here!

    I don't just love this recipe because it's delicious, totally kid-friendly, and easy to make...but I also feel super flattered because my picture is featured on the home page slider of Somewhat Simple!



    This is still really fun for me!  Am I lame?  Probably.  Do I care?  Not enough to stop from shamelessly self-promoting my picture.  :)

    Banana bread is one of my kids' faves.  Our recipe has evolved over the years, and it's only become healthier and better tasting!  Especially with the simple but decadent maple & white chocolate icing. This is our favorite banana bread recipe because it goes together fast, it's lower in fat than most banana bread recipes, and it's moist without being sticky.  Win-win-win!

    Banana Bread 12

    The baby bundt size is perfect for kids, and perfect for sharing! I found my pan (that makes 6 baby bundt cakes) at Michael's, (and I used a 40% off coupon to buy it!). I use an ice cream scoop to fill the bundt cavities, which makes it quick and keeps it clean. My kids think it's so fun to have their own personal mini cake!

    Banana Bread Collage 4
    The icing is such a great addition to the banana bread. It adds richness to it without overpowering the sweet banana flavor. If you like a strong maple flavor, add up to 1 tsp total. I think it's just right with 1/2 tsp, but my husband, who loves all things maple, is happier with 1 tsp.

    Banana Bread Collage 3
    Banana Bundtlets with Maple & White Chocolate Icing
    Ingredients:
    • 5 well-ripened bananas
    • 4 eggs
    • 1/4 cup coconut oil (softened if necessary)
    • 3/4 cup applesauce
    • 2 cups sugar
    • 1 tsp baking soda
    • 2 tsp salt
    • 4 cups flour
    For the Icing:
    • 1 cup brown sugar
    • 5 Tbsp butter
    • 1/3 cup whole milk
    • 1/2 tsp maple flavor (up to 1 tsp for stronger flavor)
    • 1 cup white chocolate chips
    Directions:
    1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Prepare pans with non-stick spray.
    2. In mixer bowl, add eggs and beat well. Add bananas and beat until bananas are mashed and mixture is smooth. Add shortening, applesauce and sugar and combine. Add baking soda, salt and flour and mix well.
    3. Bake in preheated oven for 25-30 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
    4. Let cool in the pan for 5 minutes, then remove to a wire rack to finish cooling.
    5. While banana bread is baking, prepare the icing by adding the sugar, butter and milk to a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Stir constantly as it comes to a boil, 3-4 minutes. Continue stirring as the mixture boils for 1 minute. Remove from heat.
    6. Add the white chocolate chips and maple flavor and stir until the chips are melted and the icing is smooth.
    7. Pour slowly over the top of the bundt cakes, allowing it to drizzle down the sides. Cool and enjoy!
    Banana Bread 10 Main

    Monday, October 27, 2014

    Target Giveaway!

    Instead of a recipe for food, I have a recipe for awesome today!  I have teamed up with Aly from Ooh La Lovely Blog, Pamela from Macdonald's Playland, and 18 other awesome bloggers to bring you this $205 Target Gift Card Giveaway! Simply enter in the rafflecopter below for your chance to win and be sure to check out all of the wonderful ladies who have teamed up to bring you this giveaway! 

    Giveaway ends next Monday, November 3rd! Best of luck!



    Hosted By:
    Macdonald's Playland | Ooh La Lovely Blog



    Co-Hosted by:
    a Rafflecopter giveaway

    Monday, October 20, 2014

    Easy Chicken Fajitas

    Today I've teamed up with 49 other bloggers to bring you 50 easy weeknight meals! I tell my husband all the time that the hardest part of making dinner is figuring out what to make. If I can get organized enough to make a meal plan, I'm golden. If life happens and a meal plan doesn't, I spend more time staring into the fridge and scratching my head than I do actually making dinner. We are helping take the guesswork out of those busy weeknights! Scroll down after this recipe for quick & easy (and delish!) chicken fajitas to see some other fantastic ideas for easy meals!


    Chicken Fajitas

    Ingredients:

    • 4 chicken thighs
    • 1 Tbsp coconut oil or avocado oil
    • sea salt
    • freshly ground black pepper
    • chili powder
    • chipotle chile pepper (powder)
    • cumin
    • juice of 1/2 lime
    • 1 Tbsp honey 
    • tortillas (freshly cooked, if possible.  We buy the uncooked Tortilla Land tortillas from Costco)
    • tomato wedges
    • 1 bell pepper, sliced into strips
    • 1 small onion, sliced into strips
    • shredded cheese
    • sour cream
    • salsa
    • avocado

    Directions:

    1.  Heat coconut oil in a medium skillet over medium-high heat.  Place chicken in hot skillet and sprinkle liberally with sea salt, pepper, and chili powder.  Sprinkle conservatively with the chipotle pepper powder and cumin.  (If you like more chipotle spice in your chicken, add more!)  My chicken ends up looking like this when I've sprinkled everything on.
    {Note: I was cooking for two when I took this picture, so I don't have 4 chicken thighs because I didn't need that many.  This is two and a small piece.  It works the same for any amount of chicken...just adjust the lime and honey accordingly.}
    1. Once your chicken is starting to brown on the bottom, reduce heat to medium.  When the chicken has a nice brown color, turn to finish cooking.  Drizzle the honey and juice over the chicken.  (If you drizzle these over the spices, the spices will run off the chicken and into the pan.  I like to keep it on the chicken, so I wait until I've turned the chicken.)  
    2. While your chicken is cooking, slice the onion and peppers and saute in a small amount of coconut oil.  
    3. While the chicken and peppers & onions finish cooking, prepare your other toppings...shred the cheese, cut tomatoes, slice avocados, etc.
    4. When the chicken is cooked through (no longer pink in the middle, or an instant thermometer reads 165 degrees), remove from heat and let rest for 10 minutes.  Slice into strips.
    5. To serve, place chicken and toppings in a tortilla.  Fold the sides up over toppings and enjoy!
    *These fajitas are simple to make Whole 30 or Paleo compliant...just omit the cheese, sour cream and tortillas.  Make a fajita bowl instead of wrapping it in a tortilla!

    *Someone made us that fabulous salsa in the picture.  She doesn't have a recipe, but I'm trying to talk her into writing it down for me.  It's divine!  Your favorite salsa will be perfect in these fajitas.

    *I don't measure out the honey, I just drizzle some on each piece of chicken until it seems right...which ends up being in the neighborhood of 1 tsp (maybe a little less) per thigh.

    *You can easily substitute chicken breasts for thighs.  The breasts I buy are generally about twice the size of the thighs I buy, so I use half the number of breasts.  I like to cut my chicken breasts in half before I cook them by laying the chicken flat and keeping my knife blade parallel to the cutting surface.  Slice through the breast and you will end up with two pieces that are the same shape as the breast you started with...just half the thickness.








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