Snow Day Recipes

Adulting, Author: Claire Greene

I love a good snow day. There is something about sitting inside by the fireplace, watching movies and looking out the window at the fresh blanket of snow that fills one with warmth.

My backyard is on a slight hill, so when I was younger my brother and I would don those oh so fashionable snow suits that make you look like the Yeti, grab our sleds and race down the hill. I hold those memories very dear to my heart. Of course, food can always help set the ambiance for the day, so here are some warm, comforting food recipes to try for when you are the lucky one who gets a snow day!

Chocolate Chip Cookies

This is a recipe from the Fannie Farmer Cookbook that my mom always used to use. There is nothing better than a warm, gooey chocolate chip cookie that warms the taste buds, and this recipe for sure does the trick.

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Photo courtesy of onecostalkitchen.com

Ingredients:

  • ¼ pound butter
  • ½ cup dark brown sugar
  • ½ cup granulated sugar
  • 1 egg
  • ¾ tsp. vanilla
  • 1 1/8 cup flour
  • ½ tsp. salt
  • ½ tsp. baking soda
  • 1 cup semisweet chocolate chips

Directions:

  • Preheat the oven to 375°F and grease some cookie sheets.
  • Cream the butter, then gradually add the two sugars, beating until light and smooth.
  • Beat in the egg and the vanilla.
  • Mix the flour, salt, and baking soda together and add it to the first mixture, blending well. Stir in the chocolate chips.
  • Drop by teaspoonfuls onto the cookie sheets about 1 inch apart and bake for 8-10 minutes or until lightly browned.

 

Turkey Chili

So, I love chili, but about ten years ago, I decided to stop eating beef and pork. However, I have found that ground turkey is an excellent substitute. This chili is delicious, and I usually opt to make a box of JIFFY cornbread mix and have that on the side.

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Photo courtesy of allrecipes.com

Ingredients: 

  • 1½ tsps. olive oil
  • 1 pound ground turkey
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 (28 ounce) can canned crushed tomatoes
  • 1 (16 ounce) can canned kidney beans – drained, rinsed, and mashed
  • 1 tsp. garlic, minced
  • 2 tbsps. chili powder
  • ½ tsp. paprika
  • ½ tsp. dried oregano
  • ½ tsp. ground cayenne pepper
  • ½ tsp. ground cumin
  • ½ tsp. salt
  • ½ tsp. ground black pepper

Directions:

  • Heat the oil in a large pot over medium heat. Place turkey in the pot, and cook until evenly brown. Stir in onion, and cook until tender.
  • Pour water into the pot. Mix in tomatoes, kidney beans, and garlic. Season chili powder, paprika, oregano, cayenne pepper, cumin, salt, and pepper. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low, cover, and simmer 30 minutes.

 

Panera Mac and Cheese

This is the recipe that Panera posted for their mac and cheese a while back. My mom made it for me a little while ago, and I’ll tell you, it is fantastic. It is a way to have Panera mac and cheese in your pajamas! It also has a bit of kick to it that will warm you up!

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Photo courtesy of foodfolksandfun.net

Ingredients:

  • 1 16-ounce Package package of rigati pasta
  • ¼ cup butter
  • ¼ cup all-purpose flour
  • 2½ cup milk
  • 6 Slices white American cheese, sliced into thin strips
  • 8-ounce extra-sharp white Vermont cheddar, shredded
  • ½ tsp. Dijon mustard
  • 1 tsp. kosher salt
  • ¼ tsp. hot sauce

Directions:

  1. Prepare pasta according to package directions.
  2. In large saucepan over low heat, melt butter. Whisk in flour and cook 1 minute, whisking constantly.
  3. Gradually whisk in milk; cook over medium heat, whisking until mixture thickens and bubbles. Remove from heat.
  4. Add cheeses, mustard, salt, and hot sauce, stirring until cheese melts and sauce is smooth.
  5. Stir in pasta and cook over medium heat for 1 minute (or until thoroughly heated. Serve immediately.

I hope you enjoy these recipes while sitting in front of the fire on your snow day, Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow!

Holiday Cookie Recipes

Adulting, Author: Claire Greene

Christmas is a special time of year, and the time we throw our diets out the window. A quick Google search will bring up numerous websites designed solely to help those individuals who have a bit too much of a sweet tooth around the holidays. One barely has to walk out the door before they are bombarded with hot cocoa, candy, Christmas cookies, and of course, candy canes.

Many of us, myself included, cannot resist the temptation. This article is for those people. Here are three great holiday cookie recipes.

Kris Kringle Cookies

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Photo courtesy of FTD.com

This recipe is a more in depth version of the traditional cookie cutter sugar cookies. This is a recipe my father’s mother uses every year around the holidays. Last year, when he was feeling nostalgic, he asked if we could make them for Christmas. Our waistlines regretted the decision.

Ingredients: 

  • 1 cup butter
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 ½ tsp. cream of tartar
  • 1 ½ tsp. baking soda dissolved in 2 tbsp. milk
  • 4 ½ cups flour
  • 1/3 tsp. anise oil (or 1 tsp. vanilla)
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • various holiday themes cookie cutters

Directions:

  • Preheat oven to 350°F.
  • Cream butter and sugar.
  • Add anise oil, milk, soda and eggs.
  • Then, add salt and cream of tartar sifted with 2 cups flour.
  • Add enough more flour to make a dough that may be rolled (chilling helps with handling).
  • Roll on lightly floured board to desire thickness. Cut and bake on ungreased cookie sheets for 8-15 minutes.
  • Frost and sugar to decorate.

 

Hot Cocoa Cookie Cups

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Photo courtesy of TheGunnySack.com

This is a recipe that my sister-in-law found on Pinterest and treated us to two years ago. They look absolutely adorable, and they combine two beloved holiday favorites: hot cocoa and cookies. Oh, and it has chocolate ganache. Bam.

Ingredients: 

  • 1 package Pillsbury Sugar Cookie Dough
  • ½ cup heavy whipping cream
  • 2 tablespoons hot cocoa mix
  • 1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • ½ cup white chocolate chips
  • 12 mini pretzels
  • 1 cup Jet-Puffed Mallow Bits
  • *optional – granulated sugar


Directions:

  • Preheat oven to 375°F.
  • Put 1 tablespoon of the sugar cookie dough into 24 greased mini muffin tins.
  • *Update – an optional step would be to roll the sugar cookie dough balls in granulated sugar before putting them into the mini muffin tins to help prevent sticking.
  • Bake for 12-14 minutes at 375°F. Allow the cookies to cool completely in the pan before gently removing them.
  • Make the chocolate ganache by bringing the whipping cream to a boil.
  • Stir in the hot cocoa mix.
  • Pour the hot cream over the semi-sweet chocolate chips and let it sit for 3 minutes. Then, stir until the chocolate chips are melted and the ganache is smooth.
  • Break off the loops on some mini pretzels to use as handles.
  • Melt the white chocolate and use it to attach the pretzel handles to the cookie cups.
  • Spoon the chocolate ganache into the cookie cups and top with mini marshmallows.

For best results, store the hot chocolate cookie cups in the refrigerator.

 

Leg Lamp Cookies

leg-lamp

Photo courtesy of Delish.com

A Christmas Story is a classic Holiday movie. In fact, I know first-hand that this is the favorite Christmas movie of the founder of #NAMB. Of course, who can forget the infamous leg lamp? Try your best to not shoot your eye out while munching on these cookies.

  • 1 tube sugar cookie dough
  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 1 container black cookie icing
  • 6 packages Reese’s Big Cups
  • 1 jar peanut butter (16-ounce or less)
  • Yellow icing

Directions:

  • Preheat oven to 350°F.
  • In a large mixing bowl, combine cookie dough and flour. Roll out to 1/4 inch thick, then use a paring knife to draw the shape of a heeled leg for each cookie.
  • Bake for 10-11 minutes, or until cookies are lightly golden around the edges. Set aside to cool.
  • Use the black cookie icing to draw a heel on the leg lamp, as well as a crosshatch design to mimic the fishnet stockings. Place in the refrigerator to harden, about 10 minutes.
  • Remove Reese’s cups from wrappers, slice each in half length-wise. Dab a little peanut butter on the cut side of each Reese’s cup, then gently press it against the top of the sugar cookie.
  • Coat the Reese’s cup with yellow icing, using a small silicone spatula or pastry brush to spread it, filling in the crevices on the peanut butter cup, so it looks like the yellow lampshade. Place in the refrigerator to cool, about 10 minutes.

 

The Best Thanksgiving Food Recipes

Adulting, Author: Claire Greene

Thanksgiving is defined in Webster’s dictionary as “the fourth Thursday in November in the U.S. or the second Monday in October in Canada celebrated as a legal holiday for people to be thankful for what they have.”

However, to me in particular, it has always been more of a celebration of the season and appreciation of life. It is a time to express gratitude for the sun rising each day, the love of our family and friends, the change in seasons and the simple things that we often take for granted. One of those things we take for granted is nourishment and sustenance. Thanksgiving was originally started as a way to give thanks for that year’s harvest. I am going to give some recipes that include some of those old time harvest foods. I hope you enjoy!

Coconut-Butternut Crockpot Soup Recipe

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I made this soup for the first time this year, and I will for sure be keeping this recipe. It has a delicious earthy taste, and it keeps you warm in the autumn chill. It uses lots of butternut squash, which is one of the season’s richest foods. I already talked about this recipe in my article about making the most of fall, but it’s just that good. This recipe can be found on a website about making healthy foods that kids will actually enjoy.

Ingredients:

  • 3 cups butternut squash, chopped
  • 2 cups chopped sweet potato
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2 cups chicken broth
  • ¼ cup butter
  • 2 cups half and half (or coconut milk)
  • ½ tsp cumin
  • 2 tbsp shredded coconut

Directions:

  • Place squash, sweet potato, onion, 1 cup of chicken broth and butter in a slow cooker, and cook on high for about 4 hours
  • Using an immersion blender, or scooping your squash into a regular blender, puree until smooth
  • Return to crockpot and add remaining chicken broth, half and half, cumin and coconut. Cook for about 30 more minutes, or until soup is heated through. Sprinkle with extra coconut for garnishing.

    Paula Deen Corn Casserole

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Photo via foodnetwork.com

Like most Paula Deen recipes, this corn casserole isn’t great for the arteries, but it’s great for the soul. It is extremely easy to make, and it is appreciated by all. A cousin of mine actually loves this casserole so much she once asked me to make it instead of a birthday cake. I gladly obliged. The recipe can be found on the Food Network website.

Ingredients:

  • 1 (15 1/4-ounce) can whole kernel corn, drained
  • 1 (14 3/4-ounce) can cream-style corn
  • 1 (8-ounce) package corn muffin mix (recommended: Jiffy)
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 1/2 stick butter, melted
  • 1 to 1 1/2 cups shredded Cheddar

Directions: 

  • Preheat oven to 350°F.
  • In a large bowl, stir together the 2 cans of corn, corn muffin mix, sour cream, and melted butter.
  • Pour into a greased 9×13-inch casserole dish.
  • Bake for 45 minutes, or until golden brown.
  • Remove from oven and top with Cheddar.
  • Return to oven for 5 to 10 minutes, or until cheese is melted. Let stand for at least 5 minutes and then serve warm.

    Cranberry Sauce

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Photo via foodnetwork.com

This one is pretty standard. Most everyone loves a good burst of cranberry flavor with leftover Thanksgiving turkey sandwiches. This is a simple, easy, no fuss recipe that will wake up your taste buds, and is also found on the Food Network website.

Ingredients:

  • 1 12-ounce bag of fresh or frozen cranberries
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 strip orange or lemon zest
  • 2 tablespoons water

Directions

  • Empty cranberries into a saucepan and transfer 1/2 cup to a small bowl.
  • Add sugar, zest, and water to the pan and cook over low heat, stirring occasionally, until the sugar dissolves and the cranberries are soft, for about 10 minutes.
  • Increase the heat to medium and cook until the cranberries burst, for about 12 minutes.
  • Reduce the heat to low and stir in the reserved cranberries. Add sugar, salt and pepper to taste and cool to room temperature before serving.

Food is often more about the memories that come with it and the nostalgia that it brings. I wish you all wonderful memories this upcoming holiday season.

Recipes That Will Remind You of College

Adulting, Author: Claire Greene

In a research study done at Auburn University, 131 students were followed over four years of college. It was found that 70% of them gained some weight before graduation, in amounts ranging from 12 pounds to 37 pounds.

Why is this? I personally believe that this is because college is the utmost time of freedom. It is the first time when we are living out on our own, away from our parents, and we are under the impression that we can do whatever we want. This includes eating what we want. Can we have that extra scoop of ice cream? Sure, because there is no one there telling us we can’t.

I am here to share some recipes that have token ingredients every college student will recognize, but makes them into actual meals, rather than just snacks to gorge on. Hope you enjoy!

Taco Lasagna

taco-lasagna-recipe

Photo via Bunisinmyoven.com

I found this recipe at bunisinmyoven.com, and I find this recipe very much reminds me of college because of one key ingredient: nacho cheese soup. I can’t tell you how many trips I made to the on campus convenience store to stock up on salsa con queso and nachos. This lasagna is a slightly more grown-up version of that all-time favorite.

Ingredients:

  • 1 pound ground beef or ground turkey
  • 1 packet taco seasoning
  • ¼ cup of water
  • 1 can RoTel diced tomatoes with chiles, drained
  • 1 can nacho cheese soup
  • ¼ cup sour cream
  • 1 cup grated cheddar
  • 12 8-inch, soft tortillas
  • Guacamole, cilantro, sour cream for topping, as desired

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Spray a 9×9 baking dish with non-stick spray.
  2. Add the beef or turkey to a large skillet over medium heat and crumble as it cooks. Drain grease when cooked through.
  3. Add the taco seasoning and water to the skillet and cook for two minutes.
  4. Dump the tomatoes, cheese soup and sour cream into a medium mixing bowl. Stir in the cooked meat.
  5. Place three tortillas in the bottom of the prepared baking dish. Top with 1/3 of the meat mixture.
  6. Repeat layers, ending with a layer of tortillas on the top. Sprinkle the cheese over the top.
  7. Bake for 20 minutes or until hot and melty.
  8. Serve sprinkled with chopped cilantro, guacamole and extra sour cream, as desired.

My second nephew was just recently born. Because my brother and my sister-in-law were the parents of a newborn and a three-year-old and they would not have time to cook, I made them this lasagna to make things easier for them. All I have to say is now, my brother is on the Atkins diet. He was not while this dish was in the fridge.

Pesto Flatbread Pizza 

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A staple in the diet of every college student is the old stand by: pizza. It is served at every meal in every cafeteria and you can even get it delivered right to your door! I have yet to meet someone who does not savor melted cheese and tomato sauce over bread. Here is a slightly grown-up version of my favorite, not that delivery isn’t great.

Ingredients:

  • 4 ounces shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 2 pieces Naan Stone fire flatbread
  • 1/3 cup basil pesto sauce
  • 1 small can sliced olives
  • Olive oil for dusting

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 400°F.
  2. Place flatbreads on large baking sheet
  3. Lightly dust flatbreads with olive oil
  4. Evenly spread pesto sauce over each flatbread
  5. Top each flatbread with mozzarella and olives
  6. Place flatbreads in oven and cook for 10-12 minutes or until cheese is melted. Remove from oven, cut into pieces and serve warm.

 

Brie Apple Grilled Cheese

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Grilled cheese has always been one of my all-time favorite foods. Also, there wasn’t a lunch meal where it wasn’t served. Of course, in the cafeteria it was nothing more than Wonder Bread filled with American cheese put into a frying pan with butter. If you want to feel slightly more grown-up, here is a delicious new take on the favorite.

Ingredients:

  • 2 pieces sliced Italian Bread
  • 6 thin slices of brie cheese, or to taste
  • 2 Tbs butter
  • 6 slices granny smith apple
  • Fresh tyme to taste

Directions:

  1. Heat a skillet over medium heat.
  2. Place bread slices butter side down into hot skillet. Arrange Brie cheese slices on top of each piece of bread. Sprinkle thyme over the top.
  3. Spread apple slices in a single layer over the Brie cheese on one slice of bread.
  4. Flip the slice of bread without apple onto the slice of bread with the apple slices. Continue cooking sandwich until cheese and apple are heated through and cheese is melted.

I hope you enjoy all of recipes while reminiscing with your college friends about the old days. Bon Appetit!