Wednesday, August 12, 2015

French Bread Pizzas { Super Easy Summer Dinner! }

During the summer months, dare I say, I don't enjoy cooking as much. It is not that I don't like making food and eating it, it is that I just don't want to have to spend so much time on it. I want to be doing other things...playing with the kids, going to the pool, enjoying the beautiful weather.

Easy, throw together dinner like this are what I strive for! I am sharing this with you because I want you to have the same! Go out, enjoy the weather! Come in, throw this together-then bring it outside and eat. No slaving away in a hot kitchen forever.

Can I even call this a recipe though? I may be cheating just a bit by pawning this off to you as a recipe. That is how easy it is! I CANNOT even call it a recipe people!

I love my classic pizza recipe, but who in the world has time to make a dough, let it rise and make pizza like this in the summer? Not me.

A few ingredients, a little creativity, and a tiny bit of your time.


French Bread Pizzas

Makes 4 Pizzas

2 loaves of fresh bread, halved lengthwise


Cheese Pizza : Favorite marinara sauce, mozzarella cheese

BBQ Chicken Pizza: Leftover Barbecue Chicken, Barbecue Sauce, Cheddar cheese

Italian Sausage Pizza: Favorite marinara sauce, mozzarella cheese, sliced, fully cooked Italian sausage

Margherita Pizza: Fresh mozzarella, basil, Sliced tomatoes

Or...get creative! Make your own combination!

Top your bread, throw it in the oven on a large cookie sheet for about 15 minutes and then broil the top until browned and bubbly for about 3-5 minutes. Let cool for a few minutes and slice. Serve with a green salad or some cut up raw veggies and dip. Easy as can be!

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Southern Style Cole Slaw

Cole slaw is that sort of ... overlooked recipe.

It really shouldn't be, but it is. Stay with me here. I mean, have you ever heard anyone talking about a cole slaw recipe that blew their mind?

 It just doesn't happen.

The thing is, it deserves some credit. It is filled with vegetables. It's good for you! It is tossed in what could be (if done right) a delicious dressing and it is chilled to let all those flavors soak in.

Really, it could be very good. If, IF, it is done right.

I think the time has come.

I have a recipe that will bring cole slaw to center stage. Really, I know, stop laughing at boring old cole slaw...this recipe will really change its reputation!

Along with cabbage, I combine green pepper, carrots and sweet onion to really up the crunch factor. The dressing, arguably the most important part, is the perfect mix of salty and sweet with a unique ingredient that really takes the flavor to the next level.

Did you see that? I used the phrase "next level" to describe cole slaw. You must be curious about this recipe now.

Oh, one more thing. A disclaimer. I am not southern. I just combined about a million cole slaw recipes to make my favorite and I thought since one of them was called southern cole slaw, it might have a touch of the south intertwined between the cabbage and carrots.

Ok y'all?

Southern Cole Slaw

2 1/2 cups shredded green cabbage
2 1/2 cups shredded purple cabbage
1 cup shredded carrots
2 tblsp sweet onion, finely grated
1 green pepper, finely diced
1 cup mayo
2 tbsp dijon mustard
2 tbsp apple cider vinegar
2 tbsp honey
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
2 1/2 tsp celery seed

Combine all the veggies together in a large bowl. In a small bowl, whisk together mayo, mustard, vinegar, honey, salt, pepper and celery seed. Drizzle over veggies and toss lightly to combine. Chill for an hour before serving.

Hint: Leave out about a cup of the mixed veggies and toss in right before serving. This will add a little extra crunch.

Friday, July 31, 2015

Bacon Cheddar Skillet Cornbread

My kids go crazy for cornbread. I have to admit, I love it too, but sometimes I crave a more grown up version.

If grown up means lots of smoky bacon and tons of cheddar cheese, I have definitely got you covered with this recipe.

Should I also tell you I am obsessed with this cast iron skillet my husband bought me for Christmas? I cannot get enough of it. I have been using it for everything and find myself craving recipes to just have the chance to use it. It is my new favorite thing in the kitchen.

Of course cornbread is the perfect excuse to use it. Especially a cornbread that has loads of bacon and cheese in it! Shall we put some jalapeños on top?

Yes we should!

(Okay, I only did half since my kids would not touch a jalapeño. I am not as much of a cornbread rebel as I was claiming to be I suppose!)

This cornbread is the perfect combination of salty and sweet and has a texture that is moist, yet crumbly. If your mouth is watering, you have a good reason to!

I am serving this with some of my favorite coleslaw and a delicious barbecue chicken recipe coming soon! The perfect summer ... or anytime dinner!

Bacon Cheddar Skillet Cornbread
2 cups stone ground corn meal
2 cups whole wheat pastry flour
2 tsp salt
1/3 cup sugar
2 tbsp baking powder
2 cups buttermilk
2 eggs
1 1/2 cups butter, melted and slightly cooled
6 slices of bacon, cooked and crumbled
1 1/2 cups freshly grated cheddar cheese
jalapeños, optional
extra sugar for sprinkling, optional
honey butter, optional

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. In a large bowl, mix together corn meal, flour, salt, sugar, and baking powder. In a small bowl, whisk together eggs and buttermilk. Add the melted butter and whisk together. Add the wet ingredients to the dry and stir JUST until combined. DO NOT over mix. Fold in the bacon and the cheese and pour the very thick mixture into a 12 inch cast iron skillet. Top with jalapeños if desired. Bake at 425 degrees for 30 minutes. Check to make sure it is baked through. Take out to cool. Sprinkle sugar on top or slather with honey butter. Best if served warm, but delicious any way!

Monday, July 27, 2015

Chocolate Covered Frozen Banana "Lollipops"

After a summer that has felt more like fall, this week is supposed to be a hot one! All of the complaining on social media about how cold and rainy this summer has been will now cease...and make way for the complaining about how hot it will be.

It all evens out in the end.

During this week, you might need a snack to cool off, and this one is a delicious way to beat the heat. It is a frozen treat that is not only delicious, but is a way to get some fruit in too!

Interested? Check out the FULL RECIPE on Little Lake County! Make up a batch of these, stay cool and enjoy!

Sunday, July 26, 2015

Easy Party Popcorn

Who doesn't love a good party?!

The bigger question is...who doesn't love a good party treat?

This is my go to party snack (of course it involves popcorn), especially if I need something quick.  I love that you can just change out the colors to fit any holiday or party theme. It's easy to make as little or as much as you want and it is a great gift.  Just put some in a cute bag with a fun ribbon and tag, and you are set. This could not be any easier! Perfect for a snack before your party gets started, or as part of your dessert bar!

Let's just hope there is some leftover for you to snack on after the party ends!

Easy Party Popcorn
Rice chex cereal
candy melts (I like to use Wiltons)

Mix popcorn, chex mix,  and pretzels in a large mixing bowl. Heat up candy melts in the microwave, start with a minute, and then do 15-30 seconds after, while stirring in between each time until melts are completely smooth and creamy.  Pour over mixture making sure everything gets coated. Spread mixture out on baking sheets lined with parchment or wax paper Sprinkle the M&Ms and sprinkles over mixture while it is still wet, gently pressing the candy into the soft candy melts, and then let it sit until completely set. Break up party mix, stick it in a bowl or party bags and serve.

What would you add to this mix to make it perfect for your party? Comment below!