Friday, January 30, 2015

#TripleSBites: A Preview, A Thank You And A Fantastic Giveaway!

Welcome to #TripleSBites Preview! 



We have 20 bloggers with tons of recipes scheduled to inspire you for Valentine's Day and beyond. Triple S Bites stands for spicy, saucy and sexy- perfect for a romantic celebration with the one you love. The event runs February 2nd - February 9th and we will be bringing appetizers, meal dishes, drinks and, of course, desserts). One the week is over you will have all the inspiration needed to create a delicious meal for Valentine's Day (and beyond). 



I want to start with a HUGE HUGE HUGE thank you to our event sponsors who have graciously donated prizes for our readers and bloggers. These sponsors have contributed great prizes for the giveaway. Please check out their pages below to learn more about these companies! We have an incredible giveaway for this event. The different prize packages are detailed in the rafflecopter below. The rafflecopter will go live on February 2nd. Please check back, if you're reading this before our kick-off.

The Sponsors


NOT Ketchup

Gourmet Gardens Herbs & Spices

Kitchen IQ

2 Armadillos

Acala Farms

Intensity Academy

Out of the Woods (Dressings and Sauces)

Pirate Jonny's (Caribbean BBQ Rubs and Seasonings)

Voodoo Chef (RED rub)

Mekinita Brands

Spicely Organics (spice-infused chocolates)


The Bloggers 

Culinary Adventures with Camilla
http://culinary-adventures-with-cam.blogspot.com/

Cooking In Stilettos
http://cookinginstilettos.com
                             
The Not So Cheesy Kitchen
http://notsocheesykitchen.com

The Pajama Chef
http://thepajamachef.com

Cheese Curd In Paradise            
http://cheesecurdinparadise.blogspot.com  

Summer Scraps
http://www.summerscraps.com

Debbi Does Dinner Healthy      
http://debbidoesdinnerhealthy.blogspot.com/

From Gate to Plate      
http://fromgatetoplate.com  

A Kitchen Hoor's Adventures  
http://akitchenhoor.blogspot.com/    

A Day in the Life on the Farm  
http://adayinthelifeonthefarm.blogspot.com/
             
Things I Make (for Dinner)        
http://oreosandcoolwhip.blogspot.ca

Eliot's Eats        
http://eliotseats.com  

CafeTerraBlog
http://www.cafeterrablog.com        

Making Miracles            
https://rebekahrose.blogspot.com

Curious Cuisiniere        
http://curiouscuisiniere.com 

The Spiffy Cookie          
http://www.thespiffycookie.com/      

The Weekend Gourmet
http://www.wendyweekendgourmet.com/
                             
Amy's Cooking Adventures      
http://www.amyscookingadventures.com/    

Famished Fish, Finicky Shark    
http://famishedfish.com          

Dancing Veggies            
http://www.dancingveggies.com/blog


The Giveaway 
Terms & Conditions

Mandatory Entry: Leave a comment (below) and tell me What's your favorite romantic dish to cook for your sweetheart? Many more ways to enter in the Rafflecopter widget [below].

This giveaway is open to residents of the United States only, age 18 and older. This #TripleSBites 2015 giveaway runs from Monday, February 2, 2015 12:00am PT through Monday, February 9, 2015 at 6:00pm PT. Winners will be randomly chosen and announced on February 10, 2015. Winners will also be contacted by email and will have 48 hours to respond to the email. If a winner does not respond in that time a new winner will be chosen. For more information, see the full terms and conditions in the Rafflecopter widget.

Disclaimer: All prize packages were provided free of charge. Participating bloggers received complimentary product(s) for their #TripleSBites posts. All opinions stated are my own.

Please click on the arrows in the rafflecopter to scroll through the prize packages!
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Thursday, January 29, 2015

White Cheddar Roasted Garlic Mashed Potatoes

I discovered a long utilized method for mashed potatoes a few months ago after years of resistance..... the stand mixer. All I have to say is that I drank the Kool-Aid and it was goooooood. I always mashed by hand or with a hand mixer until I decided to follow the road traveled by other mash potato lovers and try out my stand mixer. My method is simple: cook potatoes, drain and place in mixer, add butter mix with whisk attachment until just blended,  turn up the speed and slowly drizzle in the milk until light and fluffy, and season with salt & pepper.  I am so annoyed with myself for not doing this when I got the stand mixer....YEARS ago.... In my defense, all of my instincts told me they would be an over mixed gloppy mess....wrong again. 

 Seriously, if you have a stand mixer try this method and you will never go back. 

I love roasted garlic and use it in a lot of different recipes, and I love any chance I get to add it to mashed potatoes. I also like to play with different flavors with the roasted garlic (you may remember my roasted garlic white chocolate potatoes- surprisingly awesome combo) I usually like to roast in bulk, but a scaled down recipe is listed below. I love roasted garlic and mixed with sharp white cheddar makes an awesome mashed potato dish! I like to use Steve's white cheddar because it is a Wisconsin brand, close to home, and it is super sharp and full of flavor. 

I am already looking forward to the weekend because we are grabbing sushi with friends before our friend's birthday party! I love sushi and I don't get it very often so I am really excited to dig in on Saturday!  I love escolar and always make sure to get it along with a few rolls!  I am sure a saki cocktail will also make an appearance..... 


Ingredients

2 1/2 - 3 lb russet potatoes, peeled and quartered
3 Tbl butter
1/4 cup roasted garlic (about 2-4 heads depending on size)
1/2-2/3 cup milk (depends on the thickness you desire)
1/2 cup grated sharp white cheddar
Salt and Pepper, to taste


Instructions

roasted garlic:
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Cut off  top of garlic heads. Drizzle olive oil into a small baking dish. Place garlic in baking dish. Drizzle garlic with oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Cover baking dish with foil and roast until tender, 45 minutes-1 hour. Cool slightly and squeeze out garlic cloves. 

Boil potatoes till tender. Drain and place in a large mixing bowl.  Add butter and garlic and gently mix while slowly adding the milk. Stir in the white cheddar and season with salt and pepper. 

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Slow Cooker Chicken in Tomato & Olive Sauce

I love all things olive. I even have a favorite olive outside black and green. Castelvetrano olives are the best olives in my opinion. They are a beautiful bright green Sicilian olive. The flavor of these olives is what I find so unique about them. They are not extremely salty and have a meaty buttery quality about them. The first time I had this olive was in Rome during an open air market. I was there with my friend Heather and my family for two week in 2009 and our apartment (read my funny story about Heather and I mixed with wine and the old door the first night) was very close to an outdoor market on  an off street by the Vatican.  There was a vendor that had tons of olives in bins and we tried these, and they were amazing! My favorite snack of the trip consisted of these olives, red wine and a cigarette….memories. I did not have them again in the US until they popped up on a salad at a local Italian restaurant. Since then, I have seen them a handful of times in different olive bowls.

Since I love all things olive I knew I needed to make Savory Tart’s recipe for Chicken Thighs inTomatoes and Olive Sauce when she posted it for our red and green Improv Cooking Challenge in December.  I opted to use chicken breasts over the thigh because my store did not have skinless and skin in the crockpot not a favorite of mine. The recipe calls for fresh herbs and delicious briny capers. I loved that the flavors of the fresh herbs came out in the dish because I was worried they would be lost in the long cooking time. The original recipe also called for fire roasted, but my store was out and I used regular tomatoes which produced a delicious result.

I served this with wild rice to soak up the sauce and a crisp green salad. It was a beautiful plate and full of color. The chicken was wonderful and the sauce so flavorful. If you are not an olive fan this may not be the dish for you, but the long cooking time mellows the strong flavor from the olives a bit.

Tonight,  we are hanging around the house and getting caught up on laundry and fun things like that. However, the best part of the night will be finally getting to watch the movie Fury. I am keeping my fingers crossed that Kellen got wore out at daycare and will be in bed early (or I will just be tired tomorrow!). 


Ingredients

4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1 medium yellow onion, halved and sliced thinly
4 garlic cloves, minced
28 oz can diced tomatoes
1 Tbl capers, rinsed and drained
1/2 cup pitted green olives, quartered
1 Tbl fresh thyme
2 tsp fresh oregano
1 tsp black pepper
1/2 tsp salt


Instructions

Add the onions, tomatoes, olives, capers, and fresh herbs to the bottom of the slow cooker. Place chicken on top of tomato mixture and sprinkle with salt and pepper. 

Cook on low 7-8 hours. To plate, remove chicken from slow cooker and spoon the sauce over the top. The sauce will have lots of liquid and you mat want to use a slotted spoon. 

Monday, January 26, 2015

Weekly Meal Plan 1/26 - 2/1

Happy Monday (evening). 

I wish I had lots of fun weekend stories to share with you, but I don't. Poor Kellen was sick all weekend and I was home with him today too. He is on the mend and it was just a virus, but I feel so bad for the little guy. Like any parent, seeing the little one sick makes my heart heart.  

Sooooo..... this weekend I saw Plans and Turbo. I liked them more than Kellen I think. When we were in the Dells Ron won a stuffed Turbo from the claw machine and Kellen has been obsessed ever since. He usually runs around the house saying, " I am Turbo the racing snail", and when he learned there was a movie he has been asking to see it. It is funny because I don't think he has actually watched a movie before this weekend. We normally, don't let him watch much t.v. because, like his mother, and will get disgustingly sucked into the t.v. Naturally, I do not think to limit my t.v. intake....maybe I should heed my own advice....or maybe not because Walking Dead started in two weeks and Game of Thrones is around that corner (did I mention that he gets that from this mother???). 

I am hopeful that this week is sickness free because I have some cooking to do for an upcoming blog event. I will be posting details later this week, but it is similar the the tailgating challenge I did in the fall- it has an awesome prize package too! 

Sorry I don't have more at the moment, but it has been a bit of a busy weekend, and not the good busy! 

Here is to and good week and here is what is on tap:

Monday: Blood Orange Herb Glazed Salmon, Wild Rice and Roasted Cauliflower
Tuesday: Bacon Pieorogie Bake and Salad
Wednesday:  Spiced Fig Glazed Cornish Game Hens, Wild Rice and Roasted Broccoli
Thursday:  BBQ Chicken, Bacon Cheddar Risotto and Roasted Green Beans
Friday: Grilled Ribeye with Herb Blue Cheese Mustard Sauce, Garlic Mashed Potatoes and Grilled Asparagus
Saturday: Out for Sushi & a Birthday Party
Sunday: Super Bowl Sunday! I am making Slowcooker French Onion Pulled Chicken Sandwiches, Herb Crab Cakes with Citrus Pesto Aoli, BBQ Lil' Smokies, Retro Shrimp Dip, Pickle Wrap Dip and Slow cooker Spicy Chorizo and Cheese Dip

Bacon Pesto Spread

I love dip and spreads, and if you are a regular read you know that I love to play with different flavors. One of my favorite flavor combinations is pesto and bacon. It seems that it has become pretty popular and I have seen it more and more in restaurants (mainly with pasta). I love the herby garlic flavors in pesto mixed with the smokey salty bacon. I also love fresh tomatoes in this combination for a little acidity.  

I made this with the last of our homemade pesto from the summer and it made me sad that I have to wait till July for the bounty of fresh basil. I can buy it at the store, but it is very expensive since it is off season. However, it was wonderful to get a flavor from the summer in this appetizer. Besides being delicious this dip is super quick, and the only thing that takes a little time is cooking the bacon and chopping the tomatoes! The dip also travels well and would be perfect to bring to a Superbowl party this Sunday. 

Tonight we are hanging at home and I am working on a few recipes for an upcoming blog event/giveaway. The movie Fury also come out this week to rent at home, and we have been wanting to see it and never had a chance in the theater.  Ron and I both like history (esp WWII) and WWII military movies are usually something we never miss, and our interest was the reason for our trip to Normandy, France last summer. I was thinking about Normandy the other day while making dinner and I wish I was back there again! It feels very similar the the area I live the the coastal beauty is second to none. If you ever have a chance to visit- take it without a second thought! 


Ingredients

12 oz cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup sour cream
12 slices bacon, cooked and chopped 
1/3 cup pesto
1/2 cup quartered cherry tomatoes


Instructions

Mix together cream cheese and sour cream until smooth. Stir in the pesto and then gently mix in the bacon (reserving 1 Tbl for topping). Spread into a serving dish. Top with quartered tomatoes and chopped bacon. Serve immediately with crackers or bread, or chill until ready to serve.  

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Chicken Chesapeake

Ron and I have a serious love for crab cakes and almost always order them when we are out for dinner. We also love making them at home with and always use this recipe.  I came across Tide and Thyme's recipe for Chicken Chesapeake on my cooking board and it sounded fantastic!  Chicken, crab, cheese and bacon- sign me up!

This recipe was adapted from Tide and Thyme's recipe for Chicken Chesapeake. I changed the crab mixture and cooking method on my version of the dish. I bulked up the amount of crab and added a few other ingredients. Also, the crab cake is more like a crab cake stuffed into the chicken and sits on top versus stuffed into the chicken breast.  However, the cheese and bacon recommended in the original recipe were naturally a must in my house!  This was a great weeknight meal and was a great combination of a delicious crab cake and juicy baked chicken.

Last night a few friends and I went to a restaurant called 335 and it was so delicious! They are only open on Wednesday nights following the market so it was great to finally have a chance to go. I have had  the catered food and my baby shower was help there, but it was fun to go for dinner! I think that the simple goat cheese with honey comb and beet and orange salad stole the show for me! Sometimes it is the little things that are the most delicious. We also tried roasted bone marrow which was something I have wanted to order for awhile and finally got the chance to share with my foodie friend Tracy. We also shared a few delicious desserts: churros with blood orange sauce, affogato and pomegranate soft serve. Yum.

Isn't the beet salad pretty?!


Tonight I am headed to the gym after work and then home to make dinner and watch SVU with my friend Emily. I am making lasagna soup and Ron’s eye lit up this morning when I told him what was on the meal plan for the evening- it is one of his favorites.  This weekend we are going to have a few fun things on the agenda- Ron has a cribbage tournament on Saturday and we are going out for Thai after. Thai curry = love in my book and I am really excited!


Ingredients

4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
5 strips thick-cut bacon, sliced
1 Tbsp Old Bay
4 oz sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp black pepper

For the filling:
4 oz cream cheese, softened
1 Tbl sour cream
1/2 tsp Worcestershire sauce
1/4 tsp dijon mustard
Juice of 1/2 lemon
1 egg, beaten
6.5 oz lump crab meat
1/2 cup crushed saltines
1 Tbl finely chopped fresh parsley


Instructions

Preheat oven to 375. Spray a 9×13 baking dish with cooking spray, set aside.

Prepare the crab filling by combining cream cheese, sour cream, mustard, Worcestershire, lemon juice, egg, crushed saltines and parsley. Carefully fold in crab meat until combined. Let the crab mixture rest in the fridge for about 30 minutes.

Season chicken breasts with Old Bay. Using a small knife, cut a pocket into the center of each chicken breast – about 2 inches long by 1 inch wide. Place 1/4 of the crab filling into the pocket of each chicken breast. The chicken breast does not need to be closed or sealed. 

Place filled chicken breasts in the prepared baking dish and bake in the oven 30-40 minutes (this may depend on the size of the chicken breasts). 

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Roasted Chicken with Smoked Paprika, Blood Orange and Ginger

I originally saw this recipe from Elly Says Opa! over a year ago and bookmarked it to try once blood orange season came around. Well, I never had a chance to make it until now and figured that another savory dish featuring delicious winter citrus was in order! This chicken marinade is chalked full of different flavors and makes one delicious chicken dinner. Elly cooked potatoes in her roasting pan with her chicken, and I opted to do the same because less dishes are always a plus! I loved the flavor of the cilantro with the bite from the ginger and jalapeno, and smokiness of the paprika! The fresh flavors from the orange also provide a wonderful and subtle sweetness to the chicken. I only made a slight change to the recipe and added a little mustard to the marinade because I love the flavor it gives to chicken. The other great thing about this recipe is the crispy skin on the chicken thighs.  I love cooking chicken with the skin on, but hate when it does not turn out crispy. The potatoes are equally delicious and full of flavor from roasting in the delicious pan juices alongside the meat. This recipe will work well with regular oranges if you do not have blood oranges. 

Tonight, I am headed out to dinner with a few girlfriends to a restaurant called 335. I have eaten here a few times and had the catered for at my gift opening, baby shower and a few political parties. The food is always creative and delicious and I am really excited to go!  Ron and Kellen are having a boys night and having a pizza- Kellen will be thrilled because he has been asking for pizza for weeks!


Ingredients

1 tsp blood orange zest
1/2 cup fresh blood orange juice
1 tsp dijon mustard
3 Tbl olive oil
3 cloves garlic
2 Tbl fresh cilantro
1 small jalapeño, halved
1 Tbl grated fresh ginger root
1 1/4 tsp salt
1 tsp smoked hot paprika
1 3/4 - 2 lbs bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs (about 8 thighs)
1/2 tsp salt
Sliced scallions for serving

for potatoes (optional):
3 - 3 1/2 cups chopped potatoes 
1 1/2 Tbl olive oil
1/2 tsp salt 
1/2 tsp black pepper


Instructions

In a blender or food processor, combine the zest, juice, olive oil, garlic, cilantro, jalapeño, ginger, salt, and paprika. Blend until smooth. Place chicken in a large re-sealable bag and pour in marinade. Seal and gently toss to coat. Place in the fridge and marinate 4-8 hours (longer the better). 

Preheat the oven to 475 degrees. In a medium bowl, mix potatoes oil, salt and pepper- set aside. Place the chicken in a pan and surround the chicken with the potatoes. Sprinkle chicken with a little salt if desired. Roast the chicken until skin is golden and meat juices are no longer pink, about 40-50 minutes. Remove from over and sprinkle with sliced scallions.