Saturday, September 20, 2014

Loaded Baked Nachos Supreme #10DaysofTailgate

Hey Tailgaters (and fellow food lovers)! For the next 10 days I am joining with 21 other bloggers to bring you delicious and tantalizing recipes to bring to your tailgate during the #10daysoftailgate.  In my intro post I gave you all of our amazing sponsors's information and the rafflecopter entry information. Please stop over to enter and check out all the amazing sponsors

The first recipe I am bringing to you is Loaded Baked Nachos Supreme because who doesn't love nachos on game day!?  For this recipe I used a sponsored product from Intensity Academy  called Carrot Karma, but you could use your favorite hot sauce in place. Carrot Karma is a totally different type of hot sauce, but fits right into the flavor profile for these nachos. Carrot Karma has  mild/medium heat with flavors of fresh carrots, habaneros with a touch of lime. 

When building these nachos I went with my family's favorites: beef, beans and tons of cheese! I layered the chips and toppings to ensure that each bite was filled with delicious toppings. Ron, Kellen and I devoured these nachos before the game even started! I love baking nachos because the chips stay crisp,  but are warm and delicious- covered with melted cheese. This recipe appears to have lots of steps, but it is really easy and each step very simple and quick. 

Thanks for joining me in kicking off our tailgate party! Please visit my fellow tailgaters for more delicious recipes and don't forget to enter the giveaway!

Here is what everyone else is dishing up today:

El Diablo’d Lamb Lollipops,Culinary Adventures with Camilla

Cheesy Bean Dip, Making Miracles

War Eagle Sangria, Sew You Think You Can Cook

Chili, A Day in the Life on the Farm

Soft Pretzels and Buffalo Cheese Dip, Things I Make (for Dinner)

Spiced Fig and Garlic Chicken Wings, girlichef

Baked Mac and Cheese  with Bacon Pretzel Topping, Debbi Does Dinner Healthy

Baked Blueberry Pork Egg Rolls , The Pajama Chef

Deviled Egg Potato Salad, Cooking In Stilettos

Garden Fresh Salsa, Eliot’s Eats

Peanut Butter Pretzel Brownies, The Spiffy Cookie

Gazpacho Shooters with Spicy Shrimp, OnTheMove-In the Galley

Pineapple Salsa, The Not So Cheesy Kitchen

Asian Duck Sliders, Curious Cuisiniere

Pineapple Chile Lime Wings, The Girl In The Little Red Kitchen

Spicy Strawberry Bourbon Shooters, CafeTerraBlog

Devilish 7-Layer Dip, Miss Laura’s Kitchen

Iowa Sunrise, From Gate to Plate


For Meat:
3/4 lb ground beef
1/2 medium white onion, diced
1 Tbl hot sauce
1/2 cup water
1 Tbl flour
1 recipe taco seasoning (see below)
Taco Seasoning:
1 Tbsp. chili powder
1 1/2 tsp. cumin
1/2 tsp. paprika
1/4 tsp. garlic powder
1/4 tsp. onion powder
1/4 tsp. dried Mexican oregano (or regular oregano)
1/4 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes
1 tsp. sea salt
1 tsp. black pepper

For Beans (you can buy them already made if you like): 
1 Tbl olive oil
1/8 cup diced onion
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp chili powder
1 15 oz can pinto beans, drained and rinsed
2/3 cup chicken stock

For Salsa:
3 roma tomatoes, diced
2 Tbl diced white onion
1 Tbl diced jalapeno
1 Tbl chopped cilantro
pinch of salt
pinch of cumin
Juice of 1/2 a lime

For Guacamole:
1 ripe avocado
2 Tbl of salsa

1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
1 cup shredded Monterrey jack cheese
Sliced green onion
Sour Cream
Sliced Black Olives
1 bag or tortilla chips


Pre-heat over to 375 degrees.

In a bowl, mix salsa ingredients together.  Cover and let it rest in the fridge till ready to use.

In a large skillet brown ground beef and onion. Drain excess fat and stir in water, hot sauce, flour and taco seasoning. While the mixture thickens make the beans. Heat olive oil in a medium skillet. Add onions and cook till tender. Stir in the garlic powder and chili powder. Add the beans and stock. Gently mash with a fork. Stir until smooth and warmed through. 

In a 9x13 baking dish, layer half of the chips. Top evenly with half of the taco meat, beans and cheese. Top with remaining chips, taco meat, beans and cheese.  Place in over and bake 10-12 minutes or until cheese is melted.

While the nachos bake mash an avocado with 2 Tbl of salsa. Set aside. 

Remove nachos from oven. Top with black olives, salsa, sour cream, guacamole and green onions. 

Brown Sugar Apple Basil Muffins

Time for September's Crazy Ingredient Challenge!

The ingredients for this month are apples and basil. I skipped out on August's challenge mainly because I did not get thing together in time to post! This time since we voted to use two ingredients that I absolutely love I couldn't wait to make my recipe.

We are lucky enough to have two apple trees and a pear tree in our backyard and I am always trying to come up with different recipes once apple season arrives. I decided to stay pretty traditional and make muffins because I love apple in breads, and I knew Kellen would love them.

I loved the flavors of the apples with the basil! I am a big fan of strawberry and basil, but apple and basil is providing some serious competition. The basil is very subtle but, adds a light peppery flavor to the muffins which works really well with the brown sugar.

Today we are headed to Lake Geneva for a little R&R and a boat ride with a few of Ron's college friends. We are also headed to an Italian restaurant for dinner! Kellen is hanging with his grandparents this weekend and will be sufficiently spoiled with hugs and tractor rides.

If you are interested in joining our challenge, stop over to Dawn of Spatulas on Parade to say hello and to get more information. 


1 1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar (+ 3-4 Tbl for topping)
2/3 cup oil
2/3 cup unsweetend applesauce
1 tsp vanilla
2 eggs
3 cups all purpose flour
1 tsp salt
1 tap baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground ginger
2 cups diced apples
1/4 cup diced basil


Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees.

In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, salt, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon and ginger. Set aside. 

In a mixing bowl (you can use stand or hand held), cream sugars, oil, applesauce, vanilla and eggs.  Slowly add the dry ingredients to the wet. Finally, gently fold in the apples and the basil. 

Spoon batter into lined cupcake pans. Sprinkle tops lightly with brown sugar. Bake for 30-35 minutes. 

Makes 18 muffins. 

Friday, September 19, 2014

#10DaysofTailgate Preview (and a Fantastic Giveaway!)

Welcome to #10DaysofTailgate! We have nearly two dozen bloggers with over one hundred recipes scheduled to inspire you through an entire tailgating season. Think chicken wings, skewers, sweet nibbles, and cocktails. The event runs September 20th through September 30th. Just remember, your fork does not go into your monitor no matter how much you might want to taste some of these dishes!

 Okay? Get ready...get set...Go! Let's start with a huge - HUGE! - thank you to our event sponsors who have graciously donated prizes for our readers. These sponsors have contributed great prizes for a gigantic giveaway. We have an incredible giveaway for this event. There are fourteen different prize packages which are detailed in the rafflecopter. The rafflecopter is below and will go live on September 20th. Please check back, if you're reading this before our kick-off.

Our #10DaysofTailgate Sponsors
in alphabetical order with links to their homepages

Our #10DaysofTailgate Bloggers
And...THE giveaway!
Terms & Conditions
Mandatory Entry: Leave a comment with What's your favorite tailgate dish? 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. The #10DaysofTailgate 2014 giveaway runs from Saturday, September 20, 2014 12:00am PT through Tuesday, September 30, 2014 at 6:00pm PT. Winners will be randomly chosen and announced on October 1, 2014. 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: Our generous sponsors are providing the prizes free of charge.  Participating bloggers may have received product related to these brands to use for #10DaysofTailgate. All opinions stated are their own.

Scroll through our fourteen prize packages!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Chocolate Coconut Ice Cream

Time for September's Improv Cooking Challenge! 

The theme for this month is milk and honey. I originally was planning to make a cake, but ice cream won the battle. Ice cream winning with me is always a bit or a surprise for me considering cake would almost always be my first choice.... except ice cream cake...blah. 

Recently, I have seen a bunch of different recipes using coconut milk as an ice cream base. I love coconut milk and thought that that was a perfect occasion to give it a try. I whipped up the base very quickly during an afternoon at our cottage in Door County. I used an immersion blender because we do not have a stand blender up there, but I think either would work just fine.  I also opted to use honey as a sweetener over sugar and added a bit of cinnamon.  The ice cream took about 5 hours to freeze and needed a few minutes on the counter before scooping.  Even though it is getting a little cool for ice cream in Wisconsin it is nice to have a quick treat that can be whipped up when the craving hits! 

We are getting ready for a fun filled weekend our nephew's birthday party, visiting friends in Lake Geneva and (hopefully) a Packer win! Tune in tomorrow for a special post on an amazing tailgate party and giveaway!

If you want to join the fun of the Improv Cooking Challenge visit Lesa of Edesia's Notebook for details! 

Stay tuned for next month's recipe using Peanut Butter and Chocolate!


14 oz can full-fat coconut milk 
1/4 cup honey
1/4 cup cocoa powder
1/8 tsp cinnamon
Pinch  salt


Combine all ingredients in a large bowl and blend with an immersion blender (you could also use a regular stand blender). Transfer ice cream to a freezer safe container. Place in the freezer for 4-6 hours, or until firm. Once firm, remove and serve (it may need to sit for a few minutes before it scoops easily). 

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Baked 3 Cheddar Macaroni and Cheese

Macaroni and cheese is really the ultimate naughty comfort food isn't it? it also happens to be a favorite of Mr. Kellen these days. 

Ron's cousin came for a visit a few weeks ago to go over cloth diapers and all things baby.  Since she was brewing a little one I decided to make her a special treat.  I normally don't stick to a specific type of cheese blend for mac and cheese, and this time I decided a on few varieties for cheddar. 

The entire group loved this dish and using three different types of cheddar was a delicious variation.  Ron and I always go back and forth on what is better: stove top mac and cheese or baked. I think we are indecisive or the answer it whatever we are eating at the moment! In my opinion, the saucier and cheesier- the better. This is great as a side or as a meal on it's own- either way you will have smiles.

Good thing I am headed to the gym tonight for a little weight lifting! After the gym I think a little applesauce making is in order. Have a great day everyone!


4 Tbl salted butter
4 Tbl all purpose flour
2 - 2 1/2 cups milk (I like to use whole or 2%)
1 cup chicken stock (you could use vegetable or more milk for vegetarian option)
1 1/2 cup grated mild cheddar cheese, divided
1 cup grated medium cheddar cheese
1 cup grated sharp cheddar cheese
1 lb large elbow noodles
1/2 tsp white pepper
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup panko bread crumbs
2 Tbl butter, melted


Pre-heat oven to 375 degrees. 

Cook pasta according to package instructions, drain and set aside. 

In a large pot or dutch oven, melt the butter and whisk in the flour. Whisk for 1-2 minutes over medium heat. Adjust heat if needed to avoid burning. 

Slowly whisk in the milk and stock. Continue whisking and allow the sauce to thicken-slightly simmering-for 2-3 minutes over medium heat. 

Once sauce has thickened add the cheese 1 cup at a time (reserving 1/2 cup of the mild cheddar).  Whisk till all cheese is melted. Season with salt and pepper. 

 Pour pasta into a prepared 9x13 baking dish (I use cooking spray).  In a large sealable bag toss bread crumbs and butter till evenly coated.  Top pasta with reserve cheese and spread bread crumbs evenly over the pasta. Bake 30 minutes uncovered. 

Monday, September 15, 2014

Weekly Meal Plan 9/15 - 9/21

Happy Monday!

This weekend was a lot of fun!  On Friday, we hung around the house, picked some apples and grilled.  We kept things pretty low key because we had a busy weekend ahead of us. 

On Saturday morning we were up bright and early to head to Quarry Quest.

Quarry Quest allows kids and adults to explore a real quarry and try out the machinery. Volunteers work the different machiens and the kids get to sit with them, beep horns, and move the large equipment. They also get to pick rocks, try out fire trucks, make their own cement, climb sand piles, dig for fossils and take a ride in a dump truck.  We were so excited! 
Here are a few shots from our day:

(Kellen in the digger!)

We finished the day with a trip to the grocery store and dinner with Grandma at A'Bravo

On Sunday, I was up bright and early making a few things for the game and a few things for the home. I started a big batch of spicy beef chili so it could simmer until game time at 3:25 pm.  I also created a recipe for an upcoming tailgate challenge. To finish, I roasted a few big heads of garlic and made a kettle of bone broth. If you haven't made bone broth before it is really wonderful as the days get cooler and cold season approaches. It is rich in minerals, good for the gut and helps boost the immune system. I make mine with organic pastured chicken bones, but you could use bones from any healthy animal.  I like to use onions, carrots, celery, fresh thyme, fresh parsley, apple cider vinegar and lots of garlic.  The key is to cook it slow and low to draw out all the nutrients from the bones. Normally, I freeze some and keep some in the fridge for drinking daily.  I found that freezing in ice cube trays is best for quick thawing and use. 

We headed to my parents for the game with my friend Emily's daughter (they went to the game for their anniversary).  We were so excited to celebrate a Packer win! At first I thought that we might be in trouble, but the Pack rallied and took the W. 

This week life is a bit calmer, but her have a fun weekend planned! Friday is our nephew Drew's birthday party and on Saturday we are headed for Lake Geneva for the night to visit some of Ron's college friends! Sunday will of course be more football fun. This week I am am cooking up a storm in preparation for a tailgating challenge with an awesome prize package- stay tuned! 

Here is what is on tap:

Monday: Grilled Brats, Baked Beans, Cottage Cheese and Corn
Tuesday:  Beer Cheese Brat Soup and Salads
Wednesday: Ultimate Bacon Burgers and Green Beans
Thursday: Green Curry and Pineapple Grilled Chicken and Leftovers
Friday: Out for Pizza for our Nephew's Birthday
Saturday: Lake Geneva
Sunday: Go Pack Go! I am making Grilled Chipotle Ranch Chicken Wings

Extras: Brat Bites

Friday, September 12, 2014

Cheesy Zucchini Rice

First things first.  The winner of Cooking and Baking with Almond Four is... Dawn Bedingfield!  Please e-mail me at with your contact information. 

Today I bring you a side dish to use any remaining zucchini from your gardens. This recipe comes from Josie of Pink Parsley and is absolutely wonderful! In our house, the main protein never seems to be a problem, but the side dishes can become ho-hum. I love finding a dish like this that is, not only easy, but delicious. My Ron is not a zucchini lover, but thought the rice was excellent and Kellen, who is a a zucchini lover, adored his "cheesy zucchini".  I served this a long side a grilled marinated chicken breast and it was the star of the night.  

I stayed true to Josie's original recipe, but added a few splashed of dry white wine because I happen to be drinking it while cooking and I love the flavor it gives to the dish. 

Yesterday my friend Emily and her daughter joined Kellen and I on a trip to Washington Island.  Ever since I heard that there was a lavender farm that opened this summer I have been itching to take a trip.  The farm was really cool and I am excited to go back next summer before everything is harvested.  Here is a picture of Kellen and chillin' in the field:

Getting to Washington Island is a lot of fun. It is a 30 minute boat ride and the lake was a bit choppy today and we got shot with water once or twice. 

We also stopped at the Farm Museum (new to both of us) and it was so fun! It was filled with old machinery, trails and even animals. Here is Mr. K exploring the Farm Musesum (I had to break out the Jack Skellington hat!):

Hope everyone has an amazing weekend! We are picking apples tonight and grilling and tomorrow are taking the kids to Quarry Quest in Oshkosh, but the more exciting is always- Sunday football!


2 cups vegetable stock
2 Tbl dry white wine (optional)
1 cup long-grain white rice
2 Tbs butter
1 medium zucchini, grated 
1 cup shredded sharp cheddar
salt and pepper, to taste


Bring the stock to a boil in a medium saucepan.  Stir in the rice and wine, cover, and reduce heat to low.

Cook about 20 minutes, or until most of the liquid has been absorbed.

Remove from heat and add the butter and zucchini.  Cover and allow to stand 5 minutes. Remove cover and stir to incorporate all ingredients.  Stir in the cheese, season with salt and pepper, and serve.