Holiday Favorites, Weeknight Dinners

Chicken Enchilada Melt Subs

Happy Fall! It’s October 1st and we couldn’t be more excited about this month’s upcoming festivities; orchards, pumpkins, lattes, leaf piles, leaf peeping, camp fires, parties and trick-or-treat! Halloween is one of our favorite holidays to celebrate.

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As the kids get older, and our time to make meals becomes less and less due to their involvement at school + activities, my blog posts containing elaborate meals is diminishing by the day! I’m peeking back at prior posts thinking, “how the heck did I have TIME to make all that food?!” And the reality is, I didn’t.

Opportunity Cost {A benefit, profit, or value of something that must be given up to acquire or achieve something else}

This is the biggest take away from my studies as an MBA student, and the time that I was spending making fancy meals was time away from things I could be doing with the kids. I’ve really tried to curb my food prep time in order to maximize human contact time. Why else are we here? Not to live in a cave alone.

The kids have had an awesome time pouring through new food recipe material with me. between activities or in the car on the go. We have two books open right now. One is called “Eat at Home Tonight” and the other is the latest Food Network Magazine. The cookbook was given to me by my brother, THANK YOU JOEY! And is organized by TIME. What a concept. The Mom who wrote this is a genious. The first chapter is “I only have 15 minutes to cook dinner” —Let me tell you, WE LOVE THIS BOOK. And she doesn’t use nuts, yet, so it’s easy converstions for us, like finding the right, safe breads to use.

Here is what we made last night. Kids gave it kind of a thumbs up, but they cleared their plates. I thought it was good!!!

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Chicken Enchilada Melt Subs

  • 3 cups shredded cooked chicken (rotisserie works great, Metcalfes is the best)
  • 1 (4oz) can diced green chiles
  • 1 (8oz) can tomato sauce
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • salt + pepper
  • shredded cheddar cheese
  • 6 sub rolls – Pretzilla is your go-to nut free option! And so tasty!
  1. In a large microwave safe bowl, combine chicken, chiles, tomato, and garlic powder. Season with S+P. Microwave 2 min. Add some cheese to the mixture and microwave for 30 seconds until melted.
  2. Split your sub rolls. We use Pretzilla since they are PN + TN free. Line a rimmed baking sheet with foil and spay with Pam non-stick. Put your rolls face side up and load up your subs. Sprinkle with cheesse.
  3. Put them under the broiler until cheese is melted.

We made a green vegetable and had some apple slices to get all food groups in! This was ready in 15 mintues. To save even more time, prep that shredded chicken on the weekend, that way you hvae it ready for your week night meals!

Have a great week everyone. And remember, the point of a meal together is just that, being together. So save some time in the kitchen and focus up on the people that you’re surrounded with, engage in some good conversation and enjoy being in the moment.

Nut Free Cookies Below….Metcalfes carries Lofthouse Bakery cookies – perfect for your Halloween Parties at school or home 🙂

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Holiday Favorites

Sugar Cookies

Today was sugar cookie day. It’s the cookie I hate the most. Making the dough is easy, but rolling it out and using it quickly, before it gets too mushy, can be challenging. Especially when you have two littles eagerly trying to help.
This morning we rolled out the dough and used our cookie cutters for various holiday cookie shapes.

This afternoon, I made 3 types of frosting and gathered some toppings to decorate the cookies with the kids.

Here’s the recipe – I’m a little under the weather, so tonight’s post is quick.

Sugar Cookies

Ingredients

  • 1 cup butter
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 3 cups flour

Directions

  1. cream the butter and sugar using electric mixer
  2. Add egg and vanilla
  3. Blend dry ingredients gradually add to mixing bowl
  4. Add milk + mix well
  5. Make a giant ball, put into glass bowl + cover with plastic wrap
  6. Chill for 3 hours or up to 7 days
  7. Roll our 1/8 inch thick
  8. Cut out and bake
  9. I bake at 300* for 6 minutes. But that is just how my oven is. Test yours.

Nut free toppings

  • vermont nut free skippers
  • skittles
  • nerds
  • dots
  • some sprinkles
  • colored sugars
  • smashed andes candes
  • smashed candy canes


    Holiday Favorites

    Chocolate Reindeer with Vermont Skippers

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    This herd of chocolate reindeer is perfect for your upcoming kid-friendly holiday parties and gatherings.  This recipe is always my favorite to make because it creates the most laughs. The chocolate dough does need to refrigerate, so keep that in mind before making this recipe with littles. Perhaps you want to make the dough the night before, so when your helpers are ready you can get right to business, their attention span is short, maximize it! Also, you decorate these cute little fellas BEFORE you bake them. Opposite to our classic sugar cookie.

    This year, we did not factor in the time it took to chill the dough, so my little Chloe stayed up well past her bed time (10:00pm) to complete these cookies. After about 8:30pm, she turns into a complete jokester. We were laughing so hard that we had a difficult time just baking these cookies, and we probably doubled our time since we were goofing around so much. But that is what cookie bake weekend is all about, good laughs and stories we can keep telling year after year. Memories.

    I hope you enjoy these playful cookies as much as we do, Fun Friyay!

    Chocolate Reindeer 

    Ingredients

    Directions

    1. Cream the butter in electric mixer
    2. Add sugar, cocoa, cream of tartar, baking soda, and salt
    3. beat until combined
    4. beat in eggs
    5. add vanilla, keep mixing
    6. Beat in as much flour as your mixer will allow, hand stir in the rest if it doesn’t fit.
    7. Divide dough into 6 equal portions. Wrap in plastic wrap and chill for 3 hours in the fridge.
    8. On a lightly floured surface, roll our each dough ball into a circle, 6 inches in diameter.
    9. Using a knife (i like pizza cutter) cut into six wedges (we did 8, just like pizza)
    10. Place wedges two inches apart on ungreased cookie sheet, push the pretzels in for antlers, chocolate skippers in for eyes, and red hot for nose.
    11. Bake in a 375* oven for 7-9 minutes. Do not overbake. I bake for exactly 7 minutes. If your reindeer start to have cracks or lines in their faces, you’re baking too long. They should be smooth like gingerbread cookies.
    12. Makes 36 large cookies.
    13. We trippled the batch, and it was WAY too  much. A double batch is OK.

     

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    Until next year, cookie bakers! We’ll make a few more before Santa arrives, but our big bake is complete! Hope you enjoy some of these!!

    Love + Hugs from these two French-Norwegian Babes!

    Holiday Favorites

    Lemon-Poppy Seed Melt Cookies

    If you’re looking for a bake-ahead + freeze cookie, this is it. These cookies can last up to 6 months in your freezer. However, they taste so good, I think you’ll have a hard time putting these away. The lemon zest is bright and gives you the illusion these are “healthy” cookies. Not so much. But the creamy lemon poppy seed is a comforting flavor that has me coming back for more every time. Enjoy!
    Lemon-Poppy Seed Melts

    Ingredients

    • 1/2 cup butter
    • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
    • 1 tbsp poppy seeds
    • 1/8 tsp baking soda
    • 1 egg yolk
    • 1 tbsp milk
    • 2 tsp grated / shredded lemon peel
    • 1/2 tsp vanilla
    • 1+1/2 cup flour
    • 1 cup powdered sugar

    Directions

    1. Pre-heat oven to 375
    2. In an electric mixing bowl, cream butter.
    3. Add granulated sugar and poppy seeds + baking soda
    4. Mix well
    5. Add egg yolk, milk, lemon peel, and vanilla until combined.
    6. Add flour
    7. Mix well
    8. Divide dough in half.
    9. Shape each half into a 9″ long roll (use a 13×9 pyrex pan to get your measurement)
    10. Wrap each long roll in plastic wrap
    11. Chill for 4 hour or overnight
    12. Using a sharp knife, cut dough into 1/2 inch thick slices
    13. Place onto ungreased cookie sheets
    14. Bake at 375 for 7-9 minutes.
    15. Place warm cookies into a bag of powdered sugar to coat.
    16. Continue cooling on cooling rack.
    17. Yield: 36 cookies
    Holiday Favorites

    Dipped Creams with Artisan Kettle Chocolate

    20171205_083810.jpgDipped Creams are little delicious pillows that melt in your mouth. Literally, they just pooof before you have time to chew!  They are very light and fluffy and highly addicting, especially with the melted chocolate on the top. Be sure to have your favorite holiday drink near by, these DO need some milk or egg nog to wash them down.

    Chocolate Dipped Creams

    Ingredients

    • 1 cup of butter, room temperature
    • 1/2 cup powdered sugar
    • 1 tsp vanilla
    • 1/8 tsp salt
    • 1 cup cornstarch
    • 1 cup sifted flour
    • Extra powdered sugar for rolling
    • 1 cup chocolate for melting; set up a double boiler so you don’t burn your Artisan Kettle Chocolate. 1 sauce pan + a little water + 1 pyrex bowl to nest inside the sauce pan. Put your chocolate into the pyrex bowl and boil the water. This will melt your chocolate evenly, without burning.
    • Your choice of toppings; jimmies, sprinkles, andes candes bits, etc.

    Directions

    1. With an electric mixer, cream the butter.
    2. Add 1/2 cup powdered sugar gradually.
    3. Add vanilla
    4. Sift salt, cornstarch, and flour together in separate bowl.
    5. Blend dry ingredients into mixing bowl.
    6. Form two balls and refrigerate in a glass bowl covered in plastic wrap 2-3 hours or overnight.
    7. When ready, bring the dough to room temp. form various shapes, balls, rectangles, everything around the same size so baking doesn’t vary too much.
    8. Bake at 375 for 12 minutes.
    9. Cool.
    10. Roll into powdered sugar if you like.
    11. Top with Artisan Kettle melted chocolate and sprinkles
    12. Yield: 6 dozen

    Grab your $1 off coupon from Artisan Kettle’s website. They are the most cost competitive, allergy free, organic chocolate on the market right now. And their flavor can’t be beat. I find mine at Hy-Vee and Metcalfes Sentry.