Turkey Pesto Sliders

{it's like homemade quiznos}
I miss American Quiznos a lot. They have Quiznos in Canada, but the menu is different. It makes me sad sometimes. One thing I miss most is the Turkey Pesto. Mmmmm... so good. I had no idea pesto was so easy to make... I've been missing out. We had these for dinner, and I was impressed! I thought it would just taste like a good sandwich, but no- I couldn't stop eating them! I felt like such a fatty because I downed two at night, and then two again for breakfast!
6 slider buns (I used Kaiser Buns, the soft ones)
6 slices of Provolone cheese
12 Deli Turkey slices
Pesto Sauce (see recipe below)

Make an open faced sandwich- come on, it's pretty easy. I 'toasted' mine to get the full Quiznos effect by setting my oven to broil and placing my sandwich on a baking sheet (open faced) for about 5 minutes until the turkey was heated through and the cheese was melted. Then spread as much or as little mayo as you'd like, then a couple spoonfuls of pesto sauce- and shove in your mouth!

Pesto Sauce Recipe:
2 cups fresh/frozen basil (or 16 frozen cubes)
1/4 cup sunflower kernels (or pine nuts)
2 gloves of garlic, peeled
a dash of salt
1/4 cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil

In food processor (or blender) blend all the ingredients together for about 30 seconds. So easy. Who knew?


The best chocolate frosting, ever.

{i couldn't stop eating it}
I'm really picky with frosting. I'm not a fan of the buttercream you get on premade cakes at the store bakeries... and the canned stuff is good, but it leaves a film of something plasticy on the roof of my mouth, and not to mention, I can't pronounce half the ingredients used- and it's so sweet, it seriously knocks me out. So when I came across this recipe, I really had to give it a try. What caught my eye, was that it was made with flour as opposed to powdered or icing sugar- so I knew it wouldn't be too sweet. Plus, it has real melted chocolate in it, and isn't that just the cherry on top? I really had no idea it would be THIS GOOD! It's slightly labor intensive, I wont lie. I kind of found out the hard way- I read the comments and I guess I didn't read carefully enough because I didn't think it would take quite as long as it did, but in the end it was so worth it. And now we know, Kelsey, that we can't rush things. So, if you plan on making this delightful recipe, just plan in about an extra 20 to 30 minutes for cooling. 
kinda blurry, you'll get over it
2/3 cup sugar
1/3 cup all purpose or whole wheat flour (I used wheat)
3 tablespoons baking cocoa powder
1 cup milk
1 cup butter
1 cup semisweet chocolate chips

Start by cooking the flour, sugar, milk, and cocoa. Whisk together until mixture begins to thicken to the consistency of thin pudding. For me, it took about 10 minutes on medium-high heat. Don't use high-high because it the cause the bottom to burn and you'll get black chunks- I learned that the hard way, too. After it's thickened up, stick the pot of chocolate in the freezer to cool completely. This is where it took up a ton of time when I wasn't expecting it. If you have it too warm, it will melt the butter and you will end up having to let the icing cool once it's all mixed together, also you run the risk of the butter separating when it melts. So make sure this is completely cool before you go on to the next step. Again, took me about 20-30 minutes, good thing I had other things to do in that time.
Next step, melt chocolate chips in the microwave. And add your butter to a medium bowl. Using an electric mixer, cream the butter. Add the chilled chocolate mixture, and mix again until it's combined. Then add the melted chocolate! Mix again, and give it a taste! If you'd like a darker and richer chocolate taste, you can add a couple more tablespoons of cocoa powder.

Oh  my goodness, look at my next picture. I'm so impressed with myself!
You'll notice my Raspberry Swirl Cheesecake Cupcakes... everything went like wild fire!
source: Our Best Bites


Raspberry Swirl Cheesecake Cupcakes

{my house smells like the cheesecake factory}
I've been anxiously awaiting for today to come for many weeks. Why? I finally have the chance to make a ton of baked goods- and have a place with many mouths to transport said baked goods to. Sometimes I run into the problem of not having enough people to eat all the things I make- and that doesn't make husby very happy. I've been wanting to make these baby cakes for a really long time. Unfortunately, I skipped the water bath as suggested by Martha Stewart because I didn't have a way to create one- so I think these could have been better, but I'm not complaining. I found these to be a bit of a more challenging recipe, which is right up my ally. Go big or go home is my motto. Don't let that scare you, there are definitely some short cuts.
for the cheesecake:
16 oz cream cheese (two regular size packages)
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 tablespoon vanilla
4 eggs
1 teaspoon lemon juice (optional- but after tasting one, I think a little zip of lemon would go really well)

for the raspberry topping:
6 oz fresh or frozen raspberries
2 tablespoons sugar

for the crust: (you could buy the premade crumbs, but I found with one box of graham crackers, I could double the recipe whereas with the premade crumbs, I could only do one batch)
22 Graham crackers
4 tablespoons butter, melted
2 tablespoons sugar 

Preheat oven to 325F. Line cupcake pan with liners. In a food processor, process graham crackers until crumbly. Switch crumbs into a bowl, and mix in butter and sugar and stir with a fork until the crumbs are moistened. Fill each cupcake liner with 1 tablespoon of crumbs. Use a small drinking glass to press the crumbs down. Bake for 5 minutes or until set. Set aside to cool.

Also in your food processor (obviously you can make the crumbs ahead of time) puree raspberries and sugar. Strain puree into a bowl using a strainer to collect the seeds. Set aside.

In a large mixing bowl, blend cream cheese until fluffy. Add sugar and blend again until well mixed. Add vanilla and mix again. Add each egg one at a time, mixing in between each addition. Pour 3 tablespoons (or 1/4 cup if you have a little measuring up like me ;) ) of cheesecake mixture onto the graham cracker crusts. Once each one has been filled, take a 1/2 teaspoon of raspberry puree and dot it on the top. Take a tooth pick and swirl it around.
Pop them in the oven and bake for about 22 minutes. Now, if you have a pan big enough and have enough room in your kitchen feel free to do a water bath, but again, I skipped it and the only thing that happened was my cheesecakes kind of sank down little in the centers. Make sure you sit in front of your oven and watch them like a nerd. Just kidding, you don't have to.
Remove from oven and let cool to room temperature, then refrigerate for at least 4 hours before serving. Not so bad, right? You will die when you smell these out of the oven... :)

Source: Annie's Eats via Martha Stewart


Quick Cinnamon Rolls

{so sweet i can feel the cavities and diabetes setting in}
I don't know about you but when you are out shopping at the malls with the scent of the CinnaBun station from what seems like miles away, some form of symbiosis happens in my brain, and I immediately think- Christmas. But really, they are good any time of the year! Just make sure to go see your dentist after wards. 
1 3/4 cup warm water
6 tablespoons sugar
1/2 cup oil
3 tablespoons instant yeast
1 1/2 teaspoon salt
2 eggs
5 1/2 cups flour
1/3 cup butter, at room temperature
1 cup brown sugar
2 1/2 tablespoons cinnamon (essentially as much or as little as you'd like)

In a medium bowl add water, sugar, oil and yeast. Mix to combine and let rise for 15 minutes. In a large bowl, or stand mixer with bread hook, add yeast mixture, half the flour, salt and eggs. Mix with hook, once it's combined add remaining flour. Dough should clear the sides of the bowl. If you don't have a stand mixer, your hands work just fine! Spray your counter, and roll out dough into a 1/2 inch thick rectangle. Spread with a thin layer of butter, enough so your cinnamon and brown sugar will stick to the dough. Sprinkle cinnamon, and then sprinkle with brown sugar. Roll up long ways, and cut into 18 (1 inch thick) slices. Dental floss works great. Place on sprayed cookie sheet. Let rise for for 15 minutes.

After a final rising, pop them in the oven and bake at 400F for 15 minutes, or until the tops are slightly browned. Cool slightly and frost with your favorite icing.
Powdered Sugar Icing:
2 1/2 cups powdered sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 tablespoons milk
Mix together in a medium bowl. Add more milk or powdered sugar to reach the consistency to drizzle over cinnamon rolls.

Cream Cheese Frosting:
1 3oz package of cream cheese
1/4 cup butter, softened
1 1/2 cup powdered sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
Beat cream cheese and butter with electric mixer until smooth, then add powdered sugar and mix until well blended, then add vanilla and beat until smooth and creamy.


Chicken Enchiladas III

{seriously, i should expand my horizons}
If we all could just be honest for a second, myself included, I'm super excited for my latest chicken enchilada recipe. I think it's actually the number one favorite in our house. We are talking all time record here, people. It's sad, because it's not really any different from my other two recipes, yet it is the the cream of the crop. 
Instead of using regular flour tortillas, I went bold and got the Roasted Tomato Tortillas. It made all the difference. Not only did it give the dish a fun burst of color, it also gave it a yummy kick of flavor! I'm so impressed with myself, it's hard to contain my joy.
Also, you are just going to have to ignore the giant typo on my picture... I'm far too lazy to go back and fix it. No judgments, please! ;)
Can you see my typo?
1 package of Roasted Tomato Tortillas
1 8oz. package of cream cheese, cut into cubes
2 small cans, or 1 large can of chopped green chilies.
1/2 cup of chunky salsa (or a different kind, if you prefer)
2 cups Monterrey Jack cheese, or equal of a Mexican style
1 small onion, chopped
2 skinless, boneless chicken breasts
1/2 pint of heavy whipping cream
1 tablespoon butter

In a frying pan, cook your chicken with some basic seasonings, like salt and pepper. Once it's cooked through, set aside. In a large skillet, add your butter. Once your butter is melted and your pan is hot, add onion and saute until translucent. Reduce heat and add the cream cheese. While your cream cheese is melting, shred the chicken breasts. Once the cream cheese is fairly melted, add in the chilies, salsa, and chicken. Stir till combined and heated through.
Spray a 9x9 inch baking dish, and preheat your oven to 350F. For each tortilla, take a few wooden spoon fulls of the chicken mixture and spoon it down the center. Fold up the ends and roll up, then place in baking dish, seam side down. Continue until each tortilla has been filled. *Note that the packages of the Roasted Tomato Tortillas come only in packs of 6, as opposed to 10 in the regular flour tortilla packages*. If you have any chicken mixture left over, spread it over the enchiladas.

Grate your cheese, and spread over the enchiladas. Feel free to use more if you are a big fan of cheese, like myself. Then drizzle the heavy cream over everything. Cover with foil, and pop it in the oven for 30-35 minutes, remove foil and continue baking for 10 minutes, or until the cheese is bubbly on the sides.

*For a healthier version, you can use wheat tortillas, low fat cream cheese, and can omit the heavy cream if desired.


Orange Chicken

{crock pot style}
This recipe is the outcome of what can happen when you believe. If you know me, or read this blog often, you know that I am still struggling with the whole raw-meat-touching-my-hands, thing. No one is perfect. We are all human. Everyone has their own cross to bear. This is just mine. My hands are always clean. I like to play in the mud sometimes, but when it's time to come inside, I b-line it for the sink. My dear husband is awesome- he always cuts up the chicken for me. However, I worked really hard on creating a menu for the entire week, and I am bound to stick to it. Which meant that I had to touch the chicken because husby forgot to do it the night before. YUCK! It's truly a milestone in my book. Anyways, on to the recipe!
2 tablespoons cornstarch
1 1/2 cups chicken broth
1/4 cup teriyaki sauce
3 cloves garlic, minced (I used 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder because that's just what I had)
3/4 cup orange marmalade
8 boneless, skinless chicken breasts

Stir the cornstarch, broth, teriyaki, garlic, marmalade together in your crock pot. Add the chicken, either whole breasts or you can cut it up into small pieces. Cover and cook on high for 4 hours, or until the chicken is cooked through. Serve with rice.

Source: Campbell's 3 Books in 1

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