Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Valentine's Day Popcorn

We heart popcorn around here! If you do, too, you must try this sweet version for Valentine's Day! This recipe takes very little time to make and will surely be eaten up just as quickly. I make this year-round and adjust the M&Ms and sprinkle colors according to the season or holiday. Super easy and super yummy!

What you will need:
1 bag pre-popped popcorn (preferably lightly salted - I love this Cooking Light version)
1 cup (or more) broken pretzel pieces
1 cup (or more) Honey Nut Cheerios
1 bag white chocolate morsels (I love Nestle)
1/2 cup (or more) M&Ms

Step One
Pour popcorn into a large mixing bowl. Add pretzels and cheerios. Set aside.
Place parchment paper on a large jelly roll pan (or something flat with sides so the sprinkles don't fly everywhere later on).

Step Two
Melt chocolate according to package, being careful not to burn. Pour onto popcorn/pretzels/Cheerios and stir to coat evenly, leaving a little bit of the chocolate to drizzle on top in a minute.

Step Three
Immediately spread popcorn mixture onto parchment paper and drizzle the remaining chocolate on top. Spinkle M&Ms and sprinkles on top of the mixture (don't wait long because the chocolate hardens pretty fast).

Let popcorn cool and then break apart. Serve immediately or store in an airtight container for up to three days.

xoxo, y'all --


Thursday, February 2, 2017

Black Bean & Chicken Verde Enchiladas

Y'all will never hear me say no to an enchilada. Like ever. Tortillas + cheese + mexican spices + creamy sauce... what more could a gal ask for (besides chips and a margarita to complement them)?!

These Black Bean & Chicken Verde Enchiladas are the product of a merge between two of my favorite recipes / using what ingredients I had on hand. That's the beauty of enchiladas - they are covered in cheese so anything tastes good mixed within them. ; )

I did take a few extra steps in preparing these guys, but I also offer tips below on how to cut some corners as you may not have the extra time like I did today (thank you napping children - praise!). The Fry crew was very pleased with the results so here goes...

2 cups chicken breast, diced
1 can black beans, rinsed & drained
¼ cup chicken broth
3-4 green onions, diced
½ cup sharp cheddar cheese
1 cup roasted salsa verde
¼ block cream cheese, cut up
Fajita size tortillas
Spice blend: 1 tsp each cumin, garlic, salt; ½ each tsp each pepper, onion powder, chili powder
Toppings: shredded monterey jack (about ½ cup), cilantro, tomatoes, avocado (or whatever else you like)

Step One
Roast your chicken in an olive oil + salt + pepper + garlic powder blend on 375° for 30 minutes OR use rotisserie (way easier & already has great flavor built in). Dice up into bite-size pieces.

Step Two
Mix your spices together and set aside - you will use them throughout the process.

Step Three
Pour black beans into a saucepan, cover with chicken broth and 2 teaspoons of the spice blend. Bring to a boil, turn down to medium heat and cook 5-10 minutes or until liquid is absorbed. Mash some of the beans to give them a creamier texture.
Alternative: you can use uncooked beans - they will still be tasty and this takes off a step from the process - but you'll need to at least warm/mash them so the mixture will stick together.

Step Four
In a large bowl, mix together chicken, beans, cheddar cheese and 2 of the diced green onions. Set aside.

Step Five
In a small sauce pan (rinse and reuse the one used for the beans) on medium heat, mix together the salsa verde, cream cheese & 2 tsp spice blend until smooth (about 8 minutes). When done, mix about ¼ cup into the chicken & bean mixture.
Alternative: heat cream cheese + salsa + spices in microwave in 30 second increments until melted.

Step Six
Pour some of the enchilada sauce into the bottom of a baking dish. Place chicken & bean mixture onto one side of the tortilla and roll up. Cover enchiladas with remaining verde sauce, top with monterey jack cheese & cook on 350° for 30 minutes, or until bubbly.
*This should make 6-8 enchiladas depending on how you fill them*

Top with cilantro, remaining green onions, avocado, etc. Enjoy with some rice & beans / chips / salsa / guac / pico / all the things!

xoxo from my enchilada-loving heart --


Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Super Bowl Sunday Supper

Even though I prefer college football over professional, I look forward to celebrating Super Bowl Sunday every year. It makes me feel a bit nostalgic (I can remember my mom making treats when we were little), and it is also a great excuse to gather some friends, enjoy some fellowship around the table -- or couch : ) -- and indulge in a 'supper' full of festive bite-sized treats and hearty appetizers. Below is a round-up of some of my favorite things to make for football watch parties!

When I dip you dip we dip. Seriously, I love dips.
The first link goes to a savory cheesecake, the second link to a yummy layered dip (that would be oh so cute in individual clear cups) and the third goes to my favorite onion dip from Ina Garten - so so good! And who doesn't love Barefoot Contessa? #cookingshowgoals

If you do not like Fried Pickles I might have to question our friendship ; ) -- but really, these are always a hit! Side note: you can make these ahead of time and keep them warm in the oven on a sheet pan lined with parchment paper.

You can NEVER go wrong with sausage balls. My favorite version includes a little pimento cheese, because why not?
Mix together:
1 ½ cups Bisquick
½ lb mild pork sausage
2 cups grated sharp cheddar cheese
½ cup pimento cheese (love this brand)
½ teaspoon garlic powder
¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes
Roll into 1 inch balls, place on greased jelly pan & cook on 375 for 20-25 minutes. This should make enough to serve 4-6 people, so double if you need more!

If you want something heartier, a chili bar is always a good idea!
Lots of chili options here: white bean chicken chili, savory beef chili and taco chili.
Serve with grated cheese, diced onion, avocado, tomatoes, cilantro and tortilla chips.

If you want something healthier, you could make a bite-size version of these. Although not your typical Super Bowl food, they are surprisingly delicious!

And of course a cheese + meat board & hummus + veggie platter are always a win, too. Add in some sugar cookies topped with team color icing & chocolate-covered football strawberries and you've got yourself a party!

Cheers to gameday (menus), y'all --


Wednesday, January 18, 2017

White Bean Chicken Chili + Repurposing Leftovers

We are ALL about some leftovers in the Fry house. I know some people are on the "throw them away" train... but I reallllllly think one of my missions in life is to convert everyone to the "keep leftovers and repurpose them into a new meal" train. Who wouldn't want to cut back on some time, save some money and still eat something delicious? Count this girl in!

I love a getting creative in the kitchen and reusing leftovers is the perfect outlet to do this. If I'm on top of my game -- which is not very often these days ; ) -- I will plan a few weeks out so several meals can build off of one another. Think leftover meatballs on homemade pizza, leftover veggies can go in the food processor to make a healthy red sauce, baked chicken can become chicken salad, mashed potatoes can turn into potato pancakes, you get the idea. Note: there is obviously a point at which leftovers do need to be thrown away (i.e. reuse within a couple days after first cooking) so be conscious of that as you cook.

For a real time example, I made our favorite Slow-Cooked Creamy Chicken Tacos two nights ago. Side note: I didn't have cream cheese on hand so I made them without. They were still yummy but just not so creamy, which worked out really well for me to use them again in the dish below. 

Last night I used the leftover chicken to make White Bean Chicken Chili (recipe below). The chicken was already so flavorful I barely had to do anything else to it. Dumped everything into the crock pot, threw a few spices in and let it cook 6 hours. SO EASY!

Next time I have leftover chicken from these tacos (because we make them more than I'd like to admit) I will use it to make a tamale pie with a corn + cornmeal + cheese mixture on top, and serve it with a salad. Guys, see? You can totally do this! You may not always have leftovers (which is not a bad sign) and they may not always be reusable, but if they are and you can start thinking in advance about how to get two meals out of one I promise your life (and time spent in the kitchen) will be forever changed! : )

2 cups (leftover) slow-cooked chicken taco mixture
1 can cannellini beans, rinsed & drained
1 can pinto beans, rinsed & drained
1 cup frozen corn, thawed
1 can petitie diced tomatoes
½ yellow onion, diced
½ green pepper, diced
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 tbsp each: chili powder, cumin, salt
1 tsp each: garlic powder, onion powder, black pepper
Dash of cayenne pepper (optional)
3 cups chicken broth (or more depending on how "soupy" you want it)

Throw everything into a crock pot and cook on high 6 hours or low 8 hours. Garnish with avocado, cheese, cilantro and tortilla chips.

xoxo --


Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Praline Brittle

Tis' the season for eating way too many sweets -- and here's another goodie to add to your holiday baking list! This recipe has only a few ingredients (that you usually have on hand in your pantry/refrigerator), it takes just a few minutes to prepare, and it is full of southern sweetness that you just can't resist. Perfect for gifting to neighbors, teachers and friends!

12 whole graham crackers (broken in half to make 24 squares)
1 stick butter
¾ cup light brown sugar
½ tsp pure vanilla extract
½ tsp sea salt
¾ cup pecans, broken into smaller pieces

Preheat oven to 350°.

Step One
Line a jelly roll pan with parchment paper and lay graham cracker squares on top, keeping them as close together as possible. Side note: I like to purchase the original graham crackers with no added flavor as to not take away from the taste of the praline mixture.

Step Two
Over medium heat, melt butter and sugar until it comes to a boil. Let it cook, stirring constantly, for about 2 minutes (or until it's bubbly and a dark golden brown).

Step Three
Remove from heat, stir in vanilla and salt and pour onto graham crackers. If needed, use a spatula to spread evenly.

Step Four
Bake for 11-13 minutes, depending on how crunchy you would like it (watch it closely to make sure it doesn't burn). Remove from oven, let cool (for at least 20-30 minutes), then break up into squares.

Merry Christmas, y'all! May you stop and savor all the sweetness this season brings. : )


Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Chicken Pasta Bake

This pasta bake is one of my all-time favorite dishes! It's also one of my favorite go-tos when I am taking a meal to friends or family (i.e. after a baby arrives, a surgery, etc.). It's so easy to throw together and is just simply delicious. I always get asked for the recipe, so I thought I would share with you all here!

2-3 cups cooked chicken*
½ box rigatoni
1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
½ yellow onion, diced
1 garlic clove, minced
1 can basil, garlic & oregano diced tomatoes
1 container chive & onion cream cheese
1 cup frozen spinach, thawed (optional)
1 cup mozzarella cheese, shredded
¼ cup Parmesan cheese, grated
½ tsp each of salt & pepper, plus additional for seasoning chicken
Dash of red pepper flakes

Set oven to 375°.

Step One
Cook pasta according to package directions.

Step Two
While pasta is cooking, heat oil (on medium heat) in a small skillet. Saute onion for 3-4 minutes, add in garlic and cook an additional minute. Set aside.

Step Three
Drain pasta, pour into large mixing bowl. Add in onion, tomatoes (undrained), cream cheese, chicken, ½ cup mozzarella, salt, pepper & red pepper flakes. Mix together.

Step Four
Pour into 9x11 baking pan, spread remaining mozzarella & paremsan on top, cover with foil and cook for 30 minutes. Remove foil and cook for an additional 15-20 minutes, or until cheese is bubbly. Serve with bread & salad -- enjoy, y'all!

*How I bake my chicken: Set oven to 375 . Place foil on a baking sheet and put chicken on top. Spread a little evoo + salt + pepper + garlic powder (optional) on chicken and roast for 30-40 minutes (depending on size of chicken breasts). For a quicker alternative, use 2-3 cups cut up rotisserie chicken from the store!

Adapted from Southern Living Magazine.



Saturday, October 22, 2016

Savory Meat Sauce

Everyone needs a staple meat sauce in their recipe collection! This is one of my go-tos... serve it up over spaghetti, use for lasagna or even eat by itself (with a side of garlic bread, obvi). It's a crowd-pleaser and the perfect comfort food for the fall weather that has just started here in NC.

1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 lb (lean) ground beef
½ lb mild sausage
1 (medium-sized) yellow onion, diced
½ green bell pepper, diced
1 large carrot, peeled & grated
3-4 garlic cloves, minced
1 tsp each: dried oregano, basil, parsley, sugar, salt & pepper
½ tsp each: thyme and red pepper flakes
Note: use fresh herbs if you have them on hand - they will enhance the flavor immensely!
½ cup beef broth
1 (14.5 oz) can Italian style diced tomatoes, undrained
1 (14.5 oz) can tomato sauce
½ cup Parmesan cheese, freshly grated

Step One
In large dutch oven (or sauce pan) heat olive oil on medium-high heat. Add in beef, sausage, onion, 2 of the (minced) garlic cloves and ½ tsp each salt & pepper. (Cooking the meat with salt in pepper will enhance the flavor later on). Cook until meat is no longer pink.

Step Two
Tilt the pan to drain grease to one side and remove it with large ladle or spoon. Add in remaining garlic, salt and pepper and other spices (except sugar) and saute for another two minutes.

Step Three
Pour in broth, tomatoes, tomato sauce & sugar. Stir and bring to a boil for a couple minutes.

Step Four
Turn heat to medium-low then stir in cheese. Allow sauce to simmer at least 30 minutes (and up to a hour) to bring out the flavor. Add additional seasonings if you prefer.

Enjoy, y'all!