Maple Chipotle Baked Beans

Maple Chipotle Baked Beans 1

As much as I love summer, we’ve had a few tiny glimpses into fall weather lately and I’m so into it. I mean, sweaters and scarves and riding boots. But, can we keep summer food? I just love barbeques full of grilling and pasta salads and all things fresh. Baked beans always make me think of summer but with a change in the air, fall food is definitely on my mind. So I came up with a little compromise, summer baked beans but the maple and spice makes them seem perfect for fall.

Maple Chipotle Baked Beans 2

These beans are sweet, spicy and smoky and are made completely from scratch. I don’t know what it is about making beans from dry that makes it so much more satisfying to me. But if you don’t feel the same way, don’t have the time or just can’t remember to soak them overnight (hello me at times), you can absolutely make them with canned, rinsed beans instead. Just cut the cooking time in half so you don’t end up with a bowl of mush.
Maple Chipotle Baked Beans 3

The bacon running throughout is pretty spectacular too. Because bacon = better.

Maple Chipotle Baked Beans

1 lb. dry great northern beans, soaked overnight
4 cups chicken stock 1 Tbsp. olive oil
1 small onion, finely diced
1 garlic clove, finely minced
3/4 cup ketchup
3/4 cup barbeque sauce
Salt and pepper
2 Tbsp. tomato paste
1/2 cup brown sugar
3 Tbsp. maple syrup
3 Tbsp. chipotle in adobo sauce, finely minced
12 oz. thick cut maple bacon, cooked crisp and crumbled

1. Heat a skillet to medium heat. Add olive oil and saute the onion and garlic for 3-4 minutes, until translucent.

2. In a large mixing bowl, combine cooked onion and garlic, chicken stock, ketchup, barbeque sauce, salt, pepper, tomato paste, brown sugar, maple syrup, chipotle in adobo and bacon.

3. Combine beans and sauce mixture in a slow cooker and cook on low for 5-6 hours. Turn slow cooker to high and cook another 2-3 hours, stirring often. If they get too thick, add a bit of water until desired texture is reached (I didn’t have to do this).

Graham Cracker Chicken Nuggets

Graham Cracker Chicken Nuggets, also known as “get my weirdo son to eat chicken mission.”
Graham Cracker Chicken 3 I’m reporting that the mission was a success. Any of you that know me well know this a complete feat. Noah has never liked meat of any sort except for deli meat. No chicken, burgers, pork, nothing. He does like seafood so there’s that at least. But I don’t think I’ve ever met a kid that doesn’t like chicken nuggets. I didn’t think they existed. I love chicken so much that I could eat it every day and give up all other meats. Although I would miss a good burger. And bacon. Actually, let’s not think about that. Last week I had a package of chicken and no ideas what to make with it and dinner was quickly approaching. I was scanning the pantry for ideas and thought I would just do simple chicken nuggets with breadcrumbs, but then I remember I used them all for this deliciousness. Womp womp. I figured I could find something else to coat it with instead, like cornflakes. The only cereal we had was raisin bran and fruity cherrios, no thanks. Then I saw the graham crackers that always grace our pantry. Noah would live on graham crackers spread with peanut butter if I let him. I figured this was my best chance to get him to eat the dang chicken for once. Graham Cracker Chicken 2
He saw it and immediately said yuck but the rule in our house is you have to try it. So he did and he said “hey these are actually pretty good, nom nom nom.” And then proceeded to eat 3. That’s a total success in my book and had us all dancing and cheering at the table (because crazy encouragement doesn’t hurt).

The graham crackers lend a definite sweetness to the chicken but it’s not overpowering. The outside gets crispy like a traditional chicken nuggets and they stay moist. They were perfection dipped in honey mustard. An added bonus is they take less than 30 minutes from start to finish. Winner winner chicken dinner. See what I did there?
Graham Cracker Chicken 4
Graham Cracker Chicken Nuggets

2 lbs. boneless skinless chicken breast, cut into chunks
2 cups graham cracker crumbs
1/2 cup flour
salt and pepper
2 eggs
1/4 cup olive oil

1.Heat a skillet over medium heat. Set up a breading station (I use pie plates for this). Place flour in one dish and season with salt and pepper. Whisk eggs in another dish. Place graham cracker crumbs in the last dish, season with salt and pepper.

2. Coat chicken in flour, then dip in egg then roll in graham cracker crumbs. Place on a plate until all chicken in coated.

3. Put olive oil in pan and cook chicken in a single layer. Cook for 2-3 minutes, until golden. Flip and cook another 2-3 minutes until golden and cooked through. Serve with your favorite dipping sauce, honey mustard or BBQ are especially delish.

Sunday Inspiration {Veggie Side Dishes}

Cucumber Tomato Salad 1

I love me some roasted green beans and this kicked up version looks amazing.

Fall is right around the corner. Get some butternut squash in your life.

I’m not a huge asparagus fan but cover it in feta and I’m totally on board.

These eggplant bites look like crispy perfection.

I’ve made this Mexican street corn several times. Totally yum.

Get your Chinese takeout fix with this healthy cauliflower fakeout.

We went to Rib Fest a couple weeks ago and had the best, slightly sweet coleslaw that I just haven’t be able to get out of my mind. This looks like a great version.

This magic broccoli is another tried and true recipe.

Healthy veggie side dish? No. Mouthwatering? Yes.

Drooling over these sweet potato wedges with bacon vinaigrette. Yep. BACON VINAIGRETTE.

Yet another recipe we love. Parmesan and black pepper zucchini is on point (do people still say that?).

*Tomato Cucumber Salad picture above.

Photo Friday

Kitchen Craziness
I posted this photo on my social media earlier this week. This is literally the size of my kitchen. With how much I cook, I don’t know what I was thinking when I agreed to this house. Well, the thought was to eventually blow out the wall and take over the formal dining room then simply have the eat in kitchen for meals. We’re not fancy so no need for a big fancy dining room just a place for us to sit down together every night. I wish I was here to tell you that was happening, hah. It’s not. Just showing you what I’m working with.

And isn’t the middle of the kitchen the perfect place to color at 5:15 in the evening? Not the kids table in the eat-in kitchen literally 5 feet away. But I shouldn’t complain because they were actually being nice to each other. And they just want to be with me. But seriously, if I got one more stink eye for stepping on the coloring book. Really children, because I’m the one in your way? Those two are something else but it’s my crazy train and I love it.

Amish Sugar Cookies

I have no idea why these cookies are called Amish but I do know they are the best cookies on the planet. I know that’s a huge claim but they totally deserve it. I know they don’t look like much but trust me.
Amish Sugar Cookies 6
I’ve said many times that I’m much more of a savory than sweet person. I can eat a cookie and be good but chips, don’t leave me alone with the bag. These cookies are a totally different story. Somehow 4 simply disappear and all I’m left with is a few crumbs and sprinkles in my lap wondering what just happened. They just melt in your mouth.
Amish Sugar Cookies 5

Another good/bad thing, depending on your self control, is that this recipe makes a large batch. That means enough for to share and to gorge yourself. But seriously, these are great to feed a big crowd. Joel’s company has grown a ton since he started working there 2 1/2 years ago and I really like to surprise them with treats every once and awhile but it’s gotten hard to make something that can feed a group of them that’s still relatively easy for me. They routinely request these and these and guys, I like you and all but those are so not happening on the regular. These cookies are perfect for the occasion.

Amish Sugar Cookies 4
And who doesn’t love sugar cookies? So they will be a definite crowd pleaser. Also, bake sales. Do those still happen? If so, these are the cookies to make. I would buy them all. Then eat them all. And I wouldn’t regret it one bit.
Amish Sugar Cookies 3

Amish Sugar Cookies

1 cup butter., room temperature
1 cup vegetable oil
1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup powdered sugar
2 eggs
2 tsp. vanilla
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. cream of tartar
½ tsp. salt
4½ cups flour
sprinkles to garnish, optional

1.Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line several cookie sheets with parchment paper and set aside.

2. In a mixer, cream together the butter, oil and sugars. Add eggs, one at a time, then the vanilla.

3. Add in baking soda, cream of tarter and salt and mix until just combined. Mix in flour in increments and mix again until just combined.

4. Scoop cookies onto prepared baking sheets, top with sprinkles if desired and bake for 10-12 minutes until just barely golden on the edges (be careful not to overbake). Let cool for 3 minutes on baking sheet before removing to a wire rack to cool completely.

*recipe from Cookies and Cups

 

Sweet Corn, Bacon and Cheddar Risotto

I went and took a fancy Italian dish and trashed it up. Or Americanized it. Whichever phrase you prefer. But seriously though, who doesn’t love bacon, cheddar and corn? And creamy rice. Duh.
Sweet Corn, Bacon and Cheddar Risotto 5

I made this Saturday night for an impromptu date night at home after we got the kids to bed. We love to cook up a big, non-kid friendly dinner together at home every once and awhile since it’s so hard to get out on our own. We usually turn on some music, grill steaks the kids wouldn’t eat and make something fancy to go with it. Joel requested risotto this time so I looked around the fridge and pantry to see what we had and this is what I came up with.

Sweet Corn, Bacon and Cheddar Risotto 3

This hits on all those delicious taste buds and leaves you full and happy. The corn is sweet, the cheddar is sharp, the bacon is salty and smoky. Pretty much perfection in a pan. And it’s a fun and different way to use up that sweet corn before it’s gone for the season.
Sweet Corn, Bacon and Cheddar Risotto 1

This is obviously amazing with fresh corn cut from the cob, but you can also substitute with frozen corn (thawed first) when fresh isn’t available.

Sweet Corn, Bacon and Cheddar Risotto 4
If you want to serve it to the kids and are worried about the wine, just sub in additional chicken broth. This made a huge batch so the kids had it leftover for lunch with us the next day and they totally loved it too. “Like a fancy mac-n-cheese” said Noah.
Sweet Corn, Bacon and Cheddar Risotto 2
Because as you all should know by now, carbs and cheese are our favorites around here.

Sweet Corn, Bacon and Cheddar Risotto

2 cups water
32 oz. low sodium chicken broth
1 Tbsp. olive oil
1 Tbsp. butter
1 small onion, finely minced
2 cups Arborio rice
1/2 cup dry white wine
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup sweet corn, cut from cob or thawed from frozen
6 ounces shredded sharp cheddar cheese
4 slices bacon, cooked and crumbled

1. Combine water and broth in a saucepan and warm over medium-low heat.

2. Melt butter in a large nonstick saucepan over medium heat and add olive oil. Add onion and saute for about 3 minutes, or until softened and translucent. Add rice; cook 2 minutes, uncovered, stirring constantly. Stir in wine and cook 30 seconds or until the liquid is nearly absorbed, stirring constantly. Add 1/2 teaspoon salt to the risotto.

3. Add broth mixture, 1/2 cup at a time, stirring constantly until each portion of broth mixture is absorbed before adding the next (about 20 minutes total) until broth is gone or rice is cooked through. About 10 minutes in, stir in the corn. Once the rice is done, remove from heat and stir in cheddar.

Photo Friday

Noah’s first day of Kindergarten was on Wednesday. All of Tuesday I pretty much felt like I was going to vomit. Wednesday morning came and as he was hanging up his backpack in his classroom he told me, “this is the most exciting day ever.”
Noah 1

Although his excitement helped ease the sting, I still couldn’t keep it together. I knew he would be awesome but I just couldn’t get past the fact that a huge stage in his childhood is over. Gah, it still makes me teary. He’s not my little boy anymore and I won’t have the same time I had with him before. I heard this song while working out the day before school started and it totally resonated with how I was feeling and I did my best to not cry as I figured I’d get some pretty weird looks. untitled-1
“I close both of my eyes and say my thank yous to each and every moment….I go where I know the love is and let it fill me up inside gathering new strength from sorrow.”
Noah 3

“I pause, I take a breath, and bow and I let that chapter end.” Damn you Jason Mraz.

But I’m trying to focus on the positives, all he’s going to learn, the friendships he will make, his growing independence and the time I will have with Hannah. It was so quiet that first morning. Creepily so. But then we picked him up, got home and it was the usual utter chaos and I wondered why I hadn’t cherished that quiet time a little more.

We have quite a journey ahead and we’re all excited to see where it takes us!