Monday, September 29, 2014

Mushroom Smothered Pork Chops

Pork is a pretty frequent occurrence for dinner in our house. Pulled pork, tenderloin, kebabs, pork chops--they all work for us. And while I love a good pork chop, sometimes I struggle with how to prepare them. Sure we just season them up and throw them on the grill, but that can get old so I'm always looking for something different. Enter these mushroom and gravy smothered chops that come together super quick--definitely a weeknight meal. The chops stay tender and juicy and the mushrooms and sauce provide a ton of extra flavor that you just want to lick off the plate--or at least sop up with some crusty bread or mashed potatoes. Dave declared this dish amazing and it's definitely going to be in our regular rotation.

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Funky Monkey Pancakes

My entire life I have thought that Ben and Jerry's Chunky Monkey ice cream was banana, chocolate and peanuts. So you can imagine my surprise when I was searching for a pancake recipe using those flavors, I kept coming up with versions of the same name using walnuts. Recipe after recipe, all with walnuts and not a single one using peanuts or peanut butter. I didn't understand how so many cooks would have the same variation, but not one was using (what I thought was) the "original" combination. Not that walnuts are bad, but I was now convinced peanut flavor was a necessity and my heart was set on it. So after confirming that after all these years I was wrong (what?!?), I decided my version needed to be made. Changing the name slightly was all it took, plus some peanut butter, to make me happy with the end result. Fluffy pancakes full of flavor with both bananas and peanut butter as well as a healthy speckling of chocolate chips thought.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Turkey Parm Meatball Subs

Between football season and my pregnancy cravings, meatball subs are exactly what I need this time of year. And these meatball subs are easy, delicious and hit all the right spots of what you want in a meatball sub: toasty, cheesy, saucy goodness. Perfect with a beer (Dave let me borrow his for the picture), or a root beer, and watching the game. I also love that these subs are quick to make (I can even just use my toaster oven for these guys), so they're perfect for Monday night football as well. Or a tasty weeknight meal any day of the week.

Monday, September 15, 2014

Coca-Cola Marinated Beef Tips

Beef is what's for dinner a lot around here. We just like it--a good steak, some beef tips, or a pot roast. All good things. And even better when I can take a break from the cooking and let Dave grill it to perfection outside. We usually come together and choose a tasty marinade then I let him doing the heavy lifting while preparing some simple sides. It works out pretty well, actually. And this marinade is sweet, but not overly so, with just a hint of spice and a lot of flavor. Perfect for beef, chicken or poultry, this is one simple way to add a tone of tastiness to an otherwise ho-hum piece of grilled meat. Plus, we don't usually drink "full octane" Coke (Coke Zero is usually around our fridge), so this was a great way to use up some leftovers from a party. Win-win!

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Chocolate Pancakes

I already know my son will love pancakes. Because at least 3 or 4 nights a week, between 9 pm and 10 pm, I get a craving for pancakes. Like the kind of craving that if I don't have them before bed I'll think about them all night and then might be tempted to wake Dave up and make him get me pancakes. The good news is that since I make a whole batch of pancakes at least one morning each weekend and we package up the leftovers and toss them in the freezer for breakfasts later in the week. Or apparently bed time snacks. We typically have between 6-10 little freezer packs in a bag at any given time, but since I've been eating so many lately, I started making extra batches. Which is why I made these chocolate pancakes that I knew Dave wouldn't be particularly fond of for breakfast (chocolate chip--yes; straight chocolate--not so much). So the baby and I enjoy these while we catch up on Project Runway or some other fun TV. And we love them. Fluffy pancakes with pure chocolate flavor and we don't have to share. It's really the perfect snack. I imagine they'd be good for breakfast, but if I'm being honest I made them at two o'clock in the afternoon and straight to the freezer they went. Maybe one morning.

Monday, September 8, 2014

Chocolate Chip Cookie S'mores Bars

Holy crap, guys. Where do I begin with these bars? Tons of flavor, gooey, sweet, delicious and the perfect blend of chocolate chip cookie and classic s'mores in a perfect little bar dessert. This recipe is easy and comes together pretty quick. Plus I had all the ingredients in my pantry so you can always whip these up on the fly. My friend Cindy came over yesterday with her two kids and these bars got rave reviews all around. And I was happen to be able to send them home with some of these treats because otherwise I might have just eaten the whole pan myself.

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Beer and Pretzel Cookies

Football season officially kicks off this weekend and I would like nothing more than to kick back with my feet up, beer in one hand and a salty snack in the other, while I cheer on my team and complain about my fantasy team results. Unfortunately, being 6 months pregnant means one of those things has to go. So instead, how about replacing that cold, frosty brew AND the salty snack with this cookie that also brings in some sweetness? The beer in these cookies reduces down and the alcohol is cooked off, so they can be enjoyed for flavor when your drinking mug is sidelined. The cookies are hefty but soft and the pairing of dark beer with sweet, chewy cookies, a bit of chocolate and some salty pretzels is exactly what I could handle as an arm chair quarterback. these cookies made the rounds--some for my brother for his birthday and some for Dave's cousin, Mike, and his wife Donna when we visited them after their son was born. I mean, cause when you have a baby you deserve cookies (HINT HINT). And if you're curious, the answer is no, you can't use a beer other than a stout. Number one, stout just has more flavor when you reduce it down, so you really get the essence that this recipe is going for. And b) stout and chocolate are made for each other. True fact.