Food, Faith, and Other Fabulous Finds

Recipes, devotional thoughts, and other cool things I come across.

Fall Flavors November 12, 2014

Filed under: Uncategorized — foodfaithandfinds @ 5:37 PM
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The fall weather has finally arrived in Texas (It’s currently 49* here.), and I am really enjoying it.  Conveniently, it arrived in time for us to take advantage of Starbucks’s latest deal.  They are once again offering a buy one, get one free special on their holiday drinks.  Just go to a participating store between 2 and 5 PM from now through Sunday (11/16) and you can buy a holiday drink for yourself and share the extra with a friend.

Eventually, I will tell you about the delicious food my BFF and I cooked up during our relaxing weekend, but today I wanted to share something warm and cozy for you to enjoy in this chilly weather.  The first dish I wanted to share is a super simple slow-cooker meal that will definitely keep you warm.  What I loved about this soup was the balance of flavors: the tomatoes are very tangy which paired really well with the sweetness of the corn, and there was spice from the chiles balanced by the creamy cheese.  We ate this with tortilla chips, but you could really treat it like a chili and serve it over rice, with fritos, or alongside some cornbread.

Nacho Cheese Chicken Chowder (from Better Homes & Gardens)

1 lb. cubed, boneless, skinless chicken breast

2 14 1/2 oz. cans Mexican style stewed tomatoes  (I couldn’t find these, so I used diced tomatoes with chiles.  Also, the original recipe has you include the tomato juices, but that made our soup less of a chowder.  Next time, I’ll drain them.)

1 10 3/4 oz. can condensed nacho cheese soup

1 10 oz. pkg. frozen corn

1. In a slow-cooker, stir together all the ingredients.  Cover and cook on low 4-5 hours or on high 2-2 1/2 hours.  Top with cheese before serving.

Nacho Cheese Chicken ChowderNacho Cheese Chicken Chowder 2  (See how it’s a bit watery?)

Now, I mentioned something about cornbread earlier.  Don’t you feel like cornbread is an amazing fall food?  I certainly love it!  Recently, I tried one of those DIY cornbread mixes.  I love the idea of making up my own mix to keep on hand, but I wasn’t sure how it would compare to the branded product.  I decided that I would just have to do a side by side comparison and share the results with you.  Firstly, this mix is a cinch to whip up.  I only made half the recipe, but that’s equal to several boxes of Jiffy cornbread mix (about 4).  Also, though there are some differences in the look of the finished muffins, they taste exactly the same.  I really love homemade cornbread, but I always ended up keeping the boxes on hand to use in recipes.  Now, whenever a recipe calls for a box of cornbread mix, I can just use 1 c. of this mixture.  AND I can easily halve a recipe that calls for 1 box, but I’m not left with a weird amount of mix to deal with.  Yay!!

DIY Cornbread Mix (from the Unsophisticook blog)

4 c. flour

3 c. yellow cornmeal

1 1/4 c. sugar  (Yes, I’m from the South, and, yes, I eat cornbread with sugar in it.)

6 tbsp. baking powder

1 1/2 tsp. salt

1. Whisk together all the ingredients.

 

DIY Cornbread Mix Cornbread

1 c. cornbread mix

2 tbsp. veggie oil

1 egg

1/3 c. milk

1. Whisk together all the ingredients.

2. Pour the mix into 6 greased muffin cups.  Bake at 400 degrees for 15-17 minutes.

DIY Cornbread Mix 2  Firstly, that mess was intentional so I could tell which muffins were which.  The ones on the left are the DIY, and those on the right are Jiffy.  So there’s an obvious difference in the rise, but they taste the same.

DIY Cornbread Mix 3  See, they’re the same!

The plan is to have a MUCH less busy weekend, which means maybe next week I can share those recipes I keep promising you.  Here’s hoping!

 

 

 

Short and Super Sweet November 4, 2014

Filed under: Uncategorized — foodfaithandfinds @ 9:55 PM
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After a fun and relaxing weekend (hanging out with my bestie while our hubbies and her son were at Man Camp), I’ve been spending time catching up and getting ready for a busy weekend.  Still, I didn’t want to leave you with nothing.  I made this a couple months ago for my sister’s birthday, but there was more than would fit in her package, which meant that we got to enjoy a little bit of it too.  I had seen a picture of this on Pinterest, and it immediately made me think of my sis.  She was one of those kids (and college students) who liked to pick all the marshmallows out of her Lucky Charms and toss the cereal.  So obviously something entitled Lucky Rainbow Chex Mix was meant for her.  This is a really easy and tasty party mix, but be careful!!  It is incredibly sweet.  Aside from its obvious teeth-rotting capabilities, I see no reason why you shouldn’t make this delectable treat to keep that Halloween candy high going.  ;)  Or you could save it as a special treat for the Lucky Charms fiend in your life.

Lucky Rainbow Chex Mix (from Tablespoon.com)

1 11.5 oz. box Lucky Charms

6 c. rice or corn chex

2 12 oz. bags white vanilla baking chips (I used a 24 oz. package of vanilla almond bark.  It’s made specifically for melting and is actually a bit cheaper than baking chips.)

1/4 c. sprinkles

1. Pour the Lucky Charms out on a large tray and pick out all the marshmallow (about 2 c.); set them aside.  Put 2 c. of the Lucky Charms cereal in a large bowl and add the chex cereal.

2. Line a large baking sheet with foil or wax paper.  In a medium bowl, microwave the baking chips on high for 2 minutes, stirring every 30 seconds or til smooth.  (I just went by the package directions for my almond bark.)  Once it’s melted, pour over the cereal and toss to coat.

3. Spread the cereal mix in a single layer on the cookie sheet and immediately pour on the sprinkles.  Let set 20 minutes then gently break in pieces and toss with the marshmallows.  (Personally, I like the marshmallows best when they’ve gotten a little wet in my cereal milk, so next time I’ll toss in the marshmallows sooner.  That would also help them stick with the mix better.)

Lucky Rainbow Chex MixLucky Rainbow Chex Mix 2

Thanks for being understanding about the abbreviated post.  By the way, the bestie and I cooked up some amazing food this weekend.  Come back soon to see what it was.

 

Festive Fall Foods October 28, 2014

Filed under: Uncategorized — foodfaithandfinds @ 5:40 PM
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Whether or not you celebrate Halloween, this is a great time of year to enjoy some fall foods.  Even though it’s unseasonably warm here (I would enjoy 70 degree weather coming anytime now!), I’m still enjoying these delicious fall treats.    This first fall recipe is one I mentioned earlier this month as something I couldn’t (and didn’t) wait to try.  As you probably noticed, I’m a big fan of slow cooker meals.  It’s so nice to be able to come home after church or a long day at work and know that your dinner is ready and that the most you have to do is cook a quick pot of rice.  I also just love walking in the door and smelling all that slow-cooked goodness.

This curry has so much going for it.  It’s packed with veggies and tasty spices.  It’s simple to throw together.  It makes enough for 6-8 servings (depending on how hungry your family is).  And it smells and tastes amazing!  There is only one change that I would make.  The pumpkin puree makes the sauce very thick and creamy, but the sauce didn’t soak into my rice as much as I like.  When I make this again, I’m going to add just a bit more chicken broth to thin it out.  Again, this is just my personal preference, but I really like to pour extra curry sauce on my rice so that every bite has that delicious flavor.

Slow Cooker Pumpkin Coconut Curry (from Table for Two)

1 15 oz. can coconut milk (not light)

2 c. pumpkin puree (1 can is about 1 3/4 c., and I just left it at that.)

1 c. chicken stock

1 1/2 tsp. curry powder

1/4 tsp. turmeric

2 tsp. garam masala

1/2 tsp. salt

1/4 tsp. black pepper

1/2 diced onion

1 clove minced garlic

3 carrots in 1 in. pieces

3 c. sweet potatoes in 1 in. pieces (I peeled mine.)

2 chicken breast in 1 in. pieces

Juice of 1 lime

1. In a large slow cooker (4 quarts or more), whisk together the coconut milk, pumpkin, stock, and spices.  Then stir in the remaining ingredients.

2. Cook on low for 6 hours and serve over rice.

Slow Cooker Pumpkin Coconut CurrySlow Cooker Pumpkin Coconut Curry 2

And of course a fall feast wouldn’t be complete without an amazing dessert, and this one is just incredible.  I made this recently for a little get together with my hubby’s brothers and their wives, and I must say that it was a hit.  The recipe makes a 9×13 pan, but I could probably have eaten twice that much.  It tastes like 2 incredible oatmeal cookies with a delicious caramel, apple, and pecan filling.  This was easy to pull together and held up really well for several days.  (Yes, I managed to make it last almost a week.  Which really was quite a feat!)  If you have a fall party coming up, I highly recommend this for an easy and delicious dessert.

Caramel Apple-Nut Bars (from Betty Crocker)

2 c. all-purpose flour

2 c. quick-cooking oats

1 1/2 c. brown sugar

1 tsp. baking soda

1/2 tsp. salt

1 1/4 c. softened butter

1/2 c. caramel sauce (I made my own with this recipe [a half batch], which meant I had a little left over to drizzle on top.  Yummy!)

3 tbsp. all-purpose flour

1 peeled, cored, chopped medium apple

1/2 c. chopped pecans

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  Grease the bottom and sides of a 9×13 in. pan.  In a large bowl, beat together the flour (2 c.), oats, brown sugar, baking soda, salt, and butter til crumbly.  Press about 3 c. of the mix into the bottom of the pan and bake for 10 minutes.

2. In a small bowl, mix together the caramel and 3 tbsp. flour.  Sprinkle the apple and pecans over the partially baked crust.  Then drizzle the caramel mix over them and top it all with the remaining crust mix.

3. Bake for 20-25 minutes or til golden brown.  Cool completely.

Caramel Apple-Nut BarsCaramel Apple-Nut Bars 2

Does it get any better than that?  Whatever you’re doing (or not doing) this weekend, I hope you stay safe and have a good time.

 

Classic Comedy With a Groove-y Twist October 23, 2014

Let’s preface today’s groove with a couple of interesting things to watch out for.  The first thing is a Halloween treat.  If you go to a participating Krispy Kreme in costume on Halloween, you’ll get a free donut.  As awesome as that is, just wait.  Next month when Starbucks brings out their winter drinks (Peppermint Mocha, Gingerbread Latte, etc.), they are also releasing a new drink.  The new drink, which I’m very excited about, is a Chestnut Praline Latte.  Doesn’t that sound delicious?  I can hardly wait to try it.

Now, you may be wondering what this comedy-groove business is about; well, I thought it was about time we had another installment of the movie & recipe series.  This month’s choice was the classically funny movie: The Emperor’s New Groove.  If you’d asked me about this movie a few years ago, I would have said it was a dumb kid’s movie.  But then I caught parts of it when my dad and hubby were watching it, and I was surprised to find it much funnier than I remembered.  Now, I think it’s a hilarious Disney movie that should be given another chance.  And so I’m sharing it with you in hopes of reviving its popularity.

In case you haven’t seen it previously, check out this trailer.  The basic gist is that the spoiled emperor Kuzco (hilariously voiced by David Spade) is turned into a llama by his wicked advisor, Yzma, with the help of her strong-not-smart henchman, Kronk.  In a twisted turn of events, Kuzco ends up having to rely on a village leader, Pacha (voiced by John Goodman), who was mistreated by the emperor, but still thinks he can teach him to be nice.  Honestly, the whole script is hilarious, but I’ll still tempt you with a “few” of the hilarious lines that will make you laugh as you watch:

“I’m sorry, but you’ve thrown off the emperor’s groove.” *Guard tosses old man out window*

“Boom, Baby!”

“Beware the groove.”

“No touchy.”

“Pull the lever, Kronk.  Wrong Lever!!  Why do we even have that lever?”

Pacha’s wife getting all upset then *snarl* “I gotta go wash something.”

“Don’t tell me.  We’re about to go over a huge waterfall.”  “Yep.”  “Sharp rocks at the bottom?” “Most likely.” “Bring it on.”

“Ooh, look at me and my bad self.”

“Is that my voice?  Is that MY voice?”

As you can see, I couldn’t choose just a couple; I also really like pretty much any scene with Kronk.  He just cracks me up.

As you might guess, there were slim pickings for food scenes in the movie.  (I was fairly certain that no one wanted roasted pill bug. :P)  However, there was a scene near the beginning where Kronk was making spinach puffs.  That seemed like something I could definitely bring to y’all with no problems.  And here they are!!  Now, these didn’t turn out quite like I wanted because I had to use crescent rolls instead of puff pastry.  My best friend and I walked down each frozen aisle at least twice, but we could not find puff pastry anywhere (or phyllo dough, for that matter).  I think these might have been a little thinner if I’d had the right pastry, but they were still full of delicious flavor.

Spinach-Pesto Spirals (unknown origins – let me know if you recognize it)

1/2 of a 17.3 oz. package of thawed puff pastry

1 tbsp. pesto

3/4 c. mozzarella

1 10 oz. pkg. thawed, chopped, squeezed dry spinach

1 tbsp. grated Parmesan

1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees and line a baking sheet with parchment.   On a lightly floured surface, unfold the pastry like a book.  Spread the pesto over the pastry, leaving a 1 inch border at the top.  Top the pesto with the mozzarella, spinach, and Parmesan.  Press everything slightly into the pastry.

3. Brush the plain border with a little water.  Starting from the opposite edge roll the pastry up, pressing to seal the border.  Cut the roll into 1/2 in. thick slices, and place them cut-side down on the baking sheet

4. Bake 15 min. or til golden and puffed.

Spinach-Pesto SpiralsSpinach-Pesto Spirals 3

Boom, baby!  ;)

 

How About Some One-Pot Pasta? October 14, 2014

Filed under: Uncategorized — foodfaithandfinds @ 9:09 PM
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For today, let’s talk about how to use just one pot and still get some tasty pasta on your table.

This first recipe is for how to make a creamy spaghetti meal all in one pot.  It was really easy to do and probably only took about 30 minutes.   This had a really good flavor and made quite a bit of food.  This is probably best eaten all at once; it did congeal quite a bit after it cooled.  This is also a really easy recipe to customize.  For example, we couldn’t find Italian sausage, so we just used some ground beef and added some Italian seasoning.

One-Pot Creamy Spaghetti (from Pillsbury)

1 lb. ground Italian sausage

3/4 lb. spaghetti

28 oz. crushed tomatoes with basil

32 oz. chicken broth

1/2 c. whipping cream

1/4 tsp. crushed red pepper

1. In an 8 quart stockpot, cook the sausage through and drain off any excess grease.

2. Add in the remaining ingredients and bring to a boil.  Boil for 15-20 minutes, turning the pasta frequently, til the pasta is cooked through and the sauce is thick and creamy.

One Pot Creamy SpaghettiOne Pot Creamy Spaghetti 2

This next pasta is more of a side dish, but that doesn’t make it any less delicious.  It’s a copycat recipe for Panera’s delicious mac and cheese (which I adore!!).  It’s really easy to make and it does taste like the one from Panera.  The recipe makes 4 servings, but the blogger I got it from said that it gets grainy if you reheat it.  Like the previous recipe, this great recipe requires very little work and only 1 pot.

Panera Mac and Cheese (from the Rachel Cooks blog)

2 c. medium shell pasta

2 1/2 c. whole milk (It does work with other milks, it’s just not quite as decadent.)

1/2 tsp. salt

1/4 tsp. Dijon mustard

1 tbsp. butter

1 c. grated white cheddar

1. Rinse the pasta under cold water.  In a medium saucepan over medium-high heat, combine everything except the cheese.  Stirring frequently, bring the mix to a simmer, then reduce the heat to low.  Stir frequently for 15-20 minutes, til the pasta is cooked and the milk is absorbed.

2. Remove the pot from the heat, stir in the cheese, cover, and let sit 5 minutes.

Panera Mac and CheesePanera Mac and Cheese 2

And that’s all I have for you today, but I’d love it if you shared one of your favorite pasta recipes.  Until next time, happy eating!

 

Zucchini Love October 7, 2014

I think I might have mentioned it before, but I really love zucchini.  I know it’s fall and everybody’s bombarding you with pumpkin recipes, but here in Texas, we still have plenty of zucchini to eat for a pretty good price.  I made this first recipe last week thinking that I would be able to get pictures to update the blog with.  Then I spent several minutes trying to find it on the blog, but I couldn’t.  Apparently, I either haven’t made it in the past 3 years or I’ve made it and assumed that I already posted about it.  Regardless of which reason it is, I’ve made it now and photographed it for you.  The recipe is for a turkey burger that’s chock full of grated zucchini and carrots.  I know that sounds a little weird, but it actually makes for a flavorful and moist burger.  You might imagine (and rightly so) that the hubby was pretty skeptical about these, but after trying them, he agreed that they are delicious.  Serve these up with some homemade sweet potatoes fries, and you’ve got yourselves a quick, healthy, and delicious dinner.

Turkey Burgers w/Grated Zucchini & Carrot (from the May 2007 issue of Real Simple)

3/4 lb. ground turkey

1 medium grated zucchini

1 medium grated carrot

2 finely chopped garlic cloves

3/4 tsp. dried thyme

3/4 tsp. kosher salt

1/4 tsp. black pepper

1 egg

3 tbsp. olive oil

4 slices crusty bread

4 small leaves of Boston lettuce (I didn’t have any this time, but it is tasty that way.)

4 tbsp. mayo

2 tsp. lemon juice

1. Heat the broiler.  In a large bowl, combine the turkey, zucchini, carrot, garlic, thyme, salt, pepper, and egg.  Form the mix into 4 patties.

2. In a large skillet, heat 1 tbsp. of oil over medium heat.  Cook the patties in the oil, turning once, til they’re no longer pink, 4-5 minutes per side.

3. Place the bread on a baking sheet and brush it with 2 tbsp. oil.  Broil til golden brown and crisp, about 1 1/2 minutes.

4. Transfer the bread to individual plates.  In a small bowl, combine the mayo and lemon juice.  Top the bread with the mayo, lettuce, and burgers.

Turkey Burger with Grated Zucchini and CarrotTurkey Burger with Grated Zucchini and Carrot 2 (Our bread was a bit small this time, so I made longer, skinnier patties and cut them in half.)

The other recipe I wanted to share is for a quasi-healthy zucchini bread.  I saw this bread in a recent issue of Bon Appetit, and it was so scrumptious looking that I knew I’d need to make it soon.  It took me about a month to get to it, but I was really happy with the result.  A lot of zucchini breads are squatty and overly moist.  This one baked up nicely, made 2 loaves (so I got to give one to friends), and had a really nice texture and flavor.  I loved the crunchy topping (Though the called for amount made too much; I’d halve it next time.), and the bread wasn’t too sweet.  If you’ve ended the summer with a crisper drawer full of zucchini, this may be a great way to use it up.

Zucchini Bread with Oats (from the August 2014 issue of Bon Appetit)

1 c. walnuts

3 eggs

1 c. veggie oil

1 1/4 c. sugar

1/2 c. brown sugar

1 tbsp. vanilla

3 c. all-purpose flour

1 1/2 tsp. salt

1 tsp. cinnamon

1 tsp. baking soda

1/2 tsp. baking powder

1/4 tsp. nutmeg

3 1/2 c. coarsely grated zucchini (about 1 lb.)

1 1/4 c. old-fashioned, rolled oats

3 tbsp. raw sugar

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  Grease and parchment line two 8 1/2 x 4 1/2 loaf pans.  Spread the walnuts on a jelly roll pan and toast til they’re slightly darkened and fragrant, 8-10 minutes.  Let them cool, then chop them.

2. In a large bowl, whisk together the eggs, oil, sugar, brown sugar, and vanilla til smooth.  In another bowl, whisk together the flour, salt, cinnamon, baking soda, baking powder, and nutmeg.  Make a well in the dry ingredients, add in the wet ingredients, and slowly incorporate the dry into the wet with a fork (the batter will look dry).  Fold in the zucchini, walnuts, and 1 c. oats.  Divide the batter into the pans.

3. In a small bowl, mix together the raw sugar and 1/4 c. oats.  Sprinkle this mix on top of both loaves.  Bake til a tester inserted in the center removes cleanly, 70-80 minutes.  (I covered mine with foil after 45 minutes to keep it from getting too brown.  Because of some comments on the recipe, I checked mine for doneness at 60 minutes.  Like many others, my bread was done early, so I took it out.)  Cool the bread in the pans on a wire rack for 30 minutes; then remove from the pans and cool completely on the racks.

Zucchini Bread with OatsZucchini Bread with Oats 2

Just because I’m eating zucchini, doesn’t mean I’m ignoring all the lovely fall foods being offered up by other bloggers.  Here are some beauties that caught my eye.

- These no bake peanut butter bites from Rachel Cooks look like a great snack that would be quick and easy to make.

- Stephanie at Macaroni & Cheesecake recently posted an apple fritter cake that has me drooling.  I love a good apple fritter, but I’ve never made one because of all the work involved with a yeasted dough and deep-frying.  Now, I can make this cake and (hopefully) have the same great taste with WAY less work.  You will definitely know when I make this; I’ll probably be shouting it from the rooftops.  (No, I’m not crazy; that’s just the power of good pastry.)

- She’s also got a cinnamon roll bread which I love for all the same reasons: getting a favorite flavor with less effort.

- Last, but certainly not least is an incredible dish that Table for Two just posted yesterday.  Slow-Cooker Pumpkin Coconut Curry.  If you know me at all, I think that says it all.

You know my feelings on zucchini now, what are yours?  If you like it, what’s your favorite recipe to use it in?

 

Curry in a Hurry September 30, 2014

Filed under: Uncategorized — foodfaithandfinds @ 9:42 PM
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Well, fall has started, and unfortunately so has flu season.  I’ve not felt up to par the past couple of days, so I’m going to keep today’s post short so I can maximize my rest/recuperation.  Before I give you today’s recipe, I wanted to share the good news.  Orange Leaf (my favorite froyo place) has released a new flavor: cinnamon roll.  I adore a good cinnamon roll, so I can’t wait to try this flavor.  (Hmm, maybe I need something cold and smooth for my sore throat.  Honey?)

Though this isn’t necessarily a food that I crave when I’m sick, it would be good to make because it doesn’t take almost any time at all.  This means you can have dinner on the table without too much work, which is handy when you don’t really feel like cooking but have to anyway.  Originally, this only called for onions and peppers, but we made it with some zucchini, and it was incredible.  I also love it because it just smells SOOO good; something about curry powder and coconut milk together is irresistible.  Sadly, I’m not sure where I got this recipe.  Please let me know if you recognize it, because I’d love to be able to properly credit it.

Coconut Curry Chicken (I)

3 tsp. veggie oil

12 oz. cubed boneless, skinless chicken breast

1 thinly sliced onion

1 thinly sliced red bell pepper (I felt this was too much, so I would just use half of one next time.)

1 1/2 tsp. minced jalapeno

2 tsp. grated ginger

2 cloves crushed garlic  (I’m fairly certain I minced mine.)

1/2 tsp. curry powder

3/4 c. light coconut milk

2 tbsp. chopped cilantro

1. In a 10 in. skillet, heat 2 tsp. oil on medium-high heat.  Sprinkle the chicken with 1/4 tsp. salt; add it to the skillet and cook 3-4 minutes or til golden, stirring occasionally.  Transfer to a plate.

2. To the same skillet, add the last 1 tsp. of oil and turn the heat down to medium.  Add the onion to the pan and cook 3 min. or til softened, stirring occasionally.  Stir in the bell pepper, jalapeno, ginger, and garlic and cook 1 minute or til fragrant, stirring occasionally.  Stir in the curry powder and cook 1 minute longer.  Stir in the coconut milk and scrape up the browned bits from the bottom of the pan.

3. Return the chicken to the skillet and cook 3-5 minutes or til the chicken’s just cooked through.  Remove the skillet from the heat and top with the cilantro and 1/4 tsp. salt.

Coconut Curry Chicken ICoconut Curry Chicken I 3

And just so you know I’ve been thinking of you, I wanted to share a recipe from the September issue of Cooking Light that really caught my eye.  It may not surprise you to know that it’s another broccoli salad.  I know what you’re thinking (What’s with this girl and broccoli salad?), but I promise you that this one’s different.  It’s got bacon, apples, and a creamy dressing!  Doesn’t that sound delicious?  Until next week, stay healthy.

 

 
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