It’s the end of the summer and it’s still hot in New York. Too hot to turn on my regular oven. This is why I own more than 1 slow cooker (and am looking to purchase an InstaPot by the end of the year). I happened to stumble upon this recipe while searching for something new to make in my Crock Pot. I’m typically not much of an orzo fan, however, the cheesy goodness of enchiladas is enough to make me say yes to almost anything. I tweaked the recipe a bit (as you’ll see below) but feel free to switch it up however you choose!
- 1 (14.5 ounce) can fire roasted diced tomatoes
- 1 (10 ounce) can Old El Paso medium enchilada sauce (feel free to switch to mild if medium packs too much of a punch for you)
- 1 (4.5 ounce) can Old El Paso chopped green chiles, drained
- 1/2 cup vegetable broth, plus more, as needed (we’ll get to that later, but I had 2 cups ready to go total)
- 1 cup corn kernels, frozen, canned, or roasted (I used canned, if you do the same make sure you drain them!)
- 1 cup canned black beans, drained and rinsed
- Ground sea salt & ground black pepper, to taste
- 4 ounces cream cheese, cubed
- 2 cups uncooked orzo pasta
- Place diced tomatoes, enchilada sauce, green chiles, 1/2 cup vegetable broth, corn, and black beans into a slow cooker; season with S&P, to taste. Stir until well combined. Top with cream cheese (the cream cheese does NOT need to be mixed in. It will melt as everything cooks up and you will fully incorporate it later).
- Cover and cook on either low for 7-8 hours or high for 3-4 hours (I did high).
- Uncover and stir until cream cheese is well combined. Stir in orzo. Stir in additional vegetable broth until desired consistency is achieved (I ended up using about 1.5 more cups so it wasn’t so thick). Cover and cook on HIGH heat for 15-30 minutes (15 did the trick for me).
- Serve immediately and transfer any leftovers to a casserole dish (it will begin to stick to the sides of the slow cooker otherwise).
What this baby looked like prior to adding the orzo 4 hours later.
All finished and quickly transferred to a casserole dish so I wouldn’t be spending hours scrubbing my Crock Pot.
This came out insanely cheesy (much like my sense of humor). Even with the additional broth, it still remained a bit thick but that was just fine with me. Make sure you don’t overcook once the orzo is added or you’ll have some mushy pasta (and who really likes that?!). This is guaranteed to taste even better as leftovers, which allows everything more time to come together and pack more of a flavor punch. The chiles and fire roasted tomatoes can make this pretty spicy so if you can’t handle heat, then I suggest substituting with something else.
A few years ago, for my birthday, a friend of mine made me Diet Coke cupcakes. They were easily the best cupcakes I had ever had. You can go ahead and tell me, “Magnolia is better!” but I will disagree. Since then I have wanted to make my own version of cola cake but not using a boxed mix (my friend’s version required Miss Betty Crocker which is fine and dandy in my book, but I love watching something come together with each individual ingredient). I finally tracked down a cola cake recipe in a Taste of Home cookbook. While I typically try to cut back on sugar and fat in my recipes, I simply could not do so with this particular recipe. You need the sugars, you need the fats. You’ve been warned. Your friend is on a diet? Too bad. Make this a cheat day meal.
- Cake Ingredients:
- 2 cups AP flour
- 1 3/4 cups white sugar
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 12-ounce can Coca-Cola (I prefer Pepsi but for this, you need good ol’ Coke)
- 1 stick salted butter, room temp. and cubed
- 1/2 cup canola oil
- 1/4 cup dutch processed cocoa powder
- 1 1/2 cups mini marshmallows (I took jumbo size marshmallows and chopped them up)
- 2 whole eggs
- 1/2 cup buttermilk
- 1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a 13×9 in. baking dish. In a large bowl, whisk the flour, sugar, and baking soda.
- In a large saucepan, bring the cola to a boil; cook 7-9 minutes or until cola is reduced to 1 cup. Stir in the butter, oil, and cocoa powder; return to a boil, stirring occasionally. Remove from the heat; stir in the marshmallows until melted. Add to the flour mixture and stir just until moistened.
- In a small bowl, whisk the eggs, buttermilk, and vanilla until blended. Add to the flour mixture, whisking constantly. Transfer to the prepared baking dish. Bake 30-35 minutes (33 did the job in my oven) or until a cake tester comes out clean. Cool completely in baking dish on a wire rack (this took almost an hour and a half to completely cool so go run errands or something).
I tested it twice (see the holes?) because I refused to believe a cake so moist was done baking in under an hour
- Topping Ingredients:
- 2 cups sour cream
- 3/4 cup packed brown sugar
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- In a small bowl, mix sour cream, brown sugar, and vanilla until smooth.
- Frost the damn cake and pretend all that caffeine from that can of Coke is seeping into your bloodstream.
So moist, so good, so caffeinated (not really caffeinated but a gal can dream)
This is easily the most delicious cake I have ever made. It’s moist, filled with flavor (none of which is soda), and the topping adds a nice tart punch to it to cut some of the sweetness. Also no small appliances were harmed in the making of this baked good.
I’m a snacker. I love to snack while I’m at work. I love having something I can mindlessly grab and eat while I bang out expense reports and go through hundreds of emails. The problem is, the office vending machine is full of junk food snacks. The bodega downstairs isn’t much better. Sure, they offer some varieties of nuts and such, but everything else is chips (full of sodium) and candy (full of carbs and sugar). That’s why I decided to seek a better option. That better option ended up being NatureBox. I got 50% off my first box since I was a newbie and moving forward it’s roughly $20 a month to receive 5 snacks that are on the healthy side and are, surprisingly, tasty. Below is what I received for the month of May. My June box just shipped and I’m excited to give my new snacks a try!
- Coconut Cashews: These were my second favorite snack in May’s box of goodies. Cashews are one of my favorite things to snack on. These cashews were made even better by adding a hint of coconut flavor (it’s not overpowering). They’re also easy to snack on and they’re filling!
- Apple Cinnamon Crunch: These were my least favorite but they were still pretty tasty. This was a mix of peanuts and other goodies, all with a hint of apple flavor. I barely tasted any cinnamon, which was mildly disappointing. Easy to snack on but not something I would add to my NatureBox pantry ever again.
- Honey Crunch Crisps: These were my favorite! Crunchy snacks with the right amount of honey flavor. I could have easily polished off this bag in one sitting but then this snack would no longer be considered healthy so…
- Salt & Vinegar Veggie Chips: I’ve always been a fan of salt and vinegar chips. These were good but my main issue is the fact it’s the only bag that does not reseal. Meaning either eat all servings in one shot (and risk going over your calories for the day) or wasting the remainder of the bag. I ended up doing the latter, which was a disappointment.
- Asiago & Cheddar Cheese Crisps: I love asiago and I love cheddar. Hell, I just love (almost) all cheese. These were easy to snack on since the flavor punch was so strong and they were fun to crunch away on. I’m looking forward to receiving these again somewhere down the line.
What I saw when I opened the box
These are addicting!
Overall, this is a great subscription if you, too, are a snacker and are looking for healthier options. Some of their snacks are also available in select Target stores. I might not continue with the monthly subscription but it’s easy to “pause” the plan at any time and pick it back up again later. If you’re interested in trying out a box for FREE (yes, free!) click this link and try it out! Happy Snacking!
Fish. It’s something popular during the warmer months. Actually, fish is popular all times of the year. Some people dislike fish. Some people claim to dislike it but have never even tried it. Oh well, you can’t please everyone. Yes, I just rambled about fish. No, I had no good reason for doing so. Below is my take on baked catfish. A simple dish that you can whip up in a short amount of time. Oh, and catfish are not as ugly as monkfish (remember that recipe?).
- 2 catfish fillets (7-8 ounces)
- ground sea salt (they sell this with a grinder attached)
- ground black pepper
- 1 stick butter
- 4 ounces dry white wine
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
- Season fish with salt and pepper. Place fish in a deep baking dish.
- Melt butter in a small sauce pan over medium heat. Add wine, lemon juice, and garlic. Simmer about 2 minutes. Remove from heat and spoon over fish.
- Sprinkle paprika over fish.
- Bake fish for 12-15 minutes, or until fish is cooked.
Make sure you spoon the extra sauce from the baking dish back onto the fish while serving it.
See? Easy! Catfish is a thicker fish than other fillets so your cooking time may vary. It’s also very filling due to its size. Absolutely delicious and takes little to no time to make.
It’s busy season at work. What does this mean? Constant food. Everywhere you look…There’s food! I decided I needed to contribute to this movement and searched for a new brownie recipe. Oh, and, um…I bought a new double boiler, so I HAD to use that. The Epicurious line sold at JC Penney is pretty great and CHEAP (but still great quality!). Martha Stewart had this recipe for peanut butter swirl brownies. I made a few changes here and there and they came out delicious!
- Batter Ingredients:
- 1 stick unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
- 2 ounces good-quality unsweetened chocolate
- 4 ounces good-quality semisweet chocolate
- 2/3 cup AP flour
- 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 3/4 cup granulated sugar
- 3 whole eggs
- 2 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
- Make the batter: Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line a buttered 8-inch square baking pan with parchment paper, allowing extra to hang over the sides. Butter lining (I used Pam Baking Spray) and set pan aside.
- In a medium-size mixing bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt. Set aside.
- In a double boiler, stir butter and chocolates together until melted. Let cool slightly.
- Pour chocolate mixture into a different mixing bowl than that of the flour mixture. Whisk granulated sugar into the chocolate mixture. Add eggs and whisk until mixture is smooth. Stir in vanilla. Add flour mixture and stir until well-incorporated.
- Filling Ingredients:
- 4 tablespoons (half a stick) unsalted butter, melted
- 1/2 cup confectioners’ sugar
- 3/4 cup smooth peanut butter
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
- Make the filling: Stir together butter, confectioners’ sugar, peanut butter, salt, and vanilla until smooth.
- Combine the batter and the filling: Pour one-third of batter into prepared pan and spread evenly with a rubber spatula. Place dollops of filling (about 1 tablespoon each) about 1 inch apart on top of batter. Drizzle remaining batter on top and gently spread to fill pan. Place dollops of remaining filling on top.
- With a butter knife touching the bottom of the pan, gently swirl the filling into the batter, running knife lengthwise and crosswise through layers. Do NOT over swirl or the brownies will only look like peanut butter.
- Bake 45 minutes or until a cake tester comes out clean (the peanut butter might stay a bit wet but the chocolate should come out clean on the tester). Let cool slightly in pan (about 15 minutes) then lift out brownies and cool completely on a wire cooling rack before cutting into squares.
These came out REALLY good. While they’re still cooling, the peanut butter will separate from the chocolate a bit. Wait until they’re completely cool prior to cutting into them.
Monkfish is an atrocious looking fish. Honestly, if you’ve never seen one before and you’re planning on making this recipe, hold off on the Google image search until after you eat. It is simply an eyesore. However! Monkfish are one of the sweeter fishes out there with less of a “fishy” taste. Below is a recipe I originally found here that I decided to try out.
- 1 lemon
- 3/4 teaspoon mustard, preferably coarse or whole grain (I used Inglehoffer stone ground mustard)
- 2 teaspoons finely chopped rosemary
- extra virgin olive oil
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 1/2 pounds monkfish
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
- Remove the zest from the lemon in thick strips using a vegetable peeler or paring knife (paring knife is a bit easier since this calls for thick strips). Slice the zest into small, long strips.
- Combine the zest in a small bowl with the mustard, rosemary, olive oil, and salt.
- In a resealable bag, toss the monkfish with the mustard mixture. Drizzle additional olive oil into the bag and toss again.Make sure all pieces of fish are coated.
- Place fish into a baking dish and cover tightly with aluminum foil. Bake in the center of the oven until the fish is opaque and cooked through, 20-25 minutes.
Before going into the oven.
Done and ready to eat.
This came out really tasty! The lemon helped break up the sweetness of the fish. The rosemary altered the taste, as well. And now I have discovered a new mustard that I plan on using on everything! Okay, not everything, but almost. Google image search Monkfish now.