White Chocolate Strawberries and Pretzels

White Chocolate Covered Strawberries

Wow! Amazing, delicious, decadent, pretty, sweet and salty are just a few ways to describe our favorite snack – white chocolate covered strawberries and pretzels.  Really… anything white chocolate is fantastic in my book.  And, here’s the added bonus…they are one of the easiest things to make!

These goodies are my favorite all time snack to make with the kiddos.  I usually keep a few bags of chocolate morsels (white or semisweet) in the kitchen along with strawberries and a bag of pretzel rods. I’m a huge fan of white chocolate so it’s always my first choice for dipping.  Many people think this type of dessert would be difficult to make but I prepare it in a way that is super easy and fun for the kids – no long process or stove top melting!

Next time you want to involve the kids in the kitchen, this is one snack they will surely love to make and eat!

White Chocolate Strawberries and Pretzels

  • Servings: 10-15
  • Difficulty: Easy
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Ingredients:Jack dipping

  • 1-2 bags of Nestle White Chocolate Chips (or any kind)
  • Strawberries (or any berries for dipping)
  • 1 Bag of Pretzel Rods
  • Vegetable or Canola Oil (optional)

Directions:

  1. Clean Strawberries and allow them to dry thoroughly keeping the stems on.
  2. Place chocolate chips in a microwave safe bowl.  Heat in 30 second intervals stirring Nick dippingthe chocolate in between.  At this point, you can add a touch of oil to help smooth the chocolate or you can pass on the oil for a thicker consistency of chocolate.
  3. Once the chocolate is fully melted and smooth, begin dipping the strawberries holding the stems with your fingers.  Place the dipped strawberries on a baking pan lined with wax paper.  Repeat for other berries and the pretzel rods.
  4. Place the chocolate covered strawberries and pretzels in the refrigerator to set and chill.

Enjoy!

White Chocolate Pretzels

Fresh Spinach and Bacon

Spinach

Looking for that last minute, quick, throw together, side dish?  This spinach dish is for you. On this particular night, I was looking for something different instead of the usual “go to” quick vegetables such as corn and peas.  I had some fresh spinach from Costco in the refrigerator.  It was time to use it as a side dish instead of doing the normal spinach salad.  I threw together this recipe in about 8 minutes which is exactly how long it takes to cook.

Wow, it was really good!  I can’t say that I’m a huge fan of cooked spinach, however I do like it when there are great flavors involved.  The combination of Rotel and bacon were a perfect fit.  The Rotel added some extra zing not to mention bacon is always a great addition to many dishes.  We LOVE bacon.  My 10 year old son even liked this spinach dish.

Another bonus about this dish…it only take 8 minutes! I would suggest making this dish when everything else is ready for the table. It is that quick and easy.

Ingredients:

  • 10-15 Ounces of fresh Spinach (Earthbound Farm Organic Baby Spinach from Costco)
  • 1/2 Can of Rotel (original and strained)
  • 4-5 Slices of cooked Bacon (broken up in pieces)
  • 1-2 Tablespoons of Olive Oil
  • 2-3 Cloves of fresh Garlic
  • Salt and Pepper to taste ( we prefer Sea Salt)

Directions:

  1. Heat Olive Oil in a skillet over medium heat.  Using a garlic press, add the fresh minced garlic to the oil.  Next add the Spinach.  It will shrink very quickly.
  2. Stir in the Rotel Tomatoes and Chilies. Then mix together the Bacon.  Add salt and pepper to taste.

Enjoy!

Potato Bacon Casserole

 

Potato Bacon Casserole

Breakfast is not my favorite meal. I know it’s the most important meal of the day but it’s still not my favorite. However, my husband has definitely changed my thinking about breakfast. He has turned me on to the “big breakfast concept” (especially on the weekends)…eat a big breakfast, skip lunch, and then go straight to dinner.

On this particular day, it was Father’s Day so we decided to treat Dad to his favorite meal – breakfast. A sausage egg casserole was a must, but we needed something else. Yes, potatoes it is! That’s when the potato and bacon casserole came together.

It’s simple and easy to make. A great dish to get the kids involved too. Not to mention, this casserole could be eaten as a side dish at any meal, not just breakfast.

Ingredients:

  • 4 cups of Southern/ Country Style Potatoes (cubes) – completely thawed
  • 1 12 oz. Package of Bacon
  • 1 Bunch of Green Onions chopped
  • 3 Cups of Shredded Cheddar Cheese, Jack Cheese, and/or any variety of Cheese – mixed together
  • 3 Eggs
  • 1 Cup of Milk
  • 1/2 tsp. of Salt
  • Fresh Ground Pepper

Directions:

  1. Cook the bacon in a skillet.  While the bacon is cooking, add the potatoes to a 9 x 13″ baking dish. Sprinkle all the shredded cheese evenly over the potatoes. After the bacon is cooked, drain it on paper towels reserving 2-3 tablespoons of bacon drippings. Cook the green onions in the bacon drippings for 3-4 minutes or until tender. Spread the onion mixture over the cheese. Then, crumble the bacon on top.
  2. Whisk together the eggs, milk, salt and pepper. Pour the egg mixture evenly on top of the casserole.  Refrigerate overnight or for 8 hours.
  3. When you are ready to bake, preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Bake, uncovered for 40-45 minutes or until cheese is bubbly. Let stand for 15 minutes before serving.

Enjoy!

DSCF4796

Stuffed Pork Chops

Stuffed Pork Chops

On this particular evening, I didn’t cook.  My husband and my 11-year-old daughter took care of everything.  They decided to use our Costco thick cut pork chops and stuff them. We’ve never stuffed pork chops at this house.  We usually buy them already stuffed from our local meat market, Kenricks, however this time they decided to make some Sievers stuffed chops home-made.

These pork chops are my favorite recipe of 2014 thus far! If you like gouda cheese, bacon, and spinach, then this recipe is a must. Wow, it was absolutely delicious.

Stuffed Pork Chops

  • Servings: 6-8
  • Difficulty: average
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Ingredients:

  • 6 thick cut Pork chops (Costco pork chops are ideal)
  • 1/2 Pound of Smoked Gouda (shredded)
  • 8 slices of cooked Bacon (chopped)
  • 1 Cup of fresh Spinach (chopped)
  • Salt and Pepper for Taste (prefer Sea Salt)
  • 1 Tablespoon of Olive Oil

Directions:

  1. Begin by preparing the stuffing.  Add the shredded gouda cheese, chopped bacon, and fresh chopped spinach to a medium Mel stuffing chopsbowl and mix together. Add salt and pepper for taste. Set aside.
  2. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Coat a 9×13 inch pan with cooking spray.
  3. Lay each chop flat on a cutting board. With a sharp knife held parallel to the cutting board, cut a pocket into the pork leaving three sides in tact. Stuff each chop with the mixture.  Sticks or small skewers can be used to keep stuffing together. Lightly salt and pepper each chop.
  4. In a large skillet, heat olive oil on medium to high heat. Brown pork chops on each side.  Then add them to the 9×13 baking dish.
  5. Bake in preheated oven for approximately 30 minutes or until meat reaches correct internal temperature.

Stuffed chops before

Enjoy!

Stovetop Popcorn

Popcorn

I can’t remember the last time I had real homemade popcorn made on the stove. We have been eating microwave popcorn for so many years.  I guess because of the convenience, but I will never go back.  Plus, it’s not that healthy for you. In our house we limit the food we put into the microwave so this is yet another food item that will no longer be zapped.

Making popcorn on the stove may sound very easy, however there is a special trick to it.  If you don’t follow the directions below, there’s a good chance you will end up with burnt popcorn. The cooking method below also ensures that almost every kernel will pop too.

Ingredients:

  • 3 Tablespoons of Vegetable or Canola Oil
  • 1/3 Cup of Popcorn Kernels
  • 1 3-Quart Saucepan
  • 3 Tablespoons of Butter or More
  • Sea salt to taste

Directions:

  1. Heat the oil in a 3-quart saucepan over medium to high heat.
  2. Put 3-4 kernels in the oil and cover the saucepan.
  3. When the kernels pop, add the rest of the kernels to the pan in an even layer.  Cover and remove the pan from the heat for about 30-40 seconds. This method brings all the kernels to the same temperature so they will all pop at the same time.
  4. Return the pan to the heat. Keep the lid slightly ajar to let the steam release.  Popping should begin very soon and at the same time.  Listen carefully to the popping.  When there is a few seconds between pops, remove the pan from the heat, remove lid, and add the popcorn to a large bowl. Using this method ensures almost every kernel will pop and keeps it from burning.
  5. If you like buttered popcorn, add 3 Tablespoons of butter, more or less, depending on your preference to the empty saucepan.  The butter will melt very quickly.  Evenly pour the butter on your popcorn. Add sea salt to the popcorn.

Suggestions:

  • You can also get creative with some additional seasonings such as: pepper, cayenne, grated parmesan cheese (my favorite to add), melted chocolate, and so on.
  • Popcorn can also be used to make an awesome trail mix.

Enjoy!