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Culinary Tales

Culinary Tales/ Sweet Things

Mint Chocolate Chip Brownies

Mint and chocolate pair perfectly together. These brownies are a classic flavor combination taken to the next level. They’re chocolatey & fudgy, with a delicate mint frosting!

These are so good that this batch won’t last long! If you do have any leftovers though, place them in the freezer for an extra tasty treat!

Mint Frosting

You can go ahead and make the frosting first or you can make it while the brownies are baking. To make the frosting you’ll need:

  • Vanilla Frosting
  • Butter
  • Salt
  • Peppermint Extract
  • Green Food Coloring

In a large bowl combine frosting, butter, salt, and peppermint extract. Mix well. Next, add the green food coloring. Just two drops at a time, until you reach the desired shade of green. It took me about 5 drops.

Cover the frosting and place it in the fridge to thicken up.

Mint Chocolate Chip Brownies

To make the brownies:

Pre heat oven to 350 degrees.

Spray an 11×7 inch Pyrex dish evenly with non-stick cooking spray.

In a large microwave safe bowl add 8 tbsp butter & bittersweet chocolate chunks. Microwave in 15-30 sec intervals for about 1 minute or until melted, stirring occasionally.

Remove from microwave. Gradually add unsweetened cocoa powder. Stirring as you go.

Next, add the light brown sugar and the all purpose flour. Mix well.

Then, add the vanilla extract, 1 tbsp peppermint extract, eggs, and salt to the bowl. Mix together until everything is smooth.

Fold in ½ cup of mini chocolate chips. Pour brownie batter into greased dish. Place in oven for about 25 minutes, turning dish around halfway through cooking time (To ensure it cooks evenly.).

Brownies are done when an inserted toothpick cones out mostly clean. They will be a little fudgey and you don’t want to over cook them.

Allow brownies to cool fully before frosting.

Once cool, spread brownies evenly with frosting and top with the remaining mini chocolate chips!

Tips: You can also line the bottom of the dish with parchment paper instead of spraying with cooking spray, this will help brownies to be removed more easily.

Sometimes that crisp, chewy edge is perfect with the soft, fudgey center but, if you feel  the edges are getting too brown, too quickly you can always cover it loosely with foil.

Notes: Brownies can be kept in the fridge for about a week or frozen for up to 3 months.

Mint Chocolate Chip Brownies

Print Recipe
Serves: 12-16 Cooking Time: 25-30 minutes

Ingredients

  • 1/2 Cup bittersweet choc chunks
  • ½ Cup Unsweetened Cocoa Powder
  • 8 Tbsp Butter (softened)
  • 1 1/2 Cups light brown sugar
  • 3 Large Eggs
  • 1 Tbsp vanilla extract
  • 3/4 Cup All Purpose Flour
  • 1/2 Tsp Salt
  • 1 Cup Mini Chocolate Chips
  • 1 Tbsp Peppermint Extract
  • Frosting:
  • 2 16 oz containers of Vanilla Frosting
  • 2 Tbsp Butter (softened)
  • Pinch of Salt
  • 1-2 Tbsp Peppermint Extract
  • 5 Drops of Green Food Coloring

Instructions

1

Pre heat oven to 350 degrees.

2

Spray an 11x7 inch Pyrex dish evenly with non-stick cooking spray.

3

In a large microwave safe bowl add 8 tbsp butter & bittersweet chocolate chunks.

4

Microwave in 15-30 sec intervals for about 1 minute or until melted, stirring occasionally.

5

Remove from microwave.

6

Gradually add unsweetened cocoa powder. Stirring as you go.

7

Next, add the light brown sugar and the all purpose flour. Mix well.

8

Then, add the vanilla extract, 1 tbsp peppermint extract, eggs, and salt to the bowl. Mix together until everything is smooth.

9

Fold in ½ cup of mini chocolate chips.

10

Pour brownie batter into greased dish.

11

Place in oven for about 25 minutes, turning dish around halfway through cooking time (To ensure it cooks evenly.).

12

Brownies are done when an inserted toothpick cones out mostly clean. They will be a little fudgey and you don’t want to over cook them.

13

Allow brownies to cool fully before frosting.

14

Once cool, spread brownies evenly with frosting and top with the remaining mini chocolate chips! You can make the frosting ahead of time or while the brownies are baking.

15

To make the frosting:

16

In a large bowl combine 32 oz of frosting (or 2 16 oz pre made containers), 2 tbsp softened butter, a pinch of salt, and 1-2 tbsp peppermint extract.

17

Mix well.

18

Next, add the green food coloring - 2 drops at a time until you have reached the desired color of green. This took about 5 drops total. Place frosting in fridge to thicken up.

Culinary Tales/ Meats

Chicken Enchilada Dip

This dip is creamy, saucy, and so flavorful! Chicken Enchilada Dip combines your favorite flavor profiles from Chicken Enchiladas into a shareable, munchable snack!

To make this dip I used my Slow Cooker Shredded Chicken , but you can also use Rotisserie Chicken to save time. I really love the extra depth the seasoned taco chicken gives it though and we always have leftovers of that chicken so it works out perfectly!

You’ll also need cream cheese, enchilada sauce, pinto beans, refried beans, cheddar cheese, and cilantro.

Chicken Enchilada Dip

Start by pre heating your oven to 350 degrees. In an oven safe dish (I used a small pyrex.) start layering your dip.

First spread your refried beans on the bottom. Then, on top of that spread a layer of cream cheese.

Next, add the enchilada sauce & the pinto beans.

Then take your shredded chicken covering the top.

Finally, add shredded cheddar cheese.

Place it in the oven for about 15-20 minutes. Once the dip is bubbling and starting to brown on top you’ll know its ready!

Garnish with Cilantro all over! I also added chopped tomatoes and a fresh squeeze of lime (totally optional!)

Chicken Enchilada Dip

Print Recipe
Serves: 6-8 Cooking Time: 20 minutes

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 Cups Chicken (Cooked & Shredded)
  • 1 Cup Refried Beans
  • 4 Tbsp Cream Cheese
  • 1 Cup Pinto Beans
  • 1/2 Cup Enchilada Sauce
  • 1/2 Cup Shredded Cheddar Cheese
  • Handful of Cilantro

Instructions

1

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

2

Using an oven safe dish - spread your refried beans on the bottom. On top of that spread a layer of cream cheese.

3

Next, add the enchilada sauce & the pinto beans.

4

Place the shredded chicken on top.

5

Finally, cover with shredded cheddar cheese.

6

Place i the oven for 15-20 minutes.

7

Once the dip is bubbling and starting to brown on top you'll know its ready!

8

Garnish with cilantro (Optional: and diced tomatoes/lime wedge.)

If you like this dip recipe be sure to check out this Chili Cheese Dog Dip too!

Culinary Tales/ Sweet Things

No-Bake Red Velvet Cheesecake Truffles

With Valentine’s Day around the corner whipping up these easy and delicious No-Bake Red Velvet Cheesecake Truffles is a must! Besides Valentine’s they are also perfect for an array of holidays or even if you just want a quick way to satisfy your sweet tooth.

No-Bake Red Velvet Cheesecake Truffles

They’re made with cream cheese, cocoa powder, red food coloring, vanilla extract, brown sugar, melting chocolate, and sprinkles!

Start by letting the cream cheese soften by placing it on the counter at room temp for about 30 minutes before hand.

Place your softened cream cheese, cocoa powder, brown sugar, red food coloring, and vanilla in a large bowl.

Using a hand mixer , mix until well blended. Place your cream cheese mixture in the freezer for about 30 minutes to an hour. You want it to be a thick enough consistency to hold form.

Line a small baking tray with parchment paper. Remove your cream cheese mixture from the freezer. Scoop the mixture into small balls one by one placing them a few inches apart on the tray.

Once you’ve filled your try place it in the freezer for another 30 minutes. This is to make sure they’re really solid before dipping and to give us time to get our chocolate melted. The melting chocolate is very temperamental and cools quickly so, be sure to have everything ready to dip before heating it up.

To melt the chocolate follow the directions on your package. I placed mine in a pot on the stove on low heat. Stirring it. At one point it started to thicken a little too much so I added a smidge of butter to loosen it up.

Dip each ball in the chocolate using a fork. Then place it on the parchment paper and quickly add sprinkles. Remember the chocolate hardens quickly!

Once you’ve finished dipping and decorating, they’re ready to enjoy. If you’re not serving them right away be sure to keep them refrigerated!

No-Bake Red Velvet Cheesecake Truffles

Print Recipe
Serves: 16-18

Ingredients

  • 2 Blocks Cream Cheese (softened)
  • 1/4 Cup Brown Sugar
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp Vanilla Extract
  • 1/2 Cup Unsweetened Cocoa Powder
  • 3-4 Drops Red Food Coloring
  • Package Melting Chocolate
  • Heart Sprinkles

Instructions

1

Place your softened cream cheese, cocoa powder, brown sugar, red food coloring, and vanilla in a large bowl.

2

Using a hand mixer , mix until well blended.

3

Place your cream cheese mixture in the freezer for about 30 minutes to an hour.

4

Line a small baking tray with parchment paper. Remove your cream cheese mixture from the freezer.

5

Scoop the mixture into small balls one by one placing them a few inches apart on the tray.

6

Once you've filled your try place it in the freezer for another 30 minutes.

7

To melt the chocolate follow the directions on your package. Once chocolate is melted use a fork to dip them - one at a time.

8

Placing each on the parchment paper, quickly add sprinkles.

Cocktails/ Culinary Tales

Autumn Breeze Cocktail

Move over Sea Breeze, look out Bay Breeze .. here comes the Autumn Breeze. This little cocktail has become my new go to drink at home! It only takes 4 ingredients and it’s perfectly refreshing with crisp fall flavors.

To make this you’ll need Fireball Whisky, Vodka, Simply Peach Juice, and Simply Apple Juice.

Start by filling a tall glass with ice. Pour one ounce of Fireball in to the glass. Then pour in one ounce of Vodka into the glass.

Next, add one ounce of Simply Apple. Top with about half an ounce of Simply Peach. Stir well.

Finally, garnish with an apple slice and sprig of rosemary.

Autumn Breeze

Print Recipe
Serves: 1 Cooking Time: 5 minutes

Ingredients

  • 1 oz Fireball Whisky
  • 1 oz Vodka
  • 1 oz Simply Apple (Juice)
  • 1/2 oz Simply Peach (Juice)

Instructions

1

Fill glass with ice.

2

Add Fireball & Vodka.

3

Then add the Simply Apple.

4

Top with Simply Peach.

5

Stir, and garnish with apple slices and rosemary!


.

Culinary Tales/ Savory Vegetables

Instant Pot Mashed Potatoes

So, we’ve had the instant pot for awhile and I’ve yet to make one of the simplest dishes there is: Mashed Potatoes! Instant Pot Mashed Potatoes are fairly easy to make and delicious.

Another plus to making the mashed potatoes in the instant pot is that it frees up your stove and time to cook the rest of your dinner! Especially helpful on Thanksgiving Day or just when you’ve got a lot of different things to cook in general.

Instant Pot Mashed Potatoes

To make these you’ll need potatoes (Russet or Yukon), water, milk, butter, salt, and just a smidge of cream cheese.

Start by peeling and cutting the potatoes into smaller chunks.
Place them in your instant pot liner and add your water.
Place the lid on top of the pot, seal it, and place it on manual for 8 minutes.
Once they’re done cooking switch to vent and quick release!
Next, drain them.
Add the milk, butter, cream cheese. Mix and mash them well. Make sure there aren’t any lumps.

They are ready to enjoy! You can also leave them in the instant pot on warm while you prepare the rest of the dinner!

[You can make them Dairy Free as well. Follow the same directions as above but, instead of the milk, butter, and cream cheese – you’ll add a dairy free margarine spread like country crock, almond milk, and chicken broth!]

Instant Pot Mashed Potatoes

Print Recipe

Ingredients

  • 2-3 lbs Potatoes (Russett or Yukon)
  • 1 Cup Milk
  • 1/2 Cup of Water
  • 1/2 Stick of Butter
  • 1 Tsp Salt
  • 1 Tsp Pepper
  • 1 Tsp Garlic Powder
  • 1 Tsp Onion Powder
  • 1 Tbsp Cream Cheese

Instructions

1

Start by peeling and cutting the potatoes into smaller chunks.

2

Place them in your instant pot liner and add your water.

3

Place the lid on top of the pot, seal it, and place it on manual for 8 minutes.

4

Once they're done cooking switch to vent and quick release!

5

Next, drain them.

6

Add the milk, butter, cream cheese, and seasonings.

7

Mix and mash at the same time.

Culinary Tales/ Sweet Things

Pumpkin Spice Sheet Pan Pancakes

Want to make your life a little easier? Three words : Sheet Pan Pancakes. If you haven’t tried these yet, they’re a must! They really simplify the pancake making process and they are so tasty! Pumpkin Spice Sheet Pan Pancakes make a simple fall weekend even better!

Someone pouring syrup over a stack of Sheet Pan Pancakes.

Pumpkin Spice Sheet Pancakes

Pre heat the oven to 400 degrees. In a large bowl mix together the melted butter, buttermilk, vanilla extract, and eggs. In a separate bowl mix the dry ingredients – flour, brown sugar, baking powder, cinnamon, pumpkin pie spice, and salt. Combine your two bowls, mixing them together really well.

Grease or line a baking sheet. Pour the mixed batter onto the sheet pan. Top with white chocolate chips.

Place in the oven and bake for about twenty minutes. Once they are fully cooked remove them from the oven.

Someone lifting the pancakes out of pan with  spatula.

Let cool for about 5 minutes and cut into rectangles. Serve with butter and syrup!

Stack of pumpkin spice sheet pan pancakes with butter.

Pumpkin Spice Sheet Pan Pancakes

Print Recipe
Serves: 6-8 Cooking Time: 25-30 minutes

Ingredients

  • 6 Tbsp Butter
  • 3/4 Tsp Salt
  • 5 Tsp Baking Powder
  • 1/4 Cup Brown Sugar
  • 3/4 Tsp Pumpkin Pie Spice
  • 1 Tsp Vanilla Extract
  • 2 Eggs
  • 3 Cups All Purpose Flour
  • 2 1/2 Cups of Buttermilk

Instructions

1

Pre heat the oven to 400 degrees. In a large bowl mix together the melted butter, buttermilk, vanilla extract, and eggs.

2

In a separate bowl mix the dry ingredients - flour, brown sugar, baking powder, cinnamon, pumpkin pie spice, and salt.

3

Combine your two bowls, mixing them together really well.

4

Grease or line a baking sheet. Pour the mixed batter onto the sheet pan.

5

Top with white chocolate chips.

6

Place in the oven and bake for about twenty minutes.

7

Once they are fully cooked remove them from the oven.

8

Let cool for about 5 minutes and cut into rectangles. Serve with butter and syrup!

Stacked pancakes with syrup being poured on them, Sheet pan of pancakes in background.

A stack of pumpkin pancakes with a glass of milk.
Cocktails/ Culinary Tales

Raspberry Rum Fizz Halloween Cocktail

This Raspberry Rum Fizz Halloween Cocktail is the perfect way to kick back and bring in Halloween. With the combination of White Peach Juice, Raspberry Puree, Raspberry Rum, and Sprite its such a super smooth drink!

Raspberry Rum Fizz

To make this Raspberry Rum Fizz you’ll need raspberry rum, white peach grape juice, sprite, and raspberry puree.

Making the puree is easy. In a food processor add raspberries. Blend them well.

After they’re blended well, you’ll want to get rid of the seeds. Do this by using a strainer to separate the seeds.

If you don’t have a strainer that’s small enough to separate the seeds then you can also use cheesecloth! Make sure you have a bowl placed under the strainer. Carefully pour the puree right through it. Once it’s separated discard seeds. Now the raspberry puree is ready!

Combine the raspberry puree, lime juice, and brown sugar. Mix well. Set aside.

Place two cups of ice in a blender. Blend until it makes crushed ice! Add it to your glass ( I used these cute skeleton glasses I found at Michael’s) . Filling them almost to the top.

Then, add the white peach grape juice and the Raspberry Rum.

Next, You should still have a few inches left from the top, add in the raspberry puree and a splash of sprite. Garnish with raspberries and a peach slice!

Raspberry Rum Fizz Halloween Cocktail

Print Recipe
Serves: 2 Cooking Time: 10 min

Ingredients

  • 2 Cups Raspberries
  • 1 Tbsp Lime Juice
  • 1 Tbsp Brown Sugar
  • 1 Cup White Grape Peach Juice
  • 4 oz Raspberry Rum

Instructions

1

Make the Raspberry Puree.

2

In a food processor add raspberries. Blend well.

3

Strain the seeds out. By placing a bowl under the strainer. Carefully pour the puree right through it.

4

Set aside. Combine with lime juice and brown sugar. Mix well.

5

Fill glasses with crushed ice.

6

Pour a 1/2 cup of white peach grape juice and 2 oz of the Raspberry Rum on top of the ice.

7

Add some of the raspberry puree and a splash of sprite.

8

Garnish with raspberries and a peach slice!