Monday, March 31, 2014

Chopped Challenge Round 2 Results From You!

With our last weeks Chopped Challenge, we received a few photos from our Facebook Group members showing us their creativity using the mystery ingredients up front and center! 

Check out these tasty creations!

Pineapple Basil Bread Pudding
By Jennifer P.

"Bread pudding. Break up bread into small pieces. Mix small can of pineapple bits, condensed milk, 3 eggs, cinnamon, a few chopped basil leaves and a little milk! Place chopped bread in a buttered casserole dish. Pour mixture on top. Bake at 350 for 45 minutes."

Pineapple Basil Lasagna in a Creamy Pineapple Sauce 
Served with Pineapple Basil Baguette
By Debbie S.

"First cook the ground chicken in a pan with some pineapple. Add some bacon. sauce is made with flour butter condensed milk and regular milk. Chop some fresh basil and add to the sauce. To make the pasta I used 2 eggs, 2 cups of flour and 1 tablespoon pineapple juice. Mix until a ball is formed. Cut in four and roll on floured board. Cut in lasagna sized pieces. Cook for approx 5 mins Drain. In a pan add a layer of noodles then meat and sauce, repeat. sprinkle parm and a little more basil on top. bake in oven til heated through. serve with sliced baguette topped with melted butter pineapple juice and some basil"

Sweet and Spicy Balls
By James C.

"to make my meatballs mix all the following
ground beef, about 2 pounds
jalapeno pepper, chopped

bread crumbs made from a fresh baguette (cut it up and threw in the oven)
fresh basil leaves chopped up
crushed pineapple
2 eggs
garlic salt
Blair's After Death Sauce

for the sauce mix all the following then cooked to just a boil
condensed milk
corn starch
pineapple juice from the crushed pineapple
white vinegar
soy sauce
Worcestershire sauce 
the remaining crushed pineapple
Blair's after death sauce 

Roll the meatballs and place in a casserole dish. Pour the sauce on top and bake for an hour on 350. It would have been better on rice."

Thank you all so much for participating! 
We hope to have even more to share with you with our next round!

What will YOU make with : 
Eggs, Sugar, Bananas, and Coffee!

Join our Facebook Group to keep up to date with us!

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Monday, March 24, 2014

Chopped Challenge: Round 2

If you missed our Chop Challenge post from last week, you can recap here .

For this challenge the ingredients that were chosen at random are:
- Fresh Basil
- Pineapple
- French Baguette Bread
- Condensed Milk

Let's see what everyone created! Remember you can participate too, post you results on our Facebook page!!

Chef Olivia: Hawaiian pizza's with Panko encrusted chicken on a toasted baguette

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What I used:
- 1 boneless chicken breast- chopped in small strips
- 6 fresh basil leaves
- 1 can of diced Hunts garlic tomatoes
- 1 baguette
- 1 cup of Panko bread crumbs
- 1 can of condensed milk
- 1 cup of olive oil
- freshly grated parmesan cheese
- diced pineapple
- salt and pepper

In a small pot on medium heat add in your diced tomatoes, about 4 leaves of fresh basil chopped finely and salt and pepper to taste. Let simmer for about half hour.

Heat you frying pan on medium-high heat. Dip the chicken in the condensed milk (shaking of excess) then covered in Panko bread crumbs and put in the frying pan (about 1-2 mins each side- keep an eye so it doesn't burn!). Once they are cooked sprinkle with salt and put aside.

Heat oven to 350. Slice your bread into slices (just less than an inch) and line them up on a baking sheet. Then, pile on some of the tomato sauce, sprinkle with the parmesan, then add a slice of chicken and 2 pineapple slices, top with a bit more cheese. Repeat until all your slices of bread are topped. Throw in the oven for about 7 minutes. When it comes out you can sprinkle with the rest of the chopped basil.

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These turned out absolutely amazing! The sweetness of the condensed milk complemented the pineapple, everything just married together so beautifully! Everyone in this house tried them, and then ate some more! They were just too good to stop eating. I will definitely make these again. If you are going to make these, don't skimp on the ingredients, make sure it's panko bread crumbs and real grate-yourself parmesan. You will not be disappointed!

Chef Jenn: Baked French Toast Casserole with Pineapple and Basil Syrup

I actually had a lot of fun with this weeks ingredients and my recipe in general. I had an idea of what I wanted to do (a french toast casserole) but I mostly winged it with the recipe. I probably went through 4 pages in my notebook with all my recalculations and substitutions and about halfway through making it I was kinda like "um... I don't think this is going to taste as good as I hoped...", (mostly because the basil sugar is bright green!) but I was wrong. It turned out better. If you like pineapple upside down cake, you'll love this. All that was missing was a dollop of whipped cream on top. That said, I wouldn't serve this at breakfast, even though french toast is thought of as a breakfast/brunch food. To me, it's more of a dessert. A very, very delicious dessert. Here's the recipe!

For the french toast:

8 1" slices french bread (I made it with the crusts on, but when I make it again I'll be removing them)
1 cup condensed milk
1/2 cup milk
2 tsp basil sugar (recipe below)
1 tsp vanilla
1 tsp cinnamon
4 eggs

For the basil sugar:

1  handful fresh basil
1 cup white sugar

For the topping and syrup:

1 ripe pineapple, cut into small chunks
2 tbsp butter
2 tbsp brown sugar
1/2 cup + 2 tbsp basil sugar
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 cup water

1. First, the basil sugar. Chop your handful of basil leaves as small as you can. Somehow I don't own a food processor (!!!) but if you do, feel free to buzz it in there. Combine sugar and basil in a bowl, mixing and pressing with a spoon.

Pour that back into your food processor (or blender, in my case) and pulse until everything is green. Pour back into bowl, cover and set aside.

2.. Grease a 9x13 casserole dish with butter. Add slices of bread.

3. To a large bowl add condensed milk, milk, basil sugar, vanilla, cinnamon, and eggs. Beat until frothy and doubled in volume. I used the whisk attachment on my hand mixer and it took a few minutes. Pour the mixture over your bread.

4. Cover and just shove it in the fridge for at least a few hours so the bread can soak up the milk/egg mixture really well. Mine was in there for about 4 hours since my oven was occupied with ribs.

5. When you're ready to go (in my case, after you've finished a plate full of delicious, delicious ribs) preheat your oven to 350. Uncover casserole dish and throw it on in there. It's going to bake for 40 minutes total.

6. While the french toast is doing it's thing in the oven, melt 1 tbsp butter in a pan over low heat. Add 2 tbsp brown sugar and 2 tbsp basil sugar, and stir until melted. Add your pineapple, and continue stirring occasionally. After a few minutes you'll notice a lot more liquid in the pan, don't drain it! That's the pineapple releasing it's juices and you want it to reduce to a syrupy thickness. When it's reached that point, carefully spoon over the french toast and return to the oven. WARNING: That stuff is like lava. DO NOT try to grab a piece of pineapple like I did and be careful not to drip any of the syrup onto your skin. Hurts like a mother and I'm pretty sure my tongue is missing a few hundred tastebuds.

7. Using that same pan, still over low, melt 1 tbsp butter. Add 1/2 cup of basil sugar and 1/2 cup of water. Let it come to a boil, stirring occasionally until it's thickened to a syrup. By this time, you should have about 5 minutes left of bake time. Pour carefully (remember, lava!) over french toast. Bake for that last 5 minutes, and you're ready to dive in!

Chef Melissa: Grilled Pineapple and Ham on a Fresh Baguette with Sweet & Spicy Basil Sauce

When I found out that pineapple was on the list I knew I would love to grill it. It turns so sweet and delicious. But the others had me a little lost. Once I decided on a sandwich I knew I could pull it off. 

First I sliced fresh pineapple into slices then dipped them into the condensed milk.  Once they were coated thinly I threw them onto a pan with a little olive oil drizzled so they would not stick as bad. I grilled them about 6 minutes per side.

I used a bit more condensed milk in the sauce which made it very sweet. I chopped fresh basil and crushed pineapple and added that to the milk. Now it was in need of bringing down the sweet. I chopped a little of jalapeño pepper and some vinegar and seasoned it with some salt and pepper. I have to admit, it was a pretty good sauce for a sandwich!

Put it all on a 1/4 of a baguette cut down the middle, added the pineapple, old fashioned sliced ham and the sweet and spicy basil sauce. Soo good! I think I just may make this again sometime! I loved how the basil made it taste fresh as well as having the kick from the jalapeño.

We can't wait to see what you all have made! Post it on our Facebook page to be featured on the blog next week!

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Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Classic Chicken Noodle Soup

I love soup, I can eat soup everyday for the rest of my life and never get sick of it. So when I come across a good soup recipe I savor it! This one is my inspiration, a combination of different recipes and it turned out just divine. It only takes about an hour to make and you probably have these ingredients on hand!

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What you will need:
- 2 boneless skinless chicken breasts or 4 skinless chicken thighs
- 2 tbsp. olive oil
- 2 large carrots- chopped
- 1 onion- diced
- 1 1/2 cups of eggs noodles (you can add more if desired)
- 1 tsp of dried parsley flakes
- 3-4 chicken bullion cubes (I used Knorr mine only needed 3)
- 6 cups of water
- salt and pepper to taste

Boil your chicken for about and hour or until cooked and shred with a fork (I cooked mine the night before).

Heat a large pot over medium heat with 2 tbsp. of olive oil. Add in the chopped onion and carrots- sauté for about 10 minutes until the onion becomes translucent. Add in the parsley flakes, and sauté for another minute. Season with Salt and pepper. Add in 6 cups of water, once boiling add in your bullion cubes and keep stirring until dissolved. Add in the chicken and turn the heat down to simmer for about 15 minutes. Then put the egg noodles in, and cook for 7-10 minutes (until noodles are cooked).

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Enjoy the tastyness!


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Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Chopped Challenge: 3 Mommies Style Round One!

Have you ever seen the addictive show Chopped on the Food Network? Four competitor chefs all receive a basket of mystery ingredients which they need to come up with a dish featuring all the items in the basket. The show has four rounds; appetizer, entree then dessert. Each round having one chef "chopped" with the least liked plate. 
Well get ready for our 3 Mommies version! We get 4 random ingredients and have to come up with one dish that includes ALL FOUR mystery ingredients (any plate can be created, appetizer, entree, or dessert). 
Then of course the dishes must be tested- by those lucky family members of ours :D

For this challenge the ingredients that were chosen at random are:
1. Onion
2. Apple
3. Flour
4. Cinnamon
5. Marshmallow Peeps*|
*There was a mis-communication during planning, thus the 5th ingredient.

This challenge was between us 3 moms, Olivia, Melissa, and Jenn. We invite you all to take the challenge with us and see what you can create! There will definitely be other Chopped challenges where we will include our readers in the post, so keep checking our blog or Facebook for the latest Chopped Challenge.

Here are the results of our first Chopped Competition:

Chef Olivia: Pork Chops covered in caramelized apples and onions, topped with candied bacon

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What I used for the caramelized apple and onion topping:
- 1 onion
- 1 Macintosh Apple
- 1 tbsp. butter
- 2 tsp. brown sugar
- dash of cayenne pepper
- 1/2 tsp. of cinnamon
- 3 tbsp. of water

What I used for the pork:
- 2 pork chops
- Salt and Pepper
- 1 cup of flour

What I used for the candied bacon:
- 1/2 tsp. of brown sugar
- 2 marshmallow peeps
- 1/2 tsp. of cayenne pepper
- 1/4 tsp. of cinnamon
- 2 slices of bacon

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For the topping:

Heat a medium sized pan on medium-low heat with 1 tbsp. of butter add in the chopped onion, and let cook for about 5 minutes. Then add in the rest of the ingredients except the water and let cook down for another 5 minutes until the onion becomes translucent. Transfer to a glass baking dish then add in the water.

For the Pork:

Tenderize the meat with a meat pounder, season with salt and pepper then dip each side in the flour- shaking of excess. Add to the same pan used for the topping, turn the heat up to medium-high and sear each side, then transfer to the baking dish. (about 2-3 mins each side). Cover the baking dish with foil and transfer to a preheated over at 350, for about 15-20 minutes or until pork is cooked.

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For the candied bacon:

Heat a small saucepan on medium heat and add 2 marshmallow peeps and let melt- may want to put a lid on top of the pan for a minute, but keep a careful eye on the marshmallow- it will be very sticky! You may need to turn the heat down as the marshmallow melts.

In the meantime mix the rest of the ingredients for the candied bacon in a bowl and sprinkle on 2 pieces of bacon once the marshmallow is melted you will have to place it on the bacon- it will not look the most attractive and it will not go on smoothly, but once it gets in the oven the marshmallow will melt evenly on the bacon.

Once the bacon is coated place in the oven on 350 for about 10 minutes, this burns easily so keep checking it!

So once everything was cooked I chopped up my bacon, plated everything and sprinkled the bacon on top of the pork chop.

My judge was the boyfriend, Philip. He actually liked my dish, he ate 2 pieces! The bacon turned out well, slightly on the burnt side- I should have kept a better eye. However, there were pieces that were not burnt that I put on the finished dish. He actually asked me to make the dish again- um no, haha.

Chef Jenn - Sweet Cinnamon Apple Onion Flatbreads

When we counted to three and revealed our ingredients to each other, my initial reaction was "apples... and onions... this is going to be interesting!". I've never tried, or even considering trying, eating the two together. But after thinking about it further, it occured to me that onions are almost sweet when caramelized, and would blend well with the apple as some kind of topping. But for what? Flour... Cinnamon... Flatbread! My husband is a notoriously picky eater and pretty well never tries new things unless they contain potatoes and/or meat, but the kids and I all had some, and these are definitely going in my "make again" folder. Here's the recipe!

For the flatbread:

2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 tbsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp cinnamon
1 cup milk
1 tbsp melted butter

1. Mix together your dry ingredients, being sure that the baking powder is well incorporated with the flour.

2. Add wet ingredients, mix with a spoon until it comes together, then knead on a floured surface until you have a nice smooth dough.

3. Wrap well with seran wrap, and refrigerate for at least an hour.

4. Separate dough into 6 balls, roll out to 1/8" on a floured surface.

5. Preheat oven to 375. Place rolled flatbread dough on a foil lined cookie sheet and bake for 10 minutes, flipping halfway.

For the topping (you can prepare this while the flatbreads are in the oven):

6 good size apples
1 1/2 white onion
3 tsp sugar
1 tsp cinnamon
3 tsp butter

Note: I prepared mine in 3 batches of 2 flatbreads because all my big pans were in the dishwasher and so I had to use my little tiny frying pan. So I used 2 apples, 1/2 an onion, and 1 tsp of butter plus a sprinkling of cinnamon sugar per batch. I'll give the directions for the full recipe here, though.

1. Slice onions thinly, and apples thin (but not too thin or you'll end up with mush!). In a small bowl, combine cinnamon and sugar; set aside.

2. Melt butter in a frying pan over med-low heat. Add onions, stir occasionally until they begin to brown.

3. Add apples and cinnamon sugar, stirring occasionally until tender.

4. Distribute topping among flatbreads, and bake at 375 for 10 minutes.

I cut mine into quarters for eating, but that is entirely up to you. All in all, I really enjoyed these. If you left out the cinnamon sugar, I think some shredded cheddar on top to take it from a sweet dish to something more savoury would be tasty as well!

Chef Melissa - Apple Pork with Caramelized Onions on a Warm Cinnamon Flour Tortilla. 

Here is what I created with the four mystery ingredients of Flour, Apples, Onions and Cinnamon!
My first thought was "what do these ingredients have in common?" They all pair well with pork! So that is where I started. The flour really had me stumped. How can I incorporate flour into it as a star player and not just on the bench. A freaking flour tortilla! That's how!

For the Apple Pork with Caramelized Onions 
3 small yellow onion, sliced
3 small Sparta apples, cored and sliced
2 tbs butter
1 tbs olive oil
a little cinnamon
a little cumin
salt and pepper

So first I sliced the onions, threw them into a bowl and added some salt (salt brings out more water and lets them caramelize better). After about 10 minutes I heated some butter and a little olive oil in a cast iron pan and tossed in the onions.
After the onions cooked a little I sliced 3 small Sparta apples and added them to the pan to continue cooking with the onions.

To get a dark caramel colour on them I decided to cook them low and slow for about 30 minutes. By this time the apples had turned into a sauce for the onions. I seasoned it with a little cumin, cinnamon, salt and pepper near the end.

I chopped up two pork chops into small pieces and added them to the onions and apples to cook.

The flash makes it look anemic but it was darker!

For the Cinnamon Flour Tortillas
2.5 cups of flour
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 olive oil

3/4 cup boiling water

The flour tortillas were super simple to make. Four, oil, baking powder, salt and boiling water are all that are needed to make a regular one. I added the cinnamon from the mystery ingredients.

Mix they dry ingredients then add the oil until it is all clumpy. Next add the boiling water and mix till it becomes a dough. Knead until its consistent. I rolled them into balls then let them sit for a while.

Once my pork was cooked, I rolled out my tortillas and cooked them on a nonstick pan.

While they were still warm I scooped the onion apple pork mixture onto one side and folded it in half and voila! Apple Pork with Caramelized Onions on a Warm Cinnamon Flour Tortilla.

I will keep the cinnamon flour tortilla idea that's for sure, it would go great with a dessert quesadilla. James enjoyed it but said it needed some hot sauce which I totally agree with.  
I cannot wait for the next edition of this Chopped 3 Mommies Style!

So remember to stay connected with us on the blog or our Facebook group for another up coming 
Chopped Challenge that you too can join in on! 

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Monday, March 17, 2014

Fun with Felt Boards

Noah got a felt board last Christmas, and I completely forgot about it until now, we came up with some fun activities and now he loves it, he asks me to play with the felt board all day and of course I don't mind because he's learning and it's quiet!

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Your toddler can also make pictures with the different shapes and figures, you can see he has a Cat in the Hat felt board, which I got from Michaels, he has tons of Dr.Seuss books, so it's great to make a story come to life with the felt board. There are also so many great websites to make your own felt figures as well, you can make a sun, clouds, rain, so your toddler can explore and identify the weather everyday or even make people so he can create his own pictures. Felt boards are definitely a great inspiration and learning tool.

What sort of activities do you do with felt boards?


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Sunday, March 16, 2014

Crockpot Classic Beef Stew

This recipe came from, this stew is delicious, one of the best I've made. Great for a cold winter day- especially this winter we've been having. A perfect comfort food.

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What you will need:

- 1 pkg of stewing beef cut into 2-inch pieces
- 1 cup all purpose flour
- 1/3 cup olive oil
- 2 large onions- chopped
- 1 6oz can of tomato paste
- 1 cup dry red wine
- 3 medium sized potatoes- washed and cubed
- 2 large carrots- peeled and chopped
- 2 cups of beef broth
- 1 tbsp. salt
- 1 tsp. of thyme
- 1 bay leaf

Heat a skillet on medium heat with 2 tbsp. of olive oil. Coat your beef in the flour and brown meat a few pieces at a time, adding more oil as needed. Add to crockpot. Add the onion to the skillet, turn down heat to low and let sauté for about 10 minutes, then add in tomato paste and coat the onion, then transfer to crockpot. Pour wine in skillet and scrap up brown bits, then transfer to crockpot. Add the rest of the ingredients to the slow cooker and stir. Cook on low for 7 1/2 hours or on high for 4. Discard bay leaf when finished cooking.


Saturday, March 15, 2014

Corned Beef, Sauerkraut, and Cheesy Goodness Dip

This is one of my St.Patty's Day go to recipes. Nothing better than a delicious cheesy dip to please you guests- or yourself! It goes perfect with the Irish theme of the day. This dip is a family recipe, and ever since I tried that first bite I insisted on getting the recipe and making it every year! I promise you everyone who tries it will fall in love!

I posted this dip recipe last year and finally have a picture to share, I know it doesn't look like the best dip in the world, but I assure you it is. Find the recipe HERE.

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Friday, March 14, 2014

St. Patty's Day Crafts

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First cut an even strip out of construction paper.
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Then fold it like your making a fan, make sure each square is equal size.

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Draw on a clover, make sure you don't completely cut out the clover or they won't stay together, leave the two edges around the side leaves.

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Then you should have a pretty garland when finished :)
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Using a square sponge (you can buy a pack from the dollar store) cut out a clover shape- or whatever shape you desire.

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Then dip it in a paint and start stamping on paper! Your toddler will love this part!

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