99 Flavors of Bars: #4 Cranberry Streusel Bars

My first post for December and these Cranberry Streusel Bars are a beautiful, blushing red, perfect for the holidays.  Before Thanksgiving, I bought extra cranberries to keep in my freezer because I knew a cranberry recipe would pop into my head.  For these bars, I used the same blondie base as my Peach Streusel Bars because it is a truly wonderful, chewy, and delicious bar.

I love the bright, bright red of the cranberries.  You need to be a bit generous with the sugar, otherwise they will be too tart.

prepping cranberry streusel bars

These bars are topped with a pecan streusel, but you can omit the pecans if you don’t like nuts (I did that for half of these bars).

cranberry streusel bars ready for baking

You definitely need to test these bars for doneness because the juice from the cranberries requires a bit more baking time.  After baking, these bars are still a beautiful red color.

Cranberry Streusel Bars

You can cut the bars as big or small as you like!  Yum!

Cranberry Streusel Bar

Cranberry Streusel Bars

  • Servings: 16 small bars
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A blondie bar base topped with cranberries and pecan streusel

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup butter, melted
  • 1 cup light brown sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 egg white
  • 1 ts vanilla extract
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 ts baking powder
  • 1/4 ts salt

Cranberry topping

  • 1 cup fresh cranberries
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • zest of one orange

Streusel topping

  • 2 Tb butter, melted
  • 1/3 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup pecans, chopped

Directions

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Line an 8×8 inch baking pan with parchment paper.

2. Stir together the cranberry topping ingredients in a microwave safe bowl.  Cover and microwave on high 2-3 minutes until the cranberries begin to burst.  Remove from microwave, stir, and let sit while preparing the blondie base.

2. In a large bowl, stir the brown sugar into the melted butter until well combined.  Stir in the egg, egg white, and vanilla.  Blend in the flour, baking soda, and salt until fully combined.  Spread the mixture evenly into the prepared baking pan.

3. Spoon the cranberries evenly over the blondie base (let most of the juice drain away as you’re scooping).

4. Prepare the streusel topping: fluff all of the streusel toppings with a fork in a small bowl until small balls of crumbs form.  Sprinkle over the top of the bars.

5. Bake in the oven for 30 minutes until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.  Cut into bars and serve.

99-taste.com

99 Types of Chicken: # 3 Cheezy Cheez-it Chicken

I know it has been a long time since I’ve done a blog post.  Working 50-60 hours a week makes it hard to find time to blog, or do much of anything.

So finally here is a tasty chicken recipe, quick enough to be made on weeknights.  Next I will need to be planning all the holiday food: Thanksgiving, Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, New Year’s Eve, and Christmas cookies!  I’ll probably need to run a marathon every week…

But anyways, back to the chicken.  This Cheezy Cheez-it Chicken is similar to my Pepperoni Pizza Chicken, but has a completely different taste because the marinara and mozzarella are replaced with ranch dressing and colby cheese.

It all starts with a beautiful, crunchy crust of Cheez-it crackers.  You can use any of the cheese flavors – cheddar, white cheddar, parmesan, four cheese, etc.

cheez-it coated chicken

I didn’t want this chicken to be too dry, which is why I added the ranch dressing.  The ranch adds a nice punch of flavor.  I prefer Ken’s, but use whichever brand you like best.

cheez-it chicken with ranch

Since we have cheese cracker coating, it is only fitting that we add some cheese on top.  I used a colby-monterey jack blend, but cheddar would be good too.

Cheezy Cheez-it Chicken

No need to transfer the chicken to the oven or broiler.  I just let the cheese melt in the pan over low heat for a few minutes.  If you’re looking for a new chicken recipe, give this one a try.  It is relatively quick and easy and has lots of flavor.

 

Cheezy Cheez-it Chicken

  • Servings: 4
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Tender chicken with a crunchy Cheez-it crust, topped with ranch dressing and shredded cheese.

Ingredients

  • 1 lb boneless skinless chicken breasts or cutlets
  • 1 Tb butter
  • 1 Tb olive oil
  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 1 egg, beaten with 1 Tb water
  • salt & pepper
  • 2 cups crushed Cheez-it crackers, any cheese flavor
  • 4-8 Tb ranch dressing
  • 1/2 cup shredded colby-monterey jack or cheddar cheese

Directions

  1. If using chicken breasts, slice the breasts horizontally and flatten them to the desired thickness (if using chicken cutlets, skip this step).  Season the chicken with salt and pepper, then dredge in flour.  Next, dip the chicken in the beaten egg mixed with water.  Finally, dip both sides of the chicken in the crushed Cheez-it cracker crumbs (the finer your crumbs, the better they will stick).  Let the coated chicken rest while preparing pan.
  2. Heat 1 Tb butter and 1 Tb olive oil in a skillet over high heat.  Add the chicken to the skillet.  Cook the chicken on each side until browned, about 3 minutes per side.  Make sure the first side is fully-browned and crispy before you flip it to the other side (this will make sure your coating stays adhered).  Reduce heat to medium-low and continue cooking chicken on both sides until cooked through, about 10 minutes per side.
  3. Pour 1 or 2 Tb of ranch dressing on each chicken cutlet.  Then top with the shredded cheese.  Let the chicken stay in the pan over low heat for a few minutes until the cheese starts to melt, then serve.

99-taste.com

99 Flavors of Soup: #1 Lasagna Soup

The coming of fall and winter means it’s time to pull out the soup pot (even though it’s still close to 90 degrees in Georgia).  This Lasagna Soup is flavorful and hearty, full of ground beef, cheese tortellini, tomatoes and spices.  Bonus – it can be made in about 30 minutes.  My daughter declared it one of my best recipes yet.

You start by sauteing some onions, then adding spices, tomatoes, and chicken broth.  Your kitchen will start to smell amazing while it is simmering.

 

simmering lasagna soup

Using high quality tortellini is important.  I used Buitoni brand from the refrigerated section of the supermarket, not dried tortellini.

Lasagna Soup

Of course, what would lasagna be without cheese.  Once ladled into the bowl, I topped this soup with a slice of mozzarella, which melts right into the soup.  Yum!

Lasagna Soup with Cheese

Lasagna Soup

  • Servings: about 8
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A hearty soup full of ground beef, cheese tortellini, and tomatoes, topped with mozzarella cheese

Ingredients

  • 1 lb ground beef
  • 3 cups cheese tortellini (fresh refrigerated, not dried)
  • 1 Tb butter
  • 1 cup onion, chopped
  • 1 ts basil, dried
  • 1 ts parsley, dried
  • 1/2 ts garlic, minced
  • 1/2 ts Italian seasoning
  • 4 cups chicken broth
  • 1 14.5 oz. can stewed tomatoes
  • 1 14.5 oz can whole tomatoes
  • 1 cup tomato sauce
  • 2 ts sugar
  • 1 ts salt
  • 1/4 ts pepper
  • mozzarella cheese, sliced

Directions

  1. Crumble ground beef in a skillet and cook over medium-high heat until browned.  
  2. Meanwhile, in a large pot, melt the butter over medium-high heat.  Add the chopped onions and cook until soft, about 8 minutes.  Add the basil, parsley, garlic and Italian seasoning.  Pour in the chicken broth and stir.  Crush the whole tomatoes (using your hands works best) and add to the soup.  If the stewed tomatoes are large, chop them into smaller pieces and add them to the soup.  Stir in the tomato sauce, sugar, salt, and pepper.  Bring to a boil.
  3. Add the cheese tortellini.  Boil for 3 minutes or until the pasta is soft.  Drain the grease from the ground beef and stir the meat into the soup.
  4. Reduce heat to simmer.  Simmer for 10 minutes.  Ladle the soup into bowls and top with a slice of mozzarella cheese.

99-taste.com 

99 Kinds of Bread: #4 Savory Monkey Bread Muffins

Monkey bread doesn’t have to be sweet.  Nor does it need to be baked in a bundt pan.  These monkey bread rolls are cheesy and savory and baked in a muffin pan.  They make a nice addition to an Italian meal, pizza, or soup.

Using refrigerated biscuit dough helps this recipe become quick and easy.  Simply start by cutting each biscuit into 6-8 small pieces.  Then toss them in a large bowl with melted butter, seasonings, and cheese.

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biscuit pieces with seasoning and cheese

After that, you smoosh several of the biscuit pieces into each opening of a muffin pan.  Make sure you smash them down a little bit, so that the pieces with stick together once baked.

savory monkey bread muffins ready for baking

Once they come out of the oven, they are puffed up into cheesy, golden bread muffins.

Savory Monkey Bread Muffins

You can either take a big bite outta these or tear off the little chunks of biscuit one by one.  Enjoy!

Savory Monkey Bread Mufins

Savory Monkey Bread Muffins

  • Servings: 12
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Monkey bread in muffin form with seasonings and cheese

Ingredients

  • 1 16 oz. tube refrigerated buttermilk biscuits
  • 2 Tb butter, melted
  • 1/4 mozzarella cheese, shredded
  • 1/4 cup colby monterey jack cheese, shredded
  • 1/2 ts dried parsley
  • 1/4 ts seasoning salt
  • cooking spray

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Spray a muffin pan with cooking spray.
  2. Cut each biscuit into 6-8 pieces.  Place biscuit pieces in a large bowl and pour melted butter on top.  Stir/flip biscuit pieces to coat.  Add seasoning salt and parsley.  Stir to coat.  Finally add both cheeses and toss the biscuit pieces until they are covered in cheese.  They will be sticking together, which is ok.
  3. Smash several biscuit pieces into each well of the muffin pan.  The biscuits should come to the top of each opening.  Fill until all of the biscuits have been used.
  4. Bake in the oven for about 10 minutes, or until the cheese has melted and the muffins are golden brown.

99-taste.com 

99 Flavors of Muddy Buddies: #1 Fruity Pebble Muddy Buddies

For some bizarre reason, I have not had muddy buddies, aka puppy chow in years.  Many years.  Then I happened to buy a bag of the pre-made stuff at the grocery store because it was buy one get one free.  I thought they’d be a good snack for my daughter’s school lunches since she’s had to eliminate some other snacks due to getting braces.  Well, she thought the muddy buddies were awesome and suggested we make some different flavors at home.  Thus, the beginning of 99 flavors of muddy buddies has been born.

We started with fruity pebbles.  My daughter is the official smasher.

fruity pebbles and rice chex

Adding white chocolate and powdered sugar makes this snack super addicting.

Fruity Pebble Muddy Buddies

I love that muddy buddies are no bake and can be made in just 15 minutes.  I can tell this is going to turn into a new obsession.

Fruity Pebble Muddy Buddies

The fruity pebbles add such a wonderful pop of color to this snack.  I may need to add this to my Christmas Eve menu.

Fruity Pebble Muddy Buddies

  • Servings: 6
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Chex mixed with white chocolate, fruity pebbles, and powdered sugar

Ingredients

  • 3 cups rice Chex
  • 3/4 cup Fruity Pebbles cereal, finely crushed
  • 1/4 cup Fruity Pebbles cereal, not crushed
  • 4 oz. white chocolate
  • 1 cup powdered sugar

Directions

  1. In a large bowl, gently stir the crushed fruity pebbles with the rice chex, being careful not to break the chex.
  2. Melt the white chocolate according to the manufacturer’s instructions.  I use Baker’s chocolate, microwaving it for 30 seconds and then 10 second intervals until melted.  Stir the chocolate until it is completely smooth and has no lumps.
  3. Pour the white chocolate over the chex mix.  Stir and add the powdered sugar and un-crushed fruity pebbles.  Mix until the chex pieces are coated.  Store in an airtight container.

99-taste.com 

99 Types of Cookies: #5 Chocolate Caramel Swirl Cookies

These cookies are so pretty; I may need to add them to my Christmas cookie platter this year.  This is a small batch recipe, so be ready for them to be gone.  Half chocolate cookie and half caramel cookie – the caramel cookie half is especially yummy!

Look at this cookie dough with melted caramel ready to be mixed in…I wanted to eat this right out of the bowl.  I’ll definitely have to come up with an edible caramel cookie dough.

caramel cookie dough

You don’t need to swirl the cookie dough together.  Simply scooping a small amount of each kind of cookie dough into a cookie scoop will result in a partially marbled cookie.

chocolate caramel cookie dough blob

As I mentioned, this is a small batch recipe.  I only had one dozen delicious cookies to eat.

chocolate caramel swirl cookies ready for baking

So here is how these cookies turn out: beautiful, swirled, soft, chocolately, and slightly sweet.

Chocolate Caramel Swirl Cookies

They are a nice change to the typical cookie contenders.

Chocolate Caramel Swirl Cookie

Enjoy a stack of these delicious cookies.

stack of chocolate caramel swirl cookies

Chocolate Caramel Swirl Cookies

  • Servings: about 1 dozen cookies
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Half chocolate, half caramel cookies

Ingredients

  • ½ cup butter, softened but still cold
  • 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 ts vanilla extract
  • 1 cup flour
  • 1/2 ts baking soda
  • 1/2 ts salt
  • 1/4 cup cocoa powder
  • 1/4 cup caramel bits
  • 1 Tb heavy cream

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper.
  2. Beat the butter and brown sugar with an electric mixer until light and fluffy.  Add the egg and vanilla.  Beat well.  Add 3/4 cups of flour, the baking soda, and salt, and beat on low speed until mixed.
  3. In a small saucepan, melt the caramel bits over medium-low heat.  Stir in the heavy cream and a dash of salt.  Cook and stir until melted and smooth.
  4. Divide the cookie dough in half.  To one half, stir in the cocoa powder.  To the other half, add 1/4 cup more flour and the melted caramel.  Stir until well mixed.
  5. With a cookie scoop, scoop up a little bit of each dough (chocolate and caramel).  Drop on the parchment lined cookie sheet several inches apart.  Bake in the oven for 8-10 minutes.

99taste.com

 

99 Types of Chicken: #2 Chicken Cordon Bleu

We eat a lot of chicken at our house, so it’s good to have a lot of chicken recipes on hand.  This is my version of Chicken Cordon Bleu, which is relatively simple.

First, I bread chicken cutlets and brown them in a cast iron skillet.

breaded chicken cutlets in cast iron

Next, I dot the chicken breasts with a pat of butter, so that the chicken doesn’t get too dry and the swiss cheese gets extra melty.

chicken cutlets dotted with butter

Swiss cheese, Canadian bacon, and more Swiss cheese top it off,

chicken cordon bleu pre-baking

A brief transfer to a hot oven and the cheese melts to blanket the chicken.

 

Chicken Cordon Bleu

 

Chicken Cordon Bleu

Chicken Cordon Bleu

  • Servings: 4
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Breaded chicken cutlets topped with Swiss cheese and Canadian bacon

Ingredients

  • 1 lb boneless, skinless chicken cutlets
  • 3 Tb butter
  • 2 Tb olive oil
  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 1 egg
  • 1 Tb milk
  • salt & pepper
  • 1 1/2 cups seasoned breadcrumbs
  • 4 slices Canadian bacon
  • 8 slices Swiss cheese

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Season the chicken cutlets with salt and pepper.  In a shallow bowl, beat the milk with the egg.  Dredge the chicken cutlets in flour, then dip in the beaten egg, and then coat both sides with breadcrumbs.
  2. Heat 2 Tb butter and 2 Tb olive oil in a cast iron skillet over medium-high heat.  Add  the chicken to the  skillet.  Cook the chicken on both sides until browned, about 3 minutes per side.  Reduce heat to medium-low and continue cooking chicken on both sides until cooked through, about 10 minutes.
  3. While the chicken is cooking, cook the Canadian bacon in a small skillet over medium heat until slightly browned.
  4. Top each chicken cutlet with a small pat of butter.  Lay a slice of Swiss cheese on each cutlet, followed by a piece of Canadian bacon, and another piece of Swiss cheese.  Transfer the cast iron skillet to the oven and bake for 3-5 until the cheese has fully melted.  Remove from the oven and serve.

99 Kinds of Bread: #3 Parmesan Panko-Crusted Cheese Bombs

I keep feeling like it should be cool out, but when I step outside it is still hot and humid.  That is what September is like in the south.  However, it’s football season, and these cheese bombs are great football food.  Soft and cheesy, with a crunchy top, they are quite tasty.

Using refrigerated biscuit dough makes this recipe easy.  Simply flatten the biscuits, add some mozzarella, and pull all the edges up to seal.  Make sure you pinch the dough tight so that the cheese stays enclosed.

flattened biscuit dough

biscuit dough with mozzarella

closed cheese bombs

Next comes a butter bath and the crunchy, garlicky topping.

parmesan-panko crusted cheese bombs ready for baking

Upon baking, these cheese bombs turn a beautiful golden color.

a parmesan-panko crusted cheese bomb fresh from the oven

My family just loved these.  They also make a great accompaniment to pizza or pasta.

Parmesan Panko-Crusted Cheese Bombs

Parmesan Panko-Crusted Cheese Bombs

  • Servings: 8
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Fluffy mozzarella filled cheese bombs topped with a parmesan, garlic, and crunchy panko breadcrumbs

Ingredients

  • 1 16 oz. tube refrigerated buttermilk biscuits
  • 1-2 Tb butter, melted
  • 4 oz. mozzarella cheese, shredded
  • ¼ cup panko breadcrumbs
  • 2 Tb grated parmesan
  • 1/8 ts garlic salt

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. In a shallow bowl combine the panko breadcrumbs, parmesan, and garlic salt.
  3. Lay the biscuits on the parchment paper and press to flatten.  Place 1-2 tablespoons of shredded mozzarella onto the center of the each biscuit.  Pull the edges up and over the cheese and pinch to seal.
  4. Roll each cheese bomb in the melted butter, then press the top side (without the seam) into the breadcrumb mixture.  Lay seam side down on the parchment paper.
  5. Bake on the top rack of the oven for 10 minutes or until slightly browned.

99-taste.com 

99 Kinds of Bread: #2 Mini Cheese Cornbread Muffins

Sometimes you want an extra bite at dinner that doesn’t take too much effort.  These mini cheese cornbread muffins are just that.  They can be whipped up quickly and easily and add a tiny bit of something to your dinner plate.

Using a mini muffin pan produces a whole bunch of these little guys, so you have a big family there’s plenty for everyone.  Or if you’re just cooking for one or two, the leftovers save nicely and can be popped in the microwave.

mini cheese cornbread muffins pre-baking

I used sharp cheddar cheese in these, which complements nicely with the cornmeal.

Mini Cheese Cornbread Muffins

Since these were so simple, and tasty too, I’m sure they will become a new staple to my family’s dinner rotation.

Mini Cheese Cornbread Muffins

 

Mini Cheese Cornbread Muffins

  • Servings: about 24 mini muffins
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Mini muffins made with cornmeal, buttermilk and cheddar cheese

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup yellow cornmeal
  • 1 Tb sugar
  • 1/2 ts baking powder
  • 1/2 ts salt
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk
  • 1 egg
  • 3/4 cup sharp cheddar cheese, shredded

Directions

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Generously grease a mini muffin pan with cooking spray.

2. Combine the cornmeal, flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt in a large bowl.  Stir in the buttermilk and egg.  Beat until smooth.  Add the shredded sharp cheddar cheese and stir until fully mixed.

3. Pour the batter into the mini muffin pan, filling each hole about 2/3 full.  Bake on the top rack of the oven for 10 minutes.

99-taste.com 

99 Flavors of Bars: #3 Gooey Golden Oreo Blondies

Amazing.  Blondies, double stuffed golden oreos, and gooey butter cake topping, all layered together.  These bars are chewy, sweet, and satisfying to bite into.

My daughter evenly layered the double stuffed oreos on top of the blondie base.  By using double stuffed oreos, the actual flavor of the cream comes through in the bars.

golden oreo blondie base

Next comes the layer of gooey-ness.  This layer is based off of the topping for gooey butter cake.  The lumpy goo laying on top of the oreos doesn’t look appealing at this point, but it sets up nicely in the oven.

gooey golden oreo blondies pre-baking

Like traditional gooey butter cake, a heavy dusting of confectioner’s sugar tops these bars off.

baked gooey golden oreo blondies

These bars are so amazing and also easy to make.

stack of Gooey Golden Oreo Blondies

Gooey Golden Oreo Blondies

Look at that golden oreo cream in the middle…

gooey golden oreo blondie minus a bite

Gooey Golden Oreo Blondies

  • Servings: 16 small bars
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A blondie bar topped with golden oreos and gooey cream cheese

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup butter, melted
  • 1 cup light brown sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 ts vanilla extract
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 ts baking powder
  • 1/4 ts salt
  • 9 double-stuff golden oreos

Topping ingredients

  • 4 oz cream cheese, softened
  • 2 cups plus 2 Tb confectioner’s sugar
  • 1 egg

Directions

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Line an 8×8 inch baking pan with parchment paper.

2. In a large bowl, stir the brown sugar into the melted butter.  Beat in the egg.  Blend in the flour, baking soda, and salt until fully mixed.  Spread the batter evenly into the prepared baking pan.  Lay the golden oreos in rows over the batter.

3. In another bowl, stir the cream cheese with the powdered sugar.  Beat in the egg.  The mixture may be lumpy, which is ok.

4. Pour the cream cheese mixture on top of the oreos.  Spread evenly to cover.

5. Bake in the oven for 35 minutes.  Dust the top of the bars with the remaining 2 Tb of confectioner’s sugar.

99-taste.com