Garlic-Stuffed Bacon-Wrapped Chicken Medallions

Cooking on the grill is one of those things that always makes me happy. We grill all year round but seem to amp up the outdoor cooking when the temps rise here in Northwest Ohio. And since summer is in full-swing the bbq is seeing more action than the stove these days.

Chicken is a favorite on the grill and I like to mix up how we grill it by trying new things. I put together these Garlic-Stuffed Bacon-Wrapped Chicken medallions last week with a few items we almost always have on hand—bacon and garlic. They were a big hit with the family and could be changed-up in any number of ways.

bacon wrapped chicken

Bacon wrapped chicken medallions

bacon-wrapped garlic-stuffed chicken medallions

Garlic-Stuffed Bacon-Wrapped Chicken Medallions
Author: 
Recipe type: Main, Chicken, BBQ
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 4
 
Ingredients
  • 2-3 Medium Boneless Skinless Chicken Breasts
  • Sliced Bacon (about 6 slices per breast)
  • Fresh Garlic Cloves
  • Black Pepper
Instructions
  1. Pre-heat grill.
  2. Peel the cloves of garlic and crush slightly with the back of a knife.
  3. If necessary butterfly or pound the chicken breasts so each breast is relatively uniform in thickness.
  4. Lay 6 slices of bacon on your work surface with edges just touching or barely overlapping.
  5. Place one chicken breast perpendicular to and about about an inch from the bacon edge. Bacon slices should be about the same width as the breast so the chicken is completely covered with bacon.
  6. Put a line of garlic along the length and just off-center of the chicken breast.
  7. Dust with fresh ground pepper.
  8. Starting with the bacon edge that was left exposed, roll the bacon/chicken/garlic stack into a tight roll.
  9. Secure by running one toothpick through each slice of bacon starting near the bacon end and straight through to the other side.
  10. Repeat for remaining chicken breasts.
  11. Cook on the grill over medium-high heat—turning to get all sides—until the bacon and chicken are thoroughly cooked. Approximately 20 minutes.
  12. Let chicken rest for 5 minutes and then slice into medallions between each bacon slice. *Don't forget to remove the toothpicks!*
Notes
Cooking the whole breast at once and slicing into medallions after cooking keeps the chicken moist while allowing the bacon to get crispy. Try roasting the garlic first for a more subtle and nutty flavor.

 

Dark Chocolate Chip Cheesecake Cupcakes

dark chocolate chip cheesecake cupcakes

You guys,  these cupcakes are ridiculous. Just sitting here writing about them makes me want to run to the kitchen and whip up another batch. They may be one of the best treats I’ve ever made. And I’ve made a lot of treats.   For this recipe I used a dark chocolate fudge cake mix and cream cheese frosting but you could mix flavors up to your liking. The star of this show is the cheesecake center. Creamy. Speckled with dark chocolate chips. Divine.

How can you say no to this?

Dark Chocolate Chip Cheesecake Cupcakes

And the best part is that they look really fancy but they aren’t hard to make at all. I promise.

Enjoy!

4.0 from 1 reviews
Dark Chocolate Chip Cheesecake Cupcakes
Author: 
Recipe type: Dessert
Cuisine: Cakes & Cupcakes
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 24
 
Moist dark chocolate cupcakes with creamy dark chocolate chip cheesecake centers.
Ingredients
  • Cake
  • 1 box Dark Chocolate cake mix
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 cup water
  • ⅓ cup vegetable oil
  • Filling
  • 1 (8 oz) package cream cheese, softened
  • 1 egg
  • ½ cup sugar
  • ½ cup dark chocolate chips
  • Frosting
  • 1 can cream cheese frosting
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350°.
  2. Line cupcake pan with baking liners.
  3. In a large bowl blend together the cake mix, water, oil, and eggs for 2 minutes until well mixed.
  4. Note: If the box mix call for a different ratio of eggs, water, and oil adjust accordingly.
  5. Fill each baking cup with ½ way with batter.
  6. Filling
  7. In a medium bowl blend cream cheese, sugar, and egg on until smooth and creamy.
  8. Stir in chocolate chips.
  9. Drop a spoonful of filling into the center of each cupcake on top of the batter.
  10. Note: The filling will sink as the cupcake bakes. No need to push it into the batter.
  11. Bake for 18–20 minutes. Cupcakes are done when a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.
  12. Cool cupcakes completely and frost with cream cheese frosting.

 

 

Devil’s Food Cookies

It’s not uncommon to find a box or two of cake mix sitting on our pantry shelves any time of year. Cake mixes often go on sale for about a dollar each at the grocery store we shop at and in my opinion you don’t need a special occasion to eat cake.

But sometimes baking a cake—even with a mix—is more effort than I feel like making. So on a recent quest for something chocolate I decided to try something a little different with the box of Devil’s Food cake mix we had on the shelf. Cupcakes be damned. We’re making cookies.

Cookies.

Chewy, easy,  4-ingredient, chocolate cookies.

They didn’t last long.

5.0 from 1 reviews
Devil's Food Cookies
 
Makes approximately 2½ dozen cookies.
Ingredients
  • 1 box devil's food cake mix
  • ⅓ cup vegetable oil
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 2 eggs
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 325°.
  2. Mix all ingredients together thoroughly to form a dough.
  3. Refrigerate for 20 minutes.
  4. Shape dough into one inch balls.
  5. Place on ungreased cookie sheets 1–2 inches apart.
  6. Bake for 10–12 minutes our until set.
  7. Cool briefly on cookie sheets and move to cooling racks.

 

No Bake Cookies

no bake cookies
In all my years of cooking and baking, I had never whipped up a batch of No Bake cookies. A week and a half ago I made my first batch.

I made a third batch last night.

I cannot stop eating these cookies. The fact that they take less than 10 minutes to make doesn’t help the situation.

There are tons of variations on this basic recipe for No Bakes and this is no exception. My brother-in-law passed his recipe along to me with a follow-up message of modifications. I started with that recipe and altered it slightly in the three batches I’ve made to suit my needs. I use old fashioned oatmeal and natural peanut butter—both affect the consistency and timing of the recipe. The key is finding the right amount of oats so your cookie is not too dry or too wet to hold its shape. Humidity levels will affect this so keep that in mind when making these tasty treats. You may need a few more or less tablespoons of oats depending on your climate.

The recipe below is my current incarnation and is ridiculously delicious. I should probably padlock the Tupperware dish so I don’t eat them all in one sitting.

Oh, and make sure you eat the last bite out of the pan with a spoon while it is still warm. Trust me, you will not be sorry.

No Bake Cookies
makes 24–30 cookies

Ingredients
1 cup sugar
1/4 cup + 1 tablespoon milk
1/4 cup cocoa
4 tablespoons butter (heavy 1/4 cup—probably an extra TB full of PB)
2 1/4 cup oatmeal*
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/4 cup peanut butter
pinch of salt

Directions

  1. Combine sugar, milk, cocoa, and butter in a medium saucepan and bring to a rolling boil stirring often.
  2. Boil for one minute.
  3. Turn off the heat and add oatmeal, vanilla, peanut butter, and salt. Mix well.*
  4. Drop teaspoonful size cookies onto wax paper and cool.

Enjoy!

*You can use quick cook oats or old-fashioned oats. I use old-fashioned oats and allow the mixture to sit in the pan for 3 minutes before dropping the cookies onto the wax paper. If using quick cook oats you and mix and drop right away.

Cranberry, Almond, & Cashew Bark

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Inspired by this post written by Daisy over at Curvy Girl Guide (you are reading CGG, right? You know I also write there, correct?), I decided to make a batch of my own bark.

The results were fantastic.

In my opinion, the beauty of bark is that you can throw pretty much whatever you want in the chocolate and create some pretty delicious results. In addition to the dried cranberries, almonds, and cashews, I sprinkled some kosher salt on the top of the chocolate before it set. I highly recommend doing this. I do the same thing when I make almond clusters. I don’t use salted nuts and the addition of the kosher salt at the end is a great contrast to the creamy sweet chocolate.

Cranberry Almond Cashew Bark

Ingredients:
5–6 ounces Chocolate Chips (milk or dark)
1/2 tablespoon vegetable shortening (like Crisco)
Dried Cranberries
Whole Natural Almonds
Cashew Halves & Pieces
Kosher Salt

Directions:

  1. Place chocolate chips and shortening in a double boiler—I use a small metal bowl set inside a small pan filled with a little water—over medium heat. Stir occasionally as the chips melt being careful to not get any water in the bowl.
  2. Remove from heat and stir in 1/4 to 1/2 cup each of the almonds, cashews, and dried cranberries.
  3. Pour the chocolate mixture onto a rimmed cookie sheet lined with wax paper and spread out with a spatula.
  4. Top the bark with a few more cranberries, almonds, and cashews and sprinkle with kosher salt.
  5. Refrigerate to set. Break apart set bark with a butter knife.

Notes:
5–6 ounces of chips is about half a bag. I just eyeball it and don’t worry about measuring out the chocolate.
Dry off the bottom of the bowl you melt the chocolate in before pouring the mixture onto the baking sheet so no water drips into the chocolate.

Cranberry Margaritas

Cranberry Margarita
In a moment of seasonal inspiration the other day, I concocted what might be my new favorite holiday cocktail. The cranberry margarita. The cranberry and key lime juices are great together. And while I’m usually a regular-on-the-rocks-with-salt sort of girl, the sugar is a perfect contrast to the tartness of the juices. Bonus is that the sugared rim looks a little like fallen snow.

Enjoy.

Cranberry Margarita
1 1/2 oz. tequila
1 oz. triple sec
1 oz. cranberry juice
1/2 oz. lime juice

Mix in a shaker with crushed ice. Serve in a sugar rimmed glass. Serves 1.

Notes:
I used a cranberry juice cocktail. If using an unsweetened cranberry juice you may need to add a bit of sugar or simple syrup.
My lime juice of choice is currently key lime juice leftover from the key lime pie my mom makes me for my birthday. Fresh squeezed limes would be excellent and I’m sure Rose’s Lime Juice would be good as well.

Oven Dried Tomatoes (1 Year/100 Recipes #3)

Tomatoes.

I have them. Lots and lots of them.

Tiny grape tomatoes all from one little plant. I thought I would be safe by just planting one grape tomato plant this year—along with two varieties of large tomatoes. I’m the only one that will eat the grape tomatoes but one can only eat so many of those little gems before they bad.

So what’s a girl to do with quart after quart of grape tomatoes?

Dehydrate them of course.

IMG_2009

Turn them into little tomato candies that can be tossed in the freezer and used anytime you need some tomato flavor in your dishes.

Plump them back up in some hot water and add them to soups and sauces.
Chop them up and mix them with some basil, mozzarella, and olive oil to spread on a baguette.
Eat them on a cracker with a smear of cream cheese.

The possibilities are endless.

And the process? Super easy. All you really need is some time and an oven. Well, and tomatoes.

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Oven Dried Tomatoes

Ingredients
Small tomatoes
Salt
Pepper

Directions
Set oven to about 150°.**
Cut tomatoes in half and spread cut side up on a baking sheet.
Sprinkle tomatoes with salt and pepper.
Bake for 8–10 hours until dried.

Toss in the freezer for long term storage or cover with olive oil and keep in the fridge for up to two weeks.

**My oven shows the lowest number as 200° but will heat up in the little section of white between the OFF and the 200° mark. I’m estimating that it is around 150°. What you want is a very low setting.

These are seriously yummy right off the baking sheet. Give them a try. You won’t be disappointed.

This recipe is part of my 1 Year/100 Recipes Challenge. It was first made on 8.16.11.

Other recipes I’ve tried and posted about for this challenge include:
Shish Tawook Chicken & Garlic Sauce
Cheesy Ham & Hashbrown Bake

Cheesy Ham and Hashbrown Bake (1 Year/100 Recipes #2)

Do you know Rachel? You will want to run up and kiss her after I tell you about the second recipe in my 1 Year/100 Recipe challenge.

Why? Because she is responsible for this OMG IT’S SO GOOD recipe.

Seriously, look at this thing.

IMG_1928Bubbly cheesy goodness and enough to feed a crowd. That is if you want to share. One bite and you may want to horde it all to yourself.

It is a Cheesy Ham and Hashbrown Bake and I cannot wait to make it for a family gathering. I made it (7.1.11) for JQ, G-tot and I and never got sick of eating the leftovers—which there were plenty. I’m seriously salivating over this just thinking about it.

What’s in it you ask?

Hashbrowns.
Ham.
Sour Cream.
Onion.
Cream of Potato Soup.
Spices.
LOTS of Cheese.

Basically you mix it all together and bake it.

So very good.

And you end up with this.

IMG_1933

Want the recipe?

Wait, let me answer that for you—YES, you want the recipe.

You can find it over at A Southern Fairytale. Here’s the link—Cheesy Ham and Hashbrown Bake.

Enjoy.

Bacon Wrapped Cream Cheese Stuffed Jalapeños

Bacon? Good.
Cream cheese? Good.
Fresh jalapeños? Good.

Put them all together and you get a treat for your taste buds that will have you shoving these babies in your mouth as fast as you can chew. I’m not kidding. My husband and I devoured 24 of these tongue-tantalizing morsels last night and are both seriously considering making them again for dinner tonight. We cannot get enough of them.

Almost as good as they taste is how easy they really are to make. Three ingredients. A small amount of prep work. One awesome appetizer that you will love making for yourself or for a crowd.

Apparently eating them was more important than taking a decent photograph.

Obviously eating them was much more important than taking a decent photograph.

Bacon Wrapped Cream Cheese Stuffed Jalapeños

Ingredients:
Fresh jalapeños*
1 block of cream cheese
1 pound of bacon

*Each pepper will make two appetizers. I usually grab 10–12 whole peppers for my and my husband’s voracious appetite. Twelve to twenty—depending on the size—will accommodate the other ingredients no problem.

Directions:
Cut the top off each pepper and then cut the pepper in half lengthwise and remove seeds.
Spread cream cheese in each pepper half.
Wrap with 1/2 to 1 whole slice of bacon (depending on how large the pepper is).
Bake in oven on a rimmed cookie sheet at 425°–450° for 20–25 minutes or until bacon is cooked and crisp.

I recommend draining briefly on paper towels to remove a bit of the excess grease from the bacon. Serve warm and enjoy the tasty goodness!

Roasting Pumpkin Seeds

One of my favorite things about Halloween time is roasted pumpkin seeds. Year after year I sort all the seeds from the goop we pull out of our pumpkins before they get carved up into scary/funny/wicked awesome jack-o-lanterns. It’s a tedious process but roasted pumpkin seeds are a must have and homemade ones are infinitely better than the over-salted variety you find at the store.

My pumpkin seed recipe has been the same for years. And it is a good one. The only thing that keeps me from inhaling them all the moment I pull them from the oven is the idea of running out of them too soon.

If you haven’t carved up your pumpkins yet do yourself a favor and save the seeds when you do. Then try this recipe. You’ll be glad you did.

2010-10-28_17-07-18_757Preheat the oven to 250°.
Rinse the seeds in a colander. It’s okay if there are still some pumpkin guts in there. Pumpkin = Flavor

2010-10-28_17-08-59_490Spread the seeds and bits of guts onto a baking sheet. I recommend one with a lip around the edge so you don’t lose any of the precious seeds when you stir them later. Toss them in the oven for 10–15 minutes to dry them a tad.

2010-10-28_17-12-49_487Grab the other ingredients. Lawry’s Seasoned Salt and REAL Butter. Don’t go generic on the salt and don’t use margarine. Trust me.

2010-10-28_17-32-33_488Top the pumpkin seeds with several pats of butter and sprinkle somewhat generously with the seasoned salt. The warm/semi-dry seeds will melt the butter. Stir it all up to coat all the seeds and toss it back in the oven.

2010-10-28_17-33-21_79Bake for 45–60 minutes stirring and checking every 15 minutes or so until the seeds are golden brown.

2010-10-28_18-54-10_22Enjoy and try not to shove them all in your mouth at once.