Even though we had a winter day in May here in Utah, it’s starting to feel like summer. And that means BBQ grillin’ time and summer foods! These Caprese salad skewers are perfect bites of freshness and assembly is as easy as 1…2…3!
Made with fresh mini mozzarella balls, skewered with tender basil leaves and juicy tomatoes and drizzled with balsamic vinegar. Tip: You can use a plain balsamic vinegar or try our secret ingredient–pomegranate balsamic vinegar from a local Ogden restaurant called Hearth on 25th! You can also find it online here.
This stuff is delicious! This simple appetizer will have people coming back for more and I know they won’t be able to eat just one!
Grab yourself a cake mix and once it’s done and cooled down, grab your wooden spoon and start poking those holes!
Next, whip up your banana pudding and pour it all over the cake and spread evenly making sure to get it into all of the holes.
Then slice your bananas and layer them on top of the pudding in a single layer.
Then, top the cake with cool whip.
Refrigerate for 1-2 hours or overnight if possible. It taste so much better the next day! Right before serving sprinkle crushed Nilla Wafers on top. Garnish with banana slices and a whole Nilla Wafer and ENJOY!
Prepare cake mix according to package for 9x13 pan.
Once cake is done and comes out of the oven, allow it to cool for about 10-15 minutes.
Then, with a wooden spoon poke holes in the cake making sure the holes are big enough for the pudding to get down into the cake.
In a bowl, whisk together the pudding and the milk until smooth and begins to thicken.
Pour pudding all over the cake and getting it into the holes. Using the back of a spoon or an off set spatula, spread the pudding out and gently pressing pudding into the holes.
Slice bananas and top cake with a single layer of bananas.
Top with cool whip and place in fridge for at least 1-2 hours before serving.
Crush Nilla Wafers and sprinkle on top before serving.
Garnish with banana slices and whole Nilla Wafers.
Sweet Lemon Made http://sweetlemonmade.com/
Do you know a banana lover? Or maybe it’s you? Either way, you or the banana lover in your life are going to go bananas over this banana pudding poke cake! Not only is it yummy, it’s super easy and simple to make, and you can make it ahead of time. And when I say super easy, I mean it. All you need is a box cake, pudding, bananas, Cool Whip, and Nilla Wafers!
Okay, so I’m a chronic recipe hoarder thanks to Pinterest and Instagram, but when I saw this “Salted Brown Butter Crispy Treats” posted by Smitten Kitchen it was enough to motivate me to action. I love Smitten Kitchen and have absolute trust in all of her recipes. So when I needed a quick treat for a Halloween party last night I made a quick adaptation to turn these amazing little guys into a festive party treat!
Brown Butter and Sea Salt Rice Crispy Treat Pumpkins
Makes about 18 pumpkins (varies based on cookie cutter)
6 cups crispy rice cereal (about half a 12-ounce box)
Buttercream frosting to decorate
Pumpkin cookie cutter (or any shape you want)
In a large pot, melt butter over medium-low heat. It will melt, then foam, then turn clear golden and finally start to turn brown and smell nutty. Stir frequently, scraping up any bits from the bottom as you do. Don’t take your eyes off the pot as while you may be impatient for it to start browning, the period between the time the butter begins to take on color and the point where it burns is often less than a minute.
As soon as the butter takes on a nutty color, turn the heat off and stir in the marshmallows. The residual heat from the melted butter should be enough to melt them, but if it is not, turn it back on low until the marshmallows are smooth. Add food coloring to turn the marshmallow magic orange (gel food coloring gives a more vibrant color) and stir well.
Remove the pot from the stove and stir in the salt and cereal together.
Quickly spread onto a piece of waxed or parchment paper.
Spray your hands with non-stick cooking spray (or oil) so the marshmallow concoction won't stick to your hands and then press marshmallow/crisp rice mixture to about 1/2 to 3/4 of inch in thickness.
Then using a cookie cutter, cut out shapes and allow mixture to cool.
While cooling make your frosting. Make 3/4 of the frosting black and 1/4 of the frosting green with your food coloring. Then transfer each color into a Ziploc bag for piping.
Cut a small hole in the corner of the Ziploc bag and begin piping faces on the pumpkins.
Sweet Lemon Made http://sweetlemonmade.com/
The brown butter and sea salt in these little guys will make you come back for more and more. Not to mention everyone will love you and ask you for this recipe. Thanks, Deb (SmittenKitchen)!
The recipe for these s’mores cookie call for marshmallow bits, you know those mini marshmallows that you only got in hot chocolate packets. Did you know they sell a whole container of them? Where were these when I was a child?!? My parents would have loved to have been able to buy these for me because I would always open up a second packet just to steal the marshmallows out of it and make some other unlucky person, usually my Dad drink the other packet without marshmallows.
When you can’t have a campfire s’more you can always make these soft and chewy s’mores cookies that have everything you love about a s’more with it’s combination of sweet graham crackers, creamy melted chocolate, and toasted marshmallows. Like a touch of cinnamon flavor, use the cinnamon flavored graham crackers or if you want the taste of a traditional s’more use the original graham crackers. These darn cookies are so good! It’s like having two desserts in one—a cookie and a s’more!
3/4 cup regular or cinnamon graham cracker crumbs (about 7 full graham cracker sheets)
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup mini or regular chocolate chips
1 cup Jet Puffed Mallow Bits
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper.
Using a mixer, cream the butter and sugars until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add the egg and vanilla and beat for an additional 2 minutes.
Meanwhile, use a food processor or blender to crush 7 graham cracker sheets into 3/4 cup fine crumbs.
In a separate bowl, whisk together the graham cracker crumbs, flour, baking powder, and salt.
Slowly add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients, and mix on low speed until the dough just comes together. Add the chocolate chips and marshmallow bits and stir to combine. Scoop dough using a mini cookie dough scoop and place onto the prepared cookie sheet.
Bake at 350 degrees F for 10-12 minutes or until edges are a light golden brown.
If you’re like me (and everyone else I know) you sometimes get in a rut when it comes to making dinner. At my house, we have our five go-to meals: spaghetti, tacos, pizza, pot roast and eating out! I finally reached a breaking point when not eating started sounding better than actually making the same boring dinner over and over again. That’s when my husband and I decided it was time to give Blue Apron a try. We’ve been cooking with Blue Apron now for about two months and we absolutely love it. Not only do we get to try a variety of new meals, we have fun learning about new techniques and ingredients. With a toddler running around the kitchen during meal prep it might not be a relaxing experience, but we are enjoying our time together in the kitchen.
Below are a few of my thoughts on our Blue Apron experience so far.
Flexibility My friend told me about Blue Apron and sent me three free meals to check it out and see if I like it. I went online to redeem my freebies and noticed I had to put in a credit card number along with my personal information. I’m always hesitant to sign up for a service like this because I don’t want to commit to something long-term, especially if it costs a good amount of money. I almost didn’t move forward because I didn’t want to get stuck paying $60 per week if I didn’t end up liking it. However, I noticed there was no long-term commitment required and you can cancel at any time. The best part about it is you can even cancel from week to week. So when I’m going to go on vacation or have plans during the week, I can cancel my meals for that week and resume when it’s more convenient. You can also personalize your meals each week to your preference of beef, poultry, pork, fish or vegetarian.
(Unfortunately, all the meals are assembled in the same facility so you won’t want to order Blue Apron if you have a food allergy.)
Blue Apron posts the following week’s menu on the website or in the app a week in advance so you have the opportunity to choose your meals. With my plan of three meals per week, I can choose between six options.
Pricing We were a little unsure about the price tag, seeing as how the plan we chose equals about $20 per meal. In theory, that’s just as much as going out to dinner, but then you add-on tax, tip and possibly desert, so we figured it was still cheaper. The other thing we’ve noticed since using Blue Apron, is we only go to the grocery store once per week and have reduced the amount of money we spend on groceries. Since we’ve signed up we haven’t noticed a negative effect on our pocket-book and it’s forced us to eat at home instead of spending money at a restaurant.
Blue Apron has a couple meal plansto choose from depending on your family size and the number of meals you want to receive each week. Delivery is free so you don’t have to worry about any additional cost.
3 meals per week – 2 servings = $59.94
2 meals per week – 4 servings = $69.92
4 meals per week – 4 servings = $139.84
Freshness When researching Blue Apron, one of the benefits that really stood out was the food quality. Blue Apron has a direct relationship with farmers and suppliers so food is boxed and shipped at peak freshness with minimal time in transit. Another huge benefit (especially to my family) is all animals are raised without any added hormones or antibiotics.
You might be wondering how the food tastes, since it comes in a box…in the mail. (I know, it sounds a little crazy.) All food comes in a refrigerated box with ice packs to keep everything cold and fresh. So you don’t need to worry about being home when your box is delivered.
Prep Each box includes a recipe card with step-by-step instructions and color photos, which makes cooking the meal super easy. So far, every meal has been very easy to follow. One of the things I like most about Blue Apron is that all the ingredients are included. If you need a little splash of vinegar, it’s included. If you need one egg, it’s included. The only ingredients you have to provide yourself are olive oil, salt and pepper. What makes this so great is if I wanted to cook these meals on my own, it would cost me a lot more money to buy a whole jar of a certain spice I would never use again. This way, I get to try a unique recipe without committing to a bunch of ingredients that will end up sitting on the shelf.
I’m honestly not a fan of having to cut and prep all of the produce, mostly because it takes a lot of time and I always end up managing to cut myself! However, I will say that preparing everything has shown us new techniques and ways of preparing simple foods in a way I would have never thought before. I don’t know how many times I’ve said to my husband, “I never knew how easy it was to make a sauce” and “I would have never thought of using those ingredients together”. We’ve also learned about fancy techniques like “blanching”! Following these recipes has really opened our eyes to the way we prepare food and combine ingredients.
Blue Apron has an app that is pretty awesome. You can browse entire recipe collection, how-to videos and cooking tips. You can also use the app to customize your menu and manage your deliveries.
Bottom Line All of the meals (except for two) have been incredibly delicious. When I look at the menu for the following week, I’ll be honest that I’m not always excited about what is coming. But then the moment we sit down to eat, I’m always satisfied with what we’ve made. This experience has really opened our eyes on the types of meals we can make at home. Another benefit, is the meals are super healthy and are perfectly portioned so you don’t overeat. It’s been a great experience and we will continue to use Blue Apron moving forward.
The only complaint I have about Blue Apron is the amount of time it takes to cook each meal. As a working mom of a toddler, I look for fast and easy options when cooking. This whole process has opened my eyes to the variety of food I can cook for dinner, however, we don’t end up actually eating until 8 o’clock! The cooking process is really fun and provides a fun activity for my husband and I to do together. However, most of the time one of us is rushing around after our daughter while the other one is trying to prep all the ingredients. It would be nice if everything already came chopped and prepared, but then I guess you would lose in the freshness of your food and the experience of making the meal beginning to end.
If you would like to give Blue Apron a try, I have three free meals to give to five people. Comment below and I’ll send an email your way! If you already use Blue Apron, let us know about your experience.