Kitchen Concoctions

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Mexican Spiced Hot Chocolate Mix and Ice Skating Date Night

Disclosure: This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. AD #BeHealthyForEveryPartofLife #CollectiveBias 

Date night doesn't have to be boring and routine! Spice things up with a chilly night at the ice skating rink followed by some warm hot chocolate and fiery chili! Plus don't forget to check out my ice skating date night essentials

If you recall, one of my New Year's “goals” for 2015 was to make date night more consistent and at the same time not so routine. You see, as a couple, like I am sure for many of you, “date night” often consists of running errands and grabbing a quick bite to eat or take out and a movie on the couch.

Not that there is anything wrong with either of those things, in fact, I am a firm believer in building your relationship and taking time just for the two of you no matter how “big or small” the act of love is. However, challenging yourself and breaking out of the norm is how we grow as individuals and as couples!

Now that 2015 is almost over, I wanted to report back with our date night resolution and share one of our recent date night adventures. So how did we do? Well, we had lots of fun times in 2015! We went on a few vacations, one with some friends and one just the two of us. We went on several dates, again alone and with other friends, and in the end I'd say were rocking things just the two of us!

Even though we have a very strong relationship and are always on the go, one thing I still want to work on, is putting thought into our date nights, and not just “winging it” when we have a night off. Our approach to dating is still, “oh we have a night off let's see whats happenin' around town” but I'd rather there be a little bit of thought and planning so that we have something to look forward to; something fun to be excited about.

With that continuing to be a struggle, recently I put some thought into the date night planning, and with a recent cold front, decided an ice skating themed date was perfect for this time of year! It has been years (seriously not since we first started dating) since we went ice skating, so it was a great way to change up our usual date night! To get us excited, I put together an Ice Skating Date Night Survival Kit and gave it to Eric a week or so before our planned date day. Our kit had everything we needed for an afternoon spent on the cold ice skating rink and for dinner afterwards.

For my Ice Skating Date Night Survival Kit, I headed to Walmart to grab everything I needed. I wanted the kit to of course represent the theme of the date night, with cute ice skating knickknacks, like his and her's mittens and cozy socks, festive mugs and a spicy homemade hot cocoa mix, but I also wanted to include some practical items. Some of the more practical items included ChapStick Total Hydration, which I love because I my skin is always affected by cold weather and this instantly smooths and moisturizes my lips. Emergen-C to help us stay healthy the weeks leading up to date night and to overall make sure we have more healthy days and more healthy nights. I also included Advil Liqui-Gels (nothing’s faster on tough pain (among OTC pain relievers) Use as directed.), since we all know ice skating is quite rigorous and tough on the body; and because I had a number of spicy foods planned to help "warm us up" after a day on the ice, Nexium 24HR, with just one a day. All-day, all night frequent heartburn protection. (May take 1 to 4 days for full effect. Use as directed.).

I chose to package my date night items in a cute burlap bag, that I tied off with ribbon and an ice skating/snowflake ornaments that represented the theme of the night well. Other things you might want to include in your Ice Skating Date Night Survival Kit, is tickets or a brochure to the local ice skating rink, scarfs, breath mints, and if you are eating out, a gift certificate for a restaurant close to the ice rink.

To warm us up after a cold afternoon of fun, I threw a batch of chili in the slow cooker on our way out the door to be ready to enjoy when we got home. Then we sipped on Mexican Spiced Hot Chocolate, which is rich and chocolaty with warm spices, snuggled in fleece blankets on the back porch while we sat next to the fire pit, laughing and making s'mores late into the night. Seriously, the most fun night we have had in months! This night gave me the inspiration to want to continue these carefully planned themed date nights and I hope inspires YOU!

I've shared my creative winter date night with you, now I want to hear your ideas! What are some of your creative date night ideas? Please share in the comments below!

Mexican Spiced Hot Chocolate Mix
by Heather H. of Kitchen Concoctions:
Prep Time: 5-10 minutes Yields: 6 cups cocoa mix
Printable Version

Rich and chocolaty hot cocoa with warm spices. 

3 cups dry milk powder
1 ¼ cups unsweetened cocoa powder
2 cups powdered sugar
½ cup packed light brown sugar
1 ½ cups semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 tablespoon corn starch
3 teaspoons ground cinnamon
½ teaspoon cayenne powder, to taste

To make cocoa mix: Combine all ingredients in a large blender or food processor and pulse for 30-60 seconds, or until everything is well combined. Store hot chocolate mix in an air tight container, in a cool dark place, for up to six months.

To serve: Warm 1 to 1 ½ cups milk or water in the microwave or on the stove top until simmering. Place 1/3 cup of the cocoa mix in a mug and pour hot milk over cocoa mix. Stir until dissolved and enjoy!

Monday, November 23, 2015

Country Apple Dumplings

These Country Apple Dumplings are completely rustic and charming. Serve with creamy vanilla ice cream for a comforting fall dessert. 

I am a complete sucker for community cookbooks. You know the ones your kids make in Girl Scouts or are sold at church craft shows. Yeah those ones. I love 'em!

To me they are the best way to document the current time period and give you an idea of what people are really cooking... or at least were really cooking. It seems like these humble little books are quickly vanishing.

But to this day, I love visiting my Mom's house and seeing all these books, that we helped contribute to over the years, proudly line her kitchen bookshelf. And I love to sit down and carefully flip through each one, remembering this time or that long, lost friend and count how many recipes for Pumpkin Rolls or Cowboy Cookies dot each page of the same book.

It makes my heart swell as I read hear felt tributes to Mothers and Grandmothers, followed by simple, yet comforting recipes. These stories and recipes inspire me to blog and get in the kitchen and put updated twists on these classics. But occasionally, I want recreate some of these “old school” recipes exactly the way they were written (canned crescent rolls and lemon-lime soda and all!!!) because they remind me of the simpler time found in my youth.

This recipe is one of those “classics”. I'm sure your Mom or Grandma made these Country Apple Dumplings, and if not, you know someone's Mom who did, or you might even have a hand bound community cookbook or two with some variation of this recipe. I love this recipe because it is so simple and yet reminds me of some the things I created when I was first finding my way in the kitchen as an 8-year old girl. This recipe is by no means fancy or made from scratch, but it does evoke all kids of memories, which is what this season is all about!

One Year Ago: Three Bread Stuffin' Muffins
Two Years Ago: Crafty Concoctions: Felt Mitten Candy, Money or Gift Card Holders (Stocking Stuffer Idea!)
Three Years Ago: Lentil Bean Soup
Four Years Ago: Greek Burgers
Five Years Ago: Cheesy Turkey and Veggie Casserole
Six Years Ago: Stuffed Sweet Potatoes

Country Apple Dumplings
Prep Time: 15 minutes Cook Time: 30-40 minutes Serves: 8
Printable Version

Buttery, flaky dumplings filled with tart Granny Smith apples and baked in a sweet caramel sauce. 

2 large Granny Smith apples*
2 (8 count) cans refrigerated crescent rolls
½ cup unsalted butter
1 cup dark brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 ½ teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 can (12 ounce) lemon lime soda (orange juice or apple juice can be substituted)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a 9-inch deep dish pie plate or 9x9-inch square pan. Place pan on a baking sheet. Set aside.

Peel and core apples. Slice apples into eight equal pieces. 

Separate crescent rolls into 16 triangles.

Mix ½ cup brown sugar and ½ teaspoon cinnamon in small bowl and spread sugar mixture evenly over crescent rolls. Place a slice of apple on the wide bottom part of each crescent dough triangle. Starting at the bottom, roll up the apple slice in the dough, making sure the apple is completely enclosed in dough. Place dumplings in prepared pan.

In a small sauce pan, melt butter over medium heat. Stir in remaining brown sugar, cinnamon and vanilla. Cook, stirring occasionally, until sugar is melted and bubbly. Pour sugar over dumplings in pan. Pour soda (or juice, if using) over dumplings.

Bake in preheated 350 degree F oven for 30-40 minutes, or until dumplings are golden brown and sauce is bubbly. Serve immediately with vanilla ice cream!

*Note: Small Granny Smith Apples can be used, just add two apple slices to each crescent roll.

adapted from a community cookbook and variations found all over the web

Other recipes you might enjoy:
Apple and M&M's® Pecan Pie Sandwich Cookies with Maple Cream Cheese Filling
Apple Cake with Brown Sugar Glaze
Apple Spice Cupcakes w/ Brown Sugar Cream Cheese Frosting
Applesauce Spice Cake with Caramel Glaze
Caramel Apple Donuts

Friday, November 20, 2015

Sausage, Garlic and Herb Cheese Stuffed Mushrooms {Plus 5 Minute Antipasto Platter From Pantry Staples}

The holiday season is all about getting together with friends and loved ones! Today I am teaming up with Boursin® cheese to bring you two super simple party appetizers; savory sausage and cheese stuffed mushrooms, plus tips on how to put together an amazing antipasto platter from 
pantry staples.

Eric and I love to entertain. It brings us so much joy and happiness to bring together our friends and family under one roof to enjoy a good meal, have a heartfelt conversation and laugh until our sides hurt.

Whether it is a casual spur of the moment backyard s'mores and hot dog roast, or a large carefully planned dinner party revolving around a particular theme; we love making our friends and family feel welcomed and loved.

It brings us great joy to carefully plan the menu, the d├ęcor and we even enjoy the hustle and bustle to get our house ready for our guests. And even though entertaining can be stressful and overwhelming, especially during the holiday season when there is so much going on and so many get togethers, there are a few things that I have figured out over the years, that have helped me pull off great dinner parties.

Like, get people to help (I am totally not afraid to ask dinner guests to “chip in” by bringing a dish or help with the clean up), prepping a little here and there over the week leading up to the dinner, creating a menu and taking at least two items off (I tend to over plan my dinner menus) and having an arsenal of “back pocket” appetizer recipes.

You see, despite carefully planning, sometimes, the spur of the moment get togethers, a friend passing through town or a last minute change of plans calling for game night in with friends, are some of the best moments. And even though these get togethers may be less organized than I would like, I still like to feed my guests even if it is just a few quickly thrown together appetizers or snacks.

In fact, some of my favorite party foods are simple appetizers. I love a good veggie tray and who doesn't love chips and salsa or a nice dip or cheese platter with crackers. In addition to being a fan favorite, these things are easy to whip together in a pinch. I also love throwing together a simple, yet amazing, antipasto platter using common pantry and fridge items. Got pickles, crackers, olives, deli meat, fresh fruits or veggies and cheese, like Boursin® Monterey Jack & Spicy Pepper Cheese Dip and Garlic and Fine Herbs Cheese? Then you have the makings of a supreme, no fuss, five minute antipasto platter! Even though these items are always in our kitchen, I always like to pick up extra when I am shopping at Walmart, you know for those surprise guests and especially during the holidays when you need quick appetizers to bring to holiday parties.

Our most recent dinner party was friendsgiving. I love that Eric and started this tradition several years ago and it has become an annual expectation favorite of our friends. Since it is friendsgiving, everyone must help and chip in and I love seeing our "assorted" spread of food (this year someone even brought store bought coleslaw, lol!). Stuffed mushrooms are another quick go to appetizer option and one of the many "expected" friendsgiving appetizers. These Sausage, Garlic and Herb Cheese Stuffed Mushrooms only have six ingredients and come together in less than 30 minutes, making them a fantastic "back pocket" dinner party recipe!

What are your “go to” appetizers for entertaining? Please share in the comments below!

Sausage, Garlic and Herb Cheese Stuffed Mushrooms 
By Heather H. of Kitchen Concoctions:
Prep Time: 10 minutes Cook Time: 12-15 minutes Serves: 4-6
Printable Version

Savory sausage and cheese stuffed mushrooms with a buttery, herb breadcrumb topping. 

1 (8-ounce) package white button or baby portobello mushrooms
½ pound spicy Italian sausage
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 tablespoons chopped fresh herbs (flat leaf parsley, thyme, rosemary, etc.)
½ cup Panko breadcrumbs
1 (5.2 ounce) package Boursin® Garlic and Fine Herbs Cheese
¼ teaspoon each Kosher salt and black pepper

Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with foil. Spray foil with cooking spray. Set aside.
Clean mushrooms by wiping them down with a damp paper towel. Carefully remove the mushroom stems and discard. Set prepared mushrooms aside.

Meanwhile, heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add sausage and cook, breaking the meat up with a spatula, until cooked through and no longer pink, about 5-6 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer cooked sausage to a paper towel lined plate and set aside.

Add butter to skillet and melt over medium heat. Add breadcrumbs to melted butter and cook for 1-2 minutes. Stir in chopped fresh herbs and half of the salt and black pepper. Cook for an additional 1-2 minutes or until breadcrumbs are golden brown. Remove toasted breadcrumbs from heat and set aside. In a small bowl, stir together the cooked sausage, cheese, and remaining salt and black pepper. Place the mushrooms stem side up on prepared baking sheet. Stuff each mushroom with about ½ tablespoon cheese mixture. Top cheese with herb breadcrumbs. Bake in preheated 425 degree F oven for 8-10 minutes, or until cheese is hot and bubbly. Serve immediately.

5 Minute Antipasto Platter From Pantry Staples 
By Heather H. of Kitchen Concoctions:

Pantry Items:
Bread sticks
Gourmet cookies
Dried fruit (figs, mango, apricot)

Refrigerated Items:
Deli meats, summer sausage or pepperoni
Boursin® Monterey Jack and Spicy Pepper Cheese Dip and Garlic and Fine Herbs Cheese
Fresh seasonal fruit (grapes, berries, apple or pear slices, premiums, pomegranate seeds)
Fresh vegetables (cucumbers, carrot and celery sticks, mini bell peppers)

Serving Utensils:
Serving platter or wooden cutting board
Small bowls
Cheese knives
Small serving spoons
Small tongs

Do you have a great party recipe using Boursin® cheese, found at Walmart? Share your recipe on Instagram for your chance to win some great prizes. Check out all the contest details, plus some other great recipes here!

Disclosure: This post is sponsored by Boursin® Cheese. All thoughts and opinions are my own. Thanks to sponsors like  Boursin® Cheese I am able to continue to bring you all the content I feature here. 

Thursday, November 19, 2015

Chocolate Mousse Pie

Chocolate mousse is a rich and decadent dessert. This pie version, with chocolate cookie crust and whipped cream topping, is more luscious and sinful, making it the perfect dessert for any holiday or special occasion! 

Last year on my birthday, I wrote a long poignant blog post about the meaning of life. About being grateful for the little things. About surrounding yourself with good, positive people. About enjoying a cup of coffee on a chilly fall morning or a beautiful Texas sunset.

I wrote that despite what I thought life was supposed to be like in your teens, 20's or 30's (because I have spent a good amount of my days, day dreaming as to what the next year of my life should be like); that I finally realized life is unpredictable and about living in the moment. And being happy. Truly, truly happy.

Today as I reflect on the past year and dream about the future, “living life to the fullest,” “living in the moment” and “chasing dreams”... well, couldn't radiate with me more. You see right before my birthday six years ago, I took a leap of faith, quit my steady office job, to fully pursue my passion and continue to develop my career in food (I worked in the food and beverage industry for five years before dedicating my life for two years to said office job).

This year, I am taking a leap again, to dive deeper into my passions. I'm not quite sure what this means, other than hopefully to be less stressed, be more in control of my own destiny and ultimately be more happy.

My passion for cooking/food is steadfast and unwavering. I am excited to continue to learn and grow in this field, and I hope that I will continue to love cooking and yearn to learn as much as I can. My goal is to take on new challenges, continue to do what I love and hopefully explore more passions that are not food related.

I have no idea what the next year of my life will entail, except that I am ready to take on new, unexpected challenges, hope to love and laugh more and seize every day!

While most, myself included, think cake is the unspoken birthday treat, I am changing that up this year as well! This Chocolate Mousse Pie is absolutely divine and such a decadent dessert, that if you are a self proclaimed chocolate lover, like myself, then this is hands down the only dessert for you! 

One Year Ago: Applesauce Spice Cake with Caramel Glaze
Two Years Ago: Cheddar Herb Biscuits 
Three Years Ago: One Bowl Chocolate Cupcakes (Eggless)
Four Years Ago: Pilgrim Hat Cupcakes
Five Years Ago: Leftover Turkey (or chicken) Creamy Enchiladas
Six Years Ago: Chocolate Cake 

Chocolate Mousse Pie 
Prep Time: 30-40 minutes Wait Time: 6-8 hours Serves: 8-10
Printable Version

Rich chocolate mousse transformed into a decadent pie. 

Chocolate Cookie Crust:
2 cups chocolate animal crackers or 2 sleeves chocolate graham crackers
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

Chocolate Mousse:
5 ounces semi-sweet or bitter-sweet chocolate, coarsely chopped
1 cup cold heavy whipping cream
3 large egg whites, at room temperature

Whipped Cream:
1 ¼ cups cold heavy whipping cream
2 tablespoon powdered sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 (1-ounce) piece semi-sweet chocolate, for garnish

Chocolate Cookie Crust: Place cookies in food processor and blend until fine cookie crumbs are formed. Add melted butter, and pulse food processor 3-4 additional times. Spray a 9-inch deep dish pie plate with baking spray and press the cookie crumb mixture into the bottom and up the sides of the pie plate. Place pie plate in freezer to chill for 10-15 minutes.

Chocolate Mousse: Place chocolate in a large glass bowl. Place ¼ cup heavy cream in a separate small glass bowl. Microwave cream for 30-60 seconds, or until simmering but not boiling. Pour simmering cream over chocolate and let stand for 30 seconds to 1 minute. Whisk warm cream and chocolate until a smooth and creamy. Set aside.

Place the egg whites in a clean and dry bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment. Mix on high for 3-4 minutes or until stiff peaks form. Egg whites should be shiny and firm, not dry. Transfer egg whites to a medium bowl and set aside. (Alternatively, you can whip the whites in a large bowl, with a hand held mixer with the whisk attachment.)

Clean and dry the whisk attachment and mixer bowl. Place the remaining 3/4 cup of heavy whipping cream in the bowl and whisk on high speed until stiff peaks form, about 1-2 minutes.

Using a rubber spatula, fold half of the whipped cream into the melted chocolate. Fold in remaining whipped cream. Gently fold egg whites into the chocolate-cream mixture, folding just until there are no longer any white streaks of whipped cream or egg white (do not overmix).

Pour chocolate mousse into the prepared pie crust and smooth it into an even layer. Refrigerate uncovered until set, at least 2-3 hours.

Whipped Cream: Chill a large metal or glass bowl and wire whisk in the freezer for 15 minutes.

Once bowl is chilled, add heavy cream, powdered sugar and vanilla to bowl. Using a large hand held whisk or an electric mixer, whip cream until it begins to thicken. Continue to whip cream until soft peaks begin to form. Use caution and do not over mix.

Once chocolate mousse has chilled for 2-3 hours, pour whipped cream over chocolate mousse and spread into a smooth even layer. Chill pie for an additional 2-3 hours before serving.

To garnish, hold the remaining piece of chocolate with a paper towel in one hand and use a vegetable peeler to shave the desired amount over the top of the pie. 

Adapted from  

Other recipes you might enjoy: 
Turtle Pumpkin Pie
Chocolate Peanut Butter Mousse Pie
Chocolate Bar Pie
Hazelnut-French Silk Turtle Pie
Chocolate Pecan Pie

Monday, November 16, 2015

Braised Bratwursts with Dr Pepper Mustard and Caramelized Onions

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser, Dr Pepper. All opinions are my own. #OneOfAKindFan

Nothing screams fall more than football! Celebrate your favorite team with game day tailgating and some football eats! These Braised Bratwursts with Dr Pepper Mustard and Caramelized Onions are cooked to perfection and will surely be a fan favorite!

Growing up we were never a big sports family. Sure, every summer we would go to at least one baseball game, and every fall and spring until my brother was about 10, we spent Saturday mornings cheering him on at his soccer and baseball games; but other than that, sports really weren't our thing. In fact, I don't ever remember my dad kicking back to watch a football game on a Saturday or Sunday afternoon.

Despite not growing up in a sports loving family, of course when I was in high school, the lure and excitement of the infamous “Friday night lights” was too hard to pass up! Hangin' with my friends to cheer on my other friends was what the fall semester was all about.

Then I went off to college in a small town, where again, football was EVERYTHING! It was there, as I tried to find my way in that big university, that the weekly football games became a way to fit in, to make friends and to have fun in that small town.

Ever since then, I have been a super fan of my favorite college team, keeping up with the weekly score and at least enough stats to know how “my team” is doing and to carry on a conversation with other football fanatics; you know, because when it comes to football, everyone has an opinion! LOL!

But to be honest, that's what I love! No matter what team you are cheering for, what color is plastered all over your home and body, or even the fun little rivalries between friends while cheering on competing teams, football brings us all together, and yet makes us each one of a kind!

Whether bonding over mutual teams, or a spread of favorite football snacks, football season brings on the fun! Even though my college years are behind me, several of my friends and family love to get together at least a few times during the fall to get in on all the football excitement! Even though our football watching parties look a little different than they did “way back when” they are still loads of fun!

Recently when I was planning one of our get-togethers, I was shopping for supplies at Target, and picked up some Dr Pepper to have on hand. As I was stocking our cooler with the Dr Pepper, and the wheels in my head were turning about our game day menu, I was inspired by the Dr Pepper to create this twist on a tailgating favorite, Braised Bratwursts with Dr Pepper Mustard and Caramelized Onions! This meal is simple (even with the homemade mustard!) yet absolutely perfect! It was a fantastic way to cheer on our favorite team!

Braised Bratwursts with Dr Pepper Mustard and Caramelized Onions
by Heather H. of Kitchen Concoctions:
Prep Time: 15 minutes Wait Time: 6-8 hours Cook Time: 30 minutes Serves: 6
Printable Version

Juicy Dr Pepper braised bratwursts with a spicy Dr Pepper mustard and sweet Dr Pepper caramelized onions.

Dr Pepper Mustard:
½ cup yellow mustard seeds
½ cup Dr Pepper
¼ cup apple cider vinegar
½ teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1 teaspoon dry mustard powder

Caramelized Onions:
1 tablespoon grapeseed or canola oil
1 tablespoon butter
2 large yellow onions, thinly sliced
½ teaspoon kosher salt
1/3 cup

Dr Pepper Bratwursts:
1 tablespoon grapeseed or canola oil
6 bratwursts
½ cup Dr Pepper
6 large hoagie rolls, for serving

For Mustard: In a medium sized glass bowl, stir together mustard seeds, Dr Pepper and vinegar. Tightly cover bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 6-8 hours.

After refrigeration, stir salt, brown sugar and mustard powder into mustard seeds. Pour mixture into a food processor or blender and pulse on high for 60 seconds, or until desired consistency is reached. Add additional Dr Pepper, if needed, to help with the blending process. Serve immediately or refrigerate for up to two weeks.

For Caramelized Onions:
In a large skillet, heat oil and butter over medium-high heat. Add the sliced onions and ½ teaspoon salt; saute for 12-15 minutes, stirring occasionally, or until soft and caramelized.

Stir in the Dr Pepper. Reduce heat to medium and cook until most of the liquid has evaporated and reduced, about 4-5 minutes. Remove from heat and set aside.

For Bratwursts:
Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add bratwursts and cook, turning once, until well browned, about 3-4 minutes per side. Add Dr Pepper to skillet and reduce heat to a medium low. Cover and cook, flipping occasionally, until sausages are fully cooked, about 12-15 minutes.

For Serving: Slice hoagie rolls in half and spread a generous amount of Dr Pepper mustard onto both sides of each hoagie roll. Add cooked bratwursts and top with caramelized onions. Serve immediately.

Stock up on Dr Pepper, using the special Target Cartwheel offer, to help you celebrate your favorite team! From Nov. 1 - Dec. 12, use Cartwheel to receive 5% off of 12-packs and 2-liters of Dr Pepper or 10% off of 6 or 8-packs of bottles and cans. Then show Dr Pepper how you are one of a kind fan for your chance to win! From Nov. 2 - Dec. 13, those who upload an Instagram photo showing how they are a #OneOfAKindFan of Dr Pepper will be entered for a chance to win a $100 Target GiftCard™. A winner will be awarded each week. Must be 18 or older to enter. For more great recipe ideas using Dr Pepper please visit this site

Dr Pepper #OneOfAKindFan Photo Sweepstakes


Sunday, November 15, 2015

Dishin' It Up! - 5 Quotes About Gratitude and Thanksgiving

As we approach Thanksgiving I am always reminded about what this season is really all about. As much as I love a perfectly smoked turkey, my Grandmother's cornbread stuffing and my Mom's world famous pies, it is the time spent with loved ones and the opportunity to ponder on my many blessings and truly be grateful, is the true reason for the season.

This year especially, due to the unfortunate turmoil the state of the world is in and the tragic events transpiring on a daily basis, my heart is heavy and I find it even more urgent to stop and reflect. I hope this holiday season we all take time to cherish our loved ones and stop to give thanks.

Friday, November 13, 2015

Summer Sausage and Potato Gnocchi with Peas and Mushrooms {Plus a Giveaway!}

Dinner time can be super stressful especially during this busy time of year! Today I am teaming up with Old Wisconsin® to bring you a quick and easy skillet dinner, filled with plump summer sausage, creamy potato gnocchi, sweet peas and earthy mushrooms, that is absolutely delish!

A few weeks ago I went with a friend of mine and her Mom on a weekend crafting retreat. These are always fun because you stay up way late laughing and talking and hope in the end you have a beautiful craft to show for your hours held up in a small crafting room.

Since we were there for two days, we were able to talk a lot and about so many different topics One of the conversations that took place was about a craft blog that my friend's Mom reads on a regular bases. My friend's Mom was saying that the blogger always talked about “being super busy” and thus the reason they hadn't blogged in awhile.

I had to laugh because I have said this exact thing so many times, but never thought how you, the reader, interpreted it. For my friend's Mom, she felt the blogger was burdened by her blog. But usually when I am mentioning how busy I am, it is because I really am super busy, but the complete opposite is the case, I am bummed that I haven't had time to play in the kitchen and share anything with you all. For me this blog is not a burden at all, but something I love, however, unfortunately sometimes life gets busy and I can't devote as much time as I would like to it, and I truly miss it and all of you!

I also mention when I am so busy, because not only does it dictate how much I blog and interact on social media, but what I am making in the kitchen. When I am super busy it is quick and easy meals, like today's recipe, to the rescue. If I can get in and out of the kitchen on a busy weeknight in under 30 minutes (from prep to clean up) then that recipe is a winner!

Well I am happy to say that this skillet dinner is a winner and a will be a huge lifesaver during the next few months, which can get a bit crazy due to holiday festivities! And even though there are mushrooms, it is totally family friendly! No really! Kids love mushrooms especially when mixed with naturally hardwood-smoked and naturally seasoned Old Wisconsin®  Summer Sausage and creamy potato gnocchi!

Summer Sausage and Potato Gnocchi with Peas and Mushrooms
by Heather H. of Kitchen Concoctions:
Prep Time: 5 minutes Cook Time: 15 minutes Serves: 6
Printable Version

Plump summer sausage, creamy potato gnocchi, sweet peas and earthy mushrooms come together for a quick skillet dinner. 

1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1 medium yellow onion, diced
1 (8-ounce) package Old Wisconsin® Summer Sausage (turkey or beef), diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
4 ounces sliced white button mushrooms
1 ½ cups frozen petite peas, thawed
½ cup cup reduced sodium chicken or vegetable broth
1 (17.5 ounce) package potato gnocchi
1/4 teaspoons each salt and black pepper
1/3 grated Parmesan cheese, for serving

Melt butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add onions and cooking stirring occasionally for 5-6 minutes or until the onions become translucent. Stir in the summer sausage and cook for 2-3 minutes. Add garlic and mushrooms cook for an additional 1-2 minutes. Stir in peas and broth. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer uncovered for 3-4 minutes.

Meanwhile, bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add potato gnocchi and boil for 2-3 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer cooked gnocchi to skillet. Add approximately ½ cup of the warm pasta water to the sausage and vegetables in the skillet. Cook for an additional 1-2 minutes, add salt (if needed) and black pepper ,then serve topped with freshly grated Parmesan cheese.

*Note: Fresh shelled peas, frozen peas or canned peas will all work well in this recipe. If using canned drain and rinse before using.

Do you love getting in the kitchen and testing new recipes? Do you have a “delish” recipe idea using Buddig/Old Wisconsin®  products and this month's secret ingredient, potatoes? Enter the Buddig/Old Wisconsin® #MakeItDelish Recipe Contest, where you have a chance to win $10,000! Think you have the winning recipe? Hurry and enter because the contest ends on December 31. For more information visit the #MakeItDelish Recipe Contest website. For more recipe ideas, check out Buddig and Old Wisconsin® online and like them both on Facebook (Buddig Facebook and Old Wisconsin® Facebook).

Now that I have made you all hungry and got your creative juices flowing, how about a giveaway! Use the widget below to enter to win the following Buddig/Old Wisconsin®  prize pack!

Prize Pack Includes:
  • 1 branded lunch bag 
  • 1 branded shopping tote 
  • 1 branded pencil case 
  • 1 Free Old Wisconsin coupon (up to $5) 
  • 1 Free Buddig 2 oz. coupon (up to $.99) 
  • 1 Free Buddig 16 oz. coupon (up to $4.99) 
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Disclosure: This post was made possible by iConnect: Influencer Management and Buddig. I was compensated for my time, but all opinions are 100% mine. #MakeItDelish 
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