WFMW: Oreo Magic Brownies

Recipe for Oreo Magic Brownies

As I was working on some blog planning today, I realized that I missed a big day. National Oreo Day was last month, apparently. And we missed it!

Since I love all things Oreo and cookies-and-cream-flavored, this is indeed sad. Since I’ve rejoined Weight Watchers, this is probably for the best. (Although, looking at this completely objectively and logically, Oreo Day DID take place well before my first WW meeting…)

Still, once I got Oreos on the mind, I couldn’t stop thinking about all the delicious Oreo desserts I’ve made. It’s not a good idea for me to make one right now, but that won’t keep me from sharing an AMAZING recipe with you. YOU can make it!

(Please. Let me enjoy these brownies vicariously?)

So, let me introduce you to Oreo Magic Brownies. “Magic,” because they are magically delicious. SO GOOD. Seriously. Make them now! (And then tell me about it. No, wait, don’t. No! Do! Tell me how good they are!)

Oreo Magic Brownies

Original source: Cookies & Cups

1 box brownie mix and ingredients needed according to the package directions
1 (16.6 oz.) package Oreo cookies, divided equally into thirds, coarsely chopped
1 (8 oz.) tub of Cool Whip, thawed in fridge
8 oz. cream cheese, softened
2 cups powdered sugar
1½ cups semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 tbsp vegetable oil

Prepare brownies just like the package says, then add 1/3 of the chopped Oreos. Bake according to your package directions, and then let the brownies cool completely. Mix the cream cheese, powdered sugar and Cool Whip together, then add in another 1/3 of the chopped Oreos. Spread this mixture on top of the brownies.

Melt the chocolate chips and oil in the microwave (medium for about one minute should do it, stirring every 30 seconds or so). Spread or drizzle melted chocolate over the cream cheese layer, and then sprinkle the remaining Oreos on top. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.

And then? Then ENJOY. Happy belated Oreo Day!

Do you like Oreos?

 
Works for Me Wednesday :: Giving Up on Perfect

It’s time for Works for Me Wednesday. I’m looking forward to your tips, tricks, ideas and inspiration! If this is your first time linking up with WFMW here, PLEASE read the guidelines I shared in this post. Highlights include linking your specific post, not the front page of your blog, and making sure to include a link back to this site in your WFMW. Thank you!!

WFMW: Make-Ahead Mini Quiches

Recipe for Make-Ahead Mini Quiches via GivingUpOnPerfect.com

I am not a morning person. [People who have lived with me, feel free to hashtag that with #understatement...]

I’m not. I like staying up late and do it even when I shouldn’t, even when I have to get up early (or what morning people call “late”). So mornings are not my friend. But I’ve learned that breakfast – that meal that insists on taking place in the hateful morning – makes or breaks my day.

At least when it comes to diet. If I eat a lousy breakfast – or, even worse, skip it altogether – I can guarantee I’m not eating a salad for lunch or a piece of fruit for a snack. I probably won’t even drink any water. And by the evening, I’m bloated and miserable and so frustrated that one more day was wasted with bad health choices.

But if I start the day with a good breakfast – something healthy that will stick with me, keep me full for a few hours – I’m a whole lot more likely to make better choices throughout the rest of the day. And who doesn’t want to make more healthy choices?!

The problem is that, even though I know all this, I still hate mornings. And dragging myself from bed to couch (or bed to nursery to couch) is the best I can do for those first 30 minutes or so of my day. So cooking up a plate full of protein (aka, scrambled eggs and turkey sausage) or whipping up a low-fat fruity smoothie? IS JUST TOO MUCH WORK.

Still, I need to figure this thing out. I can’t keep driving through McDonald’s and wondering why the scale only moves up. Plus, I need to do better for my girls. I need to feed them better (not that they’re complaining about cheerios or chocolatey protein breakfast bars), and I need to set a good example for them. All that said, I’ve been on the hunt for healthy make-ahead breakfast solutions the past few months.

The first make-ahead breakfast recipe I decided to try was for “Omelet and Potato Breakfast Bites.” After researching the definitions of “omelet,” “quiche” and “frittata” (Yep. That’s how dedicated I am to providing you with the best information. Or, I’m a nerd. Whatever.), I decided these lean more toward the quiche end of egg dishes.

So – Make-Ahead Mini Quiches it is! But, really, you can [obviously] call them anything you want. Just don’t call them late to breakfast. Oh, shoot! What a terrible joke! I tried to resist, you guys, I did.

ANYWAY. I tried these this week, and they are super easy and very tasty. Another recipe I read said that, no matter what other ingredients you add, green onions are a must. Since I didn’t have any on hand and found my mini quiches a teensy bit bland, I’m going to make sure I don’t make that mistake again. Or I’ll add bacon. Or BOTH…

Make-Ahead Mini Quiches

Make-Ahead Mini Quiches

24 tater tots
8 eggs
1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup shredded cheese
1 cup meats and veggies, diced

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees, then microwave the [frozen] tater tots. Grease muffin tin with baking spray, then put three tater tots in each cup. Smash them down (with the bottom of a small cup or, if you like, a baby bottle that you just washed because washing bottles never ends) into a potato crust. Bake for 10 minutes.

While the potatoes are baking, mix together eggs and milk. Season with salt and pepper if you’d like. Once the potatoes are cooked, sprinkle meat and veggies in each cup. Pour egg mixture over each cup and top with shredded cheese. Bake for 30 minutes or until egg is completely cooked.

I put turkey sausage and red pepper in my little quiches, but next time I’m definitely trying bacon and green onion. I’m also considering trying it without the tater tots (to make up for adding the bacon!). I refrigerated mine because I knew we’d eat them the next morning, but you can certainly freeze them and microwave individually for a fast, healthy breakfast.

Make-ahead breakfast foods definitely work for me!

What’s your favorite breakfast food?

 
Works for Me Wednesday :: Giving Up on Perfect

It’s time for Works for Me Wednesday. I’m looking forward to your tips, tricks, ideas and inspiration! If this is your first time linking up with WFMW here, PLEASE read the guidelines I shared in this post. Highlights include linking your specific post, not the front page of your blog, and making sure to include a link back to this site in your WFMW. Thank you!!

WFMW: Mango Salsa & Chicken Quesadillas

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Last week Annalyn and I did something fun. We went to a Kids in the Kitchen cooking class at the Culinary Center of Kansas City with the National Mango Board. And it was a blast!

Annalyn was So! Excited! to be doing something out of the ordinary, smack dab in the middle of the week – and that was even before she got a second smoothie and learned how to cut up a mango.

[Yes, I let her wield a knife. And yes, there’s an easy way to cut up a mango. You can find a video and instructions at the National Mango Board website.]

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Annalyn’s a bit of a nerd – I mean, good student – like me, so she loved learning facts about this new-to-us fruit. [Yes, that's right. Not only had my daughter never eaten mango, but neither had I. I feel like I've probably had mango-flavored something or other, but an actual piece of fresh mango? I hadn't had the pleasure.]

So, before we got to do any actual cooking (but after trying a delicious mango banana smoothie!), we learned a few things about mangos.

First, we learned that mangos are low calorie (just 100 per cup), and provide 100% of your daily vitamin C, 35% of your daily vitamin A and 12% of your daily fiber. Next we found out that mangos are available year-round because different varieties are in season at different times of the year. They are actually the world’s most popular fruit!

Lastly, we learned how to pick a good mango. It turns out that the color of a mango isn’t the best clue. Red doesn’t mean ripe. Instead, to find a ripe mango, squeeze it gently. A ripe mango will feel slightly soft like an avocado or peach. You can find out more about our new favorite fruit at www.mango.org.

Next up? The cooking part of the cooking class! We made chicken quesadillas and enjoyed them with a sweet and savory mango salsa. It was SO good.

The quesadillas were pretty basic (but still delicious): chicken with salsa or tomato sauce with adobe peppers, green onions, red peppers and shredded cheese. You can find the step-by-step recipe at the National Mango Board site. The star of the show, as our teacher said, is the mango salsa.

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Here’s the recipe for that mango salsa:

1 medium jalapeno pepper, stemmed, seeded and minced
2/3 cup diced red bell pepper
1/3 cup diced red onion
2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
3 large ripe mangos, peeled, pitted and diced

Stir together all the ingredients in a big bowl. Refrigerate overnight if you can; the salsa gets better the longer the ingredients sit together.

Oh, by the way, Adrienne wasn’t about to be left out of our cooking class/mango excitement. I used my newly acquired dicing skills to cut up a mango for her the next day. She could hardly eat it fast enough and was Not! Happy! when it was all gone!

baby with mango

Trying new foods, cooking classes, and mangos work for us!

Have you tried any new foods lately?

Disclosure: This post and our participation in the cooking class is part of a campaign with The Motherhood. All mango love and excitement is my own, though!
 
Works for Me Wednesday :: Giving Up on Perfect

It’s time for Works for Me Wednesday. I’m looking forward to your tips, tricks, ideas and inspiration! If this is your first time linking up with WFMW here, PLEASE read the guidelines I shared in this post. Highlights include linking your specific post, not the front page of your blog, and making sure to include a link back to this site in your WFMW. Thank you!!

WFMW: The Best Way to Cook Bacon

The Best Way to Cook Bacon

The best tip I’ve ever learned from the interwebs? How to cook bacon.

I grew up thinking the proper method for frying bacon was in the microwave. It works for my mom, but even when I used the special microwave bacon plate, I couldn’t get it right. My husband is a proponent of frying bacon in a skillet on the stove. Personally, I prefer to avoid being spattered with boiling lava, I mean, bacon grease.

So for many years, I didn’t cook bacon. Which is sad because that means I didn’t eat bacon. (Well, you know, good for my arteries. But sad for my taste buds – and my husband who lives by the motto, “Bacon makes everything better.”)

Then I read about baking bacon. And it changed my life. Maybe I was the last person to learn about this. Maybe you’ve been baking your bacon for years. But just in case you don’t know about this, I’m here to change your life, too.

Here’s how you do it:

1. Line a cookie sheet with foil.
2. Place thick-sliced bacon in one layer on the sheet. Do not overlap slices.
3. Turn oven to 400 degrees (don’t preheat). Put the bacon in the oven.
4. Check it after 15 minutes, but it might take closer to 20 minutes.
5. Place on paper towels and blot. (I know. Ew. But…bacon.)
6. Enjoy perfectly cooked, crispy bacon!

What’s your favorite way to cook (or eat!) bacon?

 
Works for Me Wednesday :: Giving Up on Perfect

It’s time for Works for Me Wednesday. I’m looking forward to your tips, tricks, ideas and inspiration! If this is your first time linking up with WFMW here, PLEASE read the guidelines I shared in this post. Highlights include linking your specific post, not the front page of your blog, and making sure to include a link back to this site in your WFMW. Thank you!!

Family Recipe Friday: White Chicken Chili

Recipe for White Chicken Chili

It’s been a while since my brother shared one of his ah-maze-ing recipes with us. Back in the fall, he brought a pot of this white chicken chili to Annalyn’s birthday party. You guys? It was SO GOOD. As I told Smitty, “It looks kind of gross, but it is DELICIOUS.” So of course I asked him to write it up for you. You’re welcome!

Is there anything more relaxing than breaking bones with your own hands? It’s not morbid, I promise. Hear me out: I don’t buy refrigerated, whole chickens. They are too expensive, and quite frankly, too much work to butter and stuff with herbs and lemons and onions. I don’t have time for cooking a whole chicken from raw. Nobody I know has time for that!

Well…that’s not true. I knew one person who had time for that, but she was crazy, and we aren’t friends anymore because she was crazy.

Don’t be crazy, just buy whole, rotisserie (re: already cooked!) chickens at the store and enjoy cracking and ripping that little chicken carcass apart, because in the end, all you’re looking for is some tasty chicken meat. And rotisserie chicken meat is DARN tasty.

Editor’s note: I agree, friends. This is gross. Should I ever find myself in need of this chili so badly that I make it for myself (as opposed to waiting for James to make it), I will use boneless, skinless chicken breasts. Because, ew.

Recipe for White Chicken Chili

Before starting your big batch of White Chicken Chili, you need to dismember two chickens. You can do this after the chickens have been refrigerated for a bit, or right after you get home from the store. Hot or cold doesn’t really make a difference. I’ve done it both ways; it handled the same.

While you have your cutting board out (and after you’ve cleaned off the chicken jelly, which is a great moisturizer for those dry, winter knuckles) cut up a couple of large onions. I like a fine dice. I’ll explain why later.

Recipe for White Chicken Chili

While you’re cutting, let me tell you about this White Chicken Chili. I got the recipe when I was working at a church, and before some all-church caroling, there was a chili cook-off. Everyone gathered together, brought their Crockpots (which promptly blew a circuit breaker) and enjoyed taking little Dixie cups of chili to taste and judge. This white chicken chili was BY FAR my favorite, but it came in second. I think the voting was rigged!

Editor’s note (yes, again): You may recall that I’ve previously posted a recipe for white chicken chili. It’s good, it is. But this? IS WAY BETTER.

Now that your onion is finely diced, throw it into a skillet with 2 tablespoons of butter. If you’re a first timer with my recipes I’ll make a point just for you: brown the onions. I don’t mean until they are translucent, or wilted, or slightly gummy. I mean brown. Real brown. Super brown. Take them to the brink of burning, then take them off the heat. BROWN!

Recipe for White Chicken Chili

After you’ve browned the onions, start your flour and butter roux in a big, heavy-bottom pot. Once you’ve cooked off the raw flour flavor, add the chicken stock and half and half – because full, heavy cream would just be too much, ya know? Basically, if you’ve made homemade macaroni and cheese, you are quite comfortable up to this point. But wait, there’s more: add the onion to the roux/chicken stock/half and half mixture.

This will look gross, but if you diced your onions finely (like you were supposed to) and browned them an appropriate amount of time, they should dissolve into the liquid and the grossness will disappear quickly. Heat this until it is obviously thicker (a.k.a. can coat the back of a spoon). This might sound sarcastic, but the original recipe actually says, “It will obviously be thicker.” Oh. All right, know-it-all recipe.

Some drained white beans, drained green chilies, the chicken, and Monterrey Jack cheese are tossed in with everything else and stirred. So far, you should have a big, gooey mess. Give it some time. Like any good chili, it looks (and tastes) better after a few minutes – or hours in the Crockpot. If it’s too thick for you, add some more chicken stock, a 1/4 cup at a time.

The cheese is the biggest part of this recipe I changed from the original. I, of course, added more than was called for. Because, you can never have too much cheese. Duh.

Recipe for White Chicken Chili

The next step is my favorite: adding the spices. The spices are what makes this smell SO good! I substitute the chili powder with chipotle chili powder. It’s a bit smokier and gives the chili a lovely, pink hue. However, if you aren’t that fancy, feel free to use plain ole chili powder. There’s also pepper, salt, cumin, and hot sauce.

I’m not a big fan of spice, so I only add the specified amount of hot sauce. If your tongue and family can take the spice, by all means shake that bottle till you get carpal tunnel.

Recipe for White Chicken Chili

This will cook and bubble together for about 20 minutes. After that, you drop in a dollop of sour cream and stir. I have no idea why you have to wait to add the sour cream. If someone has an answer to that, I’d love to know. I’ve added it, THEN simmered and there was no difference in taste, but it sounds cooler to “finish” the chili with sour cream.

Serve immediately, or – like this single person – put it in sealed, plastic containers for the refrigerator or freezer. It makes a lot and reheats super well.

There you have it. Another buttery, onion-y, somewhat violent recipe from your favorite blogger’s brother that will definitely be tasty and please a crowd!

Recipe for White Chicken Chili

White Chicken Chili

INGREDIENTS:

2 rotisserie chickens, skinned, boned, and chopped
2 large onions, chopped
1 stick unsalted butter
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
3/4 cup low-sodium chicken broth, plus more if chili is too thick
2 cups half and half
16 oz can white beans
2 4-oz cans whole, mild green chilies, drained and chopped
2 cup grated Monterey Jack
1 tsp Tabasco
1 1/2 tsp chipotle chili powder, or chili powder
1 1/2 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
1/2 cup sour cream

INSTRUCTIONS:

  1. In a skillet, cook the onion with 2 Tbsp of butter until browned.
  2. In a heavy pot, large enough to hold all the ingredients, melt remaining 6 tablespoons of butter over moderately low heat and whisk in flour. Cook the roux, whisking constantly, for three minutes.
  3. Into the roux, gradually add the broth and half and half, then the browned onion whisking constantly. Bring mixture to a boil and simmer, stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes or until thickened (it will be obviously thicker).
  4. Add beans, chilies, chicken and cheese. Stir in Tabasco, chili powder, cumin, salt and pepper, and cook over moderately low heat, stirring occasionally for 20 minutes.
  5. Add sour cream. May be served immediately, or refrigerated for later.

Thanks, James! Feel free to bring one of those sealed, plastic containers over anytime! (Or a whole pot of it. I mean, I can find my own containers.)