food

cheesy nacho nests (or, your family’s new favorite side dish).

 

this post is sponsored by Crystal Farms®, but all the #cheeselove is straight from my own heart. make sure to read to the end for how to enter the giveaway!

i’ve finally found the perfect side dish for chili.

not that chili needs a side dish (because it doesn’t, it’s the perfect meal in a bowl), but there are days when you just need a little something…extra to go with that piping hot bowl of deliciousness. look no further, because i’ve figured out what we were all missing.

nacho nests. aka personal mini nachos. they are the perfect size for accompanying a hot bowl of chili (or soup), and also they satisfy your nacho cravings in an acceptably cheesy way. it can’t be just me that has nacho cravings, right? of course not.

i made these nacho nests to go with the chili we planned for dinner, but these would be perfect as an appetizer for a game day party too. you can make as many as you need, they are insanely quick to throw together, and you can customize your toppings or even let everyone top their own nacho nest once they’ve been baked.

being a good minnesota girl, i used wisconsin cheese for this recipe. Crystal Farms® shredded cheese to be exact. crystal farms is one of the largest cheese brands in the country, and is made in lake mills, wi (which is only like four hours from where i live). i sincerely doubt you need more of a reason to want to eat cheese, but just in case you do, you should know that crystal farms products are natural, with very few preservatives, are high in calcium, and are gluten-free.

i used a mexican 4 cheese blend for this recipe, but you can look in the refrigerated dairy section of your local grocery store to find any crystal farms cheese that speaks to you. pepper jack would be amazing on these!

as always, let me know if you make these, and any awesome ideas you have to make them even better!

nacho nests (makes 4 but is easily multiplied)

  • 24-32 tortilla chips
  • 1 C. Crystal Farms® Mexican 4 Cheese Blend shredded cheese (any flavor will work), divided into 4
  • toppings of choice: black beans, jalapeño slices, chopped tomatoes, black olives, etc.

preheat your oven to 400 F. on a rimmed baking sheet, make four piles of 6-8 tortilla chips. sprinkle each pile (or nest) with half of 1/4 C. crystal farms shredded cheese, then top with whatever toppings you’ve chosen. i used black beans, black olives, chopped tomatoes, and jalapeño slices, but you can use whatever you want or have on hand (or let the family choose their own toppings in a nacho nest bar situation). sprinkle the nests with the remaining cheese, then put into the oven and bake for 6-8 minutes, until the cheese is melted and the toppings are heated through. serve as a side dish for chili or another hearty soup, or as a game day dish to share.

GIVEAWAY!

i know there are a lot of cheese lovers who read this blog, so i hope you’re all excited about this. crystal farms is letting me pick one winner to receive THREE coupons for free crystal farms products. all you have to do to enter is visit the crystal farms website to learn more about the crystal farms cheese products there, then come back here to leave a comment telling me what cheese you would choose and what recipe you would use it in. i’ll pick a winner at random on november 26th. i can’t wait to see all your ideas, because who doesn’t want some free cheese??

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grandpa’s cream of broccoli soup.

dear everyone: this is one of the easiest recipes in the whole world. and it is so healthy, and so good. so what i’m saying is, you should definitely make it. love, me. p.s. you can totally wait until fall to make it if you cannot imagine eating soup in the summer.

i don’t know if you’ve noticed*, but this here blog has been painfully void of recipe posts lately. summer is just not a very inspirational time in the cooking or baking arena for me. slash i forget to take pictures of the recipes i do make. woops!

this is one of those recipes that i almost didn’t share, because i was like, do people even want to see recipes that are this easy? and then i realized, those are the only types of recipes that i ever want to see, so maybe other people are lazy like me and will be into this sort of thing! like seriously, if i click over to a recipe, and there are more than 8 steps, you can guarantee that i am not making it. it might look amazing and delicious and magical, but it’s just not happening. where you at fellow lazys?

anywho, i hope you enjoy. love and smoochies to you all.

*i’m sure you have not noticed and your life has carried on as normal.

cream of broccoli soup (makes enough for about 6 servings)

  • 1/2 small onion, diced
  • 1/2 small carrot, finely diced
  • 1 package frozen broccoli chunks
  • 1/2 C. butter
  • 1/4 C. flour
  • 1 qt. chicken stock
  • 1/2 pint whipping cream
  • salt, pepper and garlic powder to taste (i have added chili powder, cumin, and other spices as well)

sauté onion, carrot and frozen broccoli in 1/2 C. butter. add flour, stir well and cook 3 to 4 minutes. add chicken stock, cream and seasonings. heat thoroughly. if desired, blend with an immersion blender (or in a regular blender) for a creamy, smooth soup. serve with townhouse crackers or crusty bread and cheese!

vegetarian substitutes:

  • use vegetable broth or stock instead of chicken stock

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grandpa’s portuguese soup.

and she’s back at it again with the soups!

i have to tell you guys, this is one of those recipes i’m a bit embarrassed to even post. not because this soup is not delicious…it is. but it’s so mindlessly easy to make that it feels like i’m cheating by calling it a recipe. this is one of those soups that you make when you want something homemade, but you don’t want to have to go buy a bunch of ingredients that you won’t ever use again, or that are going to hike up your grocery bill. this is such a good thing to make if you’re looking for an inexpensive but filling recipe that everyone will like. you can just tell your kids that the kielbasa is hot dogs and call it hot dog soup, and you’re all good. (sidebar: in our house, we call breakfast sausage “breakfast hot dogs” so Amelia won’t question why she should eat them…)

 

the cabbage, potatoes and beans in this help to bulk it up and make it really filling, even though there aren’t that many ingredients. it freezes beautifully and makes a huge batch. this would be a great recipe to make if you need to bring a meal to a new mom…no dairy, not spicy, and it takes no time to throw together, plus you can keep half of it for your own dinner that night without having to double the recipe.

i know we’re headed out of soup season, and i really let you guys down in the soup arena this winter, so i’m going to make some of the more “springtime” soups in the cookbook here in the next couple months to make up for it. although it snowed here in minnesota today, so i guess it’s still kind of soup season here in a way. gross.

portuguese soup (makes a large batch without doubling)

  • 6 C. chicken stock or broth
  • 1 lb. smoked kielbasa sausage, diced
  • 1 lb. boiling potatoes, peeled and diced
  • 1 (15 oz.) can kidney beans, drained
  • 1 (14 oz.) can diced tomatoes
  • 1/2 medium head of green cabbage, coarsely chopped
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 1/2 green pepper, diced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • salt and pepper to taste

combine all ingredients in a large pot. bring to a boil, stirring occasionally. reduce heat; simmer until thick, stirring occasionally (about 2 hours).

vegetarian substitutes: 

  • use vegetable broth instead of chicken broth
  • omit the kielbasa (can also add another can of a different type of bean, like great northern to add more bulk)

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summer and ice cream treats; the way to my pregnant heart.

hi friends! how was your weekend? i spent the whole thing balancing a bowl of ice cream on my belly bump while relaxing by a lake. it was as good as it seems, thank you for asking!

we spent our 4th of july holiday (well, the weekend leading up to it) at the cabin of our lovely family friends, and it was absolutely magical. seriously, what a treat to be able to be with family and friends in a gorgeous setting, doing absolutely nothing but enjoying ourselves for three whole days in a row. add in the fact that miss amelia was (mostly) an angel and it’s the recipe for a perfect weekend.

family time on the lake

[but seriously how about that view?]

if you know me, you know that there are a few things in this world that i love with a deep, deep passion. number one is my family (big duh there). number two is summer in minnesota. number three is ice cream. and ice cream in the summer with my family all at once? it’s enough to make my pregnant heart skip a beat. if you’ve been around for a while, you know that i basically kept our local ice cream store in business when i was pregnant with amelia. so get ready for some photos of real deliciousness from the past few days.

kemps cherry fudge chunk and mint cow tracks

kemps ice cream #itsthecows

we’re lucky enough to live in a place where kemps ice cream is readily accessible to us as a way to celebrate national ice cream month (which is apparently what july is, how did i not know this??), and it was the ideal treat to get while we were at the cabin. kemps has been around for a looooong time, and is known in a big way for their 40(!) flavors of ice cream. they literally have something for everybody. (click here to see if kemps is available near you. if it’s not, i’m very sorry for introducing you to this goodness but i had to, you know?)

kemps ice cream family treat

kemps ice cream family treat

in between all of our swimming and reading and relaxing over the weekend, we obviously did some serious eating, because summer weekend at the cabin, duh. we did the usual burgers, brats and fish fry, but for dessert, we opted for some mint cow tracks and plenty of cherry fudge chunk ice cream, and we were not disappointed.

after an informal poll, it was decided that baby zee preferred the cherry fudge chunk, while amelia liked the mint cow tracks a bit more. i’d like to lie to you and say that i only had one bowl, but i think we all know that wouldn’t be the truth. i’m only showing you one of my empty bowls though.

kemps mint cow tracks ice cream

kemps ice cream treat cherry fudge chunk

and now for the fun part…a giveaway!

because july is national ice cream month, kemps is letting me give away five $5.00 coupons for kemps ice cream to you guys! YES, I KNOW IT’S AMAZING. to enter, just visit the kemps website to take a look at all of their 40 ice cream flavors, then come back here and leave a comment telling me which flavor (or flavors) you want to try the most. it’s that easy. the giveaway will be open until July 19th, and i’ll pick the five winners randomly at that time. good luck!

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buffalo chicken dip pizza.

this shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. all opinions are mine alone. #HomeBowlParty #CollectiveBias

buffalo chicken dip pizza perfect for a #HomeBowlParty #ad | everythingwithloveblog.com

i have a confession to make: i mostly watch football games for the snacks. yea, the sport itself is fun and all, but when it comes right down to it, it’s easier to sit through if there are some good eats and drinks. i normally don’t get too fancy with said eats and drinks. we’re very much a chips & salsa, crackers & hummus, cookies & milk family over here. it’s pretty easy to get in a rut of laying out whatever’s in the pantry, and that’s fine for any old football game.

but the big game warrants a little something extra. a little planning, a little recipe testing, and (dare i say it?) a little solo trip to Target for some treats. oh, solo trips to Target. you are my favorite. i’ve been known to take two hours to just wander around the store, even though all i end up buying is some laundry detergent and snacks for amelia. blissful does not begin to describe it. but i digress. this post is about football game food, not my deep love for shopping by myself.

buffalo chicken dip pizza perfect for a #HomeBowlParty #ad | everythingwithloveblog.com

for any of you Target lovers, you can save 15% at Target on Coca-Cola brand 6-pack 500ml bottles using the Cartwheel app (until 2/13)! and REESE’S cups footballs are also 15% off at Target using the Cartwheel app (from 1/24-2/13)!

one of the most fun things for me is to find ways to combine foods i love into one great recipe. i love buffalo chicken dip. i love pizza. so of course I’m going to love buffalo chicken dip pizza, right? RIGHT! i’m pretty proud of this pizza you guys. when i had the idea, i had a feeling it would taste good, but then i made it, and had severely underestimated the deliciousness factor. it’s two wonderful football foods that have been married into one even more wonderful football food. be still my heart. when Mister Man tasted it, he couldn’t stop raving about how good it was (and then he had two more slices).

buffalo chicken dip pizza perfect for a #HomeBowlParty #ad | everythingwithloveblog.com

buffalo chicken dip pizza perfect for a #HomeBowlParty #ad | everythingwithloveblog.com

buffalo chicken dip pizza perfect for a #HomeBowlParty #ad | everythingwithloveblog.com

this pizza is basically a deconstructed buffalo chicken dip in pizza form. so while most buffalo chicken dip recipes have you throwing everything together in one pot to heat up and melt together, we change things up a bit to make this. the sour cream, cream cheese, ranch dressing and buffalo sauce are mixed together to act as the sauce for the pizza. the chicken and mozzarella cheese are added as the toppings. i also threw on a cilantro garnish at the end for some color and fresh flavor. i think that the secret ingredient here is in the puff pastry crust though. it’s fluffier than most pizza crusts and really adds a nice twist!

i opted to use better-for-you ingredients in this recipe, because there are usually a lot of snacks hanging around on game days and i figured a more balanced list of ingredients would be a good idea. feel free to mix and match ingredients to make this recipe work for whatever you have on hand though. it’ll still taste great!

buffalo chicken dip pizza perfect for a #HomeBowlParty #ad | everythingwithloveblog.com

buffalo chicken dip pizza perfect for a #HomeBowlParty #ad | everythingwithloveblog.com

buffalo chicken dip pizza perfect for a #HomeBowlParty #ad | everythingwithloveblog.com

buffalo chicken dip pizza perfect for a #HomeBowlParty #ad | everythingwithloveblog.com

full disclosure, this pizza is DELICIOUS, but it’s also SPICY and SALTY. i highly suggest serving it with something refreshing to cool your mouth off, as well as something sweet to balance out the flavors. Coca-Cola and REESE’S cups footballs are solid choices, and pretty classic from a football food perspective. pizza and Coca-Cola? so classic. REESE’S cups shaped like footballs? so perfectly thematic. take my advice and serve this combo during the big game (whether it’s for a party or just for you, i won’t tell).

buffalo chicken dip pizza perfect for a #HomeBowlParty #ad | everythingwithloveblog.com

buffalo chicken dip pizza perfect for a #HomeBowlParty #ad | everythingwithloveblog.com

buffalo chicken dip pizza recipe (serves 8)

prep time: 10 minutes (does not include thawing time for the puff pastry dough)

total time: 35 minutes (includes cook time and cool down time)

  • 1 sheet of puff pastry crust, thawed and rolled out a bit
  • 1/2 C. buffalo sauce
  • 1/4 C. light sour cream
  • 1/4 C. light ranch dressing
  • 6 oz. light cream cheese, cubed
  • 1-2 C. cooked, shredded chicken (can use rotisserie chicken if desired)
  • 1 C. shredded mozzarella cheese
  • cilantro, for garnish

make sure to thaw your puff pastry crust fully before beginning, whether overnight or for at least 45 minutes. preheat oven to 415 degrees F. in a small saucepan, mix buffalo sauce, light sour cream, light ranch dressing, and light cream cheese. heat over medium heat, stirring often, until all ingredients are fully melted and mixed together into a smooth consistency. while the sauce is heating, lay your puff pastry dough on a baking sheet, and with either your hands or a rolling pin, flatten out slightly. once your sauce is ready, spread it onto your puff pastry dough, reserving a little for dipping. top the sauce and dough with your shredded chicken and mozzarella cheese. bake in the oven for 20 minutes, or until the ends of the crust are puffy and the cheese is starting to turn golden brown. let the pizza cool, and top with chopped cilantro for garnish. slice into 8 pieces and serve as a snack during the big football game.

buffalo chicken dip pizza perfect for a #HomeBowlParty #ad | everythingwithloveblog.com

what are your favorite eats and drinks for the big game? are you more of a sweet or savory snack person? i’d love if you shared some ideas!

(don’t forget to take advantage of the Coca-Cola and REESE’S cups footballs Cartwheel deals, both ending 2/13!)

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