Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Special, Special K Bars

Perfect Pairing:  Pantry clean-out


Way back when I was in college and living in the sorority we had a very exciting week once a semester called study treat week.  I am not sure study treat week helped us study for finals, but I am pretty sure it helped keep on that college “insulation” that tends to happen.  These were not healthy treats.  They usually included pizza rolls and other frozen novelties as well as our house mom’s famous scotcharoos.  It didn’t help the whole insulation issue when they were put out late at night.  Recipe for trouble, all around.

If you talk to any of my sisters about the food at the house I think ALL of them would mention the scotcharoos.  They would also probably also mention the super weird jalapeño chicken that inexplicably had insane amounts of cream sauce and Fritos.  College was healthy.  Anyway, the scotcharoos.  They were ridiculous.  These Special, Special K Bars remind me of those college treats.  You noticed the extra special in the name right?   These bars are extra special because I added coconut and toasted pecans.  Side note, when I was a little girl I named my cat Special.  Poor cat. 

I was on a mission to clean out the pantry when I made these, so when I ran out of Special K I added some rice cereal.  Feel free to do that as well!  Just another texture in the mix.  If you don't have pecans, use whatever nuts you have in your pantry.  Everything is topped with chocolate and peanut butter.  Theyyyyyy didn’t suck. 

This is a great recipe to use the “sticky ingredient trick” I mentioned on this Payday Bar recipe post.


One year ago on Perfecting the Pairing:  Burger Sauce

Two years ago on Perfecting the Pairing: Chilaquiles

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Un-Recipe Files – Grilled Seasoned Potatoes and Brussels Sprouts

I just returned from a magical vacation in the happiest place on earth!  It is going to take some time to adjust to reality.  Everything really is just magical in the Magic Kingdom.  I went with family, including two of my adorable nieces.  It was so fun to see Disney through the eyes of a child. Although, I still feel like a child when I am there!


The precious moments were too numerous to list, but here are a few favorites.








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We also had a lot of good food at WDW.  While it was fabulous, I was ready to get back to some simple, healthy, home-cooked food. This simple preparation of brussels sprouts and potatoes on the grill is just what I had in mind.

For the sprouts, cut the ends off and then cut in half, toss with olive oil, salt, pepper, and some of your favorite seasoning.  Grill in a basket until lightly charred and tender.

Here is what you do for the potatoes.  Scrub the spuds, poke a few times with a fork, microwave them for about 5 minutes, cut in half, score the insides lightly, drizzle with melted butter or olive oil, season with salt, pepper, and your favorite seasoning. 


Make a tray out of foil and place on the grill.  Cook until the potatoes are tender and start to brown. 


I made this entire meal on the grill in under 30 minutes, start to finish.  Stay tuned for the salmon recipe.  It is a favorite!

Monday, July 14, 2014

Puttin’ on the Ritz Fish

Perfect Pairing:  Stay fresh packages of crackers


What a weekend I just had.  It started on Thursday with a reggae concert (SOJA and Michael Franti) at Northerly Island.  I think Northerly Island is one of the best venues in Chicago.  Check out that view!  My boyfriend surprised me with the tickets (I may have given a few hints) to start off my birthday weekend.  He is a honey!



The rest of the weekend was spent enjoying great country music and incredible BBQ at the Windy City Smokeout. 

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I am not a huge meat eater but this brisket sandwich from Dinosaur BBQ was one of the best things I have ever had.  I had it two days in a row!  Now I need to learn to make brisket.

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It was an absolutely fabulous weekend in the city!


Now onto something a little lighter than a brisket sandwich. I apologize for the dorky recipe name.  I simply could not help myself.   I was giggling to myself as I made this fish thinking about the name.

This recipe is crazy easy and only uses four ingredients, fish, Ritz crackers, poppy seeds, and butter.  Salt and pepper are also involved, but I don’t count them.  So simple but truly delicious.


I used cod, but I think you easily could use any firm white fish.  All you do is place the fish on a foil lined pan (easy clean up) and coat it with crushed crackers, poppy seeds, melted butter (this step is called puttin’ on the Ritz), and bake!

These smaller packs of crackers were perfect for this recipe.  


If you have crackers leftover you should make this tasty Chicken and Broccoli Casserole.  It is a family favorite!  Try adding water chestnuts to the casserole for extra texture.


Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Un-Recipe Files – Avocado and Strawberry Toast with Feta and Honey


This spring I was lucky enough to go on a girl’s trip to Nashville to celebrate two very special birthdays with 11 other lovely ladies.  We. Had. A. Blast.   I had no idea Nashville was such a fun city!  Of course, this particular group of girls made Nashville extra fun that weekend.  We knew we were off to a good start when we walked into our hotel room and saw the incredible balcony.  It got a lot of use that weekend.


If there was a theme to the weekend it was probably something like, look ridiculous and be proud of it.  What started off as a denim only event quickly morphed into creating ridiculous outfits in general.


This one had a practical purpose as well.


You didn’t want to get caught walking alone in case someone thought that is actually how you dressed.  We were much better as an entire unit.


Nashville was hopping that weekend because of the Rock n’ Roll marathon and incredible weather.  The bars were all pretty much at capacity!


The weekend was in no way gourmet.  There was a lot of junk food consumed.  A lot.  Even though it was 99% bad, there was one meal that shined for me.  The first morning I walked to a nearby coffee shop with some girls to pick up breakfast and iced coffee.  The coffee shop specialized in healthy, local, organic ingredients.  I ordered avocado toast since that is one of my favorite things. They suggested adding strawberries, feta, and honey.  Why not?


Oh my goodness, I could not believe how delicious this combination was!  I was immediately obsessed.  It wasn’t long before I tried it at home.


There is no real recipe here.  Just mash up a ripe avocado with a pinch of salt, spread on some good quality toast, top with sliced strawberries, a drizzle of honey, and a sprinkle of feta.  Perfect for breakfast, a light lunch, or a snack.  It is crazy good.  Thank you Nashville for giving me this great idea and a ridiculously (emphasis on ridiculous) fun weekend.
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