everyday inspiration

Recipes

The Perfect Cookies + The Famous Banana Bread [recipes]

One of my favorite things about Fall is settling into the therapeutic routine of baking. I’ve always loved the art of perfecting the chocolate chip cookie or the challenge of trying an ambitious, new recipe. Though, while I bake year-round, it never feels quite right until the brisk air seeps breezily through the open windows or the pumpkin vanilla candle burns to wick’s end.

That’s when baking feels like home.

With a quieter pace the last few weeks, I found two new recipes to try – one for a very special occasion and one to add a little bit of special to a typical week.


B R O W N E D   B U T T E R  +  T O F F E E   C O O K I E S

Very special occasion: Fred’s 75th birthday. I think the entire family would tell you these were a hit. And we continued to eat on them all week. Also, special shoutout to Candace for finding and sharing the recipe. To me, these will always be “Candace cookies.”

 

Ingredients:
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
¾ teaspoon kosher salt
1 cup (packed) dark brown sugar
⅓ cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs, room temperature
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 chocolate toffee bars, chopped into ¼-inch pieces
1½ cups dark chocolate melting wafers
Sea salt

Directions:

  1. Cook butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat, stirring often, until it foams, then browns, 5–8 minutes. Scrape into a large bowl and let cool slightly.
  2. Meanwhile, whisk flour, baking soda, and kosher salt in a medium bowl.
  3. Add brown sugar and granulated sugar to browned butter. Using an electric mixer on medium speed, beat until incorporated, about 1 minute. Add eggs and vanilla and beat until mixture lightens and begins to thicken, about 30 seconds. Reduce mixer speed to low; add dry ingredients and beat just to combine. Mix in toffee pieces and chocolate wafers with a wooden spoon or a rubber spatula. Let dough sit at room temperature at least 30 minutes to allow the flour to hydrate. Dough will look very loose at first, but will thicken as it sits.
  4. Place a rack in middle of oven; preheat to 375°. Form ping-pong sized balls and place on a parchment-lined baking sheet, spacing about 3″ apart. Do not flatten; cookies will spread as they bake. Sprinkle with sea salt.
  5. Bake cookies until edges are golden brown and firm but centers are still soft, 9–11 minutes. Let cool on baking sheets 10 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack and let cool completely. Repeat with remaining dough and a fresh parchment-lined baking sheet to make 10 more cookies.
  6. Sprinkle more sea salt on top right out of the oven!

 

C H R I S S Y  T E I G E N  ( + T W I T T E R ‘ S )  B A N A N A   B R E A D

If you don’t know the story behind this banana bread, google it. It’s hilarious. Or buy her cookbook – I promise you it’s worth every penny. I’ve made 4 recipes so far and all have been phenomenal, this one no exception. A little chocolate chip banana bread for no reason, but to break the monotony of the week.

 

Ingredients:
2 cups mashed very ripe bananas*
4 eggs
2⁄3 cup canola oil, plus a little more to grease the pan
2 cups all-purpose flour, plus a little more for dusting the pan
2 cups sugar
1 (3.5-ounce) box vanilla instant pudding mix
1 teaspoon baking soda
1½ teaspoons kosher salt
1 cup unsweetened shredded coconut
1 (3.5-ounce) bar dark chocolate, chopped into chunks
Salted butter, for serving

*Get six brown bananas. Not four. Not five. Six. You will think you only need five because it looks like enough, but it will not be enough. You will get five, you will mash them, you will be about half an inch short and that makes a difference and you cannot get around it. Trust me.

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 325°F.
  2. In a large bowl, combine the mashed bananas, eggs, and oil. In a separate bowl, combine the flour, sugar, pudding mix, baking soda, and salt. Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and combine well BUT GENTLY. I swear this came out differently when I used an aggressive electric mixer. Fold in the coconut and chocolate chunks.
  3. Grease and flour a Bundt pan (that means wipe a little grease all over the inside of the pan, dust it with flour, and tip it upside down to shake out any extra flour). Pour the batter into the pan. (This can also make two 8 × 4-inch loaves, but it’s so much more moist in one Bundt pan!)
  4. Bake until the cake springs back when lightly pressed and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, 55 to 60 minutes. (Test it with a toothpick at around 50 minutes.) Let it cool slightly in the pan, then use a butter knife to gently release the cake from the sides of the pan and around the inner circle, then flip it onto a plate.
  5. Let it cool and cut it into slices. Rewarm them and serve them with salty butter!!

    What’s your favorite Fall baking recipe?
    xo xo

You might also enjoy: Peanut Butter Cup Cheesecake Bars, Bourbon Apple Cake


it’s fall y’all. [my favorite cozy recipes]

K + TC – this post is dedicated to you,
my favorite couple who tries all my recipes! 

Okay it’s fall, ya’ll. Officially fall in the books, and officially fall in the weather. Isn’t it crazy how that happens? 90+ degrees one day, then 57 on the first day of fall?! Someone up there knew us Arkansans were ready for some PSL weather. And yes, I did have my first PSL on that glorious fall morning.

This week I’m preparing for my 3rd Annual Fall Party next weekend. It’s been one of my favorite things to look forward to the last 3 years, and I’ve heard similar sentiment from friends. How could you not love a party celebrating the arrival of a new season with chunky sweaters, wine, cheese and all things pumpkin???

One of the best things about fall weather is FOOD. I have several recipes that only make their resurgence when the air turns crisp again. I’ve shared a few on the blog before, but here’s a roundup:

Italian Sausage Tortellini Soup – this is one of my all-time favorite recipes, and can’t wait to make it soon
Pumpkin Fettuccine
Bourbon Apple Cake
One-Pan Enchilada Pasta

Now, a new one to share – one of the staples in the Alderman household this time of year – CHILI.
Everyone has their own chili recipe, which I love, because there are so many ways you can change it to fit your tastes. This one I’ve honed over the years and it’s perfect for us. I made my first batch Friday night and already thinking about making it again.

M I L L E ‘ S   C H I L I 

Ingredients
1.25 lb ground turkey
2 cans beans – I prefer black beans + light red kidney beans
2 8oz. cans tomato sauce
15 oz. can stewed tomatoes
15 oz. can diced tomatoes
2 4 oz. cans diced green chilies
2 tbs. chili powder
2 tbs. cumin
dash of cinnamon!

Directions
Cook the ground turkey.
Drain and rinse the beans.
Combine all ingredients in crockpot on low for 6 hours.
Our preference: Serve with sharp cheddar cheese and jalapeños!

 

Let me know what your favorite fall recipes are, and if you try any of mine!
xo xo


Sheet Pan Shrimp + Veggies with Rice {recipe}

Y’all know I love a good, easy recipe that’s at least semi-healthy. This one checks all the boxes. I saved it from Southern Living last year, and finally tested it out a few weeks ago. It was so delicious I made it again the next week.

Let me also add, I ate the leftovers for lunch the next day with some creamy jalapeño dip we had left over from Chuy’s …. Oh my gosh, LIFE CHANGING! I mean that dip is life changing in and of itself, but drizzled on top of this recipe. Wow. Obviously not as healthy as the original, but c’est la vie.

Safe to say, this one is going in the rotation. Hope you enjoy it. Let me know what you think!

S H E E T   P A N   S H R I M P  +  V E G G I E S

Ingredients

6 tbsp. olive oil
3 tbsp. minced garlic
3/4 tsp. crushed red pepper
3 ½ tsp. fresh thyme leaves, divided
1 lb. raw medium shrimp, peeled and deveined
1 pt. grape tomatoes
2 medium zucchinis, cut diagonally into ½-inch slices
2 medium yellow squash, cut diagonally into ½-inch slices
1 lemon, cut into quarters
2 pouches microwaveable basmati rice
S&P to taste


Directions

  1. Preheat broiler to high.
  2. Stir together olive oil, garlic, crushed red pepper and 3 tsp. of thyme in a small bowl.
  3. Place shrimp, tomatoes and zucchini/squash mixture in three separate bowls. Toss each with one-third of oil mixture.
  4. Heat a rimmed baking sheet in the oven 2 minutes. Add zucchini, squash and lemons (flesh side up) to hot baking sheet, and bake until squash begins to soften, about 5 minutes.
  5. Add tomatoes and bake until tomatoes begin to burst, about 5 minutes.
  6. Stir in shrimp; bake until shrimp are cooked through and zucchini/squash is tender and lightly browned, about 5 minutes.
  7. Remove from oven and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Squeeze juice from roasted lemons over veggies. Stir to combine.
  8. Cook rice according to package directions. Divide rice, shrimp and veggies evenly. Top with remaining thyme.

xo xo

You might also enjoy: Minestrone Soup (GF, Crockpot), Pork Chops with Black Bean Succotash


Minestrone Soup – Gluten Free, Crock Pot {recipe}

Not only do I have a new recipe to share today, I also have a new cookbook that will change your life. Okay, that might be a little melodramatic, but for real, it’s amazing.

 

Against All Grain by Danielle Walker

It’s not just another paleo cookbook. A dear friend recommended it to me, touting 8 full weeks of meal plans (all gluten-free, dairy-free) complete with recipes + shopping lists, and it efficiently utilizes all the ingredients for several of the meals throughout the week, so minimal food waste. It’s all very simple, but very appealing. At the time I learned about the cookbook, we were 6 weeks out from our Mexico vaca, so I ordered the book to use as a guide to help us eat healthier before the trip.

We’re now 3 weeks in and loving it. Most of the recipes are pretty easy, and all have been delicious. We’ve been mixing and matching the meals a bit depending on our schedules for the week and our likes/dislikes, but if you wanted an exact meal plan for every day of the week with an exact list to take to the grocery store, this book is for you.

Every meal we’ve made has been delicious, but this Minestrone Soup has been one of our favorites. It was so good on a cold, rainy day this week and we’ve been eating on it for a few days now! You could kick up the cayenne pepper a bit for a little more kick, but this has such good flavor as is.

M I N E S T R O N E   S O U P

Ingredients

2lb ground beef, turkey or chicken (we used beef this time, but will try turkey or chicken next!)
1 medium yellow onion, chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 stalks celery, thinly sliced
3 cups shredded carrots
32oz chicken stock
15oz tomato sauce
10oz diced tomatoes with green chilies
3 tablespoons white vinegar
1 tablespoon parsley
2 tablespoons Italian seasoning
1 tablespoon ground cumin
3/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/2 lb yellow squash, halved lengthwise and sliced into half-moons
1/2 cup chopped fresh basil, plus more for garnish
S&P to taste

Directions

  1. Brown the meat in a large skillet over medium-high heat, until cooked through. use a slotted spoon to transfer the meat to a slow cooker insert, leaving the fat in the pan.
  2. Add the onion, garlic, celery and carrots to the pan and sauce over medium heat for 8 minutes, until the vegetables are slightly tender. Drain and add the vegetables to the slow cooker.
  3. Add the remaining ingredients, except the squash and basil. Cover and cook on high for 5 hours or on low for 8 hours.
  4. Add the squash and basil during the last 30 minutes if cooking on high or 1 hour if cooking on low.
  5. Adjust the seasoning if necessary, and serve with a garnish of fresh basil.

xo xo

You might also enjoy: Crustless Quiche + Homemade Salad Dressing, Pork Chops with Black Bean Succotash


Crustless Quiche + Homemade Salad Dressing {recipe}

I’ve been trying very hard not to write the cliche post about New Year’s Resolutions and eating healthier, yada yada yada. So I won’t. Instead, I’ll just give you two really great recipes that COULD help with such a resolution IF you had one.

I’ve shared previously about how meal planning can change your life, and I truly stand by that statement today. When I meal plan for the week, everything just seems so much easier and healthier and less stressful. Yes, it is definitely harder on the front-end and does take time, but it is worth it. Trust me.

One of my key tips is using Walmart Grocery Pickup – you place your order online, you drive to the store and they load it into your car for you. In this ridiculous weather we’ve been having, I don’t know how it gets much better than that. You know you want to try it, so take the first step – use this link to sign up for your first order and get $10 off. You’re welcome.

After engorging ourselves in December, we’ve gone back to the everyday mason jar salads for lunch, and are really a hit. I’ve even started making my own salad dressing. It is divine and so much better than that store-made stuff. I’ve made a few varieties, but this one has been our favorite.

A P P L E   C I D E R   V I N E G A R   D R E S S I N G 

1/4 c apple cider vinegar
1/2c olive oil
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon minced garlic
sea salt + freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Add all ingredients to a mason jar and shake to combine! It’s as simple as that.

The next easy, life-changing recipe I want to share is crustless quiche. I first learned about it from my Mom early last year, and it is now a staple in our house. If we’re being good, we make some every Sunday for the week ahead.

To be honest, I’ve never been much of a breakfast person, but since I’ve started eating this in the morning I’ve noticed I’m not starving at lunch (which makes eating a salad easier) and I have more energy. The best thing about this recipe is you can change it up with whatever you want or have left over in your fridge. Here’s how we’ve been doing it lately –

A L D E R M A N S ‘   F A V O R I T E   C R U S T L E S S   Q U I C H E 1 lb hot sausage
1 tablespoon minced garlic
3/4c sliced cherry tomatoes
3/4c spinach
8 eggs
splash of milk
sea salt + freshly ground black pepper, to taste

directions:

  1. Turn oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Cook the sausage, adding garlic when its almost/basically done.
  3. Whisk eggs with milk and S&P.
  4. Spray pan – we use 9.5″ circular glass pan.
  5. Spread sausage, spinach + tomatoes, then cover with egg mixture.
  6. Bake for approx. 30 minutes, until set.

I then pre-cut slices of quiche, cover with foil and pop in the refrigerator. In the mornings, we take a piece, microwave it for about 35 seconds and top with some salsa verde. Yum!

xo xo

You might also enjoy: 9 easy recipes you’ll want to make for dinner again and again


Pork Chops with Black Bean Succotash {recipe}

What a relaxing, rainy Sunday it’s been. You know the ones – where you wake up unhindered by an alarm and only the smell of freshly ground coffee can entice you out of bed, where you can leisurely cross things off your to-do list while sneaking in an episode or two of your current binge ((Ozark)), where you can drink a glass of wine at 4pm on the porch listening to the tender rainfall and contemplate the week ahead.

I love these days, and especially when these days are 65 degrees in August.in the South. literally unheard of.

These types of days call for a delicious home-cooked meal and a good bottle of red. Like the recipe below, which I found in a magazine and made early this week.

“Oh my gosh. This is amazing.”

Yessss! And it was easy, and it’s healthy. Winner winner, pork dinner.

P O R K   C H O P S   W/ B L A C K   B E A N   S U C C O T A S H

Ingredients:
1 tsp. chile powder
1 tsp. ground cumin
4 pork chops (we used butterfly, but the recipe called for bone-in)
1 small red bell pepper, chopped
1 small red onion, sliced
2 c. fresh or frozen corn kernels
1 15-oz. can black beans, drained and rinsed
3 tbsp. chopped fresh cilantro
Lime wedges
S&P to taste

Directions:
1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Combine chile powder, cumin and salt; rub all over pork.
2. Heat 2 tablespoons oil in a large cast-iron skillet over medium-high heat. Add the pork and cook, turning once, until deeply browned, about 4-5 minutes per side.
3. Transfer to a rimmed baking sheet and roast until 140 degrees, approx 10 minutes.
4. Meanwhile, wipe out skillet and return to medium heat. Add 1 tablespoon oil. Add bell pepper and onion; cook, stirring often, until softened, about 3 minutes.
5. Add corn and beans. Cook until heated through, about 2 minutes.
6. Stir in chopped cilantro, lime juice and S&P. (I also added a little more chile powder to the succotash!)
7. Serve with pork and lime wedges and top with more cilantro!

Enjoy!

xo xo

PS – I just got a cast-iron skillet and am LOVING it. Send me any of your favorite cast-iron recipes!

You might also enjoy: Slow Cooker Cuban Sandwiches and Butter Chicken + Sloppy Joe Stuffed Peppers

SaveSave

SaveSave


Gravy-Stuffed Biscuits {recipe}

I can’t say I’ve ever made biscuits and gravy. I love them and they make me think of my Dad and my Husband, but I’ve never made them.

A few weeks ago, Husband tagged me in a Tasty video on Facebook – Gravy-Stuffed Biscuits. They looked DIVINE and we vowed to make them together one weekend.

Well, we stuck to our vow and we are very impressed with ourselves because they were absolutely amazing. They’re so easy, and put a unique twist on the classic breakfast recipe. Next time we have to take a dish to a brunch or have people stay the night with us, these will be first on our list to make.

I hope you enjoy them as much as we did!

G R A V Y  –  S T U F F E D   B I S C U I T S 

Ingredients:

  • 14 oz. ground italian sausage
  • 3 tablespoons flour
  • 1½ cups milk
  • 8 biscuits – we used fluffy, buttery biscuits!
  • S+P and other seasoning options: italian seasoning, basil, thyme, sage

Directions:

1. Cook the sausage over medium-high heat.

2. Reduce heat to medium-low. Sprinkle the flour over the sausage and stir until the flour has absorbed all of the sausage fat and is lightly coating the sausage pieces.

3. Add the milk in several increments while whisking.

4. Season with S+P and anything else you may have – we used some italian seasoning.

5. Cook the gravy for 5-10 minutes, frequently stirring until the gravy thickens. Let cool.

6. Fill a well-greased ice-cube tray with the gravy OR if you’re like us and don’t have an ice-cube tray, you can use liners in a cupcake pan.

7. Freeze for 30-40 minutes.

8. Pre-heat the oven to 350.

9. Flatten out the biscuits, and place a cube of gravy into each of the biscuits.

10. Fold the sides of the biscuit dough around the gravy cube pinching the dough together at the top. Roll the biscuit balls to smooth them out.

11. Place the biscuits on a parchment lined ½ cookie sheet making sure the dough seams are on the bottom.

12. Bake for 20-30 minutes.

If you have leftover gravy, re-heat it and add on top! It would also be good to make gravy without sausage just for dipping.

xo xo

You might also enjoy: Slow Cooker Cuban SandwichesTwo New Easy Weeknight Meals: Butter Chicken + Sloppy Joe Stuffed Peppers