Cranberry Sauce

I hosted Thanksgiving for years before I tried making my own cranberry sauce. I always assumed it would be difficult and not worth it.  It’s not – and it is.

This only takes about fifteen minutes to make and tastes so, so much better than the canned version. It’s also make-ahead friendly and is the perfect dish to bring with you if you’re travelling because it can be served warm, cold, or at room temp.

CranberrySauce

Cranberry Sauce
(from Savory Sweet Life)
Makes about 2 cups

1 12 oz. bag fresh cranberries
3/4 cup orange juice
2/3 cup brown sugar
1/3 cup white sugar

Combine all ingredients in a medium saucepan over low heat. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the liquid is mostly evaporated.

You’ll hear the cranberries popping as this cooks – that’s okay! You want them to open up!

This can be served warm, chilled, or at room temperature.

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Freezer-Friendly Chicken Fried Rice

I love a good freezer recipe – and I love that this one isn’t your typical casserole or soup. Now, don’t get me wrong – there are plenty of casseroles and soups in my freezer – but this is a great choice for nights when you just want something different.

I generally make these in batches of 4-5 dinners. You can swap out the protein, too – pork, beef, and shrimp all work well here! It’s also a great one to get the kids to help with. Jake can help with the measuring and dumping; Julie helps shake all the ingredients up!

ChickenFriedRice

Freezer-Friendly Chicken Fried Rice
(A Kate’s Recipe Box Original)
Serves 4

5 cups cooked rice
1 ½ cups peas and carrots
½ cup diced onions
2 cups chicken– cooked and diced
2 Tbsp. fried rice seasoning

2 Tbsp. oil
4 eggs
6 Tbsp. soy sauce
2 dashes pepper

In a gallon zipper bag, toss together the rice, peas and carrots, onions, chicken, and seasoning. Shake well to combine. Seal, label, and freeze.

Thaw in refrigerator overnight.

Heat 1 Tbsp. oil in a large skillet. Dump rice mixture into the skillet. Cook and stir over medium heat, breaking up any chunks of rice, until hot – about five minutes. Push rice mixture to the side of the skillet. Add 1 Tbsp. oil to the empty side of the skillet and add eggs. Cook and stir until eggs are thickened but still moist. Combine eggs with the rice mixture. Turn off the heat. Stir in soy sauce and pepper. Serve.

Fried Rice Seasoning

¼ cup garlic powder
4 tsp. ginger powder
2 tsp. sugar
2 tsp. salt
2 tsp. black pepper

Whisk together and stir in an airtight container.

Review: Cave Tools Rib Roast Rack

Disclosure: I received these products complimentary in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.

If you’ve been thinking about packing away your grill for the winter – think again! I mean, I get it. It’s now dark at 5 pm and the days are getting chillier, but if you’re planning a holiday meal – especially for a crowd – you should at least consider utilizing the grill.

Cooking your main dish – like a ham or turkey – on the grill will free up your oven for so many other sides and desserts!

Cave Tools sent me their Rib Roast Rack to try out and it’s beautifully simply. This sturdy rack is the perfect way to roast a chicken, turkey or ham on your grill. It’s big enough for a large bird – the one shown below clocked in at 20 pounds! – but the bars are close enough together to easily hold a smaller piece of meat. I’ve never used something like this before, and in my head, I’d have to worry about the rack legs slipping through the grill grates – but that wasn’t the case at all. This was totally stable on our grill.

It’s also lightweight – which is a huge plus when you’re hauling an already-heavy chunk of meat out the grill. When flipped over, the it can also be used as a rib rack and will hold up to five racks of ribs!

CaveToolsGrillRack

I’m still on the hunt for the perfect grilled turkey recipe (while the rack did not fail us, the recipe I attempted definitely did!) – but I can’t wait to use this for my favorite Grilled Ham with a Wine-Pineapple-Honey Glaze. I’m also imagining a nice, smoky pork loin or a chicken covered with olive oil and Herbs de Provence. Oh, the possibilities!

And, something that always seals the deal for me – cleanup was a breeze. Like many other Cave Tools products, this rack is dishwasher safe.

The Rib Roast Rack can be purchased from the Cave Tools website – use code RIBROAST15 to take 15% off. They can also be found on Amazon.

Chocolate Peanut Butter Chip Cookies #Choctoberfest

Note: I received complimentary products for this post. All opinions are my own.

One thing I love about #Choctoberfest is getting to know some new brands – like Davis Chocolates I showed off the amazing Cocktail Sticks on facebook last night, but they also sent these awesome (organic!) peanut butter baking chips  – and I knew they’d become cookies.

These cookies are so, so fabulous. They’re rich and chocolaty without being overly sweet – and then you bite into the pockets of chocolate chunks and peanut butter chips. It’s just seriously yum. I brought these to a meeting and as we were packing up at the end everyone was grabbing “just one more” – always the sign of a good cookie!

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Chocolate Peanut Butter Chip Cookies
(a Kate’s Recipe Box original)
Makes about 3 dozen 2″ cookies

2 cups all-purpose flour
2/3 cup cocoa powder
1 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. salt
1 cup butter, softened
1 cup sugar
2/3 cup brown sugar
2 eggs
2 tsp. vanilla
1 1/2 cups peanut butter chips (I used Davis Chocolate Organic Peanut Butter Baking Chips)
1 cup chocolate chunks

In a bowl, whisk together the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, and salt and set aside.

In a stand mixer, cream together the butter and sugars until light and fluffy – about 5 minutes. Mix in the eggs one at a time, then mix in the vanilla.  Add the dry ingredients, a little at a time, until just combined. Fold in peanut butter chips and chocolate chunks.

Drop by rounded tablespoons onto a baking sheet at bake at 350 degrees for 8-10 minutes. Remove from oven and then let cool for five minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.

You can see today’s other #Choctoberfest recipes here:

Roasted Sugar Chocolate Cake #Choctoberfest

Note: I received complimentary products for this post. All opinions are my own.

Imperial Sugar returned as the Choctoberfest Gold Sponsor this year – and if you follow me on Facebook, you’ve already seen the amazing package they sent. I’m not sure who was more excited about it – me or the kids. (PS – if you want to win your own year’s supply of sugar, check out their Scary Scramble Contest going on now!)

When I started planning recipes for this week, I asked Jake if there was anything special he wanted to make, and without hesitation he told me, “Chocolate cake”. So, it went out our list.

It was also a great excuse to try out roasting sugar. Have you heard of this technique? I’ve seen it on a few food sites and I was super intrigued – you cook the sugar for a few hours and it gives the sugar a caramel-like flavor but you can still use it like you would regular white sugar. The results in this cake were pretty amazing – it’s more or less a regular chocolate cake, but then you get this beautiful caramel flavor at the end of the bite. I can’t overstate how awesome that touch is!

Roasting the sugar was also the only part of the cake that Jake didn’t have a hand in. He was particularly excited about helping frost the cake – and overrode my plans of topping it off with dark chocolate curls in favor of  mini chocolate chips.

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I absolutely love how excited he was to see the end result – and hear again and again from friends and family we shared the cake with how awesome it was. Jake kept telling me, “I made that! I’m Baker Jake!” and they recreated the cake a million times over in his play kitchen. In the middle of a crazy week, it was such a good reminder to slow down and savor the moment. Thank you, Imperial Sugar, for helping create such a fun memory with my little guy!

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Roasted Sugar Chocolate Cake
(a Kate’s Recipe Box original)
Makes 1 9″ 3 layer cake

4 lbs. white sugar (I used Imperial brand Sugar)

3 cups of flour
1 1/4 cups unsweetened cocoa powder
1 Tbsp. baking soda
1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
1 1/2 tsp. salt
4 eggs
1 1/2 cups plain yogurt
2 cups water
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 Tbsp. vanilla

1 1/2 cups butter, at room temperature
7 cups powdered sugar (I used Imperial brand Sugar)
1/2 cup cocoa powder
1/4 cup heavy cream
1 Tbsp. vanilla
Pinch of salt

Start by roasting the sugar. Pour 4 pounds of sugar into a glass or ceramic 9×13″ baking dish. Roast at 350 degrees for 2 hours, stirring well every 20 minutes. You want the sugar to start to turn a lightly browned color, but not to melt. Once done, cool completely and store in an airtight container.

To make the cake, whisk together flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and 3 cups of the cooled roasted sugar. Add in the eggs, water, vegetable oil, and vanilla and mix until just combined.

Grease 3 9″ cake pans and divide cake batter evenly between pans. Bake at 350 degrees for 35 minutes. Let cake layers cool completely before assembling the cake.

To make the frosting, sift together the powdered sugar and cocoa powder. In the bowl of a stand mixer, cream the butter. Add the remaining ingredients and beat until smooth and fluffy.

Once the cake layers are cool, frost and decorate as desired.

See the rest of today’s #Choctoberfest recipes here:

Mint Chocolate Mousse #Choctoberfest

Note: I received complimentary products for this post. All opinions are my own.

Choctoberfest is, by default, a pretty indulgent event. Barlean’s is a great, healthy spin on the chocolate theme so I’m always excited to work with them as a sponsor.

This recipe is a dessert – but it’s not one you’ll feel guilty indulging in. Once chilled, the texture of this mousse is perfectly fluffy. It gets it’s flavor from two Barlean’s products – and they also pack it with flaxseed oil, greens, and other good stuff. A total win-win – especially when you have chocolate-loving little ones.

This also can be easily adjusted to your taste – leave out the mint, go light on the mint, make it super minty – do what you love!

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Mint Chocolate Mousse
(a Kate’s Recipe Box original)
Serves 4

1 can coconut milk
1 Tbsp. Barlean’s Essential Woman Omega Swirl Chocolate Mint Flavor
1/4 cup Barlean’s Greens Powder Chocolate Silk Flavor
1 Tbsp. mini chocolate chips

In a stand mixer, whip together the coconut milk, Barlean’s Essential Woman Omega Swirl Chocolate Mint Flavor, and Barlean’s Greens Powder Chocolate Silk Flavor until light and fluffy. Pour into four small bowls or ramekins. Sprinkle with mini chocolate chips. Refrigerate for 4 hours before serving.

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See today’s other #Choctoberfest recipes here:

Chocolate Marshmallows #Choctoberfest #MadeWithRodelle

Note: I received complimentary products for this post. All opinions are my own.

I first made homemade marshmallows for Christmas a few years ago. They were amazing and I absolutely adored them floating in a mug of cocoa. And while vanilla marshmallows have been my go-to, I kept dreaming about chocolate ones.

Fluffy chocolate marshmallows floating in rich chocolate cocoa. Sounds heavenly, right?

It took a few tries to figure out how to make it work – trying to mix in cocoa powder never gave me the result I was hoping for but mixing the cocoa powder into a chocolate paste makes them just right.

I used gourmet baking cocoa from Choctoberfest sponsor Rodelle for this and it was such a great choice – the rich flavor is perfect for decadent marshmallows!

As we were sampling these, Jake requested making them into s’mores using chocolate graham crackers too – I’m pretty sure that will be our next project!

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Chocolate Marshmallows
(a Kate’s Recipe box original)
Makes about 2 dozen

1/4 c. powdered sugar
1/4 c. cornstarch
1/2 c. cocoa powder, divided (I used Rodelle Gourmet Baking Cocoa)
Vegetable oil
2 envelope unflavored gelatin
1 1/2 c. white sugar
2/3 cup light corn syrup

In a bowl, sift together the powdered sugar, cornstarch, and 1/4 c. cocoa powder.

Oil an 8×8″ baking pan with vegetable oil and then dust with powdered sugar mixture.

Mix remaining 1/4 cup cocoa powder and 2 Tbsp. hot water to make a paste.

In another bowl, put 1/2 cup cold water and sprinkle gelatin over. Set aside.

In a saucepan with a candy thermometer, combine the sugar, corn syrup and 1/2 cup of water. Bring to a boil and then reduce heat to medium. Cook until it reaches 240 degrees then remove from heat.

In the bowl of a stand mixer, add the gelatin mixture and beat for a minute, until broken up. Add the chocolate paste and beat until well incorporated. While the mixer is going, slowly pour the corn syrup mixture in. Beat on high for about 15 minutes, until thick and doubled in size.

Pour the batter into the prepared pan and cover top with more of the cornstarch mixture. Set aside overnight.

The next day, invert the pan to remove the marshmallows. Cut into squares and then roll in remaining cornstarch mixture to coat all sides. Stir in an airtight container.

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You can see today’s other #Choctoberfest recipes here:

Here we go! It’s #choctoberfest with Imperial Sugar!

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Today is one of my favorite days of the year, because it is the official start of #Choctoberfest. This is the third annual food blogger celebration of all things chocolate, made possible thanks to our gold sponsor, Imperial Sugar, and the other sponsors listed below.

Over 70 bloggers are participating in #Choctoberfest 2017 and will be posting 200+ chocolate recipes over the next week. Keep your eyes peeled, visit any of the blogs listed below, or use the #Choctoberfest hashtag on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook to follow along. You can also check out our #Choctoberfest Pinterest board, where we post chocolate recipes all year long.

You can also enter to win our #Choctoberfest prize pack. Thank to our amazing sponsors who are contributing the following items for the prize:

  • $100 gift card to Williams Sonoma or Sur La Table from our gold sponsor Imperial Sugar
  • 1 case of granulated white sugar (40 pounds), 1 case of light brown sugar (24 pounds), 1 case of dark brown sugar (24 pounds), and 1 case of powdered sugar (24 pounds) from our gold sponsor Imperial Sugar
  • 16 oz Barlean’s Butter-Flavored Coconut Oil, 9.52 oz canister of Chocolate Silk Greens, and 8oz bottle of Essential Women Omega-Swirl Chocolate Mint from our silver sponsor Barlean’s
  • 300-piece Lindt LINDOR Truffles gift bag (you choose the flavors!) from blog sponsors The PinterTest Kitchen

This prize pack is valued at over $450! To enter, simply follow participating sponsors and bloggers using the below giveaway widget.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Stay tuned to see the delicious recipes bloggers have cooked up using Imperial Sugar and Barlean’s products. Thank you also to Davis Chocolate and Rodelle for being #Choctoberfest shoutout sponsors! Watch Instagram and Facebook to find out more about about their chocolate products.

Here is a complete list of all the bloggers participating in #Choctoberfest 2017, so you can see the recipes they are posting throughout the week:

The PinterTest KitchenFix Me a Little LunchSavory MomentsCrumbs in my MustachioHouse of Nash EatsBake It With LoveThat RecipeHardly A GoddessCooking With CarleeA Kitchen Hoor’s AdventuresBody RebootedCindy’s Recipes and WritingsThe Redhead BakerFaith, Hope, Love, & Luck Survive Despite a Whiskered AccompliceSweet CoraliceSeduction in The KitchenCooks&Books&RecipesEveryday EileenUnder My Apple TreeFamily Around The TableBottom Left of the MittenThe Spiffy CookieFairyburgerJoin Us, Pull up a ChairJonesin’ For TasteJane’s Adventures in DinnerTake Two TapasJennifer BakesThe Unlikely BakerHostess At HeartKaren’s Kitchen StoriesKate’s Recipe BoxKelly Lynns Sweets and TreatsWildflour’s Cottage KitchenChocolate SlopesLittle House Big AlaskaMakes, Bakes and Decor2 Cookin MamasThat Skinny Chick Can BakeBooks n’ CooksMildly MeanderingLiving IdeasRestless ChipotleGet the Good Stuff!The Weekday GourmetAn Affair from the HeartWest Via MidwestCookie Dough and Oven MittThe Bitter Side of SweetCookaholic WifeDaily Dish RecipesFor the Love of FoodThe Saucy SouthernerCook’s HideoutBy the PoundsTramplingrose: Cooking, Baking & Ranting in Small-Town South DakotaSarah Cooks the BooksChef Sarah ElizabethFantastical Sharing of RecipesSarah’s Bake StudioThe Pajama ChefFrankly EntertainingLong Distance BakingPalatable PastimeThe Freshman CookThe Food Hunter’s Guide to Cuisine ♥ A Day in the Life on the FarmWendy PolisiTampa Cake GirlMy Southern Sweet ToothCanning and Cooking at HomeFull Belly SistersSuperSizeGuy.comOur Good LifeThe Life Jolie

 

Candied Spiced Nuts #improvcooking

Even though it’s October (and the weather is still feeling like August…), I’m starting to think about Thanksgiving. I know, I know, but I get to host this year and I’m pumped! We’re not sure if we’ll have a big crowd or just the four of us, so I’ve got several menus floating around in my head.

I knew this month’s Improv Challenge theme, Sugar and Spice,  was perfect for trying out some of the recipes I’m considering. Sugar and spice is SO fall – apple spice, pumpkin spice – but I couldn’t get these nuts off my mind, so they won out.

This is such an easy recipe – the slow cooker makes it totally hands off. Just mix, let the slow cooker do it’s thing, then spread them out to cool. They were so good – and a perfect pre-Thanksgiving dinner snack!

CandiedSpicedNuts

Candied Spiced Nuts
(adapted from Crunchy, Creamy, Sweet)
Makes 3 1/2 cups

1 1/2 cups almonds
2 cups pecans
3/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup white sugar
2 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 cup water
1/4 tsp. ginger
1/4 tsp. nutmeg
1/8 tsp. cloves

Grease the crock of a slow cooker and add the nuts. Add the sugars and cinnamon and stir. Add the water and stir until everything is evenly combined and wet.

Cook on high for 3 hours.

Remove nuts to a parchment-lined baking sheet to cool. Sprinkle with remaining  seasonings. Once fully cooled, store in an airtight container.

You can check out the other Sugar and Spice themed recipes that bloggers made here:

Slow Cooker BBQ Chicken Sliders with Dill Pickle Slaw #Crocktober

Fall always seems like the perfect time for slow cooker recipes. It seems like we’re squeezing more and more into these shortening days, and being able to have a warm meal minutes within walking through the door is both convenient and comforting.

Today, I’m linking up with a few other bloggers for #Crocktober! You can check out their perfect-for-fall meals here:

 

BBQ chicken in the slow cooker is nothing new – but a few extra steps and this makes a really special meal. After you pull the chicken, it gets added to slider rolls, covered in glaze, and baked. A quick pickle slaw tops it off.

My pickle-loving crew loved this – a perfect little meal for a busy night or a perfect tailgate dish!

DillPickleSliders

Slow Cooker BBQ Chicken Sliders with Dill Pickle Slaw
(slightly adapted from Southern Bite)
Makes 12 sliders

2 lbs. boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1 cup barbecue sauce
12 sweet Hawaiian rolls
6 Tbsp. butter, melted
1 tsp. barbecue seasoning
1 Tbsp. Worcestershire sauce
1 Tbsp. brown sugar
1 tsp. yellow mustard
1/2 head cabbage, thinly sliced
1/2 cup finely chopped dill pickles
1/3 cup mayonnaise
3 Tbsp. pickle juice
1 tsp. sugar
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. garlic powder

Add the chicken to the slow cooker and cover with barbecue sauce. Turn to coat. Cook on low for 4 hours. Remove chicken and shred.

Preheat the oven for 350 and spray a baking dish with nonstick spray.

Leaving the rolls together, cut in half. Place the bottom half in the greased pan. Top with chicken. Add the top half of the rolls.

In a small bowl, whisk together the melted butter, barbecue seasoning, Worcestershire, brown sugar, and yellow mustard. Brush evenly over all of the sliders.

Bake for 15-20 minutes.

Meanwhile, whisk together the mayonnaise, pickle juice, sugar, salt, and garlic powder.

Toss the cabbage and chopped dill pickle with enough of the dressing to coat. Refrigerate until serving.

When the sliders are done, serve with the dill pickle slaw.