Welcome to #Choctoberfest 2020!

I am so excited to bring your another year of #Choctoberfest! This is a super fun week of chocolate delights – and I think it’s just what 2020 needs! I’m so excited to share some brand new chocolate recipes this week!

#Choctoberfest is our annual celebration of chocolate recipes, now in its 6th year. I’ve teamed up with some talented food bloggers to share dozens of milk, dark, and white chocolate dishes for this year’s virtual event. Plus, we’ve pooled our resources to bring you an exciting giveaway you don’t want to miss!

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Chicken-Bacon-Ranch Carbonara + Incredible One-Pot Cooking Review

Disclaimer: I received a complimentary copy of Incredible One-Pot Cooking for review purposes. All opinions are my own.

I recently asked on Instagram what your biggest current dinner challenge is. One of the most common responses? Making interesting dinners that don’t involve a ton of cleanup.

Megan Marlowe’s new cookbook, Incredible One-Pot Cooking, totally nails this problem. Chock full of fun spins on traditional favs, this is cookbook your family will love – mine definitely does! – and I’m excited to share a preview with you today.

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Welcome to #Choctoberfest 2019! + What You Can Win

Oh, hey there chocolate lovers and welcome to my favorite event of the year! I’m so excited to be participating in #Choctoberfest for the 4th year running. Get ready for a week of chocolate goodies around here!

Choctoberfest 2019 Featured Image

#Choctoberfest is an annual recipe-sharing event. I’m joining other food bloggers from around the world to create delicious chocolate recipes. This year, over 70 bloggers are joining together for a week full of chocolate cakes, pies, cookies, puddings, tarts, candies, and more. You can follow along by searching for the hashtag #Choctoberfest on Instagram, Pinterest, Facebook, and Twitter. Or, simply follow any of the participating bloggers listed below.

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Welcome to #AppleWeek 2019!

I am so excited to be bringing you another year of AppleWeek! Camilla of Culinary Adventures with Camilla arranged this incredible event for you and wrangled a group of bloggers to celebrate all things apple. Apples, apples, and more apples! I’m honored to be a part of this group!

Apple is my favorite of the fall flavors, so I always have so much fun creating recipes to share this week! I’ve got four new ones coming – both sweet and savory! – but first, I wanted to share all the fun prizes up for grabs this week!

Camilla, the event host, has lined up some amazing prize packages from our sponsors. Keep reading to see what you can win and enter the rafflecopter below.

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Pina Colada Popsicles + Win a bottle of Nielsen-Massey Vanilla! #NielsenMasseyInspires

Disclosure: I received complimentary products in exchange for this post. All opinions are my own.

It is finally starting to feel like spring around here. I actually left the house without a coat last week! It also means I’m starting to pack away my “winter” meals – soups, stews, pot pies – in favor of grilled dishes and frozen desserts. When Nielsen-Massey asked if I wanted to try out one of their vanillas, I knew exactly which one I’d be itching to try.

Pina Colada Popsicles

Tahitian vanilla is perfect in cold applications like ice cream – and these popsicles. They’re seriously like an island vacation on a stick!

These are the perfect creamy combo of pineapple and coconut. I added just a little rum to give it the traditional pina colada feel (and make them fun for the adults!), but you could use rum extract or omit it and these would still be fantastic.

Nielsen-Massey Vanilla

Want to win your own bottle of Nielsen-Massey Tahitian Pure Vanilla Extract? Nielsen-Massey is offering one up to a lucky reader! Click here to enter —> a Rafflecopter giveaway

Pina Colada Popsicles

Creamy Pina Colada Popsicles
(a Kate’s Recipe Box original)
Makes 8 popsicles

1 1/2 cups fresh pineapple, finely chopped
1/3 cup sweetened, shredded coconut
1 tsp. Nielsen-Massey Tahitian Pure Vanilla Extract
1 Tbsp. gold rum, optional
1 cup whipping cream

In a large bowl, mix all the ingredients together. Use a stick blender (or pour into a regular blender!) and blend until smooth. Pour into popsicle molds and freeze overnight.


Burgers with Brie, Caramelized Onions, Arugula and Hampton Creek’s Just Mayo Garlic Mayo (+ Win a Hampton Creek Just Mayo Prize Pack!)

A few weeks ago, the folks at Hampton Creek contacted me about trying out some of their Just Mayo products. A company that’s trying to make sustainable, healthy, affordable food? I was totally on board.

They sent three mayos to try – regular, garlic and sriracha. I’ve been incorporating all three into dishes the last few weeks and I can honestly say I’m impressed. The mayo is eggless, so it’s allergy-friendly and it tastes really good.

These burgers went on the menu so I had an excuse to try the garlic mayo. So delicious! The flavors really go together well here for an awesome, easy burger.

Interested in trying some Just Mayo yourself? The nice folks at Hampton Creek sent along a set of Just Mayo products for a lucky reader. Want to win? Leave a comment below letting me know how you’d like to use the mayo. I’ll pick one comment at random to receive three bottles of Just Mayo in original, garlic and sriracha flavors. You have until midnight eastern time on September 14, 2014. Open to US residents only.



Burgers with Brie, Caramelized Onions, Arugula and Garlic Mayo
(adapted slightly from Handle the Heat)
Serves 2

1/2 lb. ground chuck
Salt and pepper, to taste
2 slices Brie cheese
1/4 cup caramelized onions
1/2 cup arugula
2 Tbsp. garlic mayo
2 burger buns

Heat the grill to medium heat.

Divide the meat in half and form into 2 patties. Season both sides with salt and pepper. Grill for 10 minutes, turning halfway, to desired doneness. Top with the cheese and remove from the grill immediately. Tent with foil and let rest for 5 minutes.

Serve the burgers on buns topped with caramelized onions, arugula and garlic mayo.

Ooey Gooey Chocolate Chip and Flax Cookies from Prevention RD’s Cooking and Baking with Almond Flour (+ Win a Copy!)

I always get excited when a food blogger I admire releases a cookbook. I love having that little piece of the internet on my bookshelf. Nicole Morrissey’s (aka, Prevention RD) first cookbook, Prevention RD’s Everyday Healthy Cooking, is in frequent rotation around here so when her editor asked if I wanted to review her new cookbook, Prevention RD’s Cooking and Baking with Almond Flour, I jumped at the chance.

As the title suggests, this book is full of gluten-free recipes – but the recipes are also marked as sugar-free, paleo, vegetarian, vegan, low-carb, high-fiber and dairy-free as appropriate, making it a super friendly resource for anyone trying to stick to a specific diet. Neither Mark or I have food allergies, but we have friends and family that do so we’re always looking for tasty things we can make them. We’re also, naturally, a little skeptical of recipes that stick to special diets – I mean, how do you trust chocolate chip cookies that have no butter or flour?

Luckily, Nicole has this thing nailed – these cookies were amazing. If you didn’t know they were gluten-free (and dairy-free, vegetarian and low-carb), you never would guess. They taste like regular chocolate chip cookies – not always an easy feat when you’re making something allergy-friendly. We passed off most of the batch to a friend of Mark’s who has recently gone gluten-free and they went over wonderfully.

And, there are so many equally delicious looking recipes in this book. I’m especially excited to work through the breakfast section and I’m loving that I’ll have a whole bunch of gluten-free cookie options for Christmas cookies for our Celiac family members this year.

Nicole’s editor was also kind enough to offer up a copy for a Kate’s Recipe Box reader. Want to win? Leave a comment below letting me know if you follow a gluten-free or other special diet and your favorite diet-friendly dish to make. I’ll pick one comment at random to receive a copy of Prevention RD’s Cooking and Baking with Almond Flour, compliments of Skyhorse Publishing. You have until midnight eastern time on September 7, 2014. Open to US residents only.


Ooey Gooey Chocolate Chip and Flax Cookies
(from Prevention RD’s Cooking and Baking with Almond Flour)
Makes 16 Cookies

1 1/4 cups blanched almond flour
1/4 cup ground flaxseed
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. salt
1/4 cup packed brown sugar
1 egg
1/4 cup coconut oil, melted and slightly cooled
1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
1/4 cup mini dark chocolate chips (I used dairy-free chips)

In a large bowl, whisk together the almond flour, flaxseed, baking powder, salt and brown sugar. In a second bowl, lightly beat the egg. Slowly whisk in the coconut oil to the egg, whisking constantly.

Fold the wet ingredients into the dry, then fold in the chocolate chips. Cover with plastic wrap and chill for at least 30 minutes.

After chilling, preheat the oven to 375F degrees and line a baking sheet with parchment. Roll the dough into 1-inch balls and arrange on the baking sheet. Flatten slightly, to about 3/4 inch thickness.

Bake for 7-9 minutes, until dry-looking and slightly browned. Cool for a few minutes on the baking sheet before transferring to a cooling rack to cool completely.

Chipotle Chicken Chili with Flaming Tequila-Pepper Salsa and Avocado Ranch Dressing + Rachael Ray Signed Cookbook Giveaway!

I’ve mentioned before that my first cookbook was a Rachael Ray cookbook and I have a soft spot for her because of it. She was the first cook that made things feel accessible enough for me to try them out myself.

I bought a few of her cookbooks early on but I’d since abandoned them. Except for a few pages in t he middle, they didn’t have any pictures and I came to realize that I’m much more likely to cook something if I know how it’s supposed to look finished.

A few weeks ago, Rachael was at my local bookstore signing copies of her newest cookbook, Rachael Ray’s Look + Cook. I decided the opportunity to meet her was worth the price of another cookbook for the shelf. Rachael was really nice and I was pleasantly surprised to see a good chunk of the book had color pictures.

Mark picked this recipe out of the book to try and I was a little hesitant about it for a weeknight dinner because it seemed like it had so many elements. Everything came together quickly, though, and it produced a very nice meal with less effort than I anticipated. Definitely a keeper.

Chipotle Chicken Chili with Flaming Tequila-Pepper Salsa and Avocado Ranch Dressing
(from Rachael Ray’s Look + Cook, also available on her website)

4 T. extra virgin olive oil, divided
6 slices smoky bacon, chopped
2 pounds ground chicken breast
2-3 T. pureed chipotle in adobo, depending on preferred heat level
1 T. ground cumin
1 T. ground coriander
1 T. smoked sweet paprika
1 large yellow onion, chopped
3-4 garlic cloves, finely chopped or grated
3 T. tomato paste
4 c. chicken stock (32 ounces)
Salt and pepper
1 yellow bell pepper, seeded and chopped
1 red bell pepper, seeded and chopped
1 orange bell pepper, seeded and chopped
1 medium red onion, chopped
2 jalapeño peppers, seeded and finely chopped
4 shots of tequila
Juice of 1 lime
1/4 c. cilantro leaves, chopped
1 avocado, pitted
Juice of 1 lemon
1 c. buttermilk
1/4 c. fresh chives, finely chopped Crushed tortilla chips, for garnish

Place a large heavy-bottomed pot over medium-high heat with 2 tablespoons of the olive oil. Add the bacon to the pan and brown, about 3-4 minutes. Add the chicken to the pot and brown, 5-6 minutes, stirring occasionally to break up the lumps. Add the pureed chipotle, cumin, coriander and smoked paprika, then stir for 1 minute. Add the onion and garlic to the pot and cook until tender, 5 minutes more. Add the tomato paste and chicken stock and some salt and pepper to the pot and bring the liquids up to a bubble. Reduce the heat to a simmer.

While the chili is simmering, place a medium size skillet over medium-high heat with the remaining 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Add the bell peppers, red onion and jalapeños to the skillet and cook until tender, 4-5 minutes. Remove the skillet from the heat and add the tequila. Return the skillet to the heat and flame the tequila to burn off most of the alcohol. Add the lime juice, cilantro and some salt to the salsa.

To a food processor bowl add the avocado, chives, lemon juice and buttermilk. Process until smooth and then season with salt and pepper.

Serve up the chili with some of the tequila-pepper salsa and avocado ranch dressing. Garnish with tortilla chips.


While I was at the book signing, I got another copy of Rachael Ray’s Look + Cook signed for a lucky reader.  All you have to do to enter is leave a comment letting me know who or what inspired you to cook.

For an additional entry, subscribe via email (in the right-hand column) and leave me a seperate comment letting me know. Already an email subscriber? Leave me a seperate comment letting me know that too and you’ll get your second entry.

Comments can be made until midnight EST on December 10, 2010. I’ll announce a winner December 11.

Good luck!

Lemon Pepper Chicken & Signed Michael Chiarello Cookbook Giveaway

General Mills, in conjunction with MyBlogSpark, recently sent me a package of Progresso’s Lemon Pepper Panko to try out. I’ve used panko before to make chicken so I decided to try this out with chicken too so it would be easy to compare.

The Lemon Pepper Panko was good – and would probably be really good with fish. It’s a great way to add some flavor quickly and without much thought. The one drawback of buying pre-seasoned breadcrumbs is that you don’t have as much flexibility with it. Still, this was good and I would definitely consider buying it again.

Lemon-Pepper Panko Chicken Nuggets
(Method from back of box)

2 chicken breasts
1 egg, lightly beaten
1/3 c. flour
1 c. Progresso Lemon-Pepper Panko

Cut chicken into chicken nugget-sized pieces. Rinse and pat dry.  Place egg, flour and panko in three separate bowls.

Dip each piece of chicken into flour, then egg, then panko and place on a baking sheet. Repeat with remaining pieces of chicken. Bake at 350F degrees for 20 minutes or until meat thermometer reads 165F degrees. Broil for an additional minute to crisp up panko.

For crisper chicken, I place the chicken on a cooling rack on top of the baking sheet – raising it slightly keeps it from sitting in any juices released.


General Mills and MyBlogSpark is providing a pack like the one they sent me to one lucky reader. It includes a package of Lemon Pepper Panko to try out and a copy of Michael Chiarello’s Bottega with a signed book-plate. The cookbook is beautiful and would be a great addition to any cook’s library.

To win, just leave a comment letting me know what you’d like to make with the panko breadcrumbs. For an additional entry, subscribe via email (in the right hand column) and leave a comment letting me know. (If you’re already a subscriber, just leave a comment letting me know for your second entry.) Comments can be made until midnight EST December 3, 2010. I’ll announce the winner December 4.

Additionally, be sure to check out the Progresso’s Wine & Dine with Chef Michael Chiarello Sweepstakes. Now through December 31st, participants can enter for the chance to win a trip for two to Napa Valley to attend the Spring Bud Break Party, an annual dinner and wine tasting event taking place on May 7, 2011. In addition to two tickets to the party, the grand prize also includes roundtrip airfare and hotel accommodations. Visit www.progressobroth.com for the sweepstakes rules and entry form.

Good luck!

Crescent Layer Bars & Baking Pack Giveaway

Last weekend I hosted a Holiday Entertaining Recipe Swap featuring Pillsbury Crescents. As part of the party, Pillsbury sent a few recipes using Crescents to try out. I’m a big fan of Crescents but I always thought of them as a savoy so I was surprised to see this recipe in the pile.

It’s also the hands down favorite of the day. I loved the chewiness the Crescents gave the crust and these would be easy to adapt with anything you have handy in the pantry.

Crescent Layer Bars
(from Pillsbury)

1 can (8 oz) Pillsbury® Crescent Recipe Creations® refrigerated seamless dough sheet
1 cup white chocolate chips
1 cup semisweet chocolate chips
1 cup slivered almonds
1 cup cashew halves and pieces
1 can (14 oz) sweetened condensed milk

Unroll dough sheet and press into a 9″x13″ pan making the dough go 1/2″ up the sides of the pan. Bake for 5 minutes at 375F degrees.
Remove partially baked crust from oven. Sprinkle white chocolate chips, chocolate chips, almonds and cashews evenly over crust. Pour condensed milk evenly over top.
Return to oven; bake 20 to 25 minutes longer or until golden brown. Cool 10 minutes. Run knife around sides of pan. Cool 1 hour. Refrigerate about 30 minutes or until chocolate is set.
Giveaway! – NOW CLOSED

Pillsbury sent me a hostess set for the get together and I’ve gotten permission from them to pass it along to a lucky reader. The prize pack includes a baking pan, spatula, oven mit, recipe cards and coupons for Pillsbury Crescents.
To enter, just leave a comment letting me know what your favorite holiday recipe is and be sure to include your email or another way I can contact you. You can leave a comment until midnight EST on November 26, 2010. I’ll announce the winner November 27.
Good luck!
This post was featured as part of Eat at Home’s Sweetened Condensed Milk Ingredient Spotlight.