Cherry Vanilla Coke Poke Cake #CookoutWeek

Every good cookout needs a fun dessert – and this is my new favorite.

Cherry Vanilla Coke just reminds me of summer so I was smitten when I saw this cake. It really does capture the flavors nicely. It was my first time making a poke cake, but I have to say I’m hooked. It was so moist! I made this a day ahead and it was perfect on the day of our cookout.

I also loved how easy this was to put together. I always plan ambitious menus for our cookouts so having something this easy was a definite bonus!

CherryVanillaCokePokeCake

Cherry Vanilla Coke Poke Cake
(from The Recipe Critic)
Makes 1 9×13″ cake

1 French vanilla cake mix, plus ingredients to prepare
1 large box cherry flavored Jello
12 oz. Coca Cola
1/2 cup cold water
1 small box instant vanilla pudding mix
1 cup milk
1 tsp. vanilla
1 container frozen whipped topping, thawed
Chocolate sprinkles and maraschino cherries, for topping

Prepare the cake according to package directions. Once baked, let cool for 15 minutes and then use the end of a wooden spoon to poke holes about 1 inch apart all over the cake.

In a bowl, combine the Jello mix, coke and water. Whisk until dissolved and then pour slowly over the cake, filling up the holes as much as possible. Refrigerate for at least half hour.

After the cake is chilled, combine the pudding mix and milk. Whisk until thoroughly combined then stir in vanilla. Fold in the whipped topping and then ice the cake. Refrigerate for at least 3 hours.

When ready to serve, top with sprinkles and cherries.

Slow Cooker Barbecue Baked Beans #CookoutWeek

One of the fun parts of #CookoutWeek has been getting acquainted with some of the sponsors. I got the opportunity to try out True Made Foods sauces and I’m a total convert.

If you haven’t heard of them, the gist is this: they infuse their sauces with vegetables and cut back on the sugar to make a product you can feel good about. Why am I so obsessed with this? I have a toddler that LOVES to dip anything and everything. If I can get some extra veggies in him while he slathers his dinner in ketchup, I’m all about it. This isn’t just a toddler ketchup, though – they’re really good and will easily please a more sophisticated palate. Wins all around.

I used two of the sauces they sent – the ketchup and the bbq sauce – to make up a batch of slow cooker baked beans. They were amazing. While most baked beans are loaded with sugar, these are pretty modest – but you don’t miss it at all. They’re full of flavor and a perfect accompaniment to any cookout.

CrockpotBakedBeans

Slow Cooker Barbecue Baked Beans
(a Kate’s Recipe Box original)
Serves 8-10 as a side

1 can pinto beans, drained and rinsed
1 can white beans, drained and rinsed
1 sweet onion, finely diced
1/2 cup True Made Foods Ketchup
1/2 cup True Made Foods Barbecue Sauce
1 Tbsp. yellow mustard
1 Tbsp. Worcestershire sauce
1/4 tsp. garlic powder
1/4 tsp. pepper

Add beans and onions to the slow cooker. Stir to combine.

In a small bowl, mix together remaining ingredients until well combined. Pour over beans and stir to combine.

Cook on low for 6 hours. Vent the lid for the last 15-20 minutes to thicken the sauce, if desired.

Grilled Italian Sausages with Sweet and Sour Peppers and Onions #CookoutWeek

I’ve been sitting on this recipe for weeks because I wanted to save it for #CookoutWeek – I’m so sorry I’ve been holding out on you guys. But, I’ve officially found my favorite way to grill up sausage.

In the past, I’ve always sort of failed at sausages on the grill. It would sound like such a good idea and then they’d end up undercooked on the inside or overcooked on the outside – or both. Braising them on the grill and then just transferring them to direct heat at the end eliminates all of that – and it’s absolutely delicious.

I had picked up these sausages on a whim at the farmer’s market and they were hands down the best impulse purchase I’ve made in a long time. I already can’t wait to make these again!

SausageSweetSourPeppersOnions

Grilled Italian Sausages with Sweet and Sour Peppers and Onions
(from Serious Eats)
Serves 4

1 Tbsp. vegetable oil
1 large onion, sliced
2 red peppers, sliced
2 green peppers, sliced
3 Tbsp. apple cider vinegar
3 Tbsp. sugar
Salt and pepper, to taste
4 sweet Italian sausage links
Rolls, for serving

In a large skillet over medium-high heat, heat the oil until shimmering. Add the sliced peppers and onions and toss to coat in the oil. Cook, stirring frequently, for about 8 minutes – until softened and browning. Stir in vinegar and sugar until the sugar is dissolved. Season with salt and pepper and set aside.

Light one side of a grill and allow to preheat for about 10 minutes.

Transfer the peppers and onions to a 10″ disposable aluminum pan. Push the sausages into the pepper mixture.

Place the tray on the heated side of the grill until simmering. Move to the non-heated side and close grill. Cook over indirect heat for 20 minutes, flipping the sausages halfway through.

Use tongs to remove the sausages from the peppers and onto the hot side of the grill. Cook, turning often, until browned – about three more minutes.

Serve sausages in rolls, topped with peppers and onions.

Welcome to #CookoutWeek + the chance to win an awesome prize pack!

_CookoutWeek_Logo2

Guys, this is going to be such a fun week around here! I’ve joined forces with around 50 of our blogging friends for #CookoutWeek – an entire week filled with yummy summer recipes perfect for your next cookout, along with a fun giveaway, courtesy of some awesome sponsors.

If you’ve been hanging around here for any amount of time, you know I love a summer cookout. Grilling weather is my favorite and I’m happy to get outside for a meal – whether it’s just the three of us or we’re hanging out with family and friends. Summer was just made for cooking and dining al fresco!

So, let’s talk about that prize – because you know you want it. It’s super easy to enter and one lucky winner will get:

It’s pretty much everything you need to host an awesome cookout this summer. It’s a prize pack worth over $300! Thank you so much to all of the wonderful sponsors listed above, who have made #CookoutWeek possible.

Enter now:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

As #CookoutWeek rolls on, I won’t be the only one posting #CookoutWeek recipes – there are nearly 50 bloggers signed on to make this week a real party! Make sure you check in with them to see what they’re dishing up. Here’s the full list of participating bloggers:

The PinterTest Kitchen2 Cookin’ MamasA Day in the Life on the Farmaddicted 2 recipesAimee Broussard & Co.Amy’s Cooking AdventuresAngels Home Sweet HomesteadBakin’ and EggcerptsBalancing MotherhoodBody RebootedCheese Curd In ParadiseCindy’s Recipes and WritingsCook With 5 KidsCook. Craft. Love.Cookaholic WifeCricket’s ConfectionsCrumb: A Food BlogEat, Drink, Be Healthy!Everyday EileenFairyburgerFood ParsedGet the Good Stuff!Goodie GodmotherHezzi-D’s Books and CooksHome in the Finger LakesJennifer CooksJessie WeaverKate’s Recipe BoxLife on FoodLittle House Big AlaskaLittle Scratch KitchenMaking MiraclesMoore or Less CookingRhubarb and HoneySavvy In The KitchenSeduction in the KitchenSimple Food 365Style IslandThanks for Cookin’!The Food Hunter’s Guide To CuisineThe Hungary Buddha Eats the WorldThe Spiffy CookieThe Weekday GourmetThis is How I CookTramplingroseVintage KittyWest Via Midwest

Check back every day this week for some awesome cookout recipes – I’m really excited about what I’ll be sharing! And happy summer!

No-Bake Chocolate Peanut Butter Pie

This pie, you guys, this pie.

I whipped this up for my husband’s birthday and I’m pretty sure it was more well-received than any cake I’ve made him. It’s hard to argue with creamy peanut butter, chocolate and an Oreo crust. If you’re a chocolate-peanut butter lover like me, you need to make this ASAP. It’s really just that good.

PeanutButterChocolatePie

No-Bake Chocolate Peanut Butter Pie
(from Kevin & Amanda)
Makes 1 pie

1 package Oreos
1 cup butter, divided
1 1/2 cups + 2 Tbsp. creamy peanut butter, divided
1 cup powdered sugar
1 cup chocolate chips
1/2 cup heavy whipping cream

Crush the Oreos in a food processor or with a rolling pin. Stir together with 1/2 cup melted butter. Press into a pie pan or spring form pan. Freeze for 10 minutes or until set.

While the crust is in the freezer, beat together the remaining butter, 1 1/2 cups peanut butter and 1 cup of powdered sugar, until smooth and creamy. Spoon into the crust and gently smooth. Place back in the freezer.

In a heat-proof bowl, add the chocolate chips and remaining peanut butter.

In a saucepan, bring the whipping cream to a rolling simmer over medium-high heat. Pour the hot cream over the chocolate chips and peanut butter. Let stand for 5 minutes and then whisk until smooth. Pour over the peanut butter layer and smooth out. Refrigerate, covered, for at least an hour before serving.

 

What’s Baking: Chocolate Chip Pecan Cookie Bars

whatsbaking

I’m officially less than 2 months from my due and I’m starting to feel the crunch. I’m pretty sure by this point with Jake everything was mostly set up, the freezer was filling up with meals and I was (not so) patiently waiting for his arrival. This go, all the baby stuff is still in the basement, there’s list of stuff we still need to buy and any meals that make it to the freezer are retrieved within the week for nights I can’t keep up. I’m pretty much just praying I make it to my due date again because those last two weeks I may finally have some time to get things done.

ChocolateChipPecanCookieBars

One of the things that has been hitting me hard is that my days of me-and-Jake time are coming to an end. He’s at such a fun age right now and I really love spending the day with my little buddy. He’s been super into helping me in the kitchen lately so I’ve been trying to pick recipes that he can be really hands-on with.

The latest theme for What’s Baking was “bars” – and these are perfect for a toddler assistant because there’s no risk of over-mixing and if the quantities aren’t measured out perfectly, that’s just fine. And they only take about five minutes to throw together, which is pretty much how long his attention lasts these days.

TasteTesterJake

Besides being easy, they’re delicious. My little taste tester couldn’t wait to get his hands on one and then all I heard was, “Yum! YUM!” as I packaged them up. I’m sure they’ll be making repeat appearances at our summer barbecues.

TasteTestJake

Want more bar ideas for your summer baking? Check out our host for the month, Cookaholic Wife, for a roundup of all of the goodies the other bloggers made!

Chocolate Chip Pecan Cookie Bars
(adapted from South Your Mouth)
Makes 1 8×8″ pan

2 cups graham cracker crumbs
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
1/2 cup chopped pecans
3/4 tsp. vanilla extract
1/4 tsp. salt
1 14 oz. can sweetened condensed milk
1 cup powdered sugar

Preheat your oven to 350F degrees. Spray an 8×8″ baking pan with non-stick spray and line with baking parchment. Set aside.

In a large bowl, combine all ingredients except powdered sugar. Mix until thoroughly combined and transfer the batter to the prepared pan.

Bake for 30 minutes, until set. Let cool completely, then cut into squares. Roll each square in powdered sugar.

Cheeseburger Burritos

I swear that every time I plan to grill out, it rains. Or at least it feels that way lately. I can’t remember the last time we’ve had so much rain!

It’s meant a few hiccups our meal plans. I was dreaming of burgers on the grill one night, but grilling in the pouring rain had zero appeal – so they became burger burritos instead. It wasn’t the juicy, grilled burger I was daydreaming about, but it was a good enough approximation for a rainy night – and Jake LOVED them.

BurgerWraps

Cheeseburger Burritos
(from Meals, Heels and Cocktails)
Serves 6

1 1/2 lbs. ground beef
1/2 cup mustard
1/2 cup ketchup
1/2 cup chopped dill pickle
1 cup chopped tomato
1 cup shredded cheddar
2 cups shredded lettuce
6 large tortillas

In a large skillet over medium heat, brown the ground beef and drain the grease. Stir in the mustard, ketchup relish and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 5 minutes. Stir in tomato and cheese.

Divide mixture between tortillas. Divide lettuce between tortillas. Roll up and serve.

Italian-Parmesan Grilled Potatoes

I’m just starting to get back into some solid meal planning. Even though I’ve been feeling better for weeks, I haven’t been mentally ready to prep big meals more than once or twice a week. We’re on about week 3 of a real meal plan again and it feels good. Even if I’m mostly just doing main dishes and praying that the sides figure themselves out.

These delicious potatoes were mostly an after-thought. We were planning to make dinner on the grill and I decided to throw these on too instead of roasting them. The simple seasonings made them a breeze to throw together but they were still really good. And using a foil packet meant no dishes to clean up – always a plus!

ItalianParmGrilledPotatoes

Italian-Parmesan Grilled Potatoes
(adapted from Kraft)
Serves 4

4-5 red potatoes, cut into chunks
2 tsp. olive oil
2 Tbsp. water
2 Tbsp. Italian dressing
2 Tbsp. freshly grated Parmesan cheese
Salt and pepper, to taste
Parsley, for garnish

Preheat the grill to medium heat.

In a medium bowl, toss together the potato chunks, olive oil and water. Transfer to a large sheet of foil and fold into a packet.

Grill the foil packet of potatoes for twenty minutes, turning halfway.

Once cooked, transfer to a bowl and toss with dressing, cheese, salt and pepper. Garnish with parsley and serve.

 

Slow Cooker Honey Mustard Pulled Chicken

I had bought chicken to make something else – and then realized that my day was entirely too busy to make what was planned. After scrambling around Pinterest for a few minutes for something I already had ingredients, I found this recipe.

This is simple, but good. My toddler totally devoured it. And demanded most of the leftovers for himself.

HoneyMustardPulledChicken

Slow Cooker Honey Mustard Pulled Chicken
(from Wonky Wonderful)
Serves 6

2 lbs. boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1/4 cup honey
3 Tbsp. whole grain Dijon mustard
1/4 cup water +2 Tbsp., divided
2 tsp. cornstarch

2 cups shredded red cabbage
1/4 cup olive oil
3 Tbsp. apple cider vinegar
Salt and pepper, to taste
1 tsp. whole grain Dijon mustard
2 tsp. honey
2 tsp. sugar

Sandwich rolls, for serving

In a small bowl, whisk together the honey, Dijon and 1/4 cup water.

Add the chicken to the slow cooker. Pour the honey mustard mixture over and toss to coat. Cook on low for 4 1/2 hours, remove chicken and shred.

Whisk together the remaining 2 Tbsp. water and cornstarch until smooth. Whisk into the slow cooker. Return chicken and stir to coat. Cook for another 20 minutes, or until thickened.

While the chicken cooks, in a medium bowl, whisk together the olive oil, vinegar, salt, pepper, Dijon, honey and sugar. Toss with red cabbage. Refrigerate until ready to serve.

Serve pulled chicken on rolls, topped with cabbage slaw.

Shake Shack-Style Sliders

A Shake Shack opened in our town last year and it’s been… dangerous. It’s probably the easiest and tastiest to-go burger around. And then add a milkshake? Yeah, bad news to have that in your backyard.

I was craving some last week when I remembered Sarah had blogged a copy-cat version a few years back. When I looked at the recipe, I was skeptical they’d be really that simple – but they are. These hit the nail on the head and totally cured my craving.

Now I’m trying to decide if it’s more dangerous to have a Shake Shack so close or to know I can make them at home so easily.

ShakeShackSliders

Shake Shack-Style Sliders
(slightly adapted from A Taste of Home Cooking)
Makes 8 Sliders

1/4 cup mayonnaise
1 1/2 tsp. ketchup
1 1/2 tsp. yellow mustard
2 slices kosher dill pickle, finely chopped
1/8 tsp. garlic powder
1/8 tsp. paprika
Pinch cayenne pepper
1 1/4 lbs. ground sirloin
Salt and pepper, to taste
2 Tbsp. butter, softened
8 slider rolls, preferably potato
8  leaves lettuce, tops of leaves only
8 slices ripe Roma tomatoes
8 slices yellow American cheese

In a small bowl, whisk together the mayonnaise, ketchup, yellow mustard, chopped pickle, garlic powder, paprika and cayenne. Set aside.

Split rolls and butter cut-side lightly. Broil until lightly toasted. After toasting, top with 1/2 – 1 tsp. of sauce, a slice of lettuce and a slice of tomato. Set the prepped buns on parchment paper.

Divide the ground sirloin into eight equal parts and form into patties. Season with salt and pepper and place seasoned-side down in a cast-iron skillet over medium-high heat. Press down and season again. Cook for about three minutes, until the bottoms have a nice crust and then flip, top with cheese and cover until cheese melts.

Transfer the cooked burgers to the prepped buns and wrap in parchment for a minute to let the juices absorb. (This is what really makes the burgers – don’t skip it!) Unwrap and serve immediately.