December 12, 2011

Loaded Baked Potatoes with Bacon and Cheese

Sometimes I go through writer's block.

Or rather, food block. I'm sure you've noticed the lack of posts these past few weeks. Every day I attempt to find something new to try and come up with nothing. Not that there hasn't been an endless amount of stuff to choose from with the holidays and all. I guess go through phases sometimes, surrounding myself with everything food and every now and then I get burned out. I'm sure this happens to you too, maybe not with food, but other things that you enjoy. So annoying!

So instead I've been focusing on my other hobbies. Reading and crafting. I finally read the first book of The Hunger Games (not sure how I feel about it..) and I've started reading Room, so interesting! I made all my Christmas cards and decorated the house, bought a small tree, and shopped for gifts. Then one night I realized I really wanted a baked potato..

I've never made twice baked potatoes, which these kind of are. You'll bake the potatoes like normal and then scoop out the flesh and mash it up with cream cheese, oregano, cheddar cheese, and whatever else you like. The potatoes and the stuffing go back in the oven again and when they come out you can sprinkle them with bacon and green onions. I think they'd be great for a Christmas party!

Source: adapted from Cooking Light
Servings: 4

4 large baking potatoes
1/2 cup milk
1/3 cup cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese
2 tablespoons minced fresh or 2 teaspoons dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1/4 cup thinly sliced green onions
2 bacon slices, cooked and crumbled

Preheat oven to 400°. Pierce potatoes with a fork; bake at 400° for 1 hour or until tender. Cool slightly. Cut each potato in half lengthwise; scoop out pulp into a large bowl, leaving a 1/4-inch-thick shell. Mash pulp with a potato masher. Add milk and cream cheese to mashed potato; stir with a whisk. Add cheddar cheese, oregano, salt, and pepper; stir well. Spoon potato mixture into shells. Place on a baking sheet; bake at 400° for 15 minutes or until thoroughly heated. Sprinkle each serving with 1 1/2 teaspoons green onions; top with bacon.

What are your holiday plans?

December 5, 2011

Holiday Baking Ideas

I like to do most of my holiday baking when I'm surrounded by family. When I know I can give it away and watch everyone enjoy a sweet bite after the big meal. With my mom, we bake sugar cookies and pies, cheesecakes, whatever new recipe we've had our eye on for a while. I'll be making some goodie bags to give away as gifts too and I'll still collecting ideas for that.

There's one thing I'll be making for sure this holiday season. Fudge.

White Chocolate Covered Pretzels- in Christmas colors!

Christmas Tree Cookie Balls- crumble up Oreo's and mix with cream cheese!

Melting Snowmen Cookie Balls- smashed Nutter Butter cookies and peanut butter

Peppermint Oreo Cookie Balls- I've got a thing for cookie balls this year.

French Mint Silk Pie- Perfect for after Christmas dinner!

Chocolate Cream Pie- I've had my eye on this for months.

M&M Peanut Butter Bars- How cute would these be with red and green M&M's?

What's on your baking list?

December 2, 2011

Shrimp Fettuccine Alfredo

Do you like shrimp?

I do! I'm in love with the bang bang shrimp tacos at Bonefish Grill. If I knew how to make those tacos, we'd have that once a week! But I'm still very fishy (pun intended!) about fish. I stick to the same cooking method for salmon and for shrimp (the only two seafoods (is that a word)? I make at home). I still have lots to learn about fish and I definitely have room for improvement.

Despite my lack of fishy skills, I do know how to throw shrimp into pasta. This was really good, easy, and quick to put together on a weeknight. Dinner ready in 20 minutes? I'll take it. You might prefer using heavy cream instead of half and half, I bet it would add richness as the half and half just isn't the same. I also think more cheese is necessary, or adding a second cheese might do the trick. It was a Cooking Light recipe after all, so if you're trying to eat healthier after Thanksgiving and before the holiday baking begins, it's a good way to satisfy a pasta craving!

Source: Cooking Light
Serves: 3-4

1 pound fettuccine
1 pound peeled and deveined medium shrimp
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 teaspoons olive oil
1/2 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
1/3 cup half-and-half
3 tablespoons 1/3-less-fat cream cheese
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley

How do you like to make shrimp?