Pumpkin Spice Chai Tea Latte

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Pumpkin Spice Chai Latte

I have a weakness for Chai. Especially the Iced Chai Tea Latte from Starbucks. It was an expensive weakness, until I discovered how to make them on my own. TAZO Chai Black Tea Latte from concentrate is the secret ingredient.

Pumpkin Spice Chai Latte

TAZO sells several varieties of the Chai Latte mix. I pick mine up at Target. They always seem to have a good deal at 2 boxes for $6. This is the exact same Chai mix that Starbucks uses. And they charge at least $4-5 per drink! Well, you can get 8 drinks out of one box of the TAZO Chai. That’s a savings of around $28 per carton if you do it yourself! That’s a decent chunk of change. And they’re simple to make too. If you use 2% or Skim milk, they’re really not that bad for you either!

Ingredients:
1/2 cup TAZO Chai Latte Mix
1/2 cup milk (2% or skim)
Ice cubes
Whipped cream (optional)

Instructions:
Pour the TAZO Chai and the milk over ice in your favorite cup. Top with whipped cream (not necessary, but fun on occasion.) Stir with a straw and enjoy! If you prefer a larger up of Chai, just use a 1:1 ratio on the Chai mix and milk.

Brussels Sprouts Chips

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Brussels Sprouts Chips

Looking for a healthy snack to help keep your resolution for a healthy new year? Brussels Sprouts Chips are an excellent choice! I’ve always thought that Brussels Sprouts get a bad rap. People just don’t like them. I never had them growing up, but was introduced a few years ago and thought they were really good. Especially if they are roasted. I could eat roasted Brussels Sprouts as a snack every single day, they are so good. I read a blog post not too long ago where someone made chips with them and thought that I had to try it!

sprouts1

All you have to do is peel the layers of the Sprouts and spread them onto a pan lined with parchment paper. I then spread a little bit of olive oil on the chips with a basting brush. You don’t need a ton of it, just a nice coating.

Brussels Sprouts Chips

Lightly sprinkle some salt and/or pepper on the Chips. I’ve also used garlic powder and that was really good. I’m sure they would be good with other seasonings, feel free to experiment.

Bake the Chips at 350 degrees (F), for about 10 minutes, or until they are the crispiness that you desire. My husband tends to like them very well done, I like them less well done. So we try to go for a happy medium. They Chips are so light and crispy, you will love them!

Top 7 Recipes of 2014

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Top 7 Recipes of 2014 on CookingwithAmanda.com

2014 was a great first year for the Cooking with Amanda blog. We are new and we are growing and can’t wait to see what 2015 will bring! We’re going to have some fun this year, we’ve got some plans for various “Theme Weeks” in the works (Travel Week, Comfort Food Week, Crock Pot Week, just to name a few…) and we can’t wait to get started!

For now, we just wanted to share our “Top 7” recipes of last year, so that you may enjoy them once again, or if you missed them the first time around.

Here’s to a happy, healthy and tasty new year!

1. Banana Bread

Banana Bread

2. Red Velvet Cool Whip Cookies

Red Velvet Cool Whip Cookies

3. Pumpkin Cookies

Pumpkin Cookies

4. Caramel Corn

Caramel Corn

5. Peanut Butter Blossoms

Peanut Butter Blossoms

6. Turkey Noodle Soup

Turkey noodle soup

7. Christmas M&M Pretzel Treats

Pretzel M&M Treats

Turkey Enchiladas

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Turkey Enchiladas

We had a big turkey dinner this past weekend, which left us with a lot of leftovers. More than I thought there would be! I had scheduled a Mexican food night for New Years Eve, so I stuck with that, but added a twist with some leftover turkey. We had delicious Turkey Enchiladas.

Turkey Enchiladas

I pretty much just threw in whatever I had on hand. 1 can of enchilada sauce, a can of black beans, chopped up onion and the turkey. I used both white and dark meat, which made for interesting textures.

Turkey Enchiladas

I stuffed the flour tortillas with the meat mixture, rolled them up and covered them with shredded Mexican cheese.

Turkey Enchiladas

I baked the Enchiladas for 30 minutes at 350 degrees. They were amazing! I love to add hot sauce to everything, which I did, for a nice spicy twist. This was a super easy meal to make. I used up some of the leftovers and everyone enjoyed a fantastic home-cooked meal.

Ingredients:
1 cup cut-up turkey meat
1 can Enchilada sauce
1 onion, chopped
1/2 can black beans
1-2 cups Mexican shredded cheese
Flour tortillas

Instructions:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Place the turkey meat, 3/4 can of Enchilada sauce, onion and black beans in a skillet, heat until boiling. Then let simmer on low for about 5-10 minutes. Stirring often. Grease a casserole dish. Place a cup of the meat mixture in a flour tortilla, add a handful of cheese. Roll up the tortilla and place in casserole dish. Repeat until dish is full and mixture is gone. A throw the extra meat mixture on top of the tortillas if there’s any left. Cover the tortillas with the rest of the Enchilada sauce. Cover with cheese. Bake for 30 minutes. Let cool for 10 minutes, serve with some nice tortilla chips or refried beans. Enjoy!

Roasted Chickpeas

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Roasted Chickpeas

Are you looking for a quick and healthy snack for the New Year? This could be it! I discovered these little gems not too long ago and now they’re a family favorite.

Chickpeas

They’re super easy to make. All you need is 1 can of Chickpeas (or Garbanzo Beans, whatever your grocery store calls them!) Drain the chick peas, baste them with some olive oil and sprinkle with salt.

Chickpeas

Heat the oven to around 350 degrees (F) and bake the chickpeas for 20-25 minutes. Bake them until they’re golden brown, or until they are a little bit crispy. Test them to see if they are a consistency that you like. My husband likes them very well done, whereas I like them a little softer. So we try to go with a happy medium.

Chickpeas

If they aren’t gobbled up in one sitting, you can store them in an air-tight container after they have cooled completely. They will usually last for several days and keep their texture pretty well.

Cranberry Sauce

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Cranberry Sauce

I made my first “homemade” cranberry sauce tonight. It turned out really well! I’m not a fan of the jelly cranberry sauce from a can, but I really like other things with cranberry, so I thought I would try to make my own. I added a hint of nutmeg and cinnamon and that made all the difference in the world.

Cranberry Sauce
Ingredients:
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup water
1/2 cup orange juice
4 cups fresh cranberries
Optional additions: Orange zest, raisins, blueberries, cinnamon, nutmeg, and/or allspice.

Instructions:
1. Rinse cranberries. Throw away any damaged or bruised cranberries. Pour the water, orange juice and sugar in a medium saucepan on high heat and bring to a boil. Stir well to dissolve sugar.
2. Add the cranberries to the pan and bring to a boil. Lower the heat and simmer for 10 minutes or until most of the cranberries have burst. I mushed them up a little bit once they were soft.
3 You can leave the cranberry sauce as it is, or add some other fun ingredients. You could add raisins or even blueberries for nice sweet flavor. I love cinnamon and nutmeg, so I added a bit of each of those to mine.
4. Remove the pan from heat. Let cool for a few minutes, then transfer to a bowl to put in the refrigerator. The cranberry sauce will continue to thicken as it cools. It will be ready to serve after 30 minutes or so.

Menu Plan: Week of Dec. 28

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Amanda's Menu Plan

It’s the last week of 2014 and we’re going out with a bang. Or should I say, we’re going to try to empty the refrigerator and freezer this week. We bought a 14 lb. turkey before Thanksgiving (it was on sale for $4!) and I’m going to cook it this week. We’ll have amazing leftovers, plus I’ll get a huge empty spot in my freezer. We had a ‘leftover’ night last night just to try to get the fridge cleaned out too. How does this much food accumulate in such a short amount of time?!

The fridge

What a mess — how many cool whip containers can one refrigerator hold?? And guess what? None of those containers actually has cool whip in it!  So yeah, it’s time to clean out the fridge. Especially since it’ll be full of turkey after today.

Here is our menu plan for the week:

Sunday:
Turkey
Stuffing
Mashed Potatoes
Cranberry Sauce
Glazed Carrots

Monday:
Leftover turkey, etc.

Tuesday:
Dinner out with friends

Wednesday (NYE):
Mexican night: Burritos and nachos

Thursday:
Grilled Ham & Cheese Sandwiches
Tomato Soup

Friday:
Chicken Parmesan
Pasta
Steamed Broccoli

Saturday:
Cheddar Ham & Potato Soup
Rolls

Check out more amazing menu plans at Organizing Junkie! Just click on the image:

mpm


Creamy Mushroom Soup

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Christmas 2014

Before I post the recipe for the best mushroom soup in the world, let me first begin by saying I hope that everyone had an amazing Christmas. Ours was lovely, full of family, food and gifts. I hope yours was too.

Creamy Mushroom Soup

Now on to the soup! I created this recipe using my basic potato soup recipe to start. I figured the creaminess from the potato soup would be a perfect mix with the mushrooms. I would even say that another version of this soup could include the potatoes and maybe even some bacon or steak bits. That could be another post for another day!

Ingredients:
2 tbsp butter
1 tsp minced onion
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1 – 8 oz pkg mushrooms, cleaned and chopped
2 tbsp flour
1 cup light cream
2 cups milk
1 beef bouillon cube
1/4 cup water
Salt & pepper to taste
Parmesan cheese

Instructions:
Melt the butter in a sauce pan over medium heat. Add minced onion, garlic powder and mushrooms. Cook until mushrooms are soft. Add flour. Mix well. Add light cream and milk, stir. Cook the beef bouillon cube with 1/4 cup water in the microwave for about 30-45 seconds, stir the cube until it dissolves. Add bouillon mixture to soup. Stir constantly while bringing to a boil. Bring heat down to low and simmer for 20-30 minutes. Pour soup into bowl and sprinkle Parmesan cheese on top. Serve with crackers or bread and enjoy!