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Saltine Cracker Toffee

I love sweet and salty. One thing I have always remembered my grandmama making was saltine cracker toffee. It’s like a faux toffee or brittle. And it’s super easy. Recently, I ate something that had the same flavor so I made a mental note to find the recipe and make it, especially after learning that my husband’s family had never had this incredible concoction before. Then, like a mind reader, my mom made some for our family Christmas get-together, except she made hers with graham crackers instead of saltines.

My memory is not always the best, but I know I remember grandmama making this with saltines. And luckily my cousin remembered the same. So I got the recipe from my mom (which did use graham crackers), found something similar online to compare that used saltines, and kind of combined and tweaked the two to make a delicious Saltine Cracker Toffee.

None of the measurements have to be exact and there are a lot of ways to modify this recipe. Apparently a lot of people add chocolate too. I love chocolate but there are SO many chocolate treats that I prefer this one without. You can also use different kinds of nuts or no nuts at all! That is the beauty of this recipe.

Try it out and let me know (a) how you like it and (b) how you modify it! Individual steps/tips and pictures are next or see the recipe below.

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The recipe requires a simple 3 ingredients. Yes, that’s right – only 3. Saltines, butter, and brown sugar. Oh and some cooking spray and aluminum if you want to count those.

Preheat oven to 350°. Line a baking sheet (one that has sides and is not completely flat) with aluminum foil then spray with cooking spray. Line up saltine crackers to fill the cookie sheet. If you are using nuts and need to chop them, go ahead and do that.

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In a medium sized saucepan, melt butter over medium-low heat. I cut the sticks into smaller pieces just to help it melt quicker. Once it’s about halfway melted, add the brown sugar. Once butter is completely melted, bring to boil over medium heat for about 3 minutes or until it thickens and the sugar has dissolved. Stir constantly during this part. You want the butter and sugar to be completely combined and be the color of caramel.

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Once that is done, pour it evenly over the saltine crackers and spread with a knife or spoon or spatula. It does not have to be perfect and it will spread out more in the oven, but try to cover all cracker with sauce as best you can.

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Sprinkle nuts on top. You can use and much or as little as you like and again – perfection is not a thing. Place in oven and bake for about 10 minutes. You want it to be golden brown.

Remove from oven and let cool. It will cool faster if you take the foil (with the toffee) off the cookie sheet. I also let it cool about 10 minutes on the counter then put it in the refrigerator to finish cooling. After it cools, break into pieces and enjoy! These were a HUGE hit at my office holiday party and it’s super easy to make.

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Saltine Cracker Toffee

Ingredients

  • 40-50 saltine crackers
  • 2 sticks of butter
  • 1 C light brown sugar (packed)
  • 1 C chopped pecans

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350°
  2. Line a cookie sheet (with sides) with aluminum foil and spray with cooking spray
  3. Place saltine crackers in single layer covering cookie sheet
  4. Place butter in a medium saucepan over medium-low heat. Stir until butter is about halfway melted then add brown sugar.
  5. Once butter is melted, bring to a boil over medium heat for about 3 minutes. Stir constantly. The goal is for the sugar to be dissolved and combined with butter, the mixture to be thickened, and to be a caramel color.
  6. Pour butter-sugar mixture evenly over saltines. Spread out with a utensil (knife, spoon, spatula, etc.).
  7. Sprinkle pecans on top.
  8. Place in oven and bake for about 10 minutes or until golden brown.
  9. Remove pan from oven and take foil & toffee off of the pan. Let cool then break into pieces. Can also place in refrigerator to cool.

Notes

You can use whatever nuts you want or no nuts at all. Print the recipe here: Saltine Cracker Toffee


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Pasta Primavera

This was a Home Chef delivery I got recently. It was a simple recipe that seemed to be easily modified, so I gave it a shot. It’s easy to make, very little prep, and has a pretty easy shopping list. All the amounts are estimates, so you can easily add more or less of something. Or you can completely change items (pasta type, specific vegetables, type of cheese). Home Chef recipes are for 2 servings, but pasta recipes usually make more than 2 for me. And my recreation fed me 4 meals.

Full recipe below after an overview of steps and pictures. Enjoy!

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Pretty simple and easy to find ingredients. The original recipe called for cavatappi pasta, which my grocery store did not have. Easy to substitute your favorite pasta though! I used whole grain penne.

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Start water boiling for the pasta and prep your ingredients. Halve the tomatoes, cut zucchini into quarter-slices, trim asparagus and cut into 1 inch pieces, and drain the artichokes. Roughly crush a handful of croutons.

 

 

Sear the vegetables. Start with asparagus and zucchini, then add tomatoes and artichokes.

 

When pasta is cooked, drain, return to pot and toss with some olive oil.

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To make the sauce, heat evaporated milk until slightly thickened. Add Parmesan cheese and breadcrumbs. Remove from heat and add butter. Season with salt and pepper.

 

Add everything to pan with sauce and toss! I added some chicken to mine.

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Serve with a sprinkle of Parmesan cheese and crumbled goat cheese (I totally forgot the goat cheese before I took pictures and dug in – sorry)!

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Pasta Primavera

Ingredients:

  • 5 oz. (half a carton) grape tomatoes
  • 5 oz. (8-10 stalks) asparagus
  • 1 zucchini
  • 6 oz. jar artichoke hearts
  • Handful of seasoned croutons
  • 8 oz. (half a box) pasta (whatever kind you want – I used penne)
  • 2 tsp. + 2 tsp. olive oil
  • 12 oz. canned evaporated whole milk
  • ½ C grated Parmesan cheese (+ extra for serving)
  • 2 Tbsp. butter
  • 2 oz. (half a container) crumbled goat cheese
  • Salt & Pepper
  • optional addition: cooked protein (chicken, shrimp, sausage)

Directions:

Start water to boil in a medium pot for pasta. Cook according to directions on box.

Prep ingredients: halve grapes tomatoes; trim bottoms off asparagus and cut into 1 inch pieces; cut zucchini into half moons; drain artichokes; put croutons in a ziploc bag and crush into coarse breadcrumbs.

Heat 2 tsp. olive oil in a large pan on medium-high heat. Add asparagus and zucchini and cook 4-5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add grape tomatoes and artichokes and cook 2 more minutes. Transfer to a plate or bowl and set aside.

When pasta is finished cooking, drain in colander, return to pot, and toss with 2 tsp. olive oil. Set aside.

Return same large pan to medium heat. Add evaporated milk to hot pan and bring to a simmer. Cook 4-5 minutes or until slightly thickened, stirring often. Stir in Parmesan cheese and breadcrumbs. Cook 2-3 minutes or until sauce is thick enough to coat the back of a spoon, Remove pan from burner and swirl in butter. Season with salt and pepper.

Add pasta and vegetables (and cooked protein if you have it) to pan with the sauce. Toss to coat everything in sauce.

Serve topped with a sprinkle of Parmesan cheese and goat cheese crumbles.

[modified from Home Chef recipe]


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Spinach Orzotto

I got this recipe from my sister-in-law a long time ago and just rediscovered it in my recipe box. It is very easy and delicious – a great side to go with anything. You do want to make sure to prep everything before starting because it goes pretty quick once you start. And you kind of need to watch it closely, so I recommend making it when you have your main meat/dish cooking in the oven or someone around to help. This is a very basic recipe and would be easy to modify – add some different veggies, add some Parmesan, add some meat to make it a meal on it’s own – go crazy!

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Gather all your ingredients – pretty easy stuff, too – nothing strange. And yes, that is white wine. Make sure you have a glass ready because you only use 1/3 cup for the recipe…

ingredients

ingredients

You’ll want to go ahead and prep everything, including measuring out everything. Trust me, you will be glad you did. Chop your green onions and spinach.

Measure out your liquids – use a glass measuring cup for the chicken broth as you will heat it up a little in the microwave before adding it.

prep, prep, prep

prep, prep, prep

Time to cook! Heat the olive oil in a skillet. Add green onion, garlic, and orzo. Toast, stirring frequently, for about 3 minutes or until orzo has started to toast. Watch carefully or the orzo will burn.

toast it up

toast it up

Add the white wine and stir until absorbed. While the white wine absorbs, stick the chicken broth in the microwave for 1-2 minutes to warm it up a bit.

add white wine

add white wine

Add ½ a cup of chicken broth and cook, stirring frequently, until absorbed. Repeat 2 more times with ½ a cup of broth at a time until all is absorbed.

add chicken broth

add chicken broth

Turn off heat and add chopped spinach until well incorporated and wilted.

add spinach

add spinach

Season with salt and pepper and serve it up!

serve it

serve it

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Spinach Orzotto

Ingredients:

  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 2 green onions, chopped
  • 1/3 C white wine
  • ½ C orzo
  • 1 ½ C chicken broth
  • 2 C spinach, chopped
  • salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

Prep all ingredients (chop and measure).

Heat olive oil in a skillet over medium-high heat. Add green onion, garlic, and orzo and cook for about 3 minutes or until orzo is slightly toasted, stirring frequently.

Add wine and cook until absorbed, stirring frequently. While wine cooks down, heat chicken broth in microwave for 1-2 minutes (want it at least warm).

Add ½ cup of chicken broth and cook until absorbed, stirring frequently. Repeat 2 more times with ½ cup of chicken broth each time until all broth is absorbed.

Turn off heat and stir in chopped spinach until wilted and incorporated into the pasta.

Season with salt and pepper. Serve immediately.

Makes about 2 servings


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Beef & Cheese Enchiladas

Apparently I had a one track mind last week to re-make Home Chef meals. My next recipe to tackle was Beef & Cheese Enchiladas. I remembered these being VERY good and I was not mistaken. In fact, these may be the best homemade mexican dish I’ve made. And that’s saying a lot considering how much I love my crock pot taco chicken that you can do a million things with. Obviously this takes a little more work, but it is totally worth it. And you can easily modify it for different amounts, likes, and dislikes!

Full recipe is below – enjoy!

Pretty basic ingredients – modify as you wish! I used wheat tortillas instead of corn, taco seasoning instead of enchilada seasoning (I don’t think this exists – even Penzeys doesn’t have one), and a generic Mexican cooking sauce instead of enchilada sauce (I got Herdez traditional chipotle sauce and highly recommend it – it is delicious. A fajita sauce or taco sauce would be fine as well). And I used a Mexican blend cheese instead of cheddar-jack because I had it already.

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Prep ingredients first, which is pretty much just chopping a jalapeno. I remove the seeds and always use gloves when chopping these – if you’d had jalapeno in your eye you would do the same. Or better yet, don’t risk that and just do it because I would not wish not on my worst enemy.

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Cook your meat next and drain the fat. Add the seasoning and stir until coated.

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Remove seasoned cooked meat to a bowl, then add jalapeno, corn, green chiles, and about half of cheese. Mix together (this is your filling).

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Soften your tortillas. You can do this on the stove (wipe out the meat pan and heat each side over low heat), or place tortillas on a plate between two damp paper towels and stick in the microwave for 20-30 seconds. You just want them slightly warm so they break when you fill and roll them up.

Then assemble! Fill each tortilla with beef mixture, roll and place, seam down, in greased baking dish.

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Finally, pour sauce on top and top with cheese!

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Bake then serve with some rice, sour cream, and cilantro (fresh is ideal). Or whatever other sides and condiments you want!

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Beef & Cheese Enchiladas

Ingredients:

  • 1 jalapeno pepper
  • 1 lb. ground beef
  • 1 ½ Tbsp. taco seasoning
  • ¾ C frozen (or fresh) corn
  • 2 oz. (½ a can) diced green chiles
  • ¾ to 1 C Mexican blend shredded cheese
  • 6-8 tortillas
  • 1 C Chipotle cooking sauce (or enchilada sauce, fajita sauce, taco sauce, etc.)
  • 1 ½ Tbsp. water
  • Fresh cilantro for garnish (optional)
  • Sour cream for serving
  • Mexican or Spanish rice for side

Directions:

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Chop jalapeno.

In a medium pan over medium heat, brown ground beef, breaking up with spoon as it cooks. Cook 8-10 minutes or until browned. Drain fat. Add taco seasoning and stir until coated. Remove to a medium mixing bowl.

To mixing bowl with beef, add diced jalapeno, corn, canned green chiles, and about half of the shredded cheese. Mix well.

Soften tortillas in microwave between 2 damp paper towels, about 20 seconds on high.

Spray a baking dish or baking sheet.

Fill tortilla with some of beef mixture. Roll closed and place seam-down in baking dish. Place enchiladas against each other snugly.

In a small bowl, mix the sauce with the water. Pour over enchiladas and top with remaining (or desired amount of) cheese.

Bake 12-15 minutes or until cheese is bubbly and melted.

If making rice, make while enchiladas bake.

Serve with fresh cilantro and a dollop of sour cream.

[modified from Home Chef recipe]

 

 


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Orange Chicken

There aren’t many recipes I’ve gotten from Home Chef (or Plated or Blue Apron or Hello Fresh) that I keep, much less make again. They are good meals, but many ingredients are odd, specific, or in weird amounts. But I attempted to make one on my own this week and it was delicious!

This one was from Home Chef: Healthy Takeout Orange Chicken. It was pretty easy, though I did have to modify a few ingredients and amounts. I didn’t get every step photographed, but this gives you an idea. And full recipe is below!

ingredients

ingredients

Cook the rice (I use my rice cooker – it will change your life).

Prep the ingredients: zest and juice the orange; mince ginger and garlic; cut chicken and coat; make sauce

prep

prep

Cook the chicken: brown the chicken and chiles (or crushed red pepper); add sauce and let thicken

cook chicken

cook chicken

 

make sauce

make sauce

Make dressing: whisk dressing ingredients together. I tossed it over broccoli (steam-in-bag) but recipe makes a spinach salad

dressing

dressing

And enjoy! And yes, this was my Bachelor finale meal to enjoy. And yes that was my winning prize for a previous season bracket win. What? Oh and it goes great with a cirtus-y white wine (I had Rex Goliath Sauvignon Blanc). Perfection.

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Healthy Orange Chicken

Ingredients

  • 1 C jasmine rice (uncooked)
  • 1 navel orange
  • 1 garlic clove
  • 2 tsp ginger
  • 2 chicken breasts
  • 2 tsp sugar
  • 2 tsp cornstarch
  • 4 Tbsp soy sauce
  • Crushed red pepper* to taste
  • ½ Tbsp sesame seeds
  • Salt & Pepper to taste
  • ¼ C water
  • 4 tsp olive oil
  • 1 bag frozen broccoli

*the original recipe used dried arbol chiles, which were delicious, but I couldn’t any. If you can find them, use 1 for mild heat, 2 for medium, and so on – however much heat you want. I think I used 1-2 tsp. of crushed red pepper instead and it had a kick.

Directions

Cook rice according to package instructions or in rice cooker.

Zest and juice the orange. Mince garlic and ginger.

Cut chicken into 1″ pieces and place in bowl with sugar, half the garlic, half the cornstarch, 1 Tbsp soy sauce, and salt and pepper. Toss to coat.

Mix remaining cornstarch (1 tsp), remaining soy sauce (3 Tbsp) and ¼ cup water with ¾ of the orange juice in a small bowl to make sauce.

Add 2 tsp olive oil to medium pan over high heat. Add chicken and desired amount of chiles or sprinkle with desired amount of crushed red pepper. Cook for 3-4 minutes, stirring frequently, until chicken is browned.

Add remaining garlic, half the ginger (1 tsp), and half the orange zest to the pan with chicken and cook for 30 seconds or until fragrant.

Add soy-orange juice sauce to pan and cook until sauce thickens, about 5 minutes. Season with a pinch of salt and pepper and set aside.

While chicken cooks, mix remaining ginger, half the sesame seeds (¼ Tbsp), remaining orange juice, and 2 tsp olive oil in a small bowl with a pinch of salt and pepper. Whisk together.

Cook broccoli (I use frozen steam-in-bag). When done, pour dressing over broccoli and toss.

Plate it! Arrange rice, broccoli, and orange chicken on plate. Garnish with remaining orange zest and sesame seeds.

Makes 2 servings; ~35 minutes to prepare

[adapted from Home Chef recipe]


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Crock Pot Chicken Pot [Not] Pie

It’s been a while since I’ve tried any new recipes. Life’s been a little crazy – work, 2 classes (and the work for that), alumni events, and trying to make the most of some un-seasonally warm weather. And what better way to cook with a busy schedule than my Crock Pot! I wanted something easy without any strange ingredients. And when I came across this pot pie recipe it sounded like the perfect February comfort meal to follow up some studying.

It seemed a little bland so I tweaked a little with some poultry seasoning. Still could be better so I’ll continue to tweak. If you want to experiment, poultry seasoning is a mix of thyme, sage, marjoram, rosemary, black pepper, and nutmeg. Or maybe you have a better idea – please share!

This is an easy and yummy meal and it’s going to get me through the week. Enjoy!

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Crock Pot Chicken Pot [Not] Pie

Ingredients

  • 4 frozen chicken breasts
  • 2 cans cream of chicken soup
  • 3 large potatoes
  • 12 oz. bag frozen peas and carrots
  • ½ bag frozen chopped onion
  • 1 chicken bullion cube
  • salt & pepper to taste
  • Poultry seasoning to taste
  • Dried parsley to taste (optional)
  • Frozen or canned biscuits (or make your own!)

Directions

Peel and dice the potatoes. Place frozen chicken in bottom of crock pot.

Mix the potatoes, cream of chicken soup, & frozen vegetables. Season with salt, pepper, & poultry seasoning. Pour onto top of chicken in crock pot. Add chicken bullion cube.

Cook on low 8-10 hours. Use a spoon to break up the chicken and mix well with veggies. Season with additional salt, pepper, & poultry seasoning as needed.

Bake/make biscuits (I do 1 per serving).

Place bottom half of biscuit in bowl. Cover with chicken from crock pot. Top with top half of biscuit and sprinkle of dried parsley.

[modified from The Monthly Lineup]


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Chicken Fajita Quinoa Bowl

This recipe is so easy I’m kind of embarrassed to post it. But not really….because everyone should have an easy, delicious go-to meal. And this is one that you can use in many ways. Use it to make actual fajitas, a rice bowl, or go for tacos, burritos, whatever!

Chicken Fajita Quinoa Bowl

Ingredients

  • 3 Tbsp. + extra taco seasoning
  • ½ Tbsp. corn starch
  • 1 large onion
  • 3 bell peppers (various colors)
  • 1 lb. chicken breasts
  • vegetable oil
  • 1 lime (optional)
  • quinoa
  • whatever toppings you want (shredded cheese, sour cream, salsa, avocado, cilantro, etc.)

Directions

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Mix taco seasoning and corn starch and set aside.

Cut the onion and bell peppers (I used 1 green, 1 red, 1 yellow) into strips. Place them in a large 9×13 inch casserole dish.

Slice the chicken into thin strips and add to dish with vegetables.

Sprinkle seasoning over meat and vegetables. Drizzle with vegetable oil and toss until everything is well coated with oil and seasoning.

Bake in oven for 35-40 minutes, stirring once halfway through. Squeeze juice from half the lime on top of meat and veggies after it comes out of the oven.

While the chicken bakes, cook quinoa according to package. When it is done, seasoning with taco seasoning to taste.

Combine into a bowl: quinoa, meat & veggies, and whatever toppings you have/want! I had avocado, cheese, and salsa so that’s what I used!

adapted from Budget Bytes

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