Saturday, September 20, 2014

*GIVEAWAY* - Baked Mac and Cheese with Bacon Pretzel Topping - #10DaysofTailgating

Who likes tailgating?  Whether you're sitting in the back of a pick up outside in the parking lot or home on your comfy couch, it's all about the food. Right?  

Camilla from Culinary Adventures has created a 10 Day Tailgating event with nearly two dozen bloggers with over 100 recipes scheduled to inspire you through the whole tailgating season!  This event runs September 20th through September 30th. I've seen the previews of the upcoming recipes and believe me, you're all in for a treat!  

When I told my son that I was making Mac and Cheese with bacon he was beyond thrilled.  He said those are two of his favorite words. You can use any kind of noodle, I am partial to rotini.  I love curly pasta. 

Make up a batch of this mac and cheese for everybody before the game and they'll be happy for sure!

We have many sponsors who want to give YOU a ton of super prizes!!  


Mandatory Entry: Leave a comment below with What's Your Favorite tailgate Dish? There are many more ways to enter in the Rafflecopter below. 

This giveaway is open to residents of the United States only, age 18 and older. The #10DaysofTailgate 2014 giveaway runs from Saturday, September 20th, 2014 12:00am PT through Tuesday, September 30, 2014 at 6:00pm PT, Winners will be randomly chosen and will have 48 hours to respond to the email.  If a winner does not respond in that time, a new winner will be chosen. For more information, see the full terms and conditions in the Rafflecopter. 

Disclaimer: Our generous sponsors are providing the prizes free of charge.  Participating bloggers may have received product related to these brands to use for #10DaysofTailgate. All opinions are their own.

Go! Let's start with a huge - HUGE! - thank you to our event sponsors who have graciously donated prizes for our readers. These sponsors have contributed great prizes for a gigantic giveaway. We have an incredible giveaway for this event. There are fourteen different prize packages which are detailed in the rafflecopter. The rafflecopter is below and will go on until September 30th.

Our #10DaysofTailgate Sponsors
in alphabetical order with links to their homepages

Scroll through our fourteen prize packages!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Baked Mac and Cheese with Bacon Pretzel Topping
Adapted from Picky Palate

12 oz. pasta
1 stick butter
1/2 cup flour
1 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. pepper
2 cups milk
3 cups cheese, I used a combo of sharp cheddar and colby jack
1 cup finely crushed pretzels
12 strips cooked, crumbled bacon

Cook pasta according to directions. Maybe a minute less. Drain and set aside.

Melt butter into a saucepan. Whisk in flour, salt and pepper.  Cook for about 3 - 4 minutes.  Slowly whisk in milk, stirring continuously until slightly thickened, about 2 - 3 minutes. Reduce heat and stir in 2 cups of cheese  until melted.  Top mac and cheese with remainder 1 cup of cheese, pretzel crumbs and bacon pieces.  Bake for 20 - 25 minutes at 350. 

Our #10DaysofTailgate Bloggers

And here's what the team brought to the table...

And here's what the team brought to the table...

Loaded Baked Nacho Supreme by Cheese Curd In Paradise
Baked Blueberry Pork Egg Rolls by The Pajama Chef
Gazpacho Shooters with Spicy Shrimp by OnTheMove-In the Galley
Soft Pretzels and Buffalo Cheese Dip by Things I Make (for Dinner)
Cheesy Bean Dip by Making Miracles
Garden Fresh Salsa by Eliot’s Eats
Pineapple Salsa by The Not So Cheesy Kitchen
Devilish 7-Layer Dip by Miss Laura’s Kitchen
War Eagle Sangria by Sew You Think You Can Cook
Iowa Sunrise by From Gate to Plate

Deviled Egg Potato Salad by Cooking In Stilettos

El Diablo’d Lamb Lollipops by Culinary Adventures with Camilla
Ginger Chicken Kabobs by Summer Scraps
Chili by A Day in the Life on the Farm
Baked Mac and Cheese  with Bacon Pretzel Topping by Debbi Does Dinner Healthy
Asian Duck Sliders  by Curious Cuisiniere
Pineapple Chile Lime Wings by The Girl In The Little Red Kitchen
Slow Cooker Pulled Pork Sandwiches by Love and Confections

Peanut Butter Pretzel Brownies by The Spiffy Cookie

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

White Chocolate Buttered Popcorn Cookies

I'm always looking for unique ways to make cookies. I loved the idea of putting popcorn in cookies. I wondered how it would hold up, I wondered if you'd get kernels stuck in your teeth like when eating popcorn. 

Well, it did have a slight crunch and I didn't get kernels stuck in my teeth.  I love white chocolate and they tasted great!

White Chocolate Buttered Popcorn Cookie Recipe
Recipe from Eats Well With Others

  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1/2 tsp. baking soda
  • 12 oz white chocolate chips
  • 4 cups buttered popcorn
  1. Preheat oven to 350 F.
  2. Cream together the butter and sugars until light and fluffy.
  3. Add in the egg and vanilla and mix until combined, about 2 minutes.
  4. In a large bowl, whisk together flour and baking soda. Add it to the batter and mix until just combined. Pour the white chocolate and popcorn into the bowl and mix until combined.
  5. On a parchment lined baking sheet, scoop tablespoon sized mounds 2 inches apart. Bake cookies for about 8-10 minutes, until the edges are light brown. Let sit for 5 minutes on the baking sheet and then remove to a wire rack to cool completely. Repeat until all of the batter is used up.

Sunday, September 14, 2014

One Pot Mexican Rice and Beans - Arroz Mexicano

It's funny, what my family considers a side dish, is totally a main dish for me.  I grilled some chicken for the meat eaters but I was totally cool with this hearty rice and bean dish.  

This month I found a bunch of great recipes from Nayna's blog Simply Food for the Secret Recipe Club. She has a lot of great meatless recipes that I love!  I chose this dish because I knew it was something the rest of the family would eat too. It exceeded my expectations. I knew it would be good but the spices were spot on for flavor.  I absolutely loved the potatoes in it. It seemed odd at first to put potatoes with rice but it was wonderful and I know for sure I'll make it again. The only change I would make it to use brown rice instead of white rice. Add some more water if you're going to make that change.  

One Pot Mexican Rice Recipe
Adapted from Simply Food

8 oz white basmati rice
2 cups  boiling water
8 oz precooked cannelloni beans
1 green or red pepper finely chopped
1 onion finely chopped
1 large carrot peeled and grated
2 medium potatoes peeled and finely diced
4 oz precooked sweetcorn kernels
2 oz finely chopped fresh cilantro
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon ground cumin powder
1 teaspoon ground coriander powder
1 teaspoon chili powder

1. Wash the rice and soak it in cold water for 30 minutes.
2. In a large pan heat the oil when it is hot add the onions and sauté them on low heat until translucent.
3. Drain the rice and add it to the onions and sauté the rice until all the grains are coated in the oil.
4. Add the carrots, potatoes,cannelloni beans, peppers and sweet corn. Mix the vegetables with the rice.
5. Add the salt, chilli powder,cumin powder and coriander powder and half the amount of fresh cilantro.(reserve other half for garnish) Stir all the spices into the rice and vegetables.
6. Add 2 cups water to the rice and bring the rice to a slow boil.
7. Once rice is boiling, reduce the heat to low and cover the pan with the lid.
8.Cook the rice on low setting for about 20 - 25 minutes.(During this time do not open the pan lid)
9.  When it's done, all the water will have been absorbed with the rice and grains should be soft and fluffy.
10. Garnish the rice with remaining fresh cilantro.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Cinnamon Breakfast Muffins

Cinnamon mini muffins smothered in butter and cinnamon sugar.  The cinnamon sugar makes them slightly crunchy.  What could possibly be better?

You can make regular sized muffins or mini muffins. I  preferred the mini muffins as it made for more of a crunch. Plus, if you make mini muffins,  you get to eat more of them.  

I did the easiest part. The muffins.  Then I nominated my daughter to roll the muffins in butter and dip in cinnamon sugar. It didn't take too long but the hard part was waiting for her to finish so we could dig in!  

Cinnamon Breakfast Muffins Recipe
Adapted from Shugary Sweets

  • 3 cup flour
  • 3 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp. ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2/3 cup butter flavored Crisco
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup milk
  • 2 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp. cinnamon
  • 1 1/2 sticks butter, melted
  1. Mix one cup sugar with shortening until well blended. Add eggs.
  2. In separate bowl, mix flour, baking powder, salt, 1/2 tsp cinnamon and nutmeg. Add flour mixture alternately with milk to the sugar mixture. Beat well after each addition.
  3. Lightly grease mini muffin cups (or regular muffin pan). Fill muffin cups half full. Bake in a 350 degree oven for 20-25 minutes (minis for about 13-15 minutes).
  4. While baking, melt 1 1/2 sticks of butter. In separate bowl, mix sugar with cinnamon. Dip baked muffins in butter, coating thoroughly, then coat with cinnamon-sugar mixture. You can get about 48 mini muffins or 18 regular sized muffins.

Monday, September 8, 2014

Minnesota State Fair - 2014

Did you know that the Minnesota State Fair is the largest state fair?  At least by daily attendance.  We went on a Sunday this year and there were just under 200,000 people there. 

We got to the fair a little later than desired.  We hadn't eaten anything. I mean, you GO to the fair to eat, it wouldn't be fair to eat ahead of time. Needless to say, we were pretty hungry by the time we got there.  

We had fries for breakfast.  Seriously, does life get any better than that?  

It wasn't long before Jory got his pickle on a stick.  This boy really loves pickles. 

I didn't get the camera ready in time, he ate it so fast!

Next up was a Texas taco burger thing.  It had taco meat, cheese, sauce, onion rings.  It wasn't like you could pick it up, this was a knife and fork kind of sandwich.  Pretty good though. 

We had bought a coupon book ahead of time and one of this things I wanted to try for sure was the deep fried Monte Cristo sandwich.  I had only one bite but it was scrumptious! 

Ashten got a turkey leg and Jory followed right behind and wanted one.  Everyone shared them, with 9 people, they don't go too far. 

Next up was the all you can drink milk shop.  You buy one for $1 and you get all the milk you want.  Even chocolate.  It was a warm day and the chocolate milk was really cold and refreshing.  We drank a lot of milk.  

Total attendance for the fair this year was over 1.8 million in the 12 days that it is open.  It was a new record for attendance. 

Jacob loves anything apple. Minnesota is known for their apples and this was at the Minneapple Pie booth.  We just had to get a scoop of vanilla and cinnamon ice cream. 

These cinnamon roasted almonds were one of my favorites.  They were warm and toasty and just rocked!

We tried to keep the cost down so these nuts were in the coupon book.  I think saving money with coupons just made us buy more food though! 

It was quite a hot day so these apple cider freezies were awesome!  The tasted delicious and were quite refreshing!

Jon was mad that they ran out of the Mini Donut Flavored Beer. 

Jory had a list of his favorite fair foods.  A blue raspberry icee was on the top of that list. 

He was all over the pizza too!

A cinnamon sugar coated funnel cake was shared by everyone. I think we ended up getting two of these!

My favorite thing at the fair. Falafel on a stick.  I could have eaten 10 of these.  They tasted fantastic! I've tried making falafel and can never make them as good as these!

One of the things in the coupon book was a sandwich that was supposed to have ham, pineapple and avocado. It sounded heavenly.  What I ended up getting was a sandwich loaded with tons of mushrooms. I hate mushrooms and was quite disappointed. The line was long so I didn't bother bringing it back. I think Danielle ended up eating it.  

Jacob is my shrimp fan so it was shrimp and chips for him. 

My husband, Patrick, ate a giant beefy bean burrito thingy.  Yum!

Very hot day so the fresh squeezed Lemonade was awesome!  Could have been a little colder though. 

Root beer float was also on Jory's list. I hope he shared this, it was really big! I know I didn't end up with any of it!

Fudge puppies!!  This was a Belgian waffle on a stick covered in chocolate and whipped cream.  

Once again, I missed a bite of this as I was walking behind Jacob and Felicity as they finished it off!

Next up was a steak sandwich!

I guess it is the only thing that they sell here.  London Broil Steak Sandwiches.  I'm not a big steak fan but the onions on top looked fantastic! 

I think this next picture is chicken on a stick.  I think that once Felicity started eating it, it looked pretty good. Looks a bit charbroiled at this point though. It's on a stick, how bad could it be!

Jon went to go see how long the line for Alligator on a stick was but came back with pizza. I guess the line was too long. Too bad, I've never tried gator and I actually would have tried that!  Maybe next time!

It's not like cheesy pepperoni pizza is a bad thing though.  

My friend Patti bought me a piece of corn.  This was my third favorite thing at the fair, next to the falafel and the cinnamon roasted almonds. 

Clearly Ashten enjoyed the corn as well!

Here's Felicity and Danielle chilling after some hardcore shopping!

Jacob wondering why we're not eating more fair food instead of shopping!

Aha, more apple stuff for Jacob. Apples with caramel and vanilla ice cream. 

Oh, the Trolley.  Our feet were kinda hurting after awhile but we didn't stop for the trolley.  We hoofed it all over the state fair, from one end to the other.  

Jacobs favorite food is Mac and Cheese and he's quite the fish fan too. So this Walleye Mac and Cheese was perfect for him.  I'm not a fish fan but I enjoyed the mac and cheese part. I actually loved the corn in it, very tasty!

I'd say Jacob ate most of it but he did share some of it!

Ok, we didn't get the mini donut beer but we did find Smores Beer.  It was a bit of a stronger beer than I liked. I thought the sweetness was kinda cool though.  Eating a beer marshmallow was kinda cool too!

Patti and Jon got a salmon wrap. They wanted me to try it, I should have tried it but I just don't like salmon.  I had just had some of the walleye mac and cheese and tasted a bit of fish and just didn't feel like doing anymore fish.  I WISH I liked fish.  This wrap looked good!

More apple stuff.  Told you that Minnesota loves their apples. This was an apple dumpling with vanilla ice cream.  

Here's Jory with a footlong hotdog. A naked boring footlong hot dog.  The best thing about a footlong at the fair is the grilled onions but my boring boy just doesn't like anything on his hot dogs.  He did share this with Jacob who also doesn't like anything on his hot dog. Weird children I have, right?

Every year the fair has had deep fried Twinkies. What did they do when Twinkies temporarily went extinct?  I don't know but I'm glad that they were here!  

We didn't get the deep fried Twinkie this year but we did get the Buckeye.  It was like deep fried peanut butter and chocolate with a strawberry dipping sauce.  We all loved it but I don't think that Jacob can possibly eat another bite!

Patti came over with a garlic bread cheesy thing that rocked!  

Another new thing at the fair was Beer Gelato.  We have here half stout beer gelato and half caramel apple gelato.  I'm not a huge beer fan but this was quite good!

It's a good thing we got a picture of the Midway with all the rides.  By the time we got back there, it was dark and had started raining.  Really raining.  The kids were having a blast running around in the rain.  Not as fun for us as we walked to the shuttle bus getting pelted by the rain.  Funny, the whole day it was super hot and now, here we are freezing, wet and waiting for the bus.  Still it was a fantastic day with friends and I can't wait to do it again next year!