Pumpkin Magic (Seven-Layer) Bars

by amy on 23 November 2014

Pumpkin Magic Bars! (Seven-Layer Bars with pumpkin, apple, coconut, chocolate chip, pecans, sweetened condensed milk, + graham crackers) | FearlessHomemaker.comWith Thanksgiving right around the corner, I knew I wanted to share a perfect-for-fall dessert for those of y’all who are still planning your menus. After reading through tons of potential recipes, I settled on these Seven-Layer Pumpkin Magic Bars, since they looked simple-to-make, delicious, creative, and good for a crowd. And now, after making them, I can tell you that they are all of those things and more! They are SO insanely tasty, and, SO easy to make. I timed myself, and it took me a mere 22 minutes (including the peeling/shredding of the apples) to get these prepped + in the oven.

All the ingredients work beautifully, deliciously, surprisingly perfect together: the buttery graham cracker layer, the sweet spiced pumpkin + apple layer, the chocolatey chips, the crunchy chopped pecans, + the crisp toasted coconut. I would’ve never thought to combine all those things together, but now that I have, I can tell you that the result is DIVINE! One thing to remember, if you’re going to make these bars for Thanksgiving, is that these need time to bake, cool, + then chill them in the refrigerator. So you’re not scrambling for enough time to get them chilled, I recommend making them the day before, so they can have a full overnight to cool in the fridge. I hope y’all give these a try – I know that you + your family/friends will absolutely love them on your holiday table!

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Pork and Hominy Stew

by amy on 18 November 2014

Pork and Hominy Stew | FearlessHomemaker.comI’ve mentioned before that my household loves any food that’s even remotely Mexican or Southwestern, and hominy is an ingredient that pops up in those cuisines. Do y’all know what hominy is? It’s basically dried corn that is soaked until the corn puffs up to the size of a large bean, with a texture almost like a chickpea? Or a large piece of barley? Okay, it’s hard to explain. But it’s wonderful + has an awesome texture, trust me! The first time I gave hominy to Fearless Baby, she surprised me by gobbling it down, and asking again and again for “more!” So, I made it my mission to find some new, super delicious hominy-filled recipes to try out on my family.

My husband suggested trying a pork + hominy stew, as he used to eat something along these lines as a child, + thought that we’d all love it. So, I looked up a bunch of recipes, found one that seemed perfect, + gave it a try. And y’all, it turned out SO wonderful – a hearty, delicious, stick-to-your-ribs comfort food that is seriously bursting with flavor. There’s a wonderful variety of textures, between the fall-apart-tender pork, the awesomely textured pieces of hominy, + the softened tomatoes/chiles/onions. The flavor is absolutely amazing, too – slightly spicy, brightly tomatoey, + boldly seasoned. It is great eaten straight-up from a bowl, like a stew, or it’s also fantastic used as a taco filling with soft tortillas. It actually gets even better after a day or two in the fridge, so eating the leftovers will be a treat, not a chore. =) Y’all must give this a try + let me know if you love it as much as we do!

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One-Pot Spicy Chicken + Rigatoni

by amy on 11 November 2014

One-Pot Spicy Chicken + RigatoniOf all the recipes on my blog, some of the most popular are the one-pot pasta meals, like this and this. I’m not surprised that y’all love one-pot meals as much as I do! They’re usually simple to make, they tend to make enough for dinner PLUS provide awesome leftovers, and of course, there’s only one pot to clean at the end. I’ve recently added a new one-pot pasta to our dinner rotation – this AMAZING Spicy Chicken + Rigatoni – and I think it officially holds the spot as my current favorite one-pot meal. I know my husband thinks so, since he requests it for dinner weekly. =)

It is SO wonderfully delicious, bursting with bright, complex flavors, and surprisingly (considering how flavorful it is), it’s actually pretty easy to make! You start by sauteeing onion, garlic, roasted red peppers, + hot cherry peppers, then add in chicken, tomatoes, broth, seasonings, + pasta. Everything simmers together until the pasta is al dente, then you add in parmesan cheese, cream, + basil. The result is a wonderful combination of tender chicken + perfectly-cooked pasta, in a divine spicy, creamy, cheesy, roasted red pepper-and-tomato sauce. While it has some good spicy heat, it’s mellowed significantly by the cream + cheese in the sauce, so I took a chance and let my toddler eat it, too. I wondered if the spice might be too much for her, but she LOVED it! If you do have spicy-averse diners, you can make this milder by reducing the cherry peppers to just 2 or 3. However you tweak it to make it perfect for your household, I hope you love it as much as we do!

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Crispy Baked Sweet Potato Fries

by amy on 4 November 2014

Crispy Sweet Potato FriesI’m always looking for new side dishes to serve with dinners. I’m pretty creative and adventurous when it comes to the entree, but for the accompaniments, I tend to fall back on making the same (delicious but not terribly exciting) side dishes over + over again. My husband loves sweet potato fries, and frequently orders them at restaurants, so I decided to try making a healthier, non-fried version myself at home. And I’m so glad I did, because they turned out SO good!

They’re delightfully crisp (+ insanely addictive), with a wonderful sweet-salty-spicy flavor. And they’re super simple to make – you simply peel + chop your sweet potato into fry-shaped pieces, toss with some cornstarch and your desired seasonings, then bake them until they reach that perfectly crispy texture. Since they’re baked, not fried, you don’t have to feel guilty about indulging in them. Fearless Baby absolutely loved them, and since they’re packed with good-for-you calcium, vitamin A and vitamin C, I didn’t have to hold her back in enjoying them. =) I can’t wait for y’all to give these a try soon – I have a feeling that you’re going to love them as much as we do!

Sweet Potato Fries, before and after baking! continue reading →

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Caramel Apple Cheesecake Bars

by amy on 26 October 2014

Caramel Apple Cheesecake BarsToday, I’m participating in a fun blogger event — the Secret Recipe Club. How does it work? Every blogger is secretly assigned another blog + chooses a recipe from that blog to make. On reveal day (today!), all of our posts go up at the same time, + everyone gets to see who was assigned to their blog, which recipe they chose, + how it turned out. Fun, huh?

I was thrilled to be assigned Confessions of a Cooking Diva, a fabulous blog full of comfort food recipes + amazing-looking desserts – my favorites! I decided to go with something autumn-ish, and make her Apple-Pecan Cheesecake, but with a few changes. I skipped the nuts, since Fearless Baby doesn’t love ‘em, + added a rich caramel drizzle instead, because apples + caramel = SO good. I made it in a 9×9 dish (instead of springform pan), opting to make cheesecake bars/squares instead of traditional slices. So, how did they turn out? AMAZING! There’s a buttery graham cracker layer, a divine cinnamon cheesecake layer, + a topping of tender cinnamon-sugar apples + sweet caramel. This is seriously one of the most delicious fall desserts I’ve had – y’all must give it a try soon!

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