Wednesday, September 24, 2014

KitKat Cake


When your 10-year old daughter tells you she wants to make her own birthday cake, here's what you do.  You let her. Your little mini-me might just prove to you that the apple does not fall far from the tree!  And, really, if you can't have death-by-chcolate on your birthday, when can you?


Start with your favorite chocolate cake recipe and pour the batter in two 8-inch rounds.
Lined with parchment, of course.


Use more parchment to line your cake pedestal in an attempt to keep it clean. 
Spread frosting on the first layer.


Top with the second layer and finish the outside of the cake with more chocolate frosting.


Next comes to the fun part.  Break apart 10 KitKat bars and line them up like a little fence around the cake. Make sure all the lettering goes in the same direction. If you suffer from OCD, that is.


OK, one more fun part.  Pour in an entire large bag of M&M's. 
This fills in the top and looks very cheery and colorful.


Ice cream, anyone?





Friday, September 12, 2014

Pumpkin Chicken Spaghetti (Slow Cooker)


School has started and fall has arrived (did I mention that we might actually drop into the 30's tonight?) This combination means one thing.  I'm officially pulling out the Slow Cooker. The after school activity shuttle leaves no time for doing any actual cooking during the dinner hour. This is why I love my slow cooker. My husband bought me an All-Clad stainless steel beauty a few years back. Ahhh… flutter my heart. He loves me. Yes, while some girls call diamonds their best friends, it appears that I can be won over by small kitchen appliances. He knows me.


I make this family favorite spaghetti recipe at least once a month during the school year. It's about time I shared it! It's perfect for hectic days and its ease of preparation will keep you from the Taco Bell Drive-Thru!

Simply start with 3 pounds of boneless, skinless chicken thighs.  You can use chicken breast if you want, but the thighs stay moist through the slow cooking process.  Once you try them, you won't go back.  Top the chicken with 2 - 24 ounce jars of your favorite pasta sauce.


Next, dump in a 15-ounce can of pumpkin.  I know, it sounds strange, but it helps thicken the sauce when the chicken lets go of its juices and, as a bonus, your kids are now eating a whole lot of Vitamin A!


Add some brown sugar, balsamic vinegar and oregano.  That's it.  Put the top on and walk away.


When you return from Yoga, Target, the bus stop, piano lessons, football and tennis, shred the chicken in the sauce.
Boil some noodles and you are good to go.


This sauce is deliciously thick, well rounded and loaded with lean protein. 
Perfect for a weeknight family dinner!


Pumpkin Chicken Spaghetti
by Rachel @ Simple Girl


Ingredients:

3 pounds boneless, skinless chicken thighs
2 - 24 ounce jars of spaghetti sauce
1 - 15 ounce can pumpkin puree
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1 tablespoon balsamic glaze (or vinegar)
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano

Combine ingredients in a slow cooker and cook on low for 8 - 10 hours or on high for 4-6 hours.  Shred chicken in the sauce. Adjust seasonings, if necessary, and serve over pasta.



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