Tobins' Tastes: August 2014

Monday, August 11, 2014

Dark Chocolate Cranberry Brownie Bites {Dove Chocolate And Fruit Pairings}

This shop has been compensated by #CollectiveBias , Inc. and its advertiser #LoveDoveFruits . All opinions are mine alone.

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Have you ever had people over for lunch and ended up with a dessert dilemma? I really struggle with what is acceptable to serve for dessert after a light lunch. Being a food blogger (and a dessert person in general) means that I am usually drawn to serving rich, decadent treats whenever I can and no one has ever really complained.  But when lunch is salad, wraps and fruit, it seems a bit much to then serve your guests a piece of chocolate fudge cake afterwards. I decided to go with a chocolate and fruit pairing to keep things light and these Dark Chocolate Cranberry Brownie Bites made with Dove® Fruit - Whole Cranberries were the perfect post lunch dessert.

I am lucky enough to still be friends with a group of ladies that I grew up with. We went to preschool and grade school and even high school together. Our mothers have always been friends and no matter where our lives have taken us, somehow we have all ended up back in our hometown. This summer since many of us are teachers and a few are nurses with week days off due to their crazy schedules we decided to make an effort to get together for lunch and shopping on a regular basis. 

Our first few meet ups found us spending way too long sitting at lunch gossiping and way too much money (or at least in our husbands' opinions) on clothes and shoes. After a few such afternoons, my friend Liz came up with the great idea to host lunch at her house so we could save ourselves from the glares of waitresses ready for us to give up our tables and our wallets from the effects of group shopping. 

Turns out it was a good thing we didn't go to a restaurant because a lunch that started at noon ended at 7pm when one of our husbands called looking for dinner. Turns out after almost 30 years as friends, we still had plenty to talk about. 

Last week it was my turn to host lunch which is what brought on my above mentioned dessert dilemma. When I saw these Dove® Fruit - Whole Cranberries at Sam's Club I knew I would be using them in some type of dessert recipe to serve the girls. These brownies have to be the easiest scratch brownie recipe ever and the dark chocolate is a great way to get in some antioxidants. Add in some Dove® Fruit - Whole Cranberries and you have a chewy, sweet and tart way to add some punch to the basic brownie mix. I won't name names but more than one of my girlfriends went back for seconds (and maybe thirds) of these during our post lunch gossip session.

Dove® Fruit - Whole Cranberries can be found at Sam's Clubs but they do have limited availability so be sure to visit Sam's Website to check to see if your local store carries them. Dove® Fruit is real fruit dipped in dark chocolate so it makes a much better for you snack than grabbing for your standard candy bar and these brownie bites make portion control that much easier too. Dove® is also releasing a whole cherry version later this year which will be perfect for the upcoming Fall baking season. 

Dark Chocolate Cranberry Brownie Bites
  • 1 1/2 cup sugar
  • 3/4 cup flour
  • 3/4 cup dark chocolate cocoa powder
  • 3/4 cup butter, melted
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 cup of Dove® Fruit Whole Cranberries
  • powdered sugar for dusting (optional)
1.) In a large bowl combine sugar, flour and cocoa powder.

2.) Stir in melted butter until completely combined.

3.) Stir in eggs and then fold in Dove® Fruit Whole Cranberries.

4.) Line a mini cupcake pan and using a tablespoon or small cookie scoop fill each liner with batter.

5.) Bake at 350 degrees for 12-15 minute or until a toothpick comes out clean when inserted.

6.) Dust with powdered sugar and enjoy!


Sunday, August 10, 2014

Colby Jack Cheese Dip {New Printable Kraft Coupons}

This shop has been compensated by #CollectiveBias , Inc. and its advertiser #PackedWithSavings . All opinions are mine alone.

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As we get ready for our annual end of summer BBQ, I am keeping two things in mind: coming up with delicious new recipes our friends will enjoy and keeping things under budget. Justin and I love entertaining but if we aren't careful things end up costing way more than we planned for. Since I refuse to sacrifice taste or quality when it comes to food for our parties, I usually try to use couponing to help keep our costs down.

Our family loves a good cheese dip. In fact our family and friends love cheese in any way we could possibly serve it to them. I usually end up making a tried and true family favorite, Swiss Cheese Bread Dip but this year I wanted to come up with something a little different. And so Colby Jack Cheese Dip was born.

Not only does this dish satisfy any cheese craving you could possibly have but it is ridiculously easy to make. It can easily be made ahead of time (or even the night before) and stored in the fridge ready to bake whenever your guests arrive.

I think that pretty much anything would taste good dipped in this but I went with crackers, pretzel chips, celery and carrots as my dipping tools. You can always bake this in a bread bowl if you prefer that approach but I decided to keep it low key and bake it in an oven safe dish.

Trying to keep your entertaining under budget? Kraft has some amazing printable coupons available right now to help you save on tons of great products. I was able to save $1.75 at Walmart using coupons for each of the three ingredients needed for this recipe.

As always with printable coupons, keep in mind that they can run out fast so make sure to print the ones you want now before they run out.

Colby Jack Cheese Dip
  • 8 oz. Philadelphia Cream Cheese (softened)
  • 1 cup of Kraft Light Mayo
  • 2 cups Kraft Colby & Monterey Jack Shredded Cheese
1.) In a large bowl, mix all three ingredients together until completely combined. 

2.) Place mixture in an oven safe bowl or a bread bowl if you prefer. Bake covered at 400 degrees for 15 minutes and then uncover and bake another 15 minutes until dip is bubbling at the sides and the top is golden brown. 

3.) Let cool for 5 minutes before serving with crackers and vegetables for dipping. 

Friday, August 8, 2014

Parmesan Pesto Chicken Roll Ups {Traditional Family Favorites}

This shop has been compensated by #CollectiveBias, Inc. and its advertiser #FamilyFavorites . All opinions are mine alone.

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When I first started dating my husband 10 years ago, I couldn't cook to save my life. My recipe repertoire was made up of buttered noodles, grilled cheese and peanut butter sandwiches (no jelly). I also didn't eat "red sauce". Justin comes from an Italian family so not being able to cook and not eating red sauce made me pretty much unmarriable.

To this day he still says that he considered my lack of liking red sauce as my biggest flaw in our early relationship. Thankfully over the last 10 years, I have not only learned to cook but I have also learned to enjoy pasta sauce as well.

Usually I am the one who cooks in our house especially during the summer when I am off of work. But with teacher workdays starting in 48 hours, Justin is going to be helping out with family dinners as I deal with usual back to school stress. And if you knew my husband you'd know that Justin's meals almost always involve a sauce.

We always have a few jars of Classico pasta sauce in our pantry and I usually have a jar or two of Classico pesto on hand as well. Between pasta dishes, noodles, and make your own pizza night it goes pretty fast at our house. Walmart always has it for a great price so it's a budget friendly ingredient to have on hand.

Justin and I love meals that recreate some of our restaurant favorites and these Parmesan Pesto Chicken Roll Ups made us feel like we were eating at our favorite Italian restaurant without actually having to leave the house. With a few pre-made, store bought ingredients and a couple easy steps you can have a filling and delicious family meal.

We served ours with a spinach salad and garlic toast but the chicken can just as easily be served over a bed of pasta or risotto. The Parmesan in the pasta sauce really complimented the cheeses we used in our filing and the panko parmesan bread crumb topping gave the whole dish a little texture without us having to bread each chicken breast.

Parmesan Pesto Chicken Roll Ups

  • 4 thinly sliced chicken cutlets
  • 15 oz container of ricotta cheese
  • 1 egg
  • 1/3 cup grated parmesan for the filling
  • 2 tablespoons Classico pesto
  • 1/4 cup grated mozzarella cheese for the filling
  • 1 jar of Classico Family Favorites Parmesan & Romano Pasta Sauce
  • 1/2 cup panko bread crumbs (for the topping)
  • 1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese (for the topping)
  • 1 cup of grated mozzarella cheese (for the topping)
  • Salt & Pepper to taste
1.) Coat the bottom of a small baking dish with a layer of the Classico Pasta Sauce. You just want enough to cover the entire bottom of the pan. 

2.) In a bowl, mix together the ricotta, egg, 1/3 cup parmesan, pesto, and 1/4 cup mozzarella. Add salt and pepper to your preference. 

3.) Spoon a layer of the mixture on each chicken cutlet and gently roll up the chicken with the filling inside. 

4.) Place each rolled chicken breast in the pan on top of the pasta sauce. 

5.) Mix together your panko bread crumbs and the 1/4 cup grated parmesan and add salt and pepper to taste. 

6.) Top each roll up with a heaping spoonful of pasta sauce. Then sprinkle each with a 1/4 cup of the remaining mozzarella and top with 1/4 of the panko parmesan mixture. 

7.) Bake at 350 degrees for 30-35 minutes. Depending on the thickness of your chicken you may need to bake it for longer to make sure that the chicken is cooked all the way through. 

Click here to save $1 off Classico favorites when you buy two jars!

Sunday, August 3, 2014

Frozen Cheesecake Cool Whip Sandwiches {Quick & Easy Snack For Back To School}

This shop has been compensated by #CollectiveBias, Inc. and its advertiser #AddCoolWhip . All opinions are mine alone.

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One week from today I will be getting ready to head back to work. (Can you tell I never want the summer to end?) And even though I am in denial,  I am already planning ahead for  my upcoming, hectic work schedule. Without fail, when I get home everyday around 4:00 I am always looking for an afternoon snack. During the summer I am able to take my time making something or I can always just head to the store since my days are pretty flexible. But during the school year, I need to have some quick and easy snacks around so that I can grab something to eat quickly before heading off to an evening meeting or running errands.

Just like most people, I usually end up snacking on a granola bar, some apple slices or maybe some trail mix or cheese and crackers. But every now and then I am looking for something a little sweeter to snack on. And even though we will be back in school in August, the weather will still be in the high 80's and 90's most days, so a cool and refreshing sweet treat is exactly what I will be looking for.

These Frozen Cheesecake Cool Whip Sandwiches are so easy to make a head of time and stick in the freezer for a single serving treat. They only have three main ingredients: Cool Whip, Jell-O pudding mix, and graham crackers. What I really love is not only are they easy to make but they are easy to customize too. With all the different flavors of Jello-Pudding mix out there you could make a different flavor every week for the first few months of school.

I jazzed mine up with some sprinkles and mini chocolate chips but you could also add chopped nuts, shredded coconut, toffee bits, or any other type of toppings you want. I went with the regular versions of Cool Whip and Jell-O but you can always go with a sugar free or lite version too depending on your personal needs and preferences.

While we enjoyed most of these over the last week of sweltering hot Florida summer temperatures, I have a few stashed away in tupperware in the freezer for that first week of school. After a day of teaching with temperatures outside of 85+ degrees, I am really going to need to walk in the house, kick down the air conditioner, kick off my 5 inch heels (I am a glutton for punishment I know), and grab one of these frozen dreams to cool off and calm down. And after a few minutes of relaxing with my after school treat, then maybe I will have enough energy to re-organize our home office. Or maybe I will grade papers in my pj's and call it a day.

Frozen Cheesecake Cool Whip Sandwiches

  • One tub of Cool Whip
  • 1 package of Cheesecake Jell-O Instant Pudding Mix
  • 12 graham crackers, broken in half (so 24 squares total)
1.) In a large bowl, mix together Cool Whip and Jell-O pudding mix. Make sure that your Cool Whip is completely dethawed if you store it in the freezer or else it will be difficult to mix. 

2.) Using an ice cream scoop or a large spoon, place a scoop of the mixture on one graham cracker square and then sandwich with another square. 

3.) If desired, sprinkle the sides with mini chocolate chips, sprinkles, chopped nuts or anything you like. 

4.) Place in an airtight container and freeze for at least six hours before enjoying. 

5.) Should be stored frozen in an air tight container or you could wrap them individually in cling wrap and freeze for easy single servings. 

I purchased my Cool Whip and Jell-O pudding mixes at Walmart and right now you can save $1 when you buy ONE (1) tub of COOL WHIP Topping (any size) and TWO (2) boxes of JELL-O Pudding Mix. Coupon is only available while supplies last so be sure and print it out today!
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