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The LA VICTORIA® brand, well known for making salsas, taco sauces, enchilada sauces, and chiles, is celebrating their 100th birthday this year! To help celebrate, I’ve created this slow cooker salsa ranch chicken using some of their Thick’N Chunky Salsa Medium. Salsa is such a versatile ingredient in the kitchen and can be used for sides, appetizers, and even main dishes.

They’re also celebrating their 100th birthday in four major cities: San Diego, Los Angeles, San Francisco, and Portland. In Los Angeles, it’ll be held at the Santa Monica Pier and Carousel on Thursday, June 1. 100 fans and VIPs will be able to experience “a cultural celebration featuring art, music and dishes made with LA VICTORIA® products.” Also at that dinner, “five finalists will showcase an original piece of visual art that showcases “Modern, West Coast Lifestyle” while giving a nod to the LA VICTORIA® brand, for a chance to win a $7,500 grand prize, while the second- and third-place winners will take home $1,500 and $1,000.”

I’m always down for a delicious dinner by the water, aren’t you? Until then, I’ll be using my collection to top off the majority of my meals. I’m a hot sauce fiend, so it goes on almost everything I eat.

This crockpot dish is as simple as can be. I was able to make it while my toddler played with some pots for a while. She didn’t mind one bit since I was done so quickly.

I must say, you need to serve this ASAP when it’s done, otherwise it dries out from sitting in the crockpot on warm. It’s also best eaten the day of. If you want a saucier dish, add another half can of cream of chicken soup or use less pasta. One box of pasta made a lot of servings!

You can also add a dash of LA VICTORIA® SALSA BRAVA® Hot Sauce if you want a little kick. Since I fed the recipe to my toddler, I didn’t add any in. My little girl ate up the entire dish! Recipe adapted from The Country Cook.

Slow Cooker Salsa Ranch Chicken

Ingredients

  • 4 frozen chicken breasts
  • 1 1 oz packet of dry ranch dressing mix
  • 1 10.5 oz can cream of chicken soup
  • 1 cup LA VICTORIA Thick’N Chunky Salsa Medium
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 1 16 oz box of pasta (I used fusilli)
  • parmesan cheese for sprinkling

Directions

  1. In a slow cooker, place the four frozen chicken breasts on the bottom.
  2. Sprinkle dry ranch dressing mix over the chicken breasts.
  3. In a bowl, mix together the cream of chicken soup and salsa. Pour over the top of the chicken.
  4. Cook on low for 6-8 hours.
  5. When you have half an hour left, cook the pasta according to the directions.
  6. Shred the chicken and mix in the sour cream.
  7. Stir in the pasta and serve immediately. We sprinkled some parmesan cheese on top to finish it off.
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This is a sponsored post, but the opinions expressed are my own.

The post Slow Cooker Salsa Ranch Chicken appeared first on Lovin' From the Oven.

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This is my second “official” Mother’s Day and there’s only one thing that I could wish for… a good breakfast! This one’s a savory one with the help of Bonne Maman‘s Raspberry Preserves. It’s easy enough that dad (or even the kids!) can put together for mom for Mother’s Day. 

If you’ve never heard of Bonne Maman, you’re missing out. It’s the only brand that my DH adamantly requests and complains about when we run out. I’ve learned to always keep extra jars on hand so we’re always prepared for the last scoop of preserves. We eat it pretty much every morning on our toast.

Bonne Maman preserves are made from the same time-honored traditional French recipes used to create the brand, their preserves and jellies are made with natural ingredients and feature the finest quality fruit. They are Non-GMO Project Verified, have no high fructose corn syrup, no artificial coloring or no preservatives added.

What does Bonne Maman, even mean, anyway? That’s my favorite part! It actually means “Grandmother” or “Granny,” which is why it’s perfect for all of your Mother’s Day breakfast dishes.

Another thing I love about Bonne Maman is that you don’t have to go out of your way to find the brand. I buy my stash from Target, but they also have it at Ralph’s, Whole Foods, etc. There are no extra grocery stops for me in order to pick a jar. 

As for the recipe itself, I’m a sucker for a grilled panini. Any time I’m out of ideas or too tired to cook, I’ll bust out the trusty panini maker and put the ingredients together. The raspberry preserves balance out the brie while the bacon gives it a crunch. It’s all of your breakfast needs in one. 

The jars are simple and unique. It looks as though you made the preserves at home from items in your pantry (you probably could, too!). There’s nothing foreign in this jar– just good, wholesome, and natural ingredients.

For more information and ideas on what you could do with these preserves, be sure to check out their website, Instagram, and Pinterest.

A Bonne Maman Breakfast

Ingredients

  • 2 pieces of bread (the thicker, the better)
  • sliced brie cheese
  • 2 slices of bacon, cooked
  • 1 tablespoon of Bonne Maman Raspberry Preserves
  • butter

Directions

  1. While you're letting your panini grill warm up, butter one side of each slice of bread.
  2. Place the butter side down on the grill and layer with cheese and bacon.
  3. Spread the raspberry preserves on the last slice of bread and place it on top of the bacon.
  4. Close panini grill and cook according to the machine's directions (I took mine out when the light turned off).
  5. Slice in half and serve warm!
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Bonne Maman is currently holding a sweepstakes to win a 12 set piece from Le Creuset. You can check it out and enter here.



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Sandwiches are my go-to thing to make for lunch, but they can get a little boring after a while. I try to liven it up by changing the meats, the sauces, the cheese, or the bread. A little can go a long way! Especially if it’s grilled on the stove or pressed in the panini maker.

This was a hearty sandwich– just what my DH loves. There are no veggies, just the good stuff. If it were up to me, I would’ve added some avocado. Avocado goes well in every sandwich.

Look at that ooey gooey goodness. You really don’t need a recipe for this, but I’ll include one anyway.

Chicken and Bacon Grilled Cheese with Ranch

Ingredients

  • 2 slices of bread
  • 2 teaspoons butter
  • 1 chicken breast, sliced into strips and cooked
  • 4 strips turkey bacon, cooked
  • 3 tablespoons shredded cheddar cheese
  • 2 tablespoons ranch

Directions

  1. Butter one side of each bread and spread ranch on the other side.
  2. Assemble your sandwich together with the butter sides facing out. On one slice of bread, put the cooked bacon, then the cheese, the chicken, and then finally your other piece of bread on top.
  3. Cook in a panini press or on your stovetop with a grilling pan until the cheese is melted and the bread is toasted.
3.1

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Did you know that February is National Hot Breakfast Month? I didn’t, either, but Krusteaz reached out to me with a challenge of making breakfast for dinner once a week. Challenge accepted! Breakfast is definitely the fastest meal to make, yet it can be so versatile at the same time.

I whipped up their Cinnamon Swirl Crumb Cake for dessert the other day and never looked back. Crumb cake is one of my favorite things to eat and I’ll gladly have it after a meal. Warm out of the oven with some vanilla bean ice cream on top? Done.

Krusteaz truly makes it so easy to make breakfast. All I needed were water and eggs. Everything else was already included in the box!

What’s your favorite breakfast to make for dinner?

Recipe from Krusteaz.

Krusteaz: Cinnamon Swirl Crumb Cake

Ingredients

  • 1 box Krusteaz Cinnamon Swirl Crumb Cake & Muffin Mix
  • 2/3 Cup Water
  • 1 Egg

Directions

  1. Heat oven to 350°F. Lightly grease 8x8x2-inch baking pan.
  2. Stir together water, egg and cake mix until moistened. (Batter will be slightly lumpy.) Spoon half of batter into pan and spread evenly. Sprinkle half of the cinnamon topping over batter.
  3. Drop remaining batter in small spoonfuls over topping layer and spread to pan edge. Sprinkle remaining topping evenly over batter.
  4. Bake 40-45 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. For glass pan, add 5 minutes to bake time. Cool 5-10 minutes before cutting. Makes 12 servings.
3.1

This is a sponsored post, but the opinions expressed are my own.

The post Krusteaz: Cinnamon Swirl Crumb Cake appeared first on Lovin' From the Oven.

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Have you guys ever had the problem of deciding between a cookie and a cake? Well, why not have both? Whoopie pies are like a cake-cookie-sandwich. It’s made with cake batter, but in a form of a sandwich that’s easy to hold and eat. There are no forks, knives, or plates needed. Just pick up with your hands and chomp away!

Whoopie pies are even easier to make at home, thanks to Pillsbury’s Purely Simple line. I used their chocolate cake mix and buttercream frosting mix to make these delectable treats. Since I currently have birthdays on my brain (Ellie’s turning one in less than a month!! How is that possible?! I’m going to have a toddler in three weeks. WHAT.), I busted out some confetti sprinkles to decorate the edge of the frosting with.

These cake mix whoopie pies are fun to work with because you can easily change of the flavors, frosting, and decorations. You can make them themed for a sports game by simply adding some food coloring to the frosting to change the color. You can add the sprinkles on top of the whoopie pie prior to baking if you want the decorations on top of the pie instead of the side. You can try different cake mixes and even do dual combination whoopie pies, like half red velvet and half funfetti!

I love baking with Pillsbury’s Purely Simple line because there are no colors, preservatives, or artificial flavors. Even though Ellie is not quite a year old yet, I always let her taste a little bit of what I’m baking. To know that I’m not putting those preservatives or artificial flavors into her body makes me feel like I’m doing a little better as a mom. I’m doing one step at a time to help her make great choices when she grows up! I hope she’ll learn to love Pillsbury just as much as I do. Who knows, maybe this baking and tasting all of these wonderful desserts will become a tradition that Ellie will remember forever.

Cake Mix Whoopie Pies

Ingredients

  • 1 box of Pillsbury™ Purely Simple® Chocolate Cake & Cupcake Mix
  • 3 eggs
  • 1/2 cup of water
  • 1/2 cup of vegetable oil
  • 1 package Pillsbury™ Purely Simple® Buttercream Frosting Mix (plus the ingredients on the package needed to make it)

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Line your baking sheets with silicone mats.
  2. In a large bowl, beat together the cake mix, eggs, water, and vegetable oil for three minutes.
  3. Use a small cookie scoop to drop batter onto the baking sheets. Leave at least an inch in between each scoop.
  4. Bake for 9 minutes. Let cool.
  5. Make the buttercream frosting mix as directed on the package.
  6. Turn a chocolate cake piece over, evenly spread the frosting on the bottom, and then put another cake piece on top (flat side down so both flat sides should be touching the frosting).
  7. Roll the sides in sprinkles, if desired. That's it!
3.1

This is a sponsored post, but the opinions expressed are my own.

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**This is going to be a lengthy post. Skip down to the bottom if you just want to go straight to my comparisons**

So this is a little off topic, but I have to share my recent discovery…. ring slings! I’ve been a huge fan of baby-wearing since Ellie was born. It promotes the bond between mother and child, lets you be hands free, and provides comfort and security for your babe. The best part is that it does all of these things AT THE SAME TIME! Plus, it’s the only way Ellie will fall asleep if we’re out.

When Ellie was teeny tiny, I mostly wore her in a Solly wrap. I loved it, but there was a lot of time spent wrapping and unwrapping the cloth around me while trying to make sure it didn’t touch the floor during the process. It was inconvenient when Ellie was fussy and I had to spend a couple of minutes making sure the Solly was correctly wrapped before putting her in.

As she got bigger, we switched over to the Ergo. It’s great, but I missed the lightness of the Solly and being able to throw it in my diaper bag. That’s where the ring sling comes in. I’ve seen it around every now and then, but never really looked into it. Boy, how I wish I jumped on this bandwagon sooner.

These ring slings from Wildbird are made up of different fabrics, lightweight, breathable (perfect for Southern California year round), come in a variety of colors, and can hold your babe up to 35 pounds. There’s also not a lot of crazy tying. You just plop your babe in, tighten, and adjust. That’s it!

Well… it does take a little practice to get the hang of it and break in the sling, but it’s still faster than a Solly.

I reached out to Wildbird with a couple of concerns for my first sling: carrying a heavier babe and being in warmer weather. They have three different fabrics– linen, chambray, and bamboo, so I wasn’t sure which one was right for me. Wildbird was extremely helpful with my decision on double chambray and bamboo. They also assured me that it wasn’t too late to start slingin’.

I introduce to you: INDIGO FINCH // DOUBLE LAYER CHAMBRAY and WARBLER // BAMBOO.

This dreamy duo was gorgeous out of the box and complemented one another. I don’t think I could love these colors any more. 

The warbler with gold rings was my cup of tea. That darker, muted, earthy yellow is the kind of yellow that I accessorize all my outfits with. The bamboo material was soft right out of the box and easy to work with. I had no problem threading it through the rings and sliding it back and forth to tighten/loosen.

Ellie adored the sling from the start. She was on my hip, her favorite place to hang out. She’s mostly content when she’s by my side.

The indigo finch fit into my closet just as well because I tend to wear a lot of solids. It’s nice having stripes to liven up my wardrobe.

I wore Ellie out everywhere: the beach, for walks, getting coffee, the mall, out to lunch, through the parking lot, up and down the aisles of the grocery store, and even to our mailbox. She was relaxed every time I slipped her into the sling.

Here’s what I learned from using the two slings over the past couple of weeks (I’m contemplating purchasing a linen just so I can compare all three fabrics! I have my eye on their double sage sling.) Please keep in mind that these are my opinions. It could be a little different for every one:

double chambray// The texture wasn’t as smooth as bamboo because the chambray has a “grippier” feel. It isn’t by any means tough, it just wasn’t as soft as bamboo. It took a little more effort adjusting the sling, but it was also more supportive. I would reach for this one if I knew I was going to be carrying Ellie for longer periods of time. The double chambray was more breathable than the bamboo and I didn’t get as hot wearing this sling. I was impressed at how the fabric didn’t wrinkle much after being stuffed in my bag for a couple of hours.

bamboo// Bamboo was seriously buttery soft. There was no breaking in needed. It glides through the rings when you’re trying to tighten and loosen the fabric. It instantly molded to our bodies and was very comfortable from the get go. In terms of baby wearing, it’s warmer than chambray. I probably wouldn’t reach for the bamboo during the summer when it’s close to 100 degrees. However, for this rainy day weather that we’ve been having, I soaked up (pun intended) every second of it. I imagine this would be the best for newborns because of how comfortable and snuggly it is.

bottom line: If you live in a hot climate with a heavier babe, go for the double chambray. If you have a newborn or you’re debating on your first sling, go for the bamboo.

All in all, Wildbird has me hooked on their ring slings. I’m glad that it wasn’t too late for me to start, even though Ellie is almost a year old and just under 20 pounds. We will still get plenty of use from our slings since they’re compact and can fit into my diaper bag with ease. Ellie loves being worn and will hang out in it all day if I’m willing to carry her.

If you’re looking for more information, be sure to check out Wildbird’s FAQ and About pages. Don’t be afraid to reach out to them with any questions, too!

The post Review: Wildbird Slings, Which One Should I Get? appeared first on Lovin' From the Oven.

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Happy New Year! We brought in the new year with a relaxing vacation in Kauai. It was Ellie’s first time on the plane and she did great! As nice as it was being on an island for a couple of days, nothing beats sleeping in your own bed.

Nothing also beats baking in your own kitchen and knowing where everything is located. Am I right? 

These cookies are subtle, but not too subtle. My dad loved them the most. He’s a coconut fiend. They’re chewy and strong, meaning they won’t break apart if you stack them or put them in a ziploc bag. I like cookies that can hold their own. I also like that they didn’t have any “chips” in them. There are enough cookies out there with chocolate chips, white chocolate chips, butterscotch chips, etc. Sometimes, you just want something simple and delicious.
Recipe adapted from AllRecipes.

Chewy Coconut Cookies

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon coconut extract
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/3 cups flaked coconut

Directions

  1. Cream together the butter and both sugars. Stir in the vanilla, coconut extract, and egg.
  2. Gradually mix in the flour, baking soda, and salt until just combined.
  3. Stir in the flaked coconut. Cover and refrigerate the dough for 2 hours.
  4. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  5. Spoon balls of dough onto lined baking sheet and bake for 11-12 minutes.
3.1

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Day 12 of my 12 days of cookies: Mint Filled Delightfulls Chocolate Chip Cookies. We’re all done! Hooray!

Have you guys seen these? They popped up in the baking aisle last year and I was intrigued. Morsels stuffed with goodies inside? Sold.

Yes. Just yes.

Give me all the mint chocolate!

These cookies are delicious! The recipe is from the back of the bag.

Mint Filled Delightfulls Chocolate Chip Cookies

Ingredients

  • 2 1/4 cup AP flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 3/4 cup brown packed brown sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 1/2 cup (9 oz pacakge) Nestle Toll House Delightfulls Mint Filled Morsels

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
  2. Cream together the butter and both sugars. Add in the eggs and vanilla.
  3. Gradually stir in the flour, baking soda, and salt until just combined. Mix in the morsel by hand.
  4. Shape the dough into tablespoon sized balls and drop on baking sheet. Bake for 9-11 minutes.
3.1

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Day 11 of my 12 days of cookies: Dark Chocolate Andes Mint Cookie Cups. Oops! I definitely did not finish before Christmas so I’m cranking out the last two days before the new year. Maybe next year I’ll finish it in time. Sorry, guys.

I hope you’re all done with your baking this year! I’m still planning on baking up a little something tomorrow for New Year’s. We’re keeping it low key with Ellie.

I was curious as to how these would bake as a cookie, so I did just that. I formed them into balls and threw them onto a baking sheet at 350 degrees for about 9 minutes.

What do you know, they still turned out beautiful!

Recipe from Beyond Frosting

Dark Chocolate Andes Mint Cookie Cups

Ingredients

  • 1 C (2 sticks) Unsalted butter
  • 1 C Light brown sugar
  • ¾ C Granulated sugar
  • 2 Large eggs
  • 3 tsp Pure vanilla extract
  • ½ tsp Peppermint extract
  • 1 pk (3.4oz) Dark chocolate pudding mix
  • ¼ C Hershey's Dark chocolate cocoa powder
  • 2¼ C All-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp Baking soda
  • ½ tsp Salt
  • 2 tbsp Milk
  • 2 C Andes mints, crushed

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350° F. If you are not using a non-stick pan, it's best to grease the mini muffin pan.
  2. Beat butter on medium speed until soft. For this recipe, you can use cold butter, it does not need to be at room temperature. You may have to stop the mixer and scrape it down a couple times.
  3. Add light brown sugar and sugar to butter and beat until light and fluffy. Add eggs and vanilla and peppermint extracts and continue to beat on medium speed until eggs are dissolved into sugar.
  4. Pour pudding mix and cocoa powder into eggs and sugar. Beat on low until all ingredients are incorporated.
  5. In a separate bowl, combine flour, baking soda and salt. Slowly add flour to batter and continue to beat on low speed. Dough will start to form and become very thick.
  6. Once all the flour has been added, pour in milk and increase to medium speed until milk is dissolved in the batter.
  7. Unwrap Andes mints. Cut with a sharp knife into small pieces. Add crushed Andes into dough.
  8. Spoon approximately two tablespoons of dough into a mini muffin pan. Bake at 350° F for 14-16 minutes.
  9. Remove from oven and allow to set for 5-10 minutes. Use a tart shaper, wrap the end in wax paper and gently press into the center of the cookie to form a cup.
  10. Allow cookies to set for another 10 minutes before removing from muffin tin. Allow to cool completely.
3.1

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Day 10 of my 12 days of cookies: Cornflakes and Chocolate Oatmeal Cookies. These are the best! I love using cornflakes in cookies. 

They give cookies just a little crunch without going overboard. Just like all the cookies I love, these are nice and chewy.
Recipe from Living the Gourmet

Cornflakes and Chocolate Oatmeal Cookies

Ingredients

  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • ¼ teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ cup butter
  • ½ cup brown sugar
  • ½ cup white sugar
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 egg
  • ½ cup rolled oats
  • 1½ cups cornflakes
  • ½ cup dark chocolate chips

Directions

  1. Cream together the butter and both sugars. Add in the vanilla and egg.
  2. Gradually mix in the flour, baking powder and salt until just combined. Fold in the cornflakes, rolled oats, and chocolate chips.
  3. Cover and refrigerate dough for at least two hours.
  4. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. and line two cookies sheets with Silpat.
  5. Scoop out balls of dough and place them at least two inches apart on the baking sheet.
  6. Bake cookies for about 8-10 minutes, until golden.
3.1

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