This Salsa Chicken recipe has made the blog rounds more times than I can count and every time I’ve seen it I’ve thought, “Eww, how can cream of mushroom soup and salsa be good together?!” It wasn’t until one of my favorite bakers raved about it that I finally caved and gave it a try. That was just a couple months ago and I’ve made it at least 4 times since then.

It’s easy, I almost always have the ingredients on hand, and it’s delicious. It’s also easily adaptable which is very important to me. One day I found myself without taco seasoning (or cumin!) so I threw in some jerk seasoning and it may have been even better than the original recipe. Also, I’ve seen people serve the chicken as whole breasts but I prefer it shredded. It gives it a nice texture.

Slow Cooker Salsa Chicken

Ingredients

1 pound boneless skinless chicken breasts
1 can cream of mushroom or cream of chicken soup
1 cup salsa
1 package taco seasoning
1 cup sour cream
cilantro, for serving (optional)

Instructions

  1. Put chicken, soup, and salsa in slow cooker. Sprinkle taco seasoning over everything. Cook on low for 6 hours. If shredding the chicken, pull the breasts out and shred; return back to slow cooker. Stir in sour cream and heat just until everything is combined.
http://fakeginger.com/crockpot-salsa-chicken/


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I like to keep at least one sweet in the house at all times and after my red velvet cupcakes disappeared within a matter of hours, I needed to make something else. Brownies are a favorite around here so it was an easy decision.

We loved this recipe! The three kinds of chocolate made them very rich, so rich that I only needed a sliver to be happy. They are also chewier than most brownies which is exactly how I like them. This is definitely a keeper!

Triple Chocolate Brownies

Ingredients

5 ounce semisweet or bittersweet chocolate, chopped
2 ounce unsweetened chocolate, chopped
8 tablespoon unsalted butter, cut into quarters
3 tablespoon cocoa powder
3 large eggs
11/4 cups sugar
2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup walnuts

Instructions

  1. Place an oven rack in lower-middle position and preheat the oven to 350F. Line an 8-inch square baking dish with foil and spray lightly with nonstick cooking spray; set aside.
  2. In a heatproof bowl set over a pan of barely simmering water, melt the chocolate and butter, stirring occasionally until smooth. Whisk in the cocoa powder until smooth. Set aside to cool.
  3. In a medium bowl, combine the eggs, sugar, vanilla and salt; whisk until combined, about 15 seconds. Whisk in the warm chocolate mixture until incorporated. Then stir in the flour with a wooden spoon until just combined. Fold in walnuts. Pour the mixture into the prepared pan and spread with a spatula to make an even layer. Bake until slightly puffed and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out with a small amount of sticky crumbs clinging to it, 35-40 minutes. Transfer the pan to a wire rack and let cool to room temperature before cutting, about 2 hours.
http://fakeginger.com/triple-chocolate-brownies/

Remove the brownies from the pan using the foil and transfer to a cutting board.  Cut into squares as desired.  Store in an air-tight container.

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To go with the red velvet cupcakes, I made this cheeseball and my sticky Chinese chicken wings. Let me tell you what I did to my wings. I like to cook the sauce for a long time so it gets super sticky and delicious. Well, long story short, baby was hungry and my sauce burnt. So bad that I think I’m going to have to throw the pan away!

Anyway, this cheeseball won’t win any awards in the looks department but it’s my favorite. My mom has been making it for years and I’d forgotten it until a friend sent me a message the other day reminding me of the time we ate nothing but this cheeseball for a week.

It’s super simple and always a crowd pleaser. Just 2 kinds of cheeses, bacon, pecans, and green onions squished together with strawberry jelly on top. I know, sounds weird but I promise it’s awesome. There were 4 adults here last night and we demolished the entire thing.

Bacon Cheeseball

Ingredients

8 ounces shredded cheddar
8 ounces shredded Monterey jack
1 pound bacon, cooked and crumbled
1 bunch green onions, chopped
1 cup pecans, diced
2 tablespoons mayonnaise
strawberry jam

Instructions

  1. Mix all ingredients except strawberry jam. Form into ball (or whatever shape you like). Spread strawberry jam over top.
http://fakeginger.com/bacon-cheeseball/


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Today is a big day for Alabama. Our team has finally gone all the way and tonight we’re going to show Colt McCoy why he didn’t win the Heisman. ;) In honor of the Crimson Tide, I decided we needed some crimson cupcakes to enjoy during the game.

I think I’ve only had red velvet cake once in my life and it was years ago. I’ve made it a handful of times for other people (which is why I never have red food coloring) but for some reason I’ve never found it very appealing. These cupcakes have changed my mind completely. They’re moist and chocolate-y but not overly so.

Now who’s ready for the game?!

Red Velvet Cupcakes

adapted from McCormick

Ingredients

2 1/2 cups flour
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened
2 cups sugar
4 eggs
1 cup sour cream
1/2 cup milk
1 bottle (1 ounce) red food coloring
2 teaspoons vanilla
For the frosting:
1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened
1 brick (8 ounces) cream cheese, softened
1 teaspoon vanilla
4 cups powdered sugar

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350F. Mix flour, cocoa powder, baking soda and salt in medium bowl. Set aside.
  2. Beat butter and sugar in large bowl with electric mixer on medium speed 5 minutes or until light and fluffy. Beat in eggs, one at a time. Mix in sour cream, milk, food color and vanilla. Gradually beat in flour mixture on low speed until just blended. Do not overbeat. Spoon batter into 30 paper-lined muffin cups, filling each cup 2/3 full.
  3. Bake 20 minutes or until toothpick inserted into cupcake comes out clean. Cool in pans on wire rack 5 minutes. Remove from pans; cool completely.
  4. For cream cheese frosting, use an electric mixer to beat butter and cream cheese until smooth. Beat in vanilla and start adding powdered sugar a little at a time until you reach the desired consistency. Don't feel like you need to use all 4 cups of the sugar. Frost and decorate cupcakes however you wish.
http://fakeginger.com/red-velvet-cupcakes/

6

This Caramelized Onion Risotto is my go-to for night’s when Spencer’s either gone or not eating with us. It’s so creamy and the onions get so sweet. I’m definitely not an onion fan but I love them in this.

My number 1 risotto tip: don’t be scared of the risotto. I know the Food Network hosts make it sound like some time consuming, tricky thing but it’s not. I made this recipe for the first time while I was also pan-frying some chicken, prepping asparagus, AND talking on the phone with my mom. So it’s really not all that difficult. Just don’t let the liquid get too low and stir it every couple minutes.

Thyme is awesome in this but I was all out, so if you want to use it I would stir it in when the rice is close to being cooked.

Caramelized Onion Risotto

Ingredients

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 large onion, sliced thinly
1 1/2 cups Arborio (risotto) rice
1/2 cup white wine
7 cups chicken broth, heated
salt and pepper to taste
fresh herbs (optional)

Instructions

  1. Heat olive oil over medium heat. Add onion and cook for 15 to 20 minutes until onion is soft and caramelized. Add rice and stir to combine. Let cook for another minute. Add white wine and let reduce almost all of the way. Reduce heat to medium low. Begin adding chicken broth a cup at a time. Add more broth as each cup is absorbed. Continue until rice is al dente (you might not use all 7 cups). Season with salt, pepper, and any herbs.
http://fakeginger.com/caramelized-onion-risotto/

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