Tag Archives | Mini Bites

MINI CHICKEN (OR TURKEY) POT PIES

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I’m not a huge fan of stew-like dinners you guys, but the chicken pot pies we made last night were so tasty almost everyone went back for seconds. Since the meat in this dish can easily be substituted and we’ll all be needing ways to use up leftover turkey from Thanksgiving, I thought I would share! 

MINI CHICKEN (OR TURKEY) POT PIES

Makes 8 individual pot pies, takes 50 minutes start to finish

You’ll Need:

  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2 stalks celery, diced
  • 8 tablespoons of butter
  • 6 tablespoons flour
  • 3 cups chicken stock
  • 1 cup milk
  • 2 large potatoes, diced small (or use frozen diced potatoes)
  • 1 large carrot, diced small
  • 1 cup frozen corn
  • 1 cup button mushrooms, sliced
  • 2 chicken breasts or turkey meat, cooked and chopped (or sub for a rotisserie chicken!)
  • Basic pie crust (I used almost 3 boxes of store-bought — 6 round sheets) 
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 8 Ramekins 
  • Mini alphabet cookie cutters, optional

Here’s How:

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Melt butter in a large sauce or soup pan over medium heat. Add onions and celery and cook for 2 minutes. Stir in flour and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Continue stirring over medium heat for 4 minutes.
  2. Add chicken stock and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer until mixture thickens, about 10 minutes. Pour in milk and cook for 4 more minutes.
  3. Remove pan from heat and add potatoes, carrots, corn, mushrooms, and meat.
  4. Cut pie crust into 8 circles big enough to fit inside the ramekins (optional) and press into the bottom of each. Cut 8 more circles slightly larger than the rim of your ramekins and use cookie cutters to personalize. Set aside. 
  5. Fill ramekins with mixture and cover with pie crust, folding edges around the outside and crimping with a fork. Brush with egg and place on a cookie sheet. Bake for 35 to 40 minutes until crust is golden brown and crispy. Let cool before serving!

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There were a couple nights last week that Johan played with the kids outside while I cooked in a quiet kitchen. Being able to dice, boil and dish without someone clinging to my leg, resting on my hip or sitting on the counter chatting my ear off was like a little slice of heaven.

That being said, I do love sharing the kitchen and dinner duties with a little helper or two and Griffin happens to be the most passionate about it. Especially this time of year when it’s dark, cold and rainy outside.

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Don’t let the giant pretend bite of food fool you. Despite all of his cooking efforts, the only part of the dinner he ate was a few nibbles of the cooked pie crust. Stinker. I’ve never heard of a cooking enthusiast that doesn’t like eating though, so I’m holding out hope that he’ll outgrow his picky palette!

Anyone else dealing with a  picky eater lately?

How do you use up turkey dinner leftovers?

XO, Rae

 

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BREAKFAST CLUB: PUMPKIN SPICE FRENCH TOAST DIPPERS

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I really, really love a good slice of toast topped with peanut butter or avocado, but have never thought much of the french kind.  Until a few weeks ago when we decided to give the breakfast classic a pumpkin spice makeover (’tis the season!) and now I can’t stop making it! I think we’ve had it the last few times the kids have had sleepovers or we’ve had guests around and a couple extra times just for us. The slices get gobbled up as quickly as I can make them so I figured it was time to pass along the recipe (below)!

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PUMPKIN SPICE FRENCH TOAST SOLDIERS + WHIPPED CREAM

Makes one loaf of bread

For the French Toast, You’ll Need:

  • 3/4cup milk (I like to use whole, but any works)
  • 2/3 cup pumpkin puree
  • 5 eggs
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
  • 1 loaf of favorite bread to french toast (thick sliced bread is best!)

For the Whipped Cream, You’ll Need:

  • 2 cups heavy whipping cream
  • 1/4 to 1/2 cup granulated sugar, to taste
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 to 2 teaspoon cinnamon, to taste
  • 1 to 2 teaspoons of pumpkin pie spice, to taste

Here’s How:

  1. Grease large non-stick skillet and set to medium heat.
  2. Beat together milk, pumpkin, eggs, and spices in a baking dish.
  3. Dip both sides of bread slices into mixture and place on heated skillet. Cook until each side is golden brown. If sides are getting brown but the bread is soggy, lower heat and cook longer per side. Repeat.
  4. While french toast cooks, add whipping cream, sugar, vanilla, and spices into mixing bowl and whip with stand or hand mixer until mixture thickens and peaks form (about 5 minutes).
  5. Cut into strips, serve with pumpkin spice whipped cream and dip away!!! They are good with syrup too.

If someone finds away to make this stuffed… or knows of a good stuffed french toast recipe, please share!

XO, Rae

P.S. – Tomorrow we are waking up at an ungodly hour to surprise the kids with a family vacay! Despite the stacks of warm weather outfits that have been cluttering up my dresser since Monday, they have no idea but are going to freakout! Can’t wait to spill the beans… Will share more on Friday from our destination and tomorrow on Instagram too if you want to follow along. Happy hump day!!!

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SWEET BITES: MINI NO-BAKE CHEESECAKES

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Kitchen activity is sparse during the summer months and I actually appreciate the break but ever since Espen and Tilly took a cooking class with their friends a couple weeks ago, we’ve all been more inspired to spend time making and baking. Over the weekend, Ozzie, Tilly and I made these cute and delicious lemony no-bake mini cheese cakes. They don’t require too many ingredients or any time in the oven, and are easy enough to make with littler kids (if you don’t mind a little crumbly mess).

Try out the recipe below… They are delicious and sweet and would be even better with a few berries on top!

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MINI NO-BAKE CHEESECAKE (makes 12)

For the Crust, You’ll Need:

  • 15 graham crackers
  • 2 teaspoon allspice
  • 1/2 cup butter, melted

For the Filling, You’ll Need:

  • 1-1/2 cups (13 oz.) cream cheese, at room temp.
  • 1 tablespoon lemon zest
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 – 14 oz. can sweeten condensed milk
  • 4 tablespoons lemon juice

Here’s How:

  1. Grease standard muffin tin and line each cup with strips of wax paper… See picture above. The strips make it easier to remove the cheesecakes from the tin.
  2. Roughly break graham crackers into a food processor. Add allspice and blend until finely crushed. Add butter and process until well combined.
  3. Press crumb mixture into the bottom and sides of each muffin cup to form your crust. Use the bottom of a glass to press down if needed (Tilly liked this part). Place in freezer while you make filling.
  4. To make the filling, beat cream cheese until smooth. Add lemon zest, vanilla, condensed milk and lemon juice. Beat until mixture is creamy — about 5 minutes.
  5. Remove muffin tin from freezer and spoon filling into each cup.
  6. Refrigerate for 3 hours or overnight. Lift mini cheesecakes using waxed paper liners.

The hardest part is waiting for the cheesecake to set, but it’s so worth it!

XO, Rae

P.S. – Here’s a healthier breakfast or snack version of the mini cheesecakes you might enjoy.

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MINI BITES: BEDTIME POPSICLES

Oh bedtimes. Such a sweet, snuggly, and often bananas time of day to unwind, have precious conversations (or answer a million random questions), read books, pray and give 100% attention to the kids. But we all know its one thing to get kids tucked in and another to get them to sleep.

A couple of our babes are particularly challenged (like their mama) in this area so about a year ago, after doing plenty of research (aka, calling my mom + googling), I started giving them and myself small doses of Melatonin – an au naturel supplement that helps you fall asleep. And it’s a God send. Seriously. Except that it’s not meant to take every night. Since we’re trying to ease our way back into a schedule before school starts, I’ve been looking for other ways to naturally help them get sleepy at night and discovered that there are several sleep inducing foods out there.

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Bananas, yogurt, almonds, oats, cherries and honey all have nutrients that help you sleep and they all taste delicious together. Or course, piling your favorite ingredients into a snack size parfait before bed would be delish but blending them up and freezing into popsicles would be way more fun!

BEDTIME POPSICLES

  • 1 banana (or a little less)
  • 1/2 cup pitted cherries (we used frozen)
  • 3/4 cup favorite vanilla yogurt (coconut milk yogurt for dairy-free)
  • 1/2 cup almond milk
  • Honey to taste
  • Granola to top
  1. Add first four ingredients into a blender and mix together. Add Honey to taste.
  2. Pour into popsicle mold (this is our fave) and sprinkle granola over the top. Place in freezer for a few hours until frozen.
  3. To make the layered popsicle, blend banana, yogurt, almond milk and honey. Fill molds a little over halfway and freeze. Then blend cherries with a little yogurt, almond milk and honey and add to the molds. Top with granola and freeze. (*makes about 10 large popsicles)

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We ate them on kind of a wild night that lacked any routine so they didn’t (and I doubt they will) work as well as Melatonin, but I do think the right kind of snack right before bed makes a big difference!

Have any bedtime tricks up your sleeve, friend?

XO, Rae

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SWEET BITES: SIMPLE BERRY-LEMONADE SNOW CONE GRANITA RECIPE

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Gosh I hated being away from this online space and (gasp!) social media last week, but have been busy finishing up a few big design projects before the kids are home for summer — just a week and a half left. Not sure who is more ready and excited, me or the kids! That being said, posts might be random and sparse for the next couple weeks but then I have quite a few summer-y DIY’s, kid crafts, recipes and adventures that I can hardly wait to document and share! Make sure to sign up for emails below (if you haven’t already) so you don’t miss out!!! Now onto todays post….

With all of the hot weather and outdoor playtime in our future a frozen treat seemed to be in order and granitas (aka Italian ice) are a new fave around here. They are technically vegan, gluten free, and made from fresh ingredients, yet totally delicious and full of sugar. But who doesn’t need a little extra sugar in the summertime!

simple snow cone granita recipe

Here’s how to make them:

BERRY LEMONADE GRANITAS, takes 20 minutes hands-on time (3 hours start to finish), makes 10-12 small servings

You’ll Need:

  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 3 cups of your favorite homemade or store-bought lemonade
  • 1-2 cups raspberries, blueberries or sliced strawberries
  • a few hours of down-time
  • OPTIONAL, extra berries and mint for garnish and paper snow cones, wood paddle spoons and cute straws for serving

Here’s How:

  1. Pour sugar and water into a saucepan and bring to a boil for one minute to make a simple syrup. Add fresh berries and let simmer, stirring often for about 5 minutes. (Or grab a flavored lemonade at the store and skip the berry step!)
  2. Remove mixture from heat, spoon or strain out the berries and set in an ice bath to cool.
  3. Pour mixture into a 9×13 or larger baking dish. Add lemonade and stir together carefully. Place in the freezer.
  4. Every 20-30 minutes use a fork to break up the mixture then return to the freezer and repeat until it you have a nice fluffy/icy/crystal texture.
  5. Scoop into cups or these snow cones and garnish with berries and mint!

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//We used a marker to add a cute design to the handle end of wood ice cream spoons//

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YAY for summer you guys!!! Looking forward to making more of these and trying new flavors. Maybe an adult version for cocktail hour or a red, white and blue combo for the 4th of July… What flavor would you want to try?

XOXO, Rae

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MINI BITES: HOMEMADE BROWN BAG MICROWAVE POPCORN

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Popcorns a favorite comfort food around here and something we make all-the-time. Sadly our popcorn maker broke for the second time in the last year. Not wanting to drop another $40 on a new one I turned to google instead and discovered that a brown bag and tape is all that’s needed to make some in the microwave! Life changing I tell ya. Thank you google. You make momm-ing so much easier.

Here’s how to do-it-yo-self at home!

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You’ll Need –

  • Un-popped corn kernels
  • Brown lunch bags
  • Tape
  • Favorite popcorn toppings such as melted butter, salt, sprinkles, and/or cinnamon and sugar

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1. Poor a little less than 1/4-cup of kernels into a brown bag.

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2. Fold the top of the bag down a couple times and use a piece of tape to hold in place.

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3. Place in the microwave for 2-3 minutes or until you hear longer pauses between pops. Ours took only 2 minutes per bag.

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(((Waiting is the hardest part….)))

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(((…so practice a cartwheel or three instead.)))

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4. Add your toppings and…

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… shake, shake, shake.

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5. Repeat until everyone has their own custom bag of popcorn and enjoy!

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Easy peasy, right?

Nothing makes me happier than a good mom-hack and I think these individual microwave popcorns qualify. Do you have any tricks that have been making life easier or more fun lately?

Happy Thursday you guys!

XO, Rae

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ST. PATRICK’S DAY BITES + LUNCHBOX NOTES (FREEBIE)

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Happy Monday you guys! Thought I would kick off the week with a few of my favorite things — simple holiday ideas, yummy snacks and a freebie! I had so much fun putting together these Halloween bites and lunchbox notes I thought I would do the same for St. Patrick’s day. The lunch notes can double as tags for treat bags too. (Download and snack details, below.)

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Click to download, LUNCHBOX NOTES PDF

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ST. PATRICK’S DAY BITES –

  1. Green sandwich wrap: spinach tortilla, smashed avocado, deli meat and cilantro because they look a little like 4-leaf clovers.
  2. Rainbow puff pastries: a less sugary take on fruit pizza. Use puff pastry sheets from the freezer section at the store. Follow instructions on package. To make a rainbow shape, use a round cookie cuter and cut in half. While they bake, mix cream cheese with a little honey and vanilla. Spread on top of pastries and add fruit in rainbow colors.
  3. Lucky charm treats: Melt 6 tablespoons and 16 ounces of mini marshmallows over medium heat. Remove from heat and add about 12 cups of lucky charms. Stir together quickly and press into a well greased 9×13-inch baking dish. Let harden and serve!
  4. Rainbow cereal necklace. After the lucky charms splurge I decided to go with a less sugary, organic version of fruit loops. Not as colorful but still fun… just string onto twine.
  5. Tortellini and pesto. Easy, green and packable!
  6. Anything in green packaging like juice boxes and apple sauce pouches :)
  7. Kale chips. I like this recipe and use coconut oil instead of olive oil.
  8. These peanut butter sandwich crackers look a little like gold coins and are one of those thing we don’t usually purchase but the kids are always asking for.

I love how the smaller holidays add some fun and whimsy to our daily routine without the expectation to go all-out. How about you?

XO, Rae

PS – Johan and I just boarded a plane to Phoenix for some kid-free time in the sun. We are only staying for a few days but if you have any activity or restaurant suggestions, please share!

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DINNER BITES: MAKE YOUR OWN TOAST

(A SIMPLE DINNER IDEA)

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It’s not often I come across a meal that can be made in just a few minutes, customized to each family member’s tastebuds and served for any meal or snack throughout the day. So when I do you know it’s put on heavy rotation and whipped up anytime I don’t feel like doing any actual cooking or hand dishes.

The other great thing about this entrée is that theres no actual recipe so it’s a great way to clean out the fridge.  A few fresh toppings and yummy artisan bread (ciabatta bread pictured) makes it more hearty and fancy and sweet potato fries and sliced apples are typical sides for us that go well.

Here are a few topping ideas:

  • arugula or other greens
  • basil
  • roasted peppers
  • avocado
  • tomatos
  • hummus
  • ricotta, mozzarella, gorgonzola or parmesan cheese
  • eggs
  • bacon
  • salmon (lox or smoked)
  • salami or other deli meat
  • salt and pepper
  • balsamic

To keep from having to man the toaster while everyone eats I just sliced up our bread, placed it on a baking sheet and broiled on high for a few minutes. The line between toasted and burned is very fine so I try to keep a close eye on it.

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(handy serving board from Target)

Now that I’m looking at the ingredient ideas it’s not all that different from toppings for a potato bar and maybe toast isn’t all that original, ha! Do you guys ever have toast for dinner?

XO, Rae

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MINI BITES: MAC + CHEESE CUPS

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Everyone needs a recipe or two in their bag of tricks that the kids love and appreciate every time it’s served. This is that dish for me and considering how popular mac + cheese is, that’s probably not surprising. But I wouldn’t share just any old basic mac recipe with you. This one has a few steps perfect for a mini sous chef to help with, a hint of mustard for a grownup flavor and the cups make it easy to serve for lunch, dinner or snacks at a get-together. It’s also a really nice excuse to turn on the oven which is my favorite thing to do in the middle of winter. A quick word of caution tho, it has the potential to ruin boxed mac and cheese for your kids forever. Can’t say I blame them :) Keep scrolling for the recipe!

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HOMEMADE MACARONI + CHEESE BITES (makes 12)

You’ll Need –

  • 2 cups dried macaroni
  • 1 egg
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 4 tablespoons flour
  • 1 tablespoon dijon mustard
  • 1-1/4 cups whole milk
  • 8 ounces white cheddar cheese, grated, plus more for topping
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • bread or panko crumbs for topping
  • OPTIONAL – cayenne pepper or paprika to taste

Here’s How –

  1. Bring water to a boil, add macaroni and cook until slightly firm. Drain, rinse with cold water and set aside.
  2. In a small bowl, beat the egg and set aside. Melt butter in a large pot being careful not to burn. Add flour and whisk constantly over med-low heat for a couple minutes. Pour in the milk and mustard and whisk together. Cook and whisk for about 5 more minutes until mixture is very thick then reduce heat to low.
  3. Temper the egg by adding 1/4 cup of mixture to it and whisking constantly until smooth. Pour egg mixture into large pot and whisk together. Add cheese and stir until melted. Add salt, pepper and any other spices to taste… don’t under-salt.
  4. Add prepared macaroni noodles and stir until coated with cheese mixture. You can serve immediately or make into cups…
  5. Preheat oven to 375 degrees and set your little helper up with a work station (or DIY) — grease muffin tin or set out liners (we used THESE which come in handy for lunches too) as well as shredded cheese and bread crumbs for topping. Scoop mac + cheese into prepared muffin tin. Sprinkle with a generous amount of bread crumbs and cheese and then bake for 15 minutes. Let set for 10 minutes before serving!

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If you’re not sure what’s for dinner tonight I highly recommend giving these a try and making extra for lunch the next day. They go great with oven roasted broccoli or cauliflower. Yum.

What have you been cooking lately?

XO, Rae

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MINI BITES: WINTER SMOOTHIES

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Smoothie’s tend to fall off our menu rotation around the beginning of fall when the cold weather moves in. But lately, with the abundance of junk and comfort food and lack of daylight, vitamin D and outdoor activity I think all of our bodies have been craving the nutrition and freshness of our favorite summer snack. So we recently started  blending a few up each week using more wintery combinations… of course the usual tropically flavors are a hit even in the winter, but it’s nice to switch things up. Here are a few of our favorites so far!

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(one more of the cute smoothie models, ha!)

Don’t those look yummy!? I think I’ll go make one right now :)… What have you guys been snacking on lately?

XO, Rae

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MINI BITES: CANDIED APPLE DIPPERS

yummy-apple-dippers-7Apples have definitely taken a back seat to our pumpkin obsession this fall but yesterday afternoon, as a post church, football watching snack, we put together an apple dipping tray. The kids (and a friend that stopped by) loved everything about it and lucky us, there was enough to enjoy for dessert later in the night!

When it comes to apples, dips and toppings there are endless combinations but instead of heading to the store for anything specific I grabbed what we had on hand… Yet another reason (spontaneous treats!) to keep a somewhat stocked pantry. Something I’m not always great about but that reaps major bennies. Here are a few of the items, including dip recipes, we set out.

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PEANUT BUTTER DIP – combine 8oz. of cream cheese, 1/4 cup sugar, 3/4 cup brown sugar, 1/2 cup peanut butter, and 1 teaspoon vanilla with a mixer  until smooth and serve.

CARAMEL DIP – unwrap half a bag (about 20 pieces) of caramels and place in bowl with a splash (1 tablespoon) of cream or milk. Heat in microwave for 20 second intervals, stirring in-between until completely melted. Allow to cool and thicken before serving.

WHITE CHOCOLATE – melt chocolate chips in the microwave or double broiler, being careful not to burn, stirring lots and often. Works best (in my opinion) drizzled over apple slices instead of the main dip or topping. If you are making a larger quantity try pouring into a squeeze bottle to make it easy.

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It was a nice treat in the middle of our sunday and would make for a fun “bar” for a party or get together any day.

So now tell me… have you been all about those pumpkins or apples this fall? This inquiring mind wants to know!

XO . Rae

PS – To everyone who placed an order during our flash sale, thank you so much! Your order will be shipped later today :)

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