Friday, October 31, 2014

Eat Local: B&G Tasty Foods

B&G's signature Loose Meat Sandwich is made from fresh Angus beef, smothered in cheese and topped with onions, pickles and a squirt of mustard. They are DE-LISH! Wash them down with a basket of crispy french fries and your favorite shake. 

B&G Tasty Foods Loosemeat Sandwich
Bear with us on the photos, everything was taken on my phone.

This is the first of our Eat Local series. We will be sharing our favorite grub spots across the great states of Kansas, Missouri and Nebraska.

Nebraska. Land of corn and beef. While those two staples are enough to make one want to visit, add in the city of Omaha and it becomes a "can't miss" stop. Dave quotes it as a "foodie lovers paradise." He says many other things ("it's the Promiseland"), but we won't get into that.

For its size, Omaha has a large amount of eateries and drinkeries. Yes, that's a word. I made it. But seriously, Omaha is bustling with many undiscovered, underrated restaurants.

We recently had a wonderful trip to Omaha . In addition to cheering on the Huskers, eating Valentino's Pizza at the football game, we also made a pit stop at B&G Tasty Foods. Their famous Loose Meat Sandwich was on the top of my "to-do" list. Forget chores. I have food lists.

B&G Tasty Foods Napkin Holder
I loved this napkin holder.   :) 

The atmosphere of this diner is adorable. It's the perfect balance of 50's retro diner decor, without being over the top. However, I have heard I missed out on all the clown paintings. Not sorry. There was only one clown painting in the restaurant, and it has history behind it, so I can respect that. The staff was incredibly friendly and efficient. Between the food and the atmosphere, the overall experience was fabulous! Don't expect to be waited on. It's a casual walk-up counter and very family friendly. This definitely makes our top Omaha restaurants list.

So, what is a Loose Meat Sandwich? Think of it as a sloppy-joe, minus the sauce, but still messy. You may wind up with meat in your bracelet (don't ask), on your pants, sleeve, in your teeth, etc. Who cares? Bring a bib and chow down. These sandwiches/hamburger-hybrid are SO worth it.

B&G Tasty Foods Loosemeat Sandwich

The anatomy of their sandwich is: bun + loosemeat + American cheese + onions + pickles + mustard + bun. It all equals one delicious, juicy, mouth-watering experience. I have no idea what they season that meat with. I honestly couldn't put a finger on the seasoning, but it tastes perfect. Not overly seasoned, you almost think it's not seasoned, but then it is. What happened? Mind blown.

Bee Gee Sandwich
Get your bib ready. 

Actually, the mind blowing happened after the Peanut Butter Chocolate Shake. Holy heck. They brought that puppy out before my sandwich. Not a good idea. I still managed to eat everything though. There were many things I wanted to try, but my pants wouldn't allow it. Take the Cheese Frenchie for example. I absolutely wanted to stuff down a few bites of FRIED GRILLED CHEESE, but I just could not.

The Cheese Frenchie is almost as famous as its Loosemeat brother. Almost. It's a grilled cheese sandwich, breaded in the most wonderful, flaky batter, deep-fried to crispy, crunch perfection. Once you take a bite, you are taken down a river. A cheesy, flowing river. Melty, gooey, warm cheese. Inside fried bread. Gah. Better than a mozzarella stick. They even have a Banana Nutella Frenchie. We didn't have a chance to try it, but will the next time we visit!

B&G Tasty Foods Cheese Frenchie
 *In my best Homer Simpson voice*  Mmmmm....cheese.

If you are visiting Omaha, which I truly suggest that you do (more to come in a later post), you can't miss this restaurant. B&G Tasty Foods is inexpensive, delicious diner food wrapped in a 50's flair.

Have you visited this Omaha gem? Let us know in the comments, on Facebook or Twitter (#EatLocal)! Check out their website for location & hours. Even better, take a look at their menu.

Over and out, food lovers.

♥ Trisha

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Halloween Candy Bark

Candy corn lovers will devour this sweet & salty treat. Stuffed with Oreos, pretzels and candy corn, this crunchy Halloween Bark is so tasty!

These last few weeks have been incredibly busy. I'm always baffled at how women work full-time and have families, AND make time for things like a blog or hobbies. I already feel like I run around like a maniac. The mental to-do list in my head is constantly growing, and I'm tired. I'm tired all the time. Kudos to you mommies. Hopefully I can be like you one day, and not wear burn myself out.

We've been prepping for a Harry Potter Halloween party (pictures to come soon), trying to stick to our normal routine (work, come home, workout, cook dinner, clean kitchen, watch a show or movie), play volleyball once a week, PLUS work on this blog. In one day I baked a batch of muffins, homemade cheesy potatoes to go with the ham my dad brought over and made this Halloween Candy Bark to share with the neighbors. The next evening after work I made a huge pot of potato soup and the soft pretzel bites you saw last week. WHEW! But it's so worth it. My only wish: a kitchen cleaning fairy.

I have to admit, I'm not a candy corn fan. However, National Candy Corn Day is October 30. So, in the spirit of Halloween, I decided to make this festive treat. Now, let me admit something else, I loved it. Even the candy corn!

This is definitely a sweet treat, but the pretzel pieces add a nice touch of saltiness. Sweet and salty. You won't stop eating it. How can you not love something with Oreos in it?

Did I mention how easy this recipe is to make? You can literally whip it up in no time. It makes a great after school treat for the kiddos, or you can surprise your co-workers by bringing in "homemade" candy on Halloween. 

Each bite is crunchy, melty, chewy goodness! 

This recipe adapted from The Girl Who Ate Everything. 

Halloween Candy Bark

Prep time: 10 minutes
Chill time: 60 minutes
Yield: 10 servings

14 whole Oreos, broken into pieces (use Halloween Oreos if you can find them)
1 and 1/2 cups pretzel sticks, broken into pieces
3/4 cup candy corn
16 oz. white almond bark or white chocolate chips

Step 1: Cover a large cookie sheet with parchment or wax paper. Gently toss Oreo pieces, pretzel pieces and candy corn in a bowl to combine. Spread out on paper lined sheet in a 9x13 inch shape. 

Step 2: Place almond bark in a glass, microwave-safe bowl, and heat on high for 90 seconds. Stir and heat for 20 seconds. Continue to stir and heat until completely melted. 

Step 3: Use a rubber spatula to spread the melted almond bark over the mix on the sheet. It will take some maneuvering to get all the mixture covered evenly, but do not add additional almond bark. 

Step 4: Place cookie sheet in refrigerator and let set for 60 minutes to ensure it is hardened. Once set, remove from fridge. Lift the edges of the paper to cover your hands and break the bark into pieces. 

© Two Food Lovers, 2014All images & content are copyright protected. Please do not use our images without prior permission. If you want to republish this recipe, please re-write the recipe in your own words, or link back to this post for the recipe. 

Don't forget to tell us how you liked this Halloween treat in the comments below, and follow us on Facebook and Twitter!

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Sweet & Savory Soft Pretzel Bites

Warm, slightly crispy, bite-size, soft pretzels flavored with the sweetness of honey and a savory hint of garlic. These babies melt in your mouth. Fortunately this recipe makes a large batch because you eat them before they make it to the plate. 

Sweet & Savory Soft Pretzel Bites | Two Food Lovers

If you know me, you know I'm all about the carbs. I love bread. I think I could make it my main meal source. Naturally, I LOVE soft pretzels. Am I fan of the crunch kind? Eh. They are ok. But every time I go to the mall, Auntie Anne's is calling my name. Smother that puppy in butter. Dip it in cheese or mustard. Coat it in cinnamon & sugar. I like my pretzels a variety of ways, but...

Forget about mall pretzels. They can't touch the delicious taste of these bites, and nothing beats eating them straight from the oven. You don't even need dipping sauce. Yes, they are that good.

Sweet & Savory Soft Pretzel Bites | Two Food Lovers

Bread recipes tend to seem intimidating. Let me tell you, they are not. The trick to bread is following the instructions and practicing patience. I have no patience, unless bread is the end result. This pretzel recipe is one of the many that I have tried, and it is absolutely the best.

Bake these for a football party, as an appetizer for a dinner party, or to chow down on all by yourself. You know we don't judge. We found they went really well with a creamy potato soup I whipped up the same night.

Each bite has a slightly crispy bottom, and soft, chewy center. The butter and salt are all the topping you need. These little treats are perfect for baking on a cool fall or winter evening.

Dave has been enjoying these with his soup, or as a snack, the last few days. See my note at the end of the recipe on storing and reheating. Enjoy!  ♥ Trisha

Sweet & Savory Soft Pretzel Bites | Two Food Lovers

Sweet & Savory Soft Pretzel Bites

Printer friendly version

Prep time: 40 minutes + 40 minute rest time
Cook time: 10-12 minutes
Yield: 6+ dozen bite size pretzels

1 cup milk
1/2 cup water
1/4 cup packed brown sugar
2 tablespoons honey
1 packet active dry yeast (not quick-rise)
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup bread flour
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
2-3 small cloves of garlic, grated or minced ultra-fine*
1/3 cup baking soda + 3 cups hot water for the bath in Step 7
Sea salt
3 tablespoons melted butter

Step 1: Preheat oven to 200°F. In a small saucepan, heat milk, water, brown sugar and honey to 110°F over low-medium heat. Pour hot liquid mixture into the bowl of a stand mixer. If not using a stand mixer, pour into a metal bowl. Sprinkle the packet of yeast over the liquid and let stand for 10-15 minutes to allow yeast to bloom. Blooming = slight puffing of yeast

*Do not boil or simmer in this step. Liquid should be about the temperature of a hot bath. I simply use my finger to test the temperature of the liquid. It should not burn, but feel hot.

Step 2: Meanwhile, use a whisk to combine all-purpose flour and bread flour in a bowl. Stir well to ensure the flours are incorporated. Rinse and wipe out your saucepan. Return to burner; add the butter and garlic; cook over med-low heat for 2-3 minutes to melt the butter. The garlic should smell wonderfully fragrant. Remove from heat and set aside.

*To grate garlic, use a microplane. I find it easiest to mince (almost pulverize) my garlic with a Slap Chop. Those things are great.

Step 3: Attach the dough hook to your stand mixer. Add the flour mixture to the bowl with the blooming yeast (after it has rested 10-15 minutes). Give a quick stir by briefly turning mixer on low for a few seconds, and then add the melted butter and garlic. Turn mixer on medium and let the dough mix for about 5-7 minutes. The dough will start to pull away from the sides of the bowl, and the texture should be smooth and elastic. It will smell like heaven.

Step 4: Remove dough from bowl; use hands to shape into a ball. Use cooking spray to lightly grease the bowl of your stand mixer, and return the dough to the bowl. Dampen a light tea towel with warm water and place over the top of the bowl. Set your bowl of dough in the 200°F oven. You can leave the oven on (this is what I do), or turn it off. Let the dough rise for about 30-40 minutes. You will know it is ready when it has grown in size.

Step 5: Once dough has risen, remove from oven and turn oven to 425°F. Lightly flour a work surface, turn out the dough, and lightly knead. You shouldn’t need to do too much kneading. Your dough will be sticky at first and start to firm slightly. Do not over knead. If you are unsure, just give it a few good flips and tucks and call it good.

Step 6: Cover two or three cookie sheets with parchment paper. Pinch off small bits of dough, about bite size, roll into a ball, and place on cookie sheets ½ to 1 inch apart. These will not grow so what you see is what you get. Approximately 1-inch size dough balls are great. Start by filling one entire cookie sheet, set it aside and continue to fill a second cookie sheet, etc. until all dough is rolled.

Step 7: In a large bowl, add 3 cups hot water + 1/3 cup baking soda, whisk together to combine. Grab the first cookie sheet of dough balls that you rolled and begin dunking them in the baking soda bath. You can do more than one at a time, but they don’t need to sit in the water long. Remove and let some of the water drip off before returning to the baking sheet. Lightly sprinkle each damp pretzel with sea salt. Ensure that your oven is heated to 425°F (I like to use an oven thermometer) and bake each cookie sheet for 8-10 minutes until golden brown.

Continue the baking soda bath for the remaining pretzels and bake as instructed.

Melt 3 tablespoons butter and brush each pretzel with butter. Serve warm.   

*If you have leftovers, avoid coating with butter before storing. Store in an airtight container for 2-4 days. Pop in a toaster oven (or traditional oven) to warm. This helps add the slight crisp back to the outside of the pretzel and the warmth brings out the flavor. 

© Two Food Lovers, 2014. All images & content are copyright protected. Please do not use our images without prior permission. If you want to republish this recipe, please re-write the recipe in your own words, or link back to this post for the recipe.

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Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Blueberry Streusel Coffee Cake

Buttery, moist, crumbly cake. Stuffed with blueberries, layers of streusel and topped with a sweet, butter glaze, this cake is a triple threat. 

Buttery, moist, crumbly, Blueberry Streusel Coffee Cake by Two Food Lovers

I've had this cake many times, but I will never forget the first time I had it. It was one of my earlier visits at Dave's parents' house. Paulette, my mother-in-law, baked it for breakfast. I easily downed two large helpings. Way to make a first impression, right?

Blueberry Streusel Coffee Cake by Two Food Lovers
Can you smell the freshly baked aroma? 

This cake is easy to make, and worth every minute. It makes a wonderful breakfast, snack or dessert. Each bite melts in your mouth. The recipe makes a good amount of glaze. I like to save some and slather it on each slice as I eat them. The flavors are rich and sweet.

I love the texture of this cake because it is moist, but crumbly and hearty. One piece will fill you up, but you will still eat two. Don't worry, we Food Lovers don't judge. We like to use frozen berries, but fresh are delicious, if in season. They add the perfect balance of sweetness and burst with flavor when you bite into them.

Are you hungry yet? Ready for the recipe? I'm ready to eat another piece as I write this.

Below are a few pics to give you an idea of how the cake will look before baked.

Step 4 after second layer of batter & berries. 

The finished cake, just before baking. Layers of delicious batter, cinnamon butter streusel and juicy berries. 

Blueberry Streusel Coffee Cake

Printer friendly version 

Prep time: 10 minutes + 3-5 minutes for glaze
Cook time: 25-35 minutes
Yield: 8 servings

Streusel Ingredients:
2/3 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon salt
6 tablespoons cold butter, cut into pieces

Step 1: Grease an 8-inch cake or springform pan. Preheat oven to 375° F.

Step 2: Place all streusel topping ingredients in a small bowl; use a fork or your fingers to “cut” the butter into dry ingredients until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Set aside. Continue to cake ingredients and Step 3.

Cake Ingredients:
1 and 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 and 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 egg, lightly beaten
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1/3 cup melted butter
1/2 cup buttermilk
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon almond extract
1 cup fresh or frozen blueberries - if using frozen, do not thaw

Step 3: In medium bowl, sift together flour, baking powder and salt. In a separate, large bowl, beat egg, sugar, and butter with an electric hand or stand mixer until well combined. Add the buttermilk, almond extract and vanilla extract, and beat momentarily to combine. Using a rubber spatula, stir in the flour mixture until all ingredients are combined. Be careful not to over mix, as this will result in a drier cake.

Step 4: Spread half the batter into the greased pan. Sprinkle half the blueberries on top of the batter, then sprinkle about 1/3 the streusel topping over the berries. Spread remaining cake batter on top, sprinkle with remaining berries, and finish with remaining streusel topping.

Step 5: Bake at 375° F for 30-35 minutes. At 30 minutes, test cake with toothpick by inserting it into the center of the cake. When removed, only a few crumbs should cling to the toothpick. If additional time is needed, cover cake with foil before you continue baking. Always keep an eye on your cake as each oven is unique and baking times may need to be adjusted. Additional intervals of 3-4 minutes are typically safe. Once baked through, remove from oven and continue to Step 6.

Butter Glaze Ingredients:
1/4 cup unsalted butter, melted
1/3 – 1/2 cup confectioner’s sugar
1/4 teaspoon almond extract
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
Dash of milk – varies depending on desired consistency

Step 6: Cool cake for 10 minutes on wire cooling racks. While cake cools, prepare the glaze by whisking together melted butter, 1/3 cup confectioner’s sugar and extracts.  Add a small splash of milk, approximately 2 teaspoons – 1 tablespoon, depending on preference. If you prefer a thinner glaze, add more milk; if you prefer a thicker glaze, add more confectioner’s sugar. Continue adding, whisking and tasting glaze until desired consistency is achieved. Note, if glaze is too thick you will have to spread it over the cake versus pouring.

Step 7: Pour glaze over slightly warm cake and serve. You can store this cake in an airtight container on the counter, or in the fridge if you are leery of room temperature milk in the glaze. It is delicious if eaten within 3-4 days, but I doubt it lasts that long.   J

Melty, buttery, glaze + moist & crumbly cake. This Blueberry Streusel Coffee Cake is perfection. By Two Food Lovers

Enjoy this cake all you fellow food lovers! Let us know if you bake it. Shout out on Facebook, Twitter or in the comments below. 

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Red & Green Chili

A thick, white chili that is flavored with delicious red & green peppers. 

Red & White Chili by Two Food Lovers
Can you smell it? Gooey cheese. Green chilies. Yum.

Cheesy, creamy, savory, lip-lickin' good. This chili needs to be on your menu this week. It's hearty, rich and delicious. I love chicken, thus I love white chicken chili, but I wanted to do something different this week. Dave was craving something "Mexican" and asked for tacos, but the cooler weather this past weekend had me dreaming of scrumptious, warm soups.

What I love about chili is you can throw in almost anything and make it work. I chose not to make this version spicy, but you could easily kick up the heat with some hot sauce. I like Cholua!   :)

Don't even get me started on toppings. Chili is so versatile. If you make this for a group, lay out a spread of topping options like sour cream, green onions, crushed tortilla chips, etc. and let each person make their bowl a masterpiece.

Sorry for the grainy photo! We promise we are working on our photography skills. 

What is easier than throwing everything in a pot? Don't let the cook time on this recipe scare you! It is NOT a lot of work. You just need to let it marinate for a good while so all the flavor simmers into every bite.

The best part of this recipe is the leftovers. It makes a large pot. Enough for 8-10 people. But we are a family of 2. You better believe we chowed down on this all week. Just kidding, we at it in 3 days. No shame.

Red & Green Chili

Printer Friendly Version

Prep time: 5 minutes
Cook time: 50-60 minutes
Yield: 8 servings

1 lb. boneless, skinless chicken breasts (about two good size breasts)
1 medium yellow onion, diced, step 2
3 cloves of garlic, minced, step 2
1 green bell pepper, diced, step 2
1 red bell pepper, diced, step 2
1 ½ cup chicken stock
1 ½ cup water, divided + additional for boiling chicken
1 (15 oz) can cannellini beans, with liquid
1 (15 oz) can great northern beans, with liquid
1 (10 oz) can cream of chicken soup
1 (11 oz) can sweet white corn, drained – we like Green Giant
1 (7 oz) can salsa verde – we like Herdez
1 (4 oz) can green chiles
8 oz. block of Colby Jack cheese – you can buy shredded if you prefer
3 green onions, chopped

Step 1: Place chicken breasts in a large soup pot. Fill 2/3 full with water, cover and bring to boil over high heat. Boil chicken for 20-25 minutes. Proceed to step 2 while chicken cooks.

Step 2: While chicken is boiling, dice vegetables and mince the garlic. Check chicken for pinkness near 20 minutes by removing a breast and cutting into it. Continue boiling until done, as needed. Remove chicken from pot and dump out the water.

Step 3: Place pot back on burner and lower heat to medium. Add onion & garlic; cook for about 2 minutes, until fragrant. Scrape up onion & garlic from bottom of pot with a wooden spoon as it cooks. Browned bits are ok, these add flavor! After about 2 minutes, add the red & green bell pepper plus ¾ cup water. Cook peppers for about 7 minutes, scraping bottom & stirring occasionally.

Step 4: Once peppers seem slightly tender, about 7 minutes, add the remaining ¾ cup water, chicken stock, and all remaining canned ingredients. Be sure to add the liquid with the beans, and drain the corn. Do not at the cheese in this step. Stir all of the ingredients in the pot to combine. I like to use a wooden spoon because it is sturdy. Lower your heat to a medium-low temperature and let the soup simmer for 25-30 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Step 5: While soup simmers, shred the cheese block with a medium/fine grate shredder. Freshly grated cheese makes a huge difference in recipes, and we LOVE using it, however it’s not always feasible. A bag of shredded cheese will work just fine. Remove pot from heat and stir in 1-2 cups of shredded cheese, depending on your cheesy preference.

Step 6: Spoon soup into bowls; top with additional cheese and chopped green onions, if desired. Let soup cool for 3-5 minutes before serving. 

Where did the bell pepper go to have a few drinks? Put your answer in the comments!