Ham and Potato Chowder

Normally when I tell Jeremy, “Hey, I’m making soup for dinner!”, I get a fake smile and a slight eye roll. Pff… like I didn’t notice that eye roll, buddy! In his mind, soup consists of way too many vegetables and not nearly enough meat. Like my cauliflower soup, for example. I LOVE every bit of that cheesy, creamy, so-good-for-you deliciousness, but all he sees is a pile of mashed vegetables thrown in a bowl. He’s such a buzzkill in my soup-loving world.

But because I love my husband so dearly, despite his soup-loathing ways, I do find it in my heart to compromise every now and again. I know, wife of the year material, right? This compromise comes in the form of chowder… thick, creamy delicious chowder bursting at the seams with chunks of ham and potatoes and garnished with crispy, salty bacon. How amazing and manly does that sound?

This Ham and Potato Chowder is the perfect comfort food meal! It's warm, hearty, and so satisfying! Get the recipe at LoveGrowsWild.com

Don’t tell my husband, but this chowder recipe isn’t actually a compromise at all. I mean, it’s not like I’m sacrificing anything here.

Do you really think I’d say, “Okay, Jeremy, fine… if you MUST have bacon in this soup, I guess I’ll choke it down.” I don’t think so.

Or, “Whatever, Jeremy… I absolutely hate creamy potato soup with bits of ham and melted cheddar cheese, but I guess if it will save our marriage…” Yeah, not a chance. [Read more...]

Pumpkin Apple Butter

You guys, the best thing ever just happened. No, Better Homes and Gardens isn’t featuring me in a magazine, and no, I’m not writing my first book. #iwish

Yesterday my in-laws drove over from Illinois to attend Grandparents’ Day in Wyatt’s preschool class, and they asked if the boys could come stay with them for a few days since they’re now on fall break. Let me think… 4 days with no kids… Jeremy’s busy driving the tractor… yep, this day just got awesome! I’m going to stay in my pajamas all day and eat food I know no one else in my family likes, like Hawaiian pizza and chocolate chip cookies with LOTS of walnuts. Is it sad that my idea of a party is watching the latest episodes of Nashville and Grey’s Anatomy in bed with a big bowl of salted caramel ice cream? Wait… don’t answer that.

Here’s the other thing I’m going to be doing while they’re gone: finding a million ways to eat this AMAZING Pumpkin Apple Butter I just made. If you’ve ever eaten apple butter before, just imagine adding a big dose of pumpkin pie flavor to the mix!

Quick and easy Pumpkin Apple Butter - the perfect sweet spread for toast, biscuits, pancakes, and more! Get the recipe at LoveGrowsWild.com

This stuff is absolutely delicious. You can spread it on toast, biscuits, muffins, or pancakes in the morning and even stir it into your oatmeal. Yum! For lunch or dinner, try spreading a layer on some bread and making a grilled cheese with it. This recipe makes a good amount, so you can keep it in the fridge for a couple weeks to use whenever the mood strikes. [Read more...]

Cheesy Pumpkin Pasta Bake

This post is brought to you by Silk // I’ve been doing this whole food blogger gig for 2 1/2 years now. In the beginning, I used my cheap-o point and shoot camera and horrible lighting to capture and share some of my favorite family-approved recipes with you. It wasn’t pretty, but it was a start. You’ve got to start somewhere, right? Fast forward a few years, and I’ve moved up to my big girl camera, learned how to edit my photos, and even taught myself some fancy words like aperture. I’ve expanding my cooking skills and learned to love foods I never thought I’d put in my mouth… like coconut and avocado. The jury is still out on quinoa…

And in my quest to continue learning and growing, I made it a goal this year to come up with a recipe using the most popular fall ingredient in a savory way… pumpkin! We’ve all eaten our fair share of sweet pumpkin desserts… my pumpkin bread and classic pumpkin pie are my favorites!… But have you ever cooked with pumpkin before? Put pumpkin in your dinner? Well today we’re going to tackle that goal with this deliciously cheesy pumpkin pasta bake!

Pumpkin isn't just for dessert anymore! This Cheesy Pumpkin Pasta Bake is super creamy and SO delicious! | LoveGrowsWild.com

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White Chocolate Pecan Caramel Corn

I’m all for pumpkin and apple recipes this time of year, but I couldn’t let this season pass without sharing another one of my favorite fall treats… caramel corn! Anytime we have a chance to go to a fall festival, I buy the largest bag of caramel corn I can find and spend the next three days devouring the salty-sweet popcorn until we’re all fighting over the last piece in the bag. I’ll give you one guess who usually wins that battle.

This year I made my first batch of homemade caramel corn and couldn’t believe how easy it was to do at home. As I sat eating my first bowl of this sweet, delicious treat, I decided that this new culinary accomplishment would mean a whole lot more hours spent working off the caramel-y goodness… then I decided approximately 30 seconds later that it was totally and utterly worth it because my life would no longer be complete without this homemade caramel corn in it! You can use this as a basic caramel corn recipe or dress it up with some crunchy pecans and a decadent drizzle of white chocolate like I did. Either way, this will definitely be a recipe you make again and again! And did I mention it’s perfect for gift-giving? Read my tip below!

Learn how to make homemade caramel corn from scratch! It's easier than you think! Step-by-step instructions at LoveGrowsWild.com
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Balsamic Rosemary Steak Kabobs

Thank you to Walmart and Kingsford charcoal for sponsoring this post // For the past few months, our weekends have been taken over by sports. Our youngest plays soccer, the oldest plays football, and my husband helps coach. Once you add in cheering for the Bears and Colts each week, we are watching A LOT of football these days. Back before I had all these boys in the house, I couldn’t care less about watching a football game. In fact, I’m sure that in high school, I was probably more concerned with which cute football player’s jersey I was going to wear to the game than actually paying attention to who won. (Pretend you didn’t read that, husband.)

But my love for football has come a long way since then, and now I’m right there with my boys, yelling and cheering for our favorite teams. Aside from the excitement of the game itself, the best thing about football is inarguably… the food. Last weekend we decided to fire up the grill for some tailgating food, and these Balsamic Rosemary Steak Kabobs turned out utterly delicious. Trust me when I say that steak and potatoes have never tasted this good!

Steak, potato, and mushroom kabobs are soaked in a flavorful balsamic rosemary marinade and grilled to perfection! This takes steak and potatoes to a whole new level! | LoveGrowsWild.com

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Three Cheese Shrimp Macaroni and Cheese

It doesn’t matter how young or old, rich or poor, down-home or fancy-pants you are… everyone loves a good macaroni and cheese. There’s just something about a dish full of creamy, melty, gooey cheese-covered pasta that makes people happy. Total comfort food, right? Today’s recipe should bring a big smile to your face, as I share my favorite mac and cheese recipe with a twist… Three Cheese Shrimp Macaroni and Cheese!

Three Cheese Shrimp Macaroni and Cheese - Creamy, cheesy comfort food made with three different cheeses and little bites of popcorn shrimp! | LoveGrowsWild.com

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Italian Salad

As I’m sure I’ve shared with you before, my house is full of ranch dressing lovers. Ranch with their salad, ranch with their pizza, ranch with their vegetables, and my personal favorite, cheesy, creamy ranch bread. It’s true… these boys don’t often stray from their beloved salad dressing of choice, but the other day I served them a yummy Italian Salad for lunch and got quite a few compliments on the dish.

It started off as a… “You know, Mom, this salad isn’t that bad.”

Then it moved to a… “Actually, it’s really good!”

I watched them all clean up their bowl full of crisp lettuce, spicy pepperoni, juicy tomatoes, and the perfect Italian dressing with big smiles on their faces, and I knew this recipe was a winner. It’s a great quick meal when you’re short on time and the simple, nutritious ingredients make this a meal you can feel good about feeding your family!

A simple, fresh Italian Salad is a great healthy meal idea! Crisp lettuce, spicy pepperoni, juicy tomatoes, and the perfect Italian dressing! | LoveGrowsWild.com

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