Hunter and Mama Spread Some Love

Valentine’s Day is almost here!  Whether the holiday gives you the warm fuzzies or sends you into a rant about ‘hallmark holidays,’ it’s a good reminder to love one another. I think we can all agree that our world could use a little more love right now!

So we’re taking the next 7 days to #SpreadSomeLove all around us in the spirit of Valentine’s Day! Random acts of kindness, encouragement to friends, extra special Valentine’s thoughts for your loved ones… it all counts! I hope you’ll join us! We’ll be sharing our #SpreadSomeLove moments every day leading up to Valentine’s on our Hunter and Mama Instagram @HunterandMamaMakeIt and on our Facebook page.

Follow our lead and share your own #SpreadSomeLove moments with us! Don’t forget to tag us in your posts! We’d love to see a week full of kindness, joy and love!

 

5 Must-Have Super Bowl Party Recipes

The first month of 2017 is already gone!!  We could talk about already forgotten resolutions or getting ready for Valentine’s day…. BUT it’s almost Super Bowl weekend, and that’s a great excuse for whipping up some of our game day faves!

Even if your team isn’t going to the big game (ours definitely isn’t this year…) it’s still a national holiday of sorts.  No matter what your game day plan, FOOD normally plays a big part in the football watching experience.  Hunter and Mama are here to help!  Here’s a little round up of some of our tried and true snacks, sure to be crowd favorites no matter where you’re watching the big game.

  1. Our super-delicious, fresh guacamole.

Chips and dip are football staples, and guac has to be one of our favorites in the dip category.  Bonus: if you’re still sticking to a clean eating resolution, this guacamole recipe will be a hit at the party AND something you can still eat! Full recipe HERE.

2. Speaking of dips… We’re still dreaming of the AMAZING bacon dip from our New Year’s Eve celebration, and this seems like the perfect excuse for some bacon-y goodness.

This is such a simple recipe, and a perfect game day treat.  Just trust us, you’re about to be the most popular person at the party. Click HERE for the recipe.

3. Get out your slow cooker for this next one… we’re making meatballs! Cranberry Chipotle Meatballs, to be exact.

This recipe has been my go-to party contribution for years, and it never disappoints.  Just make sure to make extra, they go really fast!  Full recipe HERE.

4. Next, a game day idea if you’re looking for a little more than just a snack… Our Gameday Pizza and Wings!

Classic combo, delicious results… just takes a bit more kitchen time than the others.  I’m recommending this idea if you’re hosting a small Super Bowl party yourself, or just staying home to tune in with the family.  Full recipe for wings and 2 kinds of pizza is HERE.

5. Finally, if you’re looking to be the MVP of whatever party you’re attending… I have 3 words for you: S’mores. Poke. Cake.

Seriously, just think about it… everybody brings an appetizer. A bag of chips, a grocery store cheese tray. But bringing something for dessert?  That’s above and beyond! And the best part is, this recipe is SO EASY! But it’s also SO GOOD that people will leave the party saying… The game was okay, but that cake!!! (Okay, maybe that’s a stretch, but you get the idea!) Recipe HERE.

There you have it… all you need for game day glory! Make one idea, or all five… but I promise you won’t be disappointed!  Have a happy Super Bowl Sunday, I know we will!

Enjoy!

Love,

Hunter and Mama

A Dinner Party for 3- New Years Eve

Happy New Year!! We hope you all had a happy and safe time celebrating the start of 2017.

New Year’s Eve is a magical night, don’t you think?  It’s always full of hope, no matter what the previous year brought your way.  It’s a night to ring in a fresh start by doing something special.

This year, our something special was a cozy dinner party at home.  We briefly considered going out to a nice dinner as a family… but when we called to make reservations and couldn’t get anything before 9:30, we quickly revised our plans. And I’m so happy it ended up that way anyway!

We decided that we’d make some of our restaurant favorites at home, and create something super special for the last night of 2016. We thought about getting all dressed up for approximately 2 seconds, but ended up eating our fancy meal in our pjs and snuggling up on the couch after. No regrets!

Our meal would’ve easily been a couple hundred dollars if we’d gone out to a restaurant. Plus, I’m pretty sure one year olds, pajamas and unlimited wine refills aren’t what a restaurant has in mind on the biggest party night of the year.

Our NYE Dinner Party Menu:

Bacon Dip with Rosemary Olive Oil Crackers

Cale’s Bruschetta Sampler

Baked Jumbo Scallops

Stuffed Clams on the Shell

Garlic Tomato Zucchini Noodles

Brownie Sundaes

Hunter happily sat in his chair in the kitchen and munched on all kinds of goodies while we danced and sang and cooked all the components of our little feast.

For our appetizers, we chose an OUTSTANDING bacon dip recipe that we served with rosemary and olive oil crackers. The only adjustment I made from the original recipe, using real bacon crumbles(the Costco kind… lifechanging timesaver!) instead of frying, cooling and crumbling bacon.  In case you’re dying to try it tonight…

Bacon Ranch Dip (recipe credit: CountryLiving.com)

1 block softened cream cheese

1/3 C crumbled bacon

3 sun dried tomatoes, chopped

3 green onions, chopped

2/3 C ranch dressing

Mix all ingredients until well combined and let sit at least 30 minutes before serving with your favorite crackers or chips.

Cale also made bruschetta for us, one of his specialties.  If you’ve enjoyed fancy bruschetta at a restaurant, you know that you can mix and match different ingredients for endless possibilities.  For this reason, we’ve come to really enjoy making this at home because you aren’t limited to choosing 2 or 3 flavors from a menu list… you can try as many as you can think up!  We get a nice french loaf from the bakery section and have them slice it for us in store (your grocery store probably has a slicer that you can use yourself or ask a bakery employee to use for you!). Then we pick up whatever cheeses and meats sound good, and occasionally we’ll pick up a jarred bruschetta mix to add in.

For our New Year’s feast we ended up with the following combos:

  • sun dried tomato bruschetta mix with fresh mozzarella
  • fig jam, brie, and prosciutto
  • brie with bacon crumbles
  • basil, fresh tomato, and fresh mozzarella
  • mascarpone with prosciutto

I’ll be honest, we got done with appetizers and both Cale and I were full and had to wait a while to move on to our main course!  But move on we did, because we had some special treats we prepared and we WEREN’T going to miss out!

For our main course, we chose a seafood combo.  Scallops were on sale at the store, so we did these awesome baked scallops. Cale sent me a recipe from AllRecipes.com, and I made a few adjustments to fit our taste and use ingredients we already had on hand.

Baked Scallops

1 lb fresh jumbo sea scallops

4 T melted butter

4 cloves minced garlic

1/2 C diced yellow onion

Dash nutmeg

Salt and pepper to taste

1 C bread crumbs (we used traditional, but I think it would be good with Panko too!)

4 T olive oil

Mix the butter, garlic, onion, nutmeg, salt and pepper.  Add in the rinsed and drained scallops and toss to coat. Turn out into a casserole dish. 

Combine the olive oil and bread crumbs. Season with salt, pepper and dried parsley if desired. Spoon mixture over the scallops. Bake in a 425 degree oven for 12-15 minutes, or until topping is brown and scallops are done.

 

While we were at the seafood counter, we saw fresh prepared stuffed clams… so naturally we added them to the night’s menu as well!

As a side dish, I made zucchini noodles because I was itching to try out my new spiralizer attachment for my mixer!

After spiralizing 5 zucchinis,  I warmed about 4 T of olive oil in a pot with 1/2 C sliced red onion and 3 cloves of minced garlic. Then I added in my zucchini noodles, some basil, salt and pepper and let that cook for about 5 minutes with the lid on, stirring occasionally.  Lastly, I added in 1 C of halved cherry tomatoes and continued cooking until the zucchini noodles were to the desired softness.  For the first go at my ‘zoodles’ I think it was pretty successful! And a great side for our seafood, too.

We said goodbye to 2016 as a family, and had a countdown to bath time (no midnight for Hunter just yet!) with party poppers and conffetti.

Our dessert was brownie ice cream sundaes, and because we weren’t ready for them before Hunter’s bedtime, he got his baby sundae on New Year’s Day…

Complete with diced banana, a tiny scoop of vanilla ice cream, a dribble of chocolate and some whipped cream for good measure!

I hope you all enjoyed your New Year’s celebrations, I know we certainly had a special little night! Hopefully you’ll use some of these ideas to inspire your next date night in or little holiday celebration!  After all, Valentine’s Day is just around the corner!

Happy New Year to you, our Hunter and Mama supporters! We can’t wait to share 2017 with you!

Love,

Hunter and Mama

 

 

 

 

Cranberry Chipotle Meatballs

Today I’m sharing my go-to appetizer recipe: Cranberry Chipotle Meatballs. It’s easy, it’s delicious, and it uses my crockpot… what more could you possibly ask for?!Cranberry Chipotle Meatballs

I actually made these meatballs for Thanksgiving last week and they were a big hit.  I was in charge of bringing a veggie tray (which I whole-heartedly embraced, as you can see!)

Gobble Gobble- Mama's Turkey Day Veggie Tray

But my in-laws were hosting close to 50 people, so I thought a second appetizer might be in order! It’s always nice to have things for people to munch on as they arrive. I know I always start to get hungry smelling all the amazing Thanksgiving food cooking while we’re waiting for dinnertime…

This is a great post-Thanksgiving recipe, too, because if you have any leftover cranberry sauce you can put it right in! Also, we’re officially in holiday party season now… so if you want a quick recipe for entertaining or to take along to a get-together, this is it!

I use frozen meatballs for this recipe, but I like to warm them through in the microwave before adding them to the crockpot.  That way, if someone (namely my husband) were to sneak one before the party they would still be perfectly edible.

Mama's Meatball Tester

Also, Hunter likes to taste-test the meatballs ahead of the spicier sauce.  You know, quality control.

While the meatballs are warming, I get the sauce ready.  After putting in a crockpot liner, I add one can of jellied cranberry sauce and one cup of bbq sauce.

Cranberry Chipotle Meatballs- Add Cranberry Sauce and BBQ Sauce

Then, I cut up one pepper.  I use chipotle peppers in adobo sauce.  I take one pepper out, slice it open, and scrape out the seeds.  I don’t like these to be knock-your-socks-off spicy, but if you LOVE heat, feel free to leave the seeds in or even add a second pepper to the mix.

Cranberry Chipotle Meatballs- Chopping Your Chipotle Pepper

After I scrape the seeds out, I finely chop the pepper and add it to the other ingredients in the crockpot.  I also add in about one tablespoon of the adobo sauce that the peppers come in.

Cranberry Chipotle Meatballs- Add Adobo Sauce

Stir all the sauce ingredients until they are combined.  It will still look a little lumpy just from the jellied cranberry sauce, but the sauce will smooth out as it heats up.

Cranberry Chipotle Meatballs- Stir All Sauce Ingredients

Next, add in your cooked meatballs and stir until they are completely coated.

Turn your slow cooker on low and let the flavors get nice and friendly while it cooks for at least 1-2 hours before serving. 3-4 hours is ideal, but mine often don’t make it that long before people want to dig in!

Cranberry Chipotle Meatballs

Hope it’s just as much of a favorite in your house!

 

Cranberry Chipotle Meatballs

2 bags frozen meatballs (homestyle variety works best)

1 can jellied cranberry sauce

1 cup bbq sauce

1 chipotle pepper in adobo sauce, finely chopped 

1 T adobo sauce from can of chipotle peppers

Heat frozen meatballs according to package directions.

In a slow cooker, combine remaining ingredients and stir until combined.

Add in meatballs, stirring to coat. Cook on LOW for 2-4 hours.

 

Hope you enjoy!

Love,

Hunter and Mama

 

 

Hunter’s First Birthday Spooktacular!

We have had a busy couple of weeks off… and boy are you in for some treats from all of our adventures!The BIGGEST event during our brief hiatus was Hunter’s first birthday!  All the mamas out there have been telling me from the beginning how quickly it goes, but you never really understand until you’re living it! We have a ONE YEAR OLD!

Because Hunter is a Halloween baby, we wanted to celebrate his birthday while incorporating a Halloween theme.  I’m sure as he grows up he won’t always want a Halloween birthday party, but for now it’s something special about him that is worth celebrating!

Here’s a little roundup of our favorite party ideas from Hunter’s big day…

**This post contains affiliate links. I receive a small commission from items purchased through these links. Thank you for supporting Hunter and Mama Make It! For a full disclosure, click HERE**

Hope you enjoyed sharing in our fun! Here are a few of the things we used to make the day extra special:

Love,

Hunter and Mama

 

 

Leftover Chicken 3 Ways

One of the best ways to get a quick, delicious meal on the table on weeknights is to reinvent leftovers!

Gameday Pizza and Wings- BBQ Chicken Pizza Toppings

Today I’m rounding up 3 of my favorite recipes that use leftover chicken, so you can get dinner done in record time! (without the “leftovers? again?” attitude!) So dig that tupperware out of the fridge and let’s get started!

  1. Skinny Chicken Salad Lettuce Wraps

Mix up a batch of our Skinny Chicken Salad and serve with lettuce cups for a quick, healthy dinner! Click HERE for the recipe!

skinny chicken salad

Little ones or hubby aren’t on board with lettuce wraps?  You could also serve it sandwich-style on some toasted bread, or in a tortilla for something a little different! BONUS: This is a great grab and go lunch for work the next day, too!

2. BBQ Stuffed Sweet Potatoes

Our BBQ Stuffed Sweet Potatoes are a family favorite and are a breeze to make.  Get the recipe HERE.

bbq stuffed sweet potatoes

We normally serve these with a side salad, but use the opportunity to clean out the fridge and serve with whatever leftover or fresh veggies you have on hand!

3. BBQ Chicken Pizza

One of the most impressive ways to reinvent your leftover chicken is in pizza form… and it’s one of the most popular, too! Our BBQ Chicken Pizza will have you wishing every night was leftover night! Get the recipe HERE.

BBQ Chicken Pizza

In a hurry? Opt for a premade grocery store crust to cut down on cooking time!

Hopefully these tasty reinventions have you feeling like a dinner superhero at the end of the night! When I get that little smile from the high chair, I know that’s how I feel! 🙂

Gameday Pizza and Wings- Baby's First Pizza

We hope you enjoy!

Love,

Hunter and Mama

Mama’s Fiesta Enchilada Stack

I’m a midwestern girl through and through, especially when it comes to comfort food.  Anything in casserole form… sign me up! But since I moved to Arizona (and married a native Arizonan), my recipes have started to take on a more southwestern flair.

Mama’s Fiesta Enchilada Stack

Game Day Pizza and Wings

In keeping with our football-watching theme from our super delicious guacamole recipe, Hunter and I decided on sharing another game day fave at our house… homemade pizza and wings!

I have to thank my in-laws on this one… I’ve adopted the wing recipe from them as the whole pizza and wings night was something Cale really wanted to be able to recreate in our own home.

This is a weekend kind of meal for us.  It’s not difficult, but it does take a little bit of time and prep.  Plus, I normally make at least two kinds of pizza.  This time, I made a BBQ Chicken Pizza, a Pepperoni Bacon Pizza, and a Hunter’s Special. I was able to prep and bake all of those after I got my wings going on the stove top.

To get your wings going, you’re going to start by baking the desired number of wings in a 350 degree oven for about 45 minutes (from frozen!). I do 10-12 wings if it’s just Cale and I.  It’s enough for that meal plus a few leftovers normally.

Gameday Pizza and Wings-Hot Wing Sauce Ingredients

Once your wings are cooked through, it’s time to assemble the sauce ingredients.  I use 1/2 cup Italian dressing, 3/4 cup Red Devil hot sauce, and a glass of “Mama motivation” (not for the sauce… just for the cook, because wine is delicious and you’re working hard!)

Gameday Pizza and WIngs-Let Simmer Over Medium Heat

Add the Italian dressing and the hot sauce to a large skillet with your cooked chicken wings.  Toss the wings to make sure they have a good coating, and let them simmer over medium heat, stirring occasionally.

Now, we can get to work on the pizza! I use a box mix for my pizza dough regularly.  Honestly, it turns out fantastic and is pretty simple when you’re juggling topping prep and your wings at the same time.  If you don’t want to deal with the mixing and kneading, you could use a refrigerated dough or a pre-made crust from the grocery store.

Add Olive Oil to Bowl

Follow the directions on the box to preheat the oven and mix the dough, ours just need warm water mixed in.  Then, I pour just a little olive oil against the side of the bowl and lift the dough ball to let the oil coat the bottom.  On one of my work trips to New York, I took a group cooking class and we made our own pizzas. This one extra step is something I adopted from that experience… it’s a little thing that makes a huge different when you go to turn out your dough to knead it.  Cover your dough and let it rise in a warm place for 5 minutes (or as directed on the box).  I normally put mine on the stovetop for a nice warm spot since the oven is already preheating!

Gameday Pizza and Wings-Let Dough Rest 5 Minutes

While you’re waiting on your dough, it’s time to assemble your toppings.  As I mentioned before, I made a BBQ Chicken Pizza and a Pepperoni Bacon Pizza.  I also made Hunter his own special pizza using some ingredients from the other two.  First, we’ll get going on the BBQ Chicken.

Gameday Pizza and Wings- BBQ Chicken Pizza Toppings

For this pizza, I used some tomatoes (including some amazing heirloom tomatoes we got from the farmer’s market that morning!), barbecue sauce, leftover cooked chicken, and cheese (both mozzarella and parmesan).  We have time to chop our chicken and veggies while we’re waiting to knead the dough.  I like to prep all the toppings to make things easier to assemble quickly.

By now, it will be time to knead your dough.  Turn the ball of dough out onto a floured surface.  Make sure your hands are floured too! Knead the dough, adding a little flour if necessary, to get it to a stretchy but not sticky consistency.  I separated a little ball of dough out to use for Hunter’s pizza at this point, and he helped to knead his own.

Gameday Pizza and Wings- Knead Dough

Then, press out the dough onto a greased pizza pan or cookie sheet.  Shape is not as important as thickness here, so if you prefer round pizzas vs square… have at it! You’ll just want to make sure the dough is an even thickness throughout.  We like a thinner pizza crust, but you can adjust to your own preference! Put the crust into the oven for 2-3 minutes to pre-bake.  This helps to make sure that the crust cooks all the way through.

Gameday Pizza and Wings- Spread Dough onto Cookie Sheet

Next, it’s time to add your toppings.  I started with barbecue sauce, then tomatoes and chicken, and finally my cheese to top off the whole thing.  I used a little green onion on this one, too.  For Hunter’s baby pizza, I used a regular jarred pizza sauce, chicken, tomatoes, and cheese.

Gameday Pizza and Wings- Topping Your Pizzas

These went back into the oven until the cheese was golden and bubbly, about 12 minutes on the larger pizza and about 6 on Hunter’s mini pie. I pulled Hunter’s pizza out once it looked done so it could sit to cool off a little more before we sat down to dinner.

Gameday Pizza and Wings- Baby's First Pizza

While the first pizza pan was in the oven, I repeated the steps to get the second pizza crust ready to go.  For the Pepperoni and Bacon Pizza, I use regular jarred pizza sauce, turkey pepperoni, crumbled cooked bacon, and my mozzarella parmesan cheese blend.

Gameday Pizza and Wings- Pepperoni and Bacon Pizza Toppings

By the time the first pizza came out of the oven, the second one was ready to go in!

 

At this point, pizzas are done and the sauce in with the wings has reduced and gotten some nice color! Time for a gameday feast!

game-day-pizza-and-wings-wings-with-logo

Homemade Hot Wings

12 Chicken Wings

1/2 Cup Italian Dressing

3/4 Cup Hot Sauce

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Line a baking dish with foil and bake chicken wings for 45 minutes (from frozen). Combine Italian dressing and hot sauce in large skillet.  Add in chicken and let simmer over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until sauce is reduced (about 30 minutes).

game-day-pizza-and-wings-pizza-with-logo

BBQ Chicken Pizza

1 Boxed Pizza Crust Mix or Premade Crust

1/2 Cup Barbecue Sauce

1/2 Cup Assorted Sliced Tomatoes

3/4 Cup Sliced, Cooked Chicken Breast

3/4 Cup Shredded Mozzarella Cheese

1/4 Cup Shredded Parmesan Cheese

1 Green Onion, Diced

Prepare crust and preheat oven according to package directions.  Prebake crust for 2-3 minutes as directed on box.  Spread barbecue sauce over entire crust.  Top with tomatoes and chicken.  Cover with cheeses and top with green onion.  Bake until cheese is bubbly and golden, about 12 minutes.

 

Gameday Pizza and Wings- Pepperoni Bacon Pizza

Pepperoni Bacon Pizza

1 Boxed Pizza Crust Mix or Premade Crust

1/2 Cup Jarred Pizza Sauce

1/2 Cup Cooked Bacon Crumbles

3/4 Cup Turkey Pepperoni Slices

3/4 Cup Shredded Mozzarella Cheese

1/4 Cup Shredded Parmesan Cheese

Prepare crust and preheat oven according to package directions.  Prebake crust for 2-3 minutes as directed on box.  Spread pizza sauce over entire crust.  Top with pepperoni and bacon crumbles.  Cover with cheeses.  Bake until cheese is bubbly and golden, about 12 minutes.

 

Hope you enjoy!

Love,

Hunter and Mama

The BEST Fresh Guacamole

Guacamole is a staple in our house. It’s a go-to whether we’re entertaining or having a quiet night in.

I have always made it fresh, and I think I forget that it’s even a ‘recipe’ to share because it’s just a quick thing to throw together! But this is such a great football season recipe, and Hunter and I whipped some up for tacos during the Cardinals game last week, so I thought I’d share with all of you! You can’t beat the taste of fresh guacamole, and it’s easy enough that there’s no need for pre-packaged stuff!

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We start with 2 avocados. Halve them, pit them, and scoop out the good stuff into your bowl. I had to slice a third avocado for Hunter’s baby guacamole (more on that later…)

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Then, slice your lime. I recently learned a NEW and improved way to slice your lime if you’re going to be using it for the juice. I sliced off each of the 4 sides like I was slicing around the core of an apple. Then I squeezed each segment into the bowl separately. I also squeezed the ‘core’ segment. Altogether, I probably got double the juice out by using this new method!

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We like a noticeable lime flavor in our guac, so I do juice the whole lime. If you’re not as much of a lime fan, only use the juice from half.

Then, it’s time to mash your avocado. I like to add my lime before I mash the avocado because I think it helps to break down the avocado and make it softer.

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Next, it’s time for onion and tomato. I dice one medium tomato and one quarter of a medium yellow onion (about a half cup). Add those into your bowl along with 1-2 cloves minced garlic and salt and pepper to taste.

guacamole-with-logo

 

If you like some heat in your guac, add in some diced jalapeño here too. Mix to combine and you’re all set! Serve with your favorite tortilla chips or with tacos, nachos, etc.

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Because avocado is one of Hunter’s favorite foods, I decided to dice up some extra avocado and tomato for him to have some baby guacamole! I didn’t mash it in an effort to avoid a little bit of the mess. We could be really cool and call it ‘deconstructed’ guacamole… Go impress your foodie friends with that!

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The BEST Fresh Guacamole 

2 Large Avocados 

Juice of 1 Lime

1 Medium Tomato, Diced

1/2 Cup Diced Yellow Onion

1-2 Cloves Minced Garlic

Salt and Pepper to Taste

Combine avocado and lime juice in a medium bowl and mash to desired consistency. Add in diced tomato, onion, garlic, salt and pepper. Stir to combine.

Serve with tortilla chips.

 

Hope you enjoy!

Love,

Hunter and Mama