The Chef Next Door

Chocolate Chip Twix Cookies + BOO Kit

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. 
#BOOItForward #CollectiveBias

We're a few days into October, which means Halloween is just around the corner! I spent last weekend pulling out all of my Halloween decorations and sprucing up the house, which is just about my favorite thing to do ever. I absolutely love this time of year! The smell of pumpkin spice candles in the house, along with the delicious scents of everything I'm baking right now is just perfect. From different breads to cakes to cookies, I'm a serious bakeaholic!

Speaking of baking and decorating and getting into the Halloween spirit, have you heard of a BOO kit before? It's so much fun, and so easy to put together! Simply grab a bag, basket, or bucket (like mine above), fill it with your favorite treats such as M&M's®, SNICKERS®, TWIX® and MILKY WAY® (just a few of my favorites!), along with a homemade treat, and a delicious drink like A&W Root Beer. Print off this adorable You've Been BOO'd card from, sneak the goodie basket onto your neighbor or friends porch, ring the doorbell and run like crazy! They will then receive the instructions on how to #BOOItForward from you, and hopefully you'll start a BOO'ing revolution!

Game Day Celebrations with KING’S HAWAIIAN® and Walmart #KHGameTime

Disclosure: This blog post was sponsored by KING’S HAWAIIAN® but the opinions, as always, are my own.

If you've been around here long enough, you know how much I love football! I'm a die-hard fan of my hometown team, the Michigan State Spartans, and I definitely bleed green. For years my family had season tickets and we attended the games and would tailgate beforehand. Now that my kids are older and so involved in their own sports and school activities, we enjoy watching the games on TV and throwing our own homegating parties!

When hosting a homegating party, the number one thing to remember is plan, plan, plan! Planning ahead is definitely the key to making your party fun and stress free. You want to spend game time with your family and friends enjoying good food and great company, am I right? Of course I am! And when I sit down to plan my party, I always turn to KING’S HAWAIIAN® and Walmart to make it the best it can be. 

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Muffins

Celebrate Fall by whipping up a batch of these tender and delicious pumpkin muffins studded with chocolate chips!
Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Muffins | The Chef Next Door

It finally really and truly feels like Fall here in Michigan. The mornings have been quite chilly, in the 40's, and the afternoons have been in the mid 60's or so. Thankfully the sun has been shining brightly, and the leaves are starting to turn beautiful colors! This type of weather is perfect for walks outside, bonfires, and of course, football!

It's also perfect for baking. No one is ready to turn the heat on yet, (come on, October just started!) so I like to warm up my house with the heat from the oven. Whether I'm baking a casserole, a breakfast bake, or a dessert, I love the warmth and wonderful smells that come from my kitchen this time of year. And pumpkin just happens to be one of my all time favorite scents!

Shredded Pork & Spicy Slaw Sandwiches

Looking for a quick and easy back to school dinner? These shredded pork sandwiches, made in the slow cooker with a delicious marinated pork sirloin, are topped with a homemade spicy slaw and are perfect any night of the week!

With  a few weeks of the new school year under our belt, we are finally back to our usual routines. Back to early morning wake ups, football practices, homework, football games, parents meetings, and all the other usual stuff that accompanies the school year. For me that means a lot of pre-planning. Whether it's laying out clothes the night before, getting a head start on packing lunches, or thinking about tomorrow nights dinner, I always try to get a jump on the day ahead.

I turn to my slow cooker all the time during the busy week because let's be real, delicious meals shouldn't have to be hard! Don't you agree? This recipe for shredded pork and spicy slaw sandwiches is a new favorite with the family. Perfect for any day of the week, it tastes amazing and can be on your table in minutes. Have you tried any of the Smithfield® Foods Marinated Pork products yet? With varieties like garlic and herb, applewood topped bacon, and peppercorn and garlic, there is something for everyone to love. My shredded pork sandwiches feature the Smithfield® Golden Rotisserie Pork Sirloin, and the flavor is so good on it's own that it needs no other seasonings or marinades at all.

Pumpkin Spice Peanut Butter Bars

You can't go wrong when you pair peanut butter and chocolate together! 
Add in pumpkin spice and it's the perfect Fall trio for your tastebuds! 
Pumpkin Spice Peanut Butter Bars | The Chef Next Door

Have you jumped on the pumpkin spice train yet? I've been riding it for a long time, my friends. A long, long time! As soon as Fall hits, I'm standing in line at my favorite coffee shop to grab a pumpkin spice latte, or PSL as everyone likes to call them. In my opinion, they are the bomb! So I'm sure you can imagine the sheer joy I felt when I received a lovely gift box from my friends at Peanut Butter and Co. and discovered that their new seasonal flavor is Pumpkin Spice. Say what?!? Pumpkin spice peanut butter? What could be better?

My mind was instantly reeling with ideas of what to make with this glorious peanut butter. Of course I made myself a piece of toast instantly so I could try it out, and it was just as good as I had imagined. But I wanted to make a sweet treat with it. And then it hit me. Peanut butter bars. Pumpkin spice peanut butter bars. So they'd be all nice and fall-like. With chocolate on top. And a pinch of sea salt. Ohmygoshtheyaresogood. It was hard not to eat half the pan in one sitting. Seriously people.

Loaded Baked Apples with Caramel Drizzle

Fresh Michigan apples are stuffed with a sweet and crunchy oat filling, then topped with caramel to make 
one decadent and delicious Autumn dessert!

It's Fall, it's Fall, hallelujah it's Fall! I hope you are as excited about Fall as I am. It's definitely my favorite season. Don't get me wrong, I do love summer. But there are just so many things to love about Fall. Especially living in Michigan. Crisp, cool mornings. The beautiful, colorful changing leaves. Apples, pumpkins and squash galore. And of course, football. Lots and lots of football. 

When the weather starts to change, even if only a little bit, I take that as as sign to start my Fall baking. Trust me, there is nothing better than starting to pumpkin all of the things! I also love cooking and baking with apples, and these loaded baked apples are not only delicious, but they are loaded with vitamins and full of flavor.

Spicy Grilled Steak Nachos

 This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. 
#KingOfFlavor #CollectiveBias

Be sure to make these filling and flavorful Spicy Grilled Steak Nachos for your team's next big game!  

Everyone knows how much I love football, and football season is definitely in full swing right now! Between watching my son play on Friday nights, and watching my favorite college and NFL teams play on the weekends, I get my fill that's for sure. And you know what goes hand in hand with football watching right? FOOD! Whether it's tailgating with our friends on Friday nights, or homegating on the weekends with my family before a big game, I love football food.

I take advantage of the nice weather as long as I can and I grill a lot of my tailgating recipes. Lots of times I'll make traditional burgers or brats, even sometimes chicken, but one of my favorites is grilled steak nachos. I love Mexican food, and nachos are one of my favorites! I recently stumbled across El Yucateco Hot Sauces and fell in love. Believe me when I say they are very spicy! But they work perfectly in the marinade I make for these delicious nachos.