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Celebrate National Chili Day

I have no idea who designates certain days to honor a particular food, but the fourth Thursday in February has been declared National Chili Day. That means this year it falls on February 23. According to the website, it’s believed that February was the month selected as it is typically one of the coldest months of year. I suppose that’s as good a reason as any. And chili is certainly welcome on a cold winter night.

It was interesting to learn that the roots of chili are most likely in the Southwestern United States. Despite the location, we are all thankful for the gift of one of our favorite comfort foods.

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Chili Dog Con Cornbread

I am not a chili expert. My mother never made a pot of chili in her life, probably because of its reputation for being hot and spicy. But, I have come to love chili. Part of the reason may be because some of our favorite National Cornbread Cook-Off winning recipes were inspired by the perfect union of chili and cornbread cooked in a cast iron skillet.

White Chicken Chili with Cheddar Hushpuppy Crust and Chili Dog Con Cornbread are two of my favorite cook-off recipes using chili. Fun for the whole family.

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Cream Cheese Stuffed Muffin Bread

Hey all! I’m Shawn from I Wash You Dry, where I love to share quick and easy recipes that are perfect for busy families.

I’m obsessed with this Cream Cheese Stuffed Muffin Bread for a few reasons. First is that it’s made super easy thanks to Martha White’s® Wild Berry Muffin Mix!

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It’s actually real easy to turn any of the muffin mixes into a deliciously moist and tender quick bread! All you need to do is add an egg, some milk and a little bit of sour cream to the mix. You’ll want to decrease the heat to let the bread have time to cook on the inside, but still give you that beautiful golden brown color on the outside.

I couldn’t stop there, I had to fill the bread with a layer of cream cheese and top it with a buttery coffee crumb streusel topping. This bread is so phenomenal; you’ll want to try making all the different mixes into a quick bread!

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INGREDIENTS:

For the Bread:
2 (7oz) packages Martha White® Wild Berry Flavored Muffin Mix
½ cup cold milk
1 large egg
½ cup flour
½ cup sour cream

For the Cream Cheese Swirl:
4 oz. cream cheese, softened
1 large egg
¼ cup sugar
3 tbsp. flour

For the Streusel Topping:
¼ cup butter, cold, cut into small cubes
½ cup flour
1/3 cup brown sugar
½ tsp cinnamon

DIRECTIONS:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line a 9”x5” loaf pan with parchment paper OR grease and flour pan. Set aside.

Combine the ingredients for the bread in a bowl and stir to combine, just until everything is moist. Spread half the batter in the bottom of the prepared pan.

Meanwhile combine the ingredients for the cream cheese swirl in another bowl and use a hand mixer to beat together. Mix until smooth. Pour over the bottom layer of the bread, and then top with the remaining bread mixture.

Combine the topping ingredients in a separate bowl and use a fork or pastry cutter to mix into a crumbly mixture. Pour over the bread mixture and bake for 50 to 60 minutes, until a wooden skewer inserted in the center comes out clean. Let cool at least 20 minutes before removing from pan. Slice and enjoy!

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Baking Hack: Heart Cake with Pans You Have

I bake in a small condo kitchen or my houseboat galley and take pride in the fact that I can cook or bake almost anything either place. Storage space seems to be the limiting factor. The key is to stock only pots, pans and utensils that have a variety of uses. I say they must “earn their keep” and I try not to buy “one use” items. For instance, the rack from the broiler pan makes a fine cooling rack and a strainer works just as well as a colander for draining pasta.

I love the idea of making a heart-shaped cake with pans I already have. After all, how often will you use a heart-shaped pan? All you need is one round and one square cake pan. Of course, two 8-inch pans or two-9-inch pans.

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You’ll also need a large tray or cake plate. If all else fails, cover a piece of cardboard with foil.  Simply place the square layer on the tray. Cut the round layer in half forming two half circles. Place the cut sides of the half circles touching 2 adjoining sides of the square layer to form a heart shape.  Cover with frosting and decorate as desired.

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For your Valentine cake, use one of your favorite cake recipes or try this wonderful Sour Cream Chocolate Sheet Cake recipe.

Do you have any easy baking hacks? If so, I’d love to hear them!

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Fun for Kids – Little Breakfast Pizzas

Notoriously picky eaters, kids can sometimes be overwhelmed by too much food. One trick that seems to work is to make smaller versions. Mini muffins, silver dollar pancakes, sandwiches cut into small squares or triangles – just to name a few.

As a young child, I remember my elementary school class taking a field trip to a local bakery. I don’t remember much about the bakery itself, but I do remember they gave each of us a little loaf of standard white bread. I loved that little loaf of bread! What is it about miniature versions of regular foods that appeal to kids? I don’t know, but to this day I remember that little loaf of bread.

With that in mind, I thought little personalized pizzas might really appeal to children. Not that they don’t like the larger version, but small is fun. With a Martha White® Pizza Crust Mix, preparing the crust is a breeze and kids will love pressing out the dough to make their own mini pizza.

Once prepared, the dough can be topped with any of their favorite toppings, but how about making little breakfast pizzas? This recipe calls for cooked sausage, cheese, tomatoes and colorful bell peppers. Mixed with an egg and spooned over the crust, it becomes a great breakfast.

You know better than anyone what your kids like to eat, so adapt the recipe to appeal to them. Little Sausage Breakfast Pizzas can be fun to do as a family on the weekend. You can make little pizzas with their favorite toppings for dinner. The whole family will love them!

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You Could Win a Trip to Nashville to Attend the 2017 CMA Music Festival® Courtesy of Martha White®

How would you like an opportunity to get up close and personal to some of your favorite country music artists?

The CMA Music Festival® will be held June 8-11, 2017. Take advantage of this opportunity to listen to your favorite artists perform on various stages throughout Nashville.  The biggest and the best come out during the festival to thank their fans by means of concerts, as well as autograph and photo sessions. All autograph booths are located in the beautiful Music City Center – an air-conditioned venue. Many stages around Nashville, including the Riverfront Stage will feature shows from country music stars – past, present and future. If your goal is to catch the top artists of today all in one place, head to the CMA Music Festival®.

The Martha White® 2017 Nothing But Country Promotion prize package will be awarded to four lucky fans. Each winner will receive round trip airfare for two to/from Nashville, a five-night hotel accommodation, two 4-day festival passes and more. The promotion entry period ends March 14, 2017. To enter and for Official Rules, visit the Martha White® Facebook page to complete and submit an entry.

To help celebrate one of my favorite events of the year, my friends and I have put together a collection of recipes to share with you. The Martha White eCookbook is full of delicious and convenient recipes for the entire family.

Hope to see you in Nashville for the CMA Music Festival® in June!

© Martha White Foods, Inc.
CMA Music Festival is a trademark of the Country Music Association, Inc.
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Blueberry French Toast Bread Pudding with Smoky Bacon Highlights Winter Brunch

If the winter months seem long, and cabin fever is setting in, maybe it’s time to invite some friends over for a cozy winter brunch. Whether you sit around the kitchen table for a traditional breakfast, or relax in the den with finger food, the casual camaraderie is sure to warm your heart. In the South, we’re all about sharing food, so don’t hesitate to take your friends up on their offer to bring something.

No matter what the menu, topping it all off with this delectable Blueberry French Toast Bread Pudding with Smoky Bacon is sure to delight your guests. We’ve talked before about bread puddings made with biscuits, but this one is even easier. Begin by baking up muffins using a Martha White® Blueberry Flavored Muffin Mix. The muffins can be made in advance and placed in the freezer if you want to get a little head start.

Cut muffins into cubes and place in a baking pan or dish. The custard is rich with cream, eggs and flavored with brown sugar and maple syrup. Pour the prepared custard over the muffins and top with chopped toasted pecans. Bake and sprinkle with crumbled bacon and syrup. The sweet and savory flavors are so enticing everyone will be coming back for more.

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Football, Friends and Food

The big game is coming up! If you’ve been missing the camaraderie of fall tailgating, here is your opportunity to do it again. You may not be at the game or even outside for that matter, but you can create the same exciting atmosphere right there at home. Although, I’m all about food, it’s the people that really make a party fun.

Having a game day party can be as easy as inviting a bunch of folks over and asking them to bring a dish share or as complicated as preparing all of the food yourself and decorating to the hilt. If you’re a tailgater, you obviously don’t begrudge the work!  Whatever you plan to do, the food must be plentiful. After all, this big game day is the second biggest eating day of the year following Thanksgiving.

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“Sakes Alive” Chocolate Fudge Bars

A good party consists of both savory and sweet food items.  If you’re the hostess or bringing something sweet to a friend’s, chocolate is a safe bet. Sakes Alive Chocolate Fudge Bars are easy to make and baked in a 9×13-inch pan, makes plenty for a crowd. My personal go-to recipe is Double Chocolate Saucepan Brownies. Double the recipe and bake the brownies in a 9×13-inch pan, for a bunch of hungry fans.

What’s your go-to game day snack?