Friday, April 27, 2012

.taco pie. {husband's choice}

This recipe is beyond fabulous!!! no joke. My wonderful friend Megan introduced a different adaptation of this recipe where she individually wrapped the taco meat in each crescent roll. Since I am lazy I just made it into a huge pie, it didn't look as great but it tasted perfect. Big hit with the man. Try it out for yourself and don't be afraid to hold back on the toppings. Enjoy!

1-2 pkg. crescent rolls (I used 1 but if you like extra crust 2 would probably be best)
1 pkg. taco seasoning mix (1¼ oz.)
1 lb. ground beef
½ cup chopped onion
½ cup salsa or chopped tomatoes
1 cup shredded lettuce
1 cup sharp cheddar, shredded (4oz.)
sour cream, optional

Preparation Preheat oven to 350°F. Line a pie pan with crescent rolls. In a medium skillet, cook beef and onions until beef is browned and onions are tender. Drain off fat and stir in taco mix. Cook while stirring until bubbly, then pour into pie crust and top with cheese. Then top with the remaining crescent rolls. Bake uncovered in oven for 30-35 minutes. Let cool for 5 minutes, and then top with cheddar cheese, lettuce, and tomatoes/salsa. Cut into squares and serve with sour cream. Enjoy!

Thursday, April 5, 2012

.crockpot beef stew.

Call me special but I am one of those people who grew up never having or making stew. My friend Alison told me how easy it was and boy was she right. Not only was this one of the best meals but it took almost no time to make thanks to the most amazing invention called the crockpot! I also cheated and used a seasoning packet for beef stew, if you do this no need to add the other spices listed below. We ate this meal over rice the first day and with a yummy crusty bread the next and it was excellent both ways. Try it out for yourself and enjoy!

2 pounds beef stew meat, cut into 1 inch cubes
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 clove garlic, minced
1 bay leaf
1 teaspoon paprika
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1 onion, chopped
1 1/2 cups beef broth
3 potatoes, diced (I used butternut squash, SOOO good)
4 carrots, sliced (I used baby carrots)
1 stalk celery, chopped (I omited)
*not in recipe but I added diced tomatoes.

Place meat in slow cooker. In a small bowl mix together the flour, salt, and pepper; pour over meat, and stir to coat meat with flour mixture. Stir in the garlic, bay leaf, paprika, Worcestershire sauce, onion, beef broth, potatoes, carrots, and celery.
Cover, and cook on Low setting for 10 to 12 hours, or on High setting for 4 to 6 hours and enjoy!

Saturday, March 24, 2012

.p.f. chang's lettuce wraps. {husband's choice}

This recipe takes all the cake. It is so beyond delicious and healthy, what a wonderful combination. Thanks to Pinterest I found this amazing recipe here. I just love how simple it is to make and how I don't feel all gross after. I posted the original recipe below but the hubby and I enjoy things with extra flavor so we doubled the sauce. yum. try it out for yourself and your life will be ever changed. Enjoy!

1lb ground chicken breast (i used ground turkey)
1/2 medium onion, minced
salt & pepper, a dash of each
2 large cloves garlic, minced
1 inch nob fresh ginger, peeled & minced
1 Tablespoon sesame oil
2 1/2 Tablespoons soy sauce
1/2 Tablespoon water
1 Tablespoon natural peanut butter
1/2 Tablespoon honey
1 Tablespoons + 1 teaspoon rice vinegar
2 teaspoons chili garlic sauce (or more if you like it hotter)
dash of fresh pepper
3 green onions, chopped
1/2-8oz can sliced water chestnuts, drained & chopped (i omitted)
1/4 cup peanuts, chopped
10-12 large outer lettuce leaves, rinsed and patted dry

Heat a large, non-stick skillet on high. Add chicken, onion, salt & pepper, and cook until chicken is nearly done, stirring often to break up the meat. Add in minced garlic and ginger, and continue cooking until chicken is no longer pink.
Meanwhile, in a microwave safe bowl, combine sesame oil, soy sauce, water, peanut butter, honey, rice vinegar, chili garlic sauce and pepper. Microwave for 20 seconds, then stir until smooth. Add into the skillet and stir to combine.
Add green onion and water chestnuts into the skillet then cook for 1-2 minutes until the onions are soft and the water chestnuts are heated through.
Sprinkle with chopped peanuts, and serve with cold lettuce leaves

Thursday, March 15, 2012

.corn dogs & cheese on a stick.

So I pretty much am a fan of anything battered and deep fried. Cheese is also a major plus. I had the urge to make corn dogs one day and found this recipe, gosh I love Pioneer Woman. I don't think I did as great of a job as her..It might be because I had no way of telling how hot my oil was or it could just be because I'm not Pioneer Woman. haha. But it was very tasty and fun to make. Especially the cheese..which needed to be timed just so..before it exploded. whoops. When I do this again I will also dunk it in the batter several times mid-frying process to make it thicker on the dog. yum

3 cups Krusteaz Pancake Mix
1 cups Yellow Corn Meal
1 whole Eggs, Slightly Beaten
3 cups Water, More If Needed To Thin Batter
Hot Dogs
Cheese, Cut Into 1/2-inch X 3 Inch Sticks
Canola Oil, For Frying
Spicy Mustard, For Serving

In a large bowl, combine pancake mix and cornmeal. Stir to combine. Add eggs and water, adding more water as needed for the batter to become slightly thick (but not overly gloopy.) Start out by adding 1 cup, then work your way up to 3 cups or more.
Heat canola oil over medium-high heat. Drop in a bit of batter to see if it's ready: the batter should immediately start to sizzle but should not immediately brown/burn.
Insert sticks into hot dogs so that they're 2/3 of the way through. Do the same with the cheese sticks.
Dip the hot dogs into the batter and allow excess to drip off for a couple of seconds. Carefully drop into the oil (stick and all) and use tongs or a spoon to make sure it doesn't hit the bottom of the pan and stick. Flip it here and there to ensure even browning, and remove it from the oil when the outside is deep golden brown, about 2 to 3 minutes.
Repeat with cheese, allowing it to get as golden as possible so that cheese will melt completely.
Serve with spicy mustard.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

. crockpot broccoli cheese soup.

Please do not just this soup by its picture. I know the picture is terrible and I desperately wanted to cheat and use someone else's online but decided not to. The crushed pepper on top was my last ditch attempt on a more appealing picture..haha. I had all intentions of taking another picture later but the soup disappeared very quickly. I found original recipe here but changed it up a bit after reading the reviews and combined it with this recipe here and voila. The original recipe says that you can just mix all the ingredients together and it will be did not look fine or mix well so I used an immersion blender (a regular blender would be fine) to mix it all up well. We enjoyed it with some warm french bread and it was so yum. And btw..Target has really good french bread...who knew?!

1 whole Onion, Diced
1 stick Butter
1/3 cup Flour
2 cups chicken broth
4 cups milk
4 heads Broccoli Cut Into Florets (I used one bag of 16oz. bag of frozen florets)
1 pinch Nutmeg
3 cups Grated Cheese (mild Cheddar, Sharp Cheddar, Jack, Etc.)
Small Dash Of Salt (more If Needed)
Freshly Ground Black Pepper

Melt butter in a pot over medium heat, then add the onions. Cook the onions for 3 to 4 minutes, then sprinkle the flour over the top. Stir to combine and cook for 1 minute or so, then pour in milk and add nutmeg.
Combine in crockpot with chicken broth, broccoli, a small dash of salt, and plenty of black pepper.
Cook on low for 7-9 hours, or on high for 4-6. 20 minutes or so before serving, shred all the cheese you are going to use, and stir it in. The cheese will be stringy and will stick to the broccoli florets, you can eat the soup as is, or blend it for a smoother texture. Serve with bread or in a bread bowl and enjoy!

Monday, March 5, 2012

.spaghetti with tomatoes, olives, garlic, and feta.

I love this recipe from Food & Wine because not only was it super easy to make, but it also made me feel super healthy while eating it. Tons of flavor and o so yummy. Enjoy!

1 1/2 pounds tomatoes (about 3), seeded and cut into 1/2-inch pieces
1/2 cup Kalamata or other black olives, pitted
1/4 pound feta cheese, crumbled
3 tablespoons drained capers (i didn't use)
3 tablespoons chopped flat-leaf parsley
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon fresh-ground black pepper
3/4 pound spaghetti
6 tablespoons olive oil
3 cloves garlic, minced
**I added crushed red pepper flakes because we love extra spice.

In a large glass or stainless-steel bowl, combine the tomatoes, olives, feta, capers, parsley, salt, and pepper.
In a large pot of boiling, salted water, cook the spaghetti until just done, about 12 minutes. Drain.
Meanwhile, in a medium frying pan, heat the olive oil over moderately low heat. Add the garlic and cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Add the cooked pasta and the garlic oil to the tomato mixture and toss.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

.tamale pie. {husband's choice}

This is hands down the BEST recipe EVER. No joke, I know I always say that but seriously. Make this and eat it and you will be naming your next child after me, its just that amazing. The hubby and I ate this entire dish (serves 6) in two days (and we are not big people). I could hardly sleep at night because I could not wait to wake up in the morning and have leftovers for breakfast. Anyways, I can not take all the credit for this recipe. The original recipe can be found here and while you are over there check out her amazing blog. Enjoy!

15 oz. corn bread box (or the equivalent of your homemade version) * I used trader joes. yum
1 lb. ground beef
2 red peppers, diced (any color and amount would do)
1 onion, diced
half bag of frozen corn (this is just how much I had... a can, a bag, whatever)
salsa (any amount to give it some liquid)
sour cream (a couple spoonfuls, again, to moisten it) *I omitted because I didn't have it
cheddar cheese, grated (however much you want)
1 can black beans (if you don't like beans, skip it... or pinto, kidney... all would do)
optional: 1 can of condensed tomato soup (I didn't have any this time and didn't miss it)
optional: chili powder

Cook beef. Add peppers + onion and sautee. Add corn to warm it up. Take off heat and add your sour cream, cheese, salsa, beans. Put it all in a 9x12 casserole dish. Take your favorite corn bread mix (already mixed up with the oil + eggs, etc.) and add it right to the top, uncooked, spreading it out evenly. Yeah, it seems weird to add raw corn bread mix to the top of the cooked meat + veggies but that's how it's done. Then cook it for 400 degrees for like 20-25 minutes or so. This is probably different than the corn bread baking directions but it still works. Just make sure the corn bread is truly cooked on top or the underside can be really undercooked since it's right on top of the casserole fixings.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

.broccoli casserole.

Super easy and super yum. I added chicken to make it more of a meal versus a side dish. Original recipe is by Paula Deen and can be found here. Perfect for these cold nights that we have been having :)

2 10-ounce packages frozen chopped broccoli, cooked and drained
1 cup Mayonnaise
1 cup Grated sharp cheddar cheese
1 10 3/4-ounce can condensed cream of mushroom soup
2 eggs lightly beaten
2 cup crushed Ritz crackers (I used saltines since it was what I had)
2 tablespoon butter, melted

Preheat oven to 350. Spray a 13 by 9 inch baking dish with vegetable oil cooking spray. In a large mixing bowl combing, broccoli, mayo, cheese, soup and eggs. Mix well with a metal spoon. Place the mixture in the prepared baking dish. Top with the crushed crackers and pour the melted butter evenly over the crackers. Bake for 35 minutes or until set and browned.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

.zucchini bake.

In our house we LOVE zucchini and yellow squash. Probably could eat it everyday its that yum. I usually just saute in with some lemon pepper but when I came across this recipe on Pinterest I just had to give it a try. We literally almost ate this entire dish that you see below in one sitting and keep in mind its just me and the hubby and we are little people. It was just THAT good. Try it out for yourself :)

2 medium-sized zucchini, cut in slices or half-moon slices
2 medium-sized yellow squash, cut in slices or half-moon slices
2-4 T chopped fresh basil (I skipped this)
2 T thinly sliced green onion ( I skipped this)
1/2 tsp. dried thyme
3/4 tsp. garlic powder
1/2 cup + 1/2 cup white cheese blend
1/2 cup coarsely grated Parmesan (I would use a little less if you only have the very finely grated Parmesan from a can)
salt and fresh ground black pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 350F/180C. Spray an 8" x 8" baking dish with olive oil or non-stick spray. Wash the squash and cut in slices or half-moon slices. Wash basil, spin dry or dry with paper towels and finely chop. Slice green onions.

Combine the sliced squash, chopped basil, sliced green onions, dried thyme, garlic powder, and both kinds of cheese and stir together until the veggies are coated with cheese and the herbs are well-distributed. Season with salt and fresh ground black pepper. Put the mixture in the baking dish and bake uncovered for about 25-30 minutes.

When the zucchini is nearly cooked through, take the casserole dish out of the oven and sprinkle over the remaining 1/2 cup of grated cheese. Put the dish back in the oven and bake 10-15 minutes longer, or until the cheese is melted and nicely browned and zucchini is fully cooked. Serve hot.

Monday, January 30, 2012

.chocolate wasted cake.

Made this dangerous cake for my hubby's grad party. The inspiration was found on pinterest of course and the original recipe can be found here. I might have totally cheated and used a store bought chocolate cake for the base of it because as I have said before I am not a baker at all! This cake was however super fun to make and perfect for chocolate lovers everywhere. Enjoy!

3 cups all-purpose flour
2 1/2 cups sugar
1 cup cocoa powder
2 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. salt
2 cups milk
1 cup butter, melted
4 tsp. honey
2 tsp. vanilla extract
1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

4 cups powdered sugar, sifted
1 cup cocoa powder
1/2 cup butter, softened to room temperature
1/3-1/2 cup whole milk (start out with 1/3 cup of milk and add more milk to your desired consistency)
1 tsp. vanilla extract

liqueur for drizzling on the cake layers (i.e. chocolate, coffee or almond)

melted chocolate for drizzling, :
2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips*
2-3 Tbs. heavy cream or vegetable oil
semi-sweet chocolate chips for the sides of the cake

assorted chocolate candies for the top of the cake*(I skipped this)

To make the cake:

(Note: Instead of milk, you can replace it with water or cooled brewed coffee. Instead of butter, you can use vegetable oil. Instead of honey, you can use corn syrup or agave nectar. Instead of semi-sweet chocolate chips, you can use Enjoy Life brand chocolate chips. For allergen-free alternatives for the candies, you can try Enjoy Life chocolate chips, bars or cookies)

Preheat oven to 325 F degrees. Grease and dust two 8-inch or 9-inch cake pans with cocoa powder. Set aside.

Sift together flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking soda and salt. In a separate mixing bowl, combine milk, butter, honey and vanilla extract. Slowly add the dry ingredients into the milk/butter mixture. Mix until combined. Fold in the semi-sweet chocolate chips. Pour in the batter into prepared cake pans. Bake for 30 to 45 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Remove from oven and wait for about 10 minutes to remove from cake pans and place on a cooling rack. Allow to cool completely before decorating.

To make the frosting:

Note: instead of butter, you can use any allowed margarine, Spectrum organic vegetable shortening, or coconut oil. Instead of milk, you can use rice milk or soy milk.

In a large mixing bowl, sift together powdered sugar and cocoa powder. Add the butter, milk and vanilla extract. Using an electric mixer, slowly mix together at a low speed. Once all the ingredients are combined, increase the speed and beat till fluffy.

To assemble the cake:

Place the first cake layer on a plate or cake circle. Lightly drizzle with liqueur. Spread an even layer of frosting. Place the second cake layer on top of the frosting. Lightly drizzle with liqueur. Cover the sides and top of the cake with frosting. Cover the sides of the cake with semi-sweet chocolate chips and cover the top with assorted chocolate candies. Drizzle the melted chocolate all over the top of the cake and let it drip down the sides of the cake.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

.maple & bacon wrapped lil smokies. {husband's choice}

These lil guys are the best/most addicting/tasty/delicious appetizers EVER. I have made them for two parties already that they did not last even a couple minutes out of the oven before they were devoured. They also make the house spell so yum which is always an extra perk. Original recipe can be found here. Enjoy!

1 pound Li'l Smokies
12 ounces, weight Center-cut Bacon
⅓ cups Brown Sugar
¼ cups Maple Syrup
1 Tablespoon Dijon Mustard
A Small Pinch Of Cayenne (optional)

Empty the smokies onto some paper towels and blot them dry. Dry smokies will allow the bacon to adhere better. Place the dried smokies in a single layer (keeping them separated) onto a small cookie sheet. Place in the freezer for 45 minutes.
While the smokies are in the freezer, cut the bacon into thirds. Separate each piece of bacon and place on a large cookie sheet in a single layer. Put the bacon in the fridge for at least 30 minutes. The well-chilled smokies and bacon will help to keep everything from getting too slippery when you wrap the smokies later.
When it is nearly time to take the smokies out of the freezer, preheat the oven to 350F. Line a rimmed sheet pan with heavy-duty aluminum foil. Make the glaze by whisking together the brown sugar, maple syrup, mustard, and cayenne (if using). Whisk the mixture well to ensure that the larger pieces of brown sugar have broken up.
Wrap a piece of bacon around each smokie, pressing firmly on the final edge of the bacon to better ensure it does not spring open during baking. Try not to stretch the bacon when wrapping the sausages. Place the bacon-wrapped smokies onto the foil-lined sheet pan, seam side down. Continue with the rest of the bacon and smokies. Using a spoon, put a little bit of the thick glaze on top of each bacon-wrapped smokie, trying to coat each one evenly. You should have just enough glaze to do the entire batch.
Bake the smokies for about 35 minutes or until they are lightly brown on top. Immediately transfer the smokies to a serving plate or a slow cooker set on low to keep warm. These a very addictive. I apologize in advance.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

.most AMAZING popcorn.

Ok so no joke I can not stop eating/making this wonderful treat. Not only can it be made in less than 5 minutes but its just so cute as well. Perfect for a party and sure to be a major crowd pleaser. It would also make great little gifts if put in treat bags. This recipe was shown to me by my friend Teresa (thank you!). The original recipe can be found here. Try it out for yourself and your welcome.

1 bag of popcorn (Try to get one with the least amount of butter)
1/2 cup of white chocolate chips

Cook popcorn according to package directions. When done place in a large bowl. Melt chocolate chips in the microwave by cooking for 30 seconds at a time and stirring in between until melted. Pour melted chocolate over popcorn and mix with a spoon. Sprinkle sprinkles on top and let sit until the chocolate hardens. Eat your heart out.

Monday, January 2, 2012

.chicken spaghetti.

Who doesn't like Pioneer Woman?! I had been hearing wonderful things about this recipe for so long and finally was able to try it. Original recipe with wonderful step by step pictures can be found here. Not only was it fun to make but I love dishes that I can toss in the oven to cook while I can clean up my mess. Then when my kitchen is clean the meal is done {im a bit of a cleaning nut} Try it out for yourself, a wonderful meal to start the new year off right :)
(before cooked w/o cheese)

(after- ready to eat!)

2 cups Cooked Chicken (i used leftovers from a rotisserie chicken)
3 cups Dry Spaghetti, Broken Into Two Inch Pieces
2 cans Cream Of Mushroom Soup
2 cups Grated Sharp Cheddar Cheese
1/4 cup Finely Diced Green Pepper
1/4 cup Finely Diced Onion
1 jar (4 Ounce) Diced Pimentos, Drained
2 cups Reserved Chicken Broth From Pot
1 teaspoon Lawry's Seasoned Salt
1/8 teaspoon (to 1/4 Teaspoon) Cayenne Pepper
Salt And Pepper, to taste
1 cup Additional Grated Sharp Cheddar Cheese

Cook 1 cut up fryer and pick out the meat to make two cups. Cook spaghetti in same chicken broth until al dente. Do not overcook. When spaghetti is cooked, combine with remaining ingredients except additional 1 cup sharp cheddar.
Place mixture in casserole pan and top with remaining sharp cheddar. Cover and freeze up to six months, cover and refrigerate up to two days, or bake immediately: 350 degrees for 45 minutes until bubbly. (If the cheese on top starts to get too cooked, cover with foil).