Sunday, April 28, 2013

Fried Rice with Sweet Soy Sauce

Finding the ultimate homemade fried rice recipe is one of my goals. Fried rice is one of my favorite things when I order Chinese takeout. We have a rice cooker that we absolutely love as I've found the perfect ratio of rice to water that makes perfect rice every time.

This recipe wasn't quite the perfect one for me. The serrano chile made this a little too spicy for me, and I don't think I'd keep that in the recipe next time. Otherwise the flavors were fine and I'd make it again. I served it with chicken marinated in sweet chile and hoisin sauce.

Fried Rice with Sweet Soy Sauce-adapted from Cooking Light's Dinner Tonight!
Total Time: 35 Minutes
Serves 4
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 4 large eggs, beaten
  • 1/4 cup soy sauce
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1 finely chopped shallot
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 chopped serrano chile (which I will be omitting next time-it was too hot for me)
  • 4 cups cooked rice
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 1/2 cups thinly sliced radishes
  • 1/3 cup fresh basil leaves
  • 1/3 cup chopped fresh cilantro
Heat 1 tablespoon oil in skillet over medium high heat. Cook eggs until set, turning once. Remove eggs from pan and set aside. Meanwhile, in a small bowl, mix together soy sauce and brown sugar to make sweet soy sauce.

Turn up heat on pan to high, and add in remaining 2 tablespoons oil. Stir fry shallot, garlic and chile for 1 minute. Add rice and stir fry for 3 minutes or until lightly browned. Add cooked eggs, sweet soy cauce, salt and pepper and toss to combine.

Top with radishes and herbs. Serve with protein of your choice.

Saturday, April 27, 2013

Fajita Lasagna

I'm always looking for new ways to make a taco-inspired dish. And having an excuse to make guacamole is always a plus! I had never used fajita seasoning before, but it has a great smoky flavor. I don't think I let the lasagna sit long enough as it was rather soupy when I ate it (you can tell by the picture). However, it tasted great and it was so easy that I'll definitely make it again!

Fajita Lasagna-adapted from The Daily Smash
Total Time: 60 Minutes
 Serves 8

  • 9 cooked lasagna noodles
  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/2 red onion, chopped
  • 1 envelope fajita seasoning mix
  • 2 cans (1 29 ounce, one 15 ounces) tomato sauce
  • 1 bag frozen stir-fry bell peppers and onions
  • 1 can sliced black olives
  • 3 cups shredded taco cheese
  • Salsa, sour cream, guacamole, lettuce-if desired, for topping
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Cook ground beef, garlic and onions over medium heat until beef is browned; drain. Add fajita seasoning and both cans of tomato sauce and bring to a boil.

In a greased 9x13 inch baking pan, cover the bottom of the pan three noodles and top with a light layer of tomato mixture. Top with three noodles, and top the noodles with peppers. Add half of the remainder of the sauce, and then the last three noodles. Top with the rest of the sauce, black olives and cheese.

Cover tightly with tinfoil and bake for 30-45 minutes, or until bubbly and heated through. Let stand for 10-15 minutes after removing from oven. Serve with salsa, sour cream, guacamole, and lettuce.

Friday, April 26, 2013

Minestrone Chili

I haven't yet made minestrone, but this recipe was great! I used to hate tomatoes and tomato sauce as a kid, but I've recently learned to come around to it. This was called a soup, but I decided to call it a chili. It's so thick, but absolutely amazing! I almost would've added a can of chicken broth, or something to give a little bit more liquid after adding all the beans and pasta. The flavors were great, especially with the pepperoni slices. This could easily be substituted with Italian sausage (I added this below so I remember to add it next time) or chicken-you could even add any additional stew vegetables into this soup that you have on hand!

Minestrone-adapted from Taste of Home Cooking School
Total Time: 6 1/2 Hours
Serves 8

  • 2 cans (one 28 ounce, one 14.5 ounce) diced tomatoes, undrained
  • 2 cups water
  • 4 medium carrots, sliced
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 3-1/2 ounces sliced pepperoni
  • 1/2 pound Italian sausage, browned
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 teaspoons chicken bouillon granules
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried basil
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 2 cans (16 ounces each) kidney beans, rinsed and drained
  • 10 ounces frozen, chopped spinach, thawed and squeezed dry
  • 1-1/4 cups cooked elbow macaroni
  • Shredded mozzarella cheese
In a 5 quart slow cooker, combine first nine ingredients. Cover and cook on low 6-7 hours. Stir in the remaining ingredients and cook for 15 more minutes, or until heated through. Serve with cheese sprinkled over the top.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Cajun Cornmeal Crusted Fish

This recipe called for catfish, but I used swai instead and it ended up delicious! The cajun seasoning adds a lot to this simple fish recipe. Also, the amount of cornmeal mix was perfect-I didn't have a ton leftover like I normally do with breading meats.

Cajun Cornmeal Crusted Fish-adapted from Cooking Light's 'Comfort Food'
Total Time: 20 Minutes
Serves 4

  • 3 bacon slices
  • 1/3 cup yellow cornmeal
  • 2 teaspoons cajun seasoning
  • 4 fish fillets
Cook bacon in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat until crisp. Remove bacon from pan; reserve 2 teaspoons drippings in pan. Reserve bacon for another use.

Combine cornmeal and cajun seasoning in a shallow dish. Dredge fillets in cornmeal mixture. Heat reserved drippings in pan over medium-high heat. Add fillets; cook 5 minutes on each side or until fish flakes easily when tested with a fork.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Make Ahead Mashed Potatoes

I've mentioned before that mashed potatoes are one of my favorite things. I make some mean mashers, but new recipes are always fun to try! This recipe was great because you can prepare it beforehand, and then throw it in the oven when you're ready! Give it a try when you have a busy night!

Make Ahead Mashed Potatoes-adapted from Betty Crocker
Total Time: 1 hour 55 minutes
Serves 8

  • 3 pounds potatoes, peeled (if desired) and cut into pieces
  • 6 cloves garlic, minced
  • 3/4 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup whipping cream
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon pepper
In a large sauce pan, place potatoes and garlic in enough water to cover. Cover and heat to boiling; reduce heat. Simmer covered 20 to 25 minutes or until tender; drain. Return potatoes and garlic to pan and mash until no lumps remain.

In a small saucepan, heat milk, whipping cream, butter, salt and pepper over medium low heat, stirring occassionally, until butter is melted; reserve and refrigerate 1/4 cup mixture. Add remaining milk mixture in small amounts to potatoes, mashing after each addition until potatoes are light and fluffy

Grease 2 quart casserole. Spoon potatoes into casserole; cover and refrigeratue up to 24 hours.

Heat oven to 350 degrees. Pour reserved milk mixture over potatoes. Bake uncovered for 40 to 45 minutes or until hot. Stir potatoes before serving.

Monday, April 22, 2013

Mushroom Pot Roast with Gravy

Any sort of roast is a favorite of mine, especially if it's made in the slow cooker. It always comes out so tender! That just reminds me of my grandma's roast recipe from when I was younger. Adding some additional veggies and flavors just makes it even better. Served with corn and mashed potatoes (the gravy is delicious) makes for a great week night meal that takes close to no time to prepare!

Beef Roast with Gravy
Mushroom Pot Roast with Gravy-adapted from Taste of Home Cooking School
Total Time: 6 hours
Serves 8

  • 1 pound baby carrots
  • 8 ounces fresh mushrooms, sliced
  • 3 pound beef rump roast
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 tablespoon canola oil
  • 1-12 ounce jar beef gravy
  • 1 can condensed cream of mushroom soup
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 envelope onion soup mix
Place carrots and mushrooms in a lightly greased 5-quart slow cooker. Sprinkle roast with garlic powder and pepper. In a large skillet over medium heat, brown roast in oil on all sides. Transfer to slow cooker.

Combine the gravy, mushroom soup, water and onion soup mix in a small bowl and pour over roast. Cover and cook on low for 6-8 hours or until meat is tender. Serve with potatoes, or just the gravy over the beef.

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Cucumber Salsa

I've been trying to find a good homemade salsa recipe. This one from Pinterest is definitely a good favorite! I never would've thought to put cucumber as the main ingredient in a salsa, but it was wonderfully refreshing. It was cool, and light, and absolutely delicious! The cumin and jalapeno give it good heat and flavor. The only thing I wasn't super thrilled about is if you don't use it right away it will start to get a little watery. I'll be making it for more parties this summer!

Cucumber Salsa-adapted from Keeping It Together
Total Time: 10 Minutes
Makes 2 1/2 cups

  • 2 cups finely chopped, seeded and peeled cucumber
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped, seeded tomato
  • 1/4 cup red onion, chopped
  • 1 jalapeno, seeded and chopped
  • 2 teaspoon dried cilantro
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1/4 cup fat free sour cream
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon lemon juice
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon lime juice
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/4 teaspoon seasoned salt
  • Tortilla chips
In a small bowl, combine the first seven ingredients. In another small bowl, combine the remaining ingredients; pour over cucumber mixture and toss gently to coat. Serve immediately with chips.

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Frittata Primavera

I wish that egg dishes were something that can be prepared the night before and thrown in the oven right away. I wish I could have time to make breakfast every morning, but I just haven't had the motivation yet.

Anyway, sorry for the rant. This recipe spoke to me because I love all the flavors in it. I definitely added a lot to the original recipe-ham, onion, tomato, and next time I would definitely add some mushrooms. I can't find the recipe on Taste of Home's website, which is weird, so I can't link to the original recipe. The flavors were great, even though I had some huge asparagus spears to deal with!

Frittata Primavera-adapted from Taste of Home Cooking Schools
Total Time: 40 Minutes
Serves 8

  • 3/4 pound fresh asparagus, trimmed, cut into 1 inch lengths
  • 1 red pepper, chopped
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 1/2 tomato, chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 8 eggs
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 4 ounces cream cheese, cut into small cubes
  • 4 ounces shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 3 ounces chopped, cooked ham
Heat oven to 350 degrees. Cook and stir the vegetables in a large skillet over medium-high heat 3 minutes, or until crisp tender.

Beat eggs, water, salt and pepper in medium bowl until well blended. Pour into greased 8x8 inch baking pan, sprinkle cream cheese, mozzarella and ham and lightly mix. Bake 30 minutes or until puffed and golden brown.

Friday, April 19, 2013

Snickerdoodle Cheesecake Bites

Snickerdoodles are one of my favorite cookies, and cheesecake is a favorite dessert in general. Coming across this recipe was putting me in dessert heaven. And let me tell you-it also tastes like it! These bites were the perfect combination of snickerdoole and cheesecake, and I would make them again in a heartbeat! It's so easy-just give it a try!

Snickerdoodle Cheesecake Bites-adapted from Tasty Kitchen
Total Time: 1 hour
Serves 10

  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking sode
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup softened butter
  • 3/4 cups sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 cinnamon sugar recipe (below)


  • 12 ounces cream cheese
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup plain Greek yogurt
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 cinnamon sugar recipe (below)
Cinnamon Sugar
  • 1 tablespoon cinnamon
  • 3 tablespoons sugar
Stir cinnamon and sugar together in a small bow. Set aside.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a medium bowl, mix together flour, baking soda and salt. Set aside.

Beat butter and sugar in a large bowl until fluffy, stir in egg. Add in flour mixture until well combined. Turn out onto a greased 8x8 inch baking dish and sprinkle with half the cinnamon sugar mixture.

Bake for 20 minutes, remove from oven and poke holes in it with a for to reduce puffiness. Allow to cool.

Cream together cream cheese and sugar until smooth and fluffy. Stir in remaining cheesecake ingredients until well combined. Pour the filling mixture onto the cooled crust and sprinkle with remaining cinnamon sugar. Bake for 35 minutes. 

Let cool and then place in the fridge for at least 3 hours. To serve, cut into 1 inch cubes.

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Horseradish Mashed Potatoes

I like to think that I make some pretty stellar mashed potatoes. I usually add milk, butter, and cheese. Depending on what's on hand, I might add some sour cream, cream cheese or even ranch. I still, however, want to expand my mashed potato making abilities. The horseradish in this recipe scared me a bit. The flavor of horseradish has never been my favorite, but part of the reason I have this blog and cook is to be adventurous, so why not try it, right?

Well, let me tell you, the addition of the horseradish was great! It added just a little extra kick of flavor to the potatoes. I definitely think this is going to be my new 'secret' (or not so secret now) ingredient in my mashed potatoes!

Horseradish Mashed Potatoes-adapted from 'Cooking with Kare'
Total Time: 30 Minutes
Serves 8

  • 3 pounds baking potatoes, peeled (if desired), cut into large chunks
  • 1 1/2 cups milk
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 4 ounces prepared horseradish
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon white pepper
In a large saucepan cook potatoes in boiling water until fork-tender; drain. Mash potatoes until most of the large chunks are out. Add milk slowly (be sure to not to add too much if you don't have quite three pounds), and butter, mash until well mixed. Stir in horseradish; season to taste with salt and white pepper.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Egg Roll Stir Fry

I was so amazed that this stir fry actually tasted like an egg roll without the wrapper. You definitely need a large wok or skillet to make this dish as there is a lot of veggies that goes into it! The flavors were amazing and I won't hesitate to make this again.

Egg Roll Stir Fry-adapted from The Daily Smash
Total Time: 30 Minutes
Serves 4

  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 1/2 head of cabbage, shredded
  • 1 head bok choy, chopped
  • 3-4 medium carrots, chopped
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 teaspoons ground ginger
  • 1 tablespoon sesame oil
  • 5 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons seasoned rice vinegar
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
Brown meat with onions and garlic in a very large skillet. Add remaining ingredients, cover and cook over medium heat for about 20 minutes until cabbage is wilted and the sauce is the desired consistency. Serve with rice.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Lemon Chicken with Olives & Ricotta

I made this meal for a Sunday night dinner with our best friend that just moved in a few doors down. We have been trying to trade off making meals for each other once a week so we always have something healthy and new to try!

This chicken had a lot of flavor, and I LOVED the ricotta cheese. I seriously think that is my new favorit ingredient. I would probably add it to pretty much anything if it sounded right. The one thing that could've been added to this recipe would be artichoke hearts. I normally have a few cans in the pantry, just in case, but I somehow missed it this time around. (I did add it to the recipe below, so I don't forget next time).

Lemon Chicken with Olives & Ricotta Cheese
Lemon Chicken with Olives & Ricotta-adapted from '30 Minute Dinners' by Better Homes and Gardens
Total Time: 30 Minutes
Serves 4

  • 8 no-boil lasagna noodles
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • 1 lemon
  • 4 skinless, boneless chicken breasts
  • Salt and black pepper to taste
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 cup pitted green olives
  • 1/2 cup chopped artichoke hearts
  • 1 cup ricotta cheese
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
In a large sauce pan, or Dutch oven, bring 3 inches of water to boiling. Add noodles and the 1 teaspoon oil. Cover and cook for 6 minutes, or until tender; drain. Lay noodles in a single layer on waxed paper; set aside.

Meanwhile, shred peel from lemon; set aside. Halve lemon and juice one half. Sprinkle chicken with the lemon peel, salt and pepper.

In a large skillet, heat the 1 tablespoon of oil over medium-high heat. Add chicken; cook about 10 minutes, or until no longer pink, turning once halfway through cooking. Add olives and artichoke hearts; heat through. Remove from heat.

In a microwave safe bowl, combine lemon juice, ricotta cheese, 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper. Microwave for 30 seconds, stirring once.

Spoon ricotta mixture into four bowls. Top with the noodles, chicken, artichoke hearts and olives.

Monday, April 15, 2013

Pizza Rolls

I've been staring at this recipe on my Pinterest board for so long now, and I finally made them! I don't know that I'm ever going to use the canned pizza dough for actual pizza again. The rolls were absolutely delicious, super easy, and the consistency of the dough once it's cooked didn't seem quite as bread-y as it does when you make regular pizza. This would be great for a kid's slumber party, football games, or just as a go-to snack. Add your favorite pizza toppings (I put what I used recently in the recipe), and make a great meal!

Pizza Rolls-adapted from Tidy Mom
Total Time: 20 Minutes
Serves 8

  • 2 cans refrigerated pizza crust
  • Garlic Salt
  • Italian seasoning
  • 1 cup sliced pepperoni
  • 1 can sliced black olives
  • 1 cup shredded mozzarella and cheddar cheese
  • 1/2 cup parmesan cheese
  • Small jar of your favorite pasta sauce
Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Roll out pizza dough and sprinkle with garlic salt and Italian seasoning. Top with your choice of toppings evenly across the dough. Roll the crust into a tight roll, and slice into 1 inch sections with a sharp knife. Place on a lightly greased baking sheet and bake for 10-12 minutes or until brown on the outside and the cheese is melted.

Meanwhile, heat up the pasta sauce and serve with rolls for dipping.

Sunday, April 14, 2013


When I was in high school, I would spend a few dinners a week at my then-boyfriend's house. His mom made the BEST stroganoff. I've never been able to replicate it, but this one was definitely a keeper! It had the mushrooms, beef and flavor I was looking for without being over powering. It was very easy as well! There are also directions for freezing this meal for another day--I did not try this, but included the directions

Stroganoff-adapted from Taste of Home's "Easy Back to School Meals"
Total Time 15 Minutes
Serves 4

  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 1/4 cup chopped onion
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1 can condensed beef consomme, undiluted
  • 8 ounces mushrooms, chopped
  • 3 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 2 cups uncooked spiral pasta
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 2 tablespoons water
Cook pasta according to package directions. In a large skillet over medium heat, cook beef, onion and garlic unti meat is no longer pink; drain. Stir in the consomme, mushrooms, lemon juice and pepper. Add pasta, sour cream and water to skillet and heat through (do not boil).

**Freezer Directions**
Cook the beef, onion and garlic until no longer pink; drain. Stir in the consomme, mushrooms, lemon juice and pepper. Place the meat mixture in a freezer container, cover and freeze up to three months.

To Use Frozen Meat Mixture:
Thaw in the refrigerator. Transfer to a skillet and prepare as directed above.

Friday, April 12, 2013

Zucchini and Sausage Casserole

This recipe was very simple, but had a lot of good flavor to it! Eating this over rice, with Italian sausage was so delicious!

Zucchini & Sausage Casserole

Zucchini & Sausage Casserole-adapted from 'Cheap & Easy Recipes' by Gooseberry Patch
Total Time: 30 Minutes
Serves 4

  • 1 pound Italian sausage
  • 2 zucchini, diced
  • 1 small onion, thinly sliced
  • 14.5 ounce can stewed tomatoes
  • 1 teaspoon horseradish
  • 1 teaspoon garlic salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
  • 2 cups cooked white rice 
Brown Italian sausage in a large skillet over medium heat; drain, reserving 2 tablespoons drippings in skillet. Return skillet to heat with sausage, zucchini, onion and mushrooms. Cook and stir until zucchini and onion are tender. Add remaining ingredients except cheese and rice; bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat and simmer for 5 minutes. Top with cheese; cover again until cheese is melted. Serve over rice.


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