Thursday, March 5, 2015

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Marlboro man sandwiches

I've always wanted to make these sandwiches from Ree Drummond, the Pioneer Woman. I finally got around to it and it was definitely worth it. Next time, I will definitely add mushrooms. Because, well, come on. We loooove mushrooms in this house.

I used leftover hamburger buns from the Fiesta burgers earlier in the week. I do wish I would've used kaiser rolls or french bread like the original recipe recommends.

Warning: There is a LOT of butter in this recipe. But that's one of the main reasons I love the Pioneer Woman. She isn't afraid to use the best ingredient there is. The meat took a little bit of love, but it was definitely well worth it.

Marlboro man sandwiches-adapted from The Pioneer Woman Cooks by Ree Drummond
Total time: 25 minutes
Makes 4 sandwiches

  • 1/2 cup butter, divided
  • 1/4 red wine
  • 2 medium yellow onions, thinly sliced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 pounds cube steak
  • Seasoned salt, to taste
  • Lemon pepper, to taste
  • Chicago steak seasoning, to taste
  • 1/2 cup Worcestershire sauce
  • 5-6 dashes Tabasco sauce
  • 4 hamburger buns
  • 1/2 cup mozzarella cheese, shredded
In a cast iron skillet, melt 1/4 cup butter and red wine over medium heat. Throw in onions and garlic. Saute 5-7 minutes or until onions are tender. Remove from the pan and set aside on a plate.

Meanwhile, cut each piece of cube steak against the grain into 1-inch strips. Season to taste with seasoned salt, lemon pepper and Chicago steak seasoning. 

Melt 2 tablespoons butter in the same pan. Add just enough meat to fit in one layer on the pan. Cook about 1 minute then flip to the other side. Cook for another minute then remove to the same plate as the onions. Repeat with remaining meat. 

Return meat and onion mixture to the pan. Pour in Worcestershire, Tabasco sauce and 2 tablespoons butter. Simmer for about 5 minutes or until butter is melted.

Meanwhile, toast each side of the buns. Then place some meat and onions on the bottom side of the bun. Spoon a little bit of the pan juices on top of the meat to keep them moist. Top with mozzarella cheese, the other bun and enjoy!

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Chili chicken enchiladas

I love enchiladas. I also love how easy they are to make. They can get a little messy, but usually it's not too terrible. They're what I order every time I go to a Mexican restaurant. I will say that I haven't quite gotten to the point that mine are better than the restaurants, but these were pretty good!

To save time with dicing or shredding the chicken, I just put the chicken through my food processor. I have a brand new giant KitchenAid that I am obsessed with. I've learned that I can shred chicken as well as cheese very quickly. I will likely no longer buy shredded cheese!

I didn't realize until it was time to get everything together that I only had 6 tortillas instead of 8. I ended up saving the leftover chicken mixture, and will likely eat it like a chicken salad tomorrow. It was delicious! We had wheat tortillas on hand, but you could use flour or corn, depending on what you have available.

I will also say that these were HUGE enchiladas. I had one and was stuffed. The serving size is for two per person. Do that if you're very hungry.

Chili chicken enchiladas-adapted from Mexcian Fiesta by Ortega
Total time: 1 hour
Serves 4

  • 2 cups chicken, cooked and shredded
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 1/2 cup roasted red peppers, diced
  • 2-4 ounce cans diced green chiles
  • 3 cups shredded cheddar cheese, divided
  • 1-10 ounce can enchilada sauce
  • 8-8 inch soft wheat tortillas
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray a 13x9 inch baking dish with cooking spray.

In a large bowl, mix chicken, sour cream, red peppers, chiles and 1 1/2 cups cheese in a bowl until blended.

Spoon 2 teaspoons enchilada sauce over a tortilla, top with 1/4 cup of the chicken mixture. Roll up the tortilla and arrange, seam side down in the baking dish. Repeat with remaining tortillas. Top the tortillas with remaining enchilada sauce and 1 1/2 cups cheese.

Cover dish with foil and bake for 45 minutes. Uncover and cook for 5 more minutes or until hot and cheese is melted.

Cinnamon sugar banana bread

I still have more bananas in my freezer, so I will continue to be making banana bread or muffins for awhile. I really liked the added cinnamon to this recipe. It gave it a bit of a crunch and tastes like a savory banana bread!

Cinnamon sugar banana bread-adapted from Tasty Kitchen (originally recipe from La Casa de Sweets)
Total time: 1 hour 10 minutes
Makes 1 loaf of bread
  • 3 ripe bananas
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 pinch salt
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a loaf pan with cooking spray and set aside.

In a large bowl, mash the bananas with a fork. Then add the remaining ingredients and stir just until moist with a wooden spoon. 

Turn dough into the greased loaf pan. Bake for 1 hour or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

Plastic bag dispenser

I do my best to always take reusable bags so I don't have plastic bags everywhere (plus-it's bad for the environment). However, every once in awhile I stop on my way home and don't have the bags with me. Instead of just throwing them away, I usually just throw them in another bag, and then we use them for garbage.

I've seen this plastic bag dispenser idea on Pinterest for awhile now. I honestly don't remember which website I found the instructions for, so I don't have anything to credit at the moment. If I find it again, I'll be sure to update.

The longest part of this is getting the bags flattened out and folded. Rolling everything up to go in the jar is quick and easy!

Plastic bag dispenser

  • Jar or empty disposable wipes container
  • As many plastic bags as you want to put in the dispinser
Take each plastic bag and fold in half, making sure all the air is out. Lay on a flat surface. Repeat with remaining bags. Line up the bags, but the only overlapping part should be the handles. When all bags are flattened, start at the last one and roll tightly. Once you get to the next bag in line, roll in the bag. For the first one the handle will be what sticks out. Place rolled up bags into a jar or empty container.

Fiesta burgers

Oh man, these were some good burgers. Having cheese (cream cheese, none the less!) put in the middle of the burgers made them extra tasty. The added kick of the taco seasoning in the meat gave extra flavor. I used ground turkey instead of ground beef-you can use whatever you have on hand or prefer.

Since it's the middle end of February, I decided to not take these out to the grill like the recipe recommends. I made them right on the stove top and they were just as tasty.

I do have to say that these make some big burgers :)
Fiesta burgers-adapted from Classic Recipes by Kraft Philadelphia
Total time: 30 minutes
Makes 4 burgers

  • 1 pound ground beef or turkey
  • 1 package taco seasoning mix
  • 1/4 cup chive and onion cream cheese spread
  • 1/3 cup cheddar cheese, shredded
  • 4 hamburger buns, split
  • 1/2 cup chunky, medium salsa
  • 1 avocado, pitted, peeled and sliced
In a small bowl, mix meat and taco seasoning. Form meat into 8 thin patties.

In another small bowl, mix together cream cheese and cheddar cheese. Spoon about 2 tablespoons of the cheese mixture onto center of a patty, then top with a second patty, sealing the edges by pinching them. Repeat with remaining patties and cheese.

Cook or grill on medium heat 7-9 minutes on each side or until cooked to desired temperature.

Place burger on the bottom bun, then top with avocado slices, salsa and the top half of the bun. Repeat with remaining burgers.

Monday, February 23, 2015

Lemony seafood pasta

Oh man. We made this for dinner tonight. Scott said automatically that it was one of the best things he's had in awhile. Feta cheese is definitely our kryptonite. I don't think there has been a single recipe with feta that we haven't loved.

One of the best things about this dish was the dressing. I got to use our new dressing shaker, which was a wedding gift. These things are awesome. It's much more fun gratifying to shake a bottle, than use a whisk. I just don't know that I've ever gotten the hang of whisks!

Overall, this pasta felt light, and having scallops and shrimp was a nice change from our normal chicken or beef routine. I think I would like the dish even with a different protein, or the dressing by itself!

Lemony seafood pasta-adapted from Perfect One-Dish Dinners by Pam Anderson
Total time: 25 minutes
Serves 8

  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 3 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
  • Salt and black pepper to taste
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 2 quarts water
  • 1 tablespoon oil
  • 8 ounce penne pasta (or pasta of your choice)
  • 1 pound bay scallops
  • 1 pound uncooked shrimp, peeled, deveined, and cut into bite-sized pieces
  • 1 cup grape tomatoes, halved
  • 1/2 cup jarred roasted red pepper, diced
  • 6 ounces feta cheese, crumbled
  • 2 tablespoons dried oregano
Place garlic, lemon juice, mustard, vinegar, salt, pepper and oil in a dressing shaker and shake well. If you do not have a shaker, whisk well and set aside.

Meanwhile, bring 2 quarts water and 1 tablespoon salt to a boil. Add the pasta and cook for about 10 minutes, just until tender. Add in the scallops and shrimp, and cook until the seafood is opaque, about 3 more minutes. Drain and pour into a serving bowl. Mix pasta, seafood, tomatoes, red peppers, feta cheese, oregano and prepared dressing. Toss to coat.

Ethiopian chicken stew

I was a bit hesitant about this recipe, mostly because I know nothing about Ethiopian cuisine. There wasn't anything overly special about this recipe. It was actually a bit spicy for me. I don't know that I would make it again, but if you like flavor, give it a try. The chicken was extremely moist as well.

Ethiopian chicken stew-adapted from More Make it Fast, Cook it Slow by Stephanie O'dea
Total time: 6 hours
Serves 4

  • 1-14.5 ounce can diced tomatoes, undrained
  • 4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 3 large yellow onions, diced
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1 tablespoon paprika
  • 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon ground tumeric
  • 2 cups water
Grease a 5-quart slow cooker. Pour in the can of tomatoes. Top with chicken, then the rest of the ingredients. Cover and cook on low 6-8 hours, or high 4-5 hours or until chicken juices run clear and onions are tender.

Saturday, February 21, 2015

White bean and tuna salad

I was excited about this recipe, hoping it would pack a ton of flavor and be something awesome for lunches. However, there was way too much onion, and I used a small red onion! I might try it again, but the texture of the tuna and beans was also a bit too much to deal with.

White bean and tuna salad-adapted from Everyday Italian by Giada de Laurentiis
Total time: 5 minutes
Serves 4

  • 2 (6 ounce) cans tuna in oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 2 (15 ounce) cans cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 medium red onion, thinly sliced
  • 6 tablespoons red wine vinegar
In a large bowl add tuna, salt and pepper. Using a fork, break up the tuna into bite sized pieces, then gently toss in the beans and onions. Drizzle with red wine vinegar and season with more salt and pepper to taste. 

Cheese & veggie crepes

I have never made anything with crepes. I've also never made crepes. This recipe calls for premade crepes, but I think if I made this again I would try making my own because these kept falling apart. The filling tasted delicious so I would definitely try them again.

Cheese & veggie crepes-adapted from Easy Family Meals by Prevention Guide
Total time: 10 minutes
Serves 4

  • 4 premade crepes
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 8 ounces mushrooms, sliced
  • 6 ounces baby spinach
  • 1/4 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Put the crepes on two baking sheets. 

Heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the mushrooms and saute about 5 minutes until most of the liquid has evaporated.

Add the spinach to the pan. Cook just until wilted. 

put one-quarter of the mixture in the center of each crepe. Sprinkle a quarter of the cheese on top. Fold the edges of the crepes around the filling. Bake until cheese melts, about 5 minutes.

Greek-style chicken

We love Greek chicken pasta, this chicken wasn't any different!

Greek-style chicken-adapted from Slow Cooker Recipes by Crock-Pot
Total time: 5 hours
Serves 4

  • 4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/2 cup chicken broth
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup kalamata olives, pitted
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
Place chicken in a greased 5 quart slow cooker. Top with all other ingredients. Cover and cook on low for 5-6 hours or until chicken is tender.

Eggplant Parmesan

Disclaimer: This recipe doesn't have any Parmesan cheese in it. None....what so ever. This recipe has feta instead, which is one of my favorite cheeses! It's super easy to put together and delicious to eat! This is a slow cooker recipe that doesn't take very long to cook!

Eggplant Parmesan-adapted from Make it Fast, Cook it Slow by Stephanie O'Dea
Total time: 4 hours
Serves 4

  • 26 ounce jar pasta sauce
  • 1 large eggplant
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 1/4 cup panko bread crumbs
  • 2 teaspoons Italian seasoning
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 3/4 cup crumbled feta cheese
Spray a 5 quart slow cooker with cooking spray. Pour 1 cup of the pasta sauce in the bottom of the crock. Slice the eggplant into 1/2 inch thick pieces. Drizzle each piece of eggplant with the oil on both sides

In a small bowl, combine the breadcrumbs, Italian seasoning, salt and pepper. Dredge each slice of eggplant and place on top of the pasta sauce. Pour the remaining sauce over the eggplant, and top with feta cheese. Cook on low for 4-6 hours or until eggplant is tender.

Slow cooker turkey breast

Do you get freaked out when you see a recipe for a turkey or whole chicken? I was nervous about these for awhile too. But now, I've realized, they're usually the easiest recipes there are! This was awesome to not have to buy an entire turkey, especially because it fit in the slow cooker. The gravy package that comes with the turkey was delicious as always!

Slow cooker turkey breast-adapted from New Slow Cooker Meals by Betty Crocker
Total time: 8 hours
Serves 10

  • 6 1/2 pound turkey breast, thawed if frozen
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1 stalk celery, chopped
  • 1 dried bay leaf
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon chicken bouillon granules
  • 1/2 cup water
Remove gravy packet from the turkey. Place onion, celery and bay leaf in the cavity of the turkey. Place the turkey in a 5 quart greased slow cooker.

Sprinkle turkey with salt, pepper and bouillon granules. Cover with water. Cook on low 8 to 9 hours or until turkey is tender. 

Shred turkey from the bones. Meanwhile, follow directions on the gravy packet for gravy. Use the liquid in the slow cooker as the drippings. Serve with turkey.

Peanut butter oatmeal banana cupcakes

Do you freeze your bananas when they get ripe? I think I learned this from my mom. Once the bananas get to the point that you don't want to eat them by themselves anymore, wrap them in tin foil, put them in a freezer bag, and stick in the freezer. We eat a lot of bananas, and sometimes, my eyes at the store are bigger than what Scott and I actually eat throughout the week. All you need to do when you're ready to make these cupcakes (or banana bread) is put the bag in the fridge to thaw. Then they're perfectly ripe to mash!

I call these cupcakes, but I feel like they actually have more of a muffin feel to them. Because I put frosting on them, I've determine they're cupcakes. It's a real simple recipe, that Scott, and my coworkers, loved. Because I took them to work, I also got to use my cupcake carrier. Which is one of my favorite things!

I obviously need to work on my frosting skills

Peanut butter oatmeal banana cupcakes-adapted from Tasty Kitchen
Total time: 40 minutes
Makes 12 cupcakes

  • 1 cup all purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 cup quick cooking oats
  • 1/2 cup peanut butter
  • 1/2 cup salted butter, softened
  • 2 large eggs, beaten
  • 2 ripe bananas, mashed
  • 1/4 cup peanut butter
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 2 cups powdered sugar
  • 1-3 tablespoons low fat milk
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In the bowl of your mixer, combine the dry ingredients for the muffins just until combined. Add in all the wet ingredients and mix until combined.

Spoon batter into a muffin tin filled with cupcake liners. Bake for 18-20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

Let cupcakes cool completely. Meanwhile, in a small bowl, mix all ingredients for the frosting. Add as much milk as needed for desired consistency of the frosting. Spread onto cooled cupcakes.

Freezer meal: Baked spahgetti

While making meals for my friends, I found this recipe in the Heat's Kitchen archives. As you can probably tell, I like to make new foods, so don't make the same thing again very often (unless it's a favorite).

Because the husband of the husband-wife pair I made this dish for doesn't like vegetables, I simplified this recipe quite a bit, so decided to repost!

Baked spaghetti-adapted from The General Store of Minnetonka Cookbook
Total time: 45 minutes
Serves 5

  • 8 ounces spaghetti
  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 1 jar favorite pasta sauce
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 cup mozzarella cheese, shredded
Cook pasta according to package directions. Meanwhile, brown the ground beef and garlic over medium heat in a large saucepan. Drain off the fat. Add the spaghetti and sauce to the pan and mix well. 

Pour pasta into a 9x13 inch baking dish. Cover with tinfoil and freeze in a freezer bag.

To make after freezing: Thaw in the refrigerator about 24 hours. Bake in 350 degree oven for 20 minutes still covered with tin foil. Remove tin foil and bake for another 15 minutes until cheese is melted and bubbly.

Freezer meal: Poor man's lasagna

I wanted to keep one of the casseroles I made of this. It just sounded so amazingly delicious! Just throw everything for lasagna into a casserole--genius!

Pour man's lasagna-adapted from Fabulessly Frugal
Total time: 45 minutes
Makes two 8x8 pans
  • 8 ounces dried pasta of your choice (I used medium shells)
  • 1 pound Italian sausage
  • 16 ounces ricotta cheese
  • 8 ounces cream cheese, softened
  • 24 ounce jar pasta sauce
  • 1 1/2 cups shredded mozzarella
Cook the pasta according to package directions in a large pot. Meanwhile, in a medium skillet, brown the Italian sausage then drain off the fat. Drain the pasta then return to the pot while still hot. Mix in the ricotta and cream cheese, and stir until combined and the cream cheese is melted. Mix in the Italian sausage and pasta sauce. Pour the pasta mixture into two 8x8 inch baking dishes. Top with mozzarella cheese. Cover and store in freezer bags. 

To make after freezing: Thaw in the refrigerator. Uncover and cook at 350 degrees for 30 minutes or until cheese is bubbly.

Freezer meal: Sausage and cheese egg muffins

Recipe number two made for my friends! They've already tried these and love them. I've made a few egg muffins before (here and here). Being able to make something for breakfast that is easy to freeze and reheat. They also taste delicious, even though I know some people think that reheated eggs aren't great.

Sausage and cheese egg muffins-adapted from Fabulessly Frugal
Total time: 15 minutes
Makes 12 muffins

  • 10 eggs
  • 1/3 cup low fat milk
  • 4 ounces precooked breakfast sausage, diced
  • 1 cup cheddar cheese, shredded
Preheat oven to 450 degrees. In a large bowl, whisk eggs and milk together, then gradually add in sausage and cheese. Pour into well greased muffin tins to about 3/4 full. Bake for 8-10 minutes or until tops are set. Let cool slightly and remove gently with a spoon.

If you wish to freeze: Place the muffins in a gallon freezer bag. To reheat, cook in the microwave for 1 1/2 minutes.

Freezer meal: Garlic ranch chicken

Some very close friends of our welcomed a lovely baby girl into the world on Valentine's Day! I knew that I wanted to do something special for them, so I made a bunch of freezer meals. I'll share all the meals over the next few posts, but I haven't tried them, so you'll just get the before pictures!

Garlic ranch chicken-adapted from Fabulessly Frugal
Total time: Unknown :)
Serves 4

  • 4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • 1 package dry ranch dressing
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 cup mayonnaise
  • 2 tablespoons dried minced garlic
Combine all ingredients in a gallon freezer bag.

When ready to cook, thaw in the refrigerator. Fabulessly Frugal recommends grilling the chicken, but I'm sure you could bake or cook on the stove top as well.

Roasted asparagus

I've finally figured out how to make the perfect asparagus. This is super simple, and you just need to season it however you wish.

If you don't know how to trim asparagus, it's really easy. Just take the end between your thumb and forefinger and bend until it snaps! It's perfect for those days you just want to snap something! It always breaks the wooden end off at the right spot-no more second guessing!

Roasted asparagus
Total time: 20 minutes
Serves 4
  • 1 bunch asparagus, trimmed
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place asparagus spears in a 9x13 inch baking dish, doing you best to only have one layer. Drizzle with the olive oil, and toss the spears so they are well coated. Sprinkle with salt and pepper, add more to taste if you wish.

Roast in oven for about 7 minutes, then toss the spears with tongs. Cook for the remaining 7-8 minutes or until tender.

Root veggies

I don't think I've ever had beets in my life. While I was making this I even asked my mom and her answer was "Nope." I'm glad I tried them! This isn't something I'd want all the time, but it was good to change things up.

I also need to say, I love the bowl I put these in with some asparagus. It's perfect when you have a few different side dishes!


My favorite bowl!

All of dinner!

Root veggies-adapted from Meals Made Easy by Real Simple
Total time: 15 minutes
Serves 4
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • Bunch carrots, cut lengthwise into thin strips
  • Bunch beets, cut into thin slices
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/2 tablespoon dried tarragon
In a large skillet, heat oil over medium-low heat. Add the carrots and beets and cook until tender, about 5 to 7 minutes. Season with salt, pepper and tarragon. 

Saturday, February 14, 2015

Black eyed pea salsa

We were having my sister-in-law Angie over for dinner last night. My go to appetizer/snack is guacamole. I went to the store yesterday, but all the avocados weren't ripe enough or were way past ripe. I then decided to try this salsa instead. Scott was very upset when I told him I was substituting a bean dip for our favorite guacamole.

In the end, we really liked this salsa. It was fresh and a nice change. The apple cider vinegar really added an extra kick to the salsa flavor. This sits well overnight too!

Black eyed pea salsa-adapted from The New Cookbook by Better Homes and Gardens
Total time: 5 minutes
Makes 2 cups

  • 1 15-ounce can black eyed peas, rinsed and drained
  • 1 small yellow onion, diced
  • 1 small red pepper, diced
  • 1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and diced
  • 2 tablespoons cooking oil
  • 2 tablespoons cider vinegar
  • 1/4 teaspoon cracked black pepper
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • Tortilla chips for serving
In a serving bowl, combine all ingredients and mix well. Serve with chips.

Lemon chicken

I received this cookbook as part of a gift bag for going to the Taste of Home Cooking School. It's a kind of weird book, and I don't know that I agree with the premise of it, but that doesn't mean I won't try the food!

Lemon chicken is a chicken recipe that my dad used to make a lot when I was a child. We used to have chicken 3-4 times a week. To the point that I used to hate eating chicken. Lemon chicken, parmesan chicken, teryiaki chicken, and then chicken casserole with the leftovers. Now that I cook my own food, I don't know what I did without chicken so much in my life. It's delicious and so versatile!

This recipe was great because it was baked. Because I baked it in chicken broth, it stayed incredibly moist. The lemon juice and kalamata olives gave it just that extra kick.

Lemon chicken-adapted from Heartbreak Recovery Kitchen by Jeanne Ambrose & Lindsey Ambrose
Total time: 45 minutes
Serves 6

  • Vegetable oil
  • 3 1/2 pounds chicken breasts
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup kalamata olives
  • 3 clove garlic, minced
  • 1/2 cup chicken broth
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Drizzle a little bit of oil in the bottom of a 9x13 inch baking pan. Place chicken in the pan and top with remaining ingredients. 

Roast for 35-45 minutes or until chicken is 180 degrees with an instant read thermometer.

Biscuits and gravy

Biscuits and gravy are one of the things that Scott almost always orders for breakfast when we go out. This recipe was incredibly easy, and for the most part I almost always have everything in the house for it! I loved having these for dinner with some scrambled eggs and ham! Side note: these were not very good the next day (we did store the gravy and biscuits separately).

I realized when I went to make these that I didn't have buttermilk on hand. Here's a handy tip for a subsitute: Get a one cup measuring cup out, put 1 tablespoon lemon juice in it, and then top the remaining space with milk. Let sit for about five minutes.

The biscuits!

The final product! (Yes, I added some additional pepper, just becasue)
Biscuits and gravy-adapted from Lighten up America! by Cooking Light
Total time: 35 minutes
Serves 6
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3 1/4 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 cup vegetable shortening
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 1 tablespoon salted butter
  • 1/4 pound pre-cooked breakfast sausage, cut into small pieces
  • 1 teaspoon minced onion
  • 2 1/4 cups 2% milk, divided
  • 1 teaspoon dried sage
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
Preheat oven to 450 degrees. In a large bowl, combine flour, baking powder, baking soda and kosher salt. Cut in shortening with a pastry blender until mixture resembles coarse meal. Add buttermilk; stir just until moist.

Turn dough onto a floured surface and knead five times. Take off pieces of the dough into biscuit sized pieces (about 3 1/4 inches), and flatten slightly before placing on a baking sheet coated well with cooking spray. Repeat with remaining dough. Bake for about 10 minutes or until golden.

Meanwhile, in a large skillet, melt butter over medium  heat. Add sausage, onion, 2 cups milk, sage and black pepper. 

In a small bowl, combine remaining 1/4 cup milk and 2 1/2 tablespoons flour, stirring well with a whisk. Add to the sausage mixture. Cook, stirring constantly for about 3 minutes or until sauce is thick and bubbly. Spoon gravy over biscuits.

Mushroom tart with black truffle oil

This recipe has been sitting at the bottom of my Pinterest board for quite some time. I think I kept passing it up because I've never used black truffle oil before and I had no clue where to get it. Well, to help any of you out there that are in the same boat, you can find it at World Market (a favorite store of mine by the way)!

Anyway, I think something went a little wrong with this recipes because the puff pastry ended up a little doughy, but the flavors were definitely all there. The combination of the gruyere cheese and black truffle oil was awesome. If anyone else tries this, let me know what you did differently!

Mushroom tart with black truffle oil-adapted from Authentic Suburban Gourmet
Total Time: 30 minutes
Serves 6

  • 1 sheet puff pastry, thawed
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 2 tablespoons salted butter
  • 1 pound mushrooms, sliced
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1/2 cup ricotta
  • 1/4 cup Creme Fraiche
  • 2 egg yolks, divided
  • 1/4 cup Gruyere, sliced thin
  • 1 bunch green onions, sliced
  • Black truffle oil

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Flatten the puff pastry with a rolling pin and score the outisde 1-inch edge with a knife. 

In a large skillet, melt the butter and oil over medium heat. Add the mushrooms and garlic and cook for 4-5 minutes or until mushrooms have released their juices and are tender.

In a medium bowl, combine ricotta, Creme Fraiche and one egg yolk. 

In a small bowl, mix the remaining egg yolk with a little water and brush on the 1-inch edges of the puff pastry. 

Spread the ricotta mixture inside the puff pastry edges. Top with Gruyere, the mushroom mixture and green onions.

Bake in the oven for 25 minutes or until crust is golden brown. Once the tart is out of the oven, drizzle with the black truffle oil. 

Crustless quiche

When Scott woke up to this dish last weekend, he literally asked me, "Why is there a salad in my eggs?" I don't know why people tend to have such an aversion to spinach! It's great for you and delicious. I really do love it in egg bakes.

The original recipe for this quiche was incredibly simple. I added what I had on hand-msuhrooms, onion, ham, and some tomatoes with chiles. You can really do whatever you want with quiches. This needs to cook for an hour, so make it for a brunch or if you get up much earlier than your breakfast companions!

I know people are always wary about eating eggs as leftovers. I'm pretty sure I had this for breakfast the next three days and it was delcious. I kept getting asked at work what it was because it smelled so good so early in the morning!

Crustless quiche-adapted from General Store of Minnetonka Cookbook
Total time: 1 hour 15 minutes
Serves 8
  • 3 eggs, beaten
  • 8 ounce mushrooms
  • 1/2 onion, diced
  • 1/2 cup cooked ham, diced
  • 1/2 can tomatoes with chiles, drained
  • 10 ounce frozen chopped spinach, thawed and drained
  • 16 ounces small curd, fat free cottage cheese
  • 1/4 cup melted butter
  • 1 cup cheddar cheese, shredded
  • 1 teaspoon salt
Preheat oven to 325 degrees. In a large bowl, mix ingredients together until well blended. Grease an 8-inch pie plate then pour the egg mixture in. Bake for 1 hour or until eggs are set.

Sugar snap peas with mushrooms and tomatoes

Sugar snap peas are one of those vegetables you don't think about very often. For me, it's in stir fries. It's one of those items that gives the extra crunch that is just awesome. I really enjoyed making this side dish. A little bit of cheese and the tomatoes really made it pop!

One thing that I really love about this recipe-no need for added salt or pepper! I'm really not much of a salt fan, so I usually don't put it on unless it's really necessary in a dish. Pepper, I do love, but there was enough different flavor concepts going on for this side that it wasn't needed!

Sugar snap peas with mushrooms and tomatoes-adapted from Fast & Healthy Cookbook by Pillsbury
Total time: 20 minutes
Serves 5

  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 4 ounces mushrooms, sliced
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 3 cups frozen sugar snap peas
  • 1/2 cup halved cherry tomatoes
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried basil leaves
  • 1 tablespoon grated Parmesan cheese
In a large saucepan, heat the oil over medium heat. Add mushrooms and garlic and cook for 3-5 minutes, stirring frequently, until tender. Remove from saucepan; place in a serving dish or on a plate and cover with tin foil to keep warm.

In the same saucepan, heat 1/3 cup water to boiling. Add sugar snap peas and return the pan to boiling. Cover and simmer 3-5 minutes or until peas are crisp-tender. Drain then return peas to saucepan.

Return the mushrooms withs garlic to the saucepan along with tomatoes and basil. Cook until warm. Spoon into a serving dish and sprinkle with cheese.

Friday, February 13, 2015

Fish with tangy tomatoes

Using tomatoes with chiles in this recipe was such a wonderful surprise. We tend to use swai filets because they're inexpensive, but you could use any white fish for this recipe. There was a ton of flavor in this entire recipe.

Fish with tangy tomatoes-adapted from Health Cooking Recipe Cards by Taste of Home
Total Time: 15 minutes
Serves 3

  • 3/4 teaspoon lemon pepper seasoning
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 3 swai fillets
  • 1/2 cup canned diced tomatoes with chiles
  • 2 tablespoons chopped onion
  • 1/2 tablespoon dried parsley
  • 1/8 teaspoon celery seed
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Combine the lemon pepper and salt and sprinkle over both sides of the fish fillets. Place in an 11 x 7 inch baking dish that has been coated with cooking spray.

In a small bowl, combine the tomatoes, onion, parsley and celery seed and spoon over the fish. Cover with tin foil and bake for 25-30 minutes or until fish flakes easily with a fork.

Chicken noodle soup

Every once in awhile, having a good chicken noodle soup is awesome. It's still pretty cold here in Milwaukee, so it definitely hit the spot last week. This recipe only takes 30 minutes, so it isn't a fantasic soup (I find really good ones take a few hours), but it still tastes great! It was also fantastic for leftovers!

I love to do what I can to prep my meals. I try to tell myself I'm going to prep for the whole week after I get home from the store, but sometimes, that just doesn't happen. This picture is from the night we made the Caprese lasagna roll ups. I had 30 minutes while they were in the oven, so took the time to prep the chicken and veggies so I could just throw together the soup when we got home the next day as we were going to be very busy.

The final product!
Chicken noodle soup-adapted from 5 Ingredient, 15 Minutes Recipes by Weight Watchers
Total time: 30 minutes
Serves 6
  • 2 skinless, boneless chicken breasts, cut into bite sized pieces
  • 1/3 cup celery, chopped
  • 1/3 cup carrots, chopped
  • 1/3 cup onion, chopped
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 7 cups chicken broth
  • 1 cup uncooked pasta of your choice (I used medium shells)
Heat a large skillet or Dutch oven over medium high heat. Coat the pan with cooking spray. Add chicken, celery, carrots, onion, and black pepper. Cook for about 6 minutes or until chicken begins to brown and vegetables are tender, stirring frequently. Add the chicken broth and bring to a boil. Add pasta, reduce heat to medium and cook for 8 minutes or until pasta is done.

Caprese lasagna roll ups

I have been on a total caprese kick lately. Mozzarella, tomatoes and basil-where can you go wrong?? When I came across this recipe I knew I had to make it. I surely wasn't disappointed! I can't tell you where I got this recipe from, it seems to have disappeared from my notes. I did, however, make a few of my own changes. I also used this recipe as a great opportunity to reuse the leftover sauce from the Italian pork chops! You can use regular tomatoes sliced thin and fresh basil as well-I just used what I had on hand!

Final product!

Caprese lasagna roll ups
Total time: 45 minutes
Serves 8
  • 8 lasagna noodles, uncooked
  • 3/4 cup ricotta cheese
  • 1 large egg white
  • 1/3 cup parmesan cheese, shredded
  • 14 ounces mozzarella cheese, shredded and divided
  • Black pepper, to taste
  • 1/2 cup cherry tomatoes, sliced thin 
  • 1 tablespoon dried basil
  • 1 cup marinara or pasta sauce
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cook pasta according to package directions until al dente. Drain pasta then lay flat to dry on wax paper. 

For filling, in a large bowl, mix together ricotta and egg white until blended. Mix in parmesan cheese, 12 ounces mozzarella and black pepper to taste.

Spread 1/2 cup marinara sauce on the bottom of a 9x13 inch grease baking pan. Then, for each noodle, spread 1/4 cup of the cheese mixture on each lasagna noodle, spreading evenly the length of the noodle. Top with and even amount of tomatoes and sprinkle with basil. Roll up from end to end and place in the baking dish seam side down. Repeat for remaining noodles.  Top with remaining pasta sauce and mozzarella cheese. Bake for 30 minutes or until cheese is melted

Saturday, February 7, 2015

Shells and cheese with tomatoes and ham

I made this on Super Bowl Sunday. We were completely snowed in. Scott tried to get out twice-once we got stuck in our driveway, the other in the street. Thank goodness I had gone to the store on Saturday. Take a look at all the snow (right after we shoveled our garage area I might add):

Anyway, I was a bit nervous about this recipe because of the tomatoes. I've recently learned to get along and kind of like tomatoes, but trying them in new things concerns me. I love macaroni and cheese the way it is...cheesy, gooey and warm. Changing things up reminds me of a terrifying time in my childhood my dad tried to make Kraft Macaroni and Cheese with Vienna Sausages. It was absolutely terrible.

Whenever I make macaroni and cheese at home now, Scott always wants to know if I'm putting breadcrumbs on top to make it crunchy. I think that's a big deal to him. Since we really don't buy much processed items, I have no problem accommodating that.

In the end, three of us ended up finishing the entire pan of this stuff (yes, that's two servings each!). It was absolutely delicious, warm and just like a comfort food. It's easy and pretty quick to make too!

Shells and cheese with tomatoes and ham-adapted from Fall Baking by Better Crocker
Total time: 45 minutes
Serves 6

  • 8 ounces uncooked medium shell pasta
  • 1/4 cup salted butter
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground mustard
  • 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 2 cups low fat milk
  • 1 1/2 cups ham, cooked and diced
  • 1 can (14.5 ounces) diced tomatoes, drained
  • 2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
  • 1 cup bread crumbs
  • 2 tablespoons salted butter, melted
Heat oven to 350 degrees. Cook and drain pasta as directed on package using the minimum cook time.

Meanwhile, in a large saucepan, melt 1/4 cup butter over medium-high heat. Cook garlic in butter, stirring until golden. Reduce heat to meduim and stir in flour, salt, mustard and cayenne pepper. Cook and stir until mixture is smooth and bubbly. Slowly add milk, stirring constantly, until the mixture boils and thickens, about 5 minutes. Gently stir in ham, tomatoes and pasta.

Remove from heat and stir in cheese until melted. Spoon into a greased 9x13 inch baking dish. In a small bowl, mix breadcrumbs and melted butter, then sprinkle over pasta. 

Bake uncovered for 20 minutes or until browned and bubbly.

Sunday, February 1, 2015

Buttermilk waffles

I've only made waffles one other time, but I have to say, my parents, older-than-me, waffle iron is awesome! The waffles make an excellent change up to our breakfast routine. This recipe makes a TON of waffles-like 20-24 and that's no exaggeration. So definitely think about cutting this in half unless you're making them for a lot of people.

Buttlermilk waffles-adapted from Cuisinart Recipe Booklet
Total time: 20 minutes
Makes 20-24 waffles

  • 6 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 4 tablespoons baking powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 4 large eggs
  • 2 cups buttermilk
  • 2 1/2 cups lowfat milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup butter, melted and cooled to room temperature
Lightly coat your waffle maker with cooking spray and preheat to desired setting.

Put the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt in a large mixing bowl. Mix the dry ingredients to sift.

In two other large bowls, separate the egg whites and egg yolks. Put the buttermilk, milk, vanilla and melted butter in with the egg yolks and mix well. Pour the liquid ingredients into the dry ingredients and mix on low until just combined.

Whip the egg whites with a mixer approximately 2 minutes until firm peaks form. Carefully incorporate egg whites into the batter, being careful not to over mix.

Pour the batter into your waffle maker and cook to desired doneness.

Cottage pie

I don't know that I've ever truly had a shepard's pie. I worked for an Irish pub in college and we served it, but I never tried it. The meals always looked really good though. When I came across this recipe, I was excited to give it a try.

It wasn't anything spectacular, but was a very cozy food. I'd definitely call it a comfort food. I prepped it the night before, put it in the refrigerator then warmed it up instead of having to do everything the night of.

The original recipe calls for putting all the ingredients into four individual serving dishes. I definitely could've done this, however, since it's just me and Scott, I opted to make one big pan. Plus, I got to use one of my new Rachael Ray casserole dishes-isn't it awesome?!

Cottage pie-adapted from Dinner Tonight: Done! by Real Simple
Total time: 45 minutes
Serves 4

  • 1 1/2 pounds russet potatoes (about 3), peeled and cut into 2-inch pieces
  • Kosher salt and black pepper to taste
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 tablespoon oil
  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 1/3 cup ketchup
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 cup carrots, diced
If you are assembling and cooking right away, preheat oven to 425 degrees. Otherwise, you can assemble these up to two days in advance, just add 10-15 minutes to the cook time.

Place the potatoes in a large pot filled with enough cold water to cover them. Bring to a boil and cook until potatoes are tender. Drain and return to the pot. Add the milk, butter and 1/4 teaspoon each salt and black pepper to taste. Mash to desired consistency.

Meanwhile, heat the oil in a large skillet over medium high heat. Add the beef and cook until no longer pink, 5-6 minutes. Stir in ketchup, Worchestershire sauce, 1/4 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Fold in carrots.

Transfer beef mixture to a baking dish (or individual baking dishes), and top with mashed potatoes. Baken until golden brown, 15 to 20 minutes.

Asparagus with balsamaic tomatoes

Asparagus is one of my favorite vegetables. It's extremely easy to cook in just olive oil. pepper and salt. This recipe had a bit of an extra kick with the tomatoes, balsamic and feta. It wasn't anything mind blowing, but I did like the change up.

Asparagus with balsamic tomatoes-adapted from Dinner Tonight! by Cooking Light
Total time: 20 minutes
Serves 4

  • 1 pound asparagus, trimmed
  • 2 teaspoons oil
  • 1 1/2 cups grape tomatoes, halved
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic, minced
  • 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 3 tablespoons crumbled feta
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
Cook asparagus in boiling water for 2 minutes until crisp tender; drain.

Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add tomatoes and garlic; cook 5 minutes. Stir in vinegar and cook for 3 minute minutes. Stir in salt. Place asparagus on a platter, top with tomato mixture, feta and pepper to taste.


This was a chili that surprised me. It takes less than an hour to make, and I'm always skeptical of those. It was actually quite tasty, and I think it was the tomato basil soup! I liked that this was a recipe that had a lot of already prepped ingredients for nights where I just don't feel like doing it all!

Chili-adapted from Campbell's Creative Cooking With Soup
Total time: 45 minutes
Serves 6

  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 can condensed tomato rice soup
  • 1 can tomato basil soup
  • 1 can kidney beans
  • 2 tablespoons chili powder
  • 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
  • Cheddar cheese and sour cream for garnish
In a 4-quart Dutch oven over medium heat cook the ground beef, onion and garlic until beef is browned. Pour off fat.

Stir in soups, beans, chili powder, and red wine vinegar. Heat to boiling, then reduce heat and simmer, uncovered, for 30 minutes, stirring occassionally.

Ladle into bowls and top with cheese and sour cream.

Saturday, January 31, 2015

Heat's Homemade: Vanilla extract

I had always wanted to learn to make my own vanilla extract. New flash: It's incredibly easy! Vanilla beans are a bit expensive, but it makes a ton of vanilla extract so will be well worth it. Also, you can continue to add vanilla beans and vodka if you start to run low. In a weird way, it's self sustaining.

Vanilla extract-adapted from Simply Recipes
Total time: Store for at least two months
Makes 1 cup vanilla

  • 3 vanila beans
  • 1 cup vodka
  • Large mason jar
With a small paring knife, slice the vanilla beans almost all the way down the center, leaving them together at the end. Place in the mason jar, cover completely with vodka and shake. Store for at least 2 months before using, shaking occassionally. You can continue to top off with vodka if desired. Lasts for years.

White chocolate cranberry cinnamon rolls

Hopefully this comes across in how much I cook, but I'm trying to stay away from all processed/packaged foods as much as possible. That being said, I've never made cinnamon rolls from scratch unless you count those that come from a can.

Normally Scott and I stick to a standard of eggs, bacon, toast and possibly hash browns for breakfast. I came across this recipe, decided to find a date I could prep them (as they need to rise for a day) and then have these as a treat. These were absolutely delicious. However, it's a little bit too much work for my normal breakfast that I don't know if I'd make them again anytime soon. This recipe makes a ton, and they would be awesome if you're having family or friends stay over or come for breakfast.


Finished product

White chocolate cranberry cinnamon rolls-adapted from Taste of Home Cooking School
Total time: 1 hour 30 minutes + overnight rising
Serves 16
  • 4 1/2 teaspoons (or two packets) active dry yeast
  • 2 cups warm water
  • 1 cup butter, melted
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 5 to 6 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 cup butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1 package (10 to 12 ounces) white baking chips
  • 1 cup dried cranberries
  • 2 cups confectioners' sugar
  • 5 to 6 tablespoons milk
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
In a large bowl, dissolve yeast in warm water. Add the butter, sugar salt and 4 cups flour; beat until smooth. Stir in enough remaining flour to form a soft dough.

Turn onto a floured surface; knead until smooth and elastic, about 6-8 minutes. Place in a greased bowl, turning once to grease the top. Cover and refrigerate overnight.

Punch dough down. On a lightly floured surface, roll into a 24 inch x 12 inch rectangle. For filling, combine the butter, brown sugar and cinnamon; spread over dough to within 1/2 inch of edges. Sprinkle with white chocolate chips and cranberries. Roll up jelly-roll style, starting with a long side; pinch seam to seal. 

Cut into 16 slices. Place cut side down in two greased 9x13 inch pans. Cover and let rise in a warm place until doubled, about 45 minutes.

Bake at 350 degreese for 30-35 minutes or until golden brown. Combine glaze ingredients; drizzle over warm rolls.

Mongolian beef

I was so excited when I bought Bee Yinn Low's Easy Chinese Recipes. Chinese food is one of our favorite guilty pleasures, but if I can make a good stir fry, that's all I need. I also got a rocking wok for a wedding gift and it's the most amazing thing ever for stir fry. It's completely changed my life when it comes to stir fry. If you don't have one, go get one. If you don't have one-never fear-you can just use a skillet!

This Mongolian beef is one of our favorites so far! It has a lot of awesome flavor and is super easy to put together. The only thing I don't usually have on hand is the oyster sauce, but you should be able to find that in your local grocery store in the Asian food section (although, I did have to check a few times-it seemed to be hiding).

Scott is a huge fan of adding water chestnuts to stir fry. When I told him I was making Mongolian beef, he asked me to throw in some water chestnuts. I'd definitely recommend chopping them up a bit. But that's another great thing about stir fry-the majority of the flavor is in the sauce. Go ahead and add whatever veggies you like!

Mongolian beef-adapted from Easy Chinese Recipes by Bee Yinn Low
Total time: 25 minutes
Serves 4

  • 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon soy sauce
  • 1/2 tablespoon oyster sauce
  • 1 teaspoon hoisin sauce
  • 1 teaspoon rice wine
  • 1 teaspoon cornstarch
  • 1/2 teaspoon sesame oil
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 3 dashes white pepper

Stir fry

  • 8 ounces flank steak. Cut into bite sized pieces
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1-1 inch piece garlic, peeled and sliced thin
  • 3 green onions, cut into 2 inch lengths
  • 1 can water chestnuts, chopped
  • Cooked rice, egg rolls or crab rangoon, for serving
Place all the ingredients for the marinade in a resealable bag. Place beef inside and toss to coat. Let marinate for at least 15 minutes. 

When done marinating, heat 1 tablespoon of the oil in a wok or skillet over high heat. Stir-fry the beef until the beef is browned on  the outside but still pink inside. Place on a dish and set aside.

Heat the remaining oil in the same wok or skillet over high heat. Add the garlic, ginger, green onions and water chestnuts and stir from until aromatic. Add back the beef and good until no longer pink, about 1-2 minutes. Serve beef mixture with rice, egg rolls and/or crab rangoon.

Shredded pork burritos with tomatillo sauce

Aren't slow cooker's the greatest thing ever? I just love that I can put everything together the night before, and have minimal work to do when I get home. This pork recipe is more sweet than spicy for tacos-probably good if you have picky eaters.

But--those of you that like spicy food, do not dispair. I made the tomatillo sauce a bit spicy and it was absolutely heavenly. I wish I had more recipes for tomatillos. I will be honest, I don't really know what they are or how I should use them, but I always like when I do use them.

TIP: Since this is a bone-in roast, when I remove the bones, I put them in a gallon freezer bag, and keep in the freezer. Once the bag is full of bones, I'll make a bone broth out of it!

I will say though, I got to use my new Ninja blender for this, but ended up cutting my finger on the blade (it's really sharp!) :(  I am fine, but it definitely hurts!

Scott always makes fun of me for the amount of stuff I put in my tacos/burritos. Do you think it's too much for one girl to eat??

My burrito

Tomatillo sauce
Shredded pork burritos with tomatillo sauce-adapted from Taste of Home's Easy Back to School Meals
Total time: 9 hours
Serves 16
For the pork:
  • 1 bone-in pork shoulder roast (5 pounds)
  • 2 tablespoons plus 1/2 cup packed brown sugar, divided
  • 3 teaspoons paprika, divided
  • 2 teaspoons crushed red pepper flakes
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 12 ounces cola
  • 1 cup chicken broth
  • 1 large onion, thinly sliced
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
For the sauce:
  • 1 cup mayonnaise
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 2 tomatillos, husks removed
  • 2 tablespoons dried cilantro
  • 1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and diced
  • 1 envelope ranch dressing mix
  • 1 tablespoon lime juice
  • 1 garlic clove, peeled
  • 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 16 flour tortillas
  • Cheese, black olives, lettuce, sour cream-for serving
Place roast in a greased 5-quart slow cooker. Cover with 2 tablespoons brown sugar, 2 teaspoons paprika, pepper flakes, cumin, salt, cola, chicken broth, onion and garlic. Cover and cook on low for 8-10 hours or until meat is tender. 

Shred the meat (sometimes I can do it right in the crock, sometimes I need to put it on a cutting board-do whatever is comfortable for you). Discard the bones. Return meat to slow cooker if removed. Stir in remaining brown sugar and paprika. Cover and continue to cook on low until heated through and sauce is done.

For the sauce, in a blender, combine the mayonnaise, milk, tomatillos, cilantro, jalapeno, ranch mix, lime juice, garlic and cayenne. Cover and process until blended. Pour into a small bowl and chill until serving.

Using a slotted spoon, fill each tortilla with your desired amount of pork, and top with you favorite toppings and the tomatillo sauce.

Italian pork chops

Oh man. You guys will love this recipe. It includes a tad bit more than a 'set it and forget it' to thicken the sauce, but it's still incredibly easy. I think my favorite part is that it makes a TON of sauce. I have a bunch left over that I plan on using this week for a recipe. We're working on moving into a new place, and once that is done, I want to learn to can, and I think this would be a great recipe!

Anyway, This is one of the easiest meals I've made! The flavors were fantastic even though there wasn't too much to it. The pork ended up super tender, you didn't even need a fork! I served over pasta for the extra sauce.

Italian pork chops-adapted from Taste of Home's Easy Back to School Meals
Total time: 6 hours
Serves 4

  • 4 boneless pork chops
  • 1/2 pound fresh mushrooms
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 2 cans (8 ounces each) tomato sauce
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried basil
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried parsley flakes
  • 1/4 cup cornstarch
  • 1/4 cup cold water
  • Cooked pasta of your choice, for serving
In a 4-5 quart greased slow cooker, place the pork chops, mushrooms, onions and garlic. Top with tomato sauce, lemon juice, salt, oregano, basil and parsley. Cover and cook for 6-8 hours on low, or until pork is tender and cooked through.

Remove pork to an oven-safe dish, and place in an oven preheating to 250 degrees. This will keep them warm. Transfer the sauce to a medium sauce pan. 

In a small bowl, combine cornstarch and water and mix until smooth. Add to saucepan and bring mixture to a boil. Cook and stir for 2 minutes or until thickened. Serve over pork chops and pasta.

Thursday, January 22, 2015

BBQ Shredded Beef

Using honey chipotle barbecue sauce may be my new favorite thing for shredded beef. It adds a bit of heat, but not too much that I don't like it. I did cook the beef on high for about 4 hours and it was very tough where it really didn't get shredded, but I had to slice it instead.

I know I don't normally post specific brands in my ingredient listings. You can certainly trade them out, but Sweet Baby Ray's is the only way to go for shredded beef in my opinion!

BBQ Shredded Beef-adapted from Tasty Kitchen
Total Time: 5 hours
Serves 8

  • 3 pound beef chuck roast
  • Garlic salt and seasoned pepper to taste
  • 1-16 ounce bottle Sweet Baby Ray's Honey Chipotle BBQ Sauce
  • 1 12-ounce can beer (I used Sierra Nevada Pale Ale)
  • 1-22 ounce bottle Sweet Baby Ray's Traditional BBQ Sauce
  • Rolls and cheese for serving
Rub the roast with garlic salt and seasoned pepper to taste. Place roast in a greased 5-quart slow cooker and cover with remaining ingredients. Cover and cook on high for 4-5 hours.

Take out beef and shred or slice. Return to slow cooker and serve with rolls.

Sunday, January 4, 2015

Herbed rib roast

As part of one of our Christmas presents, Scott's dad bought us a giant rib roast! I was so excited to make it, and it gave us a great reason to try out our rotisserie (don't worry, I have instructions if you don't have a rotisserie too). It was absolutely phenomenal, and I can't wait to make it again as we had to cut the roast in half it was so big!

Herbed rib roast-adapated from Taste of Home
Total time: 1 hour 30 miniutes (rotisserie), 2 hours (oven)
Serves 8-10

  • 1 beef ribeye roast (4-5 pounds)
  • 3 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried basil
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried parsley
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried majoram
Cut slits into the roast and insert the slices of garlic. Rub the roast with the seasonings. If making in a rotisserie: follow rotisserie instructions for loading and cook times. Ours took about 1 hour, 20 minutes.

If making in the oven: Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Place roast on a roasting pan fat side up. Bake uncovered for 2-2 1/2 hours or until cooked to desired doneness. (Medium rare is 145 degrees).

Saturday, January 3, 2015

Steakhouse potatoes

Oh. Em. Gee. Let me tell you about these potatoes. I think I'm pretty good at making mashed potatoes but these were something else. I couldn't. Stop. Eating them. You won't be sorry making these.

Steakhouse potatoes-adapted from Ree on Tasty Kitchen
Total time: 25 minutes
Serves 4

  • 5 large red potatoes, quartered
  • 1 stick butter, softened and cut into pieces
  • 5 slices bacon, cooked and crumbled
  • 2 green onions, sliced
  • 3/4 cup sour cream
  • Salt to taste
  • Pepper to taste
  • 3/4 cup french fried onions
  • 1 cup cheddar cheese
Boil potatoes as if you are making mashed potatoes-about 20 minutes. Drain and return to pan. Smash with a potato masher and add in all other ingredients, mixing well. Top with additional cheese and french friend onions, if desired.

Garlic and butter green beans

This is such a simple recipe, but it's so good. It's probably all the butter. I seriously cannot say no :)

Garlic and butter green beans-adapted from thechefs(ex)wife on Tasty Kitchen
Total time: 20 minutes
Serves 4

  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 pound frozen green beans, thawed
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
Melt butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Add remaining ingredients and saute until heated through, 5 to 15 minutes depending on if beans are still frozen. 


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