Showing posts with label recipes. Show all posts
Showing posts with label recipes. Show all posts

Sunday, September 28, 2014

slowcooker sausage + apple stuffed acorn squash

I shared a picture of this recipe last week on our Facebook page and received a lot of requests for the recipe.  This is so easy to put together and cooks in about 4 hours on LOW in the slowcooker, so it is a great weekend dinner.  Although, if you have a slowcooker with a timer you could do it while you are away from the house. 


Slowcooker Sausage + Apple Stuffed Acorn Squash
2 acorn squash, halved with seeds removed
1 apple, chopped
1/2 onion, minced
1 stalk of celery, chopped
1 lb of ground sausage
5 sage leaves, chopped
1 egg, beaten
Parmesan, small handful
Salt and Pepper, to taste
1 1/2 c. of chicken broth
Saute apple, onion, and celery in pan until soft.  Let cool a bit and combine with remaining ingredients (except chicken broth).  Stuff squash with mixture. Place in crockpot (I used my largest one so that they would all fit). Pour chicken broth into bottom of crockpot.  Cook on LOW for about 4 hours or until cooked through, Enjoy!

Thursday, April 17, 2014

why you should prebake sweet potatoes

Sweet potatoes are delicious and super good for you. Not everyone is a fan, though. Including my hubs. Bad news is...I'm still pushing them every chance I get. Because they are delicious and versatile. If you're the type of home cook who likes to prepare some stuff at the start of the week to help streamline the dinner process throughout the rest of the week then I highly suggest you add pre baking sweet potatoes to your to do list. They keep in a Ziploc bag for about 5 days. Here's five things you can do with them...

Have one for breakfast! Warm it up. Slice it, add Greek yogurt, real maple syrup, and nuts. You just had a veggie for breakfast.

Scoop it out and chop it up. Warm it up with some premade lentils and/or bulgur. Or any grain will do. Make a mustard-y dressing, toss a handfuls of fresh herbs, and feta or goat cheese. Viola! You just made an awesome lunch or side dish for dinner.

Scoop it out and spread it on a quesadilla. Add kale, salsa, and cheese. Broil in the oven for about 5 -7 minutes. You just made dinner.

Put last night's leftover pulled pork or shredded pork taco filling on top.  Leftovers made fancy!

Scoop it out. Mash it up with chicken broth, a bit of butter, and S&P to taste. Warm it up and serve it with grilled chicken and a green veg like kale or Brussels sprouts. Best dinner ever.

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

march: month of meals

super cute cake topper 

March is almost upon us. And with it, hopefully, Spring. I'm a little ahead of the curve (by like 3 days, but that's good for me) and have the monthly meal plan for March ready to go. My MIL gave me one of those Taste of Home cookbooks so a lot of these are from it. Email me or FB message me if you want recipe from there (*Taste of Home Quick Cooking Annual Recipes 2014). I'm happy to send it to you. This month is always a delicate balance for me....I'm trying to will Spring while staying warm. I also hope that sometime in the month of March I will be able to dig into the ground and get some seeds buried.  Maybe some kale or even radishes.  We shall see. Without further ado...

Slowcooker Corned Beef and Cabbage
Slowcooker Pork Satay*
Slowcooker Pepperoni Pizza Soup*
Cornmeal Dusted Flounder with Black Bean-Corn Salad*
Shrimp and Pineapple Kabobs with Rice*
Creamy Herb Salmon with Rice Pilaf and Greens*
Sweet Chili Salmon with Blackberries and Rice*
10 Minute Macaroni and Cheese
Meatball Pizza Pockets and Salad
Antipasto Braid with Salad*
Reuben Bake (using leftover corned beef)
Greek Fish Fillets with Rice and Peas*
Pizza Burgers* with Fries (this oven fry recipe is my go-to)
Pork Schnitzel and Cabbage*
Slowcooker Italian Shredded Beef Stew*
Chicken Lo Mein
Spaghetti Squash Lasagna Bowls with Salad and Crusty Bread
Loaded Nachos
Slowcooker Veggie Lasagna
Roasted Beef, Mushroom, and Barley Stew
Slowcooker Korean Ribs with Rice and Bok Choy
Slowcooker Lentil and Sausage Stew
Black Beans and Sausage
Roasted Chicken with Mashed Potatoes and Veggies
You can always check out my food boards on Pinterest for ideas and our What's For Dinner Tab, too.

*Taste of Home Quick Cooking Annual Recipes 2014

Monday, February 10, 2014

top 10 {new} crockpot recipes

About a year and half ago, I sent Jenny at DALS an email with my Top Ten Crockpot Recipes for Parents.  Clearly, people were looking for some tried and true crockpot recipes because that post and my Korean Ribs continue to be the most popular reads on this site. It goes to show you that reaching out and sharing is always a good thing. And since I am a crockpot junkie I am always trying new recipes. So, in the spirit of sharing, here are ten more tried and true crockpot recipes. The following have all been winners and have made the "on rotation" list.

spaghetti squash and meatballs ready to go in the crockpot

Here are my ten {new} favorites for parents or novice crockpotters:

Spaghetti Squash and Meatballs (so stupid simple)
Lentil and Sausage Stew (great way to introduce lentils)
Chicken Taco soup (party winner!)
Corn Chowder with Shrimp (Hendrix's fav)
Veggie Lasagna (only time cheese and my crockpot work together)
Holiday Ham (see below)
Franks and Beans (the boys' favorite and my favorite for summer)
Salisbury Steak (a mike favorite and winter keeper)
Black Bean, Barley, and Corn Burritos (great vegetarian options, but adjust seasonings to your tastes)
Banana Bread (yes, bread)


Holiday Ham
After trying a few different crockpot ham recipes I found this way works the best for me.  You'll want to use the largest crockpot and tent foil if the lid does not go on all the way.  This ham makes an appearance at most of our gatherings...from Baptisms to Christmas. It couldn't be easier. 

1 good quality, spiral cut, bone in ham
1 c. Maple Syrup
3/4 cup Brown Sugar,
Pepper, to taste
Place ham in crockpot. Drizzle maple syrup all over.  Sprinkle brown sugar and pepper on top.  Pat into ham.  Pour about 1/2 cup of water into bottom of crockpot.  Cook on low for about 4-5 hours or until heated through.  Do not over cook.  Enjoy.

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

february: month of meals

if you do nothing else this month, at least enjoy some hot cocoa.

I'm back to my monthly meal plan.  Albeit, a few days late.  I really like having a plan every month and doing one giant trip.  I still have to run to the store every week or so for things like milk and fresh fruit, but the monthly thing works for us.  I should say that Mike runs to the store with me which helps a lot when it comes to bagging the groceries and unloading the car.  Also, he can pick out all the snacks he wants.  This month the groceries will run us about $400 dollars with all of our shopping done at Aldi and Fareway. (Have you checked out Aldi's new organic line? The salsa is amazing.  Try it!) So here is our meal plan for the month, including snacks that I like to make and keep in the fridge...

Black Eyed Peas with Leeks and Chicken Sausages
Fish BLTs with Fries
Spanish Meatloaf with Roasted Veggies and Cheesy Sweet Potatoes
Stuffed Steak with Warm Wilted Kale and Roasted Potato Salad (date night IN)
Crockpot Spaghetti Squash and Meatballs
Pan Roasted Flounder with Chopped Winter Salad
Magic Macaroni & Cheese
Pasta Carbonara with Peas
Crockpot Paella
Crockpot Venison Greek Wraps
Steak with Mushroom Sauce and Cauliflower Puree (Valentine's Day)
Crockpot Chili
Crockpot Stuffed Peppers
Crockpot Maple and Mustard Pot Roast with Roasted Veggies and Grits
Mustard Glazed Salmon with Lentils
Crockpot BBQ Chicken Pulled Sammies with Coleslaw (I dump BBQ sauce and chicken in the crockpot)
Homemade Chicken Nuggets with Mango Dipping Sauce and Salad
Runza Casserole
Hendrix's Great Grandma's Meatballs (similiar to DALS' porcupine meatballs)
Mongolian Tofu Stirfry

{Snacks | Big Batch Salads}
Country Pate'
Cold Noodle Salad
Lentil and Sweet Potato Salad
Dark Chocolate & Trail Mix Bites
On Fridays, we have Family Movie Night which means we usually make pizza or get take-out so I don't include those on my meal plan. I let the boys decide the day of what they want, but I always have pizza dough or frozen pizzas in the fridge.  A lot of these recipes are new to me so I am anxious to give them a try.  Hope this month gives you time to sit with your family and share a meal.

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

mom's chicken and rice casserole revisted

To say that my mother wasn't much of a cook when I was growing up would be an understatement. She only made a few dishes and they were as follows...
  Shit On A Shingle (boil in the bag chipped beef poured on toast)
  Beef Stew (a can of UNDRAINED Veg-All mixed with ground beef)
  Hot Beef Sandwiches (can of brown gravy poured on toast-no beef or potatoes)
  Chicken and Rice Casserole (made off the Campbell's soup can)
She served Twinkies as breakfast or mixed cereals in one bowl.  Nothing like thinking you scored Fruit Loops for breakfast only to find soggy Corn Flakes four bites in.  The only fresh vegetable we ever had was potatoes.  Boiled.  You could smash it yourself at the table with butter. We always had bananas, though.  Or fruit cocktail. HA!
Her chicken and rice casserole was the only thing edible.  Most nights we just had TV dinners (Kid Cuisine, anyone??) or ate out.  We were regulars at Grandmother's and Julio's.  HOWEVER, despite this...I still crave that damn chicken and rice casserole.  Especially the one's she made where, just to be crazy, she added slices of American cheese.  The casserole wasn't even cooked properly half of the time.  Often, the Minute rice managed to be under-cooked, even though, it had spent a hour in the oven. I'm sure my brother does not crave it since she insisted on making it with Cream of Mushroom even though my brother abhors mushrooms.  He still does.
That all being said, I have never successfully recreated that culinary abomination. I have followed the directions on the back of the can, looked it up on All Recipes, everything.  She must of been doing something nuts. Or it as simple as, sometimes you cannot recreate the tastes of childhood.
On A Chef's Life, Vivian Howard made chicken and rice with her mother and admitted to her mother and viewers that her mom's was better.  Vivian is an extraordinary executive chef at Chef and The Farmer in North Carolina.  So I suppose if she has a hard time recreating her mother's dishes, so would I.
Recreating OTHER people's childhood dishes seems to be much easier.  Mike grew up eating these meatballs that had macaroni in them.  They were made in a sweet tomato sauce.  They are very similar to the DALS porcupine meatballs.  I finally made them.  They were delicious and just as Mike remembered them. so there you go.
I wonder what dishes my children will remember and crave when they fly the coop?  Will it be my Magic Macaroni & Cheese? Or Pasta with Bacon & Peas (pasta carbonara)? Who knows.  The point is all children remember something their mom or dad made them when they were growing up.  No matter how much or little their parents cooked.  Or how well.
This Mom's Chicken and Rice Casserole 
{I had a fierce craving last I made my own version.}
2 lbs boneless, skinless chicken
1 can of cream of chicken
3 c. cooked rice
2 heads of broccoli, cut
Shredded Cheddar
Cook chicken in cream of chicken soup in Crockpot on high for 3 hours.  Remove chicken and chop up.  Put back in crockpot, add cooked rice, cheese, and broccoli.  Combine well.  Pour into greased 9x13 baking dish. Top with more cheese. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes.

Sunday, January 26, 2014

one pot wonder | black beans and kielbasa

This is one of those recipes that I don't make enough. It is always a winner and calls on ingredients I always have in my house. Luckily, my people like beans so I incorporate those cheap suckers into any meal I can. I came across this in an Everyday Food magazine years ago and have been making a variation ever since. This will take you about 35 minutes from start to finish so it's a perfect weeknight pantry meal.
Black Beans and Kielbasa
Olive Oil
1 lb of beef or turkey kielbasa, cut up
3 carrots, diced
1/2 onion, diced
2 cloves of garlic, minced
2 (15.5 oz) cans of black beans, drained & rinsed
2 C chicken broth
Small handful of chopped parsley
Plain Greek yogurt, for serving
In Dutch oven, heat oil and add carrots and onion. Cook until onions are soft. Add sausage and brown. Add garlic and cook until fragrant. Pour beans and broth into mixture. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer until carrots are tender.  Remove from heat and stir in parsley. Serve with a dollop of yogurt and enjoy.

Friday, January 24, 2014

chocolate chip blueberry breakfast quinoa | pinterest test

Is breakfast a tough one in your house, too? It is in mine. Mostly, because it calls on me to provide for my children before consuming an entire pot of coffee.  I'm always trolling Pinterest to find simple breakfast recipes that are filling and add some variety to our usual scrambled eggs. I found this breakfast quinoa a few weeks ago. This is a go-to breakfast for us, now.  I was a little skeptical about blueberries and chocolate together, but I am now a believer.  I have to double the recipe from what How Sweet Eats shows to feed all fours of us.  I have also used just regular ol' butter and milk, too.  Almond milk is super great, too. Either way, give it a go! Chocolate chips make mornings better.
Chocolate Chip Blueberry Breakfast Quinoa
1 C blueberries
1 1/2 cup + more for drizzling of milk, your choice
1 C quinoa, uncooked
1/2 C mini chocolate chips
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
Generous pinch of salt
4 teaspoons vanilla (adjust if using flavored milk)
1 tablespoon coconut oil or butter
In saucepan, heat butter or oil.  Add dry quinoa and coat with oil or butter. Toast quinoa for a few minutes or until you smell it. Add milk, cinnamon, salt, and vanilla. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat, cover, & simmer for 15 minutes. Just as you would if prepping plain quinoa. Fluff with fork. Divide into bowls, to with chocolate chips and blueberries, drizzle milk, and enjoy!

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

slowcooker lentil & sausage stew | pinterest test

perfect baby eating perfect baby food. :)

I came across this recipe on Pinterest last weekend.  I had all the ingredients, so I decided to give it a whirl.  It came out delicious and everyone liked it.  Especially Violet Alice.  Lentils are the perfect baby food. I added garlic and used the entire package (16 oz.) of Italian sausage. This does not and could not cook all day, unless you have a crockpot with a timer.  So save this for a day you can be home to throw it together later in the afternoon.
Slowcooker Lentil and Sausage Stew
1 package of Italian sausage, cut up
2 cloves of garlic, sliced
2 c. of beef broth
1 can (14.5 oz.0 of diced tomatoes
3 carrots, chopped
1 c. of lentils
2 large handfuls of spinach
Combine everything but the spinach in the crockpot.  Cook on high for 3 hrs or low for 5 hours.  A 1/2 before done, add spinach.  Cook until spinach is wilted and lentils are tender.  Enjoy! (We ate ours with cornbread. Delicious!)

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

oven stew + skillet cookie

Me and Mike's anniversary was on Monday. We celebrated on Saturday night by having a delicious dinner at Lot 2 and checking out some the breweries in Benson. On Monday, I decided to make a Guinness Beef Stew for dinner. Beef Stew was one of the dishes we served at our wedding. Then I discovered we had drank all the Guinness. Whoops! So I decided to use red wine and try a few techniques out. I saw on an America's Test Kitchen episode where they made a stew in the oven and added the veggies later in the cooking time. Adding the veggies later prevents mushy veggies. They also omitted the browning of the meat.  Cooking in the oven imparts a roasted flavor. It combines a stew with the cooking technique of short ribs or pot roast, meaning you assemble it, stick in the oven and forget it. Perhaps you all heard of making a stew in the oven, but I have not. This is my kind of cooking.
Later in the afternoon, I had a massive craving for chocolate. But I had no butter softened or really all that much chocolate to bake with.  I recalled seeing a skillet cookie somewhere, but couldn't find the one I wanted. So I sort of made one up. It was so, so good. Mike thinks we should only make cookies this way. You make it and bake it inn the skillet. No soft butter needed. No dishes.
Oven Stew
1 Chuck Roast, cut into cubes, salt & peppered
1 onion, minced
3 cloves of garlic, minced
Olive Oil
3/4 C of good red wine
4 C beef broth
1 heaping teaspoon of Italian seasoning
4 carrots, cut into chunks
3 potatoes, peeled and cut into chunks
1 container of mushrooms, 8 oz
Preheat oven to 325 degrees. In dutch oven, heat olive oil and saute onion until soft. Add garlic and cook until fragrant. Stir in seasoning. Cook 30 seconds. Pour in wine and scrape bits off of bottom of pan. Cook about 2 minutes. Pour in broth and add beef. Stick in oven with lid ajar. Cook about 1 1/2 to 2 hours. Add veggies and cook for another hour or so. Until veggies are tender and meet is fork tender. Enjoy.

Skillet Cookie
1 stick of butter
1/2 cup of brown sugar, packed
1/2 cup of white sugar
1 t of vanilla
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups of flour
1 cup of chocolate chip
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In an 8" oven safe skillet (I used cast iron), melt butter. Stir in sugars and vanilla. Remove from heat. When warm and not hot to the touch, add egg. Carefully, mix in dry ingredients. Fold in chocolate chips. The batter will be thick and somewhat difficult to work with, but stick with it. Spread evenly in pan. Bake for about 20 minutes or until edges are golden. Serve warm. Enjoy.

Monday, January 13, 2014

farro with sausage and apples

Happy New Year! Turns out, transitioning from one to two children is more difficult than none to one. It has been for me, anyways. Ha! Also, time seems to be on fast forward with Violet Alice. She's already standing and cruising. That among other things explains my lack of posting.I'm still figuring out what to make of this space. I also received an email from a disgruntled reader while I was pregnant. It left a bad taste in my mouth and forced me to review how I handle criticism. I ended up deleting a post. Which I now regret. You can't make everyone happy. In the end, I decided that this space is mine and what I want to say, how I want to say it, and what I want to share is my business. And I like sharing. The Internet is awesome and it allows you to connect with way more awesome people than not.  People keep linking back,so I must be doing something right. For the most part, though, I've been spending time with my family. Which has been so, so great.  Also, in the end, this space is a record of my family's life and it gives me great joy.

There has also been a lack of Trader Joe's in my life until recently. Over the Holidays I took a job as a fragrance rep. It put me near TJ's. We have been reunited and it feels so good. Let's talk about the 10 minute farro packets. They also have bulgur and barley. I realize I am late to this party, but better late than never!! I bought the farro one and gave the recipe on the back a whirl. I have been trying to add more grains and variety to our dinner plate.  I like to have a protein, starch, and veg on the dinner plate.  So I have been trying to replace the usual starches (potatoes, rice, pasta) with different grains. This recipe was great, easy, and budget friendly. I estimate the whole thing cost about $10 to make. That is including the cabbage I served alongside.
Farro with Sausage and Apples
1 packet of farro from TJ's, prepared in broth according to package directions.
1 onion chopped
1 large apple, chopped
1 clove of garlic, minced
1 package of chicken sausage, removed from casing and crumbled
Olive Oil
In dutch oven, heat olive oil and saute onion, garlic, and apple until soft.  Add sausage and cook through. Stir in farro and season with salt and pepper.  Serve warm.  We had sauteed cabbage as a side. 

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

march: month of meals

printable found here

i have no idea what happened to the month of february.  all i know is that is almost over, i only have 10 weeks left of this pregnancy, and it's time to go to the grocery store again. february was weird in the dinner department.  i had a lot more leftovers then i thought i would and was lazy (think frozen pizzas and ravioli) more than normal. also, we had a few family dinners and events that i forgot to factor into my planning. i am growing a human, so that is my excuse.  so some recipes did not get made and that is why you see them on this month's meal plan, as well.  looks like my grocery bill will be quite cheap this month! speaking of, in case you missed it, the lincoln journal star interviewed me about my grocery shopping habits.  you can read the article here.

1. stout corned beef with roasted potatoes, cabbage, and carrots (st. patty's day)
2. slowcooker potato soup (lenten dinner)
3. chicken and sausage pot pies
4. fish sandwiches with sweet potato fries + coleslaw (lenten dinner)
5. spinach + shroom lasagna (lenten dinner)
6. beef + scallion skewers with bok choy
7. crockpot salisbury steak with potatoes and veggies
8. spaghetti + meatballs with salad and garlic bread (hendrix's birthday dinner)
9. crockpot asian pork + mushrooms
10. crockpot stuffed peppers
11. tortellini soup (lenten dinner)
12. white beans with spinach, shrimp + feta (lenten dinner)
13. baked sausages + latkes
14. parmesan chicken cutlets with salad
15. rueben bake (use leftover corned beef)
16. yogurt marinated chicken + creamy greek sauce
17. chicken enchilada puffs
18. steak salad
19. sloppy joes with zuke fries
20. meatball subs with salad (use leftover meatballs)
21. grilled pork tenderloin with black bean salsa
22. vension roast with roasted veggies + mashed potatoes
23. macaroni + cheese 

noodle soup (ramen noodles without the gross flavor packet amped up with shredded veggies)
greek couscous salad (couscous, tomato, cukes, scallions, feta, olive oil, and lemon)
cabbage, apple, + walnut salad

breakfast tacos
granola + yogurt

cut veggies
goldfish crackers

* if there is no link that is because i either just make it up or figure it is basic enough for everyone to figure out (i.e. spaghetti + meatballs)
** for more dinner ideas or monthly meal plans, check out the what's for dinner page.
i'll (hopefully) be back later this month to talk about hendrix's john deere birthday party, easter dessert ideas, and how our cooking class at the heart ministry center goes next week.

Saturday, January 26, 2013

february: month of meals

i'm sticking with my monthly meal planning.  it seems to really work for us and is super awesome on the days when i have no desire to cook.  it's much easier to throw something together when you already have a stocked kitchen and plan.  since, the baby is due at the beginning of may i have started working on my postpartum meal plan.  you know since when we brought hendrix home we had nothing to eat.  this time will be different, though, since we don't really have air conditioning in the kitchen and it can get quite warm already in may and june i am focusing on premade meals that don't require the oven.  you can check out some of my ideas on my pinterest board.  this month i am also testing or retesting a lot of these recipes to see how quick they really are, as well as, testing out some of the quick, premade freezer meals from costco and trader joe's that other folks have suggested.
1. crockpot shrimp + bacon corn chowder
2. italian chicken bake
3. spaghetti with costco meatballs
4. crockpot beef + broccoli
5. beef + scallion skewers with bok choy
6. zuppa toscana soup
7. crockpot asian pork + mushrooms
8. rueben bake
9. roasted veggie tacos
10. sour cream chicken enchiladas
11. crockpot salisbury steak with potatoes & veggies
12. stromboli
13. crockpot frank + beans with slaw
14. philly cheesesteak sandwiches on bretzel rolls
15. pot pies
16. pork schintzel with sour cream mashed potatoes and sweet + sour cabbage
17. beef + snow peas
18. fajitas
19. chicken cutlets with salad
20. sausage + latkes
21. sloppy joes
22. greek burgers with greek cous cous salad
23. mini meatloaves with taters and veggies
24. crockpot chili
25. crockpot stuffed peppers

chicken wrap
creamy kale salad
black bean + quinoa salad
salad with melty goat cheese crouton

cut veggies
bread with nut butter
bran muffins

Thursday, January 3, 2013

resolve to be good

so.  i am guessing we all have some sort of food resolutions going on in our head.  it is the new year, after all.  i don't really have one since i am pregnant and have been eating pretty well.  i've already gained less weight then when i was prego with hendrix.  the first time i really thought i was eating for two.  turns out, you're not.  so.  my only resolutions are to mentally list every night (or morning if i was too tired the night before to think)  what i am grateful for and what i did RIGHT that day.  as well as, to commit to completing something creative every month.  i know, as a mother and wife, i put myself on the back burner. a lot.  then i start to feel guilty or short tempered.  then it is a domino effect of bad decisions weather with my eating, sleep, money spending, or how i am talking to others.  so, i am going to try to be kinder to myself and to do things that bring me happiness.  i am confident that this will spill over into all the facets of life.  the first half of this year will be growing this baby.  the second half will be taking care of newborn and introducing a new person to our family of three. i am going to take easy on myself.  because you know what?  most of us are doing good.  there's nothing wrong with wanting be better, but sometimes "good enough" needs to be enough.
HOWEVER.  we all have some food battle we want to win.  mine is my battle with sugar.  i love it.  the good thing and the blessing in disguise is that this baby does not.  if i eat sweets, i get sick.  baby does not like.  hendrix loved sweets and still does. i pretty much lived on apple fritters and cherry pie when i was pregnant with him.  healthy, i know.  so, i thought i would share some yummy and pretty darn healthy recipes & ideas with ya'll.  as well as, a cake recipe.  because who can resist?

my new favorite salad.  cabbage, apple, and walnut salad.  we made out on NYE.

got clementines? make this cake.  it's actually not the most unhealthy cake.

take the 7 day challenge.  7 new recipes in 14 days.  jump start dinner and get out of the rut!

make $20 stretch and help folks with real food problems

start planning.  month of meals.

this is the next salad that i'm going to make out with.  i love salads that can hold their own in the fridge for a bit.

finally, breakfast tacos!  i crave protein like nobody's business with this baby.  i made these up earlier and have been eating them for breakfast, lunch, and snack time.

breakfast tacos
1 egg, scrambled
1 fajita size tortilla, whole wheat ot whatever your prefer
1 1/2 T. salsa
small handful of shredded cheddar
2 T. smashed black beans or refried beans
dollop of sour cream or plain yogurt
avocado or cilantro, optional
in toaster oven or microwave, melt cheese on tortilla.  fill with beans, eggs, salsa, and sour cream. enjoy! 

Monday, December 31, 2012

january month of meals

last month, i planned our dinners out for the month.  it was the first time i had done it and i have to say i really enjoyed it.  we did save a bit of money, ate out less, and always had a quick meal to make.  most of the dinners i chose i could buy the ingredients for once, while others required perishables, i just had mike pick them up on our weekly milk + bread run.  i did find that i over planned a bit and did not end up needing as many dinners.  so you will see some repeats and less dinners this month.  what i did do right was picking up some frozen things like veggies, cheese pizza, and ravioli.  they really helped on those days that i was super tired.  and, frankly, if you are making dinner from scratch most of the can give yourself a break and throw a frozen pizza in the oven.  this isn't food network.  it's just dinner.  so, here's the plan for this month.  i hope it helps with any new year's resolutions you may have...

dinner ideas
1. roasted veggie tacos with vigo brand rice + beans (add meat for mike's tacos)
2. salmon burgers with salad
3. tomato glazed meatloaf with mashed potatoes + spinach (smitten kitchen cookbook)
4. baked sausages with colcannon + applesauce
5. korean ribs with rice + cabbage
6. sausage bean + kale stew
7. ham + bean soup
8. refried bean enchiladas (vension for mike)
9. spaghetti with caramelized onion, spinach, and parm
10. beef stroganoff with noodles and roasted broccoli
11. crockpot chili with cornbread
12. beef shortribs with polenta and veggies
13. crockpot jambalaya
14. sweet + sour chicken with rice (time for dinner cookbook)
15. chicken + sausage potpies (i just use storebought pie crust)
16. sausage + latkes
17. frozen cheese ravioli with veggie sauce and sausage
18. pizza pockets with salad
19. italian sausage + peppers
20. grilled cheese with tomato soup
21. chicken cutlets with arugula salad
22. red lentil soup

breakfast ideas
yogurt + granola
huevos rancheros
sweet potato hash
whole wheat waffles
whole wheat muffins
whole wheat bagels
cinnamon raisin french toast (sundays)

lunch ideas
quinoa + fried egg

snack ideas
cottage cheese
hardboiled eggs
granola bars
goldfish crackers
veggies + dip
chips + salsa

Friday, December 28, 2012

cranberry clementine muffins

while we all come down off the roller coaster of the last few weeks and get ready for the new year...let's eat some muffins. pour yourself some coffee or make some orange tea.  sit down and breathe.  muffins make the morning better.
cranberry + clementine muffins (adapted from how to cook everything)
1 1/2 c. all purpose flour
1/2 c. whole wheat flour
1/2 c. of sugar
3 t. baking powder
1 t. cinnamon
1 c. milk, plus more if needed
1 large egg
3 T. of melted, cooled butter or vegetable oil
1 c. of cranberries, can be frozen but do not defrost
1/2 c. of slivered almonds
zest of 2 clementines
preheat oven to 400 degrees. whisk flours, sugar, baking powder, and cinnamon together.  in another bowl, combine milk, egg, and butter (or oil).  make a well in dry ingredients and pour wet ingredients into well.  gently combine.  batter should be thick, but moist.  add more milk, if necessary.  fold in cranberries, almonds, and clementine zest.  grease and fill muffin pan.  bake for 20-30 minutes or until golden.  makes 12 regular size muffins.
*muffins can be fully cooled and frozen.  but they are so good warm from the oven.

Saturday, December 1, 2012

a month of meals

i've either entered the nesting phase or have WAY too much time on my hands.  however, i have read on quite a few blogs lately and talked with a few friends...apparently planning meals out and doing the shopping for a month of dinners is a money saver/time saver.  i already spend very little on groceries, but lately we have been going over our budget.  mostly, because with this pregnancy comes pregnancy brain, morning sickness, and "ohmygodiamsotired i can't even make a sandwich". it all leads to eating out more and/or prepackaged dinners bought at the last minute. both not all that delicious.
also, i think by not really planning out snacks and lunches and times that i can't bear to prepare food, i end up leaving myself with a kitchen with no back up plan.  supermom isn't making as many appearances these days. hence, the frozen pizza and ravioli on my grocery list.
so....i went down the road of crazy and planned a month of meals. feel free to poach any or all of these for your own planning purposes.
a few things... this plan took me about an hour to do.  i stuck with mostly staple dinners and threw a couple of new recipes in there. i typically have a pretty well stocked pantry so i just needed to replace a few items.  it may vary based on your pantry. the meat, frozen food, and pantry items will be purchased once this month.  some of the produce that keeps well, like carrots, potatoes, onions, and sugar snap peas, will be purchased once. the same with the dairy...some like shredded cheese i can buy once and freeze or some like buttermilk have a long shelf life. otherwise, i will (of course) be making small, short trips to the store weekly based on what perishables i need to stock up on. or telling mike to do it. finally, i  did 26 dinners instead of 31 to allow room for leftovers and the holidays.  also, i will be picking 4 - 6 dinners from the list weekly to make instead of planning every single night of the month. the bulk of my shopping is done at costco, aldi, and fareway.

here is the meal plan:

cut veggies + dip (ranch seasoning with yogurt)
quick bread gone healthy (check pinterest)
granola + yogurt
bean dip
hard boiled eggs
cottage cheese
smoothies (i just buy a bunch of cheap frozen fruit and wing it)
granola bars ( we love these nature valley brand protein bars they sell at costco)
goldfish crackers (i'm succumbing)

grilled cheese
noodles or cheese ravioli

whole wheat pancakes
french toast
eggs + breakfast meat
biscuits + gravy (clearly reserved for the weekend. i'm not that much of a fatty.)

1. crockpot chile colorado burritos with rice
2. chili rellano casserole
3. lasagna with salad
4. crockpot chili
5. crockpot beef stroganoff with salad
6. beef satay with ramen in peanut ginger sauce
7. baked sausages with apples, onions, and potatoes
8. italian sausage meatball sandwiches with salad
9. sloppy joes with baked fries and cut veggies
10. baked penne with salad
11. crockpot stuffed peppers with mashed potatoes
12. sausage, bean, and kale stew
13. (venison) steak salad with tomatoes, onion, and bleu cheese
14. tuna noodle casserole with salad
15. venison roast with mashed potatoes and roasted carrots
16. shepard's pie (with leftover roast & potatoes from #15)
17. crockpot korean ribs with rice and braised cabbage
18. baked sausages with colcannon + applesauce (use cabbage from #17 for colcannon)
19. greek burgers with pita, cukes, tomatoes, feta, and onion
20. sausages with latkes + applesauce
21. braised short ribs with polenta and roasted veg (christmas dinner?)
22. venison enchiladas with rice
23. crockpot chili
24. baked fried chicken drumsticks with rainbow salad
25. macaroni + cheese
26. black eyed peas with leeks and kielbasa and cornbread (new years eve)

so far, i have spent about $100 - 150 less than i typically would for the whole month. we shall see how the rest of the month goes...i will give updates.  also, let me know if you all try this or already do it.  i'd love to hear your thoughts.  so far, i really like having a fully stocked kitchen with all the ingredients to make over half of these meals. now if only we could get a massive snow storm...
check out january's month of meals plan and to read more about what i learned by planning dinner out for a whole month!

Monday, November 26, 2012

tilapia with mustard cream sauce

years ago, when mike and i first started dating i used to make him dinners that included fish or chicken. then i learned that he thinks fish or chicken are diet meat. he's a farm boy, what can i say? sure we still eat fish or chicken, but not as often as i'd like. most of the time it is red meat or vegetarian with a side of meat for mike. plus, nothing sounds less appetizing then chicken when you are pregnant.  fish, though, i crave and love when i am pregnant. i have been craving this recipe that was one of the first meals i ever made for mike.  back then i am sure i served it with something very expected like rice and asparagus.  this time i served it with roasted potatoes and brussel sprouts.  it was as delicious as i remember and so easy.  wonderful for this holiday season where we need something fast, easy, and healthy for dinner. sure it has cream in it, but it is a minimal amount so you won't die. also, last night i felt baby #2 move for the first time (and boy was it having a party!!) so perhaps we have another fish lover in this family. hendrix chose to dip his dinner in the sauce because that's what toddlers do...they dip their food.
tilapia with mustard cream sauce
4 tilapia fillets (or any similar white fish)
fresh thyme
3/4 c. of chicken broth
2 T. cream
2 T. Dijon mustard
heat olive oil in a skillet.  season fish with salt, pepper, and thyme.  cook fish for 1 minute each side in  heated skillet. add chicken broth and bring to a simmer for about 3 minutes. carefully remove fish and keep warm.  at this point you can add a bit of sliced mushrooms or chopped spinach if you like.  if you do then just cook until veg is cooked through. whisk in cream and mustard.  cook until warm, about 1 minute.  serve sauce over fish. 

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

thankful tuesdays

good advice if you are preparing the feast.

we're all thankful for something this time of year. hopefully.  even in my family's darkest moments we have found gratitude.  i know this year has been full of ups and downs for everyone including my family.  i do hope that we all have a chance to gather on thursday, eat good food, and take a moment to give thanks.  here's what i am most thankful for...

  • my husband, my son, and the growing, very hungry baby in my belly 
  • the super folks  heroes at the heart ministry center that delivered thanksgiving meals for over 400 families in the omaha metro last saturday
  • my brother and his family who are making our thanksgiving feast
  • all the coats the preschool parents, parishioners, and CCD children at our preschool collected for the heart ministry center's clients
  • my MIL is getting better everyday and can use a walker and get herself out of chairs.  she'll be home in a couple of weeks!!
  • that i live a world where a parent can overcome his greatest grief to celebrate his children and make life better for other kids through art.
  • that it is tuesday which means it only two more days to my favorite holiday!!
have a happy thanksgiving all!
feeling guilty about all the yummy food? drink a smoothie.  smoothies solve almost all problems.

blueberry banana smoothie
1 frozen banana
1 c. frozen blueberries
1 1/2 T/ ground flax seed
1/2 c. vanilla yogurt
1/2 - 3/4 c. milk 
blend together in blender and feel the guilt melt away. 

Friday, November 16, 2012

homemade runzas

an actual runza.  

last week i posted runzas on my must haves for the freezer and had a few folks ask me what a runza is...besides telling them that they are bread stuffed with deliciousness, i thought i would share my go to recipe.  these are definitely a weekend kitchen project. however, they freeze/reheat great and are pretty fun to make. kids can easily help fill and fold the runzas, too.

homemade runzas
2 lbs of ground meat, preferably beef
1 large onion, chopped
1 medium head of cabbage, shredded
american cheese, optional
4 1/2 c. flour, divided
1 /2 c. sugar
2 pkgs. (4 1/2 t.) of active dry yeast
1 t. salt
1/2 c. water
1/2 c. shortening
3/4 c. milk
2 eggs

{make dough} combine 1 3/4 c. flour, sugar, salt, and yeast.  heat milk, water, and shortening to 120 degrees.  pour over flour mixture and add eggs. beat with standing mixer for 4 minutes.  stir in remaining flour. knead, with standing mixer,  until smooth and elastic. about 6-8 minutes. cover for 1 hr.
meanwhile {make filling} in large dutch oven, saute onion in a bit of oil or butter.  add meat and brown.    add cabbage and cook until wilted.  season very well with salt and pepper.

{assemble runzas} on a large floured surface, roll out dough.  you want the dough to rolled out to a little more than 1/4 inch thickness.  this is where it can get now need to divide your rolled out dough into a even number, same sized rectangles. they should be about 8" x 6".  fill half of the long side, of each rectangle, with your meat filling.  add cheese if you so desire. fold the dough over the meat filling and pinch the sides to make sure nothing delicious escapes. repeat.

{to eat immediately} place on a baking sheet and bake in a preheated 350 degree oven for 15-20 minutes or until golden brown

{to prepare for freezing}  place on a baking sheet and  par bake in a preheated 350 degree oven for no more than 10 minutes.  cool completely and individually wrap in plastic wrap and then store in a freezer bag.  good for up to six months.

{to heat from freezer} wrap runza in foil, bake at 350 degrees for about 25-30 minutes.