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Sunday, December 15, 2013

Goulash aka Comfort Food

Goulash aka Comfort Food

1 lb. elbow macaroni
2 cans tomato sauce
1 can diced tomatoes (no salt added)
~2 lbs. ground beef
3 bay leaves
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 small onions, diced
1 bell pepper, diced
2 1/2-3 cups water
3 tbls. Italian seasoning
garlic powder
pepper
red pepper flakes
3 tlbs. low sodium soy sauce
12 oz. packaged sliced white mushrooms
dash olive oil
sour cream, for topping

This is one of those glorious one pot wonders. I used my dutch oven. Brown the beef and drain excess fat. Saute onion and bell pepper in a couple splashes of olive oil for about 7 minutes. Add garlic and saute 1 additional minute. Return beef to pot. Add mushrooms, tomato sauce, diced tomatoes, water, bay leaves, soy sauce and spices. Stir to combine. Cover and simmer for 20 minutes on medium heat stirring every so often. While you're waiting...have some wine, you deserve it...you're making a fabulous dinner!!


Dump in the elbow macaroni and cover for an additional 20 minutes or until pasta is done (checking/stirring frequently) and maybe refill your fancy wine glass or red Solo cup... Remove bay leaves and serve with a dollop of sour cream.




Cook time: 1 hour 30 minutes
Servings: 8-10

Notes: This is a comfort food for me because my mom and grandfather made this dish when I was younger. It's kind of like spaghetti, but a little different and everything is in one large pot. This is not a spicy dish so husband added his usual Tabasco on top. We both gobbled up large helpings! It also smells great in the kitchen. Leftovers are awesome too. Enjoy!!

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Greek Salad

Greek Salad:

romaine hearts, chopped
kalamata olives, sliced lengthwise (maybe about 10)
1/4 red onion, thinly sliced
1 1/2 romas tomatoes, quartered
1/2 cucumber, sliced and quartered
flat leaf parsley, rough chop

Dressing:
1/4 cup EVOO
2 tbls. red wine vinegar
1 garlic clove, minced
salt
pepper
juice of one lemon
a few kalamata olives, minced
mason jar

Assemble your salad ingredients in a large bowl or a plate. I made myself a pretty good helping and felt like it was a full meal for dinner.

I measured and added all the dressing ingredients into a mason jar, capped it and shook it up for about 30 seconds or so. Then pour (maybe about 1/2 of the dressing) over the yummy salad and you're done.


It's that easy!!! And it's so delicious, not to mention a healthy lunch or dinner option.



Obviously you can add some yummy feta cheese (I didn't have any on hand), peperoncinis or grilled chicken. The combinations are endless. I think balsamic marinated grilled chicken would be delicious. Next time!!

Notes: This is a simple and delicious salad! Store the leftover dressing in the fridge to use for your next salad. And feel free to double or triple in a large bowl if you're serving more folks. Enjoy!!

Recipe: Pioneer Woman

Friday, November 29, 2013

Gwen's Thanksgiving Potato Green Bean Medley

This is a new addition to Thanksgiving!!! I was getting tired of the ole green bean casserole recipe that I made year after year. *yawn* I told husband I was switching it up and he seemed disappointed...until this new version. Enjoy!

Gwen's Potato Green Bean Medley

~8 medium red potatoes, quartered
~1 lb. fresh green beans, snapped
2 tbls. whole grain dijon mustard
3 tbls. red wine vinegar
pepper to taste
1/2 cup mayonaise
1/2 large shallot, minced
6 slices of bacon, cooked and crumbled

Boil the potatoes in salted water for about 20 minutes and remove to a large bowl to cool. Boil the green beans for about 5 minutes (depending on how firm you like them). Drain and add to the potatoes in the mixing bowl.

Whisk the remaining ingredients (minus the bacon) together in a small bowl. Pour this mixture over the potatoes and green beans. Toss lightly to combine and then add the delicious bacon crumbles on top. I served it warm. YUM!



Notes: No Tabasco added by husband! Remarks: Good Babe. Great Flavor.
This is really great. I was very happy with the result. I will definitely make this again!

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Southwestern Baked Spaghetti

I pinned this on Pinterest a little while ago and forgot all about it...until now! I thought I should give it a try and let you know how it turned out (with my own sort of version).

Southwestern Baked Spaghetti

8 oz. (or so) angel hair pasta
1/2 cup milk
1 large egg
2 8 oz. cans tomato sauce (no salt added kind)
1 lb. ground beef
1 bell pepper, diced
2/3 large yellow onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 1/2 tbls. chili powder
1 tsp. cumin
1 tsp. oregano
pepper
1/2 cup cheddar cheese, grated
1/2 cup jalapeno monterey jack cheese, grated
parsley for garnish

Chop up the veggies. Start cooking the beef in a medium skillet and drain off the fat and set the beef aside. Saute the onion, bell pepper and garlic over medium-low heat for about 7 minutes until softened.


Return beef to the pan and add spices and mix well. Next add tomato sauce and bring down to a simmer on low heat for about 10 minutes or so.


Boil the pasta and drain. Whisk egg and milk together in a medium mixing bowl. Add pasta to this mixture and coat the noodles.

Spray a 9 x 13 baking/casserole dish and preheat oven to 425. Place the noodle mixture in the bottom of the dish. Spread the beef mixture on top.


Sprinkle cheese on top and cook in the oven for about 15-20 minutes depending on how fast the cheese melts. Let it cool for 10 minutes. Top with fresh parsley and serve with your favorite garlic cheesy bread.



Time: About 1 hr. start to finish

And I had a little helper who likes to wander through the kitchen while I'm cooking. "Mommy, whatcha making??"


Notes: This makes a great dish! I enjoyed it very much. It does take a few pots/pans/colanders and some time, but that's okay! I think I would add a little more spice next time, but it is still very, very good. Great for leftovers too. Enjoy!

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Twice Baked Potato Casserole

Twice Baked Potato Casserole

3 Russet baking potatoes
6 slices bacon, cooked and crumbled
chives
1/2 stick unsalted butter
4 oz. cream cheese
8 oz. sour cream
1 cup cheddar cheese, grated
2 cloves garlic, minced
salt
pepper
red pepper flakes

Wash and poke holes in the potatoes and cover in foil. Bake at 425 for at least an hour.

Let the potatoes cool and peel off the skins. Mash them up with a fork (or masher) in a large mixing bowl. Add the butter, cream cheese, sour cream, garlic and cheese. Top with a salt, pepper and red pepper flakes. Combine everything until well incorporated.

Spray a casserole dish and heap the mixture into the dish and spread around evenly.


Bake at 350 for 35 minutes. Add a little cheese topping if you like and bake for 7 minutes more. Remove and add the crumbled bacon and chives on top.




Notes: I served this with grilled steaks and a yummy side salad. What a great meal at home! These potatoes will easily be a hit and they taste delicious! Enjoy!

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Steak Tips with Mushroom Peppered Gravy

Well, hello blog lookers/followers! I apologize for being absent these past few days. Fall seems to always be a busy time of year for everyone (excuses, excuses. haha.), but I have a new recipe to share with y'all. Go ahead and try it!!

Steak Tips with Mushroom Peppered Gravy

1lb. top sirloin beef, cut into 1" chunks
2 cloves garlic, minced
16 oz. egg noodles
12 oz. sliced mushrooms
thyme
rosemary
pepper
1 1/2 cups reduced sodium beef broth
3 tbls. all purpose flour
1 tbls. low sodium soy sauce
2 tbls. unsalted butter
1 1/2 shallots, diced
parsley for garnish

Brown the beef chunks in a cast iron skillet with 1 tbls. of the butter. Be careful not to over cook it in this step. That is the only thing that we did wrong for this recipe. Our beef turned out a little on the well-done side for our taste.


When it's slightly browned, remove from the pan with a slotted spoon and set aside. You should have some nice juices in the skillet to use for the next step.

Next add the mushrooms, shallots, pepper and 1 tbls. butter into the skillet and cook about 5 minutes on medium heat. Add the garlic and cook another 2 minutes or so. Add the thyme, rosemary, soy sauce, beef broth and flour to the mushroom mixture.


Bring this to a boil and then reduce the heat. Cook until you reach your desired thickness. Return the beef to the skillet and cook an additional 5 minutes or so, depending on how you like the temp on your beef.


While this simmers, get those egg noodles cooked and strained.

Serve the beef mixture on top of the noodles and add a little parsley (or cilantro) on top for garnish, if you're feelin' fancy.



Notes: Like I mentioned, we over-cooked our beef a little, but otherwise it was great. The sauce is really nice, flavorful and not too heavy.  To make this a complete meal I added some oven-roasted zucchini. Yum! You could also serve this over rice. Enjoy!

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Chicken Pot Pie

Chicken pot pie is comfort food for sure!! My first time making homemade chicken pot pie. I think I did it right...


Chicken Pot Pie

1 lb. cubed chicken breast (uncooked)
12 oz. frozen vegetable medley
3 ribs celery, diced
1/2 large onion, diced
1-2 small cloves garlic, diced
about 16 oz. chicken broth
1/3 cup flour
1 tsp. celery seed
salt and pepper
seasoned salt
2/3 cup milk
3 tbls. butter
2 pie crusts (homemade or store bought)

Preheat oven to 425. Spray a pie plate and precook the pie crust about 5-6min. Take it out and cool.

Meanwhile, add cubed chicken, frozen vegetables, celery and chicken broth to a large pot over med-high heat. Sprinkle on some spices for a little flavor. Cook for about 15-20 minutes, stirring occasionally. Turn off the heat when finished. Drain chicken broth from pot and reserve for the next step.


Next, add butter, onions and garlic to a medium saucepan over low-medium heat. Cook until onion looks translucent. Stir in reserved chicken broth and flour. Combine and then add milk, celery seed and any additional spices you would like. Heat until you reach a desired consistency for your pie. My personal preference is a little on the thicker side, so I heated mine a little longer.


Add the thickened mixture into the dutch oven and stir to combine everything.


Now you are ready to pour this into your precooked pie shell. My filling was a little much, so I had a little leftover in the pot. Now place your second pie shell over the top. Cut a few slits in the top and place back into the oven at 425 for an additional 30 minutes. Let the pie stand about 10 minutes before serving.



Notes: This was my first pot pie. I think it turned out great. The consistency was good for our personal taste. Husband said it was good, but added his beloved Tabasco on top. Have fun and enjoy!!

Feel free to comment on any of my recipes, good or bad. Thanks!!


Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Happy Tuesday!

Sometimes you just need an otter friend to hold your hand!!

I LOVE THIS!!!!!!!

Happy Tuesday!



ps- I could watch this all day. If you need more otter love like I do, subscribe to The Daily Otter. Fabulous.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Chicken Tortilla Roll-Ups

Great appetizer for those college football Saturdays!! I made mine a little on the spicy side (because we love the spice), but you can always decrease the spices. Yay for football season!!

Chicken Tortilla Roll-Ups

2 medium chicken breasts, cooked
1 can hot Rotel, drained
12 oz. cream cheese, room temperature
1 cup shredded cheese (I used the pre-shredded mexican cheese blend)
2-3 green onions, diced
2 tsp. cumin
3 tsp. ancho chili powder
1 tsp. garlic powder
3/4 tsp. cayenne pepper
flour tortillas (I think the medium size work best)

Chicken:
I cooked the chicken in the oven; you could also cook over the stove. Seasoned my chicken breasts with the chili powder and the cumin. Cooked @ 350 for about 45 minutes covered with foil. When the chicken is cooked through, shred or dice into small pieces and let cool.

Filling:
Mix softened cream cheese, Rotel, cheese, remaining spices, chicken and green onions. Combine well and spread a healthy dose into the middle of one tortilla. Spread all around except at the edges.


Roll from one side and place seam side down on a plate.

Chill until ready. Slice with a sharp knife and serve!




Notes: this makes quite a lot. If you are feeding a crowd, you are set. I would cut it in half if you have a smaller group. Leftovers are also good. Husband loved these!! He said, "Babe these are really good!"



Monday, September 2, 2013

Sweet Pineapple and Pulled Pork Tacos

I love a good Boston butt. But, I'm talking about food people. Get your mind out of the gutter. Anyways, pulled pork may be a weakness of mine. Also, I wanted to put a spin on my traditional tacos and go a little gourmet-style. Sometimes we like to be a little fanciful (but not really). This was pretty delicious and the leftovers are going fast!

What you will need for the pulled pork:

one Boston butt, mine was only about 2.75 lbs. (if bigger, adjust proportions of everything)
1/2-3/4 quarter sweet yellow onion, sliced
3 garlic cloves, diced
15 oz. tomato sauce
3 tbls. chili powder
1 tbls. cumin
2 tbls. brown sugar
juice of 1 lime
salt and black pepper to taste

Toppings:
fresh pineapple, diced
red cabbage, sliced
red onion, thin slices
3 jalapenos, diced (fresh from the backyard!)
1/3 cup red wine vinegar
1/3 cup sugar
juice of two limes
fresh lime wedges for garnish
flour or corn tortillas

Preparing the pork:

place the tomato sauce in the bottom of the crockpot and the spices and brown sugar. Stir this together in the crockpot. Place the pork on top of this and then spread the onions and garlic around. Add the lime juice in and sprinkle a little salt and black pepper. Turn on low and cook for about 7 hours. (If you're in a time crunch you could crank it up to high and probably cook it in about 4 hours.) When the pork is tender, remove to a casserole type dish and discard any fat. Shred the pork with two forks. Skim any excess fat out of the sauce remaining in the crockpot. You can return the shredded pork to the crockpot to combine with the sauce or just pour the sauce over the meat. I chose option number 2 to control the amount of sauce on the meat.

Preparing the pickled red onions:

Combine sugar, vinegar, jalapenos and lime juice in a small pot and heat until sugar is combined (about 5 minutes on medium heat) .


Place sliced red onions in a small mixing bowl.


Pour liquid mixture over this. Cover and set out to cool for about 30-40 minutes.


Assemble your taco and enjoy!!



Recipe cred: Kelsey's Essentials (with my adaptations for proportions and our own personal flavor)

Notes: Husband thought a large amount of the pineapple on the taco made it too sweet for him. He loved the pork and other toppings. I really like the twist on traditional tacos. This was very good; even the leftovers rock. I think this dish made some happy, full bellies!

Saturday, August 24, 2013

Creamy Broccoli and Cheese Soup

This soup is DELICIOUS! First, I have never made a true soup before, only a couple stews that I can recall. I tried this for the first time and it was excellent! Enough to fill me up for dinner and husband complimented the dish more than once. I really can't say enough about how much I like this soup!!!

Creamy Broccoli Soup

fresh broccoli, cut into small florets (I remove the majority of the stalk; about 2 cups florets)
1 cup shredded carrots (I cheated and bought the pre-shredded)
2 heaping cups vegetable stock (low sodium)
2 cloves garlic, minced
3/4 medium-large onion, chopped
3 tbls. butter
3 tbls. flour
pepper to taste
1 cup half and half
1 cup gouda cheese, grated
3/4 cup sharp cheddar cheese, grated
1/4 tsp. garlic powder
1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper (reduce if you don't like heat)
1/4 tsp. nutmeg
2 bay leaves
a few leaves of fresh basil, chopped
a few shakes of red pepper flakes at the end

In a dutch oven, add vegetable stock, carrots, onion, broccoli, garlic, a little pepper and bay leaves. Put the lid on and simmer for about 15 to 20 minutes or until vegetables are just tender. Give it a few stirs while simmering. When done, turn to low.

the beginning

When veggies are done simmering, make your roux. Combine your butter and flour in a small pot over medium-low heat. Add butter first. Mix to combine. When it is incorporated, add this into the vegetables in the dutch oven.

my first roux

Add the half and half, cheeses and remaining spices into the dutch oven and heat through (on low-medium heat) to melt the cheese, stirring constantly. Top with red pepper flakes and enjoy!

grated gouda

first heaping spoonful

NOM NOM NOM

I'm not just giving lip service to this soup. It's like a 9.9 :)

Notes: Husband put his Tabasco on top, but gave many compliments to the soup. You could add some tasty crackers, but really...it stands out enough by itself. Such a great recipe for the fall!!!

Original recipe cred: Peas and Crayons

Saturday, August 10, 2013

Skinny Vegetable Pasta

This is a meatless dish that is a good, healthy side. We enjoyed it and it certainly makes A LOT so be prepared for the leftovers!

Skinny Vegetable Pasta

1 can artichokes, quartered
1 cup cottage cheese
1 cup ricotta cheese
1 16oz. penne pasta
red pepper flakes
1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese (plus extra for topping)
6 cups fresh spinach, tear in half
1 egg white
pepper to taste
parmesan cheese
1 jar your favorite pasta sauce (or homemade if you have it)
olive oil

Cook the pasta al dente and drain. Splash with cool water; drain. Add back to the pot and stir in pasta sauce, artichokes and some red pepper flakes.

Heat a dose of olive oil on low heat and add the torn fresh spinach, cook down until wilted (only takes a couple minutes) and then add this to the pasta mixture.

Lightly grease a 9" x 13" baking dish and preheat the oven to 375. Dump 1/2 of the pasta mixture into the dish.



Now mix together the cheeses (except parmesan), egg white, pepper and a little more red pepper flakes (if you like). Fold to combine. This will be the 2nd layer. Add 1/2 of this mixture on top of the pasta in the dish. Repeat layers until you use all ingredients, ending with a cheese mixture layer. Then top the whole thing with a little extra mozzarella cheese (b/c I love cheese!) and the parmesan cheese. Cook uncovered in the oven for about 30 minutes. Let it cool for 5-10 and serve.



Notes: I think you could add just about any extra veggies you like and I think I would try it next time with maybe some mushrooms. Enjoy!

Makes about 8-10 servings
original recipe from  Ms. Skinny

Friday, August 2, 2013

Football and Crafting

OK, so football season is around the corner and if you're not aware, my husband and I are huge Alabama fans. He has ants in his pants counting down the days until the season starts and I am excited that we are going to the opening game!!!! So I got a little inspired. I am making a new wreath. An Alabama Crimson Tide wreath. Don't hate.

Also, please don't make fun of my craft skills. I am certainly an amateur crafter and cook. Here's the finished product. Feel free to laugh. Because you can. And it feels sooo good to laugh!

What I used:

18" wire wreath frame
about 60' of burlap ribbon, on sale :)
houndstooth ribbon (not much)
wood letters
red paint
hot glue gun + glue sticks
some fake holly-type stuff
wooden football decoration
thin floral wire (to hold the letters in place)
a little TLC

I bought just about everything from Hobby Lobby. God bless that place. Money invested: $40 (if you already have a glue gun and glue sticks, subtract like $5...yes, again, amateur crafter)

making the burlap base

painting the letters

almost finished!

This took me about 2 weekends to make. And the best part is...you can make the burlap wreath as a background for just about any wreath...your favorite sports team, a seasonal wreath or just a pretty door decoration with your last name initial and some pretty flowers. The possibilities are endless.

finished product

There are some great ideas that I found on this website and a tutorial for the burlap wreath (which I mostly followed): fall burlap wreath

thanks to Top This Top That blog for the inspiration!

Can't wait for football season and as always, Roll Tide!