Sunday, October 16, 2016

Microwaved Brown Sugar Carrots


When I was growing up, I hated cooked carrots.  Like hated them.  I remember this one time I was made to sit at the table until like bedtime because I couldn't stand them.

Now... well now, I have learned to appreciate them.  I'm not going to lie,

Garlic Mashed Potatoes

Sorry for the blurry picture - I was hungry. LOL.

It has been years since I made homemade mashed potatoes.  I know they're not difficult, they're just time consuming.   Plus we've been eatting healthier, which doesn't usually include unnecessary carbs --- and mashed potatoes are my weakness.  I usually save the splurging for

Slow Cooker Pot Roast and Gravy


I love Slow Cooker meals.  I find I enjoy using them over the weekend more than on a work day.  Probably because during the week, I know I have to work and I know dinner has to be made but on weekends I want to be laaaazy.  Ha, I say I want to be lazy but

Tuesday, October 4, 2016

Baked Honey Lime Tacos


Well we had to have tacos for National Taco day, and it happened to be Taco Tuesday!  We "splurged" on having taco shells as we usually only eat it with lettuce...save the calories.  This recipe comes from my favorite blog to follow, Life in the Lofthouse.

Recommendations: I highly recommend getting a rotisserie chicken or prebaking the chicken as this cost me a lot of time. It's an additional 40 minutes of prep if you don't.  And today was beautiful weather so I took the kids to the park (they rode their bikes and I walked), so I didn't think this through. LOL. It was about 7:30 when we got to eat. Being that it's tacos, we should have been eating by 6:30... so this recipe and I didn't start off on the right foot...

If you do bake the chicken, cover it in taco seasoning!

Results:  I loved having baked the taco meat and cheese in with the taco.  The flavor of the honey lime was all right, but I think I would enjoy the Chicken Ranch Tacos baked.  The pepper jack cheese was a must.

Ingredients:
1 lbs. filleted chicken breasts
1 Tablespoon chili powder
1 teaspoon paprika
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon onion powder
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon black pepper
1/3 cup honey
1/2 cup fresh lime juice
1 pkg (10 tacos) stand n stuff
1- 2 cup shredded pepper jack
sides: 
1 roma tomato, diced
1 jalapeno, sliced (do not remove seeds)
1 small bag of shredded lettuce
1 avocado, sliced
1 small can of sliced olives

Preheat oven to 400°F and bake chicken (sprinkled with taco seasoning) for 20 to 30 minutes (until temps to 165°F). While it's baking, mix the seasonings, honey and lime juice together in a medium size bowl. 

Once the chicken is cooked through, chop it up and add it to the mix. Put the taco shells in a 9 x13 and add the chicken.  Cover the chicken with the cheese and bake for about 5 to 7 minutes. 

 Serve with the sides and sour cream. ENJOY!

Steak Bites


Sometimes when we buy steak for the grocery store, it comes in a package of 4 and since we've been eating better(ignore the tater tots in the picture above - lol), we freeze 2 of the steaks for a later time.  I'm not a HUGE fan of freezing steak because I feel like it makes the steak funky.... but because it saves us money I put this feeling aside. 

Being that grill season is wrapping up and the chilly days are here, we had at least one steak meal a week.... but then I hit a wall and was sick of the same grilled steak.  So, my favorite blogger, Holly(Life in the Lofthouse) posted this recipe at around the same time I had thawed the final steak from the freezer.  And then I knew it was meant to be for me to try. 

I've not been disappointed by her recipes. So I knew this could be a winner and I had all of the ingredients in my house.

Recommendations: Make sure the steak is cut into bite size pieces.  Do not pour the contents of the bag into the skillet, grab some kitchen pinchers and place the meat in carefully so you don't burn yourself and so the meat gets a crisp texture on the outside. This batch quickly filled with liquid in the pan which defeated my goal of getting the grilled texture.  I added more Worcestershire sauce because Worcestershire sauce is to me as garlic is to others. I love it.

Results: It was a delicious way to spice up the usual steak meal.

1.5 lbs steak, cut into bite size pieces
1/2 cup soy sauce (low sodium would be better)
1/4 - 1/3 cup olive oil
1/2 cup Worcestershire sauce
1 teaspoon minced garlic
3 Tablespoons dried basil
2 Tablespoons dried parsley
1 teaspoon black pepper
 
Combine all the ingredients other than the steak into a Ziploc bag. Close bag and squish ingredients so they mix.  Open up bag and add the steak.  Mix the ingredients so the steak gets covered with sauce.  Let it sit for 1 hour or I did 24 hours.
 
Heat up a large skillet on HIGH.  Slowly put the steak into the pan but leave the marinade in the bag. Stir the steak as it cooks. Cook the steak for 3 minutes (TOTAL) for medium-well, and 4 minutes for well.
 
Serve hot, and enjoy!

Copy Cat PF Chang's Lettuce Wrap


All right.... this is a winner. The flavor was amazing. It reminded me a little bit of the Korean Beef I've made before and even Justin thought it was the Korean Beef. But this didn't have a sweet flavor, more of a spicy but deeper taste.

Monday, October 3, 2016

Slow Cooker Beef Stew


This is the slow cooker version of the Oven Baked Stew, I made a while back.  The difference is instead of taking 3 hours this is now an all day slow cooker meal.  Now with this particular batch, I didn't eat any of it because Justin and I had just gotten home from a date day where we saw "The Magnificent Seven" and "Masterminds" with a delicious (but heavy) lunch from Bucca di Beppo (recommended by a friend, and I would also recommend it to you --- especially with a family).

So my hand model above is my dear husband.  Here is a goofy picture of the kids eating the stew, and they loved it!  Who doesn't love to eat dinner in their diapers? ;)



Recommendations: Make sure to shake the meat in the seasoning bag as the recipe describes - it makes it a bit more flavorful somehow.  Also, cut the vegetables(not carrots tho) up into larger than bite size pieces so they don't break down as fast for being in the crock pot. You could try halving the recipe and making it in a 4 quart slow cooker (this may change cooking time) but I used my 7 quart oval one.

Results: Justin was raving about it and youngest who is a bottomless pit enjoyed (I believe) the most over everyone.  Josh wouldn't eat the potatoes (not recipe fault but the fault of his opinionated age).  It smelled delicious and again it was easy to make. For those that need more than 8 hours cooking time,  I'm not sure how long it would last in the slow cooker after it's turned over to warm.  My concern would be that the sauce would burn and would taste funny.  But if you're like me, I say give it a try!

Recipe adapted from one of my favorites: Life In The Lofthouse

Ingredients:

1.5 - 2 lbs of beef stew meat (leaner the better), the kind that is in bite size pieces
2 (1.25 oz) dry onion soup mix packages
1 Tablespoon of paprika
3 medium russet potatoes(2 cups), cut into a bit larger than bit size
1 small package of baby carrots (2 cups)
1 medium onion (1 cup), chopped (not diced)
2 (10 oz.) cans of cream of celery soup
1 cup of ketchup

Mix the onion soup mix and paprika in a gallon size Ziploc bag.  Add the meat, zip the bag shut (leaving a bubble of air) and shake until the cows come home (ok--- shake until the seasoning is evenly distributed). 

In a 7 quart slow cooker, spray the inside with cooking spray.  Add the meat until the bottom of slow cooker is distributed. Add the vegetables on top (if you can mix them up but don't disturb the meat layer when you do).

In a medium bowl, mix the celery soup and ketchup together.  It looks questionable but it turns out delicious.  Add the mix to the top of the vegetables.  Put the lid on and cook on low for 8 hours.

Enjoy! 

*You may be able to freeze the leftovers.  Worth a try because this makes a huge batch, probably feeds at least 8.


Saturday, October 1, 2016

Easy Ravioli Lasagna {Freezer Meal}



Get ready for your mind to be blown with the deliciousness and convenience and yumminess(is that a word?)... well I could I go on!  I totally forgot to tell you --- this is another FREEZER meal and the kids asked for seconds!

Swiss Chicken Casserole



This is a PINTEREST winner.  It's a freezer meal and it's delicious.  Oh my.  I don't know what my favorite part was making it or eating it.  It's one of the popular recipes floating around Pinterest.