Saturday, August 31, 2013

Dinner for Two- next weeks dinner ideas

We are going grocery shopping tomorrow and I need to come up with the list of recipes today for next weeks dinners. What to do? How about....

1. Tacos (chicken)
2. Steak, yams and salad
3. Chicken Marsala with roasted potatoes and tomatoes
4. Baked shrimp scampi with salad
5. French onion soup with bread
6. Fettuccini Alfredo with chicken and salad
7. Sweet and sour chicken with fried rice

Update on Chicken Lasagna Roll Ups

A great success, the rolls ups cooked well in the oven and tasted great. I would make it again with some help. That would make it more fun. The recipe takes a bit more effort than regular lasagna but that is probably why it tasted so good!

For tonight my husband is going to make the homemade spaghetti sauce and we will have spaghetti with moose meatballs. The sauce recipe is posted on the blog.

Not sure about Sunday night, but Monday is going to be homemade pizza for dinner. Going to get the toppings from the grocery store tomorrow. I'll post soon what the next weeks meal plan is going to be. 

Friday, August 30, 2013

Raw Berry Pie! it is The BEST

Okay, so I finally have all my miscellaneous berries in my freezer to make my favorite! Raw Berry Pie. This pie is super good and thanks to my very good friend, I have the recipe and have been making it ever since.

Anyone with a food processor can make this pie, you can make it without one as well but should go the traditional baked crust route then.

I usually make two at a time since I like to share.....sometimes.

There is one strange ingredient that I always get at the local Coop, psyllium husk powder.  You can find information about this online if you are not familiar with it yet, here is a quick link for you. It helps hold the berry filling together. You only need 1 tablespoon of it. I can purchase it from bulk foods section and only get a tiny bag of it. It is usually less than $2 and I can use the same bag for a whole year.

Raw Berry Pie Prep Time: 15min Cook Time: NONE! Let set up in the fridge for a few hours then enjoy! Clean up:10min, you only have to clean the food processor once after both the crust and berries are done. Its a bit sticky because of the honey but not too bad.

1 cup of cashews
1 cup of walnuts
1 cup of  pecans (I don't use almonds because they tend to get stuck in the food processor because they are too hard)
1 cup of pitted dates (some say you can also use raisins but I don't like them)
1/4 cup of honey
A bit of salt

4-6 pints of your favorite berries, I use a mix of blueberries, strawberries and blackberries (you can use 3 pints instead but no one usually minds eating the extra filling while their pie firms up in the fridge) If you use frozen berries they need to thaw out before using! Plan ahead. I sometimes forget and then my pie is done the next day.
1/2 cup of honey
1/2 cup of figs (I sometimes skip these because of their seeds and use dates instead)
1 Tablespoon of psyllium hust powder
A bit of salt

To make crust: Chop nuts in the food processor. Add dates, honey, and salt. Blend to sticky dough, Press into 9-10 inch non-metal pie pan
Step 3
Place all but 1 C berries in the food processor. Mix until blended along with honey, psyllium husk powder and figs or dates. Place the saved 1 cup of berries directly into the pie and then pour over the whole berries the mix from the food processor. Refrigerate or partially freeze before serving. 


Update on Chicken Tortilla Soup Made in the Crock Pot

Update from making this dish from a previous post. You can see the recipe here. This dish turned out really well. It was a bit spicy for me but my husband said it was still okay and he enjoyed it. I mixed in a bit of non fat Greek yogurt as my sour cream substitute for my bowl and it was really good like that. I also prefer to scoop it up with the corn chips rather then crush them over the top of the soup. I don't like soggy chips and this is thick soup, more like stew so easy to scoop up.

I have a big container of leftovers of this dish. It will be a good lunch snack for this weekend or something once I get more chips. Ran out! Bought the chips for this dish but enjoy snacking on chips and salsa too much to make them last! Oh well.

Chicken Lasagna Roll Ups, Do This With A Helper

I used the recipe found here. I liked the pictures, they were really helpful so I remembered which step went first. Note that this dish takes a long time just to get into the oven. That is why I recommended having a helper to assist in coordinating the cooking. I had to grill two chicken breasts, fry up chunks of bacon, with red onion and garlic. Then also cook up lasagna noodles. After all that, still mix up the cheeses for the filling. Time consuming but hopefully when it all gets eaten tonight it will end well!

Chicken Lasagna Roll Ups Prep Time: 30min Cook Time: 23-30min Cleaning Time: forever! (j/k)
A box of lasagna pasta (cook it for 8minutes then drain and lay out on towels to get rid of excess water) 
1 pound of bacon, diced
1 red onion
3 cloves of garlic
2 chicken breasts, shredded after cooking 
1 jar of alfredo sauce 
1 small package of shredded mozzarella (sprinkled on top at the end)
1 small tub of grated parmesan (used inside the roll ups and sprinkled on top)
1cup ricotta cheese
1/2 cup sour cream
6 oz cream cheese
2 tsp onion powder
salt and pepper 
1. While the chicken is cooking, fry up your bacon (I tore mine into pieces before cooking but you could do it after as well) Add the red onion and garlic just before the bacon is done cooking. Lay the bacon/onion/garlic mix onto paper towels to get rid of excess grease. 
2. Cook lasagna noodles for 8 minutes and shred your chicken when it has finished cooking and preferably cooled. 
3.  When you have drained your lasagna noodles and rinsed with cool water so they can be handled, lay out on kitchen towels for filling. 
4. Mix your cheese filling into a bowl: ricotta cheese, sour cream, cream cheese, onion powder and salt&pepper. 
5. Spread the cheese filling onto each noddle
6. Add shredded chicken and bacon mix onto of cheese filling. Then sprinkle with Parmesan cheese on top.
7. Spread the bottom of your baking dish with Alfredo sauce.
8. Lay the rolled up noodles into the baking dish with the edge side down to hold the roll in place. 
9. Once you have filled your baking pan with rolls of lasagna top the rolls with the rest of the alfredo sauce. 
10. Sprinkle with the mozzarella cheese and Parmesan. 
11. Top with leftover bacon pieces if you would like as well. I didn't do this step. All my bacon went inside the rolls!
12. Bake at 350F for 25-30min
13. Mine was refrigerated overnight to be cooked the next day. Allow more time for the dish to heat up in the oven if taken right out of the fridge. 
So, my kitchen counters were covered with dishes from the various steps of this cooking process. I had shredded chicken, bacon mix, cheese bowl, baking dish, towels spread out on the counters covered in messy noodles and cheese. It was fun and a little stressful due to the fact my kitchen is so tiny. It works though! I was able to clean all the dishes as I went. Including emptying the dishwasher and then refilling it. There were no dirty dishes in my sink this morning and the counters were all cleaned up. I did have a few pots that I left on the stove to dry (I ran out of clean kitchen towels!). I think this dish will be a success. I am not fond of Alfredo sauce so I will see if I find it yummy anyway with all the different cheeses mixed in.

There is always the backup of ordering take out or pizza instead. My fingers are crossed. I wish I baked it last night so I could try one before hand and then just reheat it but oh well. I will take a risk. Let you know tomorrow if everyone liked it or not. 

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Cooking at Home Leads to the Inevitable Messy Kitchen and Dirty Dishes

So, I am coming up with a new rule for myself. Dishes are to be done after dinner is over and before I allow myself to relax and not move from the couch. I will try my best. The reason for this decision is that I inevitably end up waking up in the morning to a dirty kitchen and sink which I hate very much. It gets in the way of getting the next dinners meal ready. An easy cure for this mess is to just clean it up before I go to bed. Or train my cat to clean the kitchen while I am sleeping.

Problems that usually arise when wanting to clean the kitchen:
1. Dishwasher is still full of clean dishes. They are still wet!
2. The spot on the counter for the wet dishes to dry off, is still full of clean dry dishes that need to be put away.
3. Most times the dirty dishes are big pots and pans that need to soak for a bit before washing.

There are too many steps to get a dish clean these days. I want my life to be like star trek. A computer  deposits my food or beverage before me and I return the dirty dish back to the same area where it came from, and it disappears! Voila!

When is the next genius going to discover how to do that? I am tired of waiting, I want it to be during my life time! No waste! All sustainable and earth friendly right? It should definitely be a priority.

Tonight is going to be finish cleaning up the dirty dishes in the sink first. (There is not that many and my kitchen is not that messy, I just don't like to do it! I am sure most people agree.)

Then once I have done the work I don't like, I will prep the chicken lasagna rolls ups for Friday nights dinner. A friend of mine is having a birthday coming up and we are getting together to celebrate. Not at my place so all the mess will be at their house!

And then, cleaning dishes again but then I will be done until breakfast on Saturday morning. Booo. 
I think recipes need to start adding "clean up" time to them. I never would have tried to make a meatloaf in a muffin tin if it said the clean up afterwards would take days. Days for me since I just kept soaking the muffin tin over and oven again till everything just rinsed away. I am not a good scrubber. I have learned to accept that about myself.

I think I have just gotten really lazy since getting a dishwasher in my apartment. Growing up my whole life I never had one. My two hands or my mom's two hands were the dish washer. Now it's like I can't clean anything unless it going through the damn machine. 
: ) 

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Dinner for Two- Chicken Tortilla Soup Made in the Crock Pot

I am going to try my third crock pot recipe. This is another one taken from the Lovingmynest blogger on her other blog containing allergy free cooking recipes. I think with this recipe I will follow it almost exactly as written on her blog. I made a few changes and my version is below. I have all the ingredients set out on my counter next to the crock pot except for the chicken. I should be all ready to go in the morning. While I haven't before been very fond of a meal that includes a lot of canned goods, (probably because I grew up eating a lot of canned vegetables) I am more open to the idea now when the few occasions have come up.

If this recipe turns out as good as it sounds I will be happy to make it again.

Crock Pot Chicken Tortilla Soup Prep Time: 10 min Cook Time: low for 8 hours
1lb of boneless chicken breast
1 15oz can of diced tomatoes with chilies
1 10 oz can of enchilada sauce
1 4 oz can of chopped green chilies
1 yellow onion (diced)
2 cloves of garlic (diced)
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp chili powder
1 tsp salt
1/4 tsp black pepper
1 15 oz can of corn (don't drain) or you can use 1 small bag of frozen corn
Corn Tortilla chips (crushed to serve on top of soup for individual bowls)

1. Place chopped yellow onion on the bottom of the crock pot. Then add the chicken breasts, they will be shredded with forks after cooking. Then add all other ingredients on top except for corn tortilla chips.
2. Cook on low heat for 8 hours.
3. Shred chicken after cooking is done and add crushed tortilla chips to serving bowls on top of soup.

Steak with salad tonight

So, I forgot I was planning on making chicken tortilla soup today in the crock pot. So, this morning I left without enough time to throw everything together. Instead tonight will be steak cooked on the grill and spinach salad with red peppers and carrots on top. Simple and still delicious. I may even make a side dish of rice to go with it.

Thursday night will be chicken tortilla soup. I will remember to put all of that together on Thursday morning this time!

Friday night is going to be chicken lasagna roll ups. The recipes and images I have been looking at make me want to make it right now! I will share that recipe soon along with how it turned out later this weekend. Hopefully no disasters like meatloaf muffin tin day. I don't like ricotta cheese though and usually when I make lasagna I don't add it in with the other cheeses. For the lasagna roll ups though I will try it since it will be a very thin layer mixed with cream cheese and I don't think it would taste very good with only cream cheese in the lasagna noddles. Icky! 

Foods I love now but hated as a kid.........can you believe chocolate is on that list?!

A favorite blog of mine to read gave me the idea to come up with this list.

1. Green beans
2. Chocolate (I know hard to believe!)
3. Strawberry ice cream
4. Powdered donuts
5. Ribs

It was difficult for me to even come up with 5! I guess I would eat about anything. I may remember more at another time.

I had a chocolate craving last night!

So, I tried to make diabetes friendly chocolate brownies. They were good, except for the fact I used a lot of dark chocolate powder instead of milk chocolate powder and they didn't taste very chocolaty. I used TOO much dark chocolate powder. If I made homemade vanilla ice cream to go with them it would have been perfect, instead I used leftover homemade whip cream as the topping and that made it much better. Once I try making it again and it tastes better I will post it here.

A hint though, I used non-fat Greek yogurt, a small amount of cream cheese and stevia sugar substitute along with flour as the main ingredients. I just went with it. Threw everything into a bowl using a recipe online as a guide but they didn't use any of those ingredients. I may become a 'foodie' at some point yet.

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Asparagus Risotto............I'm sorry I said asparagus!

So, the only way that I eat asparagus is in this dish. Or baked on a cookie sheet with olive oil and salt.
This is a great dish that my old roommate shared with me. I watched her make it and copied it the best I could. It tastes super good and I can even get my husband to eat it along with a few of his friends.

Asparagus Risotto Prep time: 5-10min Cook Time: 25-30min or until rice is tender
1 cup of risotto rice (yes this can be expensive rice but 1 container for $10 has lasted me a long time)
1 bunch of asparagus (cut the ends off and snap into 1-2inch long pieces, keep the heads of the asparagus separate from the stalks) if your bunch of asparagus is large, you probably only want to use half of it. Bake the other half as a side dish like french fries in the oven for another day.)
3 cups of chicken stock or better than bouillon
1 shallot (diced)
1 clove of garlic (diced)
1 cup of white wine (if don't have any right now or don't cook with wine, then leave this part out)
1 tablespoon of butter
1 container of Parmesan cheese (the good shredded stuff)

1. Saute in a large skillet the butter with garlic and diced shallot till cooked through but not browned. Add the 1 cup of rice and the 1 cup of white wine and cook on low/medium heat for about 1 minute or until the wine is gone. Then add 1 cup of the chicken stock or better than bouillon water mixture. Stir the rice every once in a while and cook with a lid on the skillet if you have one. Once the first cup of chicken stock is almost gone add the next one. Continue to do this till you have added all the chicken stock and the rice is tender. Near the end of cooking (5min left) with still a bit of the liquid in the pan add the stalk parts of the asparagus. Stir a bit to mix them in. Then, near the last minute of cooking add the head pieces of the asparagus. They fall apart if left in to cook for too long. Then turn off the heat and mix in some shredded Parmesan, salt and pepper to taste. I add the cheese to individual bowls. Makes cleaning the fry pan much easier!

Chicken Stir Fry, and oldie but a goodie

Tonight I will be making Chicken stir fry. I have made this many times before in all sorts of different ways. The best and simplest way I have found so far now is to take a bag of frozen stir fry veggies (containing your favorites), chicken and 2 packages of yakisoba stir fry noodles.The packages comes with it's own seasoning.

After your chicken has been cooked and chopped up into smaller pieces, frying up the noodles and veggies in a pan is simple and mess free since I use only 1 pan and don't have to cut up any veggies.

I highly recommend adding a baby bok choy to your stir fry if you havn't done that before yet. Super good!

Meatloaf Muffin Tin...........MESS!!

The recipe was good! Don't get me wrong, it's the mess left inside the muffin tin afterwards that I don't enjoy cleaning up. Also, the mess in the oven from grease smoke and dripping everywhere. The meatloaf was tasty but a bit too greasy. I will be making some modifications for the next time I make it. First time was at least edible!

Changes for next time:
1. Don't make in a muffin tin! Use regular baking ban for meatloaf.
2. Use 1/3 or more of ground turkey mixed in
3. Use steel cut oats instead of bread crumbs mixed in and also a good thick layer on top (husbands idea)

I think with those it would be a nice easy meal to make for two. We had some leftovers but not too much. I had a 3lb package of ground beef and saved the other half to make homemade spaghetti sauce tonight along with stir fry chicken.
(The spaghetti sauce is for another night but it's nice to prepare it all ahead of time since it makes ALOT, and I freeze half of it.)

I think next time I will start taking photos too so there can be images to go along with this tale of mess.

Monday, August 26, 2013

Dinner for two-Monday

You know you have started the process of being a 'foodie' when you have email folders and internet bookmarks titled recipes and those get more attention then your other saved links.

I have accomplished this part of my process. I forever was reading about some great recipe online (since I don't read cookbooks yet for fun) and then loosing it before I had a chance to try and make it. No longer! I am getting organized and that feels really good.

I saw this recipe floating around on both Facebook and pinterest. I finally decided to try it. I will update later tonight on how it turned out. My hope is not an image of the pinterest photo next to the actual photo that we all love to look and laugh at.

I have so far answered a few of the questions I have come across in recipes and I think I will start a recipe question of the week. Per day I think would be too much pressure so far in my foodie adventures.

Recipe question of the week:
What is a celery rib?
The rib of celery is actually what you have been cooking with all along. Some snobby foodie that came before me said a "stock" of celery is actually the whole thing technically so the "rib" is the individual pieces you are chopping up. A rib doesn't actually make any sense to me. The writer of this short answer agrees with me, somewhat . Take a look and read for yourself.

Meatloaf in Muffin Tin Prep Time: 15-20min (how efficient are you at chopping veggies?) Cook time: 20min
1.5 lbs of ground beef/turkey/pork whatever you prefer or like to mix together
1 yellow onion (chopped)
2 celery ribs (or stalk if you use today's current terms for it)
1 green bell pepper
1 large egg and a small amount of milk (beaten together, about 1 tablespoon of milk) use more eggs if you want.
1 cup plain bread crumbs (I don't have bread crumbs and will try and chop up in my food processor some bread and bake it in the oven for like 2-5min and see if that works)
2 tablespoons of seasoning for your meat (I use the Steak Seasoning I have in my spice rack)
1 cups of bbq sauce
1 tablespoon of Worcestershire sauce
1/2 cup of tomato salsa
EVO (extra virgin olive oil)

1. Preheat the oven to 450F
2. Put the ground meat and small chopped veggies into a large bowl. Next, add the beaten egg and milk mixture with the bread crumbs and spices. Mix together in a separate smaller bowl the bbq sauce, salsa and Worcestershire sauce. Mix half into the meat bowl mixture and combine together. The other half of the sauce is going to be added ontop of each "meatloaf muffin".
3. Coat the inside of the muffin tin with EEO and fill with the meat mixture, ONLY about 3/4 full! You will be wise to follow this. Even with a collection pan underneath I got a lot of smoke coming from my oven from the excess grease around the edges of the pan burning off. Top each muffin loaf with a spoonful of extra sauce. Place a baking sheet or some other baking pan under the muffin tin to collect any liquid/grease that spills out!
4. Bake for 20min or until cooked, check a meatloaf muffin before removing from the oven.

Serve with salad and mashed up yams! I need to get started on making more side dishes. That will be the goal of next week.

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Blueberry Pavlova, that was not dinner exactly but was the best part of dinner

Do you know what this is? I had no idea, but the pictures on pinterest always make the crazy food ideas look good. This is actually a thing though, and when following the recipe, turns out AMAZING! Super good. Even though I don't think of myself as a meringue fan, with the fruit on top, it was the best thing.

For actual dinner my husband and I made turkey burgers with spinach salad and homemade baked in the oven french fries. You can make them crispy at home in the oven, just let them sit in ice cold water for 30 min or in the fridge etc in cold water till you cook them. Makes the starch leave and lets them crisp up nice in the oven.

For the dessert, I actually timed everything just right. So, you do have to bake this for an unreasonable amount of time at 200F, 1 hour! yikes, but its not that bad. Once it was done then I moved in the fries, and my husband started grilling the turkey burgers.

For the dessert I used the website here, used the recipe almost exactly. While mine was in the oven for the 1 hour I looked up other recipes and made some changes to mine. As a foodie, I will continue to do this till what I make tastes the best I can make it.

Blueberry Pavlova Prep time: 15min, Cook Time: 1 hour
Parchment paper!
4 large egg whites, or 6 medium sized egg whites
pinch of salt
1/2 teaspoon of white vinegar
1/2 cup of sugar subsititue ( I use powdered stevia) or you can use 3/4 cup granulated white sugar
1 Tbl spoon cornstarch
1/2 teaspoon of vanilla extract
1 cup heavy cream (for whip topping later, told you making your own is better) if you buy yours from the store then you don't need this.
1 1/2 cups of fresh blueberries ( My husband looked up how to make a great sauce on the stove out of blueberries, if you want to make this as well make sure you have 3 cups of blueberries.

1.Preheat oven at 350F
2.Combine the egg whites, salt and the white vinegar in a mixing bowl and beat with an electric mixer on high setting till soft peaks form. If you have made your own whipping cream before then you know what this looks like. If not, then I don't yet know how to tell you but maybe there is a video out there you could watch if you wanted to. Usually its when you cannot see the bubbles anymore and the liquid is firming up.
3. Mix together in a small bowl the sugar and cornstarch together and start to slowly add the the egg whites while mixing them in. After all the sugar and cornstarch has been added, add the vanilla and continue to beat on high till the fluff gets stiffer. This probably took 10 more minutes. I think when your ready to have someone else hold the electric hand mixer is when your done. At least that is what I did!
4. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and spoon a big dollop of meringue in a circle shape, leaving an indent in the center for spooning the fruit into later. I was able to make 6 very large ones. Bake for 5-8minutes, lowering the heat down to 200F afterwards and continue to bake for another hour.
5. After the hour at 200F is done, turn off the oven and leave the door open a crack till cool inside. Then pull out the meringue circles.
6. Whip the 1 cup whipping cream in with 2 tablespoon of regular granulated sugar or 1 tablespoon of sugar sub. and I usually add 1/2 teaspoon of vanilla extract as well. Make your whip cream topping. Takes about 10min on medium/high setting on the electric mixer.
7. If you want to make a blueberry sauce, take 2 cups of blueberries, and mash in the bottom of a sauce pan with a potato masher, add 1/3 cup of sugar or a lil less of a sugar sub.
8. Boil on medium heat for 1 min, then add 1/2 teaspoon of vanilla or almond flavoring.
9. Let cool in the fridge before serving.
10. When ready to eat dessert, take your meringue circle on a plate or bowl and top with the blueberries, blueberry sauce and whip cream. Best flavors and not too rich.

Next weeks dinner ideas

I need to have enough dinner meals for Mon-Sun, 7 days.

UPDATED 9/2/13

I crossed off the recipes I was able to try this past week. So, far all but the homemade pizza. I am trying to figure out how to time letting the dough rise before I need to make it. Something to try next week. 

1. Meatloaf in a muffin tin
2. Chicken Stir fry
3. Chicken Tortilla Soup
4. Homemade pizza
5. Spaghetti and moose meatballs
6. Summer salad with steak
7. Chicken and Bacon Rolls Ups Lasagna

Something I learned today, parchment paper and wax paper are not the same thing. Have both in your kitchen! : )

Spanish paella, pronounced, pie-eh-ah.

Went to an aunt and uncles for dinner last night. Family dinner nights are great. Super good! It was a great mix of flavors. Chicken, chorizo and seafood galore! My husband and I really like Paella!

I will post a recipe up here soon when I make it. My Aunt took a book out of the library that was filled with all Paella recipes. I will try the same here and make some in about a week, since we just had some.

What was most enjoyable was the appetizers and dessert as well. To stick with the Spanish theme we had: bread, cheese, almond oil for dipping, almonds, and hot and cool peppers fried up in a pan.

What was a great idea is to have out of a small bowl of peppers a few hotter ones mixed in with the cool ones. They all look the same but can be a surprise roulette game with your friends or family. I got the hot one but it wasn't too bad. Just like a bit of a burn on the tip of my tongue. I want to play again!

For dessert we had fresh picked blackberries and nectarine crisp. Super good and a scoopful of vanilla ice cream on the side.

Now I am going to be searching for my recipes ideas for this next week before going grocery shopping.

Fun stuff. I'll write up a short post on what the plan is for meals this week. Trying something new. I hope you all try Paella sometime.

Saturday, August 24, 2013

Another not home cooked meal, but I went to the movies instead........I need to go to the grocery store!

So, I worked late last night and was picked up by my husband and taken straight to the mall to see a movie at 6:30pm. What to do about dinner? We did not stop by the house to eat before we went to the movie. The mall has a food court. We ended up stopping there. I am not a very adventurous food court person, shortest line at a place I know I have eaten at before and liked, is where you will find me. If I had the time to explore, I would try some of the new places. I really like fresh tacos, the kind with veggies in them rather than just meat and cheese. There are a bunch of new food choices in our food court and since I don't often go to the mall (I am a consignment/thrift store shopper) I don't try them. I think the next time I go I will try something new. We now have a Mongolian grill, an Indian grill, tacos, and I don't remember the rest. They all looked super good too. Lots of cut up good looking veggies etc. I can't lie, I love me some fresh raw veggies. Fruit is also good.

I want a fruit bowl for breakfast now......going back to needing to go shopping at the grocery store. Tomorrow is the plan for that, what to do in the mean time? Go eat with your family at THEIR house!
That is what we are going to do tonight. I am super excited, we are getting served seafood paella. I had NO idea what that was.

I looked it up online and was like, yes please! I like seafood and will update later on how it was made and if it tasted good or not. I am sure it will, the aunt in this family is a 'foodie'. She loves to cook.

While I enjoy cooking right now, I don't think in two weeks I have transformed into a person yet that L-O-V-E-S. to cook. One day is the hope when I have really started to make good food taste amazing.

Friday, August 23, 2013

Cooking Tips Article

I read the following quick article on the top 10 ingredients to use that can make cooking food taste better. Since this blog is all about making food taste better and cooking more often, I eagerly read up the quick facts about which ingredients. A lot of it is just common sense, you know about how better quality ingredients make food taste better. In case you didn't know, take a look. It is a 2-5min read, just look at the pictures really.

I am wanting to try to make my own chicken stock, however that is something I have yet to do.

Cornish Game Hens with red potatoes and gravy

Sounds good right? I finally made those hens in the oven and they were delicious. Way easier then anything I have made so far. They just cook for a long time. My husband made the mashed potatoes, they are always super good when he does them.

I will update with the recipe here later tonight. In the mean time, if you have Cornish Game Hens, a lemon and some butter you can make this.

I even saved the bones to try and make my own chicken stock! That is the plan this weekend.


Lemon Basil Cornish Game Hens Prep Time: 5min Cook Time: 1 hour or until 170F inside
2 Cornish game hens (rinse and patted dry, pull any remaining feather bits off)
pinch of salt and pepper to taste
1 tablespoon of butter (melted)
1 lemon, halved
4 sprigs fresh rosemary or basil leaves
3 tablespoons olive oil
2 cloves garlic
1/3 cup of Better than Bouillon or chicken broth

1. Turn the oven on bake at 350F with the oven rack on the lower of the middle rungs. Use a 9x13 casserole pan or a roasting pan. Rub the outside of the chicken with the lemon and then brush melted button on top. 
2. Place the lemon halves, basil or rosemary leaves, and clove of garlic into the cavity of each chicken. 
3 Place breast side up into the cooking pan and put into the oven for 35min
4. Brush more melted butter ontop of the chicken and then pour the 1/3cup of chicken broth and olive oil with any remaining butter into the bottom of the pan. Cook for another 25min, brush the liquid in the bottom of the pan over the top of the chicken one more time during this second phase of cooking. 
5. Turn the oven to 400F for 5-10min if you want the tops of your chicken to brown. 
6. Check the temp of the chicken, if at 170F take out and serve, easiest by cutting the chicken in half down the middle. If not at 170F yet, place back into the oven for another 5-10min.
7. If you want to make gravy out of the drippings you can pour the liquid from the bottom of the cooking pan into a sauce pan on medium heat and add a bit of flour to thicken while whisking. 

The hens turned out super good and I saved the bones to try making my own chicken stock to store in the freezer. I will try another recipe with them again. There are lots of other toppings and sauces to serve and cook them in. 

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Kayaking late equals subway dinner

So, I didn't make any dinner last night. Though to make up for it, I am cooking the Cornish Game Hens tonight! Wish me luck on my first try.

I went kayaking with some coworkers and friends late last night after work. It was my first time and it was a lot of fun. My shoulders, particularly my left was a bit sore last night afterwards but now that I am running around at work today I don't feel it anymore. We did kayak on a lake and not the ocean. I would do it again, we paddled for a long time and my tummy was all grumbly for snack time. We didn't bring snacks! Next time I will bring snacks with us. Something that is still good even if it gets wet. My shorts were soaked, though I did bring a towel so I could stay warm after we got out of the kayaks. Everyone else wore swimsuits with little skirts on them. Super cute! I will need to get one of those for next summer.

I will update how making the Hens goes tonight. I think I need to buy a lemon though. One of the recipe's I read said to put a cut up lemon inside while they cook to help keep them moist and flavorful.

I never have fresh lemons at home, just lemon juice in the fridge. Bad foodie!  : )

Oh, I also need to get kitchen twine for next time, to tie the legs of the hen together while it cooks. I think I will be definitely more of a 'foodie' once my kitchen has both twine for cooking and cheese cloth for straining various things. I keep seeing those in recipes and I still have never gotten them. New plan, get those too at some point and then use them in a recipe!

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Dinner for one- chicken soup for a cold

What do you do when your alone for dinner at home? I ended up snacking for several hours and now that it is actual "dinner" time I am no longer hungry. I didn't do to well with making food tonight. I did eat a lot of green grapes and some chicken soup because I haven't been feeling well the past few days. Everyone around me apparently has a head cold.

I did create my own great chocolate craving cure though: 1 cup of finely chopped up walnuts in a food processor. Add to a bowl along with some melted dark chocolate squares and a bit of agave or honey to your tastes to slightly sweeten. I also added a spoonful of peanut butter to mine. Super Super good chocolaty snack food.

The chicken soup recipe is below that I have been making for myself whenever I feel sick because I dislike the taste of canned soup so much. The soup should be changed to your tastes. I don't like noodles in mine, some people may prefer rice. I just like the veggies, broth and chicken. Oh so good, my husband agrees. Even if your not feeling well, it makes all the difference eating fresh nourishing soup.

Chicken Soup Prep time: 10-15 min Cook time: 20 min
1 chicken breast or other cut of meat of equivalent size (chopped into small squares either before or after cooking halfway, easier I find to cut up after cooking partway)
2 large carrots (chopped)
2 pieces of celery (chopped)
2 large russet potatoes (chopped into small squares)
pinches of spices (basil, oregano, garlic, salt, pepper etc)
6 cups of chicken broth or water and bullion cubes

1. Cook the chicken in a skillet, microwave, or grill partway through. Let the chicken cool while you boil the potatoes and carrot in a pot containing water that just covers the vegetables. Add a chicken bullion cube to the boiling potatoes and carrots. Cook for 10 min or until tender.
2. Cut up the rest of the ingredients, celery, chicken and garlic. Drain the extra water from the pot and add the rest of the ingredients and the chicken stock to the pot. You can use V8 vegetable juice if you want a tomato base for broth. It is also really good this way. Add spices to taste. Simmer all together for another 10 minutes on lower heat.

Red sauce ribs cooked in the slow cooker

Had ribs last night with spinach salad and leftover baked beans from Friday and smashed up yams cooked in the microwave.

They were really good. Fell right off the bone. I am going to try my friends recipe next time though. It has a few more steps so I will try it on a weekend night.

I will update later today with how I cooked them. I got the recipe from the book I checked out from the library. I only really liked a handful of recipe's from the book so didn't want to purchase it.


Red sauce rib recipe Prep Time: 10 min Cook time: 8 hours on low (crock-pot)
1 lbs of pork spare ribs (I bought the kind that was already cut into individual ribs)
1/4 cup of ketchup
1 tablespoon of honey
1 tablespoon of soy sauce (or liquid aminos substitute)
1 tablespoon of lemon juice
1 tablespoon of fresh grated ginger
1 clove of garlic (minced)

1. Combine the sauce ingredients into a bowl
2. Place the ribs into the crock-pot and brush on the sauce between stacking the ribs on top of each other.
3. Set on low for 8 hours.

Monday, August 19, 2013

Family Dinner

For Sunday I didn't end up cooking ribs in the slow cooker and having leftover baked beans and yams for the sides. I also didn't go out to eat, yeah! Instead my husband and I went over to his parents house for dinner. Supper yummy Moose roast cooked out on the grill. My husband's dad went on a Moose hunt up in Canada, last fall I think it was and they still have a ton of meat from it.

His step-mom made great green beans with bacon of course and almond oil. Delicious! We also had watermelon. A nice simple summer time dinner. BBQ outside and done.

We were sent home though with ground moose which is always a plus and a big thank you to them for sharing with us.

My husband makes the best meatballs for spaghetti out of the ground moose. I will update with that recipe when we make it next.

Monday is Rib night. I'll let you all know how it turned out.

Saturday, August 17, 2013

Biscuit Breakfast

Going to try and make Buttermilk Biscuits from scratch for breakfast this morning. I made then last weekend but ended up eating them all before anyone else got to try them. I will post the recipe here later. I am going to try for the first time to tweak and perfect them. They were a little too powder tasting if that makes sense. But still delicious.

To go along with the biscuits I am going to cook up some bacon and scrambled eggs. 

Yum yum. If we have room I also like to make bowls of cut up fruit. We have right now a peach, green grapes and some canned pineapple chunks.


Okay the biscuits this time were perfect! You have to make these, super simple just a bit of time. I copied directly from

Biscuit Recipe  Prep time: 10-15 min  Cook time: 8-10 min in oven
makes about 6-8 biscuits

2 1/4 cup flour
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon sugar
4 tablespoons of baking powder (a little extra baking powder makes them fluffy)
1/3 cup butter ( cut the butter into small squares, easier to mix in with a fork)
1 cup of cold milk

1. Mix the dry ingredients into a medium sized mixing bowl and then slowly add a few pieces of butter and smash into the flour with a fork. Slowly mix the chunks of butter in until all are mixed into the flour and are smashed into smaller bits. There are some pictures on the KitchenMage blog of what it is suppose to look like when your done including the kneading dough part. The blog used a food processor for this part, so feel free to do that instead of the fork. 
2. Once the butter has been cut into the flour mixture you can slowly add the milk and mix with your hands! The fun part. You will get gooey but its fun right? Once you have the dough kneaded (add more flour if too sticky) roll out onto the counter or cutting board with a bit of flour dusted on top. I leave my dough a bit sticky so that it doesn't come out tasting too floury in the end because of the stuff on the surface you roll it out on. Roll out the dough leaving it a bit thick for tall biscuits. 
3. I use a drinking glass to cut out my biscuits because I don't have a cookie cutter. it works great. If you don't have a rolling pin a drinking glass works just as well for rolling out dough like this.
4. Place the cut out biscuits on the baking sheet and cook at 425F for 8-10 minutes. Mine haven't browned on top, I tell if there done by checking the bottoms at 8 minutes. If slightly brown I pull them out. They are the best! 

If you have tricks for getting the tops of your biscuits slightly brown let me know. 

Slow cooked baked beans

I cringe just a bit at the idea of eating baked beans. However, my husband has started to like a side dish now and then of them when we have gone out to eat at places that serve them. So, to go along with my 'being a foodie challenge' I am going to make them AND perfect them to his liking. Who knows maybe I would even make them in a way I would find them appetizing......or not.

So, I got up only slightly early this time and started to make the baked beans in the crock pot. My hope is when I get home this afternoon they will be okay.
For this recipe I used two websites and combined them to make my own crock pot version. I didn't have any bacon to fry up and add so I hope my husband forgives me. Next time there will be bacon!

Crock Pot Baked Beans

1 16oz can of pinto beans, drained
1 16 oz can of northern beans, drained
1 16 oz can of red kidney beans, drained
1 16oz can of garbanzo beans, drained
1 16oz can of butter beans, drained
1 medium sized yellow onion, diced
1/2 cup of molasses
1/2 cup of brown sugar
2 teaspoons of salt
1 tablespoon of Worcestershire sauce
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 teaspoon of mustard
1 cup of ketchup
2 cloves of garlic, diced

1. Cut up the onion and the garlic then place into the crock-pot. Drain and rinse the beans and add to the crock-pot as well.
2. Start adding the sauce ingredients and then stir. If you are adding bacon to yours place a few cut up pieces mixed in with the beans and then lay the rest over the top. At least that is what one of the websites says. I will try it the next time I make it.
3. Cook on low for 8 hours.

My husband and his friends all really liked the baked beans but said it was a tad bit tangy and suggested to use less molasses, so next time I will try 3 tablespoons of molasses.

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Diabetes friendly- and easy as PIE dessert....nope not actual pie but something even better

So, I had to quickly update about a great ice cream dessert that is super easy to make, AND healthy?

CRAZY. Also, super super cheap!

You ever buy a bunch of bananas and by the time you have eaten all you can, there is always 1 or 2 that have gotten too soft or spotted for you to eat? Well some would say throw into the freezer to make banana bread later with them. I say the same thing except peel and chop, then freeze in a bag. If you do them two to a bag it makes it easier for serving up in smaller amounts as ICE CREAM!

You need a Food processor or Vita Mix though for this.

Vanilla Ice Cream (made out of bananas for the base)

1. 2 frozen bananas chopped up
2. 2 teaspoons of vanilla extract
3. you can add some ice cubes or a bit a milk to get the consistency you want

Spoon into two bowls or have it all to yourself!

It is the creamiest texture and is super yummy. It should almost be bad for you but its not. No added sugar and not a ton of milk fat for the base.

Eat it all the time. I just started replenishing my frozen bananas in the freezer and starting this new routine was easier then planning out dinners ahead of time. I generally have bananas in the house. Try it with adding other ingredients you like, nuts, raw chocolate powder or syrup, blend in other fruits like strawberries or also add protein powder.

Rainy Days Food

Where I live, it has been raining the past few days but it is also warm and humid outside. I cannot escape from it because no one really has air conditioning here except for stores/movie theaters. We like to call these days "muggy".

What do you make for dinner on warm damp muggy days? You feel gross and sticky and warm and uncomfortable. But, it costs more then pennies to go out to eat. Some would like to run to and eat at their favorite sushi place that also has air conditioning (I raise my hand at that idea). But, what if you wanted to stay home for various reasons and eat in the comforts of your own home. Throw on the pj's and lets cook something good!

This is a great time to break out your best microwave cooking or grill outside.

I will update later tonight with what I ended up making. What is your favorite dish to cook on hot days for dinner?


So, we ended up just having grilled cheese made on the stove with leftover creamy tomato basil soup and canned pineapple chunks with green grapes. Actually very refreshing, tasty, and nice on a warm humid night.

If you never made your own spagetti sauce you are missing out on the best thing ever!! Read here to find out how and why it's so easy

I have never made my own spaghetti sauce before. I mean this isn't really from scratch scratch, we are not stewing our own raw tomatoes for hours upon hours like my husbands great grandmother would do at her house. Maybe one day I will do that when I am inundated with garden tomatoes galore. That part is done for us, but adding our own delicious flavorful veggies and meat is something we have complete control over and the best part is....tastes 100% better than any canned or jared spagetti sauce I have tried. I have tried ALOT of kinds and brands over the past 10+ years, I am sure you have too and while it seems easier to buy a jar or two to keep on hand at home. 1. It is expensive, especially the fancy more flavorful kind that still doesn't quiet taste that good later. 2. I never finish a whole jar and it ends up going bad in the fridge because I forget about it and mostly that is because it doesn't taste that great. 

It took me with the help of my food processor just 10 minutes to get everything together in the skillet cooking together and then after, just putting it all away and cleaning up. (If you don't have the kitchen gaget, put it on your list for Christmas this year or black Friday shopping list. Cutting up stuff and mixing together amazing meals is a pain without this great tool.) I had 4 days worth of emergency pasta sauce meals for when we had nothing else in the house or didn't want to 'cook'. Its amazing and I never want to do anything else again. It tastes that good and is way cheaper then wasting your money on sauce you don't like! Try it once, then you will know too. Its like making your own whip cream, I have not purchased store bought whip cream since. It is that good when you make it yourself. I will write up how to do that this weekend.

Spaghetti Sauce
1 lb ground beef
 1 zuchini
3 carrots
2 bell peppers
1 onion
1 large can spaghetti sauce (plain)
herbs from the kitchen/garden (basil, oregano, salt and pepper, rosemary)

1. Cut into medium sized 2inch long chunks all of the veggies and place into a bowl. If you have a food processor, fill the food processor with small amounts of the veggies and chop till the pieces are sized to your tastes. Once the veggies have been chopped, you remove the first round and place into the large skillet with the ground beef cooked on medium and then continue to chop in small batches till you are done and all the veggies are in the skillet cooking with the beef. (I found chopping the veggies in smaller batches kept giant chunks of carrot from not being cut up and left whole in the food processor because I filled it too full.)
2. Brown the ground beef with all veggies and then drain the grease. Add the Spaghetti sauce and stir to combine, also add any herbs you would like (basil, oregano, salt and pepper). Simmer for a few minutes. Divide into storage containers or Ziploc bags and Freeze. Thaw and reheat on the stove or microwave.
3. Put on whatever cooked pasta you like best! : )
This made enough spaghetti sauce for my husband and I to thaw out and use 4 different times. Boy it was nice when either he or I were not going to be home and the other person just had to one day ahead of time or in the morning before work pull the sauce out of the freezer. Make 10min pasta when we got home and add sauce. BAM! quick and super easy. A few slices of toast on the side with butter and a yummy, quick, low cost meal. 

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Dinners for two!

I have been having a great week so far making meals for my husband and I. This morning I was able to crawl out of bed with the extra 10minutes I needed to place chicken and onion with sauce into the crock pot. I am trying to make shredded BBQ chicken served on hamburger buns tonight with a side salad or yams. I got the recipe out of one of the books I checked out from the library. If all goes well when we return home from work today I will update with the recipe and any changes I made for the sake of ease and cost.

I think I bought too many types of meat this last trip to the grocery store. I still have ribs, two Cornish game hens and 10lbs of beef. I have a few recipes in mind for all of those but my husband and I will only be home together for dinner tonight and then Sunday. Two days! I bought too much food to cook only for two days. I am going to get creative and store some items in the freezer. Then I will need to plan out when I am going to thaw which items out ahead of time. This food planning thing can get complicated. But that is what this journey is all about. Going to try my best and figure out how to be a better cook......and planner?

I need to ask my friend who made Cornish Game hens for me and my husband when she invited us over for dinner a few months back how she did it. They came out of the oven perfect and had a side dish of glazed baby carrots. If you have yet to make those DO IT NOW! SOOOOOO good!

I just remembered I haven't made them in awhile, they are added to the list for a side dish for a meal next week and I will add the recipe for them then. They are amazing and you have to try making them yourself. 

The BBQ chicken turned out great, my husband really enjoyed it. Was very tasty, not the healthiest chicken dish but does satisfy the taste buds and is filling. Served with a spinach salad on the side and some mother in-law zucchini bread for dessert. All together very delicious and took very little effort.

BBQ Shredded chicken
1 small onion diced
2 cloves of garlic diced
4 chicken thighs, skinless and boneless ( I made mine with both bone & skin)
4-6 hamburger buns ( feeds 2 people + leftovers)

1/4 cup of ketchup ( I used BBQ sauce, I was out of ketchup)
2 Tbl spoons of cider vinegar
2 Tbl spoons of brown sugar ( I used stevia sugar sub)
1 Tbl spoon olive oil
1 1/2 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1/2 teaspoon chilli powder
1/4 teaspoon of salt

1. Place onion and garlic in bottom of 3 quart sized crockpot. Place the chicken thighs on top.
2. In a small bowl combine and stir all sauce ingredients together. Pour over all the chicken thighs.
3. Cook on low for 7-8 hours. ( cooks well when your at work, just make sure your crockpot switches to warm setting when done.
4. Pull apart chicken into pieces using two forks and remove all bones if you used bone in chicken thighs. Stir into sauce in the crockpot, keep on warm setting till serving spooned onto warm hamburger buns.

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Tomato Basil Bisque with grilled cheese!! YUM

My bookmarked websites are becoming almost exclusively recipe sites. I think this is a good thing for my journey to becoming more of a 'foodie'. My husband's friend would be proud.

Tonight's dinner was.....drum roll.........not a complete failure. Why, I say that? We'll the soup was bland till we kicked some pep back into it's step! Direct link to the website below but the recipe for the changes I made to it for cooking are below.

Dinner for Tuesday night
1. Tomato Basil Bisque Soup - I also have seen a crock pot recipe that I will try next time. This morning I forgot to put it all together.....okay rather I slept in instead of getting up in time to put it all together.

2. Grilled Cheese- my husband made them, I confess. He is better at getting the bread nice and crispy, while I end up making burnt grilled cheese. Something to work on next time. He is also super fast at making them. I don't understand how he does it!

Tomato Basil Bisque Soup - Aprx. 30min cooking and 10-15min prep work
1 carrot, chopped - I don't bother peeling my carrots. Tastes just fine
1/2 a  yellow onion, chopped
1 tablespoon fresh garlic, minced
1 tablespoon butter
1 cup chicken broth ( I used better than bouillon base)
1 (28 ounce) can crushed tomatoes
1 (16 ounce)  can of tomato sauce
5 large leaves of fresh basil, torn up. (Dried basil from your spice rack works as well, 1 tablespoon)
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano, crushed
1/2 teaspoon ground pepper
1 cup whipping cream
4 teaspoons sugar
1/4 cup fresh basil
2-3 teaspoons of chili power or some other hot spice you enjoy 
1. In a large saucepan, cook carrots, onion, and garlic in butter until vegetables are tender, but not brown on medium heat. (approximately 5 minutes)
2. Add tomato sauce, chicken broth, un-drained crushed tomatoes, basil, oregano, and pepper. Bring to a boil reduce heat. Simmer (turn heat to low), uncovered, about 30 minutes or until slightly thickened.
3. Place half of the soup in a blender container or food processor bowl (make sure your food processor has a good rubber seal around the lid, otherwise cover with a towel, the liquid will come out around the edge and it is HOT!) blend or process until smooth. Repeat with remaining mixture (It is important not to over fill your blender or food processor).
4. Return all of the mixture to the saucepan. Stir in whipping cream and sugar; heat through. Ladle into warm soup bowls. Top each serving with fresh basil leaves, if you like.

Day 2 - I won the battle!

Tuesday night dinner went great!

Maybe it was because of how easy the plan for dinner was? I think that had a lot to do with it, but I am making dinner here to be easy, at a low cost but to also taste amazing! Too difficult? I hope not, I am here trying to figure that out. My hope is I will triumph and succeed. Post your favorite easy burger meal in the comments.

I had bought on sale at our local grocery store 12 turkey burgers for $6.99!
My husband and I still had about 6 of them left in the freezer. I had remembered during our trip to the grocery store the weekend before to add hamburger buns to my list or we would never get around to eating the last of these. After 6-10min on the grill (YOU CAN COOK THEM FROZEN!) they were ready.

My husband seasoned the burgers with some steak seasoning, super good if you have some. Otherwise a little salt and pepper works too.

While the burgers were on the grill, I whipped up some yams (a.k.a sweet potatoes) in the microwave. Only takes 9 minutes to cook two yams. You just cut 1/2 an inch off each end, the tips of the yam and then poke holes into the skin all over with a fork. You don't need to pierce the flesh of the yam, they are quite hard, but just the skin. Then place them in the microwave for 9 minutes. Depending on the size, if you have a small yam try 5 minutes first then pierce with a knife to see if it is soft all the way through.You can easily cut the yam in half after letting them cool a bit, plate will be hot too be careful removing from the microwave! Then I just scoop out the inside, the skin peels away very easily, then mash up with some butter. No need to add anything but some people like to put a little salt on top.

Other times when we are not dying from it being so warm in our apartment in the summer, I make sweet potato fries. You take a yam that is fairly straight and large in the middle. Cut in half, then make slices. Once you have a slice laying flat on the cutting board cut your strips of fries out. If they are too long, then cut in half. Toss in a bowl with olive oil and salt and pepper before placing on the baking sheet. You might want to put foil down first. Turn once during cooking. Cook at 425F in the oven for about 20-30min. They don't get very crispy but are very good. Something I am going to try and perfect, they are not deep fried but how do I get them more crispy from just baking them?

We didn't have a veggie salad with dinner this time, instead I took a few grapes, blueberries, and half an apple and made a fruit salad to complete our dinner.

The start of something good

I am starting on a new adventure of trying to cook food I have never cooked before. This process is partly due out of necessity and also partly due to a desire to be a 'foodie'. While I only know the very basics regarding cooking, I have a few friends that have "perfected over the many years" their various recipes. I have never done that. I would like to "perfect" some food recipe I have, make it and everyone's mouths just water looking at it.

So, that is what I am going to do. I am challenging myself to start actually cooking. I won't go crazy trying to make some complicated dishes all the time. Simple, yet still desirable food. Mostly for dinner, breakfast and desserts.

I am on this heath recipe binge on desserts currently with a coworker of mine. In the end the dessert recipes are not that healthy still if you eat the whole thing. If you limit yourself to 2-3 then I think your good. We currently have not been able to succeed at this. We did find that if you make it for someone else or rather give away most of the desserts soon after you make then, much healthier!

To start off I read a few mom blogs that contained easy to prepare and make dinners. These mom's blogs were okay, but I am a married women with just one kid to husband! I don't have a larger brood which is what these blogs and meals were designed for. (I saved them though because I foresee needing them in my future!)

In addition to the food related blogs I also checked out a few recipe and crock pot books from the library (you know you can check those out for free!) The recipes I liked I copied with my scanner. My plan is once I find a book I like throughout its entirety I will buy it to keep at home.

My husband and I also are going to start printing them out and taping them into a blank notebook for our home recipe book. I might try hand writing them if we add them slow enough. I do have terrible handwriting though. Printing and taping might be easiest for now till they all start to fall out! I'll update on what worked best later.

Dinner 1 Monday night
Fancy adult mac n cheese with bacon
Peach spinach salad on the side 

My husband prefers the mac n cheese to be 'extra cheesy' so I doubled that part and only slightly added more noodles. Turned out AMAZING! I felt so proud. There was enough for two lunches of leftovers too, even after we both had two helpings of it during dinner.

I used the recipe I linked to but I added the modifications below for making this cheaper and easier.

Fancy Adult Mac n Cheese - Aprx. cooking time 20min, prep time 15 min

4 slices of peppered bacon
2 cups elbow macaroni
1 1/2 cups milk
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1/2 of a 1 lb block of shredded medium cheddar cheese (was still super good without sharp cheddar, it can be so expensive!)
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 slices whole wheat sandwich bread, crusts removed 

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

Cook the bacon layered between paper towels in the microwave and cook on high for 3-4 minutes until the bacon is crisp. Remove carefully! There will be hot grease on the plate/paper towels. Transfer the bacon to a plate lined with paper towels and crumble when it is cool enough to handle.

Drizzle oil into a large pot of boiling salted water. Add the macaroni and cook according to the directions on the package, 6 to 8 minutes. Drain well.

Heat the milk in a small saucepan, but don't boil it. While the milk is getting warm, melt the butter in a small bowl in the microwave, 20 seconds on high or longer on a lower power setting.  While the butter is still hot stir with a fork, adding the flour. While whisking, add the butter/flour mixture to the milk on the stove in the sauce pan and cook for a minute or 2 more, until thickened and smooth. On low heat, add the Cheddar cheese slowly in small handfuls, adding more as it melts into the milk mixture, 1 teaspoon salt and pepper. Add the cooked macaroni and crumbled bacon and stir well. Pour into a small glass baking pan about the 6 x 10 size. If you double up on the cheese and noodles this will fit well into the 9 x 13 sized baking dishes.

Place the bread slices in a food processor fitted with a steel blade and pulse until you have coarse crumbs. Sprinkle the bread crumb mixture over the top of the pasta. Bake for 20-35 minutes, or until the sauce is bubbly and the macaroni is browned on the top.

Peach Spinach Salad

4 slices of cooked peppered bacon, chopped

1 ripe large peach, chopped
Baby spinach in two bowls
1/2 a sweet pepper (whichever is your favorite color), chopped
2 radishes, chopped


Add the spinach and other ingredients divided into 2 bowls and serve.