Thursday, January 29, 2015

"The I swear I'm making this as soon as I get home" Recipe Review--Taco Pizza/Flatbread




So this is my rendition of Melanie Makes Taco Pizza/Flatbread.  The whole reason I decided to make her version instead of mine was that the recipe called for Frito corn chips and as you can see I didn't even use them. It seemed like overkill at the time.  The chipotle ranch sauce is a lighter version of the plain sour cream that I've used in the past.  We happen to like our "sauce" a little thicker so if I make this again, I'll reduce the amount of milk that's added.  If you've never made a taco type pizza, this is a good place to start.  Knowing myself as well as I do, I probably won't take the time to make the chipotle cream sauce.  In my humble opinion, the sauce isn't a significant flavor improvement over the sour cream that I have used in the past.  I do love the idea to switch the sour cream to 0% plain greek yogurt which will add a healthier element to the old way of making this.

Caramel Apple
Okay, yet again I didn't follow the recipe apparently due to my inability to read it completely.  I didn't cut the apple this way and I didn't even add any brown sugar or butter.  All I did was cut the apples, scoop the center, then throw a caramel in the center and bake 'em.  Oh yeah, and I poured a little orange juice on the bottom of the glass dish to keep them moist and to not stick.  Even though my way is less calories from the get go, adding the leftover whipped cream icing {from Mom's birthday cupcakes} put them right on par with the original recipe.

I forgot how much I love baked apples.

Next time I'll add the brown sugar and butter.

Three down, one to go for this week.


Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Two Recipe Reviews from Blogland

So I'm going to reference this recipe as my inspiration but really....I made my own.

It was dee-licious.

In fact my youngest son said "Why do you always make the good stuff when I'm cutting{dieting}" to which I replied "Eat everything in moderation and you'll never have to utter those words again".

Life is too short not to eat chocolate cake when you want...just saying.

I'm sure he threw his "cutting" diet right out the window this morning when he realized that there were leftovers in the frig.

He probably licked the container after he was done eating.

It's a boy thing.


HAM AND SWISS, ONE PAN PASTA

1/2 medium onion chopped
1/3 yellow bell pepper chopped
8 oz chopped ham
2 cups low sodium chicken stock
1/2 cup water
5-6 oz dried large elbows (or similar sized pasta)
4 oz frozen sugar snap peas
4 oz swiss cheese grated (please grate your own)
1/3 cup heavy cream (could use whole milk, half and half, or light cream)
2 tbs butter

Place butter, onion, bell pepper, and ham in a large skillet.  Cook on medium high heat until vegetables are softened and all of the ingredients are light brown.  Add the broth, water, and pasta; bring to a full boil.  Cover the pan and reduce heat to medium (to allow for a slow boil) and cook for approx 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, or until pasta is tender. Most of the liquid should be absorbed at this time.   Reduce the heat to medium low and stir in the snap peas and cream.  Leave the burner on until the everything is combined. Spread the cheese over the pasta, cover the pan and turn the burner off.  Set the timer for 7 minutes to allow the cheese to melt.  Alternate method to melt the cheese:  Place skillet under the broiler for 3 minutes until cheese is melted and browned.

This is not my picture, but it looked like this.
It was dark.
Hopefully I'll remember next time



SLOW COOKER REVIEW
So I completely forgot that I made this from my list a few weeks ago and I now will eat pork from a crock again.  You see I've had some miserable experiences with dried out plain 'ole disgusting tasting pork when I use my crock pot. This by far kills any other recipe that I have ever made.  Could be I followed the directions, lol.
Of course no picture...I swear the next post will show my creations, but I wanted to share.
Remember, don't cook 2 lbs for more than 6 hours.
{We only cooked ours for 5 hours and it was perfect}
Slow Cooker Pork Tenderloin with Maple Syrup




Tuesday, January 27, 2015

I'm cooking through my "I swear I'm making this as soon as I get home" list, Part I

I do it all the time.  You probably do too.  I read and surf out in blog land and websites that have gorgeous photography and calorie laden dishes and since I'm usually hungry or bored at the time, I say to myself "I'm making this TONIGHT".  Then I go home and sit in my chair for a minute then get up and make what I actually planned for that night.  This is all well and good but.....I really want to make those recipes and to be honest, I really want to eat those recipes.  Now when it comes time to plan my menu on Sunday, I'm like all responsible and thrifty and just want to plan something affordable and easy for a weeknight.  With the amount of saved recipes I have this is going to take forever but I'm gonna try and pick a couple from my ever growing list to make each week.  Most of the recipes call for simple affordable ingredients but for my budget conscious self I'll attempt to coordinate some of the pricier ingredients with a sale.  These are the things I'm adding in this week.

And this week's winners are.....
Bloomin Baked Apples
{I plan to make this Wednesday on my day off since I found caramels in my pantry}

Refried Bean Soup Recipe
{Okay so most peeps wouldn't be excited about this but...no judgin', right?}

LOVE this Ham & Cheese Gnocchi!! It's kinda like a dreamy baked mac and cheese, but way more grown up and a MILLION times more decadent. Plus it all cooks in one skillet and can be made in 15 mins or less. AMAZING delicious easy dinner!!
and the most excellent cheesy dish for the week goes to...
{exchanging for Monday's plain ole mac and cheese}

Taco Frito Flatbread Pizza | Melanie Makes melaniemakes.com
and who knows maybe this too depending on my motivation level this week.  I don't want to shoot too high but this would be delicious with the soup I listed, wouldn't it? Uh Huh!

I'll report back and try really hard to snap some passable pictures of the results.  So dorky but I'm excited to get started.




Sunday, January 25, 2015

This weekend clean out plan....

I don't want to let the momentum I have to fizzle out so here's my weekend plan for gettin' rid and cleanin' out!  I would so much rather be in Disney World with my other family right now for sure!


  1. My bathroom drawers and under sink cabinets.
  2. The top of my dresser and second drawer of the china hutch (paperwork storage, embarrassing I know)
It doesn't sound like a lot but I'm thinking this will take me longer than everything I did last weekend.

BEFORE:
Under the bathroom sink


The drawers

Messy pantry






AFTER:
Much neater under the sink


Wow! A big difference and I have things I've forgotten about!

Better, but as you can see I'm still stocked!!

I also cleaned off my dresser and cleaned up the kitchen bar area where I have a tendency to make nice little stacks.  My new "envelope system" for filing important papers and paid bills is also done. Cupcakes with a whipped icing were made for my Mom's birthday {just a little late}.  I went to work for about an hour and still was motivated to finish my "list".  I love marking out each item.....type A you say?  Why yes that's me, lol. 

Until next weekend.....



Menu Plan Monday 1/26/15

I'm finding it hard to believe that the month of January in the year 2015 is almost over.  I know everyone makes similar statements but seriously, before I know it Christmas will be here again.  Yes, I'm going to have an organized Christmas this year and I'm starting my shopping in August.  This past year was a disaster due to my surgery and prolonged recovery and the last thing I could imagine was being in a crowded shopping mall, much less grappling with a million people {a little exaggeration} on Black Friday. Thank God for Amazon!
Wow, that was a tangent I veered off to......back to the menu for this upcoming week.  Most of the dishes I had planned for last week never were eaten because of sporting events, work, and birthday celebrations. {HAPPY BIRTHDAY MOM}  However, we ate things from the frig and freezer and the ever popular "cereal for dinner" when we weren't celebrating or watching soccer.  Needless to say there will be a few repeats this week.
Even though we didn't do much cooking, we did make the baked egg rolls recipe that I normally cook in the oven.  I usually spray them with a little oil to crisp up the wonton wrappers.  However, they were even more delicious when my son pan fried them.  Dunking them in a sriracha based sauce made them even better!  I highly recommend this recipe because they freeze extraordinarily well and regardless of the cooking method make for a quick, tasty meal on any night. As a matter of fact I have some wrappers that need to be used so I'm thinking I'll make another batch for the freezer this weekend.  I also received a bread maker for Christmas and I'm hoping to try it out over Saturday and Sunday.  Since we haven't used up all of pantry or freezer items, we are still aren't shopping for anything but lunch stuff.  It's amazing how much I have saved over the last 2-3 weeks just by using what I already have.


SUNDAY
Baked Macaroni and Cheese
Sauteed Okra
Edamame
To Do:  Set up the crockpot and the bread maker for tomorrow.

MONDAY
Lentil Soup with Ham
Bread
To Do:  Nothing, eating out of the freezer tomorrow.

TUESDAY
Cheeseburgers
Rice a Roni
Sliced Lettuce and Tomatoes
To Do:  Nothing, I'm off tomorrow and don't have any appointments....I'm staying home to organize, cook, and clean.

WEDNESDAY
{I 'm not sure what I'll make with this, hopefully inspiration will strike}
To Do:  Set up new year {a little late} filing system, shred some old records, change shower curtain liner, etc

THURSDAY
{Repeat}
Frozen Veggie

FRIDAY
YOYO



This post is linked to orgjunkie.com




Monday, January 19, 2015

Menu Plan Monday 1/19/15

{Shh, I'm definitely whispering this but...} I wanted to let you know that the pantry challenge and effort to use up dry goods is going great!  I'v resisted the urge to stop by the store to add one more thing to the list of ingredients.....I've substituted successfully and Tabbyfied my recipes, and most importantly, I have cooked like every night. {and cleaned up, and emptied the dishwasher which I don't like :( }

I don't think there was one new recipe that we didn't care for, and all are fair game to be added to our rotation.  The Sloppy Joe Casserole was so simple that I'll throw that together whenever we need something quick.  Actually I browned and mixed the meat portion and put it in the frig the night before and added the tots and extra cheese right before baking.  Since the base was cold I increased the cooking time to 40 minutes and out came a bubbly, cheesy delight.  Like I posted last week, the Baked Fried Chicken is really worth the extra effort.  I didn't want to buy cornflakes so I used rice krispies {already in my pantry} for the coating.  The marinade called for hot sauce and all I had was Sriracha which turned out to be quite tasty....so feel free to improvise with this one.  Eggplant Stacks aren't new to us but I forget every time how much we love this dish.  I'm so making this again soon.

Now, I only have to plan one or two more weeks with what I have in the freezer. Seriously, this won't be too difficult since I unexpectedly picked up the hamburger and chicken last week.  I'm only cooking for two eaters which means no leftovers so I'll still have to shop for my for lunches. Keep your fingers crossed that I can resist temptation to buy any deals that I see.

Just a FYI, my youngest son works about twelve hours every Saturday and always needs me to bring him breakfast/lunch {as it would never cross his mind to plan the night before..not a Type A for sure} so I'm going to make this recipe for him and as a bonus use up one package of the hashbrowns in the freezer.  Shoot, I might even use up some of the ham that's in there too.

FREEZER INVENTORY
2--Smoked Sausage Rings
3--Hamburgers
1--Meatloaf
3--Chicken Breasts
1--package chopped ham
2--Pizza Crusts
1--Garlic Bread
2--Hashbrowns
1/2 Bag--Tater Tots


PANTRY
Too much to list {even still}

MONDAY
Refried Bean Soup Recipe
Refried Bean Soup
or

Lentil Soup
To Do:  Put meatloaf in frig.

TUESDAY
Meatloaf
{freezer}
Mashed Potatoes
{pantry}
Roasted Broccoli
To Do:  Chop remaining meatloaf and hide it for pizza on Thursday, grate cheese for tomorrow.

WEDNESDAY

Baked Mac and Cheese
Sauteed Okra
{freezer}
Edamame
{freezer}
To Do:  Put sausage ring in the frig

THURSDAY

Spicy Sausage Pasta
Frozen Veggie
To Do:  Nothing, tomorrow is Friday.

FRIDAY
YOYO


I might switch some days around depending on our soccer schedule this week but this is my plan and I'm sticking to it!

This post is linked to orgjunkie.com


After....





(bad pic sorry)





So this weekend I cleaned my closet, my appliance pantry, the spice cabinet, under the kitchen sink, and....the medicine/baking cabinet.  My next available moment I'll be cleaning out the cabinet in my bathroom, and the pots and pans cupboards.  Yeh, I'm getting it done,  New Year New Start!!