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Sunday, August 23, 2015

My dearest children, I'm sorry I never taught you how to cook

I have a lot of Mommy guilt. I pretty much set my kids up for a life of take out and fast food becuase I never taught them how to cook.
How could this be you ask? Aren't you a fabulous cook who teases us all the time with pictures of food and your latest recipes?!

::hangs head in shame::

Yes, I am. Thank you for that compliment!
And, yes I didn't teach my 4 kids because the truth is...my kitchen is tiny and my patience is even tinier! THERE I SAID IT. I have no patience. Teaching is not my gift.

With all that being said, I have guided my kids through some basic kitchen skills and those (the girls) of them who have shown an interest in experiementing with flavors and recipes have learned a few dishes and tricks.

I believe in fostering independence and not forcing my offspring to have set roles in life, like women cooking and men mowing lawns. Although, if I had taught my boys to mow the lawn, I'd have a nicer looking lawn. Anywhooo....

The whole point being, now that my girls are off to college, I'm scrambling to put together some sort of cookbook for them! The tried and true, yummy and simple, make you miss your Mama kind of recipes.

I figured I should just start blogging on my COOKING blog and just leave them a digital legacy of my recipes and cooking shenannigans! No need to download a bunch of templates or pay for someone else to make my recipes look pretty, I have a blog! Yahooie!

Look out girls and boys, Mama is coming with a whole new blog of our families favorites!!


Love and Bon Appetit!

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Leftover Stuffed Peppers

Oh my goodness, it's been nearly a year since I've done any blogging whatsoever.  I almost forgot how!  I made stuffed peppers tonight and posted a picture on Facebook and got a few requests for the recipe so I thought I would post and share here. The backstory is that is recipe was inspired by one I pinned on Pinterest awhile back.  It was a black bean quinoa Mexican style recipe for stuffed peppers.  I had thawed some ground beef on Saturday but lost the oomph I needed to make something with it and by Monday night I had to use it or lose it.  I cooked it up taco style (using my own taco seasoning), added a can of black beans and made a burrito.  I decided that I would use the leftover meat for stuffed peppers tonight.  So, I warmed up the meat, par-boiled the peppers, added a few other ingredients and olĂ©! I was eating the most delicious dinner about 30 minutes later.

This recipe will make enough stuffing for 4 peppers.  You will want to adjust the recipe to suit your needs and I'm giving you the recipe here as if I was making them from scratch from the start (and not using leftovers).  Oh, and please don't judge me for my recipe writing skills - it's much harder than it appears.


Ingredients

1 lb. lean ground beef
1 16-oz. can of black beans rinsed and drained
1/2 onion chopped
1/2 cup water, divided
Taco Seasoning to taste
1 package of Seeds of Change Quinoa & Brown Rice (I buy this at Costco)
4 colored peppers (I used a mix of yellow, orange and red) rinsed with tops cut off and seeded
3/4 cup shredded cheddar cheese
Angie's Homemade Salsa

Directions

Cook ground beef and onion and drain.  Add black beans, taco seasoning and 1/4 water.  Combine well and heat through.  As a side note, I also added the bits and pieces from the peppers that were left after taking off the tops and evening out the bottoms.  Then add the quinoa and brown rice and a few spoonfuls of salsa.  The mixture shouldn't be too dry because you will be putting them in the oven and you don't want them to dry out.  Heat everything through.  Remove mixture from heat and stir in 1/2 shredded cheese.

Pre-cook your peppers in boiling water for 3-5 minutes.  Remove the peppers from the water, shaking off excess water.   Place the peppers in an 8x8" glass or baking pan.

Fill the peppers with the meat mix.  Top each pepper with salsa and shredded cheese.  Add 1/4 water to the bottom of the baking dish (this helps the peppers to continue to cook and keeps them from sticking) and loosely cover the pan and peppers with non-stick foil.

Bake at 350̊ for 15-20 minutes. Remove the foil and bake another 15-20 minutes until cheese is melted and bubbly.

If you're like me, I eat one pepper and then freeze the rest for later.  Enjoy!


Saturday, April 30, 2011

Lemon Sunshiny Goodness!


I'm totally going to make these this week. I've been craving something lemon-y and these I think will fit the bill!

Photo Courtesy of bakingbites.com

Looking forward to sharing my success! Yum!

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Obvisously I'm a slacker.

Oh my goodness you guys! I can't believe it's been so long since I posted last. I am so sorry!!

It's not like I haven't cooked any wonderful food! I have! My 7 lb. weight gain can testify to that. Yikes.

How were your holidays? Ours were spent at home with our kids and for the most part, it was stress free. My parents and Sister {Leslie, who posts here regularly} weren't able to make it to our house for Christmas which made me sad, but not having to cook for 9 people for 2 weeks was somewhat enjoyable. Don't tell them I said that. Hee-hee.

I didn't cook for Thanksgiving, but I DID make a whole turkey dinner for Christmas day dinner. When my parents are here, we cook on Christmas Eve. Usually all the yummy dishes my Sister and I don't get the rest of the year, like Spinach Torta, Wine Cake, and Chicken Cacciatore. Yum! I came to the same conclusion I do every time I cook for hours on end. It almost doesn't seem worth it to cook that much and for so long if it only takes my family 17 minutes to eat it!! I loved it and my gravy was the BOMB!!
One way I can tell I still love cooking despite the time it takes to eat it, is we got a new roasting pan at World Market for 7.99!! With a rack and everything!! I also got a new aqua and green silicone whisk for Christmas from my sweet hubby that I used to make the gravy. It was probably the best gravy I've ever made.


Pretty good looking turkey, huh? First one I've cooked in about 7 or 8 years. It was delish!!

I also made a really yummy cookie/brownie that I found while surfing the internet. Picky Palate's recipe for these little babies made our New Years Eve gathering at our BFF's house THAT MUCH BETTER! I even used Candy Cane "Oreos" from my favorite store, Aldi. Can you see where the 7 lb. gain has come from?!

I don't have pictures of the cookies, and they didn't turn out as pretty as Picky Palate's recipe, but they tasted so good! They were gone before I could snap a picture!

I hope the New Year is filled with many tasty dishes that are easy to prepare and budget friendly! That's my cooking wish this year. Oh and healthy too, but I think I need to work on that one! My pants shrunk!




Love and fudge covered cookies,

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Simple is always better!

This week has been challenging for many reasons. Money is always an issue, but this week is much tighter than usual. Extra expenses and poor choices (eating out when I could have cooked at home) cause a girl to get creative! I’ve planned my menu for the week and set it in motion tonight.

I’ve subscribed to E-Mealz to get some meal inspiration and help with grocery planning. Most things look really yummy and the ease of preparation is for sure a plus. I get the Weight Watchers friendly points recipes and menu so I can help cut down on the fat and shed some pounds. The only down side seems to be too much variety! My kids won’t eat a Feta and Walnut Salad for dinner or a can of Progresso Zero point Veggie Soup! I keep printing them out and filing them away hoping I can use them one day or at least glance at them for inspiration.

One meal they had a couple of weeks ago seemed appealing and super easy. I knew my kids would like it, but as the weeks went by and more and more irritations/roadblocks struck our family, I kept putting this meal off. No more! I made it tonight for dinner.

It was a success!! Everyone liked it and I put a star in my recipe binder as a make again meal. I’ll share it with you because it’s so dang easy and very tasty too! Oh and it’s also economical for a family of 6 because the whole meal cost me about $9.00 or $1.50 per person!! You can’t beat that! 

 

Ravioli bake

32 oz. package of cheese ravioli (you can substitute any flavor filling ravioli you prefer! It would be terrific with cheese and spinach, but my kids won’t eat it! Boo on them!)
2 cups of mozzarella cheese, shredded
1 cup grated parmesan cheese, divided
1 large can crushed tomatoes
parsley flakes, onion powder, minced garlic, salt, pepper, basil flakes

Pre-heat oven to 350. While oven is pre-heating, bring large pot of water to a boil and cook ravioli according to package directions.

Season can of crushed tomatoes with parsley, garlic, onion powder, salt and pepper, and basil flakes. I just eyeballed it and tasted it. Use a little of each and taste. If it needs more, then add more. That’s pretty much how I cook, but feel free to use about 1/2 tsp. to start of each and adjust to your tastes.

Spray 9x13 glass baking dish with cooking spray. Spoon some sauce on the bottom of the dish. Arrange drained ravioli on top of sauce. Sprinkle about a cup of cheese over the ravioli and then grated parmesan cheese. Again, eyeball it. Add more cheese if you like it really cheesy! Then repeat with sauce, and the rest of the ravioli. Top with last layer of cheeses and cover with foil.

Bake for 30 min. in oven. After 30 min., take off foil and carefully brown cheese under broiler for about 4 minutes, watching carefully so it doesn’t burn.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

I took some hot dog buns, opened them up, spread them with softened butter and garlic salt and broiled them until brown in the oven. Don’t judge. They needed to be eaten and the store I went to didn’t have any garlic bread! Being resourceful! It’s a good thing! :o)

Voila! Ravioli Bake and garlic toast! All this for under $10 bucks! And I prefer to make my own tomato sauce because not only is it cheaper, but the bright taste of tomatoes and spices remind me of Italian pasta sauce I had in Italy. I’ll never buy jarred sauce again!

I thought about taking pictures, but I was trying to get it on the table before 7pm and the natives got restless! I hope you try it. It was very tasty and way easier to make than lasagna or even my Lasagna Roll-ups.

Here’s a picture I found the internet. That’s just about what mine looked like! It’s not rocket science! Just comfort food!

ravioli bake Picture courtesy of www.tablespoon.com

 

 

Love and cheese filling,
angies sig

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Free Menu/Grocery Planner Download

I know my sister has shared a few of her favorite menu planning sites and I thought I'd share what I use.  I use a free download from www.theprojectgirl.com.   It works pretty well for me and gives me a visual to mix and match meals.  And I like the grocery planning section too!


Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies

It's getting to be that time of year where everyone craves pumpkin and spice and everything nice.  Oh wait, did I say everyone?  I probably really mean that I crave stuff with pumpkin.  Except that I'm not a big fan of the pumpkin spice hershey's kisses.  Anyone else with me on this one?  I love the coconut kisses.  Alas, I digress.  Back to pumpkin.

My first introduction to this recipe was by Rookie Cookie (who has now said farewell to food blogging, sniff, sniff) about two years ago.  From the first batch, it was love at first bite.

They are super easy and super yummy.  So easy you won't believe it.  So easy you have to try them.  Promise you will, okay?  If you follow Weight Watchers, they are only 1 point each if you use mini-chips and make 36 cookies.  Oh, and don't eat all of them at once.  That would be 36 points.  Unless you haven't used your 35 weekly points then you can eat them all at once.  But expect to have a tummy ache.  So actually, yeah, still don't eat them all at once.

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies

1 box spice cake mix
1 15 oz can pumpkin puree
1 bag chocolate chips (milk or semi-sweet, whatever you like)

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Combine the cake mix and the pumpkin. Add the chocolate chips and stir well. Spoon mounds of dough onto a cookie sheet.

Bake for 12 minutes. Remove from cookie sheet and allow to cool. Give one to each person in your family and then hide the rest for yourself (this is Rookie Cookie's advice and I wholeheartedly agree with her)

Friday, July 30, 2010

That’s one a-spicy meat-a-ball!!

I didn’t always appreciate my Mom’s cooking.

Let me e’splain.

I used to think it was weird when she would use the same 3 seasonings over and over again.  Salt and pepper, garlic salt, and lemon pepper. In every meal, all the time.

Once she mixed spaghetti noodles and de-hydrated onions with scrambled eggs and her signature spices all cooked together. I’m sure I refused to eat it. (I exaggerate…slightly)

I discovered later as a grown up, that sometimes when you don’t have a lot of money and a few staples in the pantry and fridge, that you can cook up a delicious meal for one and it’s not weird! It tasted REALLY GOOD!  I had the epiphany that my Mom DID know what she was doing and I could do it too!

That day in the kitchen, I warmly remembered a time when her food was made with love and flavor. I smiled and silently thanked her. (Her cooking is still made with flavor and love today, I just don’t get to eat her cooking all that often. Mom? I miss your cooking!)

Then I ate my yummy dinner! 

Some of the most beloved dishes I grew up with-

  • Mashed Potato Salad
  • Leg of Lamb on Easter
  • Spinach Torta
  • Broccoli and Chicken over Rice
  • Zucchini and Red Potatoes
  • Joe Special
  • Meatloaf (I still can’t make it like she used to!)
  • Chicken Cacciatore
  • Chicken Soup with Dumplings
  • Wine Cake (she did not use those spices, but it’s the best cake ever!)

That’s just a short list of my favorite foods!!  I have a ton more!

As an adult, I’ve learned to appreciate the foundation of spices she used to make all those great dishes.  I find myself reaching for the garlic salt and more recently the lemon pepper to use in almost every savory dish I make. I’ve added some more to my cooking repertoire and I’d like to share them with you and how I use them. spices collage

  • Garlic Salt, California Style (with parsley flakes)

    I used garlic salt in about 80% of my meals. Here’s another bullet list of what I use Garlic Salt in:

    • Tuna salad
    • Salad dressings- specifically my Mom’s homemade Thousand Island dressing (it’s THE best!) and sprinkled over a green salad with olive oil and red wine vinegar (my Sister taught me the oil and vinegar dressing trick and it’s become my most recent favorite! Thanks Leslie and our trip to Florence!)
    • Meat marinades or sprinkled over the meat with grill seasoning
    • Anything with a cream gravy or mushroom style gravy or sauce. It has a stronger flavor that minced garlic and I am a salt fiend. I guess that’s why I have high blood pressure.

 

  • Wildtree Herbs Dill Blend (dill weed, sea salt, onion, and pepper)

    This is a product I discovered a couple of years ago while at a home party for Wildtree Herbs. It makes a wonderful Dill Dip that I adore!! I used it in other recipes or where ever I love that dill flavor. I seem to be the only person I know who loves the flavor of dill in a form other than pickle.

    • Egg Salad
    • Tuna Salad
    • Salad dressings
    • Seasoning for Salmon
    • Marinade for fish
    • Always in sour cream because I LOVE it as a dip!

  • Lemon & Pepper Seasonings Blend

    Lemon Pepper has been in my life as far back as I can remember. I don’t think my Mom has ever cooked without it. She probably has used it in recipes I can’t even think of! Here is what I use it the most for.

    • Lemon Pepper Chicken (It’s one of the most requested meals when my Mom comes to visit my Sister. In second place is probably Spinach Torta and it’s used in there too.)
    • Tuna Salad ( I use a lot of spices in my tuna salad and my Mom taught me that too. This would be why my husband says I make the best he’s ever had!)
    • Meatloaf
    • Sprinkled on chicken, beef, and fish
    • Pasta dishes with a cream sauce

 

  • Ground Cumin
  • Chili Powder

    More recently I’ve been cooking with Cumin and Chili Powder in a lot of my Mexican style dishes. It has a smoky pungent smell and sometimes reminds me of B.O., but I like what it brings to my soups and meat marinades!  Here’s what I used it in lately.

    • Black Bean “Soup”
    • Yogurt sauce for fish tacos (sprinkle some of that in plain yogurt and add some garlic salt and pepper, and you’ve got a YUMMY addition to fish tacos with cabbage slaw)
    • Seasoning for Chicken for black bean soup (Mix cumin and chili powder together on raw chicken, with salt and pepper and olive oil. Toss to coat, then cook in hot pan or grill, then add to soups and stews. Have it grilled fajita style-that’s always good!)
    • Tortilla Soup
    • Sometimes I put it in pico or salsa that I make. All depends on my mood and how smoky I want the flavor.

 

I’m sure there are a ton more uses for those spices and blends, but those are all I can think of for now! I use them so much, I keep then all crowded together on my counter next to the stove. The other spices tend to migrate there as well, and every once and a while I have to redistribute them all back to where they came from. I used to have the whole upper cabinet, bottom shelf full of spices and seasonings before we did the kitchen makeover.

Are they trying to tell me something? Maybe they all come out at night and have a party next to the stove while I’m sleeping?! That would be yummy! Maybe someday, those spices and seasonings will cook dinner for me while I take a nap! That would be awesome!!

What are your go to spices and seasonings? What can’t you live without?

 

Love and heartburn,

angies-sig

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

The Devil Makes Frosting

Seeing as how I’ve turned a corner on my past unhealthy eating habits and lost 22 lbs, it’s quite confusing why I would be obsessed with frosting lately. Not just any frosting...

Cookie Dough Frosting!!

I should just stop here. But I can't so, you can already imagine what it would be. It looks like chocolate chip cookie dough. It tastes like it too!
Now take that image and plop a thick layer ON TOP of a decedent dark brown fudgy BROWNIE!!

(I think I just fainted.) 
Behold the Devil’s temptation…

cookie dough brownies
Picture Courtesy of Beantown Baker
I know right??
Ok, so I saw this recipe and kept dreaming about it. Wanting to make it, but not wanting to be tempted by the 3 sticks of butter!! Just makes my heart hurt thinking about it, but again…the temptation was STRONG and the pull was great.
I broke down and made the brownies from a box mix.

brownie making
I have no doubt that the Ghirardelli Brownie Mix will be nothing but stellar. I just didn’t want to go through the trouble of measuring everything from scratch to make brownies. I’m lazy. Turns out I’ll have to make another batch of brownies anyway because the frosting makes a HUGE amount!! Way more than should be legal on a brownie.

So onto the frosting recipe! Hang on kids, it’s gonna get buttery!


Cookie Dough Frosting
3 sticks of butter, softened
1 1/2 cups brown sugar
2/3 cup sugar
9 Tbs. milk
3 cups flour
3 cups chocolate chips, semi sweet
*I think it would be tasty to add a teaspoon of vanilla and a pinch of salt, just like you would in regular chocolate chip cookies. I think it would bring out the flavors more. I'll do that next time and let you know!*

1. Add 3 sticks of butter and both sugars to the mixer and cream until light and fluffy. CIMG4662
2. Add milk one Tbs. at a time until mixed in.
3. Turn mixer to low and add 1 cup of flour at a time, stopping to scrape the bowl after each cup of flour. CIMG4671
4. Add chocolate chips and mix in by hand. CIMG4672
5. Top completely cooled brownies with frosting. (store the rest of the frosting covered in fridge until ready to use. Make another batch of brownies and give it away to a friend!!)CIMG4682
6. Cover with clear wrap and let set up in fridge for at least 2 hours or until firm. Cut and enjoy!

7. Go immediately work out after enjoying 1 brownie!
image

I’m totally sorry I had to expose you to this type of temptation. I don’t want to be a stumbling block, so I’ll make sure to dispose of them properly! I’ll give them away! One piece for everyone and then the rest go to other people. I promise!!


Jon took a picture of the sinful yet delicious temptation! Again, I'm sorry. You might want to look away. You've been warned!


                                     
My husband made a video review of my recipe. Check it out if you dare!



video




Want to see an even cuter review of my brownie? I give you MJ, the cutest darn brownie eater ever!







video




I’ll only allow you to make them if you promise to give some away too! Enjoy!!



Love, buttersticks, and chocolate chips!
angies-sig

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Baked Mac ‘N Cheese if you please…

I tried a new recipe last night. It’s a recipe I found on an obscure recipe site and they just happen to have WW friendly recipes, so I wrote a couple of them down.

I’m always looking for ways to spruce up my menu, so I chose a WW version of Mac ‘N Cheese. It’s supposed to be 5 points value per cup. Of course it didn’t specify how many cups it made, so we’ll just go with what it said. “That’s what IT said!”
Ahem…sorry. Michael Scott just creeped in there a little.

Anyways…I followed the recipe. It was fairly simple and I made sure I had all the ingredients.


Baked Mac ‘N Cheese

mac n cheeseI’m a Wal-mart kind of gal, but feel free to use any brand you like.  

Elbow macaroni, 12 oz – I used 16 oz (that’s 1 lb. for all you crazy math lovers out there! I used my digital scale to weigh the pasta and the cheese), cuz I’m a rebel and I already told
you I’m not good at following recipes.
Low fat Sour Cream, 1/2 cup – I used almost 3/4 of a cup.  :D
Fat Free Evaporated Milk, 2-12 oz cans
Fat Free Shredded Cheddar Cheese, 6 oz.
Mexican Style Shredded Cheese; Colby Jack, 6 oz
Dijon Mustard, 1 Tbs.
1/8 tsp. Nutmeg
1/4 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. pepper
Plain Bread Crumbs, 2 Tbs.
Parmesan Cheese grated, 2 Tbs.
Garlic Salt, couple of shakes
Paprika, a couple shakes for color

1. Boil the macaroni for about 6 minutes until Al Dente.
2. Drain macaroni and mix in sour cream. 
3. Heat Evaporated Milk until scalded ( until bubbles form around the edge of the pan. Stir in Cheese until melted, whisking until smooth.  Add seasonings and dijon mustard and stir until incorporated.
4. Add to macaroni and mix.

mac n cheese 3

5. Spray bottom and sides of pan (use either 9x13 or I used a rectangle non stick pan. I don’t know what size I used. Sorry!) and fill pan with macaroni. Sprinkle seasoned bread crumbs evenly over the top.
 mac n cheese 6


6. Bake in a 350 degree oven for 20 min.
7. Eat and enjoy.

mac n cheese 5

I’ve adjusted the recipe to make more cheese sauce. I found the original ingredient amounts made for a tasty albeit dry outcome as you can see from the picture above. I really like it more cheesy and moist (I hate that word). I think it’ll make it more points, but it’s got to be better than a full fat version of any Mac ‘N Cheese! 

It got rave reviews from the boys, which is saying something! They usually only like the boxed stuff!

I sound like a broken record, but try it! You’ll like it! Then come and tell me about it, so I can be happy that my cooking makes other people happy!! Oh and are you seeing a trend here? I make easy stuff. It’s not rocket science, just Good(er) Eats! (Is that copy write protected? Ooops! There I fixed it with parenthesis! I love those things!!

 

Love, Cheese, and Happiness!

angies-sig