Tuesday, March 4, 2014

What happened?

We have been keeping up with doing a new recipe every week. The only problem I have is finding time to write a blog about the new recipe each time before we do a new one. I know I'm a few weeks behind, and I will hopefully get those up later this week, maybe one tomorrow, after my midterms are over. Being responsibly and focusing on school has been pretty lame.

We also have been spending all of our free time working on the kitchen, or should I say mostly me. *hinthintjesse* LOL But we are almost completely done. All the doors are hung (minus the 2 that need to have the backs painted) and the drawers are put in. Hopefully Jesse will have the holes drilled for the hardware done today so I can go to the store and get that installed this week. After some touch up the kitchen will pretty much be done. Other than the backsplash and the kitchen counters. Man.....what did I get myself into when I started this project! After this is done, I won't be doing anymore home improvement projects for awhile. Who am I kidding?!? We all know that won't happen! :)  But I will at least wait until it warms up so I can work outside.

We came up with some amazing new recipes, and I can't wait to share them with you all..

Until next time happy eating.

Thursday, February 13, 2014

2014 Recipe Challenge - Week 6

This week, we cheated a little. I decided to start working on the kitchen cabinet to get them ready to paint. Our cabinets are original to the house and after filling in 60 years of damage and sanding, it was a CRAZY mess.

This is just one of the cabinet doors.....ugh....

So instead of making something from scratch, I decided to do pizza and break sticks. I went to ALDI and got one of the to-go pepperoni pizzas for $4.99 and then got some canned biscuits for like a $1.20. So for a little less than $6.50, we got an awesome pizza dinner!

I transformed the biscuits into breadsticks. I popped open the can and just took the biscuits out and pulled them into more of a breadstick shape. Once I got all of them done, I brushed on some butter and then sprinkled garlic powder on top. I did a little butter and a lot of garlic powder but you can do it to your taste. Then I baked them according to the directions on the packaging. Once they were nice and golden brown; I pulled them out of the over then brushed again with butter and put parmesan on top.

Jesse and I liked these breadsticks better than the ones from Pizza Hut. They were flaky and garlicky. I think the only thing I would change it to make more next time!

Next week we will back on track and making new recipes again! Although it was fun to transform an item I use all the time into something new.  

Monday, February 10, 2014

2014 Recipe Challenge - Week 5

Sorry this post took me so long to get up. The last couple of weeks have been crazy.

For this week, I went to the kitchen to look to see what we had. I have been pinning a lot of Crock-Pot recipes and saw a very simple one for Salsa Chicken and had just got a great deal on chicken and we always have salsa so I thought why not!

Salsa Chicken

4 chicken breasts
1 15 oz. can of black beans
1 pound bag frozen corn
1 can diced tomatoes with chilis (like Rotel)
1 jar salsa
1 packet of taco seasoning

 Place all ingredients in bag and freeze. Thaw, then cook on low 8 hours. Serve with rice or on tortillas along with shredded cheddar and sour cream. We stacked corn tortillas, then chicken, then cheese, and repeat. Put a little guacamole on the very top.

How easy! Just dump everything into the Crock-Pot and go. This meal is done as a make a head meal, so that is why it says thaw.  I stirred it a few times throughout the day just to make sure the chicken was covered in the juice so it would cook.

This meal was one of the simplest one we have done and it was yummy. We shredded up the chicken in the Crock-Pot, because it was pretty much falling apart. We ended up making taco out of it which was really good but the mixture was runny so it was a little messy. 

We just topped it with cheese because neither of us likes sour cream.


We had TONS of leftovers! I actually think it was even better as leftovers. Jesse cooked up some rice, since we were out of tortillas and put the chicken over that. It wasn’t as runny and it had a little more heat to it from sitting a few days. Even after we had it for dinner, we still have enough for maybe 2 more meals.

I think this will go on the meals to make again!! 

Sunday, January 26, 2014

2014 Recipe Challenge - Week 4

For Christmas, Jesse got me an awesome Crock-Pot. Not only can you program the cooking time but it can stir. I have been dying to test it out and I made sure to do that this week. I wanted to do a soup of some sort because I wanted to use the stirring function. So to Pinterest I went and boy oh boy, there a lot of soups to make in a Crock-Pot. So, I narrowed it down by what was on sale that week and potatoes were super cheap! So potato soup became our new recipe of the week.

I love me some potato soup. Growing up it was one of my favorite things my Grandma would make. Her soup was very simple, from what I remember and I couldn’t find anything kind of like hers for the Crock-Pot. I feel like I looked at million potato soups before picking the one I did. I ended up picking the recipe I did because I didn’t have to go out and buy a bunch of stuff.

I found pin which lead me to the blog called Feeding Big and used their recipe.

3 lbs potatoes, diced (about 1 inch squares, no need to peel)
4 Tablespoons garlic powder (I used 2 cloves fresh garlic)
1 medium onion, chopped
38 oz chicken stock (I used Vegetable stock)
8 oz cream cheese, softened
Salt, to taste
Pepper, to taste

Add potatoes, garlic, onion and chicken stock into crock pot. Cover. Cook on high for 5 hours or low for 8 hours.
Remove soup from slow cooker. Puree in blender or food processor with cream cheese (I used an immersion blender). Pour back into crock pot to keep warm.

Seems pretty simple. 

I got to make this recipe since it was a Crock-Pot one and made it while Jesse was at work. I peeled the potatoes; I don’t care for potato skins unless they are fried. Then I cut up the onion.

Now, onions and I have a bad history. Most people eyes tear up and their noes might run a little but when I cut onions it looks like I have been beaten with a wet fish. My eyes are burning so bad it is hard for me to open them, they swell up and I cry. I was even chopping with my eyes closed at one point. Then my nose runs like crazy and I have to stop every  seconds to blow my nose or wipe the tears from my eyes. Usually Jesse handles all things that do with onions but since he was working I “maned” up and did. Which lend to me cussing at the onions and this post on Facebook “I hate onions. I hate chopping onions. I hate the smell of onions. I hate everything about onions. Death to all onions!”

After dealing with the onion, I just wanted to get out of the kitchen, so I went with garlic powder because I was not about to chop something else up. I also went with vegetable stock instead of the chicken stock. Everything except the cream cheese went into the Crock-Pot and then the waiting game starts. I did it on high for 5 hours because I wanted to it to be done before Jesse got home from work. 

Once it was done cooking, I added the cream cheese in chunks and used my stick blender to mix it all together and mash up the last of the potatoes. 

When it was dinner time Jesse fried some bacon, I went with the cheapest I could find just because we crumbled it up, and it didn’t make a big difference for the soup. We also added some cheese.

Jesse liked the soup very much. He ate 2 big bowls and was miserable afterwards. But he would pretty much eat anything with bacon in it and say it was amazing. 

I didn’t really care for the soup. I thought it tasted like onion. I couldn’t taste anything but onion.  And I don’t care for onions that much. Jesse likes onions so he was ok with that.

I think next time I will not add as much onion or cook the onion before I add it to the Crock-Pot.
We both ate 2 bowls that night and had enough for 2 leftovers. I had one of the leftovers bowls, and I think the onion was stronger after sitting a few days.

I think next time I’m going to figure out my Grandma’s potato soup and stick with that.

Saturday, January 18, 2014

2014 Recipe Challenge - Week 3

This week I made it a challenge to use we have in the house already to use for the new recipe. As it turned out we didn’t have much. Ramen, corn bread, hot dogs, cheese, marshmallows, cereal, crackers, and that was about it. Feeling a little defeated, I went to check the mail. And that’s when a miracle happened...I got my Kraft recipe magazine in the mail. As I was flipping through it I saw our next new recipe, Mini Corn Dog Muffins.  It was like the page was glowing, singing and telling me to make it. So we did.

Here is the official recipe from Kraft:
(If you don't use this site you are missing out! I get lots of awesome recipes from here!!)

Mini Corn Dog Muffins

We didn’t use the cheese; we didn’t have the Velveeta so we didn’t mess with it.

I let Jesse make this, and I’m not sure why. He refuses to follow recipes and when it comes to baking they are pretty important. So he made the cornbread like he always does and didn’t measure the milk, just poured it in until he thought it was right. Once the cornbread was made, he sprayed the mini-muffin pan and added the corn cornbread batter to it. He then cut up the hot dogs, we used jumbo size hot dogs because we like to get a little crazy, and put those in the pan. Once that was done he put them in oven and the waiting game starts
The corn dogs took a little longer to bake than the directions said. We have a horrible oven so that is most likely why.  We let them cool in the pan for a little and then Jesse started to try and get them out. First he tried a butter knife, and that wasn’t working so I told him to use a spoon and they started to come out. The only problem is they were not coming out in one piece. They were crumbling and sticking to the pan a little. We pushed through and got a few out and sat down to eat. This turned out to be harder than I thought, the corn dogs just kept breaking in your hands.

After the first 2 I realized I was not going to be able to dip these in my ketchup and spooned some on the top and that was working a little better. Also, these were one bite food, just had to throw it in your mouth to keep them all together. Jesse wasn’t having any better luck with his. We both ended up eating 8 a piece leaving another 8 for leftovers.

What went wrong?

My theory is Jesse added too much milk to the cornbread and with the moisture from the hot dogs made the cornbread too moist and wouldn’t keep together. I didn’t make them so I can blame him. :) But it is really hard to say. Jesse thinks it was because we used the jumbo hot dogs.

These definitely are winner in my book though. They were simple to make and didn’t take a lot of time. The whole meal took around 20 mins to make. I think next time we make them, I will make them and I want to try it with the cheese. Cheese only makes things better right?

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

2014 Recipe Challenge-Week 2

Last week I went to go visit my Grandma and she gave me a couple of cookbooks. My Grandma loved to cook, bake and just be in the kitchen in general. I think this is where I got my love for baking. My mom is known as the “Microwave Queen” in our family, so I guess it skipped a generation. :) So, this week we decided to flip through the cookbooks and make one of those recipes.

Picking out what to make is a bigger challenge than I thought it would be. Jesse will pretty much eat anything so it is up to me to figure out what we are going to make. We had some chicken in the freezer so I thought let’s do something new with that.

This week we were inspired by a recipe we found in the Women’s Home Journal: Quick & Easy Favorites, Zesty Chicken with Black Beans and Rice. The recipe called for Spanish rice mix, but we took a little different approach to it and we went with El Paso Cheesy Mexican Rice. This is a must any time we make tacos, so Jesse thought it would be fun to try it in this dish.

Week 2- Mexican Chicken Rice Cheese Goodness

1 lb skinless, boneless, chicken breast
1 box El Paso Cheesy Mexican Rice
1 can black beans, rinsed and drained
1 can diced tomatoes
Taco seasoning
Shredded Taco Cheese

Jesse started off following the direction on the package for the Mexican Rice and got that going. Then he put the black beans in a pot and poured in the can of diced tomatoes. Then he started on the chicken, while he was cooking it he decided to add some taco seasoning to it so the chicken will have some flavor.

Once the rice was done he added some of the black beans and tomato mix. He didn’t add all of it to the rice, just enough to make the mixture even.

We put the rice, black bean, tomato mixture on the bottom and added the chicken to the topped it with cheese.

This recipe was very easy to make and was packed full of flavor. I could have eaten just the rice mixture alone. It was nice to try a different type of Mexican recipe, that wasn’t tacos (which we eat a lot of). We also had some leftovers, which was another great lunch of me. I actually got 2 lunches out of the leftovers.

Jesse loved this recipe too. But of course he loves anything that he creates. He also thought another nice thing was it didn’t take long to make. The rice took the longest to cook, but everything was super-fast. He even got to sit down for a little while he was waiting for the rice because everything else was done.

The most impressing part about this week’s recipe is that we did it in the middle of painting out kitchen. We are giving the kitchen a major update, and I honestly thought Jesse would use this as a reason not to cook. This recipe didn’t take up much room, and the prep work was really little. Hopefully the walls will be painted by the time we do the next recipe….hopefully.

Thursday, January 9, 2014

2014 Recipe Challenge- Week 1

Jesse and I were discussing New Year’s Resolutions over dinner on January 2nd while trying out a new recipe. And the idea hit me; why not make a resolution to try at least one new recipe each week. Jesse laughed at me but eventually agreed to the idea. We have been in a dinner rut for a while and in-between the collections of cook books I have and Pinterest, this should be no problem.

So we started it off that night (since we were eating a new recipe for dinner). Back in September I went to a Wildtree Freezer Party and we made bags for an Asian Flank Steak Skewers. Instead of making skewers we turned it into stir-fry. I really think that Jesse just wanted a reason to use the orange UFO. J 

Week 1- Wildtree Asian Flank Steak Stir-fry

1 ½ lbs flank steak
2 green onions, chopped
1 Tbsp minced garlic½ cup Wildtree Outrageous Orange Sauce (1/4 cup of less spicy)
½ sweet onion, cut up however you like (Jesse does big pieces so I can pick them out)
1 green pepper, cut up however you like (Jesse does big pieces so I can pick them out)
1 big tub of mushrooms
You can add more or less vegetables.

 I put the steak in a Ziploc containing the green onions, garlic and Wildtree Outrageous Orange Sauce in the morning. When Jesse got home that night he cut up the steak and the veggies. Then he turned on the wok and added a little oil to it. 

While he was waiting for the wok to warm up he started on the rice.

Once he got the rice going, and the wok was ready, he cooked the steak first in our awesome retro electric wok. 

Once the steak was just about done he added the onion, peppers and mushrooms.

Waiting for everything to cook down seemed like it took forever! The house smelled so good, I was ready to eat!

It was really tasty and very easy to make. I didn’t think it was spicy at all. I don’t really like onions or peppers, but I ended up eating some of them because they were so delicious.

We already had 2 steaks, but they were a little small so we picked up another small one and got the green pepper, onion, and mushrooms. Because, I had been the freezer party I already had the green onions, garlic and Wildtree Outrageous Orange Sauce in a Ziploc in the freezer ready to be used.

Jesse really liked it as well. So much he has already talking about making it again and what else we could add to it to make it even better.

We ended up having enough leftovers for more lunches. The leftovers were a little spicier than the original meal because they set in the peppers longer, but I thought it was still amazing.

I think we both agree that we would make this meal again.