Is fall really around the corner?

This past weekend was a tease of fall weather; it was 95 on Friday and Saturday morning – a shocking 60! Talk about a drastic change. It remained cool through Sunday thanks to some rain and a slight breeze but Monday morning, BAM, right back up to 87. Of course people of this city freaked out and I saw some scarves, fuzzy boots, and velor track outfits. I mean really… scarves? I don’t mean cute or fashionable scarves I’m talking bulky winter scarves. *face palm*

With the reminder of fall being around the corner I was excited to see a slow cooker feature in a diabetic magazine while waiting in the check out line at the grocery store. I picked up a copy because honestly I have about 4 slow cooker recipes that are my ‘go to’; it’d be nice to add some variety and find some new ‘go to’s’. There are some breakfast recipes which look interesting, the only down side is that they take 2-3 hours so you can’t cook them overnight. I don’t see myself waking up at 5AM to start breakfast so I can eat at 8AM. Maybe if we have overnight guests I’ll cook something the night before and reheat it in the morning however who likes rubbery, leftover eggs? I’ll have to find a way to create those meals. There were also great tips if you whip up your own recipe; protein to liquid ratio, % of starches to liquid, etc. Overall I’m ready to use and abuse my slow cooker this coming fall season.

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Speaking of my slow cooker, a classic in this house was Wednesday’s meal, stuffed cabbage. I followed that recipe for ingredient purposes only but I also added 1 large can of crushed tomatoes and 1 more can of tomato soup. To the meat mixture I added maybe 1/2 cup of crushed tomatoes (strained w/ a slotted spoon), I didn’t want the meat to dry out since I used lean ground turkey.  To the slow cooker I poured 1 can of soup, placed the cabbage rolls, poured the 2nd can of soup and the remaining crushed tomatoes (including all liquid).  They turned out so good! My house smelled amazing and dinner was super yummy 🙂

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We had shrimp fried rice …er… quinoa! Last Monday I cooked most of dinner that morning! I have 1 hr from the time I get home from teaching lessons to leaving for band rehearsal, clearly not enough time to prep and cook an entire meal. When I got home I threw the egg rolls in the microwave (hey, if the cooking directions offer oven and microwave instructions, opt for the faster one when time is not on your side), pan cooked the shrimp (which takes maybe 4 minutes?), and dinner was ready! Oh yeah, microwave the quinoa for a few minutes and cover it with a damp paper towel to create steam. A quick and healthy dinner, a much better option than fast food!

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I’ve been on a mushroom kick and last Thursday I found this yummy recipe. I had a leftover mixture of mushrooms/bacon from pork chops the week before and when I saw a honey-dijon chicken recipe topped with bacon and mushrooms, it was like the recipe was waiting to be found.

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Who can resist a good burger? I’m going to dub this one as the Thanksgiving burger. At first I wasn’t really sure of the ingredients and how it would taste but hello, it’s a Rachael Ray recipe so you know it’s gonna be good! I forgot to take an ‘after’ pic but click on the link and you’ll see it there 🙂 . These were super easy to prep and I cooked them on the stove. Also don’t be turned off by the grainy mustard (as I was) – I cut the amount in half so there would just be a hint of it in the cranberry sauce. Basically, it was delish. This is a keeper! Oh, english muffins are the buns (toast them so they don’t become soggy!), so fun! It kept the burger light.

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Last night’s meal was on point! Again, having only 1 hr to eat on Monday’s means getting dinner ready in the morning. These chops were so easy to put together, maybe 20 minutes to prep and cook (totally doable if you need a quick dinner after working a long day!). Since I’d be working when things would need to be reheated I left detailed instructions for my husband to get dinner going, at 4:20 he preheated the oven to bake roasted red potatoes (from the freezer section), after a few minutes he put in the pork chops, the remaining 6 minutes were used to steam veggies in the microwave. I love those steamer bags but these are plain veggies, no extra fatty or sodium filled sauces. Sprinkle some seasoning on the veggies and boom, a lovely side dish. Dinner was ready by 5:05 (I get home at 5pm) and devoured by 5:40.

Don’t ignore the freezer section, you can find some yummy things in those aisles.

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I think I forgot to write about these mini taco cuties last week. So easy and perfect for game days! Use won ton wrappers (I used 2 partially layered on top of each other, for each mini taco), fill with browned/seasoned meat (I used regular ground turkey + chili seasoning + diced onions), top with shredded cheese, and bake for 8 minutes (or until won ton wrappers are golden brown) at 350 degrees. Top with salsa once they’re done! These were scooped up so quickly so if you’re the chef for the day be sure to taste your creation before serving to guests!

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I ran out of ketchup.

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My parents would be shocked.

I was saddened by the discovery.

My husband just laughed.

At 3:30pm yesterday I realized I didn’t have enough ketchup to make a bbq sauce; I didn’t even have enough to make 1/2 of the recipe. I had maybe 2 TBSP of ketchup remaining and that surely wasn’t going to cut it. There was a day when my mother always had a back up bottle in the pantry because I literally drank ketchup.  I too began stock piling ketchup, buying the mega 4 pack at Sam’s however as of lately with all of my new cooking adventures, I find myself using less and less of this fabulous condiment. I mean, to give you an idea of my ketchup addiction: I wouldn’t even touch a steak without ketchup – I don’t care if I was at home or at a 4 star restaurant. I could give a hoot about the eye rolls in my direction. I LOVE KETCHUP. My favorite dinner is chicken nuggets with too much ketchup for every bite.

You know you’re obsessed when:
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This is the first time I’ve ever run out of ketchup and I’m sure it’ll happen again but it made me stop and think – I hardly buy ketchup anymore, it’s not on my weekly shopping list anymore… maybe monthly if that. Wow, what a difference a year makes. Yes, in 1 year I’ve almost kicked my addiction of ketchup. I still use it but as sauce bases or for the obvious hot dog dinner.

I digress; hubby picked up an emergency bottle on the way home from work and dinner continued.
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burger recipe here                                                                       green bean salad recipe here

A ‘montage’ of pictures for the last 2 weeks of meals …
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slow cooker ribs                                                       meatball subs – leftover from a spaghetti & meatball night 😉

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mac n’ cheese & pork chops w/ caramelized onions/apples               slow cooker stuffed peppers

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potato salad (Martha, you disappointed me… this was not very good; from her “Great Food Fast” book)

IMG_6521 PIZZA NIGHT! No recipe… just used my imagination 🙂

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stuffed portobello caps (George Foreman recipe)                                pork chops … try this yummy marinade
goat cheese, evoo, black pepper, pesto, & I added tomatoes

dinner table discussions

I’ve been hooked to Instagram lately – one of my photos got over 300 likes and quite a few followers … I can’t take full credit because it was a Pioneer Woman recipe and when you use that tag, let me tell you – it will be seen! I’ll talk about that recipe in a minute.

Why have I been stalking IG so much? I decided to search photos with any tag related to Type 1 Diabetes. Healthy food creations, pump readings, and body builders. Yes, body builders. The diabetic diet is one that most body builders follow so it seems that a lot of Type 1-ers become a body builder by default. You wanna live? You need to work out. I don’t mean these people have thighs bigger than their head, but they sure are more muscular than your average gym goer. This has to do with the amount of protein that is consumed and the (almost) zero intake of sugars. My husband walks 12 miles a day (due to his job) and runs another 6 at least 3 times each week (again, due to his job). He’s very fortunate however we all know that depending solely on running as your workout isn’t very healthy for you. He lifts 5x per week, maybe 2 hours at the gym ON TOP of the 18 miles of running/walking each day. He’s a beast! But he’s got to, this isn’t a choice and he certainly sucks it up when he’s not feeling up to a gym trip.

What kills me is then doing a search of Type 2 IG tags. Mounds of sweets, ice cream, people saying “if I eat this I might just get diabetes” (can I smack those people?), and overweight people complaining about their pump readings. Oh man, where do I begin. First of all we know by now that eating ice cream doesn’t cause diabetes *face palm*. I know most are joking but it’s really freaking annoying. Just as annoying as people who use the R-Word to describe an object *double face palm*. I digress … on to the overweight people who complain. Y’all can do something about Type 2: get rid of it completely, maybe need 1 pill, or only evening insulin.  You can make a change FOR THE BETTER. So why not? The people who have a disease for the rest of their life are working their butts off to live a healthy life knowing diabetes will never go away. The overweight people should start working their butts off to live a healthy life knowing they could get rid of having diabetes. Although, most of the overweight people got diabetes from being lazy in the first place … they may not ever change and it’s really sad. 

I guess there are the people who take the wheel to control their lives and others who like sitting in the passenger seat. To each their own, just don’t complain about it. Please and thank you.

Roar roar roar, sorry for that rant – it’s been a discussion in our house for the last few weeks and I had to get it off my chest.

On to some of my creations over the last 2 weeks. It was concert season at my school so that means I’ve had pretty much no free time (except to cook amazing meals). I’m getting this post in real quick before I write out some music for graduation. BUSY BUSY BUSY.

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These are the yummy pork chops I mentioned in my last post … zucchini and onion “salad” with a honey mustard vinaigrette, pork chops with blue cheese/cranberries chunks, and of course biscuits. When there’s this much yummy food we can add a “no no” side like biscuits 😉

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Ok, these 2 dishes are now our favorites … I’m sure that’ll change in a few weeks when I find another amazing recipe but for now, we’re in love.  A flatbread pizza taco by the Pioneer Woman herself. This is the IG post that got over 300 likes. It’s the small things in life that make a day better. We made some healthy substitutions, as usual.  Now, that sandwich you see is by Rachael Ray .. the pierogi-wich. Sorry, there’s no cheating this one … adding pickles makes it healthy, right? Just kidding. One was filling so please do not make extra … helping yourself to seconds on a meal like this will surely send you into a food coma.

 

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Ah, ending the week with steaks … I love when my husband is home to grill 🙂 And yes you are seeing double with the rice/broccoli/cheese casserole. My version was loosely based off of the link I provided (I changed a few ingredients) but I measured for 6 servings; I wanted leftovers but not THIS much! A week later and I still have 1 casserole in my fridge 😦 .

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Here’s Cinco de Mayo! Enchiladas from the Pioneer Woman. I used corn tortillas for my husband and flour for me. They were so good!  I was feeling a little guilty from the lack of seafood on my menu so I whipped up this easy fish bake, courtesy of…. drum roll…. Rachael Ray! I used cod filets, topped with a mixture of mayo & diced garlic (A LOT OF GARLIC because we don’t care for the taste of mayo), and panko mixed with parm cheese; finished off the leftover mashed p’s from the pierogi-wich and microwaved some veggies. Don’t judge me based off of that last side dish.

 

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Annnnnd here’s our big cheat for the week. Bacon wrapped meatloaf. Sheesh, stop drooling! Oh Ree Drummond, you get me every time with your amazing creations! Yes, that’s the leftover rice casserole. From the 1st dish. I told you it was an insane serving amount!

Woo Wheeeee! That was a long post. That’s what I get for not posting after 2 long weeks.  Please don’t get mad with my opening rant, I’m not saying that all Type 2’s are lazy and don’t want to change their lifestyle … it’s the posts I saw on IG that upset me.  I’m sure the people who are changing their lives aren’t on IG (hence them actually losing weight, not being glued to their phone).  Just understand where I’m coming from and enjoy some of these delish/healthy meals before you bash me.

 

Twerking. I mean, tweaking… recipes that is.

Not much has happened this week that is blog-post worthy … I mean, I made a phenomenal pizza which I’ll absolutely share with you – all credit goes to Ree Drummond.  Since I’m cooking a lot of repeats of our favorite recipes I do try to make at least 1 thing new each week or tweak an oldie to make it a “newbie”.

Oldie made “newbie” – salsa chicken (chicken breasts, salsa, cheese)
The recipe calls for taco seasoning to be sprinkled on the chicken … well I used fajita seasoning – WAY BETTER! Not just any fajita seasoning, you know it had to be Bolner’s. Pour on the salsa as usual, but get a fun one … something with chunks of veggies in it, not just runny/cheap/generic salsa. Considering chicken and cheese is el-cheapo, splurge a few extra bucks on decent salsa … it adds to the texture as well.

What else did I make … (I need to consult my menu board, it’s been a LONG and CRAZY week).
Oh yeah – store prepared kabobs (beef wrapped in bacon and scallops wrapped in bacon … double turf & 1 surf, HA!)  As a side I made a Martha dish, cherry tomato and basil crisp (which turned out more like a crumble, but it was still good 😉 ) It might because I used whole wheat bread – maybe it doesn’t firm up as nicely as white. I was trying to make a healthy swap.

So I ‘cheated’ with something prepared but wanted the meal to feel homemade. Easy.
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Another simple creation, inspired by Martha but I put my own twist on it.  Originally it was supposed to be spinach penne and ricotta… well that’s not substantial for this house so I bought regular penne, added fresh spinach which I had leftover, and sliced Italian sausage. Oh man, now that’s a filling dish. I didn’t have any pine nuts but I sure did have almonds! Chop those babies up and sprinkle on top – great textures between the pasta, spinach, sausage, shredded parm, and soft ricotta.
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Okay, okay … the pizza!
My cheat: Bisquick mix for the dough! Sprinkle onion and garlic power in along the way, BOOM. So good.
Follow Ree’s recipe for the pizza toppings … it’s easy; really, really, really easy. Don’t cheat on the cheese, get what the recipe calls for – all of the different flavors are like an explosion and when you add the tomato/basil/balsamic vinegar mixture to the top – holy cow. It’s amazing!
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I added the cheese to a RAW Bisquick dough (shoot, don’t forget the pesto!!!) – let the dough turn golden brown and the cheese becomes ooey-gooey – 15-20 minutes (25-30 if you like crispy) … let it sit for the cheese to firm up just a bit (it’s easier to cut), add the tomatoes and life will be good in 3, 2, 1… YUM!

This was our first pizza on a pizza stone – BUY ONE. Just do it. Those pizza pans with holes are garbage. Lesson learned.

We’ve got pork chops and a grilled zucchini salad for tonight. Not just any pork chops, hitting up the old blue cheese and cranberries (I’m going to freeze it like a ‘steak butter’ and let it melt over the pork chop as I’m plating).

ENJOY!

 

 

Lay’s Contest < Willy Wonka

I wonder if I should submit a flavor to the “Lay’s Do Us a Flavor” contest … I came up with a real good one this morning, inspired by my kitchen sink “Bacon Greasy Dishes”. What? Not a good one? Sorry, did I make you throw up a little bit in your mouth? I mean, it’s on par with some of the other submissions, ones like ‘chocolate chip cookie’ or ‘salted butter’ (Paula Deen would like that one…), oh this is the best ‘wiener schnitzel and sauerkraut’. C’mon America, how fat can we be that we need the joy of eating potato chips that taste like a complete meal. This ain’t no Willy Wonka factory, however if anyone comes up with lick-able wall paper please be kind enough to inform me first (that won’t add any calories to my diet, right?!).

My husband and I saw the contest commercial the other night and we talked about the last winners, we did like the Siracha chips but chicken and waffles was gross, I may as well just drank syrup from the squeeze bottle. I can’t remember the 3rd winner, we never found those chips which surprised me because we do live in the most obese city in America, let’s hear it for San Antonio!

Okay so you might be wondering why my sink was filled to the brim with greasy dishes – we cooked bacon last night. Even though we disposed of the grease properly, my tin foil attempt to keep the pan clean was an epic fail. I do not stove cook bacon, that splattering mess goes in the oven set to broil. Our dinner however was not a greasy mess – a pizza creation that I ‘stole’ from BJ’s Brewery. We love their pizzas but they are literally 3 inch deep dish meals; 1 slice and you’re done. This clearly doesn’t work with one who has diabetes so I purchased all of the toppings and a thin crust, there you go, a healthy alternative already.

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I used chicken tenders to make dicing easier, marinate those suckers in EVOO and garlic. The more garlic, the better 🙂
I bought a can of diced tomatoes, make sure to drain them really well or you’ll end up with a soggy crust! Pour some ranch and there you go. It wasn’t dry at all, the juicy tomatoes along with the ranch masks the fact that is no actual sauce.

How is ranch healthy? BOLTHOUSE. How many times must I tell you about this brand? JUST SWITCH ALREADY!

Oh geeze, I just got another idea for a potato chip flavor … one that could have avoided this whole greasy kitchen sink mess in the first place … ‘Garlic Chicken, Bacon, and Ranch Pizza”. No cooking required. Duh! Oh my gosh, I feel so fat just thinking about it.

And to prove my husband doesn’t read the menu board, this is what I have to do for ingredients that I know he’ll want to eat as a snack:
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It worked because the other morning he informed me that the cottage cheese almost fell victim to his growling stomach. After I used it I did cross out “NOT” and wrote “EAT :-)” all over it. It was gone the same day.

And here’s Sous Chef Geno keeping guard of the oven

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Be sure to check out my food pictures on Instagram … MRSDLH50 – #kitchentails

 

Last blog for the day… PROMISE!

AGH! I almost forgot about these 2 recipes from Christmas.

Some appies before dinner: bacon wrapped stuffed jalapenos.  Another request from Josh – it’s the same thing that I wrap the chicken bombs around. Cream cheese and shredded cheddar, stuff those peppers, wrap in bacon, DONE.

20131231-142729.jpg That’s my new garbage bowl! Thanks to my hubby 🙂 Love Rachael Ray!

Have leftovers the day after? No problem… here’s a yummy brunch idea:

20131231-142754.jpg Slightly reheat the tenderloin in 30 second increments (as to not turn it into shoe leather, although my mother would take it off your hands).  Cook some eggs, add salsa or whatever your poison is (hot sauce, ketchup, whatever) … and make a sandwich! Josh whipped up some waffles too. What a tasty and relaxing brunch.

kids need music … and P.E.

Things are a’changing around this house, the last few weeks have brought exciting news 🙂

First, Josh and I are purchasing our first home! You know what this means? A BIGGER KITCHEN! A fridge that cools and a freezer that won’t defrost; doors that don’t let rain in; a garage door that closes; blinds that are functional; walls that have wood studs and insulation; this list could go on and on and on and… you get it. We’re looking at a mid-November closing date. Gosh, I am so excited.

Second, I accepted a teaching position at a private school, classes start on the 26th!  This will be school #2 that I get to start a music program at.  Maybe that’ll be my “thing” – I go to school’s that don’t have a music curriculum and start one. Every school should have a music program, I could seriously go on a 10 page rant about kids needing a creative outlet in school. And P.E. … kids need P.E.; after all, San Antonio is the most overweight city in America.

Speaking of overweight, back to the blog topic… This recipe was passed along to me and who could resist a name of “chicken bombs” when thinking “I wonder if I’ll make this?” I made it the week after seeing it! The chicken was full of flavor and cheese oozed out; super easy to make and incredibly tasty.  I left off the bacon … originally planned on using turkey bacon for a healthier option but figuring I’d have to cook the dish inside, I didn’t need my house filling with smoke. I think I’ll nix the bacon even if we do cook it on the grill in the future, I can never get bacon wrapped items to turn out right.  The bacon is either soggy or burnt, no thanks! I love bacon but you know what, you don’t need it to survive.

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Josh requested a fresh veggie side, I hadn’t made steamed broccoli in a while so I knew it was time to get back to it.  Buy 1 head of broccoli ($1.50! CHEAP!), I added an onion that was already in my pantry. That’s it! It takes maybe 1 minute to prep and 10 minutes to cook. No complaining that you don’t have time! For flavor, I sprinkled on veggie seasoning, ex. Mrs. Dash … whatever you prefer.  I did add a SMALL dollop of butter just to coat the veggies once transferred to a serving bowl.

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For the chicken you’ll see I placed the cookie rack on a foil lined casserole dish.  Since the chicken needed to be basted a few times while baking, I didn’t want the BBQ sauce pooling around the chicken, making it soggy or turning in to burnt edges.  With a deep dish under, the sauce was able to drip off nicely.

Don’t want leftovers? I used 2 large chicken breasts and cut them in half (as directed), you can see it made 2 chicken bombs per person. One disagreement I have with the recipe, it says if you don’t care for spicy peppers then you should opt for green bell peppers instead of jalapenos.  Guess what, removing the seeds and ribs (as instructed in the recipe) leaves you with a bland pepper.  That’s where the “spice” is typically found. I hate spicy peppers and handled the rib-less/seedless jalapenos just fine.  Get your facts straight, Leslie. 😉

This one’s a keeper!