Patience is key, young grasshopper

I pinned this recipe a year ago… ONE WHOLE YEAR! My intentions were to make it for St. Patty’s Day (last year) and clearly I never got to it.  This year I wouldn’t pass up the opportunity.  Don’t cringe at the thought of corned beef and cabbage egg rolls, I know it sounds strange but it was really good – mind over matter, people.

Instead of doing the usual slow cooker corned beef over cabbage, which there is nothing wrong with … but since I’m on this cooking adventure I just had to try these egg rolls.  We opted to bake instead of fry – a great step to a healthier alternative.

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I cooked the beef on Sunday in my slow cooker while we took a day trip to the San Marcos Outlets, Cabela’s, and Salt Lick – which has THE BEST pork ribs. Anyway, back to our holiday dinner. Prep the meat a day beforehand, you won’t be rushing around the day of! The day of: sauté thinly sliced cabbage and onions; boil potatoes (to turn into mashed p’s) … that’s it! I used the leftover egg roll stuffing to make “sides” – nothing goes to waste in this house! Egg rolls are really easy to make and then a 1000 Island dipping sauce, yum! Think of it – a reuben uses 1000 Island so why not for these?  Some of the egg rolls were: beef/cabbage/cheese and beef/cabbage/mashed p’s/cheese. LIGHT spray the wrappers with cooking spray, put in the oven at 400 for 20-ish minutes (or until the wrappers turn golden brown). Remember, everything is cooked already – you’re just crisping the rolls. I had leftovers for lunch yesterday and dipped them in ketchup. I love ketchup, like really love ketchup. It was our wedding favor after all!
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So I know I said I’d be visiting our favorite dishes from here on out but I have to brag about this one because it was the best version to date.  Cheeseburger Pie – which is Josh’s request 100% of the time when I ask what he wants.  We kept having issues with the “crust” so I looked on the interwebs and found a Betty Crocker version; other than Martha, this is a woman I can trust when it comes to fixing disaster recipes.  I had definitely been using too much Bisquick mix.  Also, I added mushrooms, onions, and hamburger seasoning (thank you Bolner’s), oh and topped the “casserole” wish shredded swiss cheese before pouring the mix – cook that baby at 400 for 25 min. BEST CHEESEBURGER PIE SO FAR! I’ve been making it for 4 years now – it just goes to show that recipes take time to perfect.

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Use an actual pie dish for the perfect portions.

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This week’s line up in no particular order:* copy cat Panera broccoli and cheese soup with pork chops (covered in caramelized onions) – I’ll let you know how the soup turns out
* spaghetti and pork/quinoa meatballs
* chicken cordon bleu pizza (using a Bisquick crust) – new recipe, I will blog about it
* grape tomato/shallots with ravioli + salad
* Shakshuka over rice + bread for dipping (Friday/our Lenten meal)

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what happens in Vegas …

Sous Chef Geno has been getting the royal treatment lately.  He got into some trash (not our doing or fault… don’t get me started, I have the issue under control and have spoke to the appropriate people) and hasn’t been feeling or acting like himself. 3 trips later [to the vet] and slowly his usual cuteness is returning. The royal treatment per meal: 2 spoon fulls of pumpkin pie filling, 1 tummy ache pill, 1 steroid, and 1 pro-biotic … plus us having the pleasure of watching him go to the bathroom. I know I know, this is close to TMI (especially for a food blog) but I started off mentioning all of this because a dog eating trash and getting sick was similar to us eating crap … resulting in not feeling well. Could it be a metaphor for life? Maybe. STOP EATING TRASH! What’s that saying… you are what you eat? I think it totally holds true.

<end rant>

So I’m home from Vegas and I’ll tell you what, I went against everything I’ve been working hard at since last year – eating right, not eating as much, etc. I did manage to not snack although it was tempting. You’re on vacation and you think “I can cheat”. DON’T DO IT. You’ll thank me later! I cheated, big time. I had fast food, sweets, soda, and mega-carbs. You name it, I ate it. Boy did my stomach hate me (maybe I could have used some of Geno’s pills.. JUST KIDDING. Chill). It was all so delish though! Geeze did I miss the flavor of grease and the sweetness of real sugar. Then again, I ended up with massive headaches and my guilt kicking in. The next vacation I really do need to stick to my new eating habits, not feeling well for 4 days while I was supposed to be enjoying time off, was definitely not worth it. Listen, in moderation I think all of things are okay but not jammed packed, back to back for each meal, 4 days straight.

Okay, okay – I’ll give you menu for this past week.  Thank you for sitting through my venting.

Tuesday- Zucchini Lasagna.
“When you said zucchini lasagna I didn’t know you meant no noddles” Josh. Who didn’t listen when I explained that this zucchini lasagna used NO NODDLES; the zucchini becomes the layer separation. Which also means he took too much insulin because he thought there’d be a lot of carbs. I did serve garlic bread though to help balance veggies vs. carbs but it wasn’t enough; he went hunting in the fridge for more food. MEN! 😉

This is not a vegetarian lasagna, it calls for ground beef (I used turkey). I’m sure you could remove the meat because there are a ton of veggies in it, or just double what the recipe says and there will plenty of “sauce” to add between the layers.

My dish did not come out as pretty as the allrecipes.com post, of course. It’s incredibly messy but it was sooooooo good! Bit of a change to the recipe: I forgot the thaw the spinach so it didn’t get added. Oh well. I honestly ran out of stacking space so it worked in my favor (Take out the meat and use spinach? You’d have the room for it). I think next time I might grill the zucchini (on the g.f.), the dish needed structure which stiffer/thicker noodles typically provide. By grilling, I’d think that it’d firm the veggies, giving it more structure instead of just slopping onto my plate.

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Wednesday was a slow cooker repeat, our favorite enchilada meal. I used baby shrimp this time around – so good! I love that recipe, it’s the easiest and tastiest. I didn’t double it, just made enough for one night. Thursday had shrimp planned again and I didn’t want insane leftovers of shrimp dishes although my husband wouldn’t care. He’s my garbage disposal after all!

Thursday brought on a new recipe via Paula Deen which we all know means there was a TON of butter in the recipe. I cut it by half and you wouldn’t know the difference (my arteries did and thanked me).  This was my best creation yet. I’m still trying to figure out the correct amount of s & p to use; I know that sounds ridiculous but I honestly can’t get it right! It’s either too much and I feel like I’m licking a brick of salt or there’s not enough and I may as well be eating cardboard. Cooking takes work on balancing spices, keep at it and one day, voila, success! I wanted to go back for seconds but I knew better. ImageImageImage

To make eating easier, I cut all of the shrimp tails off PRIOR to cooking. I don’t feel like working for my meal … either way I’d cut them, may as well do it before I sit down. On top of the called for ingredients I added my last zucchini, rather use it than toss it! You can add any veggie to this, at least that’s my opinion. We have leftovers which I’ll be enjoying tonight – Josh is off to Austin for a JROTC competition, only 1 night so he won’t get to enjoy that weird city (so many great food options out there!). 

That’s my week, feel free to wear it [the recipes] out! Bonus: my tummy is almost back to normal. I think my body absorbed more than I thought…

P.S. that enchilada recipe was my first pin on Pinterest … what was yours? Comment below! Also, how many of you actually make the things you pin? Sure, I have my “one day” kind of board, like artwork I’d love to create or furniture I’d love to own … but I stay true to my “yum-o” board. I’ve cooked almost everything pinned.

Don’t forget my IG food tags #kitchentails to see my current cooking adventures!!

 

au naturale scentsy

2 short hours in the slow cooker and my house smells like an authentic BBQ joint.  Don’t get me wrong, I love my new Scentsy products but they are such a tease because even though my house will smell like fresh baked cinnamon buns, I know there aren’t any waiting in my oven. Where’s that baker I hired, sheesh? I kid, I kid.

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Now I have to wait 6 more hours to enjoy dinner. Ugh!

Monday’s cheeseburger pie turned out fantastic as usual. Since it’s entered my life 3 years ago I’ve forgotten how strange it sounds to those who don’t know about it.  While I teaching Skype lessons last night, Josh asked if he could have the cheeseburger pie leftovers… my student started smiling and goes “Um, can I ask a qestion?” <sure, go ahead> “What’s a cheeseburger pie?” lol… it made me chuckle.

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I on the other hand couldn’t believe Josh was asking for MORE food, after having doubles of kielbasa & cabbage and mashed p’s, I thought for sure he was full.

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Originally I made the kielbasa & cabbage dish as a side for Thanksgiving 3 years ago; I’m not a huge fan of turkey and since I was hosting, I got to prepare the menu to my liking (don’t worry, I still made a dumb turkey).  I tweak it a bit each time, adding more Old Bay or Worcestershire sauce; using a different sausage; red vs. white vs. yellow onions; etc.  This time around I used yellow onions to add a bit of sweetness, red and “regular” cabbage for color, kept the almighty Polish kielbasa, added a lot of Worcestershire, and just a dash of Old Bay. Since I ate first, I made the flavors to my desire and Josh added even more (w.shire & o.b.) when he reheated his dinner. He could probably eat spoonfuls of Old Bay … I wonder if there is a challenge like that.

P.S. This is a 1 pot dish … easy clean up 🙂 Maybe 7 minutes prep (chopping the cabbage and onions) … Cook that combo for 10 minutes; add the kielbasa for 20 minutes … finished!

Insty mashed p’s take 5 minutes.

Complete meal in 30 minutes. Hello!

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What did your recipes look like prior to Pinterest? I need to organize this hot mess in to a binder.

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Why can’t I buy just 1 TBSP of something?!

I LOVE MARTHA. What more needs to be said? Half of my recipes are from this book right now. My love affair with arts and crafts easily begun at a young age, really taking off in college- just ask any of my sorority sisters.  I’ve always liked to cook but now I’m enjoying it with the help of Martha. This cook book is not “health conscious” so I replace things with a better version, keeping taste in mind.  Not everything needs to be the “light” version; plan a balanced meal instead. Her meals are always portioned for 4 servings which I follow because Josh eats a lot of food. Cut it in half if you’re cooking for yourself & freeze the left overs! Need more convincing to try out this book? Most of the meals take under 45 minutes to prep; who doesn’t have 45 minutes of free time? Seriously, no excuses.

Another reason I like to stick with one book at a time, the same ingredients keep popping up!  Who needs a jar of hoisin sauce when you can only find one recipe calling for 1 TBSP?  Map out your week, rotate nightly themes (one night Asian, next Mexican, followed by Italian, etc)… use that same list each week. You’ll use all of your purchases before they go bad!

My second “go to” is this magazine, which I got free using airline points!!! I made 5 recipes out of the first copy, it’s that good. The people behind this magazine are genius’… download this app and you can save recipes to your phone (take it one step further: pin to Pinterest, share on Facebook, or email it!). I like having recipes printed out but since I have almost zero counter space, my phone is the best solution.

Next chef to take on: Rachel Ray