Go ahead, eat with your eyes today!

 

I’m just throwing pictures at you today … enjoy this buffet for your eyes!

 

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Here’s a perfect party food.  I made this as a snack while my husband and I watched the Penguins during their (miserable) playoff run. It’s a really easy Trisha Yearwood recipe that I remembered seeing on her show.  We used the pulled out bread center to then dip with, chips and veggies (carrot & celery sticks) were options as well.  Here’s a hint for buying 6 oz of corned beef – head to your deli counter and ask them to slice thicker pieces and you can dice them up at home.  Pretty fancy looking, right? Make this and it’ll be a show stopper at your next gathering! Or make it for yourself and your husband … who says you have to share 😉

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These next two recipes are courtesy of Ree Drummond, surprise surprise!!! She’s always in our weekly menu.  First up is a pepperoni pizza burger … how fun is that?! I figured this would be the perfect dish to make plenty of, so my husband would have leftovers while I went out of town for the weekend. I made 5 patties (I used a full pound of the ground Italian sausage); they are yummy reheated … I had the last one yesterday 🙂 Love having leftovers of my creations! It’s a one pot meal, hello! I mean, you mix the meat and whatnot but everything is cooked in 1 pot! It will get smoky cooking the burgers on the stove so throw that fan on & open a nearby window if possible.  My healthy swaps: ground turkey and sandwich thins.  No excuses that you can’t do a “grill out” if the hubby isn’t home; whip this dinner up on the stove and have an indoor BBQ.

Second in line is a simple foil pasta dish. I thought it was weird but went with it anyway. Follow the directions and TIGHTLY wrap that foil package or the shrimp WILL NOT finish cooking.  Trust me. I experienced this firsthand with my husband’s dinner. I made mine first – which turned out perfectly. When he came home I threw his foil bundle in the oven however I clearly didn’t pay attention when I wrapped up the pasta, there was a hole at the top which let the steam out … the shrimp were partially cooked 😦 We threw it in the microwave – IN A BOWL – NOT IN THE FOIL!!! The shrimp finished cooking just fine then.

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FISH STICKS! HOME MADE! I can’t believe that when I put this on my menu board my husband literally thought I was buying frozen Gorton’s Fishermen … WHAT?! I got so mad! Seriously, all of my cooking adventures and he thought I was buying frozen nastiness.  ROAR! He also kept calling them an inappropriate name; I won’t write it.  There was a dipping sauce included in the recipe and it was GROSS – Giada, what were you thinking? Were your taste buds not working when you made it?  Ok so I bought 2 BEAUTIFUL-FRESH salmon filets, my husband pulled the skin away, cut each in half, then length wise to create “sticks”. The breading was crunchy and the parm cheese had that nice salty flavor. Usually cheese and seafood don’t go together but this one worked (unlike the sauce, ha!). Oh fortunately I had some pesto (also needed for the veggie bake) in the fridge and that was a great choice to dip the fish sticks in.

Onto the veggie bake that you see … courtesy of Instagram! YES! A fellow military spouse posted a chicken casserole she made topping the chicken with artichoke hearts, fire roasted tomatoes, roasted bell peppers, onions, and mushrooms. I drizzled pesto over the top, tossed the veggies, and put it in the oven maybe 20-30 minutes BEFORE the fish sticks; I used the same temp to make planning easier. Total cheat: I bought all canned/jarred items for this veggie bake. Sorry but not sorry, ha! I will try this again and absolutely make it with chicken breasts, maybe even on the grill. Yummmm imagine those flavors!

 

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Last but not least, straight up simple salmon filets in a yummy brown sugar/honey/mustard glaze – thank you Bobby Flay.  Halved potatoes so they cook faster … add a salad – DONE!

 

Bon Appétit!!!

 

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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!

 

 

food is essential to life: make it good

I actually remembered to plan a meatless meal for tonight! BOOM!

With my new cooking adventures I think it’ll be easier for me to come up with vegetarian meals each week. In years past I would buy boxed fish sticks and whip up some mac n’ cheese. Every Friday this was my dinner! I may as well have gone to McD’s and picked up their fish sandwiches (God I love those things, don’t get me wrong – there is something about them that are addicting! I would LOOOOOVE to go for one of those now but I know better). Lenten meals don’t have to consist of seafood though, not everyone likes fish or shrimp. So I’ll give you tonight’s dinner.

Grilled cheese & sweet potato fries. Simple!  We’re not talking plain old Kraft slices either. I picked up smoke provolone, an avocado, and I’ll saute red onions – stack it up on some sourdough bread. I’m making homemade fries too – 1 potato per person, slice them up, and sprinkle smoked paprika – bake and eat. That sounds DELISH!!! I’ll let you know how it turns out!

I’ll do a picture show of the last few nights of meals (in no particular order). Chicken sliders inspired by Ree Drummond, remember that you can change recipes – the recipe police will not come after you! This also shouldn’t stop you from making something that looks good; if an ingredient doesn’t seem necessary to the overall flavor then it’s okay to omit.

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Another Pioneer Woman recipe, this one I followed to the T. There wasn’t anything you could leave out. When you open the link it will say quick and easy – so true, it was ready in under 20 minutes. The only thing that wasn’t quick and easy, opening the darn pasta box. SERIOUSLY! “Tear here” is a bunch of BS.

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I forgot to include the picture of me food processing the red peppers but that is an important step. Look at Ree’s instructions, she gives step by step pictures – love her blog!

Next in the line up braised short ribs. A bit pricey but this isn’t something we will make on a regular basis; it was actually my first time cooking short ribs. I found this on the Food Network’s website from Claire Robinson’s 5 ingredient fix. The only thing I changed was the cooking time… I did it low and slow – 300 for 6 hours! Do it and you’ll thank me later.

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I had planned root veggies as a side however the tax office took waaaaaay longer than expected. So I didn’t have time to put them in the oven and had to bust out the insty mashed potatoes. No biggie. As I pulled the meat out of the pot, the bones fell off – yepp, I knew this was a good plan 🙂 This could easily be a slow cooker meal but you’ll still have to brown the meat before, it’s crucial to keep the juices inside the meat.

Oh yes, on the disaster that was brinner. It was a huge hit the first time around, I had to plan a second one… except it actually became a real breakfast. I didn’t feel like cooking that night and since we were both home the next day for breakfast, why not make a proper meal to start our day.

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Seriously, Pinterest… you can really suck sometimes. My cute idea quickly changed to scrambled eggs with chopped green peppers. That is where Josh stepped in, he makes THE BEST scrambled eggs; McLane agrees.  Want to make your waffles stand out? I added cinnamon, so yummy.  We needed protein so I cooked JD’s sausage patties. There’s an easy meal!

The final dish: mahi mahi with a mango salsa. I used the root veggies that were skipped from the night before, didn’t want them going bad and having to toss. The marinade that I found for the fish was s0-s0, I think I just needed to have more liquid but the fish was covered … maybe it was the marinade. I won’t even post it. It wasn’t bad, it was just lacking flavor.

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That’s it! I know it’s a lot but now you have no reason to be uninspired. So many meals to choose from 🙂 Pick your weapon!