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!!!

 

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!

 

We’ve Been Bad…

Real bad.  I’ve cooked only a few meals since last Wednesday.  

Days I cooked: Wednesday, sort of Friday, and tonight (Monday)
Days we cheated: Thursday (Panda), Saturday (Flying Saucer), and Sunday (Panera)

On top of that, I already know we’ll be cheating this Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday.  Oh shoot, just add Sunday to that list as well.

This is clearly not typical but with our move fast approaching (SATURDAY!!!!) … I’ve given up on my current kitchen. I’m literally sick of it; knowing my new kitchen is so close to being ours, I can’t help but dream of the meals I’ll get to cook starting next week. I honestly have dreams about recipes I’ve been meaning to try. Please don’t think I’m strange.

So I’ll let you know what we’ve had on the days I cooked … Very tasty meals actually: one new recipe, a total cop-out pot roast, and a twist on something I’ve made 2x already.

Wednesday: Pasta with a TON of veggies.
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Don’t have time for fresh veggies like the recipe calls for? No worries, frozen is clearly the next best option.  I threw them in frozen, HA! Talk about being impatient.
Anyway, so SO easy.  Toss the veggies in a large pan – top with sauce – add cooked noodles. This is only a 2 pot meal! I picked up cute noodle nests (1 nest = 1 serving, all the measuring done for me).  Add a side salad and it’s complete!

Friday: lazy persons pot roast
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These kits exist that have the veggies chopped and vacuumed sealed… meat too, duh.  I was skeptical but Josh had picked it out when I really sent him to find a good hunk of beef to make our own roast.  Eh, figured I’d give it a try.  Just to note most kits don’t come with seasoning (why call it a kit then?!); this one came with “complimentary” spices.  Thanks Tyson, for “throwing in” a spice packet. I’m sure it was a difficult step to add in the assembly line. Sheesh.
End result: not too bad actually! It wasn’t like a homemade roast but if this is going to keep you from hitting up fast food, then purchase it (I know I’m not one to talk after all the cheats last week and coming up). 
My suggestion is to add an extra cup of water. The instructions say 1 cup but it just didn’t look right, the meat was hardly covered. Even with 2 cups it was still a bit dry so I’m going to guess that only 1 cup would make you some tasty shoe leather.
1 kit is perfect for 2 people; zero leftovers.

Tonight made for the saying “third time’s the charm” with spicy shrimp.  This version was our favorite, using hot sauce to marinate and then cook the shrimp (in it) was key. I probably used a 1/2 cup of hot sauce, added the 2 tbsp of lime juice, 1 tbsp of evoo, and then all the dry spices (cumin, chili powder) … mix together and let the shrimp sit. I dumped everything together in a pan and stove top cooked it for 4 minutes. Please PLEASE do not over cook shrimp unless you like rubber.
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I also swapped quinoa for brown rice because we were out of the first. It all turned out the same.  I put about 1 tbsp of lime juice in the rice along with cilantro for flavor. Delish!  Hopefully I can create this version or something close to it, in the future. 

Considering we’ll be eating out quite a bit over the next few days I think I’ll blog about those meals. I’m going to make a conscience effort to order as if I’m cooking a normal meal at the house.  Hopefully by making that statement public, it’ll hold me accountable! FINGERS CROSSED that I don’t turn into a blob.