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Sunday, January 31, 2010

breakfast bake

OK, there are a few variations on this one. You can easily half it or you could use ham instead of bacon. Also, instead of the hash browns you could use a roll of refridgerated crescent rolls (in that case you would only need 6 eggs). You could obviously add chopped onion, peppers or shredded cheese. I don't like onions or peppers and I had forgotten to get cheese, so last weekend I made it this way.

1/2 pkg frozen hash browns

1 pkg cooked bacon

15 eggs

2 splashs of milk

salt and pepper

Spread the hash browns in the bottom of a 9x13 pan.

Crumble the bacon on top of the hashbrowns.

Whisk together the eggs, milk, salt and pepper. Pour over what's in the pan.

Bake at 350 for

Thursday, January 21, 2010

gooey butter cake

OK, people. Here it is. I know you thought it was an urban legend. But I am actually sharing the infamous gooey butter cake recipe. This is definitely NOT one for those of you who are trying to lose weight in the new year. But if you are like me and you care more about spending time playing with your kids, than working out and dieting...ENJOY!

1 box yellow butter cake mix
1 stick butter, melted
3 eggs
2 C. powdered sugar
1 8 oz pkg cream cheese, softened
2 tsp vanilla

1. In large mixing bowl, mix, by hand, the cake mix, melted butter, one egg, and 1 tsp of the vanilla. Press onto bottom of a greased (or sprayed) 9X13 pan.

2. With mixer, mix powdered sugar, 2 eggs, cream cheese and 1 tsp vanilla. Beat at high speed for 3 minutes. Pour over cake mix in pan.

Bake 40 minutes (or less) @ 350. Sprinkle with powdered sugar.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Easy, Cheesy, Chicken Pot Pie

This is definitely one of the easiest meals I make. It takes all of 5 minutes to assemble (if your chicken is already cooked), it's mildly healthy and it's really good.

3 Cups chopped, cooked chicken
1 pkg (16 oz) frozen vegetable blend
1/2 lb Velveeta cut into cubes
1 can (11oz) cream of chicken soup
1 can refridgerated crescent dinner rolls

Heat oven to 375

Combine first 4 ingredients in 9X13-inch baking dish.

Unroll dough. Place over mixture.

Bake 20-25 mins or until crust is golden brown.
*TIP* When I plan out my meals for the week (on Fridays b/c that's when I go to the grocery store), if I have two meals that need chopped cooked chicken breasts, I will cook them up in a skillet, with some italian seasoning, at one time and divide them into two containers. That way it's much easier when I'm actually preparing the meal to just dump the chicken in.
**Also, I was asked about adding the nutritional info to the recipes, so I will do that if I have it. In this case I do, so here ya go (btw this is based on 8 servings...for us, it's more like 4-6 servings).
340 calories
17/6 Fat/Sat
860 Sodium
22 carbs
2 fiber
24 protein

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Cheeseburger Macaroni

OK, I am aware that you can buy the box of hamburger helper and in 20 minutes you'd have dinner. BUT, this is SOOOO much better. There is soooo much more flavor in this one, it's super easy and for about the same money, you get twice as much. So, I recommend trying it at least once. It feeds the 4 of us for at least 2 nights (usually Josh can also get a lunch out of it also). Also, I usually serve it with green beans.

1 lb ground beef
4 1/2 cups water
2/3 Cup ketchup
2 tsp. onion powder
4 Cups (1 16 oz box) elbow macaroni, uncooked
1 lb Velveeta cheese cut into 1/2 inch cubes

Brown the meat in a large skillet. Drain.

Add water, ketchup & onion powder. Mix well. Bring to a boil. Stir in macaroni and cover. Simmer on med heat 10 minutes (it usually takes me longer) or until noodles are tender.

Stir in Velveeta, cook until melted, stirring occasionally.

Sunday, January 10, 2010


Ok, so until I do this a little more I'm not exactly sure what my set-up will be when I'm trying a new recipe (afa my opinions and what happened when I tried it, etc.). So, for now, I'll be putting my opinions in a different color, in parenthesis and italicising them.

Ever since seeing an episode of Desperate Housewives a couple months ago where they mentioned Braciole, I've been wanting to try it. So I searched and searched for a recipe that I thought would work best for me and be most appealing to us all (including the kids). I ended up with one on allrecipes.com. I didn't feel like it was very difficult at all and I have to say that with one bite, it easily became one of our favorites (and that is coming from a family of VERY picky eaters).

1/2 C dried Italian-style bread crumbs
1 or 2 cloves of garlic, minced
2/3 C grated pecorino Romano
1/3 C grated provolone
(I actually used 1C of Italian blend cheese instead of these two)
2 T chopped fresh parsley leaves
4 T olive oil
salt and pepper
1 (1 1/2 lb) flank steak
1 C dry white wine
3 1/4 C marinara sauce (I used my homemade sauce that I canned over the summer and it was delicious.)

Stir the first 5 ingredients in a medium bowl to blend. Stir in 2T of the olive oil. Season mixture with salt and pepper.

Lay the flank steak on the work surface. Pound with a meat mallet to flatten. (I actually lucked out and my Giant Eagle had it already done in a package that said "braciole steaks". I thought it was kismet, so I also bought a lottery ticket while I was there.) Spread the bread crumb mixture over the steak evenly.
Starting at one end, roll the steak like you would a jellyroll, to enclose the filling. Using butchers twine, tie the steak to secure. (Now, this is where it got a little dicey for me. I had forgotten to get the twine, so I ended up securing it with toothpicks. Not exactly my finest moment in the kitchen, however, not my worst either because it did actually work mildly well.)

Preheat oven to 350

Heat the remaining 2T of oil in a heavy large ovenproof skillet over medium heat. (You might want to take extra note here, that it says MEDIUM HEAT. Because apparently, my first grade teacher would be disappointed in my lack of reading skills. I turned it up to high to save time, b/c I was using my cast iron dutch oven which takes for.ev.er. to heat up. But no, no folks. the stupidity doesn't stop there. Not only do I crank that burner up, I also put on the lid. So as you might have guessed, we had a bit of a smoking issue. So incidentally, one of the sides was a little more brown than I would like b/c that sucker sure knows how to hold the heat).
Add the braciole and cook until browned on all sides (about 8 minutes). Add the wine to the pan and bring to a boil. Stir in the marinara sauce. Cover partially with foil (I used the lid and didn't put it on completely). Bake until the meat is almost tender (about an hour and a half), basting every 30 minutes. After 1 hour, uncover.

Remove the braciole from the sauce. Using a sharp knife, cut the braciole crosswise and diagonally into 1/2 inch thick slices.
Transfer the slices to plates. Spoon the sauce over and serve. (I served mine over some ditalini that I added butter and Parmesan cheese to and it was a perfect compliment).

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

peirogies a la...my mom?

This is one of those recipes without a name, that someone in our family came up with and it just stuck. It's super easy, has only 5 ingredients and EVERYONE that tries it, likes it. Normally, I will try to have a pic of the recipes, but I actually just made this last week, so I wont make it again for a while. So just close your eyes and use your imagination ;-) lol

feeds about 4 adults.

i have no idea the nutritional value of any of it LOL.


olive oil (or vegetable oil or butter would also work)

1/2 of an onion sliced

1 small box of peirogies

1 bag chopped frozen broccoli (you could use fresh though)

1/2 pkg of kielbasa, sliced

1. heat the oil in a large skillet over med-high heat (enough oil to almost cover the bottom of the skillet and you can just swirl it around to cover the bottom completely). Place the sliced onion in the skillet and cook for a few minutes stirring occasionally. meanwhile slice the kielbasa.

2. add the pierogies, kielbasa and broccoli. cover and let cook for a few minutes. Uncover and stir occasionally until everything is cooked and golden brown. serve immediately.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

A great deal of my life is spent in the kitchen. I'm either cooking or eating or preparing to cook...or eat. Either way, it's what I enjoy. I love it all. I love looking through cookbooks to find new recipes. I love going to the grocery store (the only 2 hrs of peaceful quietness in my week). I love chopping up vegetables and the smell of the flavors melding in the pot. I love when it turns out the way it was supposed to and I LOVE hearing people tell me how good it is. I love taking credit for the recipe even when it's not mine. I love feeling stuffed but still wanting more because it was just.that.good.

But...and this is a BIG but...it doesn't always happen that way. Sometimes I try for a half an hour and just can't get "stiff peaks" or I can't get the roue to work just right. And sometimes it seems like it's going to be perfect, but I know with just one bite that it is faaar from perfect.

This blog is not going to be me trying to emulate "julie & julia". This is going to be me trying recipes and telling you what I think about them. It'll be me sharing my long-time fave's and it will be me sharing what little cooking advice I have. It will be apps and main dishes. Desserts and sides. The best "under 30" mom meals I know and some really special things to pull out for company. I hope that you enjoy and that you follow and read and give me feedback and let me know what you think about what I think.