Saturday, February 25, 2012

~Au Gratin Potatoes~

Well these were a slice of heaven! I think I got this recipe from a cookbook that Costco gave me on Black Friday last November. I don't often cook starch anymore, especially potatoes (mostly because potatoes are usually cooked in some super fattening way...). Now, to be clear, this isn't the healthiest way to eat potatoes either, but it is a delicious way to eat them! (And according to Costco, it's healthy...) So on occasion, I will make these, perhaps on a random slow Sunday. I made these potatoes with a Coca-Cola Roast and buttered carrots--very yummy meal. Jeremy got seconds too, so that must mean something. My father-in-law Jed gave me a food slicer for Christmas, and holy cow is it sharp! It's so sharp the first time I used it, I sliced my finger open pretty good...after that I was afraid of it. But the other night I made myself use it--it's such a time saver. The only thing I will do differently when I make these next will be to slice the potatoes even thinner.

Serves 6-8

You'll Need:

2 pounds your favorite potatoes
3 Tbs. sea salt
1 Tbs. garlic powder
dash of pepper
Dried minced onions, or minced fresh onions, to taste
3-4 c. shredded cheddar cheese
1 quart low-fat milk

Get Busy:

Preheat the oven to 350. Grease a 9x13 baking dish. Peel the potatoes and slice them very thin. Layer 1/3 of the potatoes in the pan. Sprinkle with 1/3 of the salt, garlic, pepper, onions, cheese and milk. Repeat with 2 more layers. Bake until the potatoes are tender, 60-90 minutes. Done! These were so good--I hope you like them.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

~Lasagna Toss~

Ahhh this is so delicious!! And this is one of the easiest recipes to make--ever. If you mess up making this, something may be wrong with you. It's that easy. If you like the taste of lasagna, you will love this--because it tastes just like lasagna! It cooks up real quickly, too.

I got this fabulous recipe from Jeremy's family. I remember the first time I had it, I was really skeptical. After the first bite, I fell in love with this dish (I don't know how you couldn't--it's so easy to throw together).

Serves 6

You'll Need:

1 lb. big seashell whole wheat pasta
1 lb. lean ground beef
1 jar of spaghetti sauce
2 c. shredded mozzarella cheese
1 lb (16 oz.) small curd cottage cheese

Get Busy:

Cook the ground beef, drain any fat. Meanwhile, cook the pasta until al dente. Once the pasta is cooked, combine with ground beef and other remaining ingredients. Yep--that's it. I told you it was easy. And soooooo good. :-)

Monday, February 13, 2012

~Caramel Cinnamon Rolls~

Oh. My. Gosh!!!!! These are so uh-MAZING! Caramel cinnamon rolls are a different take than normal cinnamon rolls--there is no cream cheese involved. Cream cheese got ousted by a phenomenal homemade caramel sauce. I dated a guy in high school whose dad makes these bad boys. I wanted the recipe in high school, but he said I had to marry into the family to get them. My mom however, finally snagged the recipe from him. Yesssss. This recipe made about 30 good-sized rolls. I took them to work and they were gone in a flash (and not everyone got one). So I'll be taking another pan to work tomorrow (also so I don't eat them all...) Oh these were soooo sooo good.

I will say, it is a wise idea to make these on a weekend when you don't have a ton going on...Total time, these take almost 4 hours to make from start to finish...and honestly, it is worth every minute of the time.

Ohhh look at the caramel goodness...nom nom nom.

I honestly can't say enough of these. Much thanks to the Coelhos for letting my family have this recipe! I personally have never loved cinnamon rolls, but these in my opinion are much better than original cinnamon rolls with cream cheese frosting.

Makes about 30 rolls

You'll Need:

2 packets of quick-rise yeast
10 c. all-purpose flour
2 c. milk
3/4 c. sugar
3/4 c. oil
1 egg
1 Tbs. salt

Caramel Sauce:
2 sticks of butter
1 c. packed brown sugar
1 Tbs. Karo syrup

Other Ingredients Needed:
1 stick of butter
Sugar/cinnamon mixture (a lot)

Get Busy:

Dough: Place 1 tsp. sugar and two packets of yeast in 1 c. lukewarm water. Let stand 10 minutes. Heat 2 c. milk but not to boiling. In a large mixing bowl, mix sugar, oil, egg and salt. Add the warm milk; then add the yeast. Add 8 c. flour and knead in the last 2 cups. The dough should be sticky. Knead the dough for 10 minutes, until the dough is elastic-like. Place in a buttered bowl and let rise for 2 hours, covered, until it is doubled in size. Punch down; let rest for 10 minutes.

Sauce: Melt 2 sticks of butter in a small saucepan. Add the brown sugar and Karo syrup. Cook on low but DO NOT boil--maybe 10 minutes; set aside. Lightly flour the counter. Roll the dough into a long rectangle about 1/2 inch thick. Spread one stick of room-temperature butter across the dough. Cover with a cinnamon/sugar mixture (heavy on the cinnamon)--and seriously, put a lot. Roll; cut about 1 inch thick with a fishing line or floss. Place in a buttered pan. Coat the rolls with half of the caramel. Let rise for 45 minutes to an hour. Bake at 350 for 25-30 minutes, or until golden brown. Start checking them at 15 minutes. Once done, cover them with foil and flip them upside down (I didn't do this part because I was taking them to work the next day and wanted to keep them in the pan). Coat with remaining caramel. For extra saucy/caramely rolls, double the sauce. I promise you won't regret making these!

Sunday, February 12, 2012

~Easy Taco Soup~

Well, there truly cannot be an easier soup recipe than this, and it tastes so good! This tastes good with tortilla chips or quesadillas (or just by itself, let's be honest). Jeremy really liked this too! In fact, he made sure to let me know that he got seconds ha ha. Taco soup has just right amount of spice to it. Really, there can't be an easier homemade soup than this. Open a few cans, dump the good stuff in, and let the crock pot do the work.

Serves 4

You'll Need:

1 can (15 oz.) chili with beans and meat
1 can (15 oz.) whole kernel corn, with liquid
1 can diced or stewed tomatoes, with liquid
1 can tomato sauce
1 can black beans, with liquid
1 1/2-3 Tbs. dry taco seasoning mix (great homemade recipe here)

Get Busy:

Combine all ingredients in a slow cooker. Cover and cook on low heat for 6-8 hours. Serve with quesadillas or tortilla chips. Yup; that's it. I told you--easy. And soooooo good. Enjoy!

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

~Carmelized Baked Chicken~

This must be one of the easiest recipes I have ever made and sooo delicious!! I made this tonight with sauteed zucchini. We have pretty much omitted all starch from our dinners, which I think is great because our meals are pretty healthy. Protein and veggies, protein and veggies. This dish takes 5 minutes to assemble and then cooks for about an hour and fifteen minutes.
It doesn't get much easier than this folks! It also doesn't taste much better than this! This tasted similar to teriyaki chicken, but even better.

Serves 2

You'll Need:

2 large chicken legs
1 2/3 Tbs. olive oil
1/2 c. soy sauce
1 2/3 Tbs. ketchup
3/4 c. honey
2-3 cloves garlic, minced
salt and pepper

Get Busy:

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Place chicken in an 8x8 dish. In a medium-sized bowl, mix together the olive oil, soy sauce, ketchup, honey, garlic, salt and pepper. Pour over the chicken. Bake in the oven for 1 hour to an hour 15 minutes (or until the chicken is cooked). Seriously, sooooo easy.

This was delicious with zucchini. The next time I make this I will also make brown rice (healthy) because there was a ton of sauce in the pan that would have been yummy over some rice. Enjoy!

Sunday, February 5, 2012

DIY: Party Poms

Ok, these were so fun and easy to make! My sis-in-law and I made these for the surprise 40th wedding anniversary party I threw for my parents. They took about 5 minutes each---soooooo easy. Anyone can make these; I promise. They make such cute decorations for parties or a baby room, and would look good in a variety of colors. We just chose red and white because ruby red is the color for 40 years of marriage.

First, you start with 8-10 sheets of tissue paper. Fold them accordion style--back and forth.

...Like this.

Then, holding the folds together, cut off the edges and round them off.

...Like this.

Next, cut some thread about 3 feet long (so you have enough thread to tie it to something), and tie a knot in the center of the tissue paper. You may need a buddy's finger to tie the knot.

Spread out the accordion on its side, and start peeling each layer back.

Keep peeling until each layer has been separated.

Once each layer is peeled, fluff the paper until the ball is round-shaped. You may need to tweak the ends of the paper so they don't show.

And you're done! Hang them wherever--I hung them by the front door and over the food served at the party. My sis-in-law made these in pink and they hang in her daughter's bedroom. So cute! 5 minutes per ball.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Birthday Week

I celebrated my 24th birthday this last week. Oddly enough, this was a wonderful birthday. I learned something a few years ago--to enjoy whatever stage you are in or whatever age you are. I grew up always anticipating the next stage in life. I couldn't wait to be 14 so I could go to church dances, couldn't wait to be 16 to date and drive, 18 to claim I was independent. I couldn't wait to go to college, couldn't wait to get married...I always wondered if I would feel the same about having children...luckily, no! Ha, that I can wait on. However, I am no longer dying to get to the next stage in life. I am happy where I am. I never want to be that person who complains about her age, is dreading turning '30, 40, or 50.' Celebrate whatever age you are. Be happy with life, or at least make it happy and always make it better. This was one of my best birthdays yet.

Jeremy surprised me with a beautiful gold watch! I have wanted a gold watch for a long time now. He picked it out himself--how did I get so lucky? A man with better taste than I have. He was so excited to give it to me he made me open it a couple days early.

Jeremy overheard me say how I was craving sushi around my birthday, so he surprised me with this one night.

My co-worker treated me to a delicious lunch, and then Jeremy took me to a nice and amazing Italian restaurant in San Diego called Capri Blu. They even treated me with some tiramisu!
On the Border lunch with Kelly. Best fajitas ever!! Special thanks to all of my co-workers who made my day so fun and special.