Macaroni Salad

Per my husbands request, I made macaroni salad.

He’s been buying little containers from the store a couple times a week. I guess you could say he’s been craving it like crazy!

A couple days ago he finally asked if I would make some homemade macaroni salad. 

For my first attempt, I hit it out of the ballpark because he ate the whole thing in one day! lol

Not only is it cheaper than store bought but it taste better too.

The best part is, it only took about 20 minutes to make.

a mac saladChop everything up & add it to the wet ingredients.

a mac salad 2Add macaroni & stir!

a mac salad 3Takes about 20 minutes & you’re done!

 

Ingredients

2 cups dry elbow macaroni, cooked, rinsed, and drained
1/3 cup diced celery
1/4 cup minced red onion, soaked in cold water for 5 minutes, drained
1 tablespoon minced flat-leaf parsley
1/2 cup diced vine-ripened tomato
1/2 cup Kraft mayonnaise
3/4 teaspoon dry mustard
1 teaspoons sugar
1 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
3 tablespoons sour cream
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper & a little sprinkle of garlic salt
Recipe adapted from here.
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Homemade Salsa

I love making salsa!

It’s super easy & you can make as much or as little as you want.

Not to mention you can control how spicy it is. 

The hotter, the better in my book!!

My only problem with having an over abundance of salsa in the house, is staying out of it.

I always find myself sneaking back into the kitchen getting into the salsa bowl. 😉

 

salsa

salsa 2

Ingredients

1 can (28 Ounce) whole tomatoes with juice
2 cans (10 Ounce) Rotel (diced tomatoes And green chilies)
1/4 cup chopped onion
1 clove garlic, minced
1 whole jalapeño, quartered And sliced thin (I add more than 1, maybe 3 or a couple serrano peppers)
1/4 teaspoon sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 cup fresh cilantro (more to taste)
1/2 whole lime, juiced

In a large food processor or blender, combine whole tomatoes, Rotel tomatoes, onion, jalapeno, garlic, sugar, salt, cumin,

lime juice, and cilantro. Pulse until you get the salsa to the consistency you’d like.

Taste and adjust seasonings, if necessary.

Refrigerate salsa for at least an hour. Serve with tortilla chips.

salsa jar

This recipe was adapted from the Pioneer Woman.

Slow Cooked Ribs

These are so tender they will melt in your mouth.

I have to admit, I was a little hesitated to make these 

because let’s be honest, nothing can beat a smoked rib.

I was wrong! The crock pot makes them tender & the last few minutes

on the grill gave them the perfect smoked flavor.

*These are super tender so be careful taking them out of the crock pot! The will fall apart!*

DSC_0350 redoThe brown sugar & pineapple juice mixture doesn’t look pretty but it makes a great marinade.

DSC_0354 redoCut ribs to fit into the crock pot & cover with brown sugar & pineapple juice mixture.

DSC_0370 redoCarefully place cooked ribs on the grill & cover in bbq sauce.

Ingredients

1 (2-3 lb) rack of ribs
3 1/2 cups pineapple juice (reserving 1/4 cup for later)
1 1/2 cups brown sugar
1 (16 oz) bottle BBQ sauce (I used Sweet Baby Ray’s)
Spray the slow cooker with non-stick cooking spray (or use a slow cooker liner to make clean up a breeze!). Take your slab of ribs (make sure that they are defrosted) & cut into individual slabs (about 2-3 ribs each). Throw the ribs into the slow cooker.

Mix the pineapple juice & brown sugar together then pour over the ribs. Put the lid back on the slow cooker & cook on HIGH for 7-8 hours or LOW for 10-12 hours.

After they are done in the slow cooker, use tongs to gently pull them out (they will literally fall apart when you touch them). Turn the grill on medium heat. While the grill is warming up, mix together the bottle of BBQ sauce and the 1/4 cup of pineapple juice you saved from earlier.

Place the ribs gently on the grill & brush with BBQ sauce. Turn the ribs twice, slathering with more sauce each time (you can’t have enough sauce!) they will take about 10-15 minutes to glaze over (as soon as that sauce starts to turn sticky, you know they are done!). Be careful not to burn them.

Original Recipe

Baked Chicken Parmesan

Switching it up this week to pasta Sunday.

DSC_0484 redoCover each side with bread crumbs & place on a cookie sheet.

Once chicken has fully cooked, it’s pretty easy to assemble.

 *I totally forgot to take pictures during the preparation of this meal, oops ;)*DSC_0491 redoDoesn’t that look delicious!?

Ingredients

2 Chicken Breast (trimmed, sliced in half)
3/4 cup Seasoned Breadcrumbs
1/4 cup Grated Parmesan Cheese
2 tbsp Melted Butter
3/4 cup Mozzarella Cheese
1 cup Marinara Sauce
Cooking Spray
Whole Wheat Pasta

Preheat oven to 450°.
Spray cookie sheet lightly with the cooking spray.
Combine breadcrumbs & Parmesan cheese in a bowl.
Melt butter & lightly brush onto each side of the chicken.
Once chicken has been buttered, dip each side into the breadcrumb & cheese mixture. 
Place on cookie sheet & repeat with the remaining chicken breast.
Bake in the oven for 20 minutes. Turn chicken over to bake an additional 5 minutes.

Remove from the oven, spoon 1 tbsp of sauce over each piece of chicken & top each with shredded mozzarella cheese.
Bake 5 more minutes or until cheese is melted.
Serve on a bed of whole wheat pasta.

Original Recipe

Baked Ziti

My husband loves pasta, so we always have

it on hand for those last minute, quick & easy meals.  I had a bunch of

marinara sauce left over from a previous meal along with some Italian sausage but no

spaghetti noodles.

Searching through the pantry I found a box of penne,  which basically

sealed the deal of baked ziti.  I had everything on hand & it could be thrown together in under 45 minutes. Perfect!

My husband not only loved this, but had seconds, left overs the following day &

has mentioned this a couple times since we had it for dinner.

My favorite part was the yummy cheesy topping. It’s really the best part of baked ziti!! 😉

DSC_0403 a3 Italian sausage links, casing removed.

DSC_0407 aGrate Parmesan cheese.

DSC_0417 aAdd the sausage (browned) & ziti to your marinara sauce.

DSC_0418 aAdd the pasta to a glass pan, then cover with cheese & sprinkle with parsley.

DSC_0427 aBaked to perfection!

Ingredients

1 Box of Ziti or Penne

1 Jar of Marinara Sauce/ Homemade Sauce

3 Italian Sausage Links (Casing Removed)

Olive Oil

1 Cup Mozzarella Cheese

1/2 Cup Parmesan Cheese

Parsley (Optional)

Salt

Preheat oven to 350°F.
Fill a large pot with water & bring to a boil. Add a pinch of salt & a little olive oil to the water & bring to a boil.
Once boiling, add the pasta, cook about for 7 – 10 minutes. Stir occasionally.
  Remove the casing from the 3 sausages, cook on medium heat, breaking the sausage apart. Cook until evenly browned & drain.
  Add your pasta & sausage to the sauce & mix well.
  Pour mixture into a  glass 8”x 8” baking dish & top with mozzarella & Parmesan cheese.
Bake for 20 to 25 minutes or until the cheese bubbles & turns a golden brown.
  Cool & Serve.

DSC_0433 a

Thin Crust and Pizza Sauce

Our Saturday nights can be busy & tiring if there’s a late night football game to attend.

Those are the kind of nights that require something quick & easy for dinner. The last thing you

want to do is spend an hour or so in the kitchen cooking after you just spent 2 hours

in the stands cheering & screaming. So what makes everyone in the house smile?

Pizza!

Make the dough before you leave & it will rise while you’re gone. It will be ready by the time you get home.

The sauce takes just a couple minutes to make in the blender.

Shape the dough, add the sauce & toppings and presto, pizza in about 20 minutes.

It didn’t cost an arm & leg, no 45 minute wait for delivery & you can make it however you want!!

DSC_0329 aI’ve never tried this type of yeast before, but it makes some pretty awesome thin crust pizza.

DSC_0334 aShape your dough very carefully & add the toppings.

DSC_0339 aBake for 15 minutes, slice & serve.

Ingredients

Thin Crust Pizza

2 1/4 Cups All Purpose Flour
1 Envelope Fleischmann’s Pizza Yeast
1 1/2 tsp Sugar
3/4 teaspoon Salt
2/3 Cups very warm water (120F – 130F)
3 Tbsp Oil

Preheat oven to 425°F.

Combine 1 cup flour, undissolved yeast, sugar & salt in a large bowl.  Add very warm water & oil; mix until well blended, about 1 minute. 

Gradually add enough remaining flour to make a soft dough.  Dough should form a ball & will be slightly sticky.

Knead on a floured surface, adding additional flour if necessary, until smooth & elastic, about 4 minutes.

Pat dough with floured hands to flatten on baking sheet or roll dough on a floured counter to 12-inch circle;

place on a greased pizza pan or baking sheet.  Spread with pizza sauce.  Top with desired toppings and sprinkle with cheese.

Bake on lowest oven rack for 12 to 15 minutes, until cheese is bubbly and crust is browned.

Ingredients

Pizza Sauce

1 tsp Olive Oil
2 Cloves Garlic
28 oz Can Crushed Tomatoes
1 tsp Oregano
2 Tbsp Chopped Fresh Basil
Salt & Pepper to Taste

In a medium pot, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add garlic & saute until golden, being careful not to burn.

Add crushed tomatoes, salt, pepper & oregano to blender. Pulse until smooth. Add garlic & fresh basil to blender. Pulse again until smooth.

Spoon onto pizza dough.

* If you prefer to cook your sauce, cover & let simmer about 15 – 20 minutes.*

Fajita Tacos

I recently posted a recipe for beef & cheddar melts & this is what I

came up with the next day.

Don’t you just love getting a whole new meal out of your leftovers?

I know I sure do!!

I’ve been on a mission lately to use everything we

purchased from the grocery store. My family & I have been pretty wasteful in the past,

like buying a whole thing of cilantro & not even using half. 

Next thing you know it’s bad & we’re throwing it out.

This has been a very interesting challenge coming up with a bunch of recipes for the

week that use only half of what’s leftover from a previous meal.

While a challenge we are making it happen & this is one of the end results.

An end result that is mighty tasty by the way! 😉

DSC_0317Roughly chop your cilantro.

DSC_0320 aA little olive oil, green & red bell peppers sauteed.

DSC_0321 aCook the tortillas (corn), add a little avocado, squeeze a little fresh lime juice & sprinkle with cilantro.

Ingredients

Beef – Recipe Here

1 Green Bell Pepper

1 Red Bell Pepper

1 Avocado

1 Lime

Cilantro

Corn Tortillas

Olive Oil

If not using the recipe above for the meat, please use whatever type of meat you have on hand & season it to your liking (I used leftovers that

I made in the crock pot the day before). Roughly chop the cilantro. Set aside. Add a little olive oil to your pan on medium heat.

Add one corn tortilla at a time until the tortilla becomes a little brown around the edges. Make sure to cook both sides.

Place in tin foil to keep them warm until ready to serve.

  Slice & sautee the bell peppers in a little olive oil.

They should be nice & tender with a little browning. Once the peppers are ready, throw the meat into the pan to reheat.

Fill each tortilla with bell peppers, meat & avocado. Sprinkle with cilantro &  serve with fresh lime slices.

Beef and Cheddar Melts

Crock pot Sunday once again!

Enjoy these wonderful beef & cheddar melts.

DSC_0315 a

DSC_0314 aServe them up with your favorite chips, homemade kettle chips, fries or whatever tickles your fancy.

Ingredients

1 lb Thinly Sliced Chuck Roast
1 Medium Onion, Thinly Sliced (Optional)
1 tsp Salt
1 tsp Black Pepper
1 tsp Garlic Powder
Texas Toast
Spray Butter
Cheddar Cheese
Spicy Pickles (Optional)

Marinate the beef & onions in the spice rub for at least four hours or overnight. Place in a slow cooker & cook on low for eight hours. It will fall apart when you are done.
Once the beef is cooked, use some tongs & place the beef in a bowl. Discard the juices. Pull apart with a couple of forks, taste, & season with any additional salt & pepper.
Add one slice of the buttered bread on a preheated skillet on medium heat. Add two slices of the cheddar cheese to the top of the bread, covering the bread, then add as much shredded beef as you want. Top that with the remaining two slices of cheese, then top with the remaining slice of bread, butter side up.
Cook the sandwich for a few minutes, gently lifting to make sure you are getting that golden crust you want in a great grilled cheese sandwich. Once golden, carefully flip over, and cook on the other side. Lower the heat a bit, and if you have a sandwich press, at it to the top of the sandwich. If you do not have a sandwich press, add a heavy pot to the top, or add a bit of pressure with a spatula.
Cook another few minutes, and once that side is golden, remove it and get ready to plate.
Slice the sandwich in half, on a diagonal. Poke a few spicy pickles with a toothpick & stack on top of the sandwich.

Original Recipe.

Semi Homemade Chicken and Dumplings

Have you ever wanted to make something but kept putting it off because

you thought it was going to be a time consuming process?

That’s exactly how I felt about making chicken & dumplings.

Since I was a little kid I always heard about making homemade biscuit

dough & boiling the chicken and so on & so forth.

Sounds like a lot of work, right!? Right!

But, when you find short cuts, it becomes a really easy &

pretty quick meal to make. So let me share with you this

20 minute semi homemade chicken & dumplings recipe.

DSC_0287 aAll you need is a bag of biscuit mix, 2 cans of chunky chicken breast & 2 cans of chicken broth.

DSC_0288 aFollow the instructions on the bag. Half cup of milk & mix to form a ball of dough.

DSC_0291 aPinch off small pieces of dough to make your dumplings.

Flour your hands to keep the dough from sticking to you fingers.

DSC_0293 steamAfter bringing the chicken & the chicken broth to a boil, add your dumplings to the pot.

DSC_0298 aYumm!

Ingredients

1 Bag Biscuit Mix

1/2 cup Milk

2 (14 ounce) Cans Chicken Broth

2 (10 ounce) Cans Chunk Chicken, Drained

In a medium bowl, stir together the biscuit mix & milk as directed on the package.
Pour the two cans of chicken broth into a pan along with the chunks of chicken. Bring to a boil. Once boiling, tear off small pieces of biscuit dough & flatten them into small little dumplings. Drop them into the boiling broth. Make sure you fully submerge the dough into the chicken broth. This is important, as you don’t want to eat raw dough. Once you’ve carefully placed all of the dough into the pot, cover & simmer over medium heat for about 10 minutes. Stir occasionally. Season & serve warm.

Beef with Snow Peas

As I’ve mentioned before, I love the Pioneer Woman,

so of course this is another one of her recipes. 

I’ve really been on a mission to create my own Chinese food since finding any

decent restaurants close by has been unsuccessful.  

This particular recipe stuck out because it’s similar to what my daughter orders

every time, beef & broccoli. I knew she would love it. Surprisingly she didn’t question where the

broccoli was, just was curious how to eat the snow peas, lol. She wasn’t sure if

you were suppose to eat the pods or not. After poking at them for a minute or

so she popped one in her mouth & was happy to report how tasty they were.

I know a recipe is a keeper when my family goes back for seconds.

DSC_0267Thinly slice up the flank steak & cover with marinade.

DSC_0269Add olive oil to your pan & cook for a minute or so.

DSC_0273Set aside snow peas & first batch of cooked beef on a clean plate.

DSC_0275 fixedOnce all the beef has been cooked, throw everything back into the pan for an additional 30 seconds or so.

DSC_0285 fixedServe over some jasmine rice.

Ingredients

1-1/2 pound Flank Steak, Trimmed Of Fat And Sliced Very Thin Against The Grain
1/2 cup Low Sodium Soy Sauce
3 Tablespoons Sherry Or Cooking Sherry
2 Tablespoons Brown Sugar
2 Tablespoons Cornstarch
1 Tablespoon Minced Fresh Ginger
8 ounces, weight Fresh Snow Peas, Ends Trimmed
5 whole Scallions, Cut Into Haf-inch Pieces On The Diagonal
Salt As Needed (use Sparingly)
3 Tablespoons Olive Oil
Crushed Red Pepper, For Sprinkling
Jasmine Rice, Cooked According To Package

In a bowl, mix together soy sauce, sherry, brown sugar, cornstarch, and ginger.

Pour half the liquid over the sliced meat in a bowl and toss with hands. Reserve the other half of the liquid. 

Heat oil in a heavy skillet or wok over high heat. Add snow peas and stir for 45 seconds. Remove to a separate plate.

Allow pan to get very hot again. With tongs, add half the meat mixture, leaving most of the marinade still in the bowl. Add half the scallions.

Spread out meat as you add it to pan, but do not stir for a good minute. (You want the meat to get as brown as possible in as short amount a time as possible.)

Turn meat to the other side and cook for another 30 seconds. Remove to a clean plate.

Repeat with other half of meat, allowing pan to get very hot again first. After turning it, add the first plateful of meat, the rest of the marinade, and the snow peas.

Stir over high heat for 30 seconds, then turn off heat. Check seasonings and add salt only if it needs it. Mixture will thicken as it sits.

Serve immediately over rice. Sprinkle crushed red pepper over the top to give it some spice.