Spaghetti and Italian Meatballs

My husband and I have been out of town so much lately, I actually haven’t had to cook in a while. When I do, it ends up being something I’ve already done.
Sometimes I ask him what he wants for dinner and he actually gives it some thought. Sometimes I get a “I don’t care…Whatever sounds good” and then other times I get a definite answer.

So the other day I got “pasta?”. Thankfully I had some spaghetti noodles on hand, and just enough for a couple servings for the both of us. I wanted to make it a little more exciting than just pasta so I went ahead and made my own meatballs. Along with the Pumpkin Bread (see previous post for recipe) this was my first time making these.

There are so many different options for making meatballs…Cheese filled, beef, Italian sausage, vegetarian (not sure I wanna know what that tastes like), etc.

Anyway, I decided to put Italian sausage and ground beef both in to make a nice Italian style meatball.

Here is the recipe:

  • 1/2 pound ground beef
  • 1/2 pound Italian sausage
  • 1/2 cup plain bread crumbs (Panko or any other kind you can find)
  • 1 tsp minced garlic (I used store bought minced garlic)
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup Parmesan (or freshly grated)
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp fresh ground pepper

Step 1:  Heat the oven to 350.

Step 2:  In a medium sized mixing bowl, add meat and mix together well with you hand or a spoon. Once you finish this go ahead and start adding each ingredient either one at a time (and mixing after) or a couple at a time and mixing well.

20141009_164412

20141009_164555

20141009_164637

Step 3:  Make slightly larger than golf ball sized meatballs and place them on a flat non-stick pan or (what I decided to use) in a muffin pan which helps them not roll around.

20141009_165736

Try not to make them too big because you’ll want them to cook through evening.

Step 4:  Place in the oven and cook for 40 minutes, flipping them when you are halfway through.

20141009_174503

Because I went through making the meatballs and cooking the noodles I didn’t want to make my own sauce so I got a nice one that was on sale that day.

20141009_174634

20141009_174642

20141009_175746

 

I went ahead and put the meatballs into the sauce to let them marinate in it for a bit.
The result was really great.

Some Italian meatball recipes will tell you to add Parsley. I didn’t have any fresh and the sausage had enough flavor for me, plus the garlic you use anyway.

Sub for a meatball sandwich and you’ve got it made!

Enjoy

 

Advertisements

Potatoes and Chowder

If it isn’t clear that I like potatoes now, it will be with this post.

It’s finally cooling off in this part of the country. This has been a super hot summer-mostly because it’s been so consistently sunny. If it rained it usually did during the night and the rest of the time it was a beautiful cloudless sky.

With cooler weather comes soup, coco, tea, and nice hot dinners. Not that I refrained before on some of those.

I couldn’t think of anything to make and Peter suggested a casserole. I didn’t have enough ingredients for one, but I realized if he picked up ham and potatoes I would have everything else.
That wonderful husband of mine did, and voila.

I give you Scalloped Potatoes with ham and cheese.

NOTE: You will need an hour and a half to cook these. So give yourself plenty of time for prep and cooking so you don’t end up with a 10pm dinner. Unless you want to of course.

I decided against the onion and pepper and it still tasted amazing. The leftovers were awesome too.

20140917_180002_resized

The mixture was pretty easy to make. I doubled it cause I had so much ham and potatoes.

Make sure to slice your potatoes pretty thin. Not paper thin. They just need to be consistent in thickness so they all cook evenly.

20140917_180009_resized

I ended up with a large AND small pan of them. Peter did a great job slicing them for me. He’s a pretty good cook.

20140917_180016_resized

 

 

Again, if you have dairy issues-this probably isn’t the best option for you. You can always use your own version of dairy though.

20140917_194421_resized

Seriously. So good. Not grainy, under cooked junk. Just pure amazingness.

Next up: White bean chicken and corn chowder

I took less photos with this one. Woops. So this is all you get.

20140923_181446_resized

I forgot to buy bacon for the top, but it was pretty yummy anyways.

I doubled this recipe. Basically just bringing it to the texture and thickness that I wanted. Nice thing about this one is it’s just half and half-not a whole lot of dairy.

I took the fat off the chicken thighs, sliced it, and cooked it in salt, pepper, and butter. Just cook it until cooked through. I wanted it to be nice and tender. The flavor of the salt, pepper, and butter worked really well.

Also-I added in 2tsp of cumin with the flour base for a bit of spice.

This recipe calls for cannellini beans. The juice that they keep them in in the can can give a different taste, so next time I make this I think I will just just regular white beans and maybe even black beans. I also want to add red bell pepper as well. I really like southwestern corn chowder, so you can probably expect that at some point.

In the end it was really yummy and I had quite a bit of leftovers so I sent some to work with Peter. 🙂

Here is the flop of the week:

And last of all: Slow cooker Italian chicken

First off-know your crock pot. This was my first time cooking something in a slow cooker and this recipe says to cook on low. I recommend HIGH because even after turning it to high after the allotted time went by the potatoes weren’t cooked all the way through in the end. Thankfully the chicken was.
Also-the entire bottle of Italian dressing was a bit much. I know slow cooker recipes are supposed to be “throw in and wait for the magic to happen” but this was not magical.
Without bashing this poor persons recipe too much, I’ll just say-next time I’ll try a different one.

There’s always going to be a flop when cooking in the kitchen and this was no exception.

All that being said here you go.

IMAG1019

Really the flavors were ok…I just think a different route would be better. Plus it gave us stomach cramps. I might have used a high sodium dressing or something. Who knows.

 

Well that was a bit of a downer for the end of this post. However, I’ve made more muffins (shocker) and I’ll try and post the recipes soon. Here is a sneak peak:

20140926_121033_resized

Can we say “drool”?

à bien·tôt!

 

 

Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Muffins

Ok. Think about it.

Chocolate.

Peanut Butter.

Muffins.

Now put it all together and you basically have a Reeses muffin. Do I really need to say anything more?

Didn’t think so.

Anyway, for some reason I had a huge craving for muffins. I don’t really understand it since I haven’t always been a huge muffin person. So one thing led to another and I found the recipe for these.

20140916_154748

 

I sorta messed up on the one on the bottom right. Fortunately it turned out fine. Shape doesn’t really matter all that much anyway.

The one thing that I found most difficult was putting the batter into the pan. It was soooo sticky. Other than that this was a ridiculously easy recipe.

Also-need it to be gluten free? Just substitute the flour for gluten free flour. But I’m too pro gluten for that. Ha

20140916_161241

20140916_164125

 

With the first batch I sprinkled sugar on top, but the second one I didn’t bother and they were totally fine.

20140916_164512

 

The husband came home just on time for them to be cooled off enough to eat.
I believe our conversation went like this:

Me “Well those were delicious”
Peter “Mm-hm…But you know..to be sure I should have another one.”

It’s always nice when he likes what I cook.
Enjoy!

Chicken, Potatoes, and Mac N’ Cheese

If you’ve read any of my other food blogs you’ll know that I love potatoes…And apparently chicken.
Actually I’m not a huge fan of steak or roast beef so there you have it.

Instead of mashed potatoes or baked potatoes I went with stuffed potatoes and man were they GOOD.

20140830_191952

 

I got some smaller potatoes and baked them for about 45 minutes or so…Or until soft.

The hardest part was scooping the insides out…They were still kinda hot. Woops.
All I ended up doing was making the insides into mashed potatoes. Usually I add a little bit of salt, pepper, butter, and milk. I also made bacon and chopped it up and mixed it in and topped it with cheese.

20140830_192331 20140830_192335

Because this kind of took a bit, I’d say it’s a good idea to maybe bake them again, but I didn’t really care. They were super creamy and tasty and really simple.

Next I made a lime chicken with a homemade salsa.

I decided to marinate the chicken all night and day.

20140910_174942

I also have changed from chicken breasts to thighs because they tend to get juicier and tender. Unfortunately, they’re more fatty, but man do they taste good.

I also made my own recipe for some garlic roasted red potatoes.

20140910_180647

 

Roasted Red Potato Recipe: i didn’t count how many potatoes i used cause it really depends on how flavored you want them.

1/2 tsp garlic powder (or a couple cloves of fresh garlic if you have it-crushed)

1/2 tsp cumin

1/2 tsp chili powder

1/2 tsp Cheyenne

2 tbs olive oil

1 tsp salt

1/2 tsp paprika (optional-these can get kinda spicy)

Mix ingredients together and after you chop the potatoes into small pieces stir them in until well seasoned. Cook at 450 for 20minutes or until soft.

It went really well with the chicken and tasted great with ranch. Peter used ketchup, but I’m not a huge fan of it. To each his own.

20140910_174924

The salsa was really yummy. I added tomatoes to it instead of onion and it went great.

20140910_183735

So here it is!
It was a great end of the summer recipe.

And last of all I decided to make my own mac n’ cheese.

Just so you know, before I start, if you have any issues with dairy-this recipe is not for you.

20140903_16413720140903_164143

We made a special trip to Trader Joe’s and got some black forest peppered bacon. It was sooooooo yummy.

Here is the Mac N’ Cheese recipe I used.

I put some canned tomatoes in it, but I think it made it more soupy than I meant. Plus the amount of cream it calls for probably didn’t help.

20140903_171905

 

20140903_171912

It ended up pretty good, but it needed a little bit of salt in the end, so we just sprinkled it on once we had it in our bowls.

20140903_173148

Anyway, that’s all the food I have for now.

Onward to muffins!

 

Oh sweet sweet cookies

I have a bit of sweet tooth. Always have…And a huge weakness for chocolate.
Anyway-I decided to start making desserts…Cookies, sorbet, muffins, etc.

With this post I’ll just cover the cookies.

20140826_170046

First I made oatmeal cookies.

The thing about cookies is you always end up with way more than you expect. I made these a few weeks ago and I still have a couple in my cookie jar.
Click on the picture above for the recipe.

Another thing about cookies is that once they are done-anytime after that they are burning. So the point is that I’m not really used to my stove yet so this recipe calls for 10-12 minutes or something, but 9 minutes seemed to be perfect. Needless to say the second batch was better.

20140826_170052

Then I decided to make M&M cookies, but with a slight twist.

M&M cookies

M&M cookies

I’m not a big fan of eating raw cookie dough, but these were tempting.

The recipe I used for these cookies is somewhere…But I’m not sure where. This one is a good option though. The one I had told me to stick the M&M’s on top rather than stir them in, but the one I linked to stirs them in.

The twist was almond M&M’s instead of regular. They actually tasted super yummy, but different. I think I might try pretzel next time.

20140830_20125020140830_201255

Seriously…How could you resist those?

Again-because you can’t see the bottoms of the cookies while on the pan it might be better to take them out when they are light rather than golden brown on the edges. In my experience golden brown means burnt. :/

 

Last tip for the day: Ever have trouble with the dough sticking to your fingers while rolling it into balls to put on the pan? Try getting your hands wet with cold water and it’ll help a lot.

I’m so behind on my food blogs these days, so I’m actually going to go and write more. Stay tuned!

The best homemade chicken fried rice

I don’t know about all of you, but I seriously love chicken fried rice. Occasionally I’ll go for some orange chicken, fried dumplings, pork fried rice…The list goes on.

Anyway-I had made some garlic brown sugar chicken and mashed potatoes for dinner and it wasn’t what I was expecting. It wasn’t bad! Don’t get me wrong..It just wasn’t as good as the tangy honey chicken I had made (read “Food” for that recipe). I had some left over and was craving chicken fried rice (as usual-I could eat it every day), but I didn’t want to go and buy some so I searched up a recipe.

I already had all of the ingredients, which always makes it easier, and that included the chicken. It had been sitting in the fridge a couple days so some of the baste soaked into the chicken making the flavor sink in more.

Here is the chicken recipe I used: Baked Garlic Brown Sugar Chicken
Ingredients: 4 boneless skinless chicken breasts 4 garlic cloves, minced 4 tblspoon brown sugar 3 teaspoons olive oil Instructions: Preheat oven to 500°F and lightly grease a casserole dish. In small sauté pan, sauté garlic with the oil until tender. Remove from heat and stir in brown sugar. Place chicken breasts in a prepared baking dish and cover with the garlic and brown sugar mixture. Add salt and pepper to taste. Bake uncovered for 15-30 minutes.

This is a great chicken to use for fried rice because it’s a great mixture of sweet and garlic.

For the rice I only used 2 chicken breast’ instead of 4. Believe me, it was plenty.

I like to leave it in the fridge over night so that the juice soaks into the chicken. Then the day of I chop it up.

20140826_113500

As all fried rice recipes will tell you, you need to cook the rice before hand and add it in cold. I like to do this the day of so that it isn’t super hard and you don’t have to used as much soy sauce. To each his own, though.

20140826_115748

I also, as well as Peter, really like tomatoes and usually you use tomato in a thai fried rice and I actually tend to like that recipe better..So I added those in. While the rice was cooking I went ahead and chopped that up, as well as some for a garnish.

20140826_114400

 

Now the recipe I used for the  fried rice calls for onion, but you can really use whatever you want in this rice as long as you follow the basic instructions. The first time I cooked this I used just peas and carrots, but this time I added in soy beans and greens beans. Not my favorite…But I’m just picky.

Here is the recipe: Chinese Chicken Fried Rice
http://allrecipes.com/recipe/chinese-chicken-fried-rice-ii/detail.aspx

Once the rice was hot I added the diced tomatoes and stirred them in.

Just as a note-I almost tripled this recipe. So instead of 2 cups of (cooked) white rice I used 5. (I put in 3 cups of rice to cook so I had a lot left over)
It works out, though because I ended up with a lot of left overs and I didn’t end up with too much cooked white rice I had no use for.
Tip-make sure to use a deep pan if you are doing such a large quantity. It keeps the kitchen from ending up in such a disaster. And if you’re anything like me, I think the cleaning is the worst part (well duh, cause the eating is the best!)

Yummmmm

20140826_170041

 

Here’s to chicken fried rice and much more home cooking!

20140826_171207

 

Food

So I decided (so my facebook friends don’t get flooded with photos all the time) that I’m going to make this blog more about food.
I’ll still be posting about random things you probably don’t care about…But that’s what almost everyone’s blog is about, right? Or what you think people will care about, I suppose.

Anyway, since I’ve been married (what…almost two months? ish?) I’ve been making dinner for the husband. Really-the reason I like it so much is mostly because I love food, but also because he loves food and is always appreciative.

So let’s start with pasta:

Italian Sausage Bow Tie Pasta

Italian Sausage Bow Tie Pasta

This recipe is awesome.
It’s actually quite easy to make and the italian sausage really adds a great flavor. You could even use a spicier sausage since this pasta is kind of sweet.

Here’s the recipe: http://sayyes.com/2013/09/dinner-in-25-minutes-bow-tie-pasta-with-sausage-and-sweet-peppers.html

Ok this one isn’t really a recipe and doesn’t really require a lot of cooking skills other than knowing how to use a toaster: English Muffin

Toasted English muffin with Nutella and Peanut butter.

Toasted English muffin with Nutella and Peanut butter.

All I have to say is: Yum!

Next we come to juice:

Plum juice on the right, pulp on the left.

Plum juice on the right, pulp on the left.

Again-no recipe other than a juicer.
I was going to make jam out of the pulp, but I didn’t have the supplies or the motivation (plums are messy!). I waited until the juice separated and scooped out the stuff on top. Add a spoon of sugar (or until your tasted buds don’t scream at you anymore from how tart it is) and you’re good to go. It was super yummy.

Now we come to something my husband made: sandwich

Turkey schnitzel sandwich with tomato, mustard, and mayo.

Turkey schnitzel sandwich with tomato, mustard, and mayo.

You can also make it with coleslaw (personally..I hate that stuff, but you can like it 😉 )
and mayo. I don’t have the recipe since it came out of a book. But I do know you pound the heck out of the meat, bread it, and fry it. Voila! It was really tasty.

Mexican food:

Enchiladas with homemade sauce and homemade chili filling

Enchiladas with homemade sauce and homemade chili filling

This one is more complicated. Basically I had made a chili for dinner and it ended up being super bland. However it tasted really good in burritos. I ended up finding a recipe for enchilada sauce (better than any canned sauce I’ve had),putting the chili, refried beans, and cheese inside..Rolled it up, put it in a pan, spread the sauce and cheese on top and cooked it for about 20 or so minutes at 350. Or until hot in the middle.

Here is the recipe for the chili: http://www.iheartnaptime.net/easy-3-ingredient-chili/

and the enchilada sauce: http://www.thegardengrazer.com/2013/05/enchilada-sauce.html

Soup!

Lasagna soup

Lasagna soup

This was really easy to make. Really you just put everything in a pot to cook until done. It tasted just like lasagna. I used a no boil noodle so that it wouldn’t take as long and that turned out really well.

Here’s the recipe:http://recipes.sparkpeople.com/recipe-detail.asp?recipe=207220

Meat and potatoes:

Garlic and parsley mashed potatoes and tangy honey basted chicken

Garlic and parsley mashed potatoes and tangy honey basted chicken

This one was awesome. We used the baste for gravy and it tasted really great. The recipe was pretty easy and we ended up with some really good leftovers (as usual).

I just did what I wanted with the potatoes. But basically heat water, wash, skin and cut up potatoes and boil until soft. I used my new kitchen aid to whip them up and added lactose free milk, salt, pepper, and garlic parsley powder.

Here is the chicken recipe: *4 Boneless skinless chicken breasts *1/3 Cup Butter, melted *1/3 Cup Honey *2 Tbsp mustard *1 tsp salt *Preheat oven to 350° *Combine butter, honey, mustard & salt *Pour over chicken *Bake 1 hour to a minimum internal temp of 165° *Baste every 15 min while baking.

I ended up making an extra batch of the baste to put on while it was cooking, but you can just use what is in the pan. Up to you!

More sandwich and potato:

Cheesy bagel with Pastrami and tomato and homemade potato wedges

Cheesy bagel with Pastrami and tomato and homemade potato wedges

I had to toast the bagel in the oven cause it was too fluffy for the toaster (found that out the hard way). My husband used mayo and mustard and who knows what else on his sandwich, but I just did butter, tomato and pastrami.

If you can’t tell yet-I LOVE potatoes. So I decided to make my own potato wedges. It’s nice cause you can control the amount of oil and salt and such. Plus they aren’t fried.They were SO GOOD.

Here’s the recipe. http://www.kissrecipe.com/2013/07/oven-baked-potato-wedges.html

I made a couple batches and did one with Parmesan cheese and one without. I couldn’t really tell the difference. I also had ranch dipping sauce-That was amazing. The spices on the potato really make it good to eat plain or with a dip.

That’s all for now I suppose! If you like cooking you should definitely make this.

I’m hoping to try out the crock pot soon. Wish me luck and happy cooking!