Sunday, November 2, 2014

Grammy's Meatloaf

I really never even had a meatloaf that I enjoyed until I was about 20 years old.  Actually I'm not sure I gave it a fair chance, I think I hated the idea of a loaf of meat, yuck.  Just has a yucky sound to eat.  I used to work at this restaurant that had the best meatloaf!!  After that I thought ok so maybe I've really just been missing out.  Steve loves meatloaf and so years back had mentioned I wanted to make a meatloaf and my mom mentioned that she had my Grammy's delicious recipe.  All she had to do was mention bacon and I was sold!!!  What could be better than a large loaf of meat but its beauty wrapped in bacon then drenched in a delicious sauce???  Ok until tonight had only made it once again years ago.  Jack ate meatloaf at his Nana's house the other night and from what I'm told he ate the entire helping (for those of you that know Jack know he doesn't eat a whole portion of anything especially any meat product).  Jackson requested meatloaf yesterday and so I promised I'd make it today.  He also requested mashed potatoes and corn (which I won't include the recipe for because its just your basic mashed taters and some frozen super sweet corn).  I know everyones got their own meatloaf family recipe and everyone likes it different ways.  I typically like mine with some ketchup however the sauce on this a combo of creamy soup mixed with tomato soup takes over that sweet salty ketchup flavor with a rich delicious sauce.  Make sure you see the after thought.  Blogged before we ate and then published after we just a small after thought.

Again anything wrapped in bacon is a winner in my here's the winner meatloaf recipe.

Grammy's Meatloaf

  • 1-1.5 lbs of ground beef, turkey, or chicken.  I used 85% lean ground beef, which beef has been wigging me out since I've been preggo so hopefully I can stomach this.
  • 1 egg
  • 1 cup of oatmeal ( I didn't have any and didn't want to spend anymore money than I needed to so I subbed a cup of seasoned bread crumbs)  If you use oatmeal it will lack seasoning so adjust accordingly and also last time I made it with oatmeal I ground it up in the food processor to make it smoother.
  • 1/2 white onion thinly sliced
  • 6-8 slices of bacon ( I used this like super thick cut stuff we had left over from breakfast that was on sale)
  • salt, pepper, onion powder, garlic powder, italian seasoning (I only used a tiny bit of this b/c I did use pre seasoned bread crumbs but if you use the oatmeal use more!!) And I just used as much of these as I felt necessary  I did not measure
  • 1 can of tomato soup
  • 1 can of cream of mushroom soup
  • 8 oz package of mushrooms
  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. 
  2. Mix together meat, egg, breadcrumbs, and seasoning until well blended.  Form into a loaf and put in a pan (I  do not use a loaf pan because you need to have room to dump the sauce in I used like a square baking dish.
  3. I forget how I did this last time but then take the onions which i cut the slices in half and sort of straddled the meatloaf with the onions all down the top.  Then wrap in bacon tucking the slices down and under the loaf.
  4. Bake for 30 minutes take out of oven and drain bacon grease.
  5. Mix together soups and mushrooms.  I seasoned this with salt, pepper, onion powder, and garlic powder.  Original recipe had no seasoning here but I season at every step!!
  6. Pour over the loaf and back again for 45 minutes.  Slice and enjoy!!!  Ours actually cooked for another almost hour as at the 45 minute it was only at about 140 degrees about med rare and ground beef has been freaking me out so we turned the stove up to 400 degrees and cooked an extra 15 minutes or so.

After thought --- so last time I made this I remember loving the bacon.  This time maybe it was because I already ate bacon for breakfast or maybe just wasn't the craving of the moment...but Steve and I both decided the bacon didn't do much.  It was the sauce, the onions, and the mushrooms that really made this meatloaf amazing.  I think to save some calories and fat next time I'd leave off the bacon.  Jack ate his whole serving....amazing I've never seen him eat that much!!!

Sunday, September 7, 2014

Grilled Yummy Sunday Dinner

Tonight Steve and I were really feeling like doing some grilling.  We bought some of our favorites sweet potatoes, rib eye steaks, and asparagus.  We had no plan for them and came up with a last minute one that was amazing!!!  Steve came up with the great idea to cook the sweet potatoes on the grill in a foil packet, which I sometimes don't like because they don't get crispy, however not true with this recipe they were  crispy and soooo amazing!!!  They truly had the taste of the fall with the flare and taste the grill adds to everything.  Steak and asparagus were also great and super easy to measuring or prep for any of them!!!

Fall Foil Grilled Sweet Potatoes

  • two sweet potatoes peeled and chopped
  • 2 heaping tbsp of brown sugar
  • 1 tsp of cumin
  • 2 dashes of cinnamon
  • 2 dashes of sage
  • 2 dashes of cayenne pepper
  • 2 tbsp of salted butter

  1. Make two large pieces of foil on the counter, put one sweet potato in each.  Each sweet potato will cook separately.  
  2. I mixed the spices in two small dishes because 1/2 of each spice goes in each packet.  So in each small bowl mix 1 tbsp brown sugar I used a heaping one, 1/2 tsp cumin, 1 dash of sage, cinnamon and cayenne in each bowl.  
  3. Sprinkle 1/2 of the spices and sugar mix on each pile.
  4. Slice each tbsp of butter up into little pieces and put a tbsp on each of the two piles.  
  5. Top with a second piece of foil and curl up and seal the edges to make two packets
  6. Have your husband grill them on about 350 degrees cook for 15 minutes, flip them and cook for another 15-20 minutes.  
  7. Be careful opening them they were really hot but so delicious enjoy.

On the steaks we rubbed and seasoned them heavily with kosher salt, pepper, garlic powder, onion powder, and paprika on both sides.  Then cooked perfectly by Steve to a medium rare...well they were more rare but they were heated all the way through and perfect.  Jackson even loved them!

The asparagus I cut of the ends to one bunch.  Covered a baking sheet with foil.  I preheated the oven to 450.  I covered the asparagus with a light drizzle of olive oil then seasoned with salt, pepper, garlic powder, and parsley.  I cooked for three minutes, flipped then cooked another three minutes.  I plated the asparagus and then topped with some freshly grated parmesan cheese which lightly melts waiting for you to eat it!!

Monday, September 1, 2014

Mediterranean Chicken over Egg Noodles

So the other night I was far to lazy to go to the store...and we had so much left over food in the house.  But totally random stuff. I knew we had like 6 red peppers, some baby spinach, and cherry tomatoes that were all going to go bad.  I used my imagination and came up with this amazing dish.  It was a huge hit (among the adults) the kids had mac and cheese or something.  Steve even texted me the next day to say how he couldnt stop thinking about how good dinner was the night before.  My favorite meals are when I throw random stuff together....this was an easy make with not many ingredients!

  • 4 chicken breasts ( I used left over stuff so I used two chicken breasts and about 4 boneless skinless thighs we had left over) chopped up into small pieces just slightly larger than bite sized.
  • 2 cups of flour seasoned with salt, pepper, garlic powder, onion powder, dried parsley, and paprika.
  • 1 bag of baby spinach
  • 4 red peppers 
  • olive oil for drizzle and for cooking (i never measure this)
  • feta cheese to sprinkle on top you dont need a ton we just set it out as we were serving
  • 1 pint of cherry tomatoes washed and cut in half
  • 1/2 white onion minced
  • 3 cloves of garlic minced
  • 1 cup of white wine.
  • 2 cans of low sodium chicken stock
  • 1 package of egg noodles 
yikes i made this so long ago I can't remember what I did but I can guess!!  I may have to make this again. 
I'm assuming I floured the chicken and browned it in olive oil on med to med high heat removed from pan.  Then added garlic and onion to the dirty pan simmering until soft.  I then must have added  2tbsp of butter and 2 tbsp of flour to make a roux.   I'm pretty sure I deglazed the pan scraping up all the yummys on the bottom with the white wine.   slowly added the chicken stock to make a nice thick sauce.  Add the tomatoes and red peppers cut up and let simmer in sauce.  Throw the chicken back in let simmer for about 15-20 mins on medium low then fold in the spinach. 
Cook egg noodles according to package directions.  Serve chicken mixture over egg noodles sprinkle with feta.

Sorry this post is so messy....made this so long ago and realized I left it in draft form on my blog.  Might as well publish it!

Friday, August 29, 2014

Blackened Salmon & Mango Cucumber Salsa

So recently I've been trying to think of new things to cook for dinner.  My blogging has been lacking lately and so I decided to make something new and blog about it.  I've made salmon once before, and really really want to like it.  It's so healthy and I feel like so many people who have good taste eat it...why don't we eat it???  I feel like we eat so much chicken and pork we need a little variety in our lives. 

Today I went up the fish counter and told the guy I wanted to buy some salmon...I'm ummm slow when it comes to fish and like don't understand why theres five different kinds of salmon all sort of look the same all different prices.  I told him what I was making and he led me towards a peice of salmon that was about .92 lbs he said would be enough for two of us.  Also it had skin.  I know on tv they cook with the skin and sometimes they eat it...what fish skins can you eat? I got all nervous about the skin and the nice fish guy cut it off for me phew!!

I was nervous after the last salmon I made years ago to make it again, because although we loved the spinach salad with the last salmon we both sort of thought it was just alright.  This dish was awesome, fresh, spicy and sweet!!!  I got the idea of this recipe from however of course I can not stick to a recipe haha and added my own flare!!!  This serves two and you will have some salsa left over which I did intentionally because I think I'll grill some chicken tomorrow and throw the salsa over it to bring to work.  I served this dish with some really crispy roasted potatoes.

Blackened Salmon & Mango Cucumber Salsa

Mango Cucumber Salsa:

  • 2 ripe mango's peeled and diced
  • 1/4 red onion minced (I just eye balled it after all cucumber and mango were in so it wasn't to oniony)
  • 1 large cucumber skinned and then seeds scooped out diced
  • 2 cloves of garlic minced
  • 2 tbsp fresh cilantro
  • 1.5 tsp of honey (I only added this because I used two VERY large cloves of garlic and it was a bit over kill so I had to sweeten it up a bit....I wouldn't have used this if I didn't use so much garlic, taste the salsa before you sweeten it!!)
  • salt and pepper to taste 
  • juice of 1 lime

  1. Mix all ingredients together.  BAM.  Done.  I let this sit for a couple hours before serving to let the flavors melt together. 
Blackened Salmon:

  • about a 1 lb. of salmon fillet skin off (or if you know what to do with the skin go for was perfect the way I made it so I'll stick with no skin for now
  • 1 tbsp of chili powder (you could use cayenne if you want it spicer...I wanted to tone it down so followed a recommendation from the website and subbed chili powder.
  • 1 tbsp paprika
  • 1.5 tsp dried oregano
  • 1 tsp dried mustard
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • 1 tsp pepper
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • 1 tsp dried thyme
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  1.  Mix together all spices in a flat dish.  I took the whole large piece of salmon and cooked it all as one big piece.   Heat a cast iron skillet with 2 tbsp olive oil on medium heat.  
  2. Lay the salmon down in the spices on both sides cover and pressing down to adhere spices to salmon.
  3. When pan hot place in pan.  Set timer for three minutes, flip and cook for three minutes on the other side.  One of my largest fears is salmon over cooked because I really only like salmon raw.  This cooking time was perfect!!!  
  4. Cut in half and top with Mango Cucumber Salsa.  Enjoy!!

Crispy Roasted Potato Perfection 
  • 5 or 6 small red potatoes cut in 6's if large and 4ths if small
  • bowl of warm water
  • kosher salt
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • tsp paprika
  • 1 tbsp dried parsley
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • 1 tsp garlic powder 
  1. Soak potatoes after cut up in warm salted water with kosher salt for about 20-40 minutes.  This helps take out some of the starch of the potato and make it crispier.  Dry completely.  I took each piece and squeezed in paper towel to make sure all water was removed.
  2. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  3. Throw potatoes in a deep roasting dish and toss all ingredients together.
  4. Cook on 350 for about 15-20 minutes until fork tender.  Remove from oven.  If all oil is dried up add some more.
  5. Increase oven temp to 475 degrees.  Once heated to the new temp place potatoes in oven cook about 30-40 minutes using a metal spatula to scrape bottom and flip half way through.  These potatoes were AMAZING!!  Perfectly crispy and crunchy on the outside and perfectly soft and potatoey on the inside....sooo yummy and lightly seasoned so you could really taste the freshness of the potato.  I didn't really have any good pics of the potatoes!!  Sorry you'll have to use your imagination. 

Friday, June 27, 2014

Reese's Ice Cream Sandwich Cake

So apparently I'm in a Reese's and Oreo mood because Jackson "made" me buy these limited edition Oreo's at Walmart today that are filled with Reese's Peanut Butter.  Then I made this cake.  We are having a bunch of family over to our first party at our new house.  I'm so excited to entertain again, I have missed it so much!!!  I combined coupons for all of the items for this cake and got great deals, ain't to proud to blog about a great recipe and deal!! Anywho no long story needed here...just straight up yummy town!!  Enjoy!!!

Reese's Ice Cream Sandwich Cake

  • 24 Ice Cream Sandwiches.  I used Friendly's Cookies and Cream Sandwiches
  • 2 Jars of hot fudge (keep it room temp)
  • 1 squirt bottle of caramel sauce
  • 2 bags of some sort of candy mini's.  I was in a Reese's trance and so that's what I got but you could literally make your own combos and do anything!  I threw all the mini Reese's on a cutting board and chopped 'em all up so you'd get more in every bite.
  • 1 and a half of the large containers of Cool Whip
  • 9 x 13 Casserole dish
  • tin foil
  1. Line the dish with foil leave lots of overhang you will use this to pull the cake up out of the casserole dish before serving.  I doubled the foil to make it stronger
  2. Use 12 of the ice cream sandwichs and layer them on the bottom.  I had to cut some of the ones on the last strip to make them fit and fill in the whole pan, I may or may not have had to eat half of one while making it.
  3. Spread with spatula one jar of fudge.
  4. Next layer Cool Whip in a thick layer
  5. Squirt some caramel then throw on half the candies.  
  6. Repeat the layers again with remaning sandwiches, fudge, Cool Whip, fancy caramel drizzle then candy.  
  7. Let freeze over night.  Take out before serving and lift out of dish.  Slice like a cake and stuff your face.
I've never made this before and it's sitting in the freezer as we speak.  I can't promise the out come but really how could it be bad!! Enjoy!!

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

New & Improved Florentine Stuffed Shells

So I have posted my stuffed shells before.  But I have to say last time I made them I wasn't totally thrilled with the out come, it was ok, but not like a Jenni Ford Fantastic dish!!!  I did some searching online and stole some ideas from other recipes and created a new recipe.  It was delicious and met my criteria for a good dish!!!  The sauce was sweet and savory and hearty with meat.  The sauce was the best bread dipping sauce.  My brother in law Mike piled this sauce on top of his italian bread and it looked perfect stack of dipping deliciousness.  I'm not a huge fan of ricotta the creaminess and thick texture sometimes totally wig me out!  However I do love ricotta in stuffed shells.  This recipe was the perfect amount of spinach, ricotta, cheese, spices and herbs all in a delicious cute lil shell.   To my complete surprise the kids ate this dish.  As I was mixing up the ricotta I was hiding the bowl from the kids so they didn't ask "what's all that green stuff".  We actually told them what it was at the dinner table and I still can't even believe that they all liked it!!!!  Even the super picky ones (which is three out of four of them).
I can't wait to eat these for left overs tomorrow!!
I also made today my Butternut Squash and Sage Soup: .  The aroma that fills the house when this soup is cooking is irresistible.  The smell of fresh sage makes me so happy!!
After working a 16 hour shift yesterday, not sleeping last night b/c of work, a huge snow storm, sleeping probably a total of an hour, I was so excited to get up and do my favorite thing....just cook!!

I made the sauce at like 1 p.m., cooked the pasta, made the ricotta and stuffed them.  Let the sauce simmer till five or so, covered the shells and baked 'em.  Nice easy make ahead meal even if its for the day before.  This recipe makes 54 stuffed shells with some plain ones left over to snack on while you cook.

This made two large casserole dishes, enough for eight of us (four adults and four kids) to eat dinner and their is another whole casserole dish left.  We have the in laws watching the kids tomorrow so they will be able to just reheat it and let them have a nice home cooked meal while they are watching our lil cherubs.

Sorry forgot to take a picture so no photo's today!!

Florentine Stuffed Shells

Sauce Ingredients:
  • 2 large cans of Red Pack crushed tomatoes
  • 2 large cans of Red Pack pureed tomatoes
  • Water (I just swirl some water around the crushed tomato cans to rinse 'em and use that water)
  • 2 small cans of tomato paste
  • 1 minced white onion
  • 4 cloves of garlic minced
  • 2 lbs ( I can't remember how much meat may have been a little more) of ground meat of some sort, I really wanted to do ground sausage however our Market Basket NEVER has ground sausage so we used ground beef b/c we had some left over from our popular and much requested Cheese Burger Wraps we made Sunday night
  • 1 cup (I didn't measure may have used slightly more) of red wine (I just happened to have some Cab sitting near buy the stove)
  • 2 tbsp of olive oil
  • dried salt and pepper (sorry never measure these)
  • 2 tbsp sugar
  • dried basil I probably used 2 tbsp
  • dried oregano 1 1/2 tbsp probably.  Again I don't measure spices unless its the first time making a recipe
Sauce Directions:
  1. Heat oil in a ceramic dutch oven or large stock pot or whatever you normally make spaghetti in.  Once hot add onions and garlic and sauté for about 3 minutes just until they start to soften.  You do not want the pan to hot b/c you don't want to burn the garlic.  You don't want them browned just start to soften.
  2. Add the ground beef and brown.  Drain all grease.  Keep heat on about med high and add the two cans of tomato paste.  Let it start to get sticky and stuck to the bottom of the pan.  
  3. Use red wine to deglaze pan, use a wooden spoon to scrape the pan and get all those yummy cooked flavors off the bottom.  Let simmer on this heat for about 10-15 minutes.
  4. Add the crushed tomatoes, pureed tomatoes, water, spices, and sugar.
  5. Let sauce simmer for at least two hours on med to low stirring from time to time.  The longer the yummo sauce simmers the better.

Shell Ingredients:
  • 2 boxes of large stuffing shells cooked according to package directions and rinsed in cold water so they don't stick together and you halt the cooking process.
  • 1 and a 1/4 large containers of part skim ricotta
  • 2 large bags of frozen chopped spinach defrosted and water rung out
  • 3 cups of shredded parmesan cheese
  • 1 cup of shredded mozzarella cheese
  • bunch of garlic powder and pepper
  • salt and pepper
  • some onion powder
  • dried oregano, parsley, and basil
  • some extra fresh parm maybe two more cups or so for sprinkling
  • some extra shredded mozzarella (buy one bag it'll be enough for all your needs)
Shell Directions:
  1. Mix together with your hands all ingredients except large shells, extra parm, and extra mozzarella.  Let sit for a few to make sure flavors meld together.
  2. Spoon a thin layer of sauce onto bottom of casserole dish.
  3. Fill each shell with a spoon full of ricotta mixture, do not over stuff make sure the shell will just about close.  Place seam side up nice and snuggled up next to each other in the casserole dish.
  4. When you are ready to cook them preheat your oven to 350 degrees.  Bake for about 30-35 minutes until bubbly and hot.  
  5. Sprinkle more parmesan cheese on top and then a thin layer of shredded mozzarella.  Bake this until mozzarella begins to bubble then throw the broiler on till just starts to brown.  Watch it at this step you don't want to go this far and burn the dickens out of it!!   Enjoy with some nice warm italian bread.

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Bacon and Sweet Pea Risotto

Happy New Year!!!  2013 was a great year filled with changes and new beginnings for our family.   I can not wait to see what 2014 has in store for our family this coming year.  New Years Eve was fun, Steve of course went to bed super early as he had to work today.  My brother and sister in law and I stayed up drinking way to much alcohol, playing drinking games, and ringing in the new year.  So far all 2014 has brought me is a hang over and the day off from work!!!!

As I've mentioned before Steve does not love risotto, he says he "just doesn't get it."  I, on the other hand, LOVE it.  The four of us were trying to come up with an idea for new years when we decided on steaks.  I picked up some delicious rib eyes and did my Rosemary Dijon Pesto marinade.  I decided to make risotto as well.  My sister in law doesn't particularly love mushrooms so I needed to come up with another kind of risotto.  I started looking around at recipes and decided to come up with my own.

Originally I wanted to make my linguini carbonara for new years, however we are having pasta tonight so I thought it would throw my brother in law over the edge as he doesn't love pasta.  So the bacon and sweet pea risotto was inspired by my craving for linguini carbonara.

The risotto was a huge hit, most of us had three helpings.  My sister and brother in law had never had risotto before and I was glad to have knocked this one out of the park.  Steve even said it was the best risotto he's ever had.....bacon is truly the way to a mans heart!!!

Plan ahead if making this risotto, it takes about 50 minutes start to finish.  Good risotto takes time, love, and a lot of stirring so just be prepared to be standing over the stove stirring for quite a while.

Rosemary Dijon Pesto Marinade

  • 2 cups of fresh basil lightly packed (honestly I didn't measure it just used the entire large ziploc bag from the grocery store may have even been three cups, the more the better
  • 1/2 cup fresh rosemary lightly packed
  • 2 large cloves of garlic minced
  • 6 tsp of Montreal Steak Seasoning
  • 6 tbsp dijon mustard
  • olive oil (I just keep pouring until its a paste I honestly don't measure this) probably 3/4 of a cup or so maybe 1/2 a cup

  1. Use a handstick immersion blender or food processor to mince together the basil, garlic, rosemary, and Montreal steak seasoning.  
  2. Add the mustard and process to form a paste.  Slowly add th
    e olive oil till it thins out and is a paste and all combined.
  3. Massage onto both sides of the steak generously.  Let sit out at room temp for about 30 minutes before cooking.
  4. This makes enough for four large ribeye steaks, cut in half if making just for two.

Bacon and Sweet Pea Risotto

  • 2 cups of Arborio Rice
  • 1 large container of chicken stock I probably used about 6 cups...I just know I used the entire large carton (the carton was bigger than the normal cartons but again probably 6-8 cups I used)
  • 2 cups of dry white wine
  • 1 sweet onion diced/chopped as small as you can get it
  • 4 cloves of garlic minced or crushed
  • 6 strips of thick cut bacon diced
  • 1 1/2 cups of freshly grated parmesan cheese (you'll use 1 cup in one part and a half cup in another )
  • 4 tbsp of butter
  • about 2 1/2 cups of sweet frozen peas (again I didn't measure these just kept adding until there was a lot of peas ad it looked right)
  • salt and pepper

  1. Use a dutch oven or large pot (I used my brother in law's awesome enamel dutch oven).  On med high heat brown the bacon.  Once browned and crispy remove bacon bits with slotted spoon and place on a plate covered with a paper towel.
  2. Remove pan from heat just to cool the bacon grease and pot down a little bit.  Add the onions and garlic into the dirty pan and sauté for about 7-10 minutes until soft.  Season with salt and pepper
  3. Add the rice and sauté with onions and garlic about another 7 minutes or so until you can start smelling the rice, keep it moving in the pan.  
  4. Add the first cup of white wine.  With a wooden spoon scrape all the burnt bacon flavor off the bottom keep stirring until the wine is absorbed and add the second cup.  Again keep stirring and let it bubble on about med to med high heat.
  5. Now you will start adding the chicken stock about a 1/2 a cup at a time.  Let it simmer and bubble and keep it moving in the pan.  Continue to add more stock after more stock.  This process will take about 35-40 minutes to get the risotto to be cooked through and creamy.  After you keep adding stock letting it absorb and adding stock repeat taste it.  If the rice pellets are still crunchy you need to keep adding more stock until cooked to desired texture.  It will get hard to stir at the end b/c it'll be so creamy.  
  6. Once rice is cooked throw in the frozen peas and fold them into the rice.
  7. Fold in the cup of parmesan cheese and the 4 tbsp of butter and the bacon bits.  
  8. Remove and place in serving dish.  Top with remaining parmesan cheese.  Enjoy!