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Mexi Blend Cheeseburger & Broccoli Pie

29 Sep

Wow.  Today has been absolutely nuts.  Hence the no blogging until now – but it’s a good one!

Bruce wanted to have Impossibly Easy Cheeseburger Pie but we inadvertently switched some things around and I really liked the result!  The cooking technique is the same – ingredients a little different.  Enjoy!

Mexi Blend Cheeseburger & Broccoli Pie
step by step photos here
1 pound Ground Beef
1/2 large Sweet Onion, chopped
dash Salt
dash Pepper
1 cup Mexican Blend Cheese, shredded
3/4 cup Broccoli
1/2 cup Bisquick
1 cup milk
2 eggs
Saute beef, onions, salt and pepper. Drain.
Spread in greased pie plate. Cover in cheese.
Layer the top with broccoli.
Whisk together cheese, bisquick, milk and eggs. Pour into pie plate.
Bake for 25 minutes in a 400 degree oven.


Yum.  The raw tomatoes were a nice pairing.

We’re watching last night’s NCIS and I’m hoping to get to bed early.  Still trying to knock this sinus / head cold that I have.  I don’t think I’m contagious, but I have been putting off my hospital visits just in case.  I have people I want to go see!

Smoked Slow Cooker Pork Ribs

27 Sep

Oh myyyyyyyy.

Bruce and I really have been trying to push ourselves to try new things in the kitchen lately so this morning (we both have Mondays off now!) we looked through our slow cooker cookbook and came across this recipe:

The recipe was called “Fall-Off-The-Bone Ribs” – we played around with a lot of the seasonings and spices to create a much more smoky flavor.  It was incredible!  Here’s the recipe …

Smoked Slow Cooker Pork Ribs
2 1/2 pounds Pork Baby Back Ribs, skinned
1/8 cup Paprika
1/8 cup Cumin
1/8 cup Seasoned Salt
1 tablespoon Salt
1 tablespoon Pepper
1 can (20 ounces) Beer
1 quart Barbeque Sauce
1/3 cup Honey
White Sesame Seeds & Sliced Chives (for garnish)

Start by combining all of your seasonings … 

 Add the sugar and whisk everything together.

Rub both sides of the meat with the seasoning.

Now it’s time to sear the meat!  We used the grill, but you could easily use a griddle on the stove.

3 minutes on both sides.

Once the meat comes off the grill, cut it into pieces with 3-4 ribs each.

This is done mostly so you can fit everything into the slow cooker. 🙂

Pour in your beer … 

Cover and let cook on high for two hours.

Once the meat has cooked for two hours, combine your barbeque sauce and honey.

*Honey Tip! Pour hot water on the measuring cup before putting the honey into it. It won’t stick to the sides.

Pour the mixture over the meat.

And let cook on high for another 1 1/2 – 2 hours.

The one thing we noticed when it was almost time to eat was that the sauce was very thin and runny – and we wanted something to drizzle over the meat!  So 15 minutes or so before you are ready to eat, pull some of the sauce out of the slow cooker and put it in a skillet on the stove.  Throw some cornstarch to thicken it up a little bit – and then add salt and pepper for flavor.

Your garnish … 

Your sauce … 


Yes.  Yes, please!

Bruce is already excited about taking leftovers for lunch tomorrow.  Amazing.  Enjoy!

Kara-Age Chicken

5 Sep

Tonight’s dinner was courtesy of Foodbuzz’s Tastemaker Program and Kikkoman!

I was intrigued with this Kikkoman Kara-Age as soon as I opened the box.  Kara-Age is a Japanese fried dish with soy and ginger flavors.  I don’t really eat a whole lot of fish, so I decided to prep it with chicken.  It was incredibly easy.

Kara-Age Chicken
1 pound Boneless Skinless Chicken Breasts
1 package Kikkoman Kara-Age Seasoning
Vegetable Oil
(Don’t you love four ingredient meals?)
The seasoning was really simple to use.  I first cut the chicken into bite-size nuggets.  Then I rinsed off the chicken with water and dropped the wet pieces of chicken in a bowl with the seasoning (no dredging in flour/eggs – it simplified the process a lot!).  I tossed everything together so that the chicken would be coated and dropped the nuggets into hot vegetable oil (I heated the oil to about 300-325 degrees).  I let them cook for about 10-15 and then drained the excess oil.  See?  Very easy!

To compliment the soy and ginger, I served the Kira-Age Chicken with sticky white rice and broccoli cuts.  It was a fantastic combination!

The flavor was actually a lot more subtle than I thought it was going to be.  When I first opened the seasoning package, all I could smell was ginger – but the taste wasn’t overwhelming.

(This was a fabulous end to the meal!)

I was honestly a little bit wary when I was making dinner because I have never done a ton of cooking with ginger before.  That being said – I was pleasantly surprised with how it turned out!  It’s definitely something I would try again. 

And (I cannot believe I am about to say this) I think I might even try it again with some kind of fish.  Most people know that I never eat fish (I just never had a taste for it), but I just think this seasoning would bring out an awesome flavor on a subtle-tasting (read: not overly fishy) fish.  So we’ll see!

What are everyone’s thoughts on cooking with ginger?  Does anyone have any recipes or cooking methods they would suggest?  Now I’m curious …


Now for some legal chatter: I was contacted by the Foodbuzz Tastemaker Program and Kikkoman to do a review of this specific product and was given the product free of charge. However – the opinions I expressed in this post were completely my own. Over and out. Amen.

Cucumber & Hummus Sandwiches

27 Aug

Oh man.  We had another dinner tonight.

‘Stuffed’ doesn’t even begin to describe my state of being right now.  I may never be hungry again.

And yet it was all so so so good!

I kept going back and forth on what I wanted to bring to the dinner tonight, but ended up losing some cooking time as I dealt with the MA state of emergency / calling off church.

(I have to say – I felt ridiculous making the call when the skies were blue and the sun was shining.  But technically, I didn’t make the call – the Governor’s office did.)

Anyway, I decided to do something quick that I’ve always want to try – Cucumber and Hummus Sandwiches!  This was inspired by the cucumbers in our garden that were ready to be picked (we still have some!).  I don’t really have measurements, per-say, but this is a super simple, quick sandwich – great for potlucks and individual meals!

Cucumber & Hummus Sandwiches
1 can Chick Peas
Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Minced Onion
Honey Whole Wheat Bread

I don’t have a food processor (bizarre, because I think I would get a lot of use out of one) so I make hummus in my mortar and pestle.  I drain and rinse the chick peas and add about 1/3 of the can to the mortar and crush them up.  Then I add another 1/3, crush and then the final 1/3.

Then it’s really just a little bit of this and a little bit of that.  Don’t add too much of anything at a time and taste as you go so you can add more garlic/onion to fit your taste buds.  Add a little bit of olive oil at a time until you reach your desired consistency.

Once the hummus is ready, wash and finely slice your cucumber.

Assembly line!

Slap some hummus on both sides of the bread … 

Add the cucumber slices to one half … 

Put together and slice!

If you want to have this as a main lunch sandwich (and not part of a bigger meal) I would probably load some more cucumbers on them and a touch more hummus for a fuller sandwich.  Soooo good!

On another note, is anyone else excited about the Pioneer Woman’s cooking show on The Food Network?  It premieres tomorrow!  I think it’s going to open a really neat window into her life on the ranch.


Sugar ‘n Spice Pancakes

26 Aug

In more ways than one, I am ready for fall!

From a cooking standpoint, there are a ton of fun spices that come seasonal with fall.  I decided to jump the gun a little bit this morning and pull them out while I was making pancakes this morning!

Sugar ‘n Spice Pancakes
1 1/2 cups Flour
4 tablespoons Baking Powder
1/2 teaspoon Salt
1 tablespoon White Sugar
1 1/4 cups Milk
1 egg
1/4 teaspoon Cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon All Spice
This is a very simple “combine ingredients and pour onto a hot skillet” type of recipes.  My favorite!

I smeared some Peanut Butter on mine this morning (which melted instantly!) and topped with granola. 


Iced Coffee!

Alright, I’ve got a pile of laundry calling out to be folded – have a great day!

The Tale Of Two Pairs Of Jeans

25 Aug

About two weeks ago my college bff Sarah gchatted me about a Daily Deal that Target had running.  Jeans that are $20 in the store were $15, buy one get one free and had free shipping.

I was intrigued.

We both went back and forth for about an hour until we ultimately convinced each other to place the order.  When I got to the end of my order, the following popped up:

Okay.  So let’s recap:  The jeans would have been $20 each.  They were $15 each.  I got one pair for free.  I should have paid $6.99 in shipping.  I did not.  I have a Target Visa so I got an additional 5% off the order. 

Let’s recap ever further:  I paid $13.50 for two pairs of jeans.

(Now I will say that I typically do not order clothing online because I like to try things on but there wasn’t much of a gamble with this because you can return online orders to the store.) 

Okay, so the story gets better.  I wasn’t sure why I needed two pairs of the same pair of jeans, but figured if one was free, what difference did it make?  However – in the end I didn’t order the right size so I ran over to Target yesterday to see about making the exchange.  When I got there they didn’t have two of the same color/wash of jeans I had (there was only one available on this online deal) so I asked if I could still make the exchange with two different colors.

They said yes.

So I ended up with two different pairs of jeans for a total of $13.50.

I was so proud of myself I wore jeans to work today.

The End.

In other news, Bruce is loving his new job!  We’re both hunkering down and getting ourselves on a schedule so he packed his lunch while I made breakfast this morning.

As gut wrenching as it is to spend $115 on groceries, it was so nice to have FOOD in the house this morning!  You can’t cook if there isn’t food in the fridge and on the shelves (it’s just a matter of finding the time to get to the store!).  I made simple breakfast burritos this morning:

  • Scrambled Eggs
  • Mexican Blend Cheese, Shredded
  • Salsa
  • Flour Tortilla Wrap

This really is a five-minute meal – very do-able during the week!

I love that verse!

Alright, I’m off to bask in the continued glow of my bargain shopping.  It’s the thrill of the hunt!


22 Aug

Before we left for Pennsylvania last week we picked a couple of tomatoes and cucumbers from our garden to give to Bruce’s mom.  She was extremely grateful and made a comment about possibly using them (with some tomatoes she had from a family member’s garden) to make some sauce.  Bruce told her that I had been wanting to learn how to make sauce so we all did it together one night.  It sounds lame, but it really was a lot of fun!

This post is more of a cooking method than a recipe (as I try it on my own and fine-tune the spices and quantities I will do a recipe post).

This was the first time I’ve tried this and it really was easier than I thought it would be.  We ended up canning the sauce, but I don’t really have the details on that process and don’t want to misinform you on canning (because it is a careful process).  Julie cans all the time so refer to her blog if you have questions!

We started by rinsing and slicing the tomatoes.  A lot of the tomatoes were a little too ripe for eating in salads – but it’s perfect for sauce.  We cut off the bad stuff and threw them in the pot!

With some onion for extra flavor.

Everything went on the stove on medium heat and we seasons with salt, pepper, garlic and oregano (and I’m sure some others that are escaping me at the moment).  We let everything “cook down” – or soften into a sauce-like texture.

Then we used a fancy shmancy toy to strain the sauce through and leave the skins and seeds behind.  Bruce’s mom strains everything through twice, which helps get a lot of the “meat” into the sauce.

Then it went back on the stove on low with some more seasoning.  Barb keeps her sauce on for a few hours at this point – some people keep it on all day!  It’s a method choice – I’m not sure one is right or wrong.

We took one of the jars home with us (it’s cooking with meatballs now!) but I honestly cannot wait to try this out for myself.  I love the idea of cooking from scratch whenever possible and did not realize how easy sauce was to make (I mean, it’s so easy to buy).  We’ve got tons of red tomatoes at the moment and I definitely plan on making some sauce to stock up on.

Does anyone else make their own tomato or spaghetti sauce?  Any tips?  Recipes?

Tossed Caprese Salad

5 Aug

I had a church meeting / potluck this evening and decided I wanted to try something new to bring along.  I’ve had Caprese Salad before, but I’ve always bought it pre-made.  I decided to use grape tomatoes and make a tossed / picnic style salad to bring.  It was delicious!  And easy!

Tossed Caprese Salad

2 pints Grape Tomatoes
1 pound Mozzarella Cheese
0.75 ounce Basil
1 tablespoon Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1/4 teaspoon Sea Salt
1/4 teaspoon Pepper

Okay, this is easy.  Cut your grape tomatoes into quarters and toss them into a bowl.

Cube the mozzarella … 

And throw it on top of the tomatoes.

Chop the basil and throw that on too (freshly cut basil smells so good!).

Pour about one tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil over the mix and toss everything together.

Season with salt and pepper … 

And then toss everything together one last time.

So easy, right?

Perfect side dish.  Perfect meal!

Italian Croutons

4 Aug

Last night’s salads featured these:

Homemade Italian Croutons!  They are delicious and so easy.  Here’s what you do …

Homemade Italian Croutons
Whole Grain Bread
Olive Oil
Sea Salt

Start with your bread.  If the salad is the main part of the meal, I usually use two pieces of bread per person.  If it’s just a side, then I use one piece per person.

Slice ’em up into cubes … 

And give the cubes a nice coating of olive oil.

Season generously with salt, pepper, oregano and garlic – epic combination!

And toss everything together.

Throw in the oven (I used to the toaster oven) on 325 for 15-20 minutes, or until they’ve reached your desired crunchiness.

And that’s it!  So easy.  So fun.  So delicious.  So yummmm.

Oats ‘N Oats Oatmeal

27 Jul

It was a glorious 60-something degrees this morning!  I practically had to pull out a sweater.

Well, maybe not.  But I did make oatmeal for the first time in forever!  I was really craving some peanut butter, but we’re out 😦 – so I made do with what I had.

Oats ‘N Oats Oatmeal
1/3 cup Oatmeal
1/3 cup Water
2 tsp. Brown Sugar
1/4 cup Granola
Combine oats and water on stove over medium heat until they reach the desired consistency
Top with brown sugar and granola 

Mix together an enjoy.
I know it seems like overkill to put granola in with oatmeal, BUT the granola gives the bowl a nice crunch – and I like the crunch!
Today is moving at a little bit of a slower pace, which I am grateful for.  Even the best multi-tasker need a day every now and then where I can sit for a couple of hours straight and not have to multi-task.  Agreed?
Have a great Wednesday!