Nov 30, 2011



I started with a recipe I found on Food.com. Once the pot pie filling was made I tasted it and I was pretty disappointed in how bland it tasted to me.

I decided that this recipe was just not going to cut it. It's nothing personal against it's creator I just needed more pazazz! Or as my Granny always said it really needed “doctoring up”! I looked through a ton of recipes to see what they were adding and I added a little of this and a little of that until I got potpie filling that actually has a great flavor! I made these pot pies in egg roll wrappers so they would turn out crisp with a gooey filling. To shape the pot pies I used cupcake pans. Excellent and fun!

Ingredients: 
  • 1/2 cup potato, diced
  • 1/2 cup onion, diced
  • 1/4 cup celery, diced
  • 1/2 cup carrot, diced
  • 1/4 cup melted margarine
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup chicken broth
  • 3/4 cup half-and-half
  • 1/3 cup dry white wine
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/16 teaspoon sage
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground thyme
  • ¼ teaspoon season salt
  • 2 cups chicken, cooked and chopped
  • 1 package of egg roll wrappers

Directions:
  1. Preheat oven to 400°F.
  2. Sauté onion, celery, carrots and potatoes in margarine for 10 minutes.
  3. Add flour to sautéed mixture, stirring well, and cook one minute stirring constantly.
  4. Add broth, white wine, and half and half.
  5. Gradually stir into vegetable mixture.
  6. Stir in salt, pepper, garlic powder, sage, thyme, and season salt
  7. Cook over medium heat stirring constantly until thickened and bubbly.
  8. Add Chicken and stir well
  9. At this point I allowed the filling to cool and I refrigerated it overnight. This allowed all the spices to mingle and get happy. You can certainly skip this step. I was using this as a make ahead meal.
  10. If you are putting this together at a later time you will need to heat up your pie filling bringing it to a bubble
  11. Using a cupcake pan take individual egg roll wrappers and place them in each cup laid out one at a time and full each cup with 1/4 cup of mixture. 
  12. Bring each egg roll wrapper corner to the middle and press together. They will seal up for the most park while they bake.
  13. When the are golden brown they are ready!!


Original Source

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Nov 26, 2011

Gorgeous!

Through Pinterest I found this recipe, and I am in love with it. It’s not that it’s anything extraordinary, but it’s fun, easy, inexpensive, visually impressive, and a great way to use up leftovers. Saturday night we had spaghetti for dinner. I just used spaghetti sauce out of the jar. I was short on time, and let’s face it… its easy!

I had remembered seeing this recipe on Pinterest and I decided to make a little extra spaghetti up to give this recipe a try. Admittedly I was a little intimidated at the idea of ‘braiding’ the bread, but in truth it’s really not braiding more like laying lol! I can handle that! I have included the original link so that you can see the step by step pictures the original poster posted. The original recipes comes from the Rhodes bread recipe book.
Pre-Baked
My Variation of Ingredients:
  • 1 jar of spaghetti sauce (I used the store brand 4 cheese)
  • 1 small package of spaghetti noodles
  • 8 oz. package of mozzarella cheese
  • 1 loaf of frozen bread (Rhodes, or Bridgford)
  • 1 egg
  • 2 TBS Parmesan cheese
  • Dry parsley
  • ½ tsp. Garlic powder

My Variation Directions:
**Using Left Over Spaghetti** I used leftover spaghetti which already had sauce on it. I weighed out 14oz of spaghetti with the sauce already on it. I added an additional 1 cup of spaghetti sauce to the left over spaghetti and mixed it in well. This will help prevent the spaghetti from drying out as its baking. You will want to make sure your spaghetti is very saucy. I also took a knife and fork and cut the spaghetti into 1 inch pieces to make sure it would work easier with the dough and serving it.***


Follow these wonderful step by step directions CLICK HERE


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Nov 23, 2011





Me when I was a baby

My Mom is an amazing commercial artist. In her spare time she is a freelance artist and draws pencil portraits for people. She does amazing work and has been very successful with it. This is just a small collection of her pieces. She has done wedding pictures, babies, military photos, and so on.

Many of the pictures end up being heartbreaking because they are pictures of people’s loved ones that have passed away. One of my favorites was of a US Marine that was killed in a car accident. She captured him so well that his eyes would follow you in the room creepy yet amazing. He truly left an impression on both of our hearts.

As hard as it is for her to draw a picture of someone who has passed on my Mom feels like this is her way of being able to give someone a unique portrait of their loved one.  




My Papa and Nana


My Great Grandmother


My Uncle Alfred, Nana, and Uncle Carl


My 18th Birthday Gift "Lars Ulrich" from Metallica 
I was in love with him LOL!

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Nov 18, 2011


I really loved this recipe, my husband on the other hand did not. I couldn’t get out of him what he didn’t like, but I thought it was great. I was more work than I really wanted to do that night, but the end results were worth it. The meatballs were tender, but not mushy, and the gravy was super creamy and simply delicious!


Meatball Ingredients:
  • 1 1/2 lbs. ground beef
  • 1 large egg, slightly beaten
  • 1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
  • 1/3 cup breadcrumbs (I used Panko)
  • 1 tablespoon garlic powder
  • 1 -2 teaspoon season salt
  • 1 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
  • 1/3 cup milk
  • 2 tablespoons dried parsley

Gravy Ingredients:

  • 1/4 cup butter or margarine
  • 1/4 cup chopped onion
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 2 cups beef broth
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme

Directions:
  1. Mix all ingredients meatball ingredients together in a large bowl (I used my Kitchen Aid Mixer to save time)
  2. Shape into small meatballs and set aside to get your gravy started.
  3. In medium saucepan, melt butter
  4. Once the butter is melted add the onions. Sauté onion until the onions are translucent.
  5. Whisk in flour and cook until bubbly, then whisk in beef broth. This should all be done slowly to avoid lumps.
  6. Bring to a boil, and add remaining gravy seasoning.
  7. Reduce heat and simmer.
  8. Add your meatballs to the simmering gravy.
  9. Gently place meatballs in gravy. Do not stir for at least 20 minutes (this is a must) or you will risk breaking the meatballs.
  10. After the 20 minutes are up you may begin gently stirring your gravy.
  11. Continue cooking in the gravy for another 20 minutes, and the meatballs will be thoroughly cooked.



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Nov 17, 2011






I love roasted vegetables, and for some reason I have grown to really enjoy cabbage. It’s taken awhile to get there, but here I am. It must be the German blood line in me creeping out. I still can’t stomach sauerkraut… maybe someday.

I was looking on Penterest a few days ago and discovered a cabbage recipe I had never thought of and one that was a must try. I wasn’t in favor of the recipe itself so to speak, but I was definitely in favor of the concept of roasting cabbage.

The original recipe called for lemon to be drizzled over the cabbage, but I am not a huge lemon fan. I love the smell of lemon!  I just don’t really care for eating it unless it’s for dessert.

I took the concept of roasting the cabbage and ran with it. I just so happened to have a half head of cabbage that needed to be used up, so the timing was perfect, and so was this recipe!

I love how this roasted cabbage turned out. I had no idea how good it would be in truth it was a shot in the dark, but one well worth taking. This will definitely be a recipe I will be making over and over again! It’s easy, and fantastic!  

Ingredients:
  • ½-1 head of cabbage depending on your needs
  • Olive oil (or any type of oil I used pecan oil)
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Directions:
  1. Pre-heat your oven to 450 degrees
  2. Line a jelly roll pan with tin foil for easy clean up.
  3. Slice cabbage into ½ inch slices and place each slice on your lined pan. Remove most of the stem, but leave enough to insure your pieces would stay together.
  4. Drizzle oil on each side of the cabbage and rub in. As stated in the original recipe you can use a pastry brush to easily spread the oil.
  5. Generously add salt and pepper to each side, then place in the oven.
  6. Bake for 15-20 minutes until the cabbage is brown enough for you. I loved the browner areas, they were bursting with flavor. 
Original Recipe


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Nov 16, 2011




I was in the mood for fried chicken, but in all honestly I was being too lazy to be bothered with frying it so I decided to make dinner easy and go for oven “fried” chicken.

Most recipes I found online required you to use plain bread crumbs, but I only had Italian bread crumbs, and I wasn’t in the mood for those spices.  I decided to use up some panko I had on hand and a few other ingredients and see how it turned out.

To my surprise this speedy recipe turned out fantastic! The chicken had a wonderful flavor, it was crispy, and very moist inside. I typically don’t have a lot of faith in baked chicken because it’s just not as good as fried chicken, but this recipe really turned out excellent! 

Ingredients:
  • 3-4 boneless/skinless chicken breasts
  • 1 cup of plain panko
  • ½ cup parmesan cheese
  • 1 tbsp. garlic powder
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 eggs
  • Cooking spray

Directions:
  1. Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees
  2. Spray a baking dish or jelly roll pan down with Pam or some other type of cooking spray. For easy clean up line your pan or baking dish with foil, then spray the foil with cooking spray.
  3. In a shallow dish add panko, parmesan cheese, garlic powder, salt and pepper, and mix together.
  4. In a separate bowl add eggs and scramble up with a fork until the eggs are frothy.
  5. One at a time take each chicken breast and add it to the egg dip, then add each chicken breast to the panko dish and evenly coat the chicken breast with the panko spice mixture.
  6. Place the chicken on the sprayed pan, then bake for 30 minutes or until the chicken is cooked in the center.
  7. It’s that’s simple!

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I think Wordless is being too kind to my office… disaster zone, nightmare, disgusting, embarrassing!

My office is a complete mess. As you can see from the table below I have
  • Food in bags ready to go to the food pantry on Friday
  • Towels waiting to be washed that were used to clean up a split drink
  • Jell-O because I was making sure I had what I needed to Thanksgiving and somehow it managed to follow me from the kitchen to the office,
  • Vitamins because I can never remember to take them. Mind you they have been on my desk for three weeks and I haven’t taken one yet even though they are right in front me
  • Magazines, circulars, coupons, pens, paper, recipes, paper clips, general use clips, hairbrush, soda cap, philosophy book, pencil box, check to be deposited, water bottle and of course my trust backpack.

Can you say…. This person needs a vacation from school? LOL What a nightmare!! I have 6 days off from school for Thanksgiving my goal is to have a clean, and PACKED office for the move!!


Happy Wordless Wednesday!

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Nov 15, 2011



After listening to my husband's friend Paul talk about his wonderful cottage pie recipe I had to give it a try. I listened closely to what he was saying and wrote the recipe down as soon as I got home. I hope I didn’t forget anything, but I can’t imagine that I did. 

This recipe turned out perfect! I don’t know that there would have been anything else I could have done to make any better! It’s hard to top perfection! After all Paul is English so I suppose he would know how to make a rockin’ cottage pie!

This recipe is terribly easy!  You could certainly make this in advance as a freezer meal, or even make the meat and mashed potatoes up ahead of time and have everything ready to throw together as a quick and easy meal.

We all loved this recipe! It definitely takes comfort food to a whole new level!!


Ingredients:
  • 1 Bell Pepper diced
  • 1 Onion diced
  • 1lb. Ground Beef
  • 3 Cloves of Garlic
  • Salt and Pepper to tastes
  • 1 Can Campbell’s Chunky Vegetable Soup (Hearty Soup not the condensed)
  • 1 tbsp. Montreal Steak Seasoning
  • 1 pound of potatoes peeled, diced, boiled, and mashed
  • 1 cup cheddar cheese.

Directions:
  1. Bring a pot of cold water to a boil.
  2. To the boiling water add peeled and diced potatoes boil until the potatoes are fully cooked, drain, and mash.
  3. Add salt, pepper, and sour cream if desired to the mashed potatoes. (I did to make the potatoes creamy)
  4. In a skillet add ground beef, bell pepper, onion, and garlic, cook until meat is browned then drain off excess grease.
  5. To the ground beef add Montreal Steak Seasoning, salt and pepper, and mix together well.
  6. To a baking dish ( I used 2 ½ quart baking dish)  add the ground beef mixture, top the ground beef mixture with Campbell’s chunky Vegetable Soup be sure to spread out evenly
  7. Over the vegetable soup add mashed potatoes, and spread out evenly.
  8. Top the cottage pie with shredded cheddar cheese.
  9. Bake on 350 for 20-30 minutes until the cottage pie is bubbling.
  10. Allow to set for about 5 minutes before serving.
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Nov 14, 2011



Admittedly I am horrible at following a recipe. Why? Because I can always think of a way to do it “better” or I need to use up something in the refrigerator, or I am missing something I need.  For once none of these were the case. I liked the concept of the recipe I found online, but it wasn’t what I was going for. I had pre-cooked chicken that I roasted in the crockpot for chicken enchiladas that I wanted to use, but this recipe called for the chicken to start uncooked.  I didn’t want to be bothered!


This was super simple and quite tasty! I was a little nervous about how it would turn out, but it turned out so yummy, and we had a ton left over! Literally we ate 1/3 of the casserole for dinner as a side I served Sweet Corn Cakes.


I loved the ease of the recipe, and loved the flavor! Just remember for those people who are nervous in the kitchen if you never stray away from a recipe you will never know what you can create! The best recipes are created by accident. Brownies were created  from a failed cake recipe.


Ingredients:
  • 2 tablespoons margarine
  • 1 pound of cooked skinless boneless chicken breast shredded
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 teaspoons cumin powder
  • 1 teaspoons garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon taco seasoning
  • 1/2 onion, chopped
  • cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 cup canned corn (drained)
  • 1 small can of diced green chilies
  • 1 14oz can of diced tomatoes (undrained)
  • 16 corn tortillas
  • 2 cans of Old El Paso enchilada sauce (I used Mild)
  • 2 cups shredded Kraft Mexican Cheese
  • 1 cup mozzarella Cheese
  • 1 cup cheddar cheese

 Directions:
  1. To a skillet add margarine, and onion. Sauté until onions are translucent, then add the garlic (do not allow the garlic to brown or it will taste bitter) and cook for another minute.
  2. To the skillet add salt, pepper, cumin, garlic powder, and taco seasoning and mix well.
  3. Next add corn, green chilies, diced tomatoes, and shredded chicken all the mixture and heat thoroughly.
  4. Now to prepare your casserole! Combine all your cheese into a bowl and mix together well.
  5. Pour the enchilada sauce in a bowl, then spoon enough sauce into a 9x13 baking dish to cover the bottom.
  6. Take a corn tortilla and divide it into 4’s (you can do multiple at a time). Take each one of the fours and dip them into the enchilada sauce coating each piece front and back, then line the bottom of the pan with the tortillas, keep tearing and dipping until the entire bottom of the pan is lined with tortilla pieces.
  7. Now over the tortilla pieces spread out enough of your chicken mixture to cover the tortillas, then cover the chicken mixture with cheese (be generous).   
  8. Keep repeating this process until you are out of the chicken mixture. I was able to get four layers, but it will depend on how much of the chicken mixture you add to each layer.
  9. Your final layer should be dipped tortilla pieces covering the top of your casserole. Last top your tortilla pieces with the remaining cheese.
  10. Bake on 350 for 30 minutes or until it’s bubbling from the bottom up.

*Note you can  easily spice this recipe up by using hot or mild Rotel tomatoes in place of the diced tomatoes, you can also change the degree of heat in the enchilada sauce, mild, medium, or hot!*

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Nov 9, 2011


As a lot of you know I have been a huge fan of Kittencals for a long time. She has some wonderful recipes that are almost always a must have in our home. It’s rare that we find something we don’t like. If we do it’s probably because someone is being over picky that night, or just doesn’t like what we are having for dinner in general. This recipe is another fantastic winner for Kittencal!

This gravy is my new favorite! It’s creamy and bursting with flavor! I couldn’t have found anything better in gravy!!  The first time I made it I didn’t have any bacon drippings so I used two tablespoons of butter instead and it was fantastic. If you want a totally great twist add bacon or sausage drippings … to die for!

Ingredients:
  • 2 tablespoons bacon pan drippings
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • ¼ to ½ teaspoon black pepper (start with ½ and see if you want more)
  • Salt (optional)
  • 1 pinch garlic powder
  • 1 1/2 cups chicken or beef broth
  • 1/2 cup Milk or half-and-half

Directions:

  1. Heat the pan drippings over medium heat.
  2. Whisk in flour and cook until lightly golden brown (about 3-4 minutes, the flour must be light brown!).
  3. Add in black pepper and garlic powder; then add in the broth and whisk until smooth; bring to a simmer, then slowly whisk in the cream.
  4. Cook until slightly thickened (about 4-5 minutes).
  5. Season with more black pepper and salt if desired.





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Nov 3, 2011


One of my favorite things about carving a pumpkin is roasting the seeds. I love pumpkin seeds. They are nutritious and delicious. I love the nutty flavor! Heck you already paid for the fun of the pumpkin why not get free snacks out of the deal?

  1. I normally start the seed drying process by first washing the seeds well in cool water. Get all of the pumpkin membrane off your seeds. 
  2. It’s important that the seeds are thoroughly dry before you cook then. The dryer they are the crispier they will be.
  3. Line a jellyroll pan with paper towels, and then I spray the paper towels down with Pam or some other kind of spray oil. This will insure they will not stick to the paper towel.  After a few days of allowing them to dry it’s time to bake them. Please note that the drying process will vary based on your climate. It took ours two days. 
  4. After they are dry line a jelly roll pan with tin foil for easy clean up.
  5. Place the pumpkin seeds on the foil. Add one teaspoon of oil (pecan, or vegetable) to the pan. I don’t really recommend olive oil because it will flavor the seeds, but if that’s what you like go for it.
  6. Next you will need to toss the seeds in the oil, and then spread them out. The more evenly spread out they are the better they will crisp up.
  7. Next you can sprinkle salt on them, spices, or anything else that makes you happy. I prefer just salt, but I know other people who will add garlic powder, curry, or even a little cinnamon sugar.
  8. Heat your oven to 325 degrees. The low temperature will insure that they are roasted slowly. You will cook them for around 20 minutes, but it’s important to check them about every five minutes, and stir them each time you check them for an even roasting.
  9. As they are cooking you will start heading popping sounds those are your seeds springing up from the pan, but no worries they don’t jump too high.
  10. Don’t forget to check your seeds about every five minutes to insure they don’t burn. The thickness of the seeds will determine how quickly they will cook, and you don’t want burnt seeds.
  11. Let the holiday season begin!!


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