What I've learned so far from Juicing

Ok, we've been juicing for a couple of weeks now, and let me tell ya, it's a lot of work.  I know, I know, you might think that it sounds lazy, but seriously ya'll, when you work full time, and and have to come home to kids, and hubby, and pets, and house chores, and squeezing in some reading and writing.... juicing is not a priority (neither is exercising, or dusting the shelf) BUT, needless to say, I've been doing it at least a few times a week..(and I'm talking about juicing here).

Here's my first post about it in case you missed it:  NEW TO JUICING? ME TOO. 

The thing that takes the longest is to prepare the fruits and veggies for the actual juicing.  The putting-in-the-juicer part takes a few minutes, but what happens before and after the fact (cleaning that juicer is a b-word!) is what makes me roll my eyes in an attempt to trick myself into pour some wine in the glass instead of juice.  Wait.  Wine comes from grapes... does it count?

Anywho, my favorite juices so far contained the pineapple (it finally was ready and ripe!) and ginger because it makes it kinda spicy.  I also really like cucumbers, but not too many.  Oh and another favorite is oranges and carrots. Yum.

Every time you add a few leaves of Kale or Spinach, the juice turns very, very green...which...is great, and I love it.  It doesn't really taste like greens, just like fruity, sweet and delicious.  My daughter, however, was very discouraged from tasting the green juice.  There was no way to trick her with that one.  

The juicing recipes varies - (I just throw in whatever I have that is juicesable-is that a word?) but the base remains the same.  Always have either apples or oranges (4 per person) and then add anything you would like.  I also tried celery since it has really good properties (I heard) BUT i hate celery, so I didn't like the overpowering celery taste.  yuck.  But hey! if you enjoy celery, go ahead...maybe you can drink the celery-infused juice with a spoonful of peanut butter and chew some raisins.... kind of like ants on a log? no? ok.

well, I will keep experimenting with juices and mixing fruits and veggies.... next, I'm coming up with the perfect bloody mary mix...yeah.  I'm taking juicing to the next level.

and yes, I will share the recipe.

Always, 

Mia

New to Juicing? Well...me too.

I see a lot of people on Facebook and other social media outlets talk about the benefits of natural juices/juicing-at-home kinda thing. It is impossible to miss it every time I scroll down my page.  (Although I prefer to see this than other types of posts).  So one day I told my hubby "Honey, we are going to start juicing".

So my journey into learning juicing began. Who would've thought that there was so much to learn? I thought it was a simple as, get a juicer, get some fruits and veggies, and enjoy.  NOPE.

The very first thing you need to decide is what kind of juicer you want, and how much you want to spend.  Believe me, some of those machines can be quite pricey!

I read, and read, and read an eternities worth of blogs about juicing to help me decide.  IT WAS OVERWHELMING! I had to make a decision about the juicing situation before I went crazy.  I knew I wanted to do this because I read about different recipes for different things. Like for example, there are recipes that have anti-inflammatory benefits, others help with stomach issues, detox, and even stress.  I had to try it!

Come to find out that there are many juicers but they do different things.  

CENTRIFUGAL JUICERS: These are basically the most common juicers and you can find them in a variety of prices (they also tend to be the cheapest).  Based on what I learned, these are more like a fruit blender. They work better for fruits, not so good for leafy veggies. It grinds the fruit and squeezes the juice by centrifugal force, so they can be noisy. Also, you must know that you get the most amount of juice with a centrifugal juicer as they contain the fiber. I think.

MASTICATING JUICERS: Masticating means chewing. So it squeezes the juice from the fruits, and veggies. It extracts the juice on one side, and the pulp on the other side. These machines are quieter, a little more expensive, work great with veggies, not so well with fruits that contain seeds or are mushy (like bananas), and since it works slowly, they don't produce so much heat and it protects the integrity of the proteins in the produce.  If you are looking for fiber in your juice, you won't find it with this juicer.  Go with a centrifugal juicer if fiber is what you are wanting.  

NOW, there are other kinds of juicers nowadays that weren't out when I was doing my research, so I'm not going into those details. The centrifugal and the masticating juicers are the most common and you'll probably be ok with either one. You can also google the differences and learn a little before you purchase one.

We decided to go with the masticating juicer because we were more interested in getting good vitamins and proteins from our juicing than fiber.  

THEN WHAT? Another load of research.  WHAT TO JUICE?

Believe me, it's not as simple as throwing a bunch of stuff together into the juicer.  

Come to find out that you must have a base to your juice.  Mostly something that will produce the most juice. We always chose apples or oranges, or both.  

Four apples or four oranges per person for one serving.  We realized that because a masticating juicer only extracts the juice and discards the pulp, you get WAY less juice per fruit than a centrifugal juicer. That's something we learned after the first trial... I had a lot of fruit and got little juice. *disappointed face*.   

NOTE: Because the masticating juicer works hard at squeezing the juice, it is recommended to peel and cut some fruits before juicing them. The apples have to be cut in pieces and the center removed, the oranges peeled, and the cucumbers cut in pieces for easy extraction.

THAT IS A LOT OF WORK for a glass of juice. I mean, I'm not a lazy person, but the idea of spending almost 30 minutes cutting, peeling, and de-seeding fruit for three glasses of juice is exhausting.  I KNOW there has to be a better way of cutting and preparing for juicing... So, if you are reading this and know how to do it the easier way....please help!

ANYWAY, I did it.  I cut all the fruit.  I used apples, oranges, cucumbers, blueberry, a tomato, and some ginger root for added spice (highly recommended).  I had a pineapple too, but it wasn't ripe enough.  I'll use it next time. 

NOTE TO MYSELF:  Cut the apples last. I did them first, and they started to get brown before I was done cutting the rest of the fruit.  Now I know. 

Regardless of all the effort and hard work I put into this juice, it ended up being delicious.  You don't have to add anything! No sugar, no water.  It's just the pure juice from the fruits and veggies, nothing chemical.  I can see how this is healthy, especially if you buy organic produce. 

I think it was worth all the research and time.  I will definitely do this again and I will add some kale or spinach with other great recipes I saw online.  

Also, my daughter wasn't too happy with the juice though.  She said it tasted too much like cucumbers, which I like, but she hasn't acquired those taste buds yet.  

Do you have any juicing recipes I can use?  I'm also open to suggestions on how to cut the fruit efficiently!!!!

Here's the final product.  Yeah, I enjoyed it. 

Always, 

Mia.

Garlic Knot Pizza Bake

Garlic knot pizza bake. You can see how this recipe would catch my eye while perusing the web right? Always on the hunt for easy & tasty meals to add into the rotation at home, I eagerly added this one to the list to try. (Pro-tip: check out www.delish.com for tons of amazing recipes, that's where I snagged this one.)

And thank God I did.

Not only was it simple and easy (score!), my kids devoured it (double score! Slam dunk? I dunno, I'm not good at sporting)

With only a few simple ingredients and minimal prep, there really isn't any reason to not try this dish out. So here goes people, you can thank me later.

Ingredients

  • 2 tubes pre-made large biscuits
  • garlic
  • melted butter
  • jar of marinara
  • 1lb ground beef
  • salt/pepper to taste
  • 2 lbs mozzarella cheese
  • toppings of choice(I used pepperoni but feel free to just go wild here)

How to

  • Preheat oven to 375
  • Cut biscuits into fourths. Place pieces into zip lock baggie with melted butter and crushed garlic (or garlic powder). Shake to coat. (take liberties with measurements here, some people love the garlic- some people are vampires so use a little or as much as you like!)
  • Grease bottom of 13x9 baking dish and dump out bag of buttery garlicy biscuit cuts.
  • Brown ground beef in pan (salt and pepper to taste). Add marinara and let simmer a couple minutes.
  • Pour meat mixture on top of biscuits in baking dish
  • Top with mozzarella cheese then your choice of toppings
  • Cook for 20-25 minutes

Voila! The perfect quick meal for the whole family! Enjoy!  

 

Spinach and Mushroom Lasagna

This is a great, filling dish for all you vegetarians out there. I myself am a carnivore but every now and then we like to try and do a meatless meal. If you are also a fellow carnivore, don't tap out here, give it a try! (spoiler- there's cheese! You can never go wrong with cheese)

I was browsing the web for some yummy new recipes to try and ran across this one on the Damn Delicious website. So as your ever faithful tester and try-er out-er of recipes, I jumped right in. Check out the original recipe here. I tweaked a couple things because, well, I always go with the motto "the more cheese the better!" I also hate messing around with cooked lasagna noodles and opted for the ones that are oven ready. Because let's be honest, ain't nobody got time for that. 

 

Ingredients:

  • Lasagna noodles
  • 2 (15 oz) containers ricotta cheese (you can get away with one container but my love of all things cheese is pretty well documented on this blog and I used about 1 and 1/3 containers for mine)
  • 2 (10oz) packages frozen chopped spinach thawed and drained
  • 3 cups shredded Mozzarella cheese
  • 2 cups shredded/grated Parmesan cheese

For sauce:

  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 2 cloves garlic minced
  • 1 pound mushrooms sliced (I think any kind would be good with this recipe, I used the baby bells because they were on sale- also 1 pound is 16 oz- just so you don't have to google conversions in the middle of the produce section like me)
  • 1 onion diced
  • 1/3 cup all purpose flour 
  • 3 cups milk
  • 1 tsp basil
  • 1/2 oregano
  • 2 TBSP chopped fresh parsley
  • pinch nutmug
  • salt/pepper to taste

Directions:

  • Preheat oven to 350
  • To make the sauce start off by melting butter in large saucepan over medium heat. Once melted add onions, mushrooms, and garlic. Saute a few minutes and slowly add the milk. Whisk in flour and continue to stir as mixture thickens, adding spices and 1 1/2 cups Parmesean cheese. Feel free to add extra flour if you think yours is too runny. 
  • Now for the fun part- the layering! Scoop about a cups worth of sauce into bottom of a 13x9 baking dish to coat the bottom. Line the pan with a layer of lasagna noodles (if you want to use the original kind and cook them beforehand- go for it) I could fit four horizontally and break one to fit vertically. Next scoop ricotta cheese and spread around the noodles, coating them. Follow up with the spinach- again smoothing with the back of a spoon. Sprinkle about 1 cup of the mozzarella cheese and 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese on top. Repeat the layering one more time. Top with lasagna noodles and the remaining cream sauce. Sprinkle mozzarella and Parmesan cheese on top. Pop that bad boy in the oven for 45-55 minutes and dig in! (** You may want to cook for less time if you are not using the oven ready lasagna noodles, 30-35 minutes should do). 

**** GET MORE RECIPES LIKE THIS ONE HERE!***

Creamy Alfredo Sauce

I love love love me a creamy, cheesy, delicious Alfredo. It's so versatile! Throw in some chicken or shrimp and smother some noodles. Anything will work: penne, linguine, heck even macaroni will do the trick, the pasta is really just the delivery mechanism for the cheesy goodness that is the Alfredo. When it becomes socially acceptable to just eat the sauce then we can do away with pesky noodles, but until that time, noodles it is! (Who am I kidding, I'm a carb fiend too)

The cool thing about making your own sauces (spaghetti, Alfredo, good 'ol mac and cheese) is that you can take liberties with what you have handy in the pantry and fridge. I have found that preshredded taco cheese can make a mean sauce for a mac and cheese. But I digress.... Here is a simple Alfredo sauce sure to get those taste buds jumping for joy!

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups milk (I also use heavy whipping cream sometimes too- makes it extra creamy!)
  • 4 oz cream cheese
  • 2 1/2 cups Parm cheese
  • 2 tsp garlic power (feel free to use fresh garlic- I usually do but didn't have any on hand and had to substitute- about 4 cloves should work but I do like me some garlic! Adjust to your own taste!)
  • 1/2 tsp white pepper
  • 1/2 tsp salt

How to:

Ok guys, this is super simple. If you are working with fresh garlic- crush in garlic press and saute for 2-3 minutes with a tablespoon of butter in a saucepan. Then proceed with instructions.

  • Pour 2 cups milk or heavy whipping cream in saucepan over medium heat. Heat thoroughly
  • Add spices and stir
  • Add cheeses slowly while continueing to stir until completly mixed. 
  • Pour over top cooked pasta and enjoy!

Mixed Beans Cajun Soup

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Beans are good for you, they are healthy and they for sure make a hearty meal... But, and I'm sure you know this... there are many kinds of beans.  Green beans, black beans, pinto beans, red beans, garbanzos, kidney beans...you get the point.  Can't decide which one to cook? Cook them all! yes, you read it right.  You can mix and match beans and make an incredible bean soup.  Here's what you need:

  • 1/4 cup of kidney beans
  • 1/4 cup of pinto beans
  • 1/4 cup of black beans
  • 1/4 cup of white beans
  • 1/4 cup of lentil beans
  • 1/4 cup of split green peas
  • 1/4 cup of baby lima beans
  • 1/4 cup of yellow split peas
  • one onion finely chopped
  • one red or green pepper
  • half a carrot - minced
  • your favorite cajun seasoning, or make your own by mixing garlic powder, paprika, black pepper, cayenne pepper, dried oregano, dried thyme, and red pepper flakes.
  • Bacon drippings and/or thick bacon cut in pieces
  • 1/2 lb beef cut in bite size pieces
  • four red potatoes
  • salt and pepper to taste

*IMPORTANT: before you begin, you must leave your beans soaking overnight.  Just place them in a large pot or bowl and cover them with water.  soak for at least 4-6 hours before cooking.  This will minimize the cooking time.  ( or unless you are using a pressure cooker OR crockpot) for this recipe. 

PREPARATION: 

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In a large pot, place a tablespoon of bacon drippings (or half a tablespoon of olive oil if you don't have bacon drippings)- side note: I use the bacon grease from our breakfast that morning.  In medium high heat saute the onions and peppers until soft.  Add carrots, meat, and seasoning and mix well.  Let it sit for a little bit.  ad your beans.  DRAINED.  mix well with the onions and meat.  add more bacon grease if necessary- like a teaspoon at a time so you don't make it too greasy.  

Add Water- about 8 cups.  bring to a quick boil.  Add potatoes and stir well.  You can also add a few pieces of thick bacon at this point for flavor.  Reduce heat to medium and cook for about 1 1/2 - 2 hours, stirring occasionally.  Once the beans are soft, you can add salt and pepper to taste.  - DO NOT ADD SALT BEFORE THIS.  For some reason it makes the beans harder and takes way longer to cook.

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Serve on a bed of rice, and top with finely chopped scallions.  Enjoy!

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Rice and Turkey Meatball Soup

If you are like me, sometimes you will find yourself at home trying to figure out what to cook for dinner with little or practically no ingredients...Well, that happened last week.  I had to improvise. All I had was rice, ground turkey, and spices.  Good thing I didn't panic! I remembered a very quick, yet delicious dish my mom used to cook when we were little.... Which makes me wonder if she came up with this recipe when she was in the same lack-of-ingredients dilemma.  

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 lb of ground turkey or lean ground beef 93%
  • one onion finely chopped
  • half of a red pepper and half of a green pepper finely chopped
  • two cups of long grain white rice 
  • one teaspoon of minced garlic
  • paprika (about one tablespoon)
  • one teaspoon of olive oil
  • breadcrumbs
  • one egg
  • salt and pepper to taste

PREPARATION:

in a big pot, saute half of the chopped onions and half of the peppers until soft.  Add the garlic, and the paprika and let it simmer for a few minutes.  Add about 8 cups of water and bring to a boil in high heat.  

IN A SEPARATE BOWL prepare your meatballs- small/medium bite size.  Add the remaining onions and peppers to the ground meat and mix well.  Add salt, pepper, and any meat spice you desire.  Add one egg and breadcrumbs until you are able to form the meatballs without them falling apart.  

Once the water mixture is boiling in the pot, add the meatballs one by one.  Make sure that the water is boiling so the meatballs do not fall apart.  Add the rice at this point and lower the heat to a medium-high.  Cook for about 30 minutes or until the meat is cooked.  The rice will cook and grow.  You can add more water if necessary.  

Serve immediately and enjoy!  

Want to get more of our easy recipes? check our recipe page!- updated every Friday

Easy Peesy Cavatini

With a few slight modifications, I am really digging this recipe I found online this week! Pinterest for the win again people! It was easy, delicious, and made enough for leftovers for my family of four. 

Ingredients:

  •  1 c macaroni
  •  1 c rigatoni
  •  1 c rotini
  • 1 lb ground beef
  • 1 package pepperoni (my package was 6oz)
  • 24 oz jar spaghetti sauce
  • 16 oz cottage cheese
  • 3 cups mozzarella cheese
  • 1 medium yellow onion chopped
  • 1 green bell pepper chopped
  • salt to taste (on meat)
  •  garlic powder to taste (on meat)

Directions

  • Cook three pastas together
  • In large saucepan, saute ground beef, onion, and green pepper until cooked thoroughly. (Add salt and garlic powder to taste- I used about 1 tsp salt and 1 TBSP garlic powder). Add pepperonis, cooking roughly 5 minutes, then drain grease
  • Add spaghetti sauce and simmer together for 5 minutes
  • Spray casserole dish liberally with cooking spray (my casserole dish was a round 12 inch one and it was almost too small just FYI) 
  • Put half of cooked pastas onto bottom of casserole dish, top with half meat mixture, next cottage cheese, then half mozzarella cheese
  • Layer again the remaining pasta, remaining meat mixture, and remaining mozzarella cheese
  • Cook in oven 350 for 35 minutes
Look at that creamy goodness people! 

Look at that creamy goodness people! 

The best Mashed Potatoes and gravy EVER!

Let's be honest...mashed potatoes go with everything! I can cook anything, and add a side of deliciously creamy mashed potatoes and garlic infused gravy and get only smiles and full bellies.  

What's the secret for my creamy side dish?  OK, OK, I'll share:

Ingredients: 

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  • Four medium red potatoes (makes enough for two people.  adjust recipe accordingly)
  • one tablespoon of butter (use real butter)
  • one tablespoon of cream cheese
  • 1/4 cup of milk 
  • one teaspoon of garlic powder 
  • salt/pepper to taste

For the gravy:

  • 1/2 cup of vegetable oil (or bacon drippings)
  • 3/4 cup of all purpose flour
  • 4 cups of milk.
  • one teaspoon of garlic powder
  • salt/pepper to taste

PREPARATION:

Wash the potatoes and trim them, leaving most of the peel on.  Cut them into small cubes.  Bring water to boil and cook potatoes until they are soft, but still a little firm.  Drain water.  Mash the potatoes using a fork,  Since the potatoes are not totally soft, this step should look flaky, almost dry.  Add butter, cream cheese and milk and mix.  add garlic powder and salt/pepper.  Add more butter and cream cheese as needed until the mixture is soft and creamy but not runny.  Serve with Gravy.

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Gravy Preparation:

Heat up the vegetable oil or bacon drippings in medium heat.  SLOWLY whisk in the flour and cook, stirring continuously.  add salt/pepper and garlic powder.  Continue to stir until you achieve the desired darkness.  The mixture will start to turn brown the longer it cooks.  BE CAREFUL NOT TO BURN THE FLOUR.  To avoid this, stir with a wooden spoon to prevent sticking to the bottom.  Once flour is cooked, SLOWLY pour in milk.  Do this step very slowly and stirring constantly.  If you see clumps, simply keep stirring until they disappear.  continue cooking until gravy thickens.  

  Do a taste test.  Add more salt/pepper or garlic powder as needed for a robust flavor.  The gravy will thicken more and more as it cooks.  Remove from heat when is almost to the desired thickness... It will keep thickening even after you remove it from the heat.  

Serve over mash potatoes (or on top of anything really!)

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Chicken and Dumplings

Nothing is better in the cold winter months than a steaming hot bowl of chicken and dumplings. There is something so comforting in this traditional dish that really ranks it up high on my rotation in the colder months. In addition to being delicious and filling, it's surprisingly simple to make. 

Ingredients:

  • 12 cups water
  • 5 stalks celery chopped
  • 1 yellow onion diced
  • 9 oz carrots (or 1/2 bag of baby carrots) diced.
  • 5 cloves garlic
  • 1 TBSP basil
  • 1 tsp thyme
  • 1.5 TBSP salt
  • 1 can condensed chicken soup
  • 1 package boneless skinless chicken breast

Dumplings:

  • 2 cups flour
  • 2/3 cup milk
  • 1 tsp salt

Instructions

  • Bring water to a boil, add all ingredients and turn to medium heat
  • When chicken is cooked thoroughly- remove from water and shred
  • Return shredded chicken to the pot
  • Roll dumpling dough into small bites and drop slowly into pot
  • When dumplings are cooked, serve and enjoy!

 

** If you want to cut out a step, you can make your dumplings from Pillsbury biscuits. Simply roll out, cut into strips and add to pot. Voila! 

***MORE RECIPES HERE!!***

 

Chicken Tacos Delux

Chicken tacos are the best. Tacos, period, are the best.  A favorite in our house is chicken taco night.  Easy, fast, and delicious! My kind of meal.  Here's my recipe:

INGREDIENTS:

  • one pound of boneless, chicken breast, cut in bite size pieces
  • one yellow or sweet onion, finely chopped
  • one can of red beans, drained
  • two small tomatoes, finely chopped
  • one bunch of cilantro, finely chopped
  • one-two limes
  • one tablespoon of paprika
  • one teaspoon of seasoned salt
  • pepper to taste
  • salt to taste
  • crushed red pepper flakes to taste
  • tortillas. soft, crunchy, soft or hard shell...your preference.
  • sour cream (optional)
  • fresh cut avocado (optional)

RELATED: TACO SOUP

PREPARATION.

In a saucepan saute the onions, cilantro, and tomatoes until somewhat soft.  Add the chicken, paprika, salt, pepper, red pepper flakes, and seasoned salt and saute until chicken is cooked thoroughly.  Add the beans and mix well.  Cook on low for a few minutes until beans and warm.  

Serve in a tortilla of your preference, and top with sour cream and/or guacamole.  Delish!

Egg Soup (Vegetarian)

It's no secret that our little humans (and hubby..mostly hubby), love meat.  Sometimes, a meal is not complete if they don't see some good ole meat. But, from time to time, we do enjoy vegetarian plates, that are full in protein, delicious, and very easy to make.

This past weekend, hubby was sick and wanted some chicken soup. To my horror, we had no chicken (and I didn't feel like taking a trip to the store that afternoon). SO I scavenged my pantry and gathered some healthy ingredients to cook a hearty soup, in replacement of chicken soup.

Here's what I did.  

INGREDIENTS: (servings 3-4)

  • 4-5 eggs
  • one tablespoon of olive oil
  • half a yellow/sweet onion finely chopped
  • half a red pepper, half of a green pepper finely chopped
  • a handful of cilantro, chopped
  • one tomato, finely chopped
  • 2-3 pieces of green onion, finely chopped
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • one tablespoon of paprika 
  • water

PREPARATION

In a medium pot, heat up the olive oil and slowly add the onions, peppers, tomato, cilantro, and salt and pepper.  Saute in medium high until all the ingredients are soft.  Add 8 cups of water (room temperature) and stir. Bring to a boil.  Add paprika for color and flavor.

In a separate bowl, whisk the eggs together.  Once the soup is boiling SLOWLY add the egg mix using a fork. This part is important.  If you pour the whole bowl of egg mix into the boiling water, you will get a giant ball of scrambled eggs... to avoid this, use a fork to slowly transfer the eggs into the water, by creating strings of egg mix that will go in different ways as it makes contact with the water.  Continue to cook for a few minutes until the eggs are done.  

If you'd prefer, you can add the egg without whisking it. The whole egg will cook thoroughly in about 5 minutes. 

Garnish with some fresh cilantro.  Eat it while it's hot!

You can add some crushed red pepper flakes to the soup to make it spicy!

*** CHECK OUT MORE OF OUR RECIPES HERE!

Pumpkin Spice Cupcakes

It's the time of year again! The air is crisp, the leaves are turning, and Halloween is quickly approaching. And you know what else comes heralded in like a king during the month of October? Pumpkin. Pumpkin everything

I will be the first to admit it. I have a problem. A pumpkin problem. I eagerly slurp up my Starbucks pumpkin lattes, gobble down the pumpkin donuts at DunkinDonuts, and fill my home with the scent of pumpkin pie candles. So naturally I would extend my love of pumpkins into my own kitchen.

This is probably the easiest recipe you will ever come across and it tastes so good, you may even break it out in the non-autumnal months. 

Ingredients:

Cupcake:

  • 1 box spice cake mix
  • 1 can pumpkin puree

Frosting:

  • 1 package (8oz) cream cheese 
  • 2 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 TBSP vanilla extract
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon

How to:

  • Preheat oven to 350
  • Line cupcake tin with cupcake holders
  • Mix cake mix and pumpkin puree well with beaters. * note that mixture will be very thick!*
  • Using a spoon, fill cupcake tins with mixture (should fill roughly 12)
  • Bake for 18-20 minutes

For icing:

  • Mix sugar, cream cheese, vanilla, and cinnamon in mixing bowl with beaters until fluffy.
  • Top cooled cupcakes with icing

Seriously easy right? These are always a hit in my house, in the office, or at parties. Enjoy! 

Chicken Cordon Bleu Casserole

Everyone loves a good casserole right? I mean, throw a few ingredients into a baking dish, let it do it's magic in the oven and voila! Dinner is served. Not a lot of fuss with a casserole and they are usually pretty tasty and hearty. We really enjoyed this casserole version of a classic chicken cordon bleu recipe. Grab a pen and paper, you'll wanna jot this one down! 

Ingredients:

  • 2 lbs boneless/skinless chicken breasts (confession: I only had boneless/skinless chicken thighs and it turned out delicious so I'd day feel free to use whichever you have)
  • 1 lb deli style sliced ham
  • 6 slices Swiss cheese
  • 4 TBSP butter
  • 6TBSP flour
  • 2 1/2 cup whole milk
  • 2 TBSP Dijon mustard
  • 2 TBSP melon juice (fresh squeezed)
  • 3/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp paprika
  • 1/4 tsp white pepper
  • 1 1/2 panko bread crumbs
  • 4 TBSP melted butter
  • 1/2 tsp seasoning salt
  • 1 1/2 tsp dried parsley

How to Prepare:

  • Preheat oven to 375. Butter a 13 x 9 baking dish.
  • Boil chicken until cooked thoroughly, then chop into small, fine pieces. Placed chicken pieces in baking dish.
  • Chop ham and layer on top of chicken in baking dish
  • Layer Swiss cheese on top of ham evenly.
  • In a pan melt 4 TBSP butter over medium heat, slowly add flour. Make sure to continue to whisk to avoid burning. Slowly add milk continuing to stir continuously. 
  • Add mustard, paprika, salt, lemon juice, white pepper to milk mixture and stir until all ingredients well combined. Pour into layered baking dish. 
  • In a seperate bowl, melt 4 TBSP butter in microwave. Remove and add break crumbs, seasoning salt, and parsely. Mix well and layer on top of baking dish.
  • Put in oven and cook for 35 minutes. 

**** CHECK OUT MORE RECIPES HERE!***

Delicious right?! It was creamy and oh so flavorful. I paired mine with some green beans and mmmmm, it was heavenly!

Cheesy Sausage Pasta

Yesterday, I found myself with very few ingredients to cook anything from my recipe list....so, I improvised.  Gotta tell you, it works sometimes!

All I had were hot dog sausages - but you can use any type of hot dog OR sausage; and Gluten-free spiral pasta.  I looked up a couple of recipes online and ended up making up my own. Here's what I did:

INGREDIENTS:

  •  a splash of olive oil
  • one teaspoon of garlic powder- but chopped garlic might be a better bet
  • half  red pepper, finely chopped
  • half an onion, finely chopped
  • Two tomatoes finely chopped
  • 4 hot dogs chopped in small pieces
  • 7oz of heavy cream
  • 16oz of water
  • 1/2 lb of penne, spirals, or whatever pasta you prefer
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • freshly grated Parmesan cheese- to taste, meaning lots... there's no such thing as too much cheese.

 

 

HOW TO PREPARE:

In a large skillet splash enough olive oil to cover the bottom.  Add the onions, garlic, and peppers and saute/mix well until tender.  

Add the hot dogs and mix well.  Cook for a few minutes and add the salt and pepper to taste.  

Add the heavy cream and mix well.

Add the raw pasta and water.  Mix

Cook covered for approximately 15 minutes.  Don't forget to stir occasionally! Especially towards the end.. as the cream thickens, the pasta tends to stick to the bottom.  

Turn off heat and add the Parmesan cheese.  Mix in well.  

Enjoy with some garlic bread or a salad!

Kids will love this, I promise!

Till next week Foodie Friends!

Pasta Chili Bake

This pasta chili bake is the perfect stick-to-your-ribs comfort food. It's easy, the kids love it, and we always have enough left overs for a couple lunches the next day, score! It's one of those meals that you almost always have the ingredients lying around and has therefore rightfully earned it's place in our dinner rotation. 

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 tablespoon of cooking oil
  • 1 yellow onion- chopped
  • 1 green bell pepper- chopped
  • 1 jalapenos - chopped 
  • 1 pound of ground beef
  • 1 tablespoon of minced garlic
  • 2-1/2 tablespoons of chili powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon of cumin
  • 1/4 teaspoon of dried oregano
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 (14.5 ounce) can diced tomatoes
  • 1 (8 ounce) can of tomato sauce
  • 1 (7 ounce) can green chilies
  • 1 (15.5 ounce) can red kidney beans (drain then rinse people!)
  • 1 box medium shell pasta cooked per instructions
  • 1 bag shredded cheddar cheese divided (feel free to shred your own- about 2 cups)
  • Go crazy with toppings- I like a couple sliced green onions and some sour cream but feel free to add your own twist!

Instructions:

  • Preheat oven to 350
  • Saute onions, bell pepper, and jalapeno with your preferred cooking oil adding ground beef after ~4 minutes. Cook thoroughly and drain excess fat. Add spices and mix well.
  • Cook pasta according to package instructions
  • In a large bowl, mix thoroughly meat, pasta, beans, diced tomatoes, pasta sauce, green chilies, and about half of the shredded cheese and put into 13x9 baking dish. Top with remaining cheese.
  • Bake for ~20 minutes until cheese is nice and bubbly

Sidenote: In hindsight I would leave off the green onions and garnish with them after the dish comes out of the oven, otherwise they look all wilty. 

Crockpot Cheese Tortellini with Sausage

This weeks recipe was so easy and delish it has certainly earned it's place in the meal rotation in our household. In addition to being pretty hands off (love a good crock pot meal!) it doesn't require too many ingredients. 

Ingredients:

  • Frozen cheese tortellini- 2 bags (9oz each)
  • 2 cans Italian style diced tomatoes
  • 4 cups chicken broth 
  • 4 oz cream cheese
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 1 lb ground sausage
  • Parmesan cheese (for topping)

How to:

  • Brown sausage on stove
  • Combine all ingredients with the exception of sour cream in crockpot.
  • Cook on low for 1 1/2 hours. 
  • Stir and turn to high for one hour.
  • Stir, add sour cream, leave lid off and let sit on low for additional 30 minutes
  • Top with Parmesan cheese and dig in! 

Doesn't this just look delicious?! 

***GET OUR OTHER RECIPES HERE!

Chicken Wontons

I totally ventured outside of my culinary comfort zone this week with these chicken wontons. They were a little more labor intensive than I usually prefer, not detrimentally so but y'all know me, I love a super quick/easy meal. What is cool about these guys is that you can stuff them with pretty much whatever you have on hand. No chicken? No worries, substitute shrimp, or even beef! My inspiration came from this pinterest find!

Ingredients:

  • 1lb boneless skinless chicken breast
  • 3 green onions
  • shiitake mushrooms (I used 5 oz container)
  • 2 TBSP soy sauce
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 1 TBSP ginger
  • 1/4 tsp white pepper
  • 1 tsp rice vinegar
  • 1 TBSP sesame oil
  • olive oil for frying
  • won tons wrappers (just FYI I found these in the refrigerated portion of the veggie section- I walked aimlessly for 20 minutes trying to find them so I thought I'd save you the hassle)

How to:

  • Cook chicken thoroughly and chop into small pieces. I put mine in the food processor to get it nice and finely cut. 
  • Mix together cooked chicken, sliced (thinly) onions, mushrooms, ginger, white pepper, sesame oil, garlic, soy sauce, mushrooms, rice vinegar and mix together well.
  • Place about a tablespoon of the mixture in the center of a wonton wrapper and fold to side (making a triangle), and seal sides with a small amount of water. 
  • Heat olive oil on stove in saucepan and add wontons once hot. Mine cooked quickly- just a minute on each side. I like them with a little crunch!

Dip in a little soy sauce and you are in wonton heaven! These would make some yummy appetizers to serve with you have guests or for a movie night in at home! 

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Lasagna Roll Ups

Another Pinterest win over here people! These lasagna roll ups are not only mouthwatering, but surprisingly easy AND they look like a million bucks.

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb ground beef
  • 2 cans spaghetti sauce (choose whichever kind you like- or heck- make your own if you are feeling crazy-I used Hunt's onion and garlic)
  • 2 cups Parmesan cheese
  • 2 cups Mozzarella cheese
  • 32 oz container ricotta cheese
  • 1 package lasagna noodles 
  • Garlic salt to taste

Get cookin'!

  • Preheat oven to 350
  • In a large skillet- brown ground beef. I seasoned with garlic salt- a tablespoon should do. 
  • Once ground beef is cooked thoroughly, put in food processor with one can of the chosen spaghetti sauce and mix until thoroughly blended and the meat is semi-pureed. Set aside. 
  • In a large mixing bowl, mix together whole can of ricotta cheese with one cup parmesan cheese and one cup mozzarella cheese and 1-2 tablespoons garlic salt. 
  • Cook lasagna noodles according to package instructions. 
  • Lay cooked lasagna noodles on flat surface. Spread about 2 tablespoons cheese mixture across lasagna noodle. Next add two tablespoons meat mixture and smooth across noodle. Repeat for all lasagna noodles. See below for example:

 

  • In a 13x9 inch baking dish coat the bottom with 1/4 can of spaghetti sauce.
  • Starting at one end, roll up each lasagna noodle and place into baking dish.
  • Top with remaining 3/4 can spaghetti sauce and remaining mozzarella & parmesan. 

 

  • Cook for 25 minutes and enjoy!

These are make great leftovers and make the perfect individual serving size.

Bon appetite! 

 

Chili perfection

This is another recipe I stole from my hubby.  Don't tell him.  He's very proud of himself when he cooks this chili, and he should.  It's spectacular!  

So we all know that Chili is best when you cook it for hours.  Well, this recipe came to live when hubby was craving some chili, NOW - The word patience doesn't exist in my household-. He gave it a try and voila! Chili perfection in under 1 hour.  Here's his secret:

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 lb of ground beef
  • one onion (finely chopped)
  • two cans of diced tomatoes (petite) DO NOT DRAIN
  • two cans of tomato sauce. DO NOT DRAIN
  • two cans of light kidney beans - DRAINED
  • 1 1/2 packs of chili seasoning
  • one lime - squeezed.
  • one bunch of cilantro (finely chopped)
  • red pepper flakes to taste
  • salt and pepper to taste

PREPARATION:

In medium high heat, cook the meat until lightly brown.  In a separate pan, saute the onions until soft, and then add tomatoes, tomato sauce, beans, and the rest of the ingredients. Mix all the ingredients together with the meat in a large pot and bring to a boil.  Reduce heat and simmer for 45 minutes to 1 hour.

Top with scallions and your favorite cheese! enjoy with Saltines.  Maybe cilantro and the lime juice are the secret to this... but believe me when I tell you.  It's DELICIOUS!

***** For more great recipes check out our Fatten Me Up Friday page!!!!!

Please do tell me if you like this recipe! we are always open to comments and suggestions to improve!

Always,

Mia