Taco Lasagna

August 10, 2011 at 8:26 pm (cooking) (, , , , , , , , , , , , )

Recipe obtained and modified from my fantastic friend Tanya to omit the spice. You can add it back in with adding red pepper flakes and using pepper jack cheese. My family does not handle heat well. (To keep flavor, I also used real veggies and not just dried spices! Huzzah~!) I can handle the heat how Tanya originally made it, but the family cannot, and this turned out just as tasty! I am ecstatic!

Let’s get started!

3/4lb lean ground beef (97%)
3/4lb ground beef (80%)
package of whole wheat tortillas
sour cream
corn (about 1/2 bag of frozen, I used white sweet.)
1 can of black beans
onion powder
garlic salt
red pepper (optional for spice)
enchilada sauce (red) (or optional spicy taco sauce. I know us wimps can handle the mild red enchilada sauce!!)
extra virgin olive oil
1/5 green bell pepper, minced
1/4 medium onion, chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
Monterey Jack cheese (for optional spice, use pepper jack, is delicious!)

Time to cook!

I chose to first get my veggies ready, then I heated up my pan with a little olive oil.

After the pan was nice and warm, (okay, so water sizzled when I flicked it in) I mostly-cooked the veggies, adding some cumin and paprika to them. Next, add the beef and brown it, adding in more cumin and paprika, as well as oregano, garlic salt, and onion powder. You will also want to add some enchilada or taco sauce at this point, cook it in. (Don’t forget, please, that this is all to taste!)

Add about 1/4-1/3c of water. I used 1/4c, since I had used a mix of lean and regular ground beef. 🙂 I like me my beefy goodness! Keep tasting; I wound up adding salt, cumin, and paprika along with some more oregano.

Add in the can of (strained) black beans, and your desired amount of corn. (My mom really likes corn!)

Simmer a bit, keep tasting; I ended up adding more enchilada sauce.

Turn off the stove.

In your casserole dish:
Brush the bottom with olive oil. In order to fix the “bottom tortilla is hard” issue, I also added two generous dollops of sour cream mixed with enchilada sauce. Worked perfectly!!!

Cut some tortillas in half, line bottom of your casserole dish. (works well with any pan style! I had nice straight edges, woot! I think I used 4 tortillas per layer?)

Spread about 1/2 of your meat mixture on top. Pipe on some sour cream. Sprinkle with cheese (again, your choice…mexican mix, pepperjack, or monterey jack…). Add another layer of tortillas. Spread on the remaining half of your meat mixture. Sprinkle with cheese.

((Originally, I added sour cream at this layer, then sprinkled with cheese again. For future batches, I am omitting the sour cream and serving it a la carte because it looks funny. This also means the removal of the second layer of cheese on top, since it becomes kind of redundant, unless you REALLY like cheese.))

Now, you can either stick this directly in the oven, or cover and refridgerate for later.

In any case, oven needs to be headed to 350F. Bake 15-30 minutes or until cheese is melted and the casserole is cooked through.

Om nom nom! (See what I mean about the sour cream looking funny? I’ll just leave it baked in and for the top serve it cold lol)


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Angel Food Cake with Strawberries

April 25, 2011 at 9:53 am (cooking) (, , , , , , , , , )

Let’s face it – we like sweets. We also don’t want to be flabby and overweight.

So when we eat sweets, we feel bad. 😦

How about a luscious cake (or cupcakes!!) that are sweet and delicious and make you happy….all while being low calorie?

Yes, really. It tastes REALLY good. See?

1 box of angel food cake mix, plus whatever else you need. Usually water.
1 box low or non-fat chocolate pudding mix.
Skim milk to make that pudding mix.
Low or Non-Fat cool whip (small tub).
Fresh strawberries.

Mix together equal parts chocolate pudding and cool whip until smooth. Yeah, it’s that easy.

Alrighty. First things first. Do you have an angel food cake pan? No? Borrow one, if possible. Otherwise, you could try a bundt pan or a springform pan, but an angel food cake pan is best.

You could do these as cupcakes, too, but don’t use the little muffin cups. Doesn’t work well, to be honest.

In this method, we tried to make cupcakes, and used the rest of the batter to make a cake in a springform pan. I will say now that the batter fell and wasn’t all fluffy, so this cake is low and dense.

Cupcakes, filled and frosted:

Ideally, you will make this cake in an angel food cake pan, and cool upside down, then release from the pan.

Then, cut it in half horizontally, and dig a trench in the bottom half.

Fill the trench with the frosting and some cut up strawberries. Seal the layer with a little bit of frosting, and place the top back on.

Frost the outside, and decorate with strawberry slices.

Slice and enjoy!

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Blackberry-Lemon Porkchops and Fresh Dressing

April 19, 2011 at 7:43 pm (cooking) (, , , , , , , , , )


Here’s a nice picture of my half-eaten plate, lol:

You’re SO lucky it occurred to me to take a picture lol.


Blackberry-Lemon Sauce Ingredients:
1 tablespoon butter
1/2c low sodium chicken stock
1/2c blackberry jam (seedless)
white pepper (to taste)
kosher salt (to taste)

Pork Chop Ingredients:
1 tablespoon butter
kosher salt
fresh ground black pepper
all spice

Dressing Ingredients:
2 hamburger buns
1 stalk minced celery
either dried minced onion, or mince up some fresh (equal to celery)
low sodium chicken stock
the leftover butter in the pan from the porkchops

First, preheat the oven to 350F, for finishing the pork chops after searing.

Alrighty.  Pork chops.  I heated up the pan, and sprinkled one side of the chops with allspice (go easy on it), rosemary, pepper, and salt. I melted a tablespoon of butter in the pan, browned one side of the chops for about 2minutes I think. While side one cooked, I sprinkled the other with salt, pepper, and rosemary.

Then I browned the other side, didn’t take as long as the first lol. Then I put them on a pan and stuck them in the oven.

For the sauce, I put 1 tablespoon of butter, the stock, and the jam in a pot, then turned the heat on medium. I added lemon juice, salt, and pepper, until I got the flavor I wanted. I brought it to a boil for about a minute, then turned off the burner. I could have just stirred it, but I chose to whisk it. 🙂

I meant to dry out sliced bread and make stuffing mix. Turns out, the loaf of bread had molded. *sighs* Had to toss it. Rather, I grabbed leftover buns from sloppy joe night.

I minced up the celery, and threw it into the pan I used for the porkchops. (Hey, why waste the butter? ) I added minced onion (dried kind, sorry…lol), sage, and thyme. I cooked it until the celery was mostly done, adding a little stock. Then I added the cut up buns and cooked it all through.

I put the sauce on top of the pork chops, added corn on the side (cooked with milk! yum!), and the stuffing on the side as well.

Pretty darn tasty!!!!

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Capellini Pomodoro with Shrimp

April 17, 2011 at 10:19 pm (cooking) (, , , , , , )

My mom’s favorite pasta seems to be capellini pomodoro – if she can order it, she usually will.

And so, I have set out to recreate it, and it’s pretty tasty, even if I DO keep picking out the tomato chunks. (I don’t like the texture.)

8 medium tomatoes, cut into 1/2inch pieces. I just used roma tomatoes. Worked fine 🙂
About 6tbs olive oil… not that I measured
3 cloves of garlic
basil (no idea how much. Until it smelled right)
salt and pepper to taste
shrimp (optional – but be kind to your eaters and de-tail them!)

First, boil water.

While it boils, do your knifework. For me, this takes a while, since I am perpetually chasing a hopeful cat out of the kitchen.

When I put the pasta into the water, I added everything else to a large pan and heated it through.

Once the pasta was done, I drained it and added it to the pan, mixing it in and tossing it.

Then I served it into bowls, garnished with some parsley (parmesan cheese optional!), and a delicous piece of garlic bread! 🙂

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Snickerdoodle Muffins

April 17, 2011 at 9:57 pm (cooking) (, , , , , , , )

Source: http://www.culinaryconcoctionsbypeabody.com/2007/03/16/cookie-conversion/

Saw someone mention this recipe, and it sounded amazingly delicious, so I googled for a recipe. I found this one about three times, so I figured it MUST be good!

And so began my first attempt at making muffins from scratch.

2 sticks unsalted butter (I used salted, didn’t notice a difference.)
1c sugar
2tsp vanilla
2 eggs
3/4 tsp baking soda
3/4 tsp baking powder
3/4 tsp cream of tarter
3/4 tsp nutmeg
1 and 1/4c sour cream
2 and 1/4c all-purpose flour

Also – you will need to mix 1/2c sugar and 1 tbs cinnamon together for rolling the dough in.

Cream together the butter and sugar. Next, add in the vanilla, and one egg at a time, making sure it’s all in there properly.

You’re supposed to mix the dry ingredients together first – I’m lazy and using a mixer, I didn’t.

I dumped in the soda, powder, and nutmeg, and then added 1c flour, 1/2c sour cream. I worked that in, then added 1c flour and 1/2c sour cream. After that was in, I added the last 1/4c of both flour and sour cream.

Next, I sprayed my ice cream scoop with Pam, and scooped out muffins, one at a time, and rolled each in brown sugar before depositing in the little cups. (The recipe source says directly in the pan but my pan is old. Trust me. Cups are good.)

My mix was blobby, just so ya know.

Then, you bake them for 20-22 minutes at 350F. My oven must be wonky, because I wound up baking for closer to 30 min. 🙂

Cool for a few minutes, and enjoy!

Picture time! 😀

From above, they look amazingly like cookies!!!

But they’re not 😀

I will say – mine pulled up at the bottom all funny. And the tops r crunchy on the outside, and soft inside. REALLY delicious!! Definitely a keeper! ♥

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Homemade Cinnamon Rolls & Frosting from Scratch

April 10, 2011 at 12:41 pm (cooking) (, , , , , )

I had a hankering for cinnamon rolls, and so I cruised the internet looking for recipes.

I’m honestly not sure where I found it anymore, I kind of took notes and ran off. So if someone knows the source for these (two different places), please let me know so I can give credit to them!

These recipes came out really well, I was very happy!

Cinnamon Rolls – source: sorry, don’t remember

Frosting – source: sorry T__T.

Dough Ingredients:
2c warm water
2 pkg yeast
1/2c sugar
2 eggs
1tsp salt
1/3c canola oil
6-7c flour  (ended up being 6 and a half cups for me)

Filling Ingredients:
Soft butter
Brown Sugar
Honey (my addition)

Frosting Ingredients:
2c powdered sugar
1 tbs melted butter
1 tsp vanilla
2-4 tablespoons milk (I used skim, hence the butter)

Dissolve the yeast packets in the warm water, add sugar and salt.
Add oil, eggs, and 2c of flour, then beat until smooth.
Add 3c of flour, and knead, adding more flour until you reach the right consistency.
Cover and let it rise for 20 minutes.

Roll dough into a large rectangle – this was where  I remembered “I don’t have a rolling pin” and ended up using a glass Acqua Panna bottle. Lucky me, I remembered to dust the counter (and bottle!) with flour lol!!!

Add butter, brown sugar, and cinnamon. I added butter, then a thick layer of brown sugar, drizzled it with honey, then dusted on the cinnamon.


Then comes the hard part – prying the dough off the counter and rolling it up.

Cut it into the size rolls you want, I suppose. I filled 2 pie dishes with 6 rolls apiece, and I greased the dishes first. This actually helped I think, to pry them out at the end!

Let them rise for 45 minutes. While they do this, preheat the oven to 350F.

After they’ve risen, stick them in the oven (on top of a lined tray…just sayin’.) for 25 minutes, or until golden brown. (Do check them after you pull them out, though… I ended up putting them back in for a while. Tops were done, inside bottom not so much.)

Now, while they bake, you can prepare your frosting!!! Or after. Frosting is easy, I was pleasantly surprised.

Mix the sugar, butter, and vanilla, and add the milk as you stir, until you are barely able to stir. Spread over the nice warm cinnamon rolls. Mmmmmmm

Now. Eat your rolls!!!!

Thank you for looking, hope you enjoy! 😀

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Spaghetti Sauce

February 15, 2011 at 5:43 pm (cooking) (, , , , , , , , , , , , , )

I’m sure by now that you are all tired of seeing me post about spaghetti sauce… I’m sorry, but this is the one that I’ve settled on for perfection. 🙂

1/4 large yellow or sweet onion, diced
3 large cloves of garlic, minced
about 5-7 baby carrots, minced
about 4 medium or large white button mushrooms, if desired
Extra Virgin Olive Oil first cold press is my favorite!
1lb ground beef (the leaner, the better! I usually get 97% lean)
Ocean Spray Cranberry-Pomegranate juice (just a splash! Maybe a quarter cup?)
1 can petite diced tomatoes
1 can tomato sauce
ground sage
Garlic & Herb Mrs. Dash
Lawry’s Garlic Salt
Lawry’s Garlic Powder
Kosher salt
freshly ground black pepper
and don’t tell anyone, but also about 4 or 5 taps of ground ginger

And now for instructions!

I usually put the water for pasta on to boil. It doesn’t matter what kind of pasta you use – Angel Hair, Spaghetti, Penne Rigate, Wheels, Shells, Macaroni, etc.  I prefer Spaghetti 2 or 3. (That’s the thickness of the pasta.) I also cook it past al dente, but not until it’s soggy.

Anyways… Once the water is on to boil, I add a pinch of kosher salt. Now I can ignore it until later.

I dice the onion and mince the garlic and carrots. If I have them, I also slice up some white buttom mushrooms.  Then I heat up my big skillet (any large pan with high sides will do).  I pour a little extra virgin olive oil in – I have an olive-oil dispenser with a spout, so I just drizzle it around the pan a few times. I don’t need to cover the bottom, just add the flavor and keep stuff from sticking.

Then I add in the vegetables, along with a pinch of kosher salt and about 4 grinds of black pepper.

As it starts to cook, I add the cranberry-pomegranate juice. Not a lot.

Once that has cooked down a little, I add in the beef and brown it. As it browns, I usually add oregano, garlic & herb mrs dash, sage, and garlic powder.  I just cover everything. Note I said cover – not coat. Just tap or shake across your cooking vessel evenly and stir as you go!

After the beef has been browned, I add in the can of petite diced tomatos and let it cook a short while.

After a few minutes, I add in the can of tomato sauce, and then start adding oregano, sage, garlic & herb mrs. dash, garlic powder,  pepper, and garlic salt to taste. I also add about 4 taps of ground ginger – that is my super-secret ingredient!!

Then, simmer the sauce for as long as you want! The longer it goes, the thicker it gets. It tends to splatter, so covering it with a screen is useful for keeping your stovetop clean. 🙂

If you want to make marinara, omit the beef and mushrooms, and use a food processor on the onions, garlic, and carrots for an excellent sauce!

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Giant Ginger Cookies

November 15, 2010 at 3:43 pm (cooking) (, , , , )

**This recipe comes from the “Better Homes and Gardens Special Interest Publications’ ‘100 Best Cookies'”, page 8. I didn’t create it, my sister baked them. They were just really delicious!**

***okay, so I DID make two of them massive… like the size of your face.***

Giant Ginger Cookies:
Oven Temp: 350F
Bake – 11 to 13 min (our oven was 13 or 15. I forget.)
4.5c all-purpose flour
4 tsp ground ginger
2 tsp baking soda
1.5 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp ground cloves
.25 tsp salt
1.5c shortening
2c granulated sugar
2 eggs
.5c molasses
.75c coarse sugar crystals (for topping!)

In a medium bowl, combine flour, ginger, baking soda, cloves, and salt.

In a large bowl, beat shortening (with mixer, on med/high for about 30sec). Add the 2c granulated sugar. Beat until mixed together, be sure to get the sides!

Beat together eggs and molasses; beat into the sugar/shortening.

Start to add in the flour mixture.

Place the .75c sugar into a small bowl. Measure out about 2-inch balls (we used an ice cream scoop!). Roll in the sugar to coat, and then place 2.5in apart on a baking sheet. (ungreased works. yay for parchment paper!)

Bake until lightly browned and tops are puffy and cracked. (They will still be moist, chewy, and delicious.)

Cool and enjoy!! they’re REALLY good warm)

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Chicken “Fajitas”

October 5, 2010 at 7:58 pm (cooking) (, , , , , )

So, I’ve been experimenting with new flavors.

What I wish I’d had:
~homemade salsa
~refried beans

What I did have:
~lemon pepper

I sliced two chicken breasts into strips and tossed them into a hot pan with some olive oil and onions.  I sprinkled both sides of the chicken with lemon pepper, garlic salt (a very little bit), garlic powder, cumin, paprika, and parsley.

Then I simply cooked it! I wish I’d had more onion, as well as the other goodies. 😦 But hey, this in tortillas with just a cheese or sour cream was really tasty! Would make a good taco filling, or chicken quesadillas!

Photo op!

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Chicken Noodle Soup!

August 27, 2010 at 8:15 pm (cooking) (, , , , )

The 0nly time that I have made soup…well, it was stew, not soup… making THIS is my first soup!!!

My mom is feeling under the weather, so I thought that I would make her soup to make her feel better. 🙂

Once again, it is a mishmosh of “what’s in the cupboard?”

So I present to you.. my Chicken Noodle Soup!!

Chicken Noodle Soup
2 chicken breasts, cubed
1/4 onion, diced
handful of baby carrots, diced
1/2 container chicken broth
2c water
1/2 juicebox (apple, about 2oz)
little bit of olive oil
regular Mrs. Dash
2 taps ginger
1 tap cumin
2 taps cinnamon
black pepper (if you desire, I need to leave it out next time for my mom’s tastes.)
kosher salt
7 taps Garlic Salt
approx. 2c noodles (I used bowtie)
7 taps dill weed
13 drops of worchestershire sauce
4 taps lemon pepper

First, I did all of my dicing and chopping while I heated up the big pot with a little bit of oil in it.  Then I cooked the chicken, onion, and carrot together with a sprinkling of kosher salt and the pepper.*

*I need to leave out the pepper in future cookings, as it was too spicy for mom.

Once it was cooked, I added the chicken broth, 2cups of water, and messed with spices until I liked the taste. The only thing I didn’t measure was the thyme and sage, sorry!

After I was happy with the taste, I added the noodles, and cooked the soup until the noodles were done.

It was delicious, if a bit spicy. Made 3 large servings.
Photo of leftovers:

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