Monday, January 31, 2011

Oh please!!

I am not one to vent on the internet, I prefer to keep it in, tell a person or two, be told its all good and move on. But tonight, it just aint happen. I am ready to punch something!
I really do love my job, I promise, but sometimes, I just want to take some parents and knock some sense into them. I know that being a parent can be stressful, and when you have a sick little one it can be even worse, but that does not give you the right to take out your crabbyness out on the staff that are trying to help your child get better. Granted at 3 AM we are all not in top shape and feeling as chipper as when we started 10 hours ago, but we are still helping you and your family. All we ask is for a bit of appreciation for the work that we are doing to help you get home quicker. I don't appreciate being told that I need to have an attitude adjustment when I am not the one throwing a fit over every little thing and yelling at everyone that comes into the room. I am sorry your child is sick and we cant give you the answers that you want to hear this second. I am sorry that you are sick of having a sick child and you are probably tired and just want a break. I am trying to do all I can within my power to make your stay pleasant. If you dont want help, then why the heck did you come at one in the morning if you know we wont do anything?!??! I mean really!

Some people really need to take a step back and see what is really causing the problem before they go yelling and pointing fingers at others. Totally not cool in my book and I do not appreciate it at all! If you dont like the service, go somewhere else!!

*Photo courtesy of goggle*

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Soup anyone?

The last day or two I have loved the weather, highs in the 40's and only a light jacket required. But unfortunatly, winter is not over yet. Today it is getting a bit cooler and snow is on the way. What better way to warm up then by having some soup? I will be honest, I am not a big fan of soup, I dont really know why, but I just dont really care for it. I will eat soup out of a bread bowl on occasion but that is about it. I know I know, I am weird, but oh well.
One other food that I dont really care for is steak. Yes you read right, I dont really like steak. My family has been trying to convince me for years to like it, but it just wont happen. When my mom would make steak for dinner she would make either a piece of chicken or a hamburger for me bc I would not eat it. My husband is a lover of steak and I feel bad that I dont cook it for him. Every once in awhile he will buy a steak and eat it when I am not home. Poor guy, depriving him of some good meat apparently. :)
So with not being a fan of soup or steak, one would think I am nuts for trying this soup, but lets be honest, I am 25 and need to start expanding my palate, or so my husband tells me I need too..... Well I decided to take a chance of liking it and made the soup, and it was actually not too bad.

Slow Cooker Steak and Pasta Soup

1 lb boneless beef round steak, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
1 jar (26 to 28 oz) marinara sauce
2 1/2 cups water
1 package (9 oz) refrigerated cheese-filled ravioli
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese

In 3 1/2- to 4-quart slow cooker, mix beef, marinara sauce and water.
Cover; cook on Low heat setting 8 to 10 hours.
Stir in ravioli. Increase heat setting to High. Cover; cook 20 to 30 minutes until ravioli are tender. Sprinkle individual servings with cheese.
Makes 5 servings

**** So I didnt use the marinara sauce like it calls for, I just did a can of spaghetti sauce that had some basil seasonings added to it. I did the full amount of what it called for, and we will have leftovers but not too much that we wont eat.**
I am not going to lie, I liked the soup. I added probably more cheese than I should have to my bowl but I do love me some cheese! I think when I eat it again I will have a nice piece of garlic bread to go with it. What do you think?

I didnt take a picture of mine, it didnt look very pretty so I borrowed a picture again from Betty Crocker.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Dinner and Dessert!!!

Does this not look AMAZING and make you want to eat it all right now?!?!?!?!

So trying to eat healthy can be hard sometimes. One thing that I totally love is fresh hot gooey chocolate chip cookies. The best part is the cookie dough!! So as I am trying to be good I was bound and determined to find a recipe for cookies that were somewhat more healthy than my favorite recipe. I searched the web for a recipe and they were all the same, use sour cream and applesauce. I have used applesauce before and they were not too bad. So after some convincing from my husband, I made them late one night a few days ago. And really, they are not all that bad. They are lacking a little bit of the sweet taste of the cookies that I love, but they do the job. I must say I think that next time I will not use so much of the sour cream, but they totally work and curb my craving for the sweet cookie.
Here is the recipe I used, try it and let me know what you think

Better for you Chocolate Chip Cookies

3 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
1/2 cup fat-free sour cream
3/4 cup sugar
1 cup packed brown sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla
2 egg whites
12 oz chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Combine applesauce, sour cream, sugar, brown sugar, vanilla and egg whites. Then add flour, baking soda, and salt and mix until well combined. Stir in chocolate chips.

Place teaspoon sized cookies on a cookie sheet that has been sprayed with cooking spray. Bake for 9 to 11 minutes or until edges are golden brown.

** These cookies worked for my needs. I cooked mine just about 10 minutes and the edges were crunchy and the centers nice and soft. The recipe suggest adding walnuts and pecans but neither I nor my husband are fans, so I left them out. Not bad for being called low fat!

Here is one more picture to tempt you.........

So for dinner tonight I made another Crock-Pot meal. I tell ya, I am loving it!
This recipe combines some of my favorite things, meat, bread, cheese, and pasta sauce! Perfect for a day when I want something warm and gooey.

Slow Cooker Open-Face Turkey Parmigiana Sandwiches

4 turkey thighs (about 3 1/2 pounds), skin removed
1 can (6 ounces) Italian-style tomato paste
1 can (15 ounces) Italian-style tomato sauce
14 slices frozen Parmesan-flavor Texas toast from two 11.25-ounce packages
2 cups shredded Italian-style cheese blend (8 ounces)

Place turkey in 3 1/2- to 4-quart slow cooker. Top with tomato paste and tomato sauce.
Cover and cook on low heat setting 8 to 10 hours.
Remove turkey from cooker; place on cutting board. Remove bones using 2 forks; discard. Pull turkey into large chunks; gently stir into sauce in cooker.
Set oven control to broil. Place Texas toast on broiler pan rack. Broil with tops 4 to 6 inches from heat 1 1/2 minutes on each side or until golden brown. To serve, spoon about 1/2 cup turkey mixture over each toast slice and top with about 2 tablespoons cheese.

Makes 14 sandwiches

**** So a few things that I did a bit differently. I could not find turkey thighs anywhere. When I asked around it seems like I had to buy a whole turkey. So I spent a bit more money and bought some lean turkey breasts. I also didn't use all that they called for since I am only cooking for 2 people. I used just regular spaghetti sauce in place of the marinara.
Even though I only used 4 small turkey breasts and half the marinara sauce called for we still have a TON left over. Good thing it is so delicious!
The recipe also suggests that instead of putting it on bread use it over noodles. I am sure that would be amazing as well, might have to try it with leftovers.****

Here is a pic I took before I totally devoured it! SOOO good!

Dinner recipe courtesy of Betty Crocker

What are you having for dinner tonight?

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Meals 3 and 4

So I have made two more new things for dinner but have not found the time or the motivation to post either of them. I would rather go to the gym and work out of spend time with my husband than blog. But I am going to be better, I promise! I have at least 4 more recipes that I want to try in the next week or so and I cant wait to share them!
So last night I had an unexpected day off so I decided to try this pasta recipe. I LOVE any kind of pasta. Growing up the favorite thing to eat for Sunday lunch at my house was noodles with butter and a little bit of grated cheese. I still eat this now, sometimes a few times a week. My husband things I am totally weird, but who cares! The top shelf in one of my cupboards is all pasta...... what can I say, I cant live without it! So with that, here is what I made last night.

Penne with Mushroom-Tomato-Cream Sauce

2 2/3 cups uncooked penne pasta (8 oz)
3 oz pancetta or 4 strips bacon, chopped*
1 tablespoon olive or vegetable oil
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
8 oz crimini mushrooms, sliced
1 can (28 oz) Muir Glen® organic crushed tomatoes with basil, undrained
1/2 cup whipping cream
2 cups packed fresh baby spinach leaves

Cook and drain pasta as directed on box. Return to saucepan; keep warm.
Meanwhile, in 12-inch skillet or Dutch oven, cook pancetta over medium heat until crisp. Remove pancetta to paper towels to drain. In same skillet, heat oil over medium heat. Cook garlic and mushrooms in oil 3 to 4 minutes, stirring frequently, until mushrooms are tender. Stir in tomatoes. Heat to boiling. Reduce heat; simmer 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Stir in whipping cream; heat just until hot. Stir in pasta.
Add spinach; toss until spinach is wilted. Sprinkle individual servings with pancetta.
Makes 5 servings of 1 1/3 cups each

*** So I did not use mushrooms, not a huge fan of them or the texture, but if you love them, I am sure it would taste great! I used bacon because it is cheaper and instead of putting it on top I mixed it in with the pasta and sauce. If you want more of the bacon taste, I would use a few more strips of it. I also didnt have any spinach which I was sad about, but it still tasted good. I really like this recipe, it didnt take much time at all to make and we have tons left over for leftovers! Hooray!****

I took a picture of this meal. I know it doesnt look amazing, but I promise, it tastes amazing!!

Growing up my mom loved her crock pot, at least once a week we had a meal from it. It is so easy and I am starting to try more recipes that involve the use of the crockpot.
This recipe was super easy and only took 5 ingredients, a double hooray

Slow Cooker Meatball and Gravy Sandwiches

2 medium onions, sliced
2 packages (12 ounces each) frozen cooked Swedish-style meatballs
2 jars (12 ounces each) beef gravy
1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
8 hoagie buns (about 7 inches long)

Place onions in 3 1/2- to 4-quart slow cooker. Add frozen meatballs and gravy.
Cover and cook on low heat setting 8 to 10 hours.
Stir nutmeg into meatball mixture. Cut hoagie buns horizontally almost in half. Place 6 meatballs in each bun. Top with gravy.
Makes 8 sandwiches

** With only having to cook for 2 people I only used one bag of meatballs and I and one and a half jars of the gravy. Make sure to mix all of the ingredients together before you start cooking or your onions will all end up on the bottom and you wont taste them. We found that toasting the buns made the sandwiches a bit easier to eat, and adding a little cheese makes is great! Even though I used half of the meat we still had a ton of left over. We have used the meat and sauce over rice and noodles and it is super yummy.**

I didnt take a pic of this one, so I borrowed the picture that is one the Betty Crocker website.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Cooking day two

So dinner number two turned out pretty well. I invited my friend and her two girls for dinner for this meal and the girls ate it up! I made a huge pan and by the time we were done eating there was only a small portion left over. No leftovers for us! This recipe is easy and so good!

Creamy Chicken and Ham bake

1 can (10 3/4 oz) condensed reduced-sodium cream of chicken soup
1/2 cup light sour cream
1 lb chicken breast tenders (not breaded)
1 package (2.5 oz) thinly sliced smoked ham, coarsely chopped
1 teaspoon parsley flakes

Heat oven to 325°F. Spray 11x7-inch (2-quart) glass baking dish with cooking spray. In small bowl, mix soup and sour cream. Arrange chicken in single layer in baking dish. Top with ham. Spoon soup mixture evenly over the top.
Bake uncovered about 1 hour or until chicken is no longer pink in center. Sprinkle with parsley

***So the recipe said it serves four, but I think it could feed at least 6 people maybe 7. I used frozen chicken tenders and used a 9x13 pan. I am a cheese lover so after the ham I put some shredded cheese on. I also used deli style ham and just cut it up. On the top of mine I also used some bread crumbs to soak up some of the moisture. It turned out well, I think next time I will use a little bit less sour cream, I found that mine had too much liquid.***

Again I did not take a pic of mine as I was pulling it out of the oven as my guests came to the door so here is a picture for the Betty Crocker website. Try it tonight, you wont be sorry!

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Food and the New Year

So we have been married for almost a year now, and man time sure does fly. I was thinking back to our wedding day and I cant believe how many details are still so clear. I wish I could relive that day over and over again. It truely was the best day of my life to date.

I have recently taken a step back in my life and looked at how I have performed as a wife and the head woman in our household. Sure I do the cleaning and the laundry and the grocery shopping, but the area that I seem to lack in is cooking. When we first got married I was excited to be able to cook for more that just one person and to be able to use the many recipes that I have collected over the years. I did good for the first few months, and then it died. I got a job that didn't end at 5 at night Monday through Friday and worked crazy hours. Needless to say my husband ended up eating a lot of whatever he could find on nights when I was working or even when I was home and was too tired to put something together. He has been good to prepare some meals, he makes some killer good fried chicken and pork chops. I am thankful that he is ok with not having a meal on the table when he gets home from work, that he is ok with eating sandwiches and leftovers etc. But beginning a new year I decided that this all needed to change, for the better!
I still work nights and odd hours, but only three days a week. My goal is to have leftovers for those nights when we cant eat together and other good things on hand that we can throw together if necessary. I have spent hours upon hours pouring over blogs and recipe books trying to find recipes that will work for our crazy schedules and my picky palate. The other day I made a massive shopping list, scoured the ads and planned a menu for two weeks of new recipes. We went grocery shopping yesterday and made our first new meal last night. It turned out well and my husband told me it was a keeper recipe. Score one for me!!!
I have had a few requests to post those recipes and to start a food blog. It sounds like a good idea, but lets be honest, I dont know if I can handle two blogs at the moment. So for now I will post the recipes here and see how it goes. My goal is to post the recipe and thoughts the next day for those to see. Hopefully I can stick to that goal. And readers, let me know what you think too! I would love to know who is reading my blog.

For dinner last night I made a something that I found of the Betty Crocker website called Super-Easy Chicken Manicotti. I didnt take a picture of my finished product so I found a picture of it on their website. It looks soo good!

Super-Easy Chicken Manicotti

1 jar (25.5 oz) Muir Glen organic pasta sauce (any variety)
3/4 cup water
1 teaspoon garlic salt
1 1/2 lb uncooked chicken breast tenders (not breaded)
14 uncooked manicotti shells (8 oz)
2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese (8 oz)
Chopped fresh basil leaves, if desired

Heat oven to 350°F. In medium bowl, mix pasta sauce and water. Spread about 1/3 of the pasta sauce mixture in ungreased 13x9-inch (3-quart) glass baking dish.
Sprinkle garlic salt on chicken. Insert chicken into uncooked manicotti shells, stuffing from each end of shell to fill if necessary. Place shells on pasta sauce in baking dish. Pour remaining pasta sauce evenly over shells, covering completely. Cover with foil.
Bake about 1 hour or until chicken is no longer pink in center and shells are tender. Sprinkle with cheese. Bake uncovered about 5 minutes or until cheese is melted. Sprinkle with basil.
Makes 7 servings

*** So a few side notes, I only made half this recipe since it me and my husband wont eat it all.
I did not use the pasta sauce that they used, I just used a simple Hunt's Spaghetti sauce with Garlic, and it turned out great!
I started out with my chicken frozen and by the time I made the dish it was mostly thawed, but I had a hard time fitting it in those little shells. I ended up cutting the chicken into pieces and putting them in that way, and it still turns out just fine. Make sure to really coat the chicken as well as it will give it more flavoring.
Overall I give this dish a 8 out of 10. It could use some more flavor, but that is something I plan to do next time. A good weekday meal for busy people!

Now onto dessert! My favorite all time thing to make! I can not tell you how many blogs I follow on baking and how much time is spent drooling over the things that are posted and then bookmarked to make one day. The one that I made last night was super easy, and incorporated two of my husband's favorite things, brownies and Oreos. So I decided to give it a try. *** Even if you dont think you can bake, you can totally do this one!**

I found this recipe on a blog called Picky Palate. A perfect site for me, since I am super picky sometimes! The actual link is this: You should totally check it out!

Brownie Covered Oreos

1 Brownie mix (or use your own brownie recipe)
1 package Oreos
White chocolate, melted for drizzle, or Wilton White frosting pen works great
White nonpariels Sprinkles

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
2. Prepare brownie batter according to package directions. Leave in mixing bowl. 3. Dip Oreos in brownie batter then place in bottom of cupcake tins that have been generously sprayed with cooking spray.
4. Bake for 12-15 minutes, until brownies are cooked through (doesn’t take long).
5. As soon as you remove, take a plastic knife and run along edges, (this is VERY important so you get the cookie out with brownies not stuck to pan
6. Let cool for 5 minutes, remove drizzle with melted white chocolate or the Wilton White icing pen, sprinkle with nonpariels and EAT! Enjoy

Makes entire package of Oreos

*** On the original blog she posted what pan she used and hers look more like little cookies, mine they turned out like flat muffins, but I am not complaining. I just used a regular sized muffin tin. Make sure to WELL grease the pan each time, they do stick. I also was cheap and did not buy the sprinkles of the white chocolate to drizzle. We had some cream cheese frosting that we just spread on top to add some more flavor. I am also too cheap to buy the name brand Oreos, so I made mine with the off brand, Duos, and they worked just as well.

I give this recipe and 10 out of 10. It does take some time as you can only cook 12 at a time, but it is totally worth it. When I make them again I want to try another flavor of Oreos. one with mint or something.

Again I didnt not take a picture of mine, but I think her's look better anyway, so I borrowed a picture from her blog.

Try these and let me know what you think
From our family to yours,

** Image found on Google