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Quick Weeknight Meals

18 Jul

A new school year is just around the corner. I went into Walmart and picked up the kids supply list and it made me think of the busy year ahead. Everybody needs quick meals to make during a busy week. Here are a few of our favorites.

Spinach artichoke pasta

Spinach Artichoke Pasta

source: The Pioneer Women

Prep time: 10 min. Cook time: 20 min.

Ingredients

6 Tablespoons Butter
4 cloves Garlic, Finely Minced
2 bags Baby Spinach
2 cans Artichoke Hearts, Drained And Halved
3 Tablespoons Flour
3 cups Milk
1/4 teaspoon Cayenne Pepper
Salt And Pepper, to taste
1/2 cup Grated Parmesan Cheese
1-1/2 cup Mozzarella Or Monterey Jack Cheese, Grated
1/2 cup Chicken Broth (less Or More)
12 ounces, weight Penne, Cooked Until Al Dente
1/2 cup Seasoned Panko Breadcrumbs
Crushed Red Pepper, To Taste

Directions:

 

Melt 2 tablespoons butter in a large pot or skillet. Add garlic and throw in the spinach. Stir it around until it’s wilted, about 1 minute. Remove spinach from heat and set aside.

 

Add 2 tablespoons butter to the same pot and raise the heat to high. Throw in the halved artichokes and stir it around until they get a little color, 1 to 2 minutes. Remove the artichokes from the pot and set them aside.

 

Reduce the heat to low. Add 2 tablespoons butter to the pot. When melted, sprinkle in flour and whisk until it’s combined. Pour in milk and whisk to combine. Let it cook for 3 to 4 minutes, or until starting to thicken. Add Parmesan, Mozzarella/Monterey Jack, salt and pepper, and cayenne pepper. Stir to melt, and if it’s overly thick, splash in chicken broth.

 

Add artichokes and pasta, tossing gently to combine. Gently fold in spinach, then pour the pasta into a serving bowl. Sprinkle the top with crushed red pepper flakes and plenty of Panko breadcrumbs for crunch.

20120804_130

Pizza is one of our favorite meals to eat in this house. You can easily make the dough over the weekend. Split the pizza dough in two equal pieces. Wrap each ball in plastic wrap and place in freezer bag.

When you want to use the dough pull it out about an hour or so before you want to use it or the night before and place it in the refrigerator to defrost. Once defrosted make the pizza as you usually would. If you try and use the dough and its still frozen in the middle, just split it and let it sit out a few minutes more.

Buffalo Chicken Pizza

A Punky original

I use this Pizza Dough recipe.

Ingredients:

A couple of cups of Leftover Chicken, Shredded

1/4 c Franks Red Hot

2TBS unsalted butter

Mozzarella Cheese

1/4 red onion, opitional

blue cheese crumbles, optional

Directions:

Preheat oven to 500° with pizza stone place in the bottom half of the oven.

In a skillet over med heat, put franks red-hot sauce and butter in. Heat just until butter has melted. Add chicken and coat with buffalo sauce. Turn off heat and set aside. Press dough out into a pizza round. Dock center of pizza dough. With a slotted spoon remove chicken from skillet and place on pizza dough. You don’t want to use a lot of the sauce. If you do you will have soggy pizza. Top with Cheeses, and onions. Bake in a 500° oven for 8-10 minutes or until crust and cheese are golden brown.

 

asian noodle salad

 

Asian Noodle Salad and Egg rolls

original salad source: The Pioneer Women

I modified a bit for what I had on hand.

Egg rolls: A Punky original

Ingredients

SALAD INGREDIENTS:

1 package Linguine Noodles, Cooked, Rinsed, And Cooled
1 head Sliced Napa Cabbage (reserve half for egg rolls)
1 small head Sliced Purple Cabbage (reserve half for egg rolls)
1/2 Red Bell Pepper, Sliced Thin
1/2 Green Bell Pepper, Sliced Thin
1 bag Bean Sprouts (reserve half for egg rolls)
Handful of baby carrots,sliced thin (reserve half for egg rolls)

1 Chopped Cilantro, Up To 1 Bunch, To Taste
3 whole Scallions, Sliced (reserve some for the egg rolls)

_____
FOR THE DRESSING:
1 whole Lime, Juiced
8 Tablespoons Olive Oil
8 Tablespoons Soy Sauce
2 Tablespoons (up To 3 Tablespoons) Sesame Oil
1/3 cup Brown Sugar
3 Tablespoons Fresh Ginger Chopped
2 cloves Garlic, Chopped
2 whole Hot Peppers Or Jalapenos, Chopped
Chopped Cilantro

Preparation Instructions

 

Mix salad ingredients together. Whisk dressing ingredients together and pour over salad. Mix with tongs or hands and serve on a platter.

Note: dressing keeps for up to three days before serving, without cilantro.

Egg Rolls

Ingredients:

1 pkg Egg Roll wraps

1 lb ground beef, pork, or turkey

the reserved vegetables from the salad

2 TBS soy sauce

1 tsp sesame oil

2 TBS cooking sherry

1 tsp ground or fresh ginger

2 TBS corn starch

1 TBS oil, to saute vegetables

oil for frying, at least a couple of inches worth

salt and pepper, to taste

little bowl of water, so that you can dip your fingers in to seal the egg rolls

Directions:

In a large skillet brown meat, when done browning drain off fat. Set meat aside. In a measuring cup or bowl mix soy sauce, sesame oil, cooking sherry, ginger and cornstarch. Mix well so that there are no lumps of corn starch.

In the same skillet add 1 TBS oil over medium/high heat. Once oil is hot add vegetables to the skillet. Saute vegetables for a couple of minutes. Add the meat back to the skillet. Pour sauce over meat mixture. Season with salt and pepper as needed. You wont need a lot of salt because of the soy sauce.  Warm for a minute or so. Turn off heat and set aside.

Pull out egg roll wraps from the refrigerator. Spoon 2-3 TBS of filling in the middle of the wrap and seal egg roll with a bit of water on your fingers. In a large heavy bottom pot over medium high heat add a couple of cups of oil, at least enough to go up the side of the egg rolls. Once oil is hot enough, about 350°, place only enough egg rolls in the pot seam side down being careful not to crowd the pot. Fry till golden brown and flip carefully. This doesn’t take very long. Once fried remove from oil and place on a paper towel lined plate.

This can be done ahead of time and you can freeze finished egg rolls. On the evening you want to eat them heat oven to 375° and bake for about 20 minutes or so.

eggrolls

 

 

Eggplant baked pasta

 

Eggplant Baked Pasta

a Punky Orginal

Ingredients:

5 TBS Extra virgin olive oil

1 eggplant, cut into cubes

1/2 box of mini penne pasta (or rotini, penne, ziti, or farfalle pasta)

1 small white onion, diced

3 cloves garlic, minced

1 jar spaghetti sauce

1 tsp dried Italian seasoning

1/4-1/2 tsp red pepper flakes

salt and pepper to taste

1 1/2-2 c. Mozzarella cheese

freshly grated Parmesan cheese

Directions:

Lightly spray a 13×9 baking dish with non stick cooking spray.

Turn on oven to broil.

In a large pot cook pasta according to package until pasta is al dente. Once done drain off water.

In a large skillet over medium heat add olive oil. Once the oil is hot add the diced eggplant and cook for about 10 minutes or until softened. Add onion, garlic and spaghetti sauce and Italian seasoning to the pot. Simmer sauce for about 8 minutes over medium heat, stirring occasionally. Add cooked pasta and about half the cheese to the pot. Stir to combine. Pour pasta into the baking dish. Shred fresh Parmesan cheese and top with remaining mozzarella cheese.

Place in oven and broil just until cheese is nice and brown. Maybe about 5 minutes, watch carefully you don’t want burnt cheese.

Serve with garlic bread.

shrimp fra diavolo

 

Super Quick Shrimp Fra Diavolo

Source: Giada De Laurentiis

as seen on my sisters blog.

Ingredients

1 pound large shrimp, peeled, deveined
1 teaspoon salt, plus additional as needed
1 teaspoon dried crushed red pepper flakes
3 tablespoons olive oil, plus 1 to 2 tablespoons
1 medium white onion, chopped
1 (14 1/2-ounce) can diced tomatoes *I used a 28oz can
1 cup dry white wine *I omitted this because I didn’t have any, you can use chicken broth or omit all together if you use a big can of tomatoes
3 garlic cloves, chopped
1/4 teaspoon dried oregano leaves * I used about 1/2 dried Italian seasoning
3 tablespoon chopped fresh basil leaves

Directions:

 

 Heat the 3 tablespoons oil in a heavy large skillet over medium-high heat, add the red chili flakes to the oil. Add the shrimp and saute for about a minute, add the salt and toss, and continue cooking until just cooked through, about 1 to 2 minutes. Transfer the shrimp to a large plate; set aside. Add the onion to the same skillet, adding 1 to 2 teaspoons of olive oil to the pan, if necessary, and saute until translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the tomatoes with their juices, wine, garlic, and oregano. Simmer until the sauce thickens slightly, about 10 minutes. Return the shrimp and any accumulated juices to the tomato mixture; toss to coat, and cook for about a minute so the flavors meld together. Stir in the parsley and basil. Season with more salt, to taste, and serve.

 

Hope these recipes turn into your “go to” weekly recipes. I know they are ours. Happy eating.

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Busy Quilting

26 Feb

Well it’s been awhile since my last post. Valentines has come and gone and so have two birthdays in my family. This year must be the year of the quilt for me. I started and finished 2 large lap sized quilts. One for my Sister whose birthday was on the 16th and one for my nephew who turned 10 on the 20th. I finished both quilts in the nick of time and they arrived at my sister’s house on her special day.

shane birthday quilt

pattern: Swoon by Camille Roskelley of Thimble Blossoms

each block measures 24″.

fabric: Birds and Berries by Lauren + Jessie Jung for Moda

the grey fabric was Kona Cotton Solid in Steel Colorway

quilt measured about 60″x60″

Here is a shot of my favorite block. I am in love with the purple and orange combination. I also gave free motion quilting a go on some of the pieces. Not the whole quilt….I was too chicken to do that. I love how it turned out, I will definitely be free motion quilting a lot more in the future.

shane favorite block

I loved making this quilt so much that I plan on making a Queen size for my bed. Pattern was really well written and I only used 8 fat quarters along with the Kona Cotton to make a nice size quilt.

Matthew's quilt

Here is the one I made for me nephew using this His favorite color is Red. I used a mix of red, black and grey along with Kona Cotton in White for background and sashing.Here is a picture of the back. I quilted this with simple straight line quilting using my new Singer Quantum Sewing machine that came with an awesome walking foot.

matthew's quilt back

cierra dress

I was also busy sewing a little dress for my daughter for Valentines day. I used some red Hello Kitty fabric that I picked up from Joann’s. She loves her some Hello Kitty. Hee hee who doesn’t?

As you can tell I have been loving sewing on my new machine. I am currently working on a couple other quilts. I will post more about those as soon as I am done and the people have received them. Happy crafting.

Using Thanksgiving Leftovers

26 Nov

I hope that everybody had a wonderful Thanksgiving. Now for the Christmas rush to get everything done. This year I intend on making a lot of gifts…so far I have only put a little tiny dent in my list.
In the meantime, I had to figure out a way to use up turkey leftovers. We spend this Thanksgiving with my friend and her family and they made 2 turkeys. Needless to say there were plenty of leftovers, enough for me to come home with half a turkey. Tonight I decided to make Rotel chicken casserole and use turkey meat instead, it’s a bird right. I have been making this for years. It’s a recipe my mom made when we were younger and I think that she got it from one of her friends. It’s super easy and can be whipped up in no time. Plus it can feed quite a few people depending on how much meat you use.

Rotel Chicken/Turkey Casserole

Ingredients:

Shredded chicken, in this case leftover turkey

2 cans condensed cream of chicken soup

1-2 cans Rotel tomatoes with chilis, * depending on how spicy you like your food*

1 cup chicken broth, or water * if using 2 cans of Rotel you can omit this* It’s just to thin out sauce a bit

8-10 corn tortillas

2-3 cups shredded cheese, in the past I have used Mexican mix, Colby jack, cheddar, Monterey jack

cooking spray or a little bit of oil

Directions:

Pre heat oven to 350°. Prepare a 13×9 baking dish with cooking spray or a light coat of oil. In a medium boil mix, 2 cans of condensed chicken soup, 1 can Rotel and up to 1 cup chicken broth or water.  Stir well, it should be the consistency of thin yogurt or pudding. Spoon a thin layer of the Rotel mixture into the baking dish and spreed evenly making sure to put some sauce in the corners of dish. Place a single layer of corn tortillas in bottom of dish, you may have to break a couple of tortillas in half so that the fit with out too much overlapping. Tortillas can overlap but make sure to put a little of the sauce in between tortilla layers. Next spread a couple spoon fulls of sauce, about 1/3,  on top of tortillas, layer 1/2 of shredded chicken/turkey and 1/3 of cheese, make another layer just like this and top casserole with layer of tortillas, topped with remaining sauce and cheese. Cover with foil and bake for 30 minutes. After 30 minutes remove foil and continue to bake for another 10-20 minutes or until cheese is bubbling evenly across the top and cheese has melted.

If you have any questions please feel free to contact me. This is just a general recipe, I don’t have anything really written down. You know how some recipes are passed down by word of mouth, well that’s how I got this one. Feel free to adjust the levels of any component you just want to make sure that the tortillas are evenly coated because they can get dry and crunchy in the baking process if they don’t have enough Rotel sauce.

Long break…

30 Jul

Sorry about the long break. Lots of things going on here. The kids and I took a vacation that was only supposed to be 2 weeks and ended up on being 3. No complaints here, we had a great time. Lots of great memories made. The first 2 weeks of vacation were spent with my sister and her family in Florida. We spent a lot of time in the kitchen together making lots of great food. And the kids spent lots of time in the swimming pool. The 3rd week of vacation was spent in Georgia with my husband’s family. We were only supposed to be there for one day but my husband ended up being able to take a week off and join us in Georgia. What a great surprise.

Anyway, we’ve been back for a week now but I haven’t taken the time to blog. I turned another year older last week and for my birthday I wanted the salad that my sister had made one night while we were in Florida. I think the dressing and the chicken marinade make the whole dinner awesome. For dessert I made the brownies. I used the recipe that my sister made the night before we left. They are so rich and chocolaty and what makes them even better is a big scoop of vanilla ice cream on top. I’m tell you….to die for.

 

 

Honey Dijon Vinaigrette

1 clove garlic, finely minced

1 Tbsp. Dijon mustard

¼ tsp. kosher salt

Pinch ground black pepper

Good squirt of Honey, depends on how sweet you want it

¼-½ cup white wine vinegar

½ cup extra virgin olive oil

 

Chicken Marinade from Mom Makes

1 1/2 lbs – 2 lbs boneless, skinless chicken breasts, split in half

the zest and juice of one lemon

2 cloves fresh garlic, roughly chopped

fresh thyme 8-10 sprigs

splash of white wine* I omitted because I didn’t have any on hand but I used a couple Tbs of chicken broth

1/4 cup olive oil

kosher salt and pepper to taste

Put all the ingredient inside a plastic ziplock bag, close top of bag and place bag in a pie plate. Put plate in the refrigerator and marinade a couple of hours, flipping the bag half way through. When your ready pull chicken out of bag and grill. Slice and place on top of salad. For my salad I had romaine, spinach, cucumber, carrots, tomato and forgot to put the red onion in but it was still really good.

Fudge Brownies adapted from King Arthur Flour, seen on Mom makes

1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter

2 1/4 cups sugar

4 large eggs

1 1/4 cups Dutch-process cocoa

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon baking powder

1 teaspoon espresso powder

1 tablespoon vanilla extract

1 1/2 cups AP flour

2 cups chocolate chips

Directions –

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease a 9 x 13 inch pan.

2. In a medium saucepan set over low heat, melt the butter, then add the sugar and stir to combine. Return the mixture to the heat briefly, just until it’s hot, but not bubbling; it’ll become shiny looking as you stir it. Heating this mixture a second time will dissolve more of the sugar, which will yield a shiny top crust on your brownies.

3. While the sugar heats a second time, crack the 4 eggs into a bowl, and beat them with cocoa, salt, baking powder, espresso powder, and vanilla till smooth.

4. Add the hot butter/sugar mixture, stirring until smooth.

5. Add the flour and chips, again stirring until smooth. Note: If you want the chips to remain intact in the baked brownies, rather than melting in, let the batter cool in the bowl for about 20 minutes before stirring in the chips.

6. Spoon the batter into a lightly greased 9 x 13 inch pan.

7. Bake the brownies for about 30 minutes, until a cake tester inserted into the center comes out clean, or with just a few moist crumbs clinging to it. The brownies should feel set on the edges, and the center should look very moist, but not uncooked. Remove them from the oven and cool on a rack before cutting and serving.

 

 

A happy Memorial Day…

28 May

with good friends, family my soldier/hero, and pink lemonade cupcakes 🙂 First off I would like to thank all those who serve or have served in the United States Military. Thank you for all you hard work, countless hours of sacrifice and bravery. Without you this country wouldn’t be where it is today. Thank you again. And to my husband who is a SGT in the Army and has served his country for 13 years and counting, thank you for all you do for your family. I love you.

Now on to the cupcakes. What says summer more than Pink Lemonade and of course grilling meat. Today we are having a few friends over to eat and hang out. I am making Carne Asada and Pollo Asada. I will post those recipes soon. Hopefully they turn out great. I kind of “winged it” when it came to the marinade. I will keep you posted. Fingers crossed that it tastes similar to the Carne that I enjoy when I go home during summer vacations. I wanted a nice sweet cupcake and I wanted to make something different. So I surfed the Pinterest site and found a recipe that seemed to scream Summer BBQ. I couldn’t stop tasting the batter. I think that these will be a hit.

I juts love my DIY cake stand made from a dollar tree glass plate and sundae cup. Spray painted with white spray paint from WalMart that was .97 cents and some gorilla glue to hold it in place. Oh yeah and a super cute fabric bow from by stash. Not glued on so that I can change it to coordinate with decor. 🙂

Pink Lemonade Cupcakes with Pink Lemonade buttercream

Ingredients:

For the cupcakes:(adapted from Confections of a foodie Bride)

3/4 cup pink lemonade concentrate, thawed

3/8 cup water * I measured my pink lemonade in  1 cup measuring cup and added water a little more than the cup line. Should be about 9oz of liquid*(or if you want them really tart just measure 9oz of pink lemonade concentrate

White cake mix (homemade or box)…I used box I had one on hand

3 egg whites

2 Tbsp vegetable oil

Directions:

*To make the cupcakes:

In a stand mixer, add the cake mix, egg whites, vegetable oil, and the pink lemonade concentrate. Mix on low for about 30 seconds and then increase to medium speed for 90 seconds (the batter will still be a bit lumpy; take care not to overmix so you don’t end up with dry cupcakes). Fill cupcake liners 2/3 to 3/4 full.  Bake at 350 for about 25 minutes or until a toothpick registers “done” in the center cupcake. Remove the pan from the oven and cook 5 minutes in pan. Remove the cupcakes and cool completely on a baking rack.

Once the cupcakes have cooled, make the icing and ice the cupcakes

*For Frosting: (Heavily Modified from Confessions of a foodie Bride)

3 cups powdered sugar

1 stick unsalted butter, room temp

1/8 tsp salt

3-4 TBS pink lemonade concentrate

1/4 tsp vanilla extract

pink or red food coloring

Directions for frosting:

Combine all ingredients into bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Mix all ingredients til combined then beat on high til frosting is light and fluffy and uniformly pink. Fill piping bag fitted with a 1M tip. Pipe frosting on cupcakes sprinkle with colored sugar. I used yellow sugar and red, pink and white heart candies that I had from valentines day but anything cute will work.

Time flys when you are surfing pinterest

7 May

Well over the past month I have been crafting quit a bit.  I think I can blame most of it on Pinterest. Why didn’t I come up with that idea. Love that site and am totally hooked for sure. Anyway here is just a couple of things that I’ve been inspired to make.

Strawberry Shortcake embroidery. This will eventually be a throw pillow for Cierra’s bed.

Revamping this legging/skirt combo into a skirt with shorts and a matching headband. We got these legging things from Wal-Mart super cheap in the winter but Oklahoma has crazy weather and once we bought her these the weather changed so fast. Now it’s hot and definitely shorts weather. She love skirts. I do plan on making her some super easy and cute skirts and dresses but in the mean time I will be revamping some of her winter clothes and making them more warm weather friendly. I made these this morning in less than an hour. Love instant gratification!

Menu picture frame. Being a stay at home mom one of my many duties is to make good healthy food for my family. With that being said I plan my meals for a 2 week period. Going shopping on or around paydays. I write them down and post the menu on the cluttered with art refrigerator but it never fails 4 times a day I answer the question ” What’s for dinner?” Hopefully this pretty little menu board helps.

Happy crafting or pinterest surfing…or both 🙂

 

The Perfect French Bread

18 Apr

I love bread, especially a nice tender but chewy french bread. I have used many french bread recipes, but this is our favorite thus far.

Super Easy and Super Yummy. This bread also freezes well. It makes two loaves. I love this bread!!!

Click Here for the recipe and instructions on how to shape this loaf.

CVS shopping day

5 Mar

image

Great Deals today!!!

Here’s the breakdown

Trans #1

Soft Soap Bodywash on sale 2/$7 (Reg. $4.50 ea.) get $5.00 ECB’s

used 1 ($1/1) and 1 (.50¢/1) coupons

Venus Razor on sale $9.99 (Reg. $12.79 ea.) get $5.00 ECB’s

used 1 ($2/1) coupon

Olay face wash on sale $3.99 (Reg $5.80)

used 1 Buy one Olay face product and get a body wash free(up to $8.99)

Olay Body wash on sale $6.99  (Reg $7.99ea) Get $2 ECB

Total before sales and coupons: $ 35.58

Total out of Pocket after sales and coupons: $17.39

Got (2) $5 ECB’s and (1) $2 ECB

Transaction #2

4 Bags of 9.9oz M&Ms on sale 2/$6 ($4.19 ea) Buy $12 worth of Candy get $3 ECB

Total before sales: $16.76

Total after sales: $12

Total Out of pocket: $FREE

Used the $12 in ECB’s from last transaction and I still have (1) $3 ECB for next week 🙂

So that’s $52.34 worth of product for $17.39. A total Savings of $34.95 or 67%

Love CVS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Target shopping trip

7 Feb

Well I went with my good friend Donna today to do some shopping at Target. The nearest on is an hour away so I don’t go as often as I would love to go. I miss Target. But I did get great deals today. Love getting clearance items and using coupons, it’s the best. I got my P & G coupon book in the mail the other day, sign up for free and get yours in the mail,  and had to use the Fabreeze coupons today.  Everything for $30 I saved a little more than  $ 22. Pretty good day if you ask me. Hope my tax refund come tomorrow so that I can pay off my truck….so excited to not have to pay a car payment anymore. More money in our pockets for me to do so more bargain shopping 😉

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Items in picture : 2 cans Febreeze air effects, 1 box cake mix, 1 can frosting, 1 bottle Vaseline lotion, 2 bottles Garnier Fructis shampoo, 1 bottle Garnier Fructis conditioner, 2 bottles Jergens lotion, 1 bottle Clean & Clear face wash, 1 bottle Clean & Clear asstringent, 3 bags Halls throat lozenges, 2 Cascade dishwashing tablets(4 pack), 2 Nivea chap stick, 1 Febreeze room air freshener.

Fresh start

6 Feb

Well after almost 2 1/2 years of not blogging I’m back on the blog trail. Welcome to my new and improved blog. A couple of topics you might come across on this blog are craftng, cooking, couponing, photography and everyday life of a mom of three and a wife of a man serving his country in the military. Don’t know how often I will be posting but it’s just cool to know that I’ve started blogging again. I guess I should thank my sister for that.  Thanks for visiting and hope to see you return soon.

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