Just Getting Started

So it has been brought to my attention that I should start blogging about everything that I cook. I do enjoy sharing recipes with everyone, and I love taking pictures of the food I try and make (good, bad, and the ugly), so I decided to give it a shot! At the beginning of the year, I made a goal that I would make at least one new recipe every week. Some weeks I may make more, but for sure one! I’m not going to lie, most of my recipes come from pinterest (I’m a little addicted to the site), but I do have some recipes I’ve gotten from family also that I’d love to try. I’ll update this site once a week (for sure!), maybe more. I’m not promising more than one update a week, mainly because I’m moving in a few weeks, and I’m also planning my wedding (YAY!!!!!). So I can completely promise at least one entry a week, with pictures, and recipe. If you want to follow me on pinterest, you can do that too. I have 4 boards for recipes: drinks, meals, sweets, and recipes I’ve made. I’ve thought about doing one for like appetizers/side dishes…we’ll see how that turns out.

A little about myself: I’m 28 years old, live in Waite Park, MN, and I work full time at an optical lab doing the over night shift. I have one cat, Ragnar, whom I absolutely adore, and I just recently got engaged (wedding date: 6-14-14). My fiance and I love to spend time in the kitchen trying all kinds of different recipes. I also enjoy crafting, photography, reading, playing music ( I play piano and trombone), watching movies, being outside, and roller blading. I’m on Weight Watchers, have been for 4 years now, I am down 40 pounds. I lost 50 my first 8 months, but then thought I could do it on my own and quit going to the meetings, big mistake. I have hypothyroidism and have also had to have emergency surgery to remove my right ovary and Fallopian tube. So losing weight for me is a little more challenging. In all of my recipes, I try to lighten things up a bit to make them a bit more healthy. For instance, I use Fat Free products, light, or just completely substitute something out for something healthier. I’ll usually let you know when I’m doing this in the recipes by adding what I did in parenthesis.

Since We are already starting our 5th week of the new year (I should have started this at the beginning), I don’t have pictures for everything I’ve made, but I do have the recipes! So I will share the recipes I’ve made and my opinion of the recipes for the last 4 weeks here. Yes, I will be sharing recipes for things that I don’t think turned out so well, because lets be honest, we all make things that don’t turn out well haha.

Week One:

Cheesy Chicken and Wild Rice Casserole

  • 3 Tbls Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 1 Med onion, chopped
  • 3 stalks celery, chopped
  • 3 carrots, peeled and chopped
  • 2 Tbls minced garlic
  • 2 Cups shredded (or cubed) cooked chicken breast
  • 2 Cups steamed white rice
  • 16 oz. prepared wild rice (I used a can of it)
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • 1/4 tsp garlic salt

Cheese Sauce

  • 4 Tbls butter
  • 1/4 Cup flour
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper
  • 2 Cups chicken broth
  • 2 Cups shredded cheddar cheese (or any shredded cheese you have)
  1. Preheat oven to 350. Heat oil in a pot over medium high heat. Saute onion, celery and carrots until softened, about 10 minutes.
    Stir in garlic and cook for another minute. Stir in chicken, both rices, salt, pepper, and garlic salt. Reduce heat to low.
  2. To prepare your cheese sauce, start by melting the butter in a medium saucepan over medium high heat. Whisk in your flour, salt and pepper then slowly add the chicken broth, whisking continuously. Keep whisking until its thick and nearly boiling, and then add in your cheese and stir until the cheese is completely melted. Pour the cheese sauce over the rice mixture, mix it all together and then transfer that to a 9×13 baking dish. Top with some additional shredded cheese and bake for 25-30 minutes, or until the cheese is melted through. Makes about 8-10 servings.

This recipe was OMG Delicious!!! My favorite soup is Chicken and Wild Rice, and this tasted EXACTLY like homemade stuff! I think I ate about 3/4 of this myself through out the whole week. It does reheat very nicely in the microwave, which was a HUGE plus for me since I make big meals and then use the leftovers for my lunches at work. This will be made again!

Recipe Adapted from: http://picky-palate.com

Week 2:

Crock Pot Brown Sugar Garlic Chicken

  • 4-5 chicken breasts, cut into chunks
  • 1 Cup packed brown sugar
  • 2/3 Cup Vinegar
  • 1/4 Cup Sprite, 7up, or Sierra Mist (whichever you have handy)
  • 2-3 Tbls minced garlic
  • 2 Tbls soy sauce (I use the light, low sodium kind)
  • 1 tsp black or cayenne pepper (I used black)
  1. Place the chicken in the crock pot.
  2. In a medium sized bowl, mix all remaining ingredients well, and pour over the chicken.
  3. Cook on low for 6-8 hours. Serve over rice or noodles.

So, I love my crock pot. I don’t know what I’d do without it. Since I love Chinese food, and this one sounded a little Asian inspired, I thought it’d be a good thing to try. I was kind of wrong. The chicken came out really dry, so it was hard to tell if it had good flavor. It wasn’t salty, or too vinegary, just dry and bland.

Recipe from: http://ifyouwantgoodfood.blogspot.com

Glazed Carrots

  • 10 medium carrots, sliced 1/2″ thick
  • 1 beef bouillon cube
  • 1 Cup water
  • 2 Tbls butter (I use light butter)
  • 3 Tbls sugar
  • Chopped parsley
  1. In a sauce pan, combine all ingredients except parsley and bring to a boil.
  2. Simmer until carrots are tender and a glaze forms, stirring occasionally.
  3. Garnish with fresh parsley. Serves 10

This recipe I got from my Aunt Lynn, who in turn got it from a cookbook she bought while vacationing in Belize. Before getting this recipe I had been trying to find a new way to eat veggies. I’m on Weight Watchers, so I try to eat a lot of fruits and vegetables, but I’m not a fan of raw veggies. I believe this was the 3rd or 4th recipe I had tried for carrots, and I am in love with this one! I make this almost weekly, and I will eat them all myself. Again, they reheat well, so I don’t have to make them every night. I do have to admit though, my idea of a glaze, and what I keep getting, are not the same. It’s more of a thin sauce, but the carrots have amazing flavor!

Recipe from: Lynn Feldhege’s Belize cookbook

Week Three:

Baked Pork Chops

  • 4 thick pork chops
  • 1 10 oz can Cream of Mushroom Soup (I use Fat Free)
  • 1 1/3 Cup Minute Rice
  • 2 Cups Orange juice
  1. Brown pork chops in a frying pan.
  2. Place Minute Rice and orange juice into a shallow 2 qt. baking dish.
  3. Place the browned pork chops evenly over the orange juice and rice mixture. Pour cream of mushroom soup evenly over the pork chops.
  4. Place in over at 325 and bake for 40-45 minutes.

Okay, I’ll be honest, I have no idea what I was thinking! I knew citrus went well with pork, the rice part seemed a little strange, but I thought Hey! Why not?!….I now know why not. The pork chops weren’t horrible, but the rice was a complete bomb! It was like chewing warm orange juice. And the mixture of the cream of mushroom soup and orange juice was disgusting! This all made me really sad because I had been craving pork chops, in fact I still am. This is what I get when I’m already home from work and searching for a new recipe for pork chops.

Recipe from: http://www.mydailymoment.com

Week Four:

Chicken and Black Bean Enchilada Bake

  • 1 1/2 Cups white rice
  • 2 2/2 Cups cooked, shredded chicken (or cubed)
  • 1  15 oz. can mild green enchilada sauce
  • 1   4oz. can sliced black olives
  • 1/2 Cup sour cream
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • 1/2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1   15 oz. can diced tomatoes
  • 1   15oz can black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 2 Cups shredded cheese (I used Mexican blend)
  1. Preheat oven to 350 and spray a 9×13 baking dish with some non-stick cooking spray.
  2. Cook Rice according to directions.
  3. Place chicken,enchilada sauce, black olives, tomatoes, sour cream, salt, pepper, and cumin in a large bowl, mixing to combine.
  4. Pour cooked rice into the baking dish and layer the black beans over the rice. Pour the chicken mixture over the beans and cover evening with the shredded cheese.
  5. Bake for 30-35 minutes, or until cheese is melted and rice is hot. Makes 6-8 servings

This was an AMAZING recipe! Reheated well, filling, great flavor! This is definitely a great, and easy Mexican style dish to make anytime. I do have to admit though, that ounce sizes I actually used varied from what this recipe called for, and only because I couldn’t find cans of that size, so I used a little more enchilada sauce than it called for and a little more black olives. But it still turned out great, so as long as you can get close, it’s good enough!

Recipe from: http://picky-palate.com

Honey Banana Bread

  • 2 Cups flour
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1/2 Cup applesauce, sugar free or natural
  • 3/4 Cup honey
  • 2 Eggs
  • 3 ripe/overripe bananas
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees, and grease two 9×5 loaf pans. (I used one standard size loaf pan)
  2. Mix together applesauce and honey
  3. Add bananas and eggs to applesauce mixture and mix until well blended.
  4. In a medium bowl, mix together flour, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon. Add to banana mixture and mix just until dry ingredients are moistened. It is very important that you do not just stir in each dry ingredient separate!
  5. Divide batter evenly between two prepared loaf pans, or just dump it all into a regular sized loaf pan.
  6. Bake for 30-40 minutes (2 loaf pans), or 60-65 minutes (for one loaf pan) or until you can insert a toothpick into the center and it comes out clean.
  7. Let bread cool for 5-10 minutes, and then flip onto a wire rack to finish cooling.

This recipe isn’t too bad. I prefer my dad’s recipe for banana bread, but this one would work if I didn’t have everything I needed for his recipe. I also added some chopped walnuts to this recipe, because I don’t think it’s really banana bread without walnuts. The bread is really moist, and I can taste the hint of cinnamon in it, so all in all, a good recipe!

Recipe from: http://www.apinchofjoy.com

Well that gets me all caught up now on recipes. From this point on there will be pictures (however you can go on my facebook page and see pictures of some of these recipes also). This week I’m going to be making Pretzel encrusted chicken breasts with a spicy mustard cheese sauce. The picture looks amazing, so lets hope it turns out as good as it looks!!! Please feel free to leave comments or questions on anything I blog on here. I’ll try to answer the questions right away (I have this blogging site as an app on my phone so I can check it frequently) and I’ll try to make sure I am thorough with the recipes so there isn’t any confusion. Happy Cooking!!!!