New twist on an old classic

Growing up, meatloaf was something my parents made quite often. I’ve never disliked meatloaf, but new ways to make it are always welcome. After my parents divorced and my dad remarried, my step mom made her version of meatloaf. She made hers in the microwave, in a special pan, and it was round. This completely baffled my dad and I, and watching him try to get that first piece out of the round meatloaf pan was definitely entertaining! We just always referred to her meatloaf as “Polish Meatloaf” since she married into a completely German family. She also adds, what I refer to as, a layer of ketchup frosting. It’s really thick, and just a little too much for me. My roommate used to make meatloaf on occasion, and it would be kind of greasy. So really, all of this was making me not want to make meatloaf ever…which to Brandon was okay because he’s not a huge fan of it. I found a recipe awhile ago that I tried, it mixed ground turkey and ground chicken, it wasn’t bad, and he didn’t mind it. But, I want to wow him! I want Brandon to absolutely love everything I make! I know that’s unrealistic, that I will make things that one, or both of us, won’t like, but I don’t like to focus on that haha.

So as I was searching through pinterest (seriously, I’m addicted) I found a new recipe for meatloaf and it included a box of Stove Top Stuffing. Now for me, anything that involves Stove Top is A-OK in my book. I love that stuff! Maybe it’s the memories that it brings up of when I was little and we’d have it for dinner as a treat, or maybe it’s just that good. I’m not really sure what it is, and frankly I don’t care! Haha! So, tonight I made this new meatloaf, and honestly I could have eaten the entire loaf pan! I’ve never felt this way about meatloaf before! I almost don’t want to share it with Brandon when he gets home, but shhh, don’t tell him that. I read some of the reviews for the recipe and they mentioned different things to put on top of the meatloaf, like ketchup/mustard concoctions, adding some brown sugar, really whatever you’d put on normal meatloaf. But one person mentioned BBQ Sauce and I don’t know why I’ve never thought of that before. Brandon made some ribs last week and whipped up some homemade BBQ sauce, which there was a lot of extra of, so I put some of that one top and it was delicious!!!

Without any more rambling, here is the recipe:

Stove Top Stuffing Meatloaf

Ingredients:

  •  1 lb ground meat (beef or turkey)
  • 1 egg
  • 1 Box Stove Top Stuffing
  • 1 Cup Water

Directions:

  1. Mix all ingredients together
  2. Put in loaf pan, bake at 350 for about 45 minutes.

That’s it! So simple!! And seriously so good!!!! Like I said, I could have eaten the whole thing! I used ground turkey, and I didn’t take off the extra .25 pound that you get with the package of ground turkey, I just used the whole 1.25 pounds of it. I made the glazed carrots with this and a baked potato and it was the best dinner I’ve had in awhile!! Please make this and enjoy!!

Also, if any of you make any of the recipes I post, please let me know what you think of them! Any way you’ve changed them, tweaked them, or suggestions! I’d love to hear them!

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Recipe from: http://dancingthroughtheminefield.blogspot.com/2012/03/secret-ingredient-meatloaf.html

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I hate moving

So I absolutely hate moving! I moved a lot while I was younger, so now I just despise it! Even though I moved from the main floor to the second floor, so no packing things into boxes and then trying to remember what boxes go where, just a lot of trips up and down the stairs to put things away as we go. I now live with my fiance, which I couldn’t be happier about! I love having a home with him, and everything is ours. The first time we went grocery shopping I was skipping and all giddy, he thought I was weird, I was just happy to be buying groceries for our apartment.

So anyways, that is why I was MIA for awhile, I was busy moving, and organizing, and cleaning, and making this home. I did still try new recipes though!!! In fact, a couple. I don’t know if I took pictures of them, I might have of some, not of others, but this will be another multiple recipe post. But starting next week everything will be back to normal again 🙂

Lasagna Soup

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb ground beef
  • 3 Cups of beef broth
  • 1 Cup of water
  • 4-5 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 Tbls dried parsley
  • 1 Tbls dried basil
  • 1/2 C. chopped onion
  • 1 (28 oz) can diced tomatoes
  • 1 (6 oz) can tomato paste
  • 1 C. V8
  • 2 C. uncooked shell pasta
  • 1/4 tsp pepper
  • 1/4 tsp salt

Directions:

  1. Mix can of tomatoes and the tomato paste together in the crock pot.
  2. Add beef broth, beef, garlic, parsley, basil, onion, V8, and salt/pepper.
  3. Cover and cook on low 7-8 hours or on high  for 4-5 hours.
  4. With 30 minutes left to cook, add the water and the uncooked pasta to the crock pot. Cover and continue to cook for the last 30 minutes.

This meal was a life saver!!! I made this when I first started to move, and it made a TON of food!!! I used this for my dinner and my lunch pretty much all week. I also topped it off with some shredded cheese. It was amazing, tasted exactly like lasagna!

Recipe from: http://www.familyfreshmeals.com/2012/11/slow-cooker-crockpot-lasagna-soup.html

Cranberry Crock pot Chicken

Ingredients:

  • 4 Boneless, Skinless Chicken breasts
  • 1 can whole berry cranberry
  • 1 pkg dry onion soup mix
  • 8 oz. Catalina dressing

Directions:

  1. Place the chicken breasts in the crock pot, cover, and cook on high for 3 hours.
  2. After the 3 hours are up, drain the juices from the crock pot.
  3. In a bowl, mix together the cranberries, onion soup mix, and the dressing. Pour over the chicken.
  4. Cook on high, covered, for a half hour. And you’re done!

This was SUPER easy and so delicious!!! I wish I would have made more! I had never heard of Catalina dressing before this recipe, but the combination of the dressing, the soup mix, and the cranberries was amazing, and honestly, I don’t like cranberries….at all!

**In the picture is also the glazed carrots from my first post 🙂

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Recipe from:http://thefrugalgirls.com/2009/08/crockpot-cranberry-chicken.html

Butterfinger Dessert

Ingredients:

  • 1 Angel Food Cake (prepared)
  • 1 oz. box Fat Free, Sugar Free Instant Vanilla Pudding
  • 16 oz Fat Free Cool Whip
  • 4 regular sized butterfingers
  • 1 1/2 Cups Skim Milk

Directions:

  1. Tear the angel food cake into bite size pieces and place into a bowl.
  2. In another bowl, mix the pudding and the milk together. Once the pudding starts to thicken, mix in the cool whip.
  3. Crush the butterfingers.
  4. In a 9×13 cake pan, place half of the angel food cake pieces on the bottom of the pan, cover with half of the pudding mix and 2 of the crushed butterfingers over the pudding mix. Repeat the layers again. Chill until ready to serve.

I made this for Valentine’s Day for dessert. Brandon always makes a HUGE extravagant meal, and I usually make the dessert. This year he made crab legs, shrimp, a spinach, strawberry and apple salad, and 3 cheese mashed potatoes. I was so full after dinner I was very thankful that this dessert is so light, but oh so delicious. Brandon said I can make this again, and not just on a holiday. The best thing about this dessert for me was that it’s actually a Weight Watchers recipe, so I knew how many points it was going to be, which was nice considering dinner was not point friendly haha.

Recipe from: http://www.food.com/recipe/butterfinger-dessert-weight-watchers-4-ww-pts-295092

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My Valentine and I…yes we got all dressed up just to eat dinner at home, and I loved it!!!

Pretzel Crusted Chicken with Spicy Mustard Cheese Sauce

Every sporting event I go to, I need a soft pretzel with cheese. Every time I walk past the Pretzel Maker in the mall, I have the urge to buy a soft pretzel with cheese, I don’t always give in, but I do have to fight really hard to just walk away. See the trend? I love pretzels with cheese! So with my logic, chicken covered in crushed pretzels with a spicy mustard cheese sauce sounded amazing!!! And I was right…I tweaked the recipe slightly, so I’ll type it up how it is written, and then I’ll add what I changed at the bottom.

Ingredients: 

  • 2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • 6 oz crushed pretzels
  • salt and pepper
  • 2 eggs
  • vegetable oil
  • 1 Tbls butter
  • 1 Tbls flour
  • 1 Cup milk
  • 1 Tbls spicy mustard
  • 2 Cups shredded cheddar cheese

Directions:

  1. Completely butterfly the chicken breasts so you end up with 4 thinner breasts. One at a time, put the chicken between some wax paper and flatten it slightly with a mallet.
  2. Put the pretzels into a food processor until you have fine crumbs. Put the crumbs into a shallow dish and season with salt and pepper. In another shallow dish, beat the eggs.
  3. In a large saute pan,over medium high heat, heat up the oil. Make sure there is about an 1/8″ of oil on the bottom of the pan.
  4. Dip each chicken breast into the pretzels, then into the eggs, and back into the pretzels. Make sure they are covered well. Place the chicken into the hot oil in the pan and cook until the pretzels are browned and the chicken is cooked. It should only take about 3-4 minutes on each side.
  5. Meanwhile, in a saucepan, melt the butter. Whisk in the flour and cook for about 1 minute. Add the milk and the mustard and cook until just slightly thickened. Stir in the cheese, season with salt and pepper if needed.
  6. Serve the chicken with the sauce over it. Serves 4.

Seriously, this could have been easier had I listened to all of the instructions. I didn’t butterfly my chicken breasts, big mistake. DO NOT SKIP THIS! I thought I’d take a short cut…I didn’t. I browned the pretzels, and then realized, that because frozen chicken breasts are always massive (seriously, where are these huge chickens they are coming from?!) the chicken wasn’t cooking. So I just browned the chicken and then baked them at 400 for about 25 minutes. It still worked just fine, chicken was juicy and it was good, but I seriously need to learn how to follow directions. Also, I didn’t flatten the breasts at all, again, don’t skip this step!! I don’t have a meat tenderizer, not a good excuse, but it’s all I have.

Also, I didn’t use 6 ounces of pretzels, it was about 4 and I still had some left over. I didn’t add more salt to the salted pretzels, because that just seemed redundant, but I do wish I would have seasoned the chicken more than I did. I served this dish with mashed potatoes, and used the cheese sauce over those too, also
delicious! When reheating though, just like everything that’s breaded, the breading gets a little soggy, but its still really good!!! Happy cooking!!!

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Next week I believe I’m going to be trying a Crock Pot recipe, Cranberry Chicken, or possibly Crock Pot Lasagna Soup….not sure which one yet. Anyone think one sounds better than the other?

 

Recipe Adapted From: http://jujugoodnews.com

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!!!!