Friday, January 28, 2011

Week 4-Cheeseburger Paradise Soup

6 medium potatoes, peeled and cubed
1 small carrot, grated
1 small onion, chopped
1/2 cup chopped green pepper
2 Tbsp chopped seeded jalapeno pepper
3 cups water
2 Tbsp + 2 tsp beef bouillon granules
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/8 tsp pepper (I substituted white pepper)
2 lbs ground beef
1/2 lb sliced fresh mushrooms
2 Tbsp butter
5 cups milk, divided
6 Tbsp all-purpose flour
1 pkg (16 oz) process cheese (Velveeta), cubed
Crumbled cooked bacon

In a stockpot, combine the vegetables, jalapeno, water, bouillon, garlic and pepper; bring to a boil. Reduce the heat; cover and simmer for 15-20 minutes or until potatoes are tender

Meanwhile, in a large skillet, cook beef and mushrooms in butter over medium heat until meat is no longer pink; drain. Add to soup. Stir in 4 cups milk; heat through.

Combine flour and remaining milk until smooth; gradually stir into soup. Bring to a boil; cook and stir for 2 minutes or until thickened. Reduce heat; stir in cheese until melted. Garnish with the bacon.

The recipe says it makes 14 servings (about 3 1/2 cups). That is quite wrong!!! I used a 5 quart pan and it was about a half inch from the top! I left out the green pepper and mushrooms.

This soup was amazing!! James liked it as well. It has a little kick to it, probably because I used some white pepper in it too. I like a little spice in my life, so I was OK with it. We have a lot left over so we will be serving it to our parents tomorrow, at my mom's request.

We are going to try to complete a fairly large project tomorrow, replacing our corner shower in our tiny bathroom with a whirlpool tub! We also have to take out the little window near the shower. I'm super excited to finally have a bathtub!! I could have used one about 4 months ago...but what do you do? I'll try to post before and after pics.

On a quick side sister-in-law made the salmon bundles for her family. I don't know about the kids, but her husband really liked them! Also, I made the taco lasagna for a friend to freeze, I'm hoping she will let me know how that turns out as well.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

I think this is week 3??

My baby is already 3 1/2 months old and 16 pounds 2 ounces!! He has grown so quickly! I just can't believe that it took him 9 months to get to 8 pounds 11 ounces, and he has grown so much in just 3 months. This picture is from Christmas...I took several and he was covered in glitter for a couple of days. My tree was full of glittery ornaments and somehow it got all over him! This week he got his second cold and I had to take him to the doctor. They just have me continuing his saline nasal drops (which he hates) and feeding him water after his bottles. He also got his first set of professional pictures taken on Thursday. I can't wait to see them!

Taco Lasagna
1 lb. ground beef
1/2 cup chopped green pepper
1/2 cup chopped onion
2/3 cup water
1 envelope taco seasoning
1 can (15 oz.) black beans, rinsed and drained
1 can (14.5 oz.) Mexican diced tomatoes, undrained
6 flour tortillas (8 inch)
1 can (16 oz.) refried beans
3 cups (12 oz.) shredded Mexican cheese blend
InstructionsIn a large skillet, cook the beef, green pepper and onion over medium heat until meat is no longer pink; drain. Add water and taco seasoning, bring to a boil. Reduce heat; simmer, uncovered for 2 minutes. Stir in the black beans and tomatoes. Simmer, uncovered, for 10 minutes.

Place 2 tortillas in a greased 9x13 inch baking dish. Spread with half of the refried beans and beef mixture, sprinkle with 1 cup cheese. Repeat the layers. Top with remaining tortillas and cheese.

Cover and bake at 350* for 25-30 minutes or until heated through and cheese is melted.

I substituted salsa for Mexican tomatoes (I didn't know what they were).
I also left out green pepper (they make me sick for some reason).
We topped with sour cream, salsa and some of my yummy canned jalapenos.

These were SO GOOD!! James preferred this to the salmon bundles, but he's not really much of a salmon kinda guy. I will definitely make this again...maybe try some green chilies in it?? We'll see.
I also had my first new recipe fail since I started this challenge. I found this recipe that sounded delish....and it probably could have been! However, I didn't realize it only needed 5 oz. of evaporated milk (until I had added the whole 12 oz. can) and completely forgot the taco seasoning (which I didn't realize until I got it to our friends' house with it). I guess I'll wait to post that recipe until I "master" it. It is actually a microwave recipe....and I screwed it up. Sad...I know! It was edible, just had no flavor at all!

Friday, January 14, 2011

Spinach Salmon Bundles....and my "Bundle"

Ok...these were so good I'm doing my review first! AMAZING!! I love salmon and I think this is my new favorite way to eat it! Plus, these are so easy to make (it seriously took me five minutes to assemble two of them).

2 tubes (8 oz. each) crescent rolls
4 salmon fillets
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
1/3 cup garlic-herb cheese spread
1 pkg (10 oz.) frozen chopped spinach, thawed and squeezed dry

InstructionsUnroll crescent dough and separate into 4 rectangles; seal perforations. Place a salmon fillet in the center of each rectangle; sprinkle with salt and pepper (I used Greek Seasoning). Spoon cheese spread over each; top with spinach. Fold dough over filling and pinch edges to seal.

Place on an ungreased baking sheet. Bake at 400* for 20-25 minutes or until golden brown. Serve immediately.
This makes four servings but, can easily be halved and make a lovely dinner for two!
**I will put a little more cheese spread in it next time.**
**I used a 5 oz. fillet that I cut in half.**

We had our first "incident" tonight. I was slicing the carrots for the veggie side and I sliced my fingernail really low right on the top. OUCH!! It just kept bleeding...gross. I have a band-aid (and a kissy from my hubs) now so I think I might be ok.

This little guy is my bundle of joy! He's such a sweetie! He rolled over for the first time this week. It was so funny! He was squawking so I was going to roll him onto his back and he did it himself before I got there. He got a weird look on his face....and started SCREAMING! He scared himself...poor kid! He also giggled for the first time this week. So cute! In other baby news...he figured out how to suck his thumb much to his momma's dismay!! I've been trying very hard to keep it out of his mouth...oh well.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

No Bones Chicken Wing Dip

I found this recipe in one of my Grandma's recent issues of Taste of Home. I realize a lot of my recipes I'm trying are from Taste of Home magazines and cookbooks. I think that the recipes they feature are simpler more "normal" food that I like. I'm what my husband refers to as a "picky eater." I beg to differ...I'm just "particular" about what I like and don't. One thing I LOVE is hot wings. I love hot wing pizza as well...yum! So how about a boneless hot wing dip...I'd love some, thank you!

1-8 oz. pkg cream cheese-softened
16 oz. (2 cups) sour cream
1 cup Bleu Cheese salad dressing
1/2 cup buffalo wing sauce
2 1/2 cups shredded cooked chicken
1-8 oz. block of provolone cheese-shredded

In a large bowl, beat the cream cheese, sour cream, salad dressing and buffalo sauce until blended. Stir in chicken and provolone cheese.

Transfer to a greased 2 quart baking dish. Cover and bake at 350* for 25-30 minutes or until hot and bubbly.

Serve with crackers, carrots and celery. I used tortilla chips...delish!

A few notes:
I used Ranch dressing instead of Bleu Cheese. It made it a little runny so I think I would only use half the amount next time.
For the chicken I bought a couple cans of shredded chicken because I was in a hurry. It probably would be better with actual chicken breast shredded.
Also, I'm kinda "particular" about my wing sauce. I used Franks.
The last note, I mixed it up the night before and refrigerated it. It took about an hour to bake it and then it was in the crock pot about another hour and a half before we ate it. It was good and hot then.

We had a potluck lunch after the morning service at church this week, so I figured they could be my guinea pigs! I forgot to take a picture of it...and there was none left to take a picture of later! It was SO GOOD!! Definitely worth all $15 the ingredients cost me!!

Baby sweet baby boy is 3 months old already! It is just amazing to me how fast he has grown! He has a jump up that he LOVES, and a swing he is outgrowing. He very quickly went from drinking 2 ounces to 7. He loves his grandmas...all 4 of them! The gray haired ones get more of a reaction from him...sorry're gonna have to go gray. He still looks so much like his father, it is sometimes scary! When they are cuddled up on the couch, looking up at me with those big dark eyes...just melts my heart. James started his new job last week at a local implement dealer. So far he likes it. I started working out last week with a couple of girls from church. Waking up at 4:30 am to go to the gym is something I never would have thought would be important to me! Yesterday, I found a sitter for Ian so I could go run...weird. This morning, I got to the gym and realized I left my key at home. So I drug my disappointed butt back home and wearily crawled back into bed...this cannot be a trend! **I live 10 miles from the gym, and have to be home before James goes to work**

Later this week I'm making Salmon Spinach Bundles. I just have to make my way to the Big City to purchase the ingredients.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Runza Pie

This is a recipe I found awhile back. My family loves runzas, and this is a much simpler version. For those of you who don't know what a runza is, it's basically a pizza pocket but instead of pizza toppings has cabbage, meat and cheese. This is a great way to use up some of the left over cabbage from the soup!

Pie crust for double crust pie
1 pound ground beef
1/4 cup (diced)
3 cups cabbage
1/2-1 cup cheese (grated)
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper

*Instead of salt and pepper I use Greek Seasoning.

Brown hamburger in heavy skillet; drain. Combine cabbage, onion, salt and pepper with hamburger. Place lid on skillet and let steam for 15 minutes. While cabbage is cooking, roll out pie dough and line a 9-inch deep dish pie pan. Turn drained meat mixture into lined pie pan. Sprinkle with grated cheese. Cover with top crust. Cut slits in top. Bake in a 425* oven for 35-45 minutes.

*Double recipe works in a 9x13-inch pan.

This reheats really well and is still very flavorful the next day. Also, one of James' (my hubs) favorite recipes....enjoy!

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Week One - Kielbasa Cabbage Soup

3 cups coleslaw mix (I used cabbage)
2 medium carrots, chopped
1/2 cup chopped onion
1/2 cup chopped celery
1/2 teaspoon caraway seeds
2 tablespoons butter
1- 32 ounce carton chicken broth
3/4 to 1 pound smoked kielbasa or Polish sausage, cut into 1/2-inch pieces (I used kielbasa)
2 medium, unpeeled Golden Delicious apples, chopped
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1/8 teaspoon salt

In a large saucepan, saute the coleslaw mix, carrots, onion, celery and caraway seeds in butter for 5-8 minutes or until vegetables are crisp-tender. Stir in remaining ingredients. Bring soup to a boil. Reduce the heat; simmer, uncovered, for 20-30 minutes; stir occasionally.

I had to purchase all the ingredients except butter, salt and pepper. My grocery bill for this dish was $13.18. Also, this recipe is from the Taste of Home Winning Recipes Volume 2 Cookbook and makes a 6 serving meal.

Our Assessment
This was pretty easy to make. Chop veggies, saute, add other stuff and boil....easy! I have a pretty small food comfort zone and the apples made me nervous, but they were great! The soup wasn't the party in my mouth I expected it to be, but it was good. I think it may have needed pork kielbasa or a little more salt. Overall, James said I could make it again. Stay tuned...possibly a better recipe next week!!

Monday, January 3, 2011

New Years Resolution

I made my New Years Resolution this year something I wanted to do and something I might actually be able to succeed at. I thought "I'm kinda sick of spaghetti, what else do I know how to make?" Then my wonderful mother gave me a cookbook for Christmas. Looking through it, I realized there were many recipes I thought I'd like to try, but probably would forget about and never make. Thus, my resolution...a challenge for me, a favor for my husband, a spaghetti free future for my son! The "favor" part might end up to be a bit of a stretch!! I've decided to try at least one new recipe a week this year. My mom suggested a blog, documenting my successes (and monumental fails!). Considering my other goal this year is to run at least one 5K, this may be my best bet for losing weight as well! Hopefully this will be a safe (no burns, cuts, or poisoning incidents), delicious journey to next year!!