Friday, January 28, 2011

Shredded Pork Carnitas

Okay, my understanding is that carnitas are street tacos, I could be totally wrong though. I am always looking for new pork recipes, I can only make pork chops so many times. This recipe seemed easy enough and it turned out pretty well. I got the recipe from A Blog About Food.

1 1/2 lb. boneless pork loin roast (the smallest one I could find was 2 lbs.)
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
8 garlic cloves minced
cooking spray
1/2 cup water
2 cups chicken broth

Rub pork with salt, pepper and garlic. Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Coat pan with cooking spray. Add pork; cook three minutes on each side or until browned. Transfer pork to a 5-quart round electric slow cooker coated with cooking spray. Add stock to pan, scraping to loosen browned bits; cook 2 minutes. Pour stock mixture over pork; add water. Cover and cook on LOW 8 hours or until tender.
Remove pork from slow cooker, and place in a medium bowl.* Pour broth into a medium skillet. Bring to a boil over high heat; boil 5 minutes or until reduced to 2/3 cup.
While broth reduces, shred pork using 2 forks. Stir in broth reduction.
Serve in warmed flour tortillas, top with salsa verde and sour cream.

*Okay, I followed the recipe up until this point. I didn't reduce the remaining liquid and add it to the pork. After shredding the pork I added a bit of mild green enchilada sauce to it. I was pleased with how it turned out.

Pico de Gallo

I love this stuff! I had it once at Costa Vida and loved it. When I decided I was making shredded pork carnitas tonight, I knew I wanted to have pico with it. When I found out how simple it was to make I was surprised, and best of all it tasted exactly like the kind Costa Vida serves. Perfect! I got the recipe from Taste Every Season and adapted it to fit my preferences.

2 firm Roma tomatoes
1/2 of a medium onion
1 jalapeno
1 small bunch of cilantro
juice of 1/2 a lime

*Basically you want to have equal parts tomato and onion and jalapeno(if you like heat). I am not a fan of heat so I only used one jalapeno and took out the seeds and the ribs and the pico was nice and mild.

Dice tomatoes and onions. You want them in nice little same-sized pieces. For a mild pico take out the seeds and ribs of the jalapeno and dice. If you like it spicy, leave the seeds. Again, you want nice little pieces. Gently mix together tomatoes, onions, and jalapeno. Tear steams off of cilantro. I am not a huge fan of cilantro so I didn't add all that much. Just do what looks good to you. Give the cilantro a rough chop, then add to the bowl. Squeeze juice of 1/2 a lime over the mixture and salt to taste.

Serves 2-4.

Serve with tortilla chips or in any Mexican dish. Enjoy!

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Super Easy Chicken Drumsticks

I have to admit, I had a huge fear of cooking chicken legs.  I am fine cooking chicken breasts, tenderloins, or even a whole chicken, but I had never made chicken legs before.  Oh my goodness, it was so easy!  They turned out so good!  I think my husband ate like 6.  We had no leftovers.  He loved them so much I am having to make them for dinner again tonight.   There are only a few ingredients, but it tastes amazing!



1 pack of chicken legs

olive oil

Lawry’s seasoning salt


McCormick Grill Mates chicken rub (or whatever poultry seasoning you like)



Rinse chicken legs with cold water and pat dry.  Put chicken legs in a large mixing bowl,  drizzle with olive oil, and add seasonings to your taste.  Toss to coat thoroughly.  Line a baking sheet with tin foil and place drumsticks on pan.  Cook at 400 for 1 – 1 1/2 hours, turning chicken legs occasionally to ensure even cooking. 

That’s it!  I told you, super easy.  Make them tonight, your husband will love you!  I served mine with a simple salad and some garlic bread that I made with Garlic Bread Seasoning

This is the poultry seasoning that we like in our house.

grill mates chicken rub.ashx


DSC_0256 (2)

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Beef Stew

So, this recipe was good, but not great.  I didn’t care for the tomato flavor, to me it tasted more like a vegetable beef soup rather than beef stew.  Nate, however, loved it, and he is not a soup kind of guy.  I got the recipe from For the Love of Cooking.


1 lb. stew meat

1 yellow onion, chopped into large pieces

6 cloves of garlic, minced

1 Tbsp. olive oil

1 can diced tomatoes

1-2 tsp. dried thyme

1 bay leaf

1 tsp. garlic powder

salt and pepper to taste

6 cups of beef broth

1 cup carrots, diced

1/2 cup celery, diced

1 cup red potatoes, diced with the skin on



Preheat oven to 250 degrees (you can also use stove top or crock-pot). In large cast iron (or baking pot) heat olive oil. Add stew meat and onion and cook for about 5 minutes. Add garlic and cook for 30 seconds before adding tomatoes, seasonings and stock. Cover and cook in the oven (on stove top or in crock-pot) for at least 4 hours. Remove pot from oven place on stove top over medium heat.
Add vegetables (carrots, celery, and onion)  to the stew and add more beef broth if low. Taste and add seasonings if needed. Cover and cook for 1 1/2 - 2 hours.

* I added a slurry of cornstarch and beef broth to thicken it the last little bit of cooking.

Strawberry Spritzer

This was delicious!  I took dinner over to my in-laws on Sunday and I served this drink.  It was gone in minutes, I wish I would have doubled this recipe.  I got the recipe from Taste of Home.


2 L of lemon-lime soda

1 (12 oz.) can of pink lemonade concentrate, thawed

10 oz. frozen sweetened strawberries, thawed



Place the strawberries in a blender; cover and process until pureed. Pour into a pitcher; stir in the soda and lemonade concentrate. Serve immediately.   Makes 8 servings.

I forgot to take a picture, so this photos is from Taste of Home.


Monday, January 24, 2011

Herbed Chicken and Tomatoes with Pasta

This was dinner tonight and it was good!  Best thing about it is how easy it is to throw together, it’s great for a weeknight meal.  I found the original recipe at Dinner for Dollars.


1 lb. boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into pieces  or you could substitute chicken tenderloins

2 (14.5 oz.) cans Italian seasoned diced tomatoes

1 envelope Lipton’s savory herb with garlic soup mix (found right next to the dry onion soup mix0

your choice of pasta

shredded parmesan cheese



Combine chicken, tomatoes, and soup mixture in your crock pot.   Cook on low for 5-6 hours.  Serve over hot cooked pasta and top with some cheese.  It’s just that easy! 

I really enjoyed this recipe, my house smelled so good while it was cooking!  Crock pot meals are not always my favorite, but I will definitely be making this one again.


Saturday, January 22, 2011

Beef and Broccoli

My most favorite Asian dish is beef and broccoli, I absolutely love it!  Growing up when my family would order Chinese food I would always claim the broccoli from the beef and broccoli, I could eat this broccoli all day! I got the recipe at Dinner for Dollars, the only thing I changed was just that I added less sugar.


1 lb boneless sirloin steak, cut into thin strips                                           2 Tbsp. cornstarch
1 3/4 cup beef broth
2 Tbsp. soy sauce
1 Tbsp. brown sugar ( I only added half a Tbsp.)
1 clove fresh garlic, minced
4 cups fresh broccoli


In a medium size bowl stir together cornstarch, beef broth, soy sauce and brown sugar; set aside.   In a large nonstick skillet fry beef over med-high heat until cooked and drain off any fat. Add in the garlic and continue to saute. Add broccoli and saute for an additional minute. Add your sauce and cook and stir until the sauce thickens. Great served over hot white rice!

If you like a lot of sauce, you may want to double.  This recipe serves 4.

Sorry the pictures are so dark, we didn’t eat dinner until 9pm so I had no light!




Nate wanted me to post this photo to prove that he does help cook on occasion.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Easy Breakfast Casserole

Made this for dinner last night, I totally forgot to take a picture though. This is a super simple recipe, you can add or substitute different ingredients to make it the way your family will enjoy it most! This recipe is for an 8x8 casserole

8 oz. frozen shredded hashbrowns, thawed
1/2 lb. bacon (you could also use sausage)
1/2 medium onion, diced
1/2 green pepper, diced
5 eggs
1/3 cup milk
1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese (optional)

Cook and crumble bacon. Saute onion and green pepper. In a large bowl mix hashbrowns, bacon, onion, green pepper, salt and pepper, and mix well. Pour mixture into a greased 8X8" baking dish. In a bowl whisk eggs and milk. Pour egg and milk mixture evenly over the hasbrown mixture. Bake uncovered for 50-60 minutes. If you are wanting cheese over the casserole, add 10 minutes prior to casserole being done.
Casserole is done when knife inserted in the middle comes out clean.

I personally don't like cheese with my eggs, so we didn't add any cheese. If you like cheese you could add it to the hashbrown mixture and then you'll have cheese throughout the casserole.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Teriyaki Chicken and Noodles

Oh man, we had this for dinner tonight.  So good!  Both Nate and I really enjoyed it.


4 chicken breast tenders

½ bag extra wide egg noodles

½ green pepper, julienned

¼ onion, julienned

6 baby carrots, julienned

2 cloves garlic, finely minced

1 cup chicken broth

2 Tbsp. cornstarch

1 cup plus 3 Tbsp. Lawry’s teriyaki marinade

1/8 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes (optional)



Marinate chicken breasts in 1 cup Lawry’s teriyaki marinade for 2 hours before cooking. Start cooking chicken in a large skillet. Halfway through cooking add green pepper, onion, carrots, and garlic. Meanwhile, cook egg noodles until al dente, then drain and keep warm. In a bowl mix chicken broth, cornstarch, and 3 Tbsp. Lawry’s teriyaki sauce and add to skillet once chicken and veggies are cooked. Turn down heat to low and reduce sauce by half, stirring occasionally. If you are adding red pepper flakes, do so now. Once sauce has reduced, serve over noodles, or you can add noodles to skillet and toss to coat.

Serves 2.


I had my chicken over noodles.



Nate had his noodles tossed with the sauce.



Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Easy Taquitos

Nate requests this dinner at least every other week. He loves these! He's been asking for them for several weeks now, so I guess I'll give in and make them. They are so simple and the leftovers hold up really well. Nate loves being able to take the leftovers to work. Per his request, I'm posting the recipe. I usually serve these with a salad and some salsa, sour cream, and bean dip to dip the taquitos in.

1 lb. ground beef*
1 packet taco seasoning and the water it requires (Nate likes the Taco Bell brand best)
1/2 medium onion, diced
1/2 green pepper, diced
taco sauce (Nate like the Taco Bell brand best)
small tortillas, corn or flour
1-2 cups shredded cheddar jack cheese

Brown and crumble the ground beef and season with taco seasoning packet and the water it requires. A few minutes before the beef is finished, add the diced onion and the dice green pepper and finish cooking. Warm tortillas so they are easy to work with. On each tortilla, layer some of the ground beef mixture, a little taco sauce, and top with shredded cheese and roll up. Keep these on the bottom third of the tortilla so that it will be easier to roll up. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil. Place rolled taquitos seam side down on baking sheet. Bake at 375 for 20-25 minutes or until the cheese is completely melted. Serve hot!

*You could totally make these with shredded beef from a leftover roast or with shredded chicken. I've done both and they turn out great.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Cheesy Garlic Bread Swirls

So I was recently diagnosed with diabetes, so I really need to limit my intake of carbs and sugar. I have been doing really well. However, today I was so craving carbs. I gave in and made these Cheesy Garlic Bread Swirls from Our Best Bites. Oh man, they are really really good. Nate said he liked them better than regular garlic bread. Long story short, I'll probably need to take some extra insulin, but these babies are worth it!


French Bread Dough-
1 Tbsp. yeast
1 1/2 c. warm water
1 1/2 Tbsp. sugar
1 tsp. salt
4-5 1/2 c. flour
3 Tbsp. vegetable oil
1 egg yolk

Garlic Butter-
1/2 c. (1 stick) of real butter, no substitutions
1 1/2 Tbsp. garlic bread seasoning (recipe posted previously on our blog)
Shredded mozzarella cheese

Combine yeast, water, and sugar in large mixing bowl and allow to stand 10 minutes or until bubbly. Add salt, vegetable oil, and egg yolk (set white aside for
later) and combine. Add 3 c. flour and mix well until combined. Add enough remaining flour to make a soft dough that barely sticks to your finger. Knead, either by hand or in mixer for another 2-3 minutes. Cover and allow to rise 1 hour. While dough is rising, combine butter and garlic bread seasoning. Set aside. Anyway, roll your rough into a rectangle that's about 18-20 inches by 6 inches. Smear garlic butter over the entire surface of the dough and then sprinkle with cheese. Roll up jelly-roll style and then use dental floss to cut into 12 equal slices. Place
each slice in a muffin tin. Cover with a clean cloth. Preheat oven
to 350 and allow rolls to rise while the oven is heating. When the oven is ready, bake for 18-22 minutes. You're going to need to keep a CLOSE eye on these puppies during the last 10 minutes or so--once you notice the cheese getting brown, place a sheet of aluminum foil over the rolls (you don't need to press it down or anything, just lay it on top). This will keep the cheese from burning, although it will get
pretty brown on top. It's okay, though, because the insides are still all ooey-gooey.
Serve immediately.

Here is my before...

and after..

Parkerhouse Rolls

These are probably the best rolls in the whole world. This is my Grandma Olson's recipe. I was in charge of rolls for Thanksgiving with my family last year. My sister just about threw a fit when I didn't make this recipe. I usually make the Pantry Secrets recipe, you can't beat rolls that only take an hour start to finish. These take long time, but they are so so good.

1 cup milk, scalded (hot but not boiling, gets a little film on top)
¼ cup shortening
¼ cup sugar
1 tsp. salt
1 envelope yeast (my Grandma always uses Fleischmann's)
¼ cup lukewarm water
1 well beaten egg
3 ½ cups all-purpose flour or bread flour

Add shortening, sugar, and salt to milk and let cool until lukewarm. Dissolve yeast in water and add mixture and egg to milk. Gradually stir in flour and beat vigorously in mixer with dough hook. Cover and let rise in a warm place until dough has doubled in size, about 2 hours. Turn dough out onto lightly floured surface. This recipe makes a nice soft dough, not sticky. Shape rolls and cover and let rise again until doubled in size, about an hour. Bake at 400 for 10-12 minutes.

*You can decrease sugar and shortening to 2 Tbsp. each for a less sweet dough.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Butternut Squash Soup

This recipe comes from Alisha.


* 2 tablespoons butter
* 1 small onion, chopped
* 1 stalk celery, chopped
* 1 medium carrot, chopped
* 2 medium potatoes, cubed
* 1 medium butternut squash - peeled, seeded, and cubed
* 1 (32 fluid ounce) container chicken stock
* salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste


1. Melt the butter in a large pot, and cook the onion, celery, carrot, potatoes, and squash 5 minutes, or until lightly browned. Pour in enough of the chicken stock to cover vegetables. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low, cover pot, and simmer 40 minutes, or until all vegetables are tender.
2. Transfer the soup to a blender, and blend until smooth. Return to pot, and mix in any remaining stock to attain desired consistency. Season with salt and pepper.

*****I did add garlic in with the butter in the beginning. Also you could add orzo pasta when you serve the soup. (I doubled the recipe and would only use 3 small potatoes not 4.************

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Simple Orzo Pilaf

I made this last night to go along with an oven roasted turkey tenderloin and green beans. I got the recipe and photo from Mel's Kitchen Cafe. Both Nate and I really liked it. Nate had leftovers today at work and he said they were still good.

3 1/2 cups low-sodium chicken broth
1 pound orzo pasta
4 green onions, thinly sliced
1 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese (I didn't want the extra calories so I left this out)
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Salt to taste

In a large saucepan, bring the broth to a boil over medium-high heat. Stir in the orzo and reduce the heat to medium-low. Simmer the orzo and broth uncovered, stirring now and then to prevent sticking on the bottom of the pot, about 8-10 minutes, until the orzo is tender. The orzo mixture should be thick and syrupy when it is finished cooking – not dry. If it seems as though the orzo isn’t finished cooking but looks dry, add 1/4 cup chicken broth and continue to cook. When the orzo is tender, remove the pot from the heat. Stir in the green onions and cheese. Add the pepper and additional salt to taste, if needed. Garnish with additional green onions and serve immediately! The dish has a tendency to become a bit dry the longer it sits so make haste and serve as quickly as can be!

*her picture looks better than mine, so this photo is from her site

Friday, January 7, 2011

Kentucky Biscuits

I’ve been playing around with biscuit recipes for a couple weeks.  Most of them call for buttermilk, which I don’t normally have on hand.  This recipe doesn’t need buttermilk which I liked.  Nate really likes KFC’s biscuits and this recipe is from the KFC website.  I was a little concerned about the amount of salt, so I reduced it, and I’m glad I did.  I wouldn’t say these taste exactly like KFC’s biscuits, but they were pretty good.


1 1/2 cups flour
3/4  tsp. salt
1 Tbsp. sugar
1 Tbsp. baking powder
2/3 cup milk
1/3 cup vegetable shortening



Preheat oven to 425ºF. Sift together flour, salt, sugar and baking powder into mixing bowl. Make a well in the flour mix and add the milk. Add shortening and begin kneading with hands (to cut in) the vegetable shortening and flour in the milk until thoroughly mixed. Add milk, if needed to form, and mix. Turn onto floured board, and knead gently 6 to 8 times. Pat dough to 1/2-inch thickness. Cut into biscuits. Place on baking sheet and brown in oven 10-13 minutes. Makes about 9 biscuits.

*I don’t have a biscuit cutter so I just shaped them by hand. 


Chicken Fried Steak

Nathan LOVES chicken fried steak.  He has wanted me to make it forever.  However, I have a fear of frying things.  I don’t want to get burned and I don’t want my whole apartment smelling like grease.  So I have put off making him some chicken fried steak.  Nate has been so good lately about supporting my desire of trying new recipes and suggesting ideas for our weekly menu.  I just couldn’t turn him down this time, so I finally gave in and made chicken fried steak tonight.  This recipe was adapted from Alton Brown on Food Network.  I cannot stand his show, but this recipe was really highly rated.  You can find the original recipe here.


1 pound beef cube steaks

Lawry’s seasoned salt

freshly ground black pepper

1 cup all-purpose flour

2 whole eggs, beaten

vegetable oil



Season both sides of each steak with salt and pepper.  Place flour in a large flat dish, place beaten eggs in a separate dish.  I season my flour with additional salt and pepper.   Dredge the meat into the flour and then into the eggs and then into the flour again.  Do this with all the steaks.  

Place the meat onto a plate and allow it to sit for 10 to 15 minutes before cooking.

Pour enough oil into skillet to cover the bottom.  Heat oil over medium-high heat.  Once oil is hot add meat, but don’t overcrowd the pan.  Cook each side for about 4 minutes, or until golden brown.

Remove from oil.  Place on paper towel lined plate to absorb excess oil.  Serve hot.

*this picture is from Food Network’s website

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Cowboy Spaghetti

This was really good. Nate isn't a huge pasta fan so I thought he might like this. It is a nice variation on classic spaghetti. The sauce has a nice beefy undertone versus the herb flavors of normal spaghetti sauce. Nate loved the bacon. This recipe comes from Taste and Tell.

1 pound spaghetti
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
3 slices bacon, chopped
1 pound ground sirloin
1 medium onion, chopped
3 to 4 garlic cloves, chopped
ground black pepper
2 teaspoons hot sauce
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1/2 cup beef stock
1 (14-ounce) can chopped or crushed fire roasted tomatoes (I couldn't find fire roasted, so I just used plain crushed tomatoes)
1 (16-ounce) can tomato sauce
8 ounces sharp cheddar
4 scallions, chopped

Heat a pot of water to a boil. Add spaghetti and salt the water. Cook to al dente or with a bite to it.
Heat a deep skillet over medium-high heat. Add extra-virgin olive oil and bacon. Brown and crisp bacon, 5 minutes, remove with a slotted spoon. Drain off a little excess fat if necessary. Leave just enough to coat the bottom of the skillet. Add beef and crumble it as it browns, 3 to 4 minutes. Add onions, garlic and stir into meat. Season the meat with salt and pepper, hot sauce and Worcestershire. Add 1/2 cup beef stock and deglaze the pan. Cook 5 to 6 minutes more then stir in tomatoes and tomato sauce.
Add hot spaghetti to meat and sauce and combine. Adjust seasonings and serve up pasta in shallow bowls. Grate some cheese over the pasta and sprinkle with scallions. Garnish with crisp bacon. Serves 4-6.

This picture is from Taste and Tell.