Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Beef Stew Attempt #2

Okay, so I have been working to perfect beef stew. I made a batch a few weeks ago but it was a little too tomato-y for my taste. So this time I tried a different recipe. Nate loved it, he gave it a 10 out of 10. For me it was missing a little something. I wanted the stew part to be richer. However, I loved the way the beef turned out. It was so flavorful and so tender. I am going to keep the beef portion of the recipe, but continue to try to work out the sauce portion. I found this recipe at Anna Can Cook. I just changed a few things.

2 Tbsp. vegetable oil
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 Tbsp. garlic powder
salt and pepper
2 bay leaves
1 lb. stew meat
1 onion, chopped
4 large potatoes, peeled and diced
3 carrots, sliced
1 stalk celery, diced
3 (14.5 oz.) cans of beef broth
3 Tbsp. cold water

In a large ziploc bag, thoroughly mix the flour, garlic powder, salt and pepper. Set aside 3 Tbsp. of flour mixture for later use. Add stew meat and shake until well coated. Heat vegetable oil in a large pot over medium-high heat. In small batches brown the coated beef, about 1 minutes per side. Once beef is finished, remove and set aside.

Turn heat down to medium and add onion to pot. Cook onions until tender, about 5 minutes.

Return beef to pot with the onions and pour in the beef broth. Stir to combine and bring mixture to a boil. Add bay leaf. Turn heat down to low, cover pot and let simmer for 1 1/2 hours, stirring occasionally.

Bring stew back to a boil and add potatoes, carrots, and celery. Mix the 3 Tbsp. of reserved flour mixture with 3 Tbsp. of cold water. Whisk thoroughly and then slowly add to stew, stirring continually to thicken stew.

Turn heat back down to low, cover with lid and cook an additional 40 minutes, or until vegetable are tender.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011


One of Justin's favorite treats are Eclairs. I was going to buy him some for Valentine's Day, but figured if I made them, it would mean so much more to him! Pretty sure I won best wife ever award for making them and Justin keeps asking when I am going to make more! So delicious and so easy! I do have to say though, I did not know that they would get so big! Mine turned out huge! I made ten huge eclairs. Next time, I will make them much smaller and I will get so many more, probably about 20-40. I got this recipe from



1 c. water
1/2 c. butter
1 c. flour
4 eggs

Bring to rolling boil water and butter. Take off heat. Add flour and stir with spoon until ball can be formed. Add eggs. Beat like crazy. Mix until dough is very stiff; otherwise it will run all over pan. Drop by full teaspoons onto a cookie sheet for individual serving; put in a circular ring or in a strip.
Bake 45-50 minutes at 400°F. Cool out of draft.


2 pkg. instant French vanilla pudding
2-1/2 c. milk
1 (8 oz.) container Cool Whip
1 tsp. vanilla

Mix pudding and milk. Mix well. Fold in Cool Whip and vanilla. Slice eclair in half and fill generously with entire amount of filling. Replace top of eclair. Drizzle top of eclair with Chocolate Sauce.


6 oz. semi-sweet chocolate chips
1-1/3 c. canned (evaporated) milk
1/2 c. butter
2 c. powdered sugar
1 tsp. vanilla extract

Melt chocolate chips and butter together. Gradually add milk and powdered sugar. Bring to boil. Stir continuously. Boil for 8 minutes. Remove from heat and add vanilla extract.
Makes 3/4 quart.

Lunch Ideas

Okay girls, I need a favor. I need some fun, easy, and quick lunch ideas. I am so tired of having sandwiches, salads, and leftovers everyday. I'd love some great ideas. Even if you have a salad or sandwich idea, let me know! It might be something I haven't had before. Ideally I'd like something diabetes friendly (low-carb and low-sugar), but I will take any and all suggestions! Thanks!

Chicken and Rotel Enchiladas

I know cute Jenni posted a recipe for chicken enchiladas, but here is another version for you. It is super simple and doesn't take too long to prepare. This recipe makes 5 really full enchiladas in an 8x8" baking dish. You could easily get 8 regular size enchiladas and use a 9x13" dish. It would also be really yummy to add diced green bell peppers and onions.

1 lb. chicken breasts or tenderloins
1 can Rotel brand tomatoes
1 can cream of chicken soup
2 cups shredded cheddar jack cheese
5 large flour tortillas (we like the ones you cook yourselves)
Taco Bell mild sauce (you can find it in the salsa aisle)
2 (8 oz.) cans of plain tomato sauce
salt and pepper

Boil chicken in salted water. Once done cooking shred chicken with two forks. In a large skillet add shredded chicken and a couple tablespoons of the Taco Bell sauce. Cook over medium heat until the chicken absorbs the majority of the sauce. Remove from heat.
In a mixing bowl, mix together the cream of chicken soup, rotel tomatoes, and shredded chicken.
If you are using the raw tortillas, cook them now.
In a small mixing bowl, combine tomato sauce and a few tablespoons of the Taco Bell sauce. Add as much or as little of the taco sauce as you want, depending on your preference. Pour enough sauce into the bottom of the baking dish to coat it well.
Stuff the enchiladas with the chicken mixture and cheese. You could also add some of the sauce if you like.
Fill the pan with enchiladas and pour sauce over the top. I usually have a little bit of sauce left over, but if you like them really saucy, go ahead and use it all.
Bake covered at 350 for 30 minutes. Remove cover and top with remaining cheese and cook an additional 10 minutes or until cheese is melted.

These are really filling, so I usually serve them with just a light green salad. Enjoy!

Monday, February 21, 2011

Dijon Marinated Pork Tenderloin

I made this probably a week and a half ago. I can't remember the exact measurements so I'm just wingin' it. You may need to adjust.

1 lb. pork tenderloin
2 Tbsp. Dijon mustard
1 Tbsp. soy sauce
1 Tbsp. Worcestershire sauce
3 Tbsp. olive oil
1 clove garlic, finely minced
1/2 onion, chopped
Lawry's seasoned pepper

Mix marinade until well combined and pour over pork tenderloin. Let marinate 2 hours. Cook pork at 350 for 45-60 minutes. Let rest for 5-10 minutes before slicing.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Chicken Cordon Bleu

I adapted this recipe from one I saw at Kuki's Kookbook. I haven't always been a fan of chicken cordon bleu, but I really really enjoyed this version.

4 chicken breasts
8 slices deli ham
4 slices Swiss cheese, cut into strips
3 Tbsp. butter, melted
1 cup cornflakes, crushed
Lawry's seasoning salt
poultry seasoning

Rinse chicken with cold water and pat dry. Butterfly chicken breasts. Season well with seasoning salt, pepper, and poultry seasoning on both sides. Place ham and cheese inside of chicken. Roll up and seal with toothpicks if needed. Dip chicken in melted butter, then into cornflake crumbs. Bake chicken at 400 for 45-50 minutes.

Butterfinger Cake

Again, I can't remember where I found this recipe. I am going through my saved recipes and found this. I've made it a few times and it was a crowd-pleaser.

1 yellow cake mix and eggs, oil, and water required on box
1 can sweetened condensed milk
1 jar caramel topping
3-4 Butterfinger candy bars
whipped topping

Bake the cake according the box's directions in a 9x13" pan. While cake is hot, poke holes all over. Mix together sweetened condensed milk and caramel and pour over cake. Crush up the candy bars and spread evenly over the top. Allow to cool and refrigerate. Once completely cool, top with whipped topping.

Peanut Butter Balls

I can't remember where I came across this recipe. If you've seen it somewhere, let me know. I want to give credit where credit is due! I made these to dip at our annual chocolate dipping party. The only form of peanut butter my husband will eat is Reese's. He loved these!

1 cube soft margarine
2 cups peanut butter
3-4 cups powdered sugar
milk chocolate chips, melted

Mix margarine, peanut butter, and powdered sugar together. It should be a nice smooth consistency, not too crumbly, and not too oily. Adjust the powdered sugar as needed. Shape into small balls then dip into melted chocolate.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Baked Ravioli

Since Nate gets home so late in the evening we didn't want to go out to dinner tonight. We went out on Saturday instead. I still wanted to do something special for Valentine's Day so we had ourselves an Italian feast. Nate's parents came over for dinner so I made a 9x13" pan and we still had tons leftover, I will definitely half this recipe next time.

Cheesy Baked Ravioli

Okay, not a real recipe, just the basic idea. Cook your ravioli until almost done, it will finish cooking in the oven. I also browned some ground beef and half an onion to add to my pasta sauce. Basically you make a ravioli lasagna, layer your favorite sauce, 1/2 the ravioli, then some shredded mozzarella cheese. Repeat and top with remaining sauce. Bake uncovered for 30. Add some more cheese to the top and cook 10 more minutes or until cheese is melted. That's it!

*Warning, this is the worst picture ever! I promise it tasted way better than it looks!

Monday, February 7, 2011

Chicken Wings

Oh man, does my husband love wings! I think he loves me even more now that I can make wings for him. I made these yesterday while we were at my mom's for dinner. I made 4 lbs. of wings and my mom at one, my sister ate two, and Nate and my brother Josh ate the rest. No leftovers! Nate ranked these a 9.5 out of 10. I am pleased that they turned out so well since it was my first time making wings. I hope your family loves these too! I found a recipe that looked promising from BlogChef and I adapted for Nate's taste.

For the water-
4 lbs. chicken wings
1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
3 teaspoons Lawry's seasoned salt (you can use regular salt too)

For the sauce-
1/2 cup Frank’s Red Hot Sauce
5 Tbsp. vegetable oil
1/2 teaspoon granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon Lawry's seasoned pepper (you can use regular black pepper too)
1 Tbsp. Worcestershire sauce
1/2 egg yolk
1 teaspoon water
1 teaspoon cornstarch

Rinse wings with cold water and pat dry. Fill a large pot halfway with water, add seasoned salt and red pepper flakes. Cover and bring to a boil, then add the wings and boil for 15 minutes.
Mix together hot sauce, oil, sugar, garlic powder, seasoned pepper, and Worcestershire sauce. Heat over medium in a sauce pan until it comes to a boil. Turn down the heat and let the sauce simmer for about 5 minutes, stirring often. Remove sauce from heat. In a bowl combine cornstarch, water, and egg yolk, whisking well until all combined. Pour the sauce mixture into the cornstarch mixture very slowly, whisking the whole time. Make sure everything is well combined.
After the wings have finished boiling for 15 minutes, place the wings on a baking sheet covered with tin foil and sprayed thoroughly with cooking spray. Place your oven rack on the second from the top spot. Broil the wing for 15 minutes. Remove wings from oven and flip them, then broil for another 15 minutes*.
Once the wings are done place them in a large mixing bowl and toss them with the sauce to evenly coat them.

*I was worried when I saw that they needed to broil for 30 minutes. I have never broiled anything so long in my life. I was worried about burning so I kept my oven rack one below the top. My wings turned out perfect. The skin was nice and crispy, but not at all burned.

Sorry for no picture, they were eaten way too fast. However, my husband assures me that I will be making these again soon, so I will try and take a picture next time!

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Chicken Filling for Lettuce Wraps

Oh man, these turned out so good! Our next door neighbors just had a baby boy and I took them dinner Sunday night. I wanted to bring something that others wouldn't be bringing. I figured they probably had people bring things like soup or lasagna or chicken and potatoes, so I wanted to do something different. I decided on Chinese. Our neighbors said they liked pretty much everything and weren't allergic to anything, so I went for it. I made them Beef and Broccoli, Basmati Rice, and Lettuce Wraps. I couldn't think of an Asian dessert so I just did store bought fortune cookies. Of course Nate and I had the same thing for dinner and these lettuce wraps were my favorite of the evening, we will definitely be having these again and again!

1/2 lb. chicken breasts or chicken tenderloins
1 cup plus 1 Tbsp. Lawry's teriyaki marinade
1 carrot, julienned
2 cups cabbage, sliced into thin ribbons
1 clove garlic, finely minced
1/4 onion, chopped
rice noodles
large lettuce leaves, either butter lettuce or romaine

Marinate chicken in 1 cup Lawry's teriyaki marinade for 1 hour. Cook chicken in a skillet over medium-high heat. Halfway through cooking add the garlic and onion. Once finished cooking remove chicken, garlic, and onion. Let cool slightly and then shred. I left my chicken in fairly good sized pieces, I didn't want the chicken to get lost in the rest of the veggies. Add 1 Tbsp. teriyaki marinade, shredded chicken, garlic, onion, carrot, and cabbage to skillet and cook until evenly coated with sauce and the cabbage and carrots are slightly softened, but still have a slight crunch. Spoon mixture in lettuce, top with a few rice noodles, wrap up and enjoy! That's it! It is super easy. I didn't think we needed a separate dipping sauce, the filling was just right.

Sorry for such a crappy picture, I remembered last second that I needed to take one so I didn't set it up at all.

Meatballs in Cream Sauce

I got this recipe from Mel's Kitchen Cafe. I liked the idea and adapted to our personal preferences. Nate gave it a 9.5 out of 10.

1 lb. ground beef
1 egg, beaten
2 Tbsp. ketchup
1/4 cup milk
1/4 onion, finely chopped
1/2 cup quick oats
1 Tbsp. Worcestershire sauce
1 Tbsp. dried parley flakes
salt and pepper to taste

Cream Sauce-
2 Tbsp. butter
3 Tbsp. flour
2/3 cup milk
1 (14 oz.) can chicken broth (if you like thicker sauce, only add 1 cup)
salt and pepper to taste

Combine all the meatball ingredients expect beef and mix thoroughly. Add beef and mix just until combined. Over mixing will result in tough meatballs. Shape meat mixture into balls and place on a prepared baking sheet. Bake uncovered at 400 for 10 minutes. Turn meatballs over and cook for an additional 8 minutes (or until no longer pink). In a medium saucepan melt butter over medium heat. Add flour, salt, and pepper, whisking constantly until smooth. Slowly add the milk and chicken broth, whisking frequently. If you want a thicker sauce, only add 1 cup chicken broth. Bring mixture to boil. Cook and stir for an additional 2 minutes until sauce is at the right consistency. Serve meatballs over egg noodles and top with sauce.