Posts Tagged With: recipes

Leftover Magic

Well guys, if you’ve noticed that I’ve been posting more recipes after taking a break from doing that, it’s because I have a new-found love for my kitchen.

Maybe because it’s huge compared to my last kitchen.

Maybe because we have a brand new refrigerator that I love to fill up with delicious things. And a new oven that is begging to be used. Every night.

Or maybe it’s because we went a long time while we were moving and packing and getting ready to move when we were eating pretty much only frozen pizza, hamburger helper, and other not so blog-worthy meals.

Well, last night was going to be one of those meals as well.

See, we brought home some leftover cooked meat from the fair. Things like steak that had been sitting too long to served but still tasted fine, burgers and hot dogs that were leftover at the end of the night…you get the idea.

Leftovers…getting old. Taunting me every time I open the fridge.

Well, last night, we were going to use some of those up.

And I have a half-gallon of milk that’s going to go bad in a few days I wanted to use.

And we haven’t had zucchini in awhile.

So I planned out dinner to be pretty easy. I would heat up the steak to make steak sandwiches, make Kraft mac’n’cheese with the milk, and then something more creative zucchini.

Afterall, I cook with zucchini all the time so it’s really not a big deal to whip something up that makes the leftovers and plain, easy macaroni feel more special.

But then I added extra milk to the macaroni because I knew Hubs wouldn’t be home for awhile yet and it would start to tighten up and get too sticky if I didn’t put extra moisture in there early on.

And the milk made it extra extra creamy tasting.

So I added some fresh ground pepper, and some chives, and some parsley. And more milk.

And, oh my goodness, so creamy and delicious.

My mouth is actually watering just thinking about eating the leftovers for lunch.

And then I started to work on the zucchini. I had planned to make some sort of zucchini fries, like I did here. But then I saw this post from The Pioneer Woman (Do you read her blogs? You totally should.) and I wanted to add some lemon to the party.

So this is what I ended up doing.


(Yes, that’s what I’m calling them.)

1 1/2 cups bread crumbs.

2-3 Tbsp grated Parmesan cheese

1/2 packet of ranch seasoning

2 tsp lemon pepper seasoning

1 egg

1 Tbsp olive oil

2 Tbsp lemon juice

1 average-sized zucchini, sliced into thin strips

Combine all the dry ingredients. I did this in my blender since I used it to make the bread crumbs anyway.

All in there, ready for mixing.

Combine all wet ingredients in a large mixing bowl. Add in zucchini pieces and toss to coat. 

I didn’t do a great job of cutting our fries in equal sizes…

Add in dry ingredients. Toss again to coat.

Spread the zucchini pieces out on a baking sheet. 

See how many crumbs? Crumbs=yum. In this case.

Then, since I had plenty of leftover “crumbs,” I didn’t want to waste them so I sprinkled them all over the top of the cookie sheet I would recommend you do this, too.

Then bake for 12 minutes at 350 degrees. Turn them, and bake for 12 more minutes.

By this time, some of your extra crumbs will be brown enough to taste. Do that. Yum. 

Turn again and bake/broil until your desired level of “brown-ness.” (We like things a little extra crispy in this house.)

See what I mean about the yummy crumbies?
(I think of Monica from FRIENDS when I say “crumbies”)

Then you’ll serve them ranch dressing, or just plain, because I didn’t think they needed anything else, but Hubs loves his condiments.

They tasted so fresh and yet creamy at the same because of the lemon and the cheese and the bread crumbs and the egg. Sooooo good. I’m telling you.

In the meantime, Hubs came home from work and asked what we were having. He’d forgotten that we had decided the night before to eat the leftover steak. And that no longer seemed very exciting to him. So he said, “Ok, but I want cheese on mine.”

Then we talked for a little bit about how if we added onions it would be a cheesesteak sandwich.

So we did that.

First, we sauteed the onions in butter.

I think onions and butter may smell a little like heaven.

And he chopped up the steak.

Cold steak looks awfully dry and boring.

And then we added the steak to the onions and butter.

Yup. This is way better than what I’d planned to do for dinner.

And then we melted cheese on top.

Yes, I put some of the leftover crumbies on my macaroni and cheese. No, I did not regret it.

(I went without the top bun because I just didn’t want it. I wold actually recommend some kind of hoagie roll for this, but since we were working with leftovers here, crumbly-sorta-old-hamburger-buns were all we had.)

Anyway, it ended up being a pretty spectacular meal.

And I was reminded once again, why I love spending time with the man I married. Because he’s fun. He’s creative. He’s spontaneous. He’s open to try new things. He will experiment with me. Play with me. Laugh with me. Eat ridiculously better than anticipated leftovers with me.

And then he’ll do the dishes.

Reason #47 husband roommates are the best.

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Strawberry Salsa and Cinnamon Sugared Tortilla Chips (& Liz’s library shower)

At my friend Liz’s bridal shower, her mom and sister made some super delicious food. (As the matron of honor, my responsibilities didn’t at all include food, and I was totally fine with that because their food is super cute and super good.)


See this spread? Awesome!

The strawberry salsa was so good, I had to try it myself.

It went a little something like this:

About 15 strawberries, 3 kiwis, and 1 green apple, all in the blender.

I also added a little brown sugar and a splash of lime juice.

Then I used a pizza cutter to slice some tortilla shells into wedges.

They got sprayed with butter and sprinkled with cinnamon sugar.

Then this happened.

I won't lie, I licked my fingers. Butter and cinnamon. Yum.

And then I baked the chips in the oven on a cookie sheet for about 15 to 20 minutes, or until crispy.

This is pre-crisp. Still tempting to taste though.

And afterward, with the salsa and chips together.  So good. So fresh. So tasty.

Why aren't you making this right now?

It’s also great for breakfast, too!

Waffles with butter, syrup, and strawberry salsa? Yes please!

And for those who want to see photos from Liz’s library shower?

The shower was a library shower. Everyone brought a book with a special message for the bride, we had books all over the place, and some cute paper flowers. And great love quotes from books.

Books and paper flowers everywhere! So cute and so easy to make and decorate!

We had shelves for people to put their books and gifts on.

I made a paper book garland for the ceiling. Sorry the picture's not great. You can see it's cute, though!

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Dinner with love…

Tonight I made dinner from this:

One of my favorite Christmas presents...

It’s a “fill-in-the-pages” recipe collection from my family, and full of love and tasty things.

I’ve made 2 things from it so far: MaMa’s chicken and noodles (Success! Can’t wait to make again!) and meatloaf from my mom (I’ve made it several times before but now I don’t have to email every time to ask how!) and I can’t wait to try them all!

All of these meals are special to Hubs and I for one reason for another and so homey and comforting. There’s nothing as satisfying as cooking and sharing a meal or a dish that our families have enjoyed for many, many years before. It reminds us of those we love and the places we grew up. And it makes this city and this apartment and out little family feel a little more…established.

What about you? What recipes are special to you? And why? Do you have a treasured recipe keepsake book? And when it comes time to add recipes in to fill in the pages, what sort of things make the cut?

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Turkey 2.0

As it is the week after Thanksgiving and thus, the time for leftover turkey recipes, I wanted to post our turkey adventure from tonight’s dinner for you guys.

Just to brief you:

1. It was delicious.

2. Wyatt and I had some quality kitchen time together.

3. We have plenty of leftovers for another great meal.

4. Giada De Laurentiis is my current foodie crush.

Picture from

Even though we didn’t make our own turkey for Thanksgiving dinner (we made it the previous week), we brought home leftovers from the in-laws. It was great that day, and hopefully my mother-in-law won’t take offense, but I think it was even better tonight!

We started with this recipe from Giada, and per me, we mixed it up, as usual.

(of course, part of the reason we had to mix it up is because we didn’t have the bowls it called for)

We ended up making it like this:

First, we cooked up 4 slices of bacon in a skillet, you can chop it before or after. I chopped it before. When it’s done, set it aside to drain.

Why did we use bacon instead of pancetta? Because I don't know where to find pancetta and we already had bacon in our fridge.

Then, I cooked half of an onion, about a cup of chopped carrots, and 2 tbsp of butter for about ten minutes until it’s tender. I added 1/4 tsp dried chopped thyme, 1 tsp salt, and 1 tsp pepper. Note: by this time, your kitchen will smell delicious. Try not to eat everything before it’s done cooking.

While that was cooking, Hubs got home from work and asked if he could help. Yes! This was turning out to be a pretty big job and I hadn’t even started on the crust yet.

So, Wyatt followed this part of the directions pretty much exactly, but here’s what we ended up doing.

  • 3/4 cup flour, plus extra for dusting
  • 1/4 cup cornmeal
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 ounce (2 tablespoons) unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
  • 1 cup grated Parmesan
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk
  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

We don’t have a food processor, so Wyatt mixed this up in our mixer (the beautiful yellow one I love so much). Mix the dry ingredients together first and then add the butter and cheese, stirring it until the mixture is combined and crumbly. With the machine running, he added 1/2 cup buttermilk and the oil, letting it mix until it formed a ball.

I think it worked just fine in our mixer.

He rolled out the dough into a 12-inch diameter circle, about 1/2-inch thick.

It's like a really thick cornbread dough.

In the meantime, I was busy adding 2 tbsp flour and 2 1/2 cups low salt chicken broth to my skillet. Basically, it makes a roux, so you want to cook the flour in the carrot and onion and butter for a minute or two before adding the chicken stock. Then we added the bacon, 1 cup of peas, 1 cup of corn, and 3 cups of turkey (cut in small pieces or shredded) to the filling mixture.

It will look something like this. Yum.

Then I poured the filling into my baking dish.

I only spilled a little. Don't worry though, Wyatt put it back in the dish.

Then he put the crust on top of the baking dish, like this.

He's thrilled I was taking pictures instead of helping.

And it was ready to bake, in a pre-heated 400 degree oven.

Almost ready to eat!


By this time, Wyatt was super hungry and didn’t want to wait. But it doesn’t take that long, and it gives you time to clean up, considering this recipe made a huge mess in our kitchen.

Wyatt accused me of being a messy cook, which offended me at first. I’m not that bad. But then I looked around and realized that instead of being upset, I should just admit, agree, and start cleaning. It was a mess, and I might as well give in to it. I’ll chalk avoiding that fight up to simply being realistic and not wanting to make a fight out of an innocent comment. That’s a choice we all have so often. I only wish I had the self control to always choose sanity. I guess that’s something that comes with more marriage experience…

…So we cleaned and Wyatt did dishes. (I didn’t even ask him to, he’s so good about that. I hope that’s not a “newlywed thing” he outgrows some year down the road.)

And pretty soon (after about 20 minutes), this happened:

Golden brown goodness.

And then it was time for this.

As Giada would say, "Buon Appetito!"

(Keep in mind, since we didn’t have individual ramekins, we had to scoop it out and serve it in bowls, which resulted in having to spoon out the filling around the crust layer in our bowl. But it’s still yummy, so don’t worry about that.

And if we make it again, we’re going to add potatoes, which we’d boil first and then add into the filling mixture I’d also use less peas and maybe add other veggies. Be creative, you can do whatever veggies you like best!

Either way, it was a fabulous way to use up our turkey (not all of it, we saved some for sandwiches!) and had fun in the kitchen. There’s nothing like a meal prepared with kisses and flirting in the kitchen. It makes it taste better, trust me.

How great is it to be a newlywed and not only be “allowed” but also “encouraged” to make out while cooking?

I think we’ll be like that forever. I just made an executive decision. I better go tell Hubs.

Categories: Food Fun | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

10 Things My Kitchen Will Tell You

Here’s some things you can learn about me from my kitchen.

1. I’m fairly messy, though I like things to be neat. Case in point: I don’t want dishes all over the counter, but dislike unloading the dishwasher so I rise them and stack them nicely in the sink. Thus, I have dishes in my sink a lot of the time, or at least until I make myself unload and put away the clean dishes so I can reload.

2. I love to eat. Hence all the dirty dishes.

3. Hubs and I cook a lot. We’re newlyweds trying to save as much money as we can and it’s cheaper to eat in than out. Plus, I like to experiment. Last night when he texted me to say he was going to be home late, I asked him if it was okay to have an “experiment” for dinner. He said sure. So we had bacon-and-blue-cheese-butter-burger-twice-baked-potatoes.  (It was delicious.)

Yum. Yum. Yum. All because we had a little of this and a little of that to use.

Want to learn how to make them? I’ll tell you if you ask.

4. I like to bake. Currently, this is sitting on my counter.

Pear Crisp. Yum.

Except it’s now almost gone, since I made it on Monday.

Wanna know how to make it? I got the idea from here, but changed it, as usual. It’s easy, I’ll tell you.

Peel and slice 4 pears. I used ones that were getting too soft, so I had lots of bad spots to cut out, and I added 1 apple, peeled and sliced as well.

After I was done with that and washing the first peeler I tried to use, I realized why it hadn’t been working.

Apparently, I've never used that one before. Clearly, clear was the wrong color sticker to use, as it was least to me. Good thing I had another peeler that worked much better.

Then, add 1/4 cup water, 1 Tbs lemon juice, and 1 Tbs maple syrup. Mix that up so everything’s coated.

For the top, mix 1 stick of melted butter, 2 packets of instant maple flavored oatmeal (uncooked), 11/2 cups brown sugar, 1 1/2 cups flour, and as much cinnamon as you like. I used about a 1/2 Tbs.

It should look something like this.

This is how happiness smells. This bowl of sweet goodness.

Then mix that up and put in on top of the pears. Don’t mush  it down, just crumble it on.

It should look like this. I'm telling you, it's easy, and your taste buds will thank me. Your belly will, too.

6. I love yellow. I have as many yellow kitchen accessories as possible in there, including my mixer, which I love, love, LOVE!

It should be considered art. Art that makes delicious foods.

7. I like organization. I have 2 cork boards, and 2 magnetic dry erase boards to help us remember where we’re supposed to be and what we’re supposed to pay. Bills have a way of creeping up on us.

8. I like things that are festive. Remember when I showed you how I decorated for Thanksgiving and Fall? (Here) Well, today I got some free “things” from the church I volunteer at and I can’t wait to show you guys tomorrow!

9. I don’t vacuum as much as I should. Probably because I hate my vacuum. It’s so heavy, and it smells so bad. I blame Wyatt’s old roommate who dried to vacuum up smelly carpet cleaner in an attempt to remove the dog smell from their duplex’s carpet. Wyatt promised if I don’t get one for Christmas that we can go buy one. So in the meantime, yes, we have crumbs. Judge me if you want. I don’t care.

10. Hubs and I are crazy about each other and have been for a long time. You’ll see that evidenced by the collection of ridiculously happy-sappy photos on our fridge that dates back several years. I am not a huge fan of cluttered fridges, or clutter in general, but our fridge was kind of dingy and white, so I figured, why not cover it up? You can also tell this by looking in the cabinets. You’ll find the cheezits I make sure we always have on hand for Wyatt’s lunches, and the olives Wyatt put in the cart for me even though they’re expensive. You’ll also see the empty Mountain Dew box from where I surprised Wyatt last Tuesday with his favorite drink we never buy. Oh, and the milk for the cocoa I’m about to make from this night.

Aren't we cute?

There, now that you have a better idea of me and my kitchen. What about you? What rooms in your house give away all your secrets?

P.S. I linked this post up with Newlywed Recipe Linky.

Categories: Everyday Life | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Pumpkin Seed Specials

So, remember when I posted all about roasting my own pumpkin and said I couldn’t tell you about what I did with the seeds yet because they were a special surprise for a friend?

Well, if not, that’s what happened, and you should check it out here.

Anyway, it’s time to spread the news about my special seeds. I have to admit that I don’t really like pumpkin seeds. They’re a bit too crunchy for me I think. But I also think they’re a bit…boring.

So I decided to divide my seeds into three groups and make three different flavors. I’d love if any pumpkin seed lovers tried them and let me know what you thought. I tasted them, but since I still don’t really love them (something about the texture I think…) I’m not sure which is the best recipe.

So, recipe number one: Almost Basic Pumpkin Seeds

Before roasting...


1 cup pumpkin seeds, rinsed

1 Tbs olive oil

salt and pepper


Place the seeds in a single layer on a baking sheet, top with oil, salt and pepper (sea salt and fresh ground black pepper will make this better!) and mix with clean hands to make sure seeds are evenly coated.

Bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour, “stirring” every fifteen minutes to prevent burning. Add extra salt on the last two stirrings.


After roasting! I love how golden they turn.

Recipe number two: Hot and Spicy Pumpkin Seeds

See those red pepper flakes? These are too hot for me!


1 cup pumpkin seeds, rinsed

2 Tbs butter

1 Tbs Worcestershire sauce

1 tsp chili powder

2 tsp crushed red pepper flakes

1/2 tsp garlic powder

salt and pepper


Melt butter in a small sauce pan on stove, add Worcestershire sauce, spices, seeds, and salt and pepper (again, sea salt and fresh ground if possible!) Mix until seeds are evenly coated.

Spread onto a baking sheet and roast for 60 minutes at 350 degrees, “stirring” every fifteen minutes to avoid burning. Sprinkle with extra salt and pepper for the last two stirrings.

Ready to eat! (But not for me..)

Recipe number 3: Maple Brown Sugar Pumpkin Seeds

All ready for roasting. These smelled SO GOOD. I wanted to lick the skillet clean!


1 cup pumpkin seeds, rinsed

2 Tbs butter

1 Tbs REAL maple syrup

2 Tbs brown sugar

1/2 tsp cinnamon


granulated sugar


Melt butter in a small sauce pan, add maple syrup, brown sugar, cinnamon, and seeds. Stir until evenly coated.

Spread on a baking sheet and sprinkle lightly with the salt and sugar.

Bake at 350 degrees for 60 minutes, stirring every fifteen minutes. Add extra sugar the last two stirrings.

These have an almost candy-like coating and they stay a bit sticky until they're cooled.

And there ya have it! My special seeds. Hope you guys enjoy!

They look so festive on our table in my pretty serving dish.

(Because as delicious as they were, Hubs and I still don’t love them. But I hope you do!)




Categories: Food Fun | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

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