Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Parmesan Meatloaf

This is my second attempt at meatloaf EVER.  For some reason, in my head I think it is something that takes a long time to make, but now my mind has been changed.  It is such an easy was to make up a Sunday dinner (or a weeknight meal for that matter).  I made it up before church, stuck it in the refrigerator, and when I got home from church all I had to do was stick it in the oven for an hour.  EASY!  Since this meatloaf has more of an Italian theme going for it, we served it up with some alfredo noodles and some green beans.  It turned out super moist and flavorful, and I was excited to see that it had a combo of turkey and beef...perfect!

Parmesan Meatloaf

1 pound ground beef

1-1/4 pound ground turkey
2 eggs
1/4 c. bread crumbs
1/2 tsp. dried basil
1/2 tsp. dried thyme
1/2 tsp dried oregano
1/4 tsp. ground black pepper
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 c. grated parmesan cheese
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 small onion, grated
marinara sauce
italian cheese blend (I just used mozzarella and some parmesan)

Combine beef and turkey in a large bowl and add the eggs.  Add bread crumbs, all the spices, parmesan cheese, garlic, and onion.

Coat your loaf pan with nonstick cooking spray.

Mix the meat mixture to combine all ingredients. (Don’t overdo it though!)
Add the meat to the loaf pan and form into a loaf.

Top the meatloaf with marinara sauce. (I used a store bought sauce to save time.)

Place the loaf pan on a cookie sheet and place in the oven.  Bake for about 1 hour.
Remove the meatloaf from the oven.  Top with shredded cheese. Place the meatloaf back into the oven and bake until the cheese is melted.  Remove from the oven and let rest for 5-10 minutes before slicing.

Recipe Source:  Cookbook Meals

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Fresh Peaches and Cream Pie

I am finally trying so may recipes I bookmarked a LONG while back.  This one was dated 3 years ago, if that gives you any indication!  I have looked at it many times since then, and am not sure why I haven't made it yet.  Oh well...now I have.  I will definitely be placing this on my "to make" list every year, it is soooo good!!

We got some peaches at my local store that looked very promising, so I bought quite a few and have been enjoying when for breakfast with some cottage cheese and Stevia (one of my favorite breakfasts!).  I look forward to peach season around these parts so I can load up on a lot more and continue making delicious treats!

Fresh Peaches and Cream Pie

Time: 1 hour + 1 hour chilling time
Yield: 2 pies

Peach Topping:
1/2 C water
3 T cornstarch
2 large peaches, peeled and smashed up
1 C sugar
1/2 t almond extract
2 T butter
8 peaches, peeled and sliced

3 C graham cracker crumbs (about 2 packages)
7 T butter, melted
1/2 C sugar
1/8 t cinnamon
dash salt

2   8 oz packages cream cheese, softened
1   16 oz cool whip
2 C powdered sugar
2 t vanilla
dash salt


1. Place your cornstarch into a small bowl. Pour the 1/2 C water over the top and stir it around until it’s all combined.
2. In a separate bowl smash up the 2 peaches.

3. Put your smashed peaches, sugar, almond extract, butter and cornstarch mixture into a medium sized sauce pan. Stir it all up.

4. Heat up the mixture over medium high. Let it come to a boil while you stir it. Let it cook for about 2 minutes or until it’s nice and thick. Set it aside to cool. Give your self a high five.

1. Put all crust ingredients in a medium sized bowl. Stir them around until well combined.

2. Divide the mixture in half. Press each half into a 9 inch pie tin. I like to use a measuring cup to press it in. 


1. With electric beaters (or with your stand mixer) beat the cream cheese until smooth.
2. Add the sugar, vanilla, dash of salt, and beat until nice and smooth.
3. Add your cool whip,  Blend it up until it’s fluffy-ish. 

4. Put half of the filling into each crust. Spread it out evenly with a knife.

5. Add the rest of your fresh peaches to the your cooled topping glaze. Stir until combined and pour over the top of each pie. Wrap each pie with plastic wrap and let it chill out in the fridge for at least an hour. 

Recipe Source:  Jamie Cooks It Up

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Pioneer Woman's Sloppy Joes

I'm not gonna lie, when I was younger I wouldn't touch a sloppy joe with a 10-foot pole!  The last few years I have definitely come to appreciate them a lot more and even really like them!  They are a great weeknight meal, easy to throw together, and generally a crowd-pleaser.  This version was very good, although I do think I like this version a bit better.  You decide what your favorite is!  

I like this topped off with a little slice of cheese, french fried onions, or some regular old potato chips put right on the sandwich.  Yum! 

Pioneer Woman Sloppy Joes

2 Tablespoons Butter
2-1/2 pounds Ground Beef
1/2 whole Large Onion, Diced
1 whole Large Green Bell Pepper, Diced
5 cloves Garlic, Minced
1-1/2 cup Ketchup
1 cup Water
2 Tablespoons Brown Sugar
2 teaspoons Chili Powder (more To Taste)
1 teaspoon Dry Mustard
1/2 teaspoon Red Pepper Flakes (more To Taste)
Worcestershire Sauce, To Taste
2 Tablespoons Tomato Paste (optional)
Tabasco Sauce (optional; To Taste)
Salt To Taste
Freshly Ground Black Pepper, To Taste
Kaiser Rolls

Add butter to a large skillet or dutch oven over medium high heat. Add ground beef and cook until brown. Drain most of the fat and discard.

Add onions, green pepper, and garlic. Cook for a few minutes, or until vegetables begin to get soft.
Add ketchup, brown sugar, chili pepper, dry mustard, and water. Stir to combine and simmer for 15 minutes, adding salt and pepper to taste. Also add tomato paste, Worcestershire, and Tabasco if desired. Taste and adjust seasonings as needed.

Spread rolls with butter and brown on a griddle or skillet. Spoon meat mixture over the rolls, topping with a slice of cheese.

Recipe Source:  Ree Drummond (the Pioneer Woman)

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Poppyseed Chicken Salad

Nothing says summer lunchtime like a chicken salad sandwich.  I am continually on a mission to find one that can be my go-to chicken salad recipe, and this one is right up there...but still not exactly what I am looking for.  My favorite one I've ever had they wouldn't give out the recipe...so the search continues!

The Greek yogurt gives a little tang in this salad, which was yummy difference.  The nuts were also a yummy addition that I think my perfect chicken salad would have as well.  Not to mention how visually appealing the poppy seeds make this look! It is a good change to the salads I've had recently and definitely worth a try!

Poppy Seed Chicken Salad

2 cups cooked chicken, cubed
½ cup slivered almonds, toasted
¼ cup celery, finely chopped
1-2 tablespoons poppy seeds
⅓ cup dried cranberries
¼ cup Greek yogurt, unflavored (may substitute more mayo)
½ cup mayonnaise (I use reduced fat)
1 teaspoon lemon juice
Pinch of sugar

Stir all ingredients together in a bowl until combined.

Recipe Source:  Salad in a Jar

Monday, July 15, 2013

Peach and Blueberry Crumble

 Can I just say that I am a little baffled on the amount of money I have spent on fruit in the last week?!  We pitted and froze about 30 pounds of cherries, 18 pounds of blueberries, and I don't even know how many peaches...and I'm not done yet!!  Oh well, when I live in the setting I do, it's worth investing and having yummy fruit all year long without paying a crazy price!

This crumble is just what I was hoping it would be...the flavors combined so well and it totally fulfilled my craving for some cobbler.  Not to mention I got to use up some of my newly-purchased berries and peaches!  This is originally an Ina Garten recipe, and I have found that ALL of her baking recipes have been winners, this one included.  
Peach and Blueberry Crumble

2 lbs firm, ripe peaches (about 6 - 8 peaches)
1 tsp lemon zest
1 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 pinch salt
1 1/2 cups fresh blueberries
Crumble Topping
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup packed light-brown sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
6 Tbsp butter, cold and diced into cubes
1 tsp vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Bring a pot of water to a boil. Fill a large mixing bowl with ice water. Carefully drop peaches in boiling water and allow to boil 30 seconds - 1 minute, just until their skin easily peels off. Immediately transfer peaches to cold water. Peel peaches and slice into chunks or wedges. Place diced peaches in a large mixing bowl along with lemon zest, lemon juice, 1/2 cup granulated sugar, 1/4 cup flour and pinch of salt. Toss mixture to evenly coat. Fold in blueberries and pour mixture into an 8 by 8-inch baking dish (I used one a bit bigger, about a 7x11-inch and am glad I did...I think it might have bubbled over if I hadn't!) and allow to rest 5 minutes while preparing topping.

To prepare the topping:

In a food processor, combine 1 cup flour, 1/3 cup granulated sugar, brown sugar, salt, cinnamon, butter, and vanilla, and pulse mixture just until it appears moist. Press mixture into crumbles with your fingertips and sprinkle evenly over top of peach mixture (alternately you can do this in an electric stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, combining all topping ingredients and blending until butter resembles small peas, then rub with your fingertips until it's in crumbles and sprinkle over top. You could also do it in a mixing bowl just using your fingertips to blend). Bake in preheated oven 45 - 50 minutes, until tops are nicely browned. Serve warm with vanilla bean ice cream if desired.

Recipe Source: Cooking Classy

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Aunt Annie's Style Pretzels

My son and I used to have the tradition of going to Sam's Club on a weekly basis (it was right behind our condo) and after we shopped, we would ALWAYS get a cinnamon sugar pretzel to share.  Since we moved to our current place, the nearest Sam's Club is 3 hours away...let's just say it isn't a weekly tradition anymore!  We have a Costco about 30 minutes away, but they only have churros...which my son likes but always mentions he misses the pretzels.  Granted, I could go into the mall and grab one every now and again, but dragging my small children into the mall for just a pretzel seems silly.

So today for our summertime activity, we made our own soft pretzels.  I must say, these turned out much better than any other recipe I have tried. Give them a try, SOON!  

Aunt Annie's Style Pretzels

Makes 12 pretzels

1 3/4 c. + 2 Tbsp. warm water
1 Tbsp. + 1 1/2 tsp. yeast
5 2/3 c. All-purpose flour
1 1/3 c. powdered sugar
2 1/4 tsp. salt
1 Tbsp. vegetable oil

4 cups warm water
1/2 c. baking soda

Cinnamon Sugar:

1 c. granulated sugar
1 Tbsp. + 1 tsp. cinnamon

Pretzel Salt

Dissolve the yeast in the warm water. Let is sit for a few minutes. In the Kitchenaid, with a paddle, combine the flour, powdered sugar, and salt in a large mixing bowl. Switch to a dough hook and add water with yeast and vegetable oil. Mix for 5 minutes on medium-low speed. Dough will be nice and smooth when done.

Place dough ball in an oiled bowl and cover with plastic wrap sprayed with cooking spray. Let rise in a warm place for about 45 minutes, or until double in size.

When dough has risen, preheat oven to 425 degrees.

Make a bath for the pretzels by combining 4 cups warm water with the baking soda. Stir until soda is mostly dissolved.

Remove the dough from the bowl and divide it into 12 even portions. Roll each portion on a flat, non-floured surface until it is about 2 1/2 feet long. Pick up both ends of the dough and give it a little spin so the middle of the dough spins around once. Lay the dough down with the loop nearest to you. Fold the ends down toward you and pinch to attach them to the bottom of the loop. The twist should be in the middle. Holding the pinched ends, dip each pretzel into the bath solution. Blot pretzel on a paper towel to remove excess liquid.

Arrange pretzels on a baking sheet that is either lined with a Silpat mat, parchment paper, or sprayed with Pam. If you want salted pretzels sprinkle with Kosher or Pretzel salt.

Bake the pretzels for 4 minutes, then turn the baking sheet around, and cook for another 5 minutes.  For cinnamon sugar pretzels, immediately brush them with butter, and coat them in the cinnamon sugar mixture.

Recipe Source:  See Jane In the Kitchen 

Saturday, July 6, 2013

Baked Potato Salad

I cannot even tell you how happy I've been to be back in the kitchen, as well as blogging again.  I dread those first few months of pregnancy when eating/cooking/looking at food makes me queasy.  I am glad all that passed so I can now enjoy all the fabulous summertime BBQs with all the excellent side dishes that accompany them!  

This is super  simple as far as potato salads go, and is great served warm or chilled.  If you love these flavors, try them in this yummy Loaded Baked Potato Dip.

Baked Potato Salad

4 large russet potatoes
1/4 c. mayonnaise
1/2 c. sour cream
1/2 c. shredded Cheddar cheese
1/4 c. freshly chopped chives, divided
8 strips bacon, cooked and crumbled
1/2 tsp. seasoned salt
pepper, to taste

Wash, peel and cube potatoes into bite-sized pieces.  Put in a large pot, cover with water and boil until fork tender, about 15-20 minutes.  You do not want mashed potato consistency.  Drain and let cool a bit (or a lot if you plan to serve chilled).  

In a separate bowl, stir together the mayo, sour cream, cheese, half the chives, about 6 strips worth of crumbled bacon, seasoned salt and pepper; mix well.  Add mixture to potatoes and fold together until all the potatoes are completely coated.  Taste and add more seasoned salt and pepper, if needed.  Garnish with remaining chives and crumbled bacon.  Serve immediately or refrigerate if serving later.  Serves 4-6.

Recipe Source:  Eat Cake For Dinner

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Blueberry Banana Cream Pie

I hope you are all ready for some serious recipes!  I'm sure I've mentioned before that I live in a MAJOR agricultural area.  I'm talking asparagus, corn, blueberries, strawberries, blackberries, apples, cherries, grapes, hops, peaches, apricots, etc.  My intentions are to fully take advantage of the bounty of the land this summer/fall!  So here's my first blueberry recipe of the year since we just made it back from the berry farm (we picked lots of these babies and are planning on going back for more.  We also got somewhere between 25-30 pounds of cherries.)

This pie turned out super delicious...while eating it, my husband kept saying "this is so good!"  It is an easy one to make, especially since the pie crust was pre-made.  Enjoy!

Blueberry Banana Cream Pie

6 ounces cream cheese, softened (I used reduced fat)
1 can (14 ounces) sweetened condensed milk
3/4 cup cold water
1 package (3.4 ounces) instant vanilla pudding mix
1 cup heavy whipping cream, whipped (just whipped, DO NOT add any thing else to it)
2 medium bananas, cut into 1/4-inch slices
2 teaspoons lemon juice
1 cup fresh blueberries
1 prepared Nilla wafer crust
additional blueberries for garnish, optional

In a large bowl, beat cream cheese until smooth. Beat in the condensed milk until smooth.  Then beat in the water and pudding mix. Fold in whipped cream.

In a resealable plastic bag, add bananas and lemon juice; toss until bananas are coated. Drain and discard lemon juice.
Spread with half of the cream cheese mixture into Nilla wafer crust. Top with bananas and blueberries. Spread with remaining cream cheese mixture. Refrigerate for 3 hours or until set. Refrigerate leftovers. 

Yield: 8 servings. (Next time I’m going to do 2 pie crusts and double the bananas and blueberries to make 2 pies and top them off with some sweetened whipped cream.  As you can see in the picture these was tons on filling for just one pie)

Recipe Source:  Real Mom Kitchen

Monday, July 1, 2013

Mango Lassi

I have never had a pregnancy like this one...I am out of the "sicky" phase, but I still can't think of anything that ever sounds good.  Therefore, I have been trying to make myself eat a few healthy things at least since nothing sounds good.  This was my lunch today.  I've had it saved in my files for a very long time, and am glad I finally gave it a try!  I gulped down this entire 32 ounce smoothie by my lonesome, and it's probably all I will eat all day...but hey, at least I got in my daily fruit intake :)

It was very tasty, and now I am excited to keep the smoothie thing going and hopefully it will continue to taste good!  I had to improvise on a few things that I was out of, but it turned out well in the end.  Enjoy!

Mango Lassi

2 ripe mangoes, peeled, seeded and cut into chunks
1 1/2 cups plain yogurt (didn't have enough, so I used half peach)
1/3 cup sugar
1/2 cup milk (ooops...ran out of milk this morning, water worked well in it's place)
6-8 frozen (or fresh) strawberries
handful of ice (or to taste)

Blend all the ingredients until smooth.

Recipe Source:  Mel's Kitchen Cafe