Thursday, December 31, 2015

Change your life spaghetti

This recipe that I found and 
adapted has seriously changed the way
I will make spaghetti forever! 

(I have to apologize for no picture..I was hungry)

I actually remember the first time 
I helped make spaghetti.  My sister
and her family was living
in Louisiana, and I went to visit them.
It was there that she taught me to 
always be sure to boil the water before 
you add the noodles or they will
make one big sticky mess.
If I am not mistaken, I think the story 
was that she learned this the
 hard way by having a bad noodle 
experience.  I believe she
may have even been cooking for
her new mother-in-law at the time 
of the noodle disaster.  

But after boiling my noodles all these years,
I have finally found a better way!
With this new discovery, you only mess
up ONE dish.  


One pan spaghetti

1 lb lean hamburger meat
2 cups hot water
1 bullion cube
8 oz spaghetti noodles
1 jar Ragu 
2 cups mozzarella
1/2 cup Parmesan

Dissolve the bullion cube in the hot water and set aside.  In a deep skillet, brown hamburger meat until no longer pink.  If your meat is lean enough, there is no need to drain the grease. If you have alot of grease, you may want to drain it.  I didn't have to drain any.  Add water and bullion to the skillet and bring to a low boil.  Break noodles into 3 sections and add to the pan.  Stir often so they don't stick together and cook about 5-6 minutes.  They should be getting pretty soft.  Add the spaghetti sauce and stir well.  Cover and cook for another 5-6 minutes on a low boil but stir occasionally.  Just make sure not to let it burn or stick to the bottom.  Try a noodle and make sure it is cooked well.  Turn off the heat and add the cheeses.  Do not stir but put lid back on and let the cheeses melt.  Serve with garlic bread or rolls.

Love what you eat and eat what you love! :)


Friday, December 18, 2015

Our homemade bed



After putting it off forever, I recently
 got new carpet!  And I LOVE it!
One thing it made me realize though, was
that I had way too much crap.  
I really already knew this but, I think
I was in
denial to a certain degree.
I did try to downsize some, and 
I am still working on that. 

While getting the carpet I realized it
was time for
a new bed as well.  The old one
being about 15 years old...it was time
to upgrade.

I had talked about wanting a 
homemade bed and looked 
up some pics, but one day,
my boyfriend said...is this the kind of
bed you like?  He showed me 
a picture of the bed below.
 BINGO! 
Yes!  
This is EXACTLY what I wanted.
I said YES!  I want THAT bed.  


He did some calculations in his head, 
and we went to Lowe's a couple of 
times and BAM!  We have a bed.
I did at least stain it and try to help 
with some of the woodwork, but 
I tend to just be in the way, so 
I really was just there for moral support.

This is with just the base finished.



This is with the base stained.



This is with the back stained but still
wet.  It was shiny until it dried.  
I didn't want it to be shiny, but you 
could add a layer of shine if you want
it to be.


It turned out better than I imagined. 
I have got to work on my colors and get
some pillows to set it off, but the
bed is just perfect.  And weighs 
about 3 tons.  It is built super sturdy.
It will last forever.  And my favorite part
is that he(we) built it.  ha :)







Dresser redo with gel stain


I have always had a knack for
the mechanical stuff.  Once you do
something your whole life, some
of it is gonna stick.  

But one thing I didn't grow up 
around was a carpenter sort of handiness.
Don't get me wrong, dad can fix 
just about anything he wants, but
he has the tendency to "rig" things
that are along the realm of carpentry.

With my recent addition of a new bed,
my dresser was in the need of a 
redo or replacement.  I really didn't
want to spend money to replace it and 
with the homemade bed, not just 
anything was going to match.
So, I was looking into my options and 
found the miraculous "gel stain".

For someone who doesn't know about the
sanding and refinishing techniques, 
this stain makes it easy.

This was my old dresser...it 
was cherry.  I had taken
out one drawer before I decided to do 
a before picture.


Basically, I just took all of the drawers 
out and removed the hardware.  Most
handles will just have screws on
the inside.  The center emblems actually
had nails and were a bit of a pain, but I got
them off. 

I took a sanding pad and lightly everything.
Then I took a soft towel and dusted 
off the residue.  The gel stain goes a long 
way.  I ordered a quart and only used maybe
a third if even that much to do this
whole dresser.  A pint would go far.  
I ordered this on eBay because I couldn't find
it anywhere. 
Java is the color I used.  It is
a really rich brown, almost black.


To apply it, you will need a rubber glove
and then either a jersey glove over
that or even just a sock will do. 
Basically you just rub the stain on and make
sure everything gets a good coat.  
If you decide to apply a second coat, you 
will need to let the first one
dry for 24 hours.  I was happy with
one coat and I was so excited I couldn't 
wait to get it all together, so I did one coat.

For the handles, I just used an
can of paint that I sell here at the store.  
The color is aluminum, but it comes out
a nice burnished silver to me, so it
was exactly what I wanted.  I just arranged
 all of the handles on some cardboard 
and gave them a good coat of paint.

The dark brown goes great with 
our new homemade bed.  I couldn't
be happier with the way they both turned out!




Thursday, October 1, 2015

Super easy chicken spinach mushroom dish

Once again, Facebook has made
me hungry with a picture and 
recipe.  
Luckily, it was super easy and
also very tasty.

I love spinach, mushrooms and chicken
so I figured it would be good.
And as usual,
I can't seem to follow a recipe, so this
is my modified version.  

Chicken spinach and mushroom dish

1 pkg raw chicken tenders (mine had 8 strips)
1/2 bag fresh spinach torn into smaller pieces
1/2 cup diced onion
1/2 pkg sliced mushrooms
8 oz light cream cheese softened
1/2 cup chicken broth
1/4 cup olive oil
Cavendars Greek seasoning
8 oz mozzarella cheese shredded

Heat oven to 375 degrees.  Place the chicken strips or thinly sliced breast in the bottom of a casserole dish sprayed with non stick spray.  Sprinkle each strip with Greek seasoning.  Top with the spinach and onions then the mushrooms.


In a medium bowl, whisk together cream cheese, chicken broth and olive oil.  As a side note...I never keep chicken broth on hand.  It goes bad too quickly for me. I keep chicken bullion cubes in the cabinet and add one to a 1/2 cup water and heat it just a little in the microwave to dissolve the little cube.  It works great. Add a good sprinkle of Greek seasoning to the liquid and also add a sprinkle to the top of the mushrooms and spinach.  Drizzle the mixture over the mushrooms to coat well.


You can cook this different ways.  I had it ready to pop in the oven and had something come that I had to do, so I topped it with the mozzarella and let it all cook at 375 covered loosely with foil for an hour until I got back.  To make it prettier, it would be good to cook it for about 45 minutes covered with foil and without the cheese added, then add the cheese and bake for another 15 minutes or until the cheese browned a bit.  I will go for pretty next time.  This time I just went for done and yummy. :)

I made mashed potatoes with this, which turned out great because there is alot of sauce that can be used as a gravy.  I loooove gravy and taters!


Love what you eat and eat what you love! :)

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Slow down and eat some chocolate gravy


In this fast paced world we 
live in, it is easy to get wrapped
up in all the chaos and 
not take time to
appreciate the little things.  
Like chocolate gravy and biscuits.

I admittedly can be impatient and
want to get things done in a hurry, 
yes...I admit to this weakness.
Especially when I am cooking.
I love to eat, so I don't like to wait.  
I want to eat....now!
I tend to plan my meal in my head during 
the day and whip up said meal
 in about 15 minutes no matter
what it is.

Recently, my boyfriend asked if
I had ever made chocolate gravy.  
Nope.
I had heard of it, but never cooked it
or even eaten it for that matter.
I grew up with mom making
white gravy.  I even called and asked her
if she ever made chocolate gravy.  
Nope.
Although my dad said his mom used to make
it.  So I guess it was a family thing.  
Mom's family ate white gravy.  
Dad's ate white gravy and also
chocolate gravy.  
I have also heard of 
red eye gravy, never had it either.  
So what kind of gravy 
family did you come from?

Let's face it, no one can 
compare to grandma's cooking, so I 
am just trying to make some
edible chocolate goodness.

I always meld
several recipes and
come up with my own, 
so I Googled chocolate gravy 
recipes.  I compared 3 different ones,
 one being Paula Dean's of course since 
she is Paula Dean, ya'll.  
And I came up with one that 
incorporated the 3 and its' process
was similar to how I am
used to making gravy.

Turns out I passed!  He and I both
enjoyed the gravy.  Although 
my Grands biscuits were no where near his
grandma's.  haha.  So therefore
we get back to my initial speech 
about slowing things down.  
I am gonna step away from the canned
biscuits next time and make some
good ole cat head biscuits as they used to 
call them, from scratch.

Biscuits are much more daunting
than chocolate gravy. 
 There is much more
of an art to biscuit making.  The
ingredients are very basic, 
but the technique
and how you treat the ingredients is 
very important.  
There are words like
sifting flour, cutting the butter in, 
and kneading that my non baking
butt is just not very
familiar with, but I am gonna give it a
shot...as soon as I get over being
full of this chocolate gravy...it is very
very filling and very hard to stop eating.  :)

Oh and sorry for no gravy pics...
I didn't slow down 
soon enough.  :(
I will add later!

Chocolate Gravy

1 c sugar
3 T Hershey's cocoa powder
2 1/2 T flour
1 3/4 c milk
3 T butter

In a medium bowl, mix the sugar, cocoa and 
flour until well blended.  Add the milk and whisk until smooth.  In a large skillet, melt the butter then pour the cocoa mix into the skillet and cook over medium heat, stirring constantly to prevent scorching.   Cook until the gravy thickens.  It may take several minutes, but it will happen.  Serve over hot biscuits. :)

Love what you eat and eat what you love! :)


Monday, September 21, 2015

Fried broccoli? Yep!


One thing I love to do when I have the
time is experiment in the kitchen.
Alot of yummy and a 
few not-so-yummy things have
emerged when I do these experiments.

Sunday I was frying some huge
fresh catfish filets that I had just
 bought
and realized
that I had some extra flour left over 
from when I had coated the 
fish to fry.

I love steamed broccoli and had thrown a
bag in the microwave...the kind
that just takes 5 minutes
and comes out perfect.

My creative wheels were all greased up 
from having the day off, and I thought...
hmmmm...why not fry some broccoli.

I took the flour and added an egg, some
milk, season salt and Cavendar's 
Greek seasoning to make a batter about the
consistency of pancake batter.

I actually tried the frying process 2 ways. 
I had butter in one skillet and oil in the other.
Although both turned out good, I would 
probably use a combination next
time because the butter
seemed to add a little flavor but the
oil seemed to cook better.
I didn't use alot of either, just enough to 
have a little in the bottom of the pan.  
I didn't want to deep fry.  Less oil at least
seems healthier.

To make them,
I simply dipped some of the larger 
pieces of steamed broccoli into the batter
and cooked them in the oil/butter over
medium heat until nice and golden brown 
on both sides.

When they were done, I put them on a 
paper plate to drain off the excess grease
and topped them with a little grated
sharp cheddar cheese.

Love what you eat and eat what you love! :)




Saturday, September 19, 2015

Spinach, tomato and Italian sausage tortellini...simple and YUM!


Tortellini.
I have looked at these on the grocery
shelf for years and never tried them.
Well, I should have tried them 
earlier, DUH!  Because they are 
yummy!

After seeing a picture of some tortellini
soup on Facebook, I started searching recipes.
I adapted this recipe from several that
I looked at on Pinterest.
I wanted a thicker consistency than soup,
 and
this worked perfect.
I think they will be great with some
shrimp as well, so I will be purchasing
them again soon!

These are the ingredients I used except for some 
Cavendar's Greek seasoning.


Tortellini

9 oz pkg Buitoni tortellini 
2-3 mild Italian sausages, casing removed

2 T minced garlic
2 T olive oil
1 can petite diced tomatoes, drained
3 large handfuls of spinach roughly chopped
1 1/2 cups half and half
(to lessen the calories, use 3/4 milk and 
3/4 cup half and half)
2 T all purpose flour
1/4 cup Parmesan cheese
1/2 cup mozzarella cheese or Italian cheese blend
2-3 dashes Cavendar's Greek seasoning

Cook tortellini per package directions.  While it is boiling, cook the sausage in large skillet, breaking it into small chunks, until no longer pink.  Set aside on a paper plate to drain.  In a small bowl, mix the flour and half and half until blended well. In a large deep skillet, saute the garlic in the olive oil for one minute.  Add the spinach, tomatoes and  a few dashes of Cavendar's and cook just until the spinach has wilted.  Add the flour mixture to the skillet and cook over medium heat stirring frequently until creamy and bubbly, about 5 minutes.  Stir in the meat, tortellini, and cheeses and cook over medium low heat for a couple of minutes, until all is blended.  Add salt to taste and to add a little spice, sprinkle in a dash of red pepper flakes.  If the mixture doesn't seem creamy enough, add a little more half and half or milk.  

Love what you eat and eat what you love! :)




Monday, August 3, 2015

Women need "I feel pretty" days...or at least this woman does


I may be all alone in this feeling, 
but I am pretty sure I'm not. I think
most women feel this way at one time
or another.


You are having a bad week.  Nothing
seems to go right.  The new recipe you tried...
sucked.  Your hair is in a funky
phase and just 
looks like a dirty mop.
The dog pooped in the
floor...and yeah, you stepped in it.  
Your skin is stuck somewhere
between super oily and Sahara desert.
You were putting away the
groceries and dropped a jar of
spaghetti sauce on the floor. You see where
I am going...one of those weeks.

After all that crap, it is such a relief
when you can put yourself together, 
have a good hair day, find an
outfit that makes you feel pretty and 
even if all you do is wear it around the 
house, you feel fabulous for a bit.  
I am aware that men probably do
not have this weakness, but at least
it is a weakness that I have come to 
understand and know how
 to somewhat handle.

All that being said, I had a pretty day
recently and snapped a pic.  Of course,
 I forgot to get the dirty clothes out from 
behind me, and afterwards, it was too
late.  A pretty day is like the tide, it will
come, and it will go.  You will never have
that particular pretty day back. 
You can put on that
same outfit, and it just may
never feel as good as it did
that one time.  Next time, I
will try to remember to get out the good camera,
 but in the mean time,
 I have this snapshot to remind me
 when I am having a funky day,
 that there is 
potential, and it will eventually
come back around.  
Today I may be extra greasy from working on a car and super sweaty because it is 100 degrees, but dang it, I am a girl, and
dang it, I can fix up and feel fabulous! :)




Saturday, July 11, 2015

Philly cheesesteak stuffed peppers



What's for supper?
What's for supper?
What's for supper?

This is always in my head.  I never know
what to cook pretty much until I go to the
store and look at the meat counter.  Something
usually jumps out at me.  But it is still a 
pain in the butt to wonder what to cook.  
I don't wanna cook something crappy and 
think, dang I wish I would have cooked something
else!

So these peppers were on my Facebook page 
and man they looked yummy!
I could tell I would like my pepper done more than
the one in the picture on Facebook, but nonetheless,
they looked worth a try!

Stuffed Philly cheesesteak peppers

6 oz fresh sliced baby bella mushrooms
1 medium onion chopped
4 T butter
roughly one good sized steak sliced thin
steak seasoning
3 large peppers
9 pepper jack cheese slices

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Season steak strips well and set aside.  Cook the butter, onion and mushrooms in a large skillet over medium heat for about 20 minutes or until fairly translucent.  Add steak and cook just until barely done.  I wanted my peppers a little more done, so I cut them in half and cored them and placed them in the microwave on defrost for about 7-8 minutes.  This seemed to make them a little more tender.  Dry them off well and put them into a casserole dish and place 1/2 slice of cheese in each then top with the steak and mushrooms. 


 Top each with a slice of cheese.  Cook in the oven for about 25-30 minutes until cheese is melted and slightly browned.  



Ok, now my tasting opinion.  These had a great flavor, but for my taste, next time I will just saute the peppers all sliced up with the other veggies.  It would be awesome over a bed of rice or on a hoagie bun.  The pepper jack was yummy but actually was a little spicier than I usually can handle.  Next time I would probably do a provolone or sharp cheddar with about half the pepper jack.  All in all, great flavors though!

Love what you eat and eat what you love! :)





Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Jalapeno poppers...are the worth the effort? Yeah.


I am definitely what you would 
consider a get-er-done kind of cook.
When I get in the kitchen, I know what 
I am making, and I make it quickly.
These poppers cannot and do not fall
into my typical category of foods.  They have
to be cut, cored thoroughly, washed, stuffed
and wrapped.  All of this
taking place while coughing, sneezing and 
trying not to cry.  Depending on the hotness of
your jalapenos, which varies all the time.  
This time, I even got some pepper juice 
squirted into my eye...oh joy!

But they are so good.  I think they are even
better cold the next day!  

Jalapeno Poppers

10 large jalapeno peppers
1 pkg bacon (thin works better)
1 pkg cream cheese
sharp cheddar cheese
dash of Greek seasoning

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
Slice jalapenos in half and scoop out all the seeds and gill.  Wash peppers thoroughly and pat dry.  Fill each half with some cream cheese and top the cream cheese with a little chunk of cheddar.  Wrap with a piece of bacon and add a dash of seasoning.  If you have a small wire rack, place them on it on top of a cookie sheet covered in foil.  This helps them to cook the bacon better in the oven without sitting in their own grease.  They need to cook about 30-40 minutes.  Just make sure the bacon gets done.  

This is about halfway through cooking...


Done...


Closeup...


Here is the curious 3 year old, Bolton, that couldn't understand why I was taking food pics.  Ha.  He said to take a picture of his army man.  And he obviously had been playing in the dirt.  :)


Love what you eat and eat what you love! :)

Friday, June 26, 2015

My first ever fresh cream style corn


Fresh corn on the cob
is always a sign that summer is here.
It is hard to beat that first sweet corn 
with its' tender morsels and sugary
taste.

Whoever discovered cooking it in the
microwave was a genius.  Just leave all
of the husk on and pop a couple in the
microwave for 5-6 minutes.  Let it sit in
there for a few minutes and BAM!
You can shuck it and the silks come off
so easily and it is cooked pretty much perfectly.

This time I was craving something different
and cream style corn popped in my head.
Turned out to be a little more work, but
was well worth it.

Cream style corn

6 ears of corn 
1 T sugar
1/2 cup water
4 T butter 
2 T flour
4 T water
2/3 cup half&half
salt 
pepper

Clean the corn and cut the kernel off the cobs into a large bowl.  Scrape the cobs with the back of the knife to get the juices from the corn as well.  


Melt 2 T of the butter in a large skillet over medium heat and add the corn, water and sugar.  Always bear in mind, I use 4-5 recipes to make one I like, and then I pull them back out of my head.  Use your judgement, if the corn looks too dry, add a splash of water here or there.  :)  Cook just until corn is tender.
Reduce heat to medium low.  Mix the water and flour together and add to the corn, stirring well.  


Cook a couple of minutes then add the half&half, 2 T butter, salt and pepper to taste.  I just used a few dashes of each.  Cook about 3-4 minutes more then serve. 

Love what you eat and eat what you love! :)





Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Fried green tuh-may-duhs (tomatoes) :


Recently I had the opportunity 
to go with my boyfriend to 
Illinois for a work trip.  It was the little 
town of Mt. Sterling that pretty much had a huge 
DOT factory, 
and that was about it.
But it did have a couple of thrift stores 
which are actually my favorite, 
so I still had fun and got to relax a bit.


While there, it was brought to my
attention that I have a strong southern
accent.  I never realized this, but 
one lady even said, "I could listen
to you talk all day long".  This clicked in
my head as I was typing tomatoes
in the title of this page. 
That would be one word that 
I could pretty much be a red flag of my
southern dialect.  Dad even has a 
friend who is even more southern, 
and he says "maters".  

Regardless of how you pronounce it...
FRIED GREEN TOMATOES 
are 
the 
yummy.

I grew up with my mom making them
just dipped in flour, but 
a few years ago I tweaked a recipe
and I love them this way.

Fried green 'maters

2-3 green tomatoes sliced 1/4" thick
1 cup flour for dredging
2 eggs beaten well with a fork
1 sleeve Ritz crackers crushed

Flat bottom skillet with about 1/4" oil

Pat the slices of tomato dry with a paper towel.  Dredge each slice in the flour then 
into the egg making sure the egg coats well.  Dip into the cracker crumbs making sure to cover both sides.  Place in the oil at a temperature of about 325-350 degrees.  I have a digital infrared thermometer that is wonderful for checking the oil temperature.  I sell them at the auto parts store to work on vehicles with, but they are a must in the kitchen!  Try to let each one brown on the first side and only flip once.  Place them on paper towels or a wire rack if you have one, it seems to help keep them from getting soggy.  Dip in ranch or ketchup or whatever you like.  :)

Love what you eat and eat what you love! :)