Week 12: Taking a Break

Last week my mom, sister, and I took a weekend trip to Nashville, TN, and I ended up getting sick the day before we left. When we got back I was pretty sick all week so mom and I decided to take the week off. I also hadn’t really looked into any recipes, so I didn’t have any ideas anyway. However, we will resume getting back to the kitchen on Thursday this week with a new recipe to share with you all. Check back soon for an update!

Happy cooking!

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Week 11: New Years Eve

For New Years Eve we decided on a crock pot ham that my boyfriend’s mom made a few weeks before Christmas. I didn’t get any pictures of it, but I will post the recipe. This is probably the best ham you will ever taste, it’s the best one I’ve ever tasted! The recipe is so simple and easy you won’t be able to resist trying it out.

Recipe – 1 spiral sliced honey ham (we got ours from Honey Baked Ham)

2 cups of brown sugar

a few pineapple slices (optional but we added them)

Directions – Put 1 cup of brown sugar on the bottom of the slow cooker. Put ham in and cover with another cup of brown sugar. Top with pineapple slices (again optional). Cook on low for 6-8 hours.

That is literally all it takes, and it is amazing!! This ham is so tender and packed full of mouth watering flavors everyone will wonder what’s in it, and they probably won’t believe you when you tell them!

This picture isn’t one I took, but it is close to what the ham comes out looking like.

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The darker the pieces the better it tastes! Try it for yourself, you definitely won’t be sorry!

Happy cooking!

Week 10: Christmas Eve Special

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays bloggers and readers! Get ready for a long post because mom and I went all out for this meal!

This was a complete meal with appetizer, sides, main course, and dessert. I will break up this post by food category, and I’m only including photos of the finished dishes rather then prep photos + finished product photos. I tried to take prep photos, but I realized that would be a lot of pictures, so I decided against that.

Appetizer- For our appetizer we decided on fresh bruschetta on sliced and toasted french bread. This was a very simple recipe with just a few ingredients needed. We made the bruschetta the day before because it needed to sit at room temperature for a few hours. We made the bread the day of because it just need to be put in the oven with some olive oil on top for toasting. It turned out great, and the flavor of the leftover bruschetta just got better and better the longer it sat.

Recipe here – http://www.spendwithpennies.com/hollys-bruschetta/

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Sides – For our sides we had some regular mashed potatoes that mom made, and buffalo chicken pasta salad that we found on Pintrest. This pasta salad was excellent, and really had that buffalo taste and spice. We left out the chicken because we thought that might be too much with the main course and everything else. However, I think that this dish could definitely be a main course if the chicken were added. The spice wasn’t too much, but it did get spicier the longer it sat in the fridge, so just a heads up there. This also had a rather short list of ingredients, and it took no time at all to make. It was mostly just adding the ingredients, and mixing them together in a bowl. Cooking the noodles is what took the longest.

Recipe here – http://www.bloglovin.com/blog/post/1425329/2903662123 (Warning the recipe never actually says when to add the chicken or how much to put in, so if you decide to try this and add chicken you will just have to guess on the amount. For cooking I would suggest just putting frozen tenders in a skillet with some vegetable/olive oil, or putting them on a George Foreman, then chopping into bite sized pieces and adding to the pasta salad mixture.)

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Main Course – This was probably the best part of the whole meal, and I would make this again in a second. For our main course we chose to make brown sugar balsamic glazed pork tenderloin in the crock pot. Just typing it out I can taste it again. The prep for the pork was easy, and of course the crock pot does all the rest, so by the time it was ready to eat it was perfectly tender and full of flavor. The recipe suggests putting the pork in the oven to broil and create a more caramelized look, but we opted to not do that. We definitely weren’t disappointed in our decision as it still tasted wonderful. We did hold back the extra sauce for dipping, and that is something I would recommend as it gives the full flavor the recipe wants you to have. I am also a fan of sauce! We cut the recipe in half because only three of us were eating, so we only had a pound of pork instead of two.

Recipe here – http://laurassweetspot.com/2013/06/12/crockpot-brown-sugar-balsamic-glazed-pork-tenderloin/

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Dessert – for the final part of the meal we chose to make chocolate cup cakes with peanut butter frosting, all from scratch. We made these the day before as well because the prep time was kind of long, and I think it actually took us a little longer then the recipe said it would, so something to keep in mind. The recipe also calls for a Reese Cup in the center of the cup ckaes, which we did add, but it didn’t turn out quite like the picture, ours was actually flat and squished on the bottom. I would recommend leaving them out, but of course that is up to you! We also left out the coffee the recipe calls for, and that didn’t seem to affect anything as far as cooking and consistency in the cakes. However, over all these cup cakes were really good, and a big hit with everyone that got to try them. They are very rich though, so don’t plan on eating more then one at a time, unless you can really stomach the rich stuff! The frosting was my favorite part, it had the perfect sweet and peanut buttery flavor I thought it would have, and it was the perfect companion to the chocolate cup cakes. It also wasn’t difficult to make the frosting from scratch, just mixing everything together in a kitchen mixer!

Unfortunately I didn’t snap a photo of our cupcakes, so I am using one from the website where the recipe is posted. Recipe here – http://www.gimmesomeoven.com/chocolate-peanut-butter-cupcakes/#_a5y_p=1169711

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This is probably one of my favorite meals to date, and I would highly recommend any of these recipes as they were all perfectly delicious!

Happy cooking!

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Week 9: Spicy Malaysian-Style Stir Fried Noodles

This is definitely one of my all time favorite Asian dishes so far that we have made. It was also very quick and simple, a great idea for a week night meal when you need to get something on the table. However, you will want to have all the ingredients on hand before you make it, and it might require a trip to an Asian food market. We couldn’t find all the ingredients in our local grocery store, so we had to make some substitutions. We couldn’t find sweet bean sauce, so we used hoisin sauce instead, and it worked just as well. We also couldn’t find the egg noodles, so we used linguine instead, and they worked just find. We definitely opted for the mild version by leaving out the chile paste, mostly because of how spicy our last Asian stir fry dish turned out. We just added a few red-pepper flakes, but if you like spice give the chile paste a try!

Recipe here – http://www.myrecipes.com/recipe/spicy-malaysian-style-stir-fried-noodles

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We also added some chicken to the stir fry just to bulk it up some, and make it a little more filling. The chicken absorbed the flavors really well, and it was a great addition. The leftovers were awesome as well as the flavors had marinated more from sitting in the fridge. My boyfriend also got to try the leftovers from this, and he liked it too! But don’t take our word for it, try it for yourself! I promise you won’t be disappointed, and not having to spend a lot of time on your feet cooking is always a plus. You will thank yourself for opting to trying this dish out rather then stopping at a drive thru after work, or throwing that frozen meal in the microwave.

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Happy cooking!

Week 8: Lasagna Soup

This soup was AMAZING!! It really tasted like lasagna, and looked like it too, just a disassembled version. It was easy to make, but it did take a little bit of time. It calls for a lot of seasonings, so the ingredient list may look a little daunting, but trust me, it’s well worth it. This is a great dish for bigger families/groups as it does serve a lot. It’s definitely a recipe to keep in mind for get-togethers because I believe it’s something everyone will like, and it is relatively easy to whip up.

The recipe can be found here – http://www.cookingclassy.com/2013/12/lasagna-soup/

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Make sure to really break up the noodles into what can be considered bite-sized though. I broke ours to be a little big, and they were just a tad hard to eat off a spoon. However, this ended up not being an issue for leftovers because the noodles soaked up all the soup juice, truly making it disassembled lasagna, and therefore something that can be eaten with a fork. I actually liked it a lot better this way, but that’s because I like lasagna. With a little water it would be easy to bring the leftovers back to a soup consistency.

The cheese mixture that goes on top was my favorite part, and could honestly taste delicious on its own. It was easy to mix up, and fun to dollop on top of the soup. I do recommend popping your bowl in the microwave though once the cheese has been added, because it will need the extra heat to melt into the soup. Just a few seconds is more than enough. I like lots of cheese on mine, but any amount will give it that extra cheese taste to really bring out the lasagna flavors.

I highly recommend trying this recipe, and I think it will be a big hit no matter the occasion.

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Happy cooking!

Week 7: Avocado and Tomato Grilled Cheese Sandwiches

Last week mom and I decided to take a somewhat different approach to our meal and make these grilled cheese sandwiches. Obviously though, these aren’t the typical grilled chesses you might make on a busy weeknight with some tomato soup. These sandwiches are loaded with mashed up avocados that include some extra seasoning to give it a unique flavor, and some delicious tomato slices. On top that they also don’t require the normal yellow cheese slices you might use, these sandwiches take white American cheese, which gives them an awesome flavor.

I liked these sandwiches, but if I were to make one again I would leave out the parsley the recipe says to put in with the avocado. It was a little strong for me and kind of over powered the rest of the flavors. I tried to pick some of it out, but at that point it was all through the avocado mixture, so that was kind of a lost cause. This recipe is actually a Better Homes and Gardens recipe, and it can be found here – http://www.bhg.com/recipe/tomato-avocado-grilled-cheese/

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The recipe says to grill the sandwiches on a griddle, but we don’t have one so we used our George Forman and that worked great. The bread was nice and crispy, the cheese melted beautifully, and the bread still had that grilled look to it. The recipe also calls for whole grain bread, but my mom decided to spice things up and got some whole wheat Italian bread, just in a loaf, and it was delicious.

This was definitely a quick and easy recipe, we were done in about 20 minutes max, and we just ate potato chips on the side. The mashing of the avocados and chopping the parsley took the longest, but if you leave out the parsley (which is recommended) then that cuts out some of the time. I would recommend this for another busy night when you might be rushing to get dinner on the table. The only thing is that it might not be very kid friendly because the flavors are quite different. However, it’s always worth a try. Check this recipe out, even just for yourself for lunch some time! I will say though one is definitely enough to fill you up.

Happy cooking!

P.S. Keep checking back to the blog around Christmas because mom and I are planning a special Christmas Eve meal that is more than just a main course!

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Week 6: Happy Thanksgiving!

Unfortunately this post isn’t about an awesome Thanksgiving dinner my mom and I put together for Pintrest Thursday. In observance of the holiday, (and the fact that I will be eating TWO Thanksgiving meals today), we decided to take the week off. I hope everyone has a great Thanksgiving, and I promise we will have a super awesome recipe to share next week to make up for not having one this week.

Happy Thanksgiving! Gobble gobble!

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And if you are the one cooking this year, happy cooking!