Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Hamburger Chowder

Ingredients
1 lb Ground Beef (3lb Package is what I use start for multiple meal prep.)
1 Chopped Onion (2-3 Medium Onions is what I use start for multiple meal prep.)
1 Can Corn
1 Can Green Beans
2 Cups Beef Broth
2-3 Tbs. Flour
4 Tbs. Butter
1 Cup Milk (or Lactaid or Milk Substitute)
1-2 Tbs. Garlic Powder
1/2 tsp. Seasoned Salt
Salt/Pepper to Taste
Worcestershire Sauce to Taste (About a table spoon)
Basil to Taste (About a teaspoon)
I like to do as much meal prep at the beginning of the week as possible, so, by mid week, I need to do very little.  I buy 3 lb packages of ground beef. I chop my onions. I brown the ground beef with the onions until all are fully cooked. Then, I drain off they extra grease.
Then, I take about a third of the browned meat and onion to do this recipe. The rest, I use for tacos, chili, spaghetti sauce, and other recipes. I store it in the fridge for the week or freeze it for later.

After my ground beef and onion are drained, I put them back in my pan. I drain my corn and green beans and add them to the beef and onion. Then, I add the butter to melt with it. I put in the flour. The average time flour takes to cook is about 10 minutes. I give it a 2 or 3 minute start. Then, I pour in the beef broth. I let it heat up to a simmer. I let it simmer for about 4-6 minutes, helping the flour cook through. While it's simmering, I add my garlic powder, to taste. I like A LOT of garlic. I also add a little bit of salt and a lot of pepper. Always feel free to experiment! I add things like basil (fresh or dried chopped), seasoned salt,  and Worcestershire says to it also to taste.
After it has simmered for 4-6 minutes, I add the milk. I let the come up to a simmer also.
These is a pretty easy meal for a week night, especially if the ground beef is already cooked.
My husband really likes this meal.
Other vegetables would really go well in this dish! Carrots, potatoes, and celery would also work in this dish.
I served this with Rye Bread and butter. It was delicious! 

Monday, February 1, 2016

Chicken and Noodles: Comfort Food the way Mom makes it!

Ingredients
Ingredients:
3 Boneless Chicken Breasts or Tenders (I used tenders.)
1 Package Reames Egg Noodles (Found in the Freezer Section of the Store)
2 Tbl Olive Oil
2 Tbl Worcestershire Sauce
1-2 Tbl Garlic Powder
1/2 tsp Dried Basil
1/2 Cup Milk (I used Lactaid)
3 Tbl Unsalted Butter
3 Tbl Flour (I used White Wheat, but white and wheat flours work also.)
4 Chicken Boullion Cubes  
6 Cups Water 
Salt and Pepper to Taste
Prep and Cook Time: 45 Minutes 
*I also prepare mash potatoes to go with my noodles. I think it's a northern Indiana idea.
Fill a 7-8qt soup pot about half way with water and boil. This is about 6 cups.
While that is working towards boiling, add the Bouillon cubes and olive oil. 
When the water is boiling, add the chicken and the Worcestershire. I used frozen chicken tenders. I've also used frozen chicken breasts before. Boil those for about 10-15 minutes, then, remove and set aside. You don't want to over cook the chicken.
I usually leave the chicken on a cutting board. 
Put the Reames Egg Noodles (THE BEST KIND TO USE!!!) in the pan to start their 20-30 minute cooking process. It depends how tender/al dente you like your noodles.
*This is not a sponsored post for Reames!!! They are just my favorite noodles and have been since I was a child! They are what my mother used!
Make sure they come to a boil. This will take a few minutes, since the noodles are frozen! 
Cut up the chicken into bite size chunks while the noodles are cooking. 
After the noodles cook for 15-20 minutes, add the chicken back to the pot. 
Put the flour in a small bowl. 
Add the milk and some ground pepper. 
Whisk the flour and milk mixture together. 
Add the basil, butter, garlic, and salt and pepper to the noodles. Mix these together. 
Pour the flour mixture in with the chicken and noodle mixture and stir it in. 
Simmer on medium low heat while stirring occasionally for ten minutes to cook the flour. In this time, the broth will start to thicken.
While the chicken and noodles are simmering, I whip up some instant mash potatoes! I do make real mash potatoes often, but sometimes, I've just gotta do the instant! I add tons of butter to them and let it melt! 
As I was mentioning before, we put our Chicken and Noodles right on top of our mashed potatoes. It's awesome! This comfort food has been one of my favorites for a while! It took me a couple years to perfect it, because my mom never gave me an "official" recipe for it. She would just make it! I've done this using a whole chicken and boiling it for stock instead of the bouillon. There are lots of ways to change it up, and it will still taste amazing! 















Tuesday, January 5, 2016

Tomato Basil Pasta: A Quick "Dump" Meal for a Week Night

Dump Pasta Ingredients
Ingredients List
4 Servings Pasta (Any Kind You Like! I used Angel Hair)
1 Can Diced Tomatoes
1 Can Diced Tomatoes with Garlic and Basil
1 Parmesan Cheese ("Shaky" or a Brick. I used both.)
1-3 tsp Garlic Powder to Taste
1-3 tsp Italian Seasoning to Taste
1/4-1tsp Basil to Taste
2-3 Tbl Olive Oil 
Salt and Ground Black Pepper to Taste
1 Can Artichoke Hearts (Or quartered hearts)*
1 Can Corn*
 *All vegetables are up to your discretion. Don't like corn? Don't put it in! Don't like artichoke? You're crazy!;-) But you can still skip it! I've also done canned mushrooms in this recipe. Feel free to experiment! I make this different almost every time based on the veggies I have in my pantry. 
Prep Time- 5 Minutes if that Long (Picking out your Veggies and opening the cans.)
Cook Time- 20-25 Minutes
Makes 4-6 Servings
I call this Dump Pasta, because I'm just dumping the ingredients into a single pan and warming them up. This recipe is so easy! Also, all seasoning is to taste. We like extremely strong seasoning in my family. We also don't use very much salt, because we both have low salt/no salt diets. On top of that, unless you are purchasing Low Sodium veggies, most canned veggies have a ton of salt in them! We don't like to add to that amount.

Pasta Cooking
First, boil the pasta per the instructions on the box. I pick Angel Hair a lot of the time, because it cooks in about 4 minutes. That's super quick! 
Drained Pasta
Drain your pasta into a strainer, and leave it there for a few minutes. It does not need rinsed for this recipe. 
Dumped Ingredients
Dump in the cans of tomatoes. Drain off the water on the can of artichokes and the corn. Dump them in. Put the seasoning on top of that. Also, about a table spoon of Parmesan cheese. I used the "Shaky" cheese for this. I add ground pepper in at this point. I like a lot of it. 
Stirred Ingredients
Bring the dumped ingredients to a simmer. 
Simmering and Steamy
Let all the ingredients simmer until heated through. This can be used right then, or you can let them simmer for a bit, 10-15 minutes, and let this reduce. I left this on to reduce around 15-20 minutes, and it didn't hurt it. 
Pasta Dumped in the Veggies
After the veggies have simmered for a bit, put the pasta in and mix them together. Let this simmer 3-5 more minutes. Be careful to not let this simmer to long if an al dente pasta is preferred. 
Tomato Basil Pasta Dish
When served, add some shredded Parmesan to the top. This side is also good with a Tomato Basil Morning Star Farms burger or a chicken breast. It can also be served with a side salad.
I make this easy pasta dish two or three times a month. It originally started when I started pulling random things out of the pantry and through them in the pot.
I hope you enjoy this easy meal!

Monday, December 21, 2015

Comfort Food: Green Beans and Sausage for the Crockpot

Ingredients
3 14.5oz Cans Green Beans (Whole Cut, not french.)
2 Medium Onions
2 14oz. Packages Kielbasa Sausage
6-8 Yellow Potatoes Washed and Sliced
2 Tbl. Worcestershire Sauce (Or more to taste)
1 Cup White Vinegar (approx.)
2 Tbl. Olive Oil
1 Tbl. Garlic Powder
Cracked Pepper to Taste, I didn't use any salt. You can add that if you need. We are a salt free/low salt family. With the Worcestershire sauce and vinegar, salt is not really needed.
Prep Time: approx. 20 minutes
Cook Time: 4 Hours on High in the Crockpot


Potatoes on the Bottom
To start this recipe, there's a lot of chopping, but the end result is worth it! First, put the olive oil and vinegar in the bottom of the crockpot. After that, cut the washed potatoes into small pieces. They'll cook faster that way. *I did have one bakers potato left from another recipe. I peeled it, cut it, and threw it on top. That's why there are white potatoes on top of the yellow.
Onion Layer
Then, put the onions, coarsely chopped, in a layer on top of the potatoes. 
Green Bean Layer
Now, drain off the water of 2 of the cans of green beans. Keep one with the water in it. Pour them on top of the onion layer. 
Kielbasa/Smoked Sausage
 Cut the Kielbasa into small pieces. 

Kielbasa Layer
Put the kielbasa layer on top, and then, put the garlic, cracked pepper, and Worcestershire on top.
 
I almost had this too full for my crockpot. I put a soup pan upside down on the lid to make sure it stayed shut. You can always to less or more to fit in your crock pot. 
I let this cook for almost 4 hours, but the potatoes were still a little hard, so, I gave it more time. I also stirred this around the 2 hour mark. Cook until your potatoes are fork tender. 
Green Beans and Sausage
This is what the finished Green Beans and Sausage dish looks like finished. This is one of those meals I can throw in the crockpot and leave to do its thing. It doesn't really need stirred. I did because I couldn't leave it alone, because it smelled so good! 


 



Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Creamy Potato Soup

Ingredients:
5-6 Large Baker Potatoes Peeled and Cut into Bight Size Pieces
2 Large Onions Chopped
2 Stalks of Celery Chopped
2 Large Cloves of Garlic Chopped
2 Tbls. Olive Oil
1 Stick Butter
4-6 Cups of Milk or Lactaid (We use Lactaid at our house.)
2-3 Tbs. Flour (Depends on how thick you want it.)
Garlic Powder, Salt, Pepper to Taste
Shredded Cheese to Garnish
Bacon Bits to Garnish
*Makes 6-8 servings.
Prep Time: 15-20 Minutes
Cook Time: 15-20 Minutes

First peel and cut potatoes into bight size pieces and put in a large pan with water and a pinch of salt. Bring to a boil, and then, bring down to a simmer. Let cook until fork tender, but not completely falling apart.

Put the chopped onion, garlic, and celery into a soup size pan (4-6 quart) with olive oil over medium heat. Cook until tender.
Then put in the stick of butter to melt. After the butter is melted, add the flour. You can start with less, then, add more if you are worried about it getting too thick. Stir all of this together until the flour and butter are combined. Turn the heat down just above low so the flour and butter don't burn. Then, add the milk/Lactaid. These can also be added slowly to get the desired thickness you want. Let these things simmer for a few minutes. Add a little garlic powder, ground black pepper, and salt to taste.

Drain the potatoes in a strainer in the sink to get the water off. Then, add them to the rest of the ingredients.
I usually let this simmer while continuously stirring around ten minutes. Doing this also insures that the flour is fully cooked.

Potato Soup Garnished with Shredded Cheese

Serve the soup and garnish with cheese and bacon. This is a heartier soup that is vegetarian without the bacon.

Monday, April 6, 2015

Classic Cakes of Carmel, IN

Our Wedding Cake 
Made by Classic Cakes
Classic Cakes of Carmel, IN is a place that makes cakes for all occasions with professionalism and artistry. 
I met Sarah that works at Classic Cakes through church. She would make all of the cakes for the couples at church, and her decorating skills are amazing! I would ask at every reception, "Who made your cake?" The answer was always, "Sarah. She works at Classic Cakes. She's the one to talk to!!!" 
So, I knew, without a doubt, even before I met my now husband, where my wedding cake was going to come from! 
To start our wedding cake journey, I contacted Sarah and made an appointment for cake tasting and design ideas with her. We met with her and tasted every kind of cake they had.  (Find the list of flavors and pricing here.) We decided on our bottom and top layer of the cake would be almond pound cake with chocolate truffle filling, our second tier was white cake with butter cream filling, and our third tier was keylime with butter cream filling. (I don't see the keylime listed on their site anymore.) After we did the tasting, Sarah got out some colored pencils. We told her we were having a peacock themed reception focusing on the feathers and the blues and greens, and she got to work. She sketched out shapes and ideas. I brought with me a swatch of the bridesmaids dresses so she could match the color. She did perfectly! It's the green behind the feather.
 Sarah posted this picture for me when it was finished!
After letting my husband help make some decisions and seeing the sketch that Sarah came up with, we were happy! I am a huge fan of butter cream! This cake had plenty of it! 
Cutting the Cake
The cake was a beautiful center piece for our reception. Classic cakes delivered it to our venue for a fee. I'm sure glad they did, because that's one less thing I had to deal with! 
Top of the Cake on Our 1 Year Anniversary
They included instructions on how to wrap the top of your wedding cake, so it would taste good on the one year anniversary.  We followed the instructions, and the cake still tasted amazing! 
If you're in the market for a wedding cake or even a cake for any special event, check out Classic Cakes! They will work with you to create anything you can imagine! 
*Wedding pictures taken by Memorable Milestones Photography 

Saturday, March 28, 2015

La Hacienda in Indianapolis

Ian and I had dinner last night at La Hacienda Mexican Restaurant on Lawton Rd. We got there around 8:15pm. They weren't crazy busy, but they had a very large table with three families, another table with a larger family, and a few other tables occupied by smaller families or couples having a date night.
I could tell that the young man that was serving us was having a stressful night. A manager was called to the table behind us that was the large family. They said some not very nice things. Later, we heard them cussing at their children. Lovely.
I don't know if the kid spoke very much English, but he was kind to us. He took our order for our Chori Queso and drinks. When he brought that out, he took our dinner order. Not even five minutes afterward, our dinner appeared at our table!
I was so hungry last night, I didn't take any pictures of my food! The food was the general authentic Mexican food. The salsa was really good! I had tacos and beans, and both things were tasty!
I just want to publicly thank them for getting our food to us so quickly! (Almost too quickly!) We normally eat at the La Hacienda on Graham Rd, but we thought we would give this one a try.
They have indoor and outdoor seating available. We will definitely be going back to this location!
I would recommend La Hacienda to anyone who likes authentic Mexican food!