Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Darn Good Roast Part 2

I had to post this recipe again. It is so yummy! I originally posted this recipe in 2010, but this has continued to be a favorite. The reason I am posting it again is because I made a few changes since last time I shared the recipe. I used the brown gravy mix, and left out the garlic. I also used a delicious and tender spoon roast. If you haven't tried this roast before give it a chance. Served with mashed potatoes and veggies this was a fantastic Sunday dinner in our home!
2 1/2 lb spoon roast
1 bottle of light italian salad dressing
1 packet of ranch dressing mix
1 packet of brown gravy mix
1/2 cup water
black pepper

Mix italian dressing, ranch packet, and gravy mix together. Season roast with black pepper. Place roast in crockpot. Pour italian dressing mixture over roast. Set crockpot to low and cook 7-9 hours.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Crockpot Orange Chicken

Another fun dinner found on Pinterest from The Pursuit of Happiness. This recipe caught my eye because I really Chinese take-out, but we rarely have it because it makes me feel like I need to go into a couch coma for a few hours! I saw this recipe and thought it looked perfect for us (plus a little added greens). A little lighter, and a no fuss crockpot meal (Ron put this meal together while I was at work- sweet man).  The recipe had great reviews, but I was a little disappointed. I thought the orange flavor was a little sour, but really enjoyed the texture of the chicken. I am not sure what to make of it, but wanted to post it to see if there were any suggestions from anyone that has tried the recipe. I was thinking a regular or fresh juice over concentrate? Ron also suggested adding a little heat which I think would be a good idea. What fun would a crockpot recipe be without a few tweeks! Hope everyone is having a great week! They are predicting 10 inches of snow today and into the night- Yikes! Makes me miss Key West even more!
3-4 boneless chicken breasts, chopped into small chunks
1/3 cup flour
olive oil
1/2 T salt
1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar
3 T ketchup
6 oz. frozen orange juice concentrate (thaw or throw it in the microwave for 45 seconds)
4 T brown sugar
4 oz snow peas

In a bowl, mix the orange juice, brown sugar, vinegar, salt, and ketchup. Pour the flour in a small bowl.
Cover the chicken breast chunks in flour and shake off the excess. Pour a small amount of olive oil in a skillet and brown the flour-covered chicken. The chicken doesn't need to be fully cooked since it's going in the crock pot. After the chicken is done cooking, pour the pieces into the crock pot. Then cover the chicken with your sauce mixture and give the pot a stir. Cook on low for 5-6 hours or on high for 2-3. If desired, add snow peas during the last 30 minutes of cooking. Serve over Rice.

Monday, February 27, 2012

Weekly Meal Plan 2/27 - 3/4

A new week is upon us! Sometimes I wonder where time goes with all the busy running around during the week. This Sunday is Ron's birthday! Yay! I love birthdays and am always excited for a celebration. This week should be pretty busy at work, but we have some yummy things on the menu.

Here is what is on tap:

Monday: Crockpot Orange Chicken, Rice, Snow Peas
Tuesday: Spaghetti Pie (for Crazy Cooking Challenege) and Salad
Wednesday: Out for Volleyball
Thursday: Crockpot Swiss Steak, Rice, Green Beans
Friday: Work Event and Out for Dinner
Saturday: Grilled Steak, Twice Baked Potatoes, Grilled Green Beans
Sunday:  Happy Birthday Ron! I think we are going out for dinner with our family.
Breakfast, Lunch, Treats, and Bites: Egg Muffins,

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Buffalo Chicken and Potato Casserole

I love spicy buffalo chicken wings, and have seen a few different buffalo chicken recipes floating around the web I have wanted to make. However, a lot of the recipes use rice or pasta (not a bad thing I have a pasta recipe I previously posted that is wonderful). Buffalo chicken and potato casserole from Simply Sweet Home caught my eye because it was a little different.  This recipe is really easy to put together. It packs a great punch and is nice and cheesy (important for any casserole, in my opinion).  I added a little blue cheese at the end because what would buffalo chicken be without a little blue cheese.  Hope everyone has a great weekend! I am in the middle of watching the Oscars, and rooting for Michelle Williams!
12-15 Skinless Boneless Chicken Strips, not cooked
1/4 - 1/2 cup buffalo sauce (I use Frank's)
1 - 24 oz bag shredded potatoes, thawed
1 small onion, chopped
1 cup chopped celery
1 cup of light ranch dressing
1 1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese
1 can cream of celery soup (we use an organic gluten free)
1 tsp olive oil

Saute onions and celery in olive oil over medium heat until tender

Heat oven to 375. Spray 13x9 inch baking dish with cooking spray. In a large bowl stir together potatoes, onions, celery, dressing, soup, 1/2 cup cheese, and 1/4 cup of buffalo sauce. Pour mixture into baking dish.

In same bowl, place chicken strips and 1/4 cup of buffalo sauce (use more if needed).  Coat each strip with sauce.  Then spoon chicken and sauce over the potato mixture. 

Cover with foil and bake for 30 minutes. Take out and remove foil. Top with 1 cup of cheese. Bake uncovered for another 30 minutes or until potatoes are tender and chicken is done.

*Optional - Sprinkle a little crumbled blue cheese over the top of the casserole.

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Baked Bacon and Cheese Potatoes

Wisconsin is still pretty warm with no snow! So feels like winter never came. Ron and I pulled out the grill again to make bbq pork chops. I had a bag of frozen hashbrowns and decided to make a potato dish to complement our grilled dinner. This side dish is really easy and very yummy. I even used the leftovers for breakfast with a few over easy eggs. Tonight we are off to one of our favorite restaurants with a few friends, and then to a party at the restaurant I work complete with a booze filled pinata- should be a fun night!


4 1/2 cup cubed hashbrowns, thawed
1 cup light sour cream
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
6 sliced bacon, cooked and chopped
1 tsp salt
1 tsp black pepper
1/2 tsp onion powder


Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

In a large bowl mix all ingredients. Lightly grease a medium baking dish. Spread potatoes evenly into the baking dish and bake uncovered 35-40 minutes.

Friday, February 24, 2012

Recipe Swap: Stuffed Pepper Soup

Please excuse my recent photos. I left the good camera with my family in Key West because my Mom forgot her camera at home. Pictures will improve when they return in beginning of March!

On another note, it is time for another Recipe Swap! The theme for this swap is Soups/Stews. I received a recipe for Stuffed Pepper Soup from The Cooking Nurse.  I was very excited because I have had stuffed pepper soup on my radar for awhile now, but had not gotten around to making it. This recipe is so easy, and involves very little cooking time, but gets great flavors. I modified the quantities of the ingredients in the recipe to make the type of soups we like, and I halved the recipe. Trust me, this is recipe still makes a TON of soup! This soup was wonderful, and was very filling. Ron and I both will usually take a small second half bowl when we have soup for dinner, but this time we were both set with one bowl of this stick to your ribs soup! Thank you for the wonderful recipe! We will be making this again (well once we eat all the leftovers from the first batch!).


1 1/4 to 1 1/2 pounds lean ground beef
2 large green peppers, diced
1 onion, diced
14.5 oz can tomato sauce
14.5 oz can diced tomatoes, undrained
1 cup long grain brown rice, uncooked
32 oz beef broth
1/8 cup packed brown sugar
2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon pepper
shredded cheddar cheese (optional)


Brown ground beef in a large stockpot, drain. Finely chop onion and green pepper, and add to ground beef. Add the rest of the ingredients and bring to a boil. Reduce heat, cover, and simmer for 40 minutes or until the peppers are tender and the rice is cooked. Top with shredded cheddar cheese if desired.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Pike A'la Ron

Ron loves ice fishing. Ron loves fish. I love Ron's pan fried pike. I had this post on the burner to share because it is so yummy, and my husband makes it so I get a night off! Since we have had such oddly warm winter in Wisconsin ice fishing may soon be coming to an end, but we have some of this great fish waiting in our freezer for another fish fry. Ron came up with this seasoning mix after playing around in the spice cabinet for awhile. The seasonings give the fish a nice bite, but do not overpower the delicate flavor of the fish. This is a great recipe for a Midwest fish fry! Way to go honey!

1 cup all purpose flour (we use gluten free)
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp onion powder
1 tsp white pepper
1/4 tsp garlic powder
1/4 tsp paprika
2 lb norther pike fillets (or any other white fish)
1/2 cup olive oil
1/2 cup vegetable oil

Combine flour and seasoning in a medium bowl. Toss fillets in mixture and set aside. Heat oil in a large skillet (we use cast iron) over medium heat. Test oil temperature with a pinch of flour mixture. The oil should bubble and sizzle around the flour when it is hot enough. Place a few pieces of fish into the skillet at a time so they can cook evenly. Thin fillets will only need 2 minutes per side. Remove cooked fish from the skillet and place on a paper towel lined plate. Enjoy with a few lemon wedges.

Monday, February 20, 2012

Sausage Cacciatore

Ron and I love pasta dishes. Especially rustic, rich, and full of flavor. I came across this recipe for Sausage Cacciatore on Lauren's blog, and was immediately interested in a twist on a popular favorite.  This recipe is really easy, and makes a fantastic weeknight meal. Ron and I both sent back for seconds and turned into happy and full sofa dwellers for the rest of the evening. I kept to the original recipe, but I allowed the sauce to simmer an extra 15 minutes because there was still quite a bit of liquid in the pot. I think that that helped pull out even more delicious flavors from the veggies, herbs, and sausages. Ron and I both agreed that we preferred this dish with sausage over traditional chicken. So delicious, and a great easy breezy meal!


3 Hot Italian Sausages
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 small onion, sliced
1 red pepper, sliced
1 green pepper, sliced
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 portobello mushroom cap, diced (I obmitted this because Ron is allergic...I think they would make a wonderful addition to the dish!)
2 cans diced tomatoes, drained
1 cup chicken stock
1/2 teaspoon marjoram
1/2 teaspoon oregano
1/4 teaspoon thyme
2 bay leaves
salt & pepper, to taste
1 teaspoon sugar
1 lb. pasta
parmesan cheese {optional}


In large skillet, brown sausages on both sides until thoroughly cooked. Remove from pan. Saute onions, peppers, mushrooms and garlic in olive oil over medium heat until they start to soften, 3 minutes. Slice sausages into 1/4 inch coins and add back into pan. Pour in tomatoes, stock and seasonings. Cover and simmer 30-40 minutes. In the mean time, boil water and cook pasta.

Spoon cooked pasta into serving bowl, top with sausage cacciatore and parmesan cheese, if desired.

Weekly Meal Plan 2/20 - 2/26

Happy Monday everyone! We had a lovely weekend and watched a couple great movies. I finally saw Horrible Bosses (so funny!). We also got to spend a little time with our beautiful new niece, our nephew, and family. Hope everyone is having a great day!

Here is what is on tap this week:

Monday: Sausage Cacciatore and Salad
Tuesday: Stuffed Pepper Soup
Wednesday: Out for Volleyball
Thursday: Buffalo Chicken and Potato Casserole, Green Beans, and Salad
Friday: Work
Saturday: Out for Dinner
Sunday: Darn Good Roast, Mashed Potatoes, Green Beans

Breakfast, Lunch, Treats, and Bites: Eggs in Purgatory, Homemade Spaghetti-O's, Lemon Blueberry Yogurt Loaf

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Carrot and Ginger Risotto

Another Improv Cooking Challenege has come! This month's theme is carrots and ginger. I was originally thinking about a glazed carrot side dish, but decided against it.  We have a lot of fresh fish in our house as a result of Ron's ice fishing, and I thought the flavors of the two ingredients would be nice in a risotto. I love making risottos, and this one did not dissappoint. I loved the spice of the ginger with the sweetness of the carrots, and creaminess of the cheese. Yum! This is a great side dish to add to any menu. As always a big big thanks to Kristen for organizing this challenege. If you want to join in the fun hop over to her blog and sign up! Next month's theme is potatoes and cheese!
1 cup Arborio Rice
4 cups chicken stock
1 shallot, diced
1 cup shredded carrot
2 Tbl grated ginger
1/2 cup grated Parmesan
1 Tbl butter
2 Tbl olive oil
1/2 tsp white pepper
1/2 tsp salt


Place chicken stock in a medium saucepan. Bring  to a simmer (do not boil). Keep warm over low-medium heat.

Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add 2 tablespoons olive oil and 1 tablespoon of butter to pan; swirl to coat. Add carrots, ginger, and shallots. Saute on low for 10 minutes. Stir in rice, and cook for 3-4 minutes, stirring constantly. Increase heat to medium. Add 1 cup stock and cook 3-5 minutes or until liquid is nearly absorbed, stirring constantly (The stock should sizzle when it hits the pan to make sure you don't keep your heat too low).  Add remaining broth, 1/2 cup at a time, stirring constantly until each portion of stock is absorbed before adding the next. Right before you serve the risotto, stir in the cheese and season with salt and pepper. 

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Wild Cherry Kiss Cookies

Happy Valentine's Day everyone! We have a lovely meal and movie planned for the evening. Ron and I have been making grilled steak (even in the snow) with a delicious onion and blue cheese sauce for the past few Valentine's Day dinners, and Ron requested triple chocolate cheesecake for dessert.... we may have to detox for the next week! I know some people think Valentine's Day is cheesy, but I love it. I think we should show each other how much we love each other everyday, but I don't think it hurts to have an extra special day too.

I found these cookies on Pam's blog For the Love of Cooking. I thought they were so cute and perfect for a work treat today. I decided to make them a little more wild with the stripped candy kiss. These cookies are so yummy, and super easy. I added an egg to the original recipe because my dough came out a bit dry and I was looking for a soft cookie. A great treat for the day of L-O-V-E!
1 cup of softened unsalted butter
1 cup of sugar
1 tbsp maraschino cherry juice
3/4 tsp vanilla extract
2-3 drops of red food dye (optional)
1 egg
2 1/4 cups of flour
1/8 tsp salt
1/2 cup of maraschino cherries, chopped up
White sugar, to roll the cookies in
36 chocolate kisses


Beat the butter with a mixer until creamy and smooth. Add the sugar, maraschino cherry juice, vanilla extract, egg, and red food dye (if using); beat with a mixer until smooth. Mix the flour and salt together then pour in batches into the dough. Mix with the beater, making sure to wipe the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula. Add the cherries and mix well with spoon. Place the dough into the refrigerator for 15-30 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Line a baking sheet with a silpat mat.
Roll the cookie dough into small balls then drop into a bowl of sugar; roll to coat evenly. Place the balls on the cookie sheet about 2 inches apart; press your thumb down in the center of the cookie gently. Repeat.

Place into the oven and bake for 13-14 minutes. Remove them from the oven and immediately place a kiss in the center of each cookie. Let them set up on the baking sheet for 3-5 minutes before moving them to a wire rack to cool.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Weekly Meal 2/13 - 2/19

We made it back to Wisconsin safe and sound (and to 10 degree weather). We had a lovely vacation, and didn't want to leave! Key West was a great place for a vacation. I always miss some of the comforts of home (and my liver does like to work as hard as I made it work on this vacation), and love seeing new and different places. We had great food and fun with family!

Here is what is on tap for this week:

Monday: Pike a'la Ron, Carrot and Ginger Risotto (for Improv Challenge), Steamed Green Beans
Tuesday: Happy Valentine's Day! Grilled Tenderloin with Onion Blue Cheese Sauce, Mashed Potatoes and Steamed Green Beans
Wednesday: Beefy Chili w/ all the fixings
Thursday: Leftover Chili
Friday: I work at my restaurant job
Saturday: Slow Cooker Chicken Ceasar Sandwiches, Roasted Potatoes, Salad
Sunday: Stuffed Pepper Soup - For the recipe swap

Treats and Bites: Valentine's Cherry Chocolate Kiss Cookies

Friday, February 10, 2012

Recipe Swap: Parmesan Potato Wedges

Time for another Recipe Swap! Thank you to Sarah for hosting and doing all the leg work to create such a fun swap for everyone! The theme for this swap is potatoes. I submitted my recipe for loaded baked potato soup- yummy! I received Parmesan Potato Wedges from Rose. I love potato wedges and was excited to recipe a new recipe for this yummy side dish. This recipe is really easy, and tasted great with our Philly Cheesesteak Sloppy Joes. My sister and I devoured these potatoes... we have a potato intervention might be in the near future. We are still in Florida enjoying the sun and warm breezes...see you in a few days!


6 medium baking potatoes (about 2 lbs)
1/3 cup of butter, melted
1 clove garlic, minced
1/4 c of grated Parmesan cheese
1/2 tsp Italian seasoning, crushed
1/4 tsp salt
1/8 tsp black pepper


Line a 15x 10 X 1-inch baking pan with parchment paper or foil; set aside.  Preheat oven to 425 degrees.  Cut each potato lengthwise into eight wedges.  In a large bowl stir together butter, garlic, Parmesan cheese, Italian seasoning, salt, and black pepper.  Add potato wedges and stir to thoroughly coat.  Place the wedges on the prepared baking pan.

Bake, uncovered, in a 425 degree oven about 30 minutes or until tender.

Serves 6

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Crazy Cooking Challenge: Better Than Sex Cake

Another Crazy Cooking Challenge has come!


 Last month I was very excited to recieve the Ultimate Recipe for my submission of Slow Cooker Thai Chicken Noodle Soup! The theme for February is chocolate cake which fits perfectly considering Valentine's Day is right around the corner.  I searched for an easy recipe that could be adapted into a gluten free dessert. After making the round on pinterest I found Better Than Sex Cake from Barefoot and Baking. I have had versions of this cake when I was in high school, but have not had it since. I figured that it couldn't be too hard after reading the recipe, and what could be wrong with a cake with a name that carried a little sass?! This recipe is really easy to put together, and we found a great gluten free cake mix and fudge. I think this would be a great addition to a girls night with a few (or a bunch) glasses of vino. My husband loved this cake, but when I asked him if it was better than sex he just grinned. 

 I can't wait to see what my fellow bloggers came up with! Don't forget to click my link below to vote for me.

1 box chocolate cake mix (+ whatever it calls for on the back), we used gluten free
1 can sweetened condensed milk
1 jar hot fudge sauce, we used gluten free
1-8 oz container of cool whip
4 Skor Bars, crushed (or Heath Bars)

Make and bake cake according to box directions. As soon as it comes out of the oven, poke holes with the handle of a wooden spoon all over the cake. Pour sweetened condensed milk over the top. Let cool completely. Next spread fudge over the cake, and put in the fridge to set. When it is cool, spread coolwhip over the top and then top with crushed Skor bars. Refrigerate leftovers.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Philly Cheesesteak Sloppy Joes

One day till we leave for Key West! I am sooooo excited for a vacation! My sister and my nephew came for dinner tonight, and I needed to find a great recipe that was both kid and adult friendly. I came across this recipe on Sarah's blog A Taste of Home Cooking and I knew it was perfect. Sarah also runs our bi-weekly recipe swap (potato recipe swap coming soon!). These sandwiches were delicious! My 3 year old nephew kept saying "more cheesy burger, more cheesy burger".  Success. This dish is really easy to put together and is very low cost. The flavors are rich and cheese sauce is very tasty! This would be another great dish to add to your Super Bowl menu! I have a few posts scheduled for next week, but will mainly be relaxing with my family. Catch ya on the flip side everyone!

1 1/4 pound lean ground beef
1 softball-sized onion, chopped
1 green pepper, chopped
2 tablespoons steak sauce
1 cup beef stock
Salt and ground black pepper
1 tablespoon butter
1 tablespoon flour (we used gluten free)
1 cup milk
1 cup provolone, shredded

In large skillet over medium-high heat add the oil and then brown the ground beef, about 5-6 minutes. Add the onion and green pepper and cook another 3-4 minutes, until the vegetables start to get tender. Stir in the steak sauce and beef stock, season with salt and pepper, bring up to a bubble and cook about 2 minutes.

Split open rolls and remove most of the soft insides, leaving a bed to hold the meat mixture. Toast the rolls and set aside.

While the meat is cooking, melt the butter in a medium-size pot over medium-high heat. Stir in the flour and cook about 1 minute. Whisk in milk, bring up to a bubble and let thicken, about 2 minutes. Turn off heat and stir in the cheese.

To serve, place a scoopful of the meat mixture onto the bottom of the rolls, then top with the cheese sauce and replace the top of the roll