Friday, August 31, 2012

7 layer dip

Labor Day. Labor Day. Labor Day. No matter how much I say it, I can't believe we're already here. Where did the Summer go? I told you earlier in the year that Memorial Day is pretty much the kickoff to Summer in my mind, and that makes Labor Day the "See you later" party for Summer. Obviously, I have many reasons to look forward to Fall...besides the usual hoodie weather and comfort food recipes, Main Man and I will be tying the knot in under 2 months. For realz. This year went by at lightning speed. I'm told that it continues to speed up each year you get older and as you have kids of your own, but I'm not sure how time could fly any faster!
Labor day weekend is our last planned weekend at the lake, with all the wedding stuff coming up, and Main Man's work taking up a lot of his time.  I'm sad Summer is coming to an end but am really looking forward to the first ISU football game this weekend, so I guess it's an even trade!  If you're looking for some recipes to bring to a potluck or bbq this weekend, check out the suggestions I made for Memorial Day tummy fillers, they will be great contributions to a Labor Day shindig too! 
I'm going pretty simple for our last lake weekend, and went with a few easy items to lug down there so we don't have to bring much back with us when closing up shop. I made:
huge garden salad from fresh veggies (cleaning out the garden)
marinated pork loin for the smoker (recipe to come)
italian stuffed zucchini (recipe to come)
7 layer dip
Seven layer dip is the most simple appetizer I make, and I always have all the ingredients around to throw it together, since you pretty much use what you want. I've even made it with more or less than seven layers before...that's how crazy I am. Keep your distance, folks...I'm not sure you want this insanity to rub off on you.
I started with a layer of fat free spicy refried beans for the base. Layered on a diced jalapeno, and half a can of diced black olives I had leftover from another recipe.

Cover those layers with a layer of greek yogurt (rather than sour cream). Top that with a layer of taco sauce, a layer of 2% mexican cheese, and a layer of fresh picked cherry tomatoes from the garden. I would normally do onions, but I know there is one particular onion hater that will be amongst us this weekend (don't worry, I won't name names, Christina!) so I omitted that part. Use tortillas chips to schoop up that goodness and see if that dish isn't licked clean by the end of the day.

You can add a layer of quac, a layer of salsa, a layer of lettuce, a layer of onion. You can also omit any layers you're not too fond's really up to you. Don't you love recipes like that?? Superbly easy, built to please personal tastes, and didn't even require a run to the store. I'll go ahead and wish myself a happy Labor Day for you, since you'll be wanting to thank me for this go-to dish sometime this weekend.

Alright, folks...I'm out to take the dogs on a walk, get packed up, and maybe get a little reading in this afternoon. Enjoy the long weekend, and we will see you back here on Tuesday!!

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Thursday, August 30, 2012

Bangin' Grilled Shrimp Skewers

Sit down. Take off your socks. Because the knowledge I am about to impart upon you is going to knock you off your feet AND knock your socks off. It happened to me when I put my first little bangin' shrimpy in my mouth. True story. Mama told these shrimpies to knock you out. Mama said knock you out.

P.S. They're not bad for you. I knowwwwwww! Where have these been all my life?? I found them hiding over at Gina's Skinny Taste, you know, my fave WW blog evah evah. I've told you about her before. The spinach and cheese lasagna rolls came from her. Yeah, she's pretty much a god. Plus, check out her food photos...but not before lunch unless you enjoy torture. I've had these shrimp skewers in my pile to try for longer than I care to admit now that I know how easy they are. What, you don't have a pile 2 foot high of printed recipes you want to try in the corner of your kitchen? Me either. I was kidding. Don't leave me...

It just so happened the stars aligned and I had everything I need to make these ready to go and on hand. We haven't made dinner this fast in....well, ever. Main man manned the grill after I skewered the shrimpies, while I made the sauce lickety split. Sauce them up after you take them off the grill and whammo-blammo-cadabra (or whatever it is magicians say)...dinna is served, my lords. You're welcome. I finally stopped curtsying earlier this week.


2 T light mayo (I used olive oil based)
2 T scallions, chopped fine (I didn't have any so skipped this part)
2 T Thai sweet chili sauce
1 t Sriracha (or to taste, I used more like 1 T)

40 large raw shrimp, shelled and deveined, sprinkled with fresh cracked pepper


Combine the first group of ingredients. Set aside. Soak wooden skewers in water so they don't burn on the grill. Heat a clean, lightly oiled grill to medium heat, when the grill is hot add the shrimp, careful not to burn the skewers. Grill on both sides for about 6-8 total cooking time, or until shrimp is pink and opaque. Set shrimp on a platter and quickly brush with sauce. Serve immediately, it gets cold quickly.

We made Main Man's favorite side lately...the baked parmesan round out the meal.

Best part? The fat stats.
Bangin' Grilled Shrimp
Servings: 2 • Serving Size: 2 skewers(10 shrimp each skewer) • Old Points: 6 pts • Points+: 6 pts
Calories: 280 • Fat: 9.5 g • Protein: 37 g • Carb: 8.4 g • Fiber: 0.1 g • Sugar: 5 g
Sodium: 330.9 mg

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Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Hot onion burgers

Piggyback time!!!! Who doesn't love a good piggyback ride...we used to have races in our neighborhood, and even though I was a girl, I was super good at being on the bottom and running my little legs off to win. I'm tough like that. It's because I eat beeeeeef :) 
This carving board style roast beef was only half gone after making the scrumdiddlyumptious (piggy backs and Willy Wonka's turning into a great hump day) philly cheesesteak stuffed peppers I made that week so I was really just trying to find ways to use it up when these burgers were born of love. I was pre-making burgers for the lake that weekend and thought "hmmmm...meat within the meat? I'm sure Main Man will luuuurve me for this one!" So I did the damn thang. And he did love me. Everyone loves a happy ending :)
1 lb lean hamburger
1 onion soup packet
1 diced jalapeno
1 can mushrooms
half package carving board roast beef 

Mix it all up. I realize it's pretty messy, but your hands are your best tool in this situation. It's sort of fun too...squishing it all between your fingers and watching it goo out as it all mixes together. Patty that out into 4 burgers (1/4 each) and layer with waxed paper in a container to store. Unless grilling all means, grill away!!

I did not get a photo of these babies after they were cooked that weekend. I actually didn't even have one. Main Man had one with pepperjack cheese and raved about it though...the kid loves onions. His buddy Jones also thought they were extra special and told me 3 times how good they were. Aunt Vicki and Uncle Mike gobbled theirs up so I'm assuming they enjoyed them too! All in all, the lesson here is, you can't go wrong with meat inside meat. Class dismissed.
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Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Philly cheesesteak stuffed peppers

I've found a new website that I just adorrrrrrre! I'm not doing the no carb thing like the blogger is, but it's always good to cut where you can...right? I just pinned another 84 bajillion (that's equivelent to about 10, fyi) recipes off her site, due to how well this one turned out in the Stensland test kitchen. She has such great substitutions!! Rutabaga for potatoes?? Gonna have to try that one before I stamp my approval on it...but if it's anything like the potato-cauliflower switcharoo in the twice baked cauliflower then I'm willing to give up my first born for a sub like that. Maybe not...depends on how much I like the kid I guess. It would have to be a lot in order to trump low cal potatoes that taste like fat kid food though. My children will have alot to live up to...

Anywho...this was quick and easy (which was good because I was staaaaaahhhhving) as well as very satisfying. Read: I wasn't in the kitchen looking for crackers or chips a couple hours later to keep the carb monster inside me at bay like I have to do sometimes. Give it a shot!


8 oz thinly sliced roast beef (I used carving board roast beef for bigger pieces)
8 slices provolone cheese (I used 2% swiss)
2 large green bell peppers
1 medium sweet onion
6 oz baby bella mushrooms
2 T olive oil
1 T garlic, minced
salt and pepper to taste


Slice peppers in half lengthwise, remove ribs and seeds. Slice onions and saute them with mushrooms in olive oil with minced garlic, salt and pepper. Saute while stirring until onions and mushrooms are nice and caramelized (25-30 minutes...I thought about pulling them sooner because they smelled so good but pleeeeaaase way for them to caramelize and you will not be sorry).

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Slice roast beef into thin strips and add to the onion/mushroom mixture. Allow to cook for 5-10 more minutes. Line the inside of each pepper with a slice of provolone, and fill each pepper with meat mixture until they are nearly overflowing. Top each pepper with another slice of provolone.

Bake for 15-20 minutes until the cheese is golden brown.


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Monday, August 27, 2012

Mediterranean chicken quinoa skillet

I'm not sure what a person's measure of success should be on a blog, this is new territory for me. All I know, is if I look back at my initial posts in early 2011 and compare them to my posts now, I notice a few things.
1. My photography (although nowhere near the level I want it to be still) has drastically improved from my original Droid phone pics I used to use. Sidenote: I GOT MY CAMERA LENS BACK!!! Oh, how I've missed it. Getting it back has made me really try to get more into the photography of all this, and try to stage better photos than I have in the past. We'll see how I do...I'll work on it, I promise!!
2. I'm more comfortable in my writing and in sharing a lot more of myself (and my main man) in my posts.
 3. You can't see this, but I can see how many pageviews I get per day on each post. I am well over a million views at this point, and it blows my mind every time I think about it. I'm averaging 10k views per day. Seriously? This started as a little creative writing project for family and friends so I would stop annoying everyone with pics of our dinner on facebook each night....and it's come to this!? I'm amazed...but really, doesn't everyone have a complete and total infatuation with food and aren't they always looking for the new, blast your socks off, love of your life recipe around each and every corner of the interwebs like I am? Oh, wait...that's just me? Well, at least I hope if any of you have tried any of the recipes I've posted, that you've enjoyed them as much as I have.
 4. This project not only allows me a creative outlet, but it's also widened our horizens to a lot of different meals we never would have attempted before (case in point: I am now obsessed with quinoa and will be posting another recipe with it very soon, plus I just KILLED searing scallops at home for the first time this weekend)!
 My favorite time of the day is still and probably always will be, dinnertime. When Main Man comes in and makes a comment about how he can smell dinner from the driveway (sometimes that's good, sometimes that's bad), takes off his shoes, and we talk about each of our days while I dish up the dinner du jour. He's very honest with me if he likes or dislikes whatever I make, which some would take offense to, but I truly appreciate. That's why I love a recipe like this...that I'm not sure of myself, let alone wondering if he's going to like it....and it turns out wonderous! I mean, this is one of the better meals I've enjoyed in a while, and it's uber healthy! I've only cooked with quinoa once on Valentines Day this year, when I made the toasted quinoa salad with scallops. It was good...but it wasn't good like this!
The original recipe was from Iowa Girl Eats and called for pasta, and shrimp, and she made a sauce. So I don't think this is even slightly near the same meal, but it worked and that's all that matters in the food world, right? Main man plowed this...and I mean plowed it. I'm not going to speak of the fact that I annhilated the same amount as he did...I'm a lady, you know. All I'm saying is, if you've never worked with quinoa, this is a great recipe to start out with. The texture is a little something to get over, and I feel like sort of a hippie subbing quinoa for pasta, but both those facts are easy to get over when you taste the juice of the cooked tomatoes, with the pop of the quinoa, and the saltiness of the feta in your mouth all at once. Mouthgasm. I said it. I'm no longer a lady...get over it.

2 cups dry quinoa (supa, supa, supafood)
4 cups chicken broth
3 grilled chicken (seasoned with Tastefully Simple seasoning salt)
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
6 garlic cloves, minced (it called for less but I'm a garlic freak...gotta keep those vamps away, I've already got me an Edward!)
4 cups chopped fresh spinach (another superfood! this meal is soooo healthy!)
2 cups cherry tomatoes
1/2 cup feta cheese crumbles (I used reduced fat)
1/4 cup torn fresh basil

Add 4 cups chicken broth to a large skillet and bring to a boil. Add 2 cups rinsed (make sure to rinse!) quinoa to the skillet and let cook until most of the liquid has been absorbed. Add spinach, tomatoes, garlic, feta, basil, and cooked chicken to the skillet. Continually stir while flavors melt together. Flavor with salt, pepper, and crushed red pepper to taste. Serve piping hot! But, if you happen to get accosted with a forkful in your mouth of it cold from the fridge by your own hand before you know what it's's good cold too...just an FYI.

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Friday, August 24, 2012

Sweet potatoes

In this installment of "Dining with the Nobilings", I introduce you to The Laughing Cow cheese. You may have already had Laughing Cow cheese, like I had. But I was not aware that they made Cinnamon Cream Laughing Cow cheese on top of their other, more savory flavors. This wouldn't mean much to me, if it weren't paired with a sweet potato. I'm not big on cinnamon, or sweet cream cheese for that matter. But if I can have a fan-flipping-tastic tasting baked sweet potato with this stuff for 30 calories (yeah, you read that right...THIRTY) rather than slathering it with butter and brown suger per usual, then I'm all  in!
I gave you the recipe for the grilled cabbage yesterday. Now get to Fareway to get some smoked ham, and bake yourself a sweet potato (you can use the microwave, crockpot, or oven for this). You're all set for a full, healthy meal now that you've got the Laughing Cow Cheese in your corner...and seriously, Main Man talked about this food the whole way home. And the next day. I wouldn't lie about something so serious.
In other news....happy Friday, all!! This week has flown by it seems! Main Man and I have been doing a cleanse this week, so I've got a lot of very healthy dinners to post in the next couple weeks. Healthy, but satisfying to a tired boy after working all day...booyah!! Oh, and I got my camera lens back...fixed...for FREE! It's been that kind of week...a phenomenal one :) 
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Thursday, August 23, 2012

Grilled cabbage

I was not a little surpised, or a teensy bit surprised, or even slightly surprised that Main Man loved this as much as I did. I was greatly, vastly, EXTENSIVELY suprised that he liked this as much as I did! Cabbage? No butter? Healthy? Get real. And it did get Mrs. Nobiling served us these little foil babies for a side to smoked ham and it was heavenly. Like they were made to go together. Like they were twins separated at birth, but not identical twins, because they aren't the same but they compliment each other so well they are the perfect amount of different. Have I lost you yet? Get a little smoked ham on your fork, now fork some cabbage up with it, and take a bite. SEE WHAT I MEAN?!?! Now we're speaking the same language. We had a great time catching up with the Nobilings and their little lover boy Keltyn...AND she served us one of the best meals we've had in a while. I mean, could it have been a better night? Not in my book...even if I didn't have my good camera, my purse camera battery was dead, and my cell camera was all I had to get a snapshot of this all worked out in the end! :)   
  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • 2 tbsp real bacon bits
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 tbsp worcestershire sauce
  • 1/4 tsp kosher salt
  • 1/4 tsp ground black pepper (more or less to taste)
  • 1 Medium Head of Cabbage

  • Mix the olive oil, bacon bits, lemon juice, worcestershire sauce, salt and pepper to make the marinade.  Prepare the cabbage. Rinse it under water and remove any yucky loose leaves.
    Cut the head in half on the core..then cut the halves in half again…to make quarters. Lay each wedge on a sheet of aluminum foil large enough to wrap it up in. Spoon about 2 tbsp of the marinade on top making sure to get it in all the nooks and crannies. Wrap each wedge and bake for 20-30 minutes. I say 20-30 becuase they will continue to cook once you pull them out and I like mine still crunchy. Do what you please, though. Some in the comments section of this original recipe have cooked them up to an hour for softer cabbage.

    Fat Stats: (4 servings)
    80 calories
    2 g fat
    1 WW point
    15 g carbs
    4 g protein

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    Wednesday, August 22, 2012


    Meet Dani. Miss Dani is the laid back lake mama that has a place next door to ours at Lake Ponderosa with her hubs and the cutestblondehairedblueeyeddarlinglittlegirlever. They are actually the reason we have a place on the water, due to "The Justins" weekly date nights in the shop where her main man convinced my main man this was something we needed to have for our future children (they sure know how to work a girl). I was a heel-dragger at first, but I can now say that I am superbly thankful for her main man's persistence as it's been one of the best summers of our lives (having sweet neighbors was the perfect sweetening to the pot for me)! 

    Dani is a realtor, and she took care of all the deets when we purchased the place after we had gone to visit them one weekend. OK, now I'm getting to the point....

    When we visited she drank her wine out of a glass with a lid. I mean, why didn't I think of that? Genius, I say! Funny story...she actually invented these and has a patent on them! I just thought she bought it that way, or bought them separate and put them together. Nope, she makes them, decorates them, and even has a tax ID number! And her hubs only found out about her little business when they were moving and he found the, I love her!

    Long story short...she gave me one as a housewarming gift when our sale was final. I don't use any other glass at the lake, it's perfect for mixed drinks (drinky poos for my Aunt Vicki below), wine (for the wino at heart who can't live with spilling a drop), and whatever else you want to throw in there!

    You can use them on a boat....

    You can use them on the land...

    You can use them cruising town...

    You can use them hanging with Main Man.

    Dr. Suess has nothing on my rhyming skills. Even though nothing at all rhymes there. Whatev. Everyone who sees these wants one so I convinced Dani to start selling them. For a $15 bid (or $20 buy it now) you can join the cool kid club (the CKC...which is way better than the kool kid klub that I originally wrote...think about that)....check out her facebook page HERE or her etsy shop HERE!! If you would like more information or want to contact her for a specific design, go ahead and email Dani at and she will take care of you! Now, go get a wid, and enjoy what's left of the summer with it...I know that's my plan!!

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    Tuesday, August 21, 2012


    The last time we were at Big Dan and Mama K's house, they mentioned how overrun they were with horseradish plants. You should have seen Main Man's face light was like a kid who heard the words "no bedtime" or a dog that heard the words "truck ride". So we did what all 30-somethings who enjoy a little nasal blastage with their meat would do...we dug a plant up and took it home.

    MM: We are old.
    Me: Why?
    MM: Not only do we have a garden, we are going to be growing horseradish in it.
    Me: Why does horseradish make us old?
    MM: It's an old person food for sour kraut, rhubarb, and radishes...shit, I love all those too! All the crap my grandparents would eat and I thought was the nastiest stuff in the world, and now here I am planting it to eat myself.
    Me: Do you like sardines?
    MM: No way.
    Me: I think we're safe then.

    Before we planted the old people food, we cut part of the root off to make our first experimental batch. Nothing off the horseradish plant gets eaten but the root, so if you grow it, you have to dig it up to get to your bounty. Cut a hunk off and re-bury it and it will continue to grow, this stuff is tough to kill and spreads like wildfire from what I hear!

    So he used my garlic press to mince the horseradish root (he was very excited about this and made it before I even had a chance to figure out what he was doing).  THIS LINK explains the process in more detail and you can use a food processer too. Horseradish is very aromatic so you will be able to smell it immediately after it's processed. Just add 2 T water, 1 T white vinegar, and a pinch of salt to it before letting it sit in the fridge for a few hours to meld. We tried it immediately after it was made and it didn't have the depth of flavor it had after letting it mingle.

    And now, Main Man has fresh horseradish to put on his ham, steak, prime rib, and whatever else he decides to use as a vehicle for the old people food...and he is a happy dude. Go ahead and make this to make your dude happy, if he's old like mine :)

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    Monday, August 20, 2012

    Breakfast burrito

    Ohhhhh, how I love it when Main Man cooks me breakfast. I mean, you know I love to cook, but breakfast is the best meal to have made for you with love rather than dragging your butt up to make it yourself. Plus, if you look at the pics below....that thing is sexy, isn't it! Good looking piece of breakfast fare, right there. And I'll tell you what...he outdid himself this time, it was very probably the best breakfast he's ever made me in the 3.5 years we've been together. Hopefully he remembers to make it again sometime soon!

    He started by basically making an omelette with half eggs and half egg whites. You have to use more eggs this way, but it's better for your loved one's cholesterol and all that jazz. So I believe he used 6 eggs (3 full eggs, 3 egg whites), and then added some diced jalapenos, banana peppers, shredded 2% mexican cheese, diced onions, turkey sausage patties diced up, and seasonings (he's really into my Tastefully Simple Seasoned Salt lately, and I'm sure he used cracked black pepper as well).  That's the stuffing to your burrito of love...ok, I won't ever say that phrase again, sorry.

    I had the jalapeno cheddar tortillas leftover from the buffalo chicken wraps so he wrapped all the goodness up into a burrito (see...way more appropriate than "burrito of love") and topped it with diced cherry tomatoes from the garden, lettuce from the garden, greek yogurt, and some Cholula.

    I scarfed this whole monster. You know when people tell you that they diet by just stopping when the food doesn't taste as good as it did on the first bite? Well, that didn't happen. I was soooo full and just trying to make more room for one more bite. This thing was banging with flavor! And the best thing was, most of the stuff came out of the garden. We had everything we needed on hand...can't really beat that for a nice Summer weekend morning at home. One more pic and then you have to go drool on someone else's page...

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    Friday, August 17, 2012

    Wedding invitations

    Welp...I've got it. I've got the pneumonia so bad (pronounced puh-monia in our household). It's the walking kind, so I'm told it's not so bad and I'm not contagious, but I have been doing more laying and coughing than walking the last few days so I'm not sure who arrived on that terminology. Either way, it's sucky. Short post Friday due to illness...not that I'm using that as an excuse, but it's my excuse :)

    Since everyone should have gotten their wedding invitations ohhhhhhh, let's say a month ago(ahem, due date for RSVP's is Sept 1, peeps), I felt it was ok to do my little post about how flipping cool is in the world of everything picturesque.  If you remember my save the dates, you know they were going to be very hard to top. I loved every inch of them, and am still grateful I have such a talented cousin in my corner.  With everything else left to figure out, I wanted to go fairly simple on the invitations and not make them a huge deal (don't worry, more of Emma's awesome work will be on display at the wedding in the form of our programs) I bought some generic invitations from Hobby Lobby to have custom printed.  I loved the simplistic design, thought they would be very easy to assemble (they were a tad more work than I envisioned with the bow tying, my bridesmaids can attest to that), and pictured them being very inexpensive. Hobby Lobby has become my go-to for anything wedding related that I need, and if you watch their sales every week, they put all their wedding stuff 50% at least once a month so I just make a list and wait till the sale hits! That's what I did with these invites...

    Once we got them back from the printer, I did decide I wanted a little something personal to make them "us" and my Maid of Honor came to the rescue...again! I seriously don't know what I would do throughout this whole process if it weren't for Cynthia and her mom, Trish...they've been lifesavers! Oh yeah, when the printers said they were going to charge me $400 for address labels, Mama Trish jumped to the rescue! She also made a map for me to print and include for each guest, something I'm sure everyone appreciated, so I'm glad someone thinks of these things. 

    Anyway, to the point of the post...Zazzle printed up these personalized stamps with one of our engagement photos to give the invites a little zing of the soon to be Stenslands. I could not be happier with how they turned out, they were a little more expensive than normal stamps, but I think they were worth it with the money I saved going more generic on the invitations themselves. Just thought I would pass along some of my MOH's wisdom to other needy brides like myself...I shall now go lay in a ball and cough until tomorrow, enjoy your Friday, all!!

    I'm off to my first wedding shower this weekend, for the Kratoska side and in Rochester, MN! I'm pretty pumped to see what Betsy has planned, as she is a serious crafter and party-thrower...I will report with some cool pics in the coming weeks!

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    Wednesday, August 15, 2012

    Chicken enchiladas

    Well, if you're doing something, you might as well do it big, right? That's my philosophy at least. I don't know why I feel as though I've been nesting lately. Maybe I'm planning on being really busy this Fall with the wedding stuff? Either way, I have a deep freeze full of frozen sweet corn and green beans from the garden, a basement full of spicy and dill pickles, and now a shelf full of frozen pastas ready to get after. Soon I will begin the salsa and spagetti sauce battle and then we shall be done!

    I had been craving this healthified chicken enchilada recipe for a bit (ummmmmmm scroll down and tell me you're not craving it after seeing a couple pics), so when I got around to it, I had bucketloads of mouthdrool at hand to contend with while preparing it. Multiple forkfulls of this chicken mixture landed right in my gullet to plug the geyser....and it worked! The filling was so fresh tasting with the veggies in there....

    2 large chicken breasts, baked and seasoned with cajun seasoning
    1/2 can black beans (healthy little buggers, they are)
    1/2 can yellow corn (mexicorn would be yumtastical as well)
    1/2 can diced tomatoes with green chiles
    1/2 diced jalapeno from the garden (more if you've got a penchant for the heat like I do)
    1 cup greek yogurt (because I can't get enough)
    7 tortillas (medium sized)
    2 cans green chile enchilada sauce
    1.5 cups 2% mexican shredded cheese
    fresh cilantro for garnish if you're on the cool kid train with an herb garden

    Shred the cooked chicken and mix with all the ingredients up to the tortillas. Should look a little sumptin like dis....

    Now, if you noticed, I had to use half cans of a lot of the ingredients. You also may have noticed in the past that I'm a bit of a food hoarder (although as I mentioned a little earlier, I try to refer to it as "nesting"). So what's a girl to do?  Weeeeeeell, I had all the stuff on hand to make Michelle's beef enchiladas and decided to add the corn and beans to that recipe to use up my excess ingredients and freeze them for a later date. You know...when the feeling of Mexican food hits you in the face but you don't want to eat 1500 calories of shizz by going to the nearest Mexican joint...yeah, that happens to me frequently. Sooooo, what you see here is a dual enchilada filling station. That's how we roll round these parts...

    Simply cover the bottom of your baking dish with the respective sauces, and fill your tortillas with your meat mixtures (there are directions on the easiest way to accomplish that task in the link for Michelle's beef enchiladas above). Put them in your dish, cover with sauce, cover with cheese, and garnich with fresh cilantro. I froze the beef one, labeled the container with cooking directions so I can easily find it in the freezer when I'm hit with the above described ailment. But I covered the chicken one with tin foil and baked it for 30 minutes at 400 degrees (taking the foil off the last 10 minutes). 

    Here is zee cooked dish...

    And then I proceed to cover my enchiladas with fresh garden cherry tomatoes, a dallop of more greek yogurt, and the onlyhotsauceintheuniverse (my beloved Chalula). And then there was nothing in the world that could ruin my day...because eating an awesome meal while simultaneously (with not much more work, I might add) getting a freezer meal loaded for later is like the definition of productivity and happiness in the life of a type A person like meself. I slept well that night, with a dinner high and freezer meal accomplishment coursing through my veins. Yeah, buddy!

    I am entering this recipe into the easy weeknight meal contest....let's see how we do!! :)

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    Tuesday, August 14, 2012

    King's french bread

    Mallory brought the hubs and chillens over for dinner a couple weeks ago for a little Friday evening fun. She asked what to bring, I said I was making pasta so "ohhhh, maybe some garlic bread." Talk about a mistake. She's ruined me to any other garlic bread for life. She wrapped me up in the King's french bread web of which I shall never escape, and now I have a craving for it every time we have pasta.

    This stuff needs no fancy introduction paragraph, nor an awesome photo to accompany it. This recipe makes my job easy, in other words! :) There are a few warnings associated with it though...

    1. Do not make this recipe if you need to fit into a wedding dress in 2 months.
    2. Do not make this recipe if you have no control over your bread or garlic consumption.
    3. Do not make this recipe if you are on a date with someone new and don't want them to see you in full feed bag mode.
    4. Do not make this recipe if you ever want to make another garlic bread recipe again in your life.

    Now that that's out of the way....

    1 loaf french bread
    1c soft butter
    1c mozzarella cheese
    1c real mayonnaise (yes, this is really happening...)
    Garlic powder to taste
    Cut loaf lengthwise in half. Mix butter, mayo,garlic powder. Spread over cut surfaces of loaf. Place on ungreased baking sheet. Bake at 350 for 25-30 min. Or until slightly browned. Sliced as desired.

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    Monday, August 13, 2012

    Rotini with trapanese pesto and deer sausage

    Since starting this blog, I've become an avid reader of other blogs. Depending on time, I get to quite a few of them each week, but there are a few that I check every single day...I'm addicted to their writing styles just as much as I am their gorgeous photos and fresh recipes.  I've mentioned Iowa Girl Eats before and have tried quite a few of her recipes (like spicy italian pasta salad and caprese lasagna), but this is the first time I've tried a recipe from Bev Cooks. I've been visiting her site to giggle at her sense of humor with cooking, writing, and everything she posts for months but have just never gotten around to trying any of the recipes. saw this one for trapanese pesto a few weeks ago (I didn't even know such a thing existed) and had everything on hand to throw it I pretty much had to give it a shot.

    2 cups cherry tomatoes
    1/3 cup almonds (I used pine nuts because I had them on hand)
    2 cloves garlic
    12 basil leaves
    1 banana pepper
    1/4 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese
    3 T olive oil
    1 lb rotini pasta
    salt and pepper to taste
    1 lb spicy deer sausage (the original recipe was vegetarian but you know how us carnivores roll)

    In a food processor, combine the tomatoes, almonds (or pine nuts), garlic, basil, banana pepper, cheese, salt, and pepper. Pulse a few times to get it going. With the motor running, add the oil in a thin stream.

    Meanwhile, cook your pasta in a large pot of salted water until al dente. Drain.

    Cook your sausage in a skillet until done, add the sauce and pasta to the skillet. Mix thouroughly and add the entire mixture to a 9x13 baking dish. Cover with shredded fresh mozzerella cheese and bake at 400 for 30 minutes.

    Look at that perdy can see each ingredient separately with their colorful specks but the taste is so cohesive, it's like they were made to live together in saucy heaven for all to share. Mmmmmm....I'm telling you guys, this was even good as a cold sauce for a pasta salad. But a little mozz on top put this right where it needed to my tummy! The sauce had a little kick but nothing kids couldn't handle as we had the Bentons over for dinner that night and both chillins loved it.

    Oh, and don't fret...I will share with you the recipe for the most fantabulous garlic bread eva-eva tomorrow. Mallory's king's bread is not something I need to be consuming before fitting into a wedding dress, I can't be trusted with this stuff. Every time I walked by it, I was snatching a piece to throw down the hatch. Because calories don't count if your head doesn't know what your mouth is doing...get it down quick and it fits right in your diet. Stay tuned....and prepare to have your mind blown tomorrow! Happy Monday, all!

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    Friday, August 10, 2012

    Sweet corn

    It's sweet corn season.  And from what I hear, you best be getting yourself some soon due to the shortage of the late crop because of the drought conditions in July. If you don't live in the midwest, or in Iowa in particular (call me biased but I think Iowa has the BEST sweet corn, hands down) you probably have no idea what you're missing out on ova her. Sweet corn is the pinnacle of doesn't really feel like summer until you have had your first BLT and sweet corn meal of the year. Really...I can't even eat corn out of a can anymore and have to freeze the stuff (check out how HERE) each year so we don't run out in the winter months!

    After all my years growing up in Iowa, after all the summers I spent gnawing on ears of corn (except for the 4 summers I had braces on and had to cut it off the cob), and after all the people I've met in Iowa that grew up on corn their ENTIRE fiance taught me a new trick. A magnificant, magical, time-saving trick that I truly didn't believe would work when he mentioned it to me. Why he didn't explain this to me 3 years ago when we started dating, instead of letting me peel and boil the shit for 3 summers is beyond me...but the point is he spilled his guts to me and I'm spilling mine to you!

    Here's what happened.....we were running errands on a Sunday and decided BLT's and sweet corn were the hankering for dinner that night. We grabbed the stuff, finished our running around, and were pooped when we got home. I mentioned that I didn't want to wait for the water to boil to do the corn so maybe we could just have corn the next night.

    Main man: "Let's just put them in the microwave."
    Me: "You can do that? I don't think that would work."
    Main man: "Oh yeah, I've done it perfect. Takes like 2 minutes."
    Me: "Whatever, dude. Do what you want, I'll just make corn tomorrow."

    Two minutes later there's perfectly done sweet corn on my plate. While I'm very grateful he pulled out the ace in his sleeve at a clutch time in our dinner making, I'm a little baffled as to why he's been letting me do it the long way for so long since it's just as flipping good from the microwave. So good that I wouldn't have even been able to tell if I hadn't seen it with my own eyes!!

    While I continue to ponder his thought process (I have a feeling there's going to be a lot of me pondering his mind in the coming years of our lives together)....I'll give you the steps to some perfect corn in 2 minutes flat. I only kept this secret for a week...he kept it for 3 years.  I am horrible at secrets....

    1. Don't shuck the corn, grab a large hand towel and lay a few pieces of corn on it. I guess this keeps the moisture inside the wraps to steam the corn inside...

    2. Wrap that corn up like the sweet little baby it is...

    3. Put it in the microwave for 2 minutes. Shuck. Put on your plate. Devour.

    Seriously?!? Seriously. Mind=blown. Now if you're doing a huge pot of corn for 12 people or so, boiling that water might be the way to go. But from now on, you can bet Main Man and I will be eating our corn in 2 minutes flat. Boom shaka-laka!  Happy flipping Friday, all!

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    Thursday, August 9, 2012

    News flash!!!

    Big news flash in my world and the world of my lady friends....introducing little Miss Ashlyn Michelle Mohr!!  Born 8/8/12 at 1:56 pm and weighing 8 lbs 4 oz and 19.5 inches long.....what a little beauty!

    Mama Michelle is one of those cool parents who waits until they have the kid to find out what the baby's sex know, one of those parents that I will never in a million years have the patience to be. We've been waiting and waiting to see if Aubrey Lynn would have a little brother or little sister....and a little sissy it is! As you can see below, she is already taking the role of big sis very seriously....

    We've watched Aubrey grow in the past 2 years to the point where it's almost unimaginable that we were visiting her in the hospital all wrapped up like this in September of 2010.  She has such an amazing personality, is a little cheeser for the camera, and is so very smart it blows my mind (seriously, she can run an iphone better than I can)....I can't wait to watch Ashlyn grow into her own personality and see what kind of little girl she will be. Will she be shy or outgoing? Will she follow in her sister's footsteps and be petrified of Justin? Will she be an athlete or a girly girl or a bookworm or all of the above?

    It's amazing how much I love my friends' children, and I can't imagine how much that love multiplies when you have your own. It's been such a blessing to be able to watch my ladies turn into wives and mothers, and learn from them before I take the plunge myself. I am so lucky to have strong families to emulate as Justin and I enter into our marriage and begin trying to start a family of our own. I'm getting gushy eyed now so I better go...the faster this day goes, the faster I get to meet little Miss Ashlyn tonight!! I'll leave you with a pic of mommy and daughtor...could there be a sweeter moment? Happy Thursday, all!

    P.S. What a B! She always looks like she just got done running errands after giving birth...Michelle is one tough chica!

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