Tuesday, April 30, 2013


I have never made manicotti before nor have I ever tried it! So last night was a first for both. I have to admit, it came out really good!!

Prep time: 15 minutes
Cook time: 25 minutes

Manicotti Ingredients
1 box (8 oz) of manicotti noodles
2 jars (26 oz) of pasta sauce
4 cups of shredded mozzarella cheese
2 cups ricotta cheese
1 egg
2 tbsp. dried basil
1 cup grated parmesan cheese
1 tbsp of minced garlic (I did add this, but next time I will omit it because I didn't care for the taste in the manicotti.)

Boil a pot of water. Once it boils, turn off the burner and add in the shells, leave them in the water for 15 minutes. This will cook the shells just right to be stuffed and it will finish perfectly in the oven.
While the shells are emerged in water, start making the stuffing. In a bowl, mix together 3 cups of mozzarella cheese, 2 cups ricotta cheese, 1 egg, 2 tbsp of dried basil, 1 tbsp of minced garlic (if you're doing this), and 1/2 cup of parmesan cheese.

Your noodles should be finished by now. Drain the water and allow them to sit in a drainer to dry up a bit prior to stuffing. Preheat oven to 350*

Spread roughly 2 cups of pasta sauce on the bottom of the 13x9 dish just enough to coat the bottom. Begin stuffing the shells. Place shells in dish, cover with remaining sauce and sprinkle the rest of the mozzarella cheese on top.

Place in the oven for 25 minutes until cheese is melted on top.

 (I added some parmesan on top, I would wait until the last 10 minutes to add this next time I make it)

Monday, April 29, 2013

Slow Cooker Baked Potato Soup

I really like baked potato soup, especially the soup from outback, but I never attempted to make my own version at home. The pre-made kind just doesn't work for me. So, last night I made my first attempt.. I think it turned out pretty good to be honest. The looks were deceiving at first in the crock-pot but once we tried it for dinner, it really tasted good. I think next time I may make an adjustment here and there.

Serving size: 3
Prep time: 15 minutes
Cook time: 4 hours

4 red potatoes
2 tsp. olive oil
1/2 cup onion, chopped
1 1/4 cups of lower sodium chicken broth (I used butterball brand)
2 cups of milk (I used low fat 1%)
1/4 cup of sour cream ( I used reduced fat)
3 tbsp. of all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp. of ground pepper
3/4 tsp. of salt
6 slices of bacon
cheddar cheese

Poke holes in the potatoes with a fork, then wrap potatoes with saran wrap and place in the microwave. For 4 potatoes, use 13 minutes or until they are soft. Then remove from saran wrap and cut in half to cook slightly.

When the potatoes are in the microwave,  Combine flour and 1/2 cup of milk, set aside for later use. Heat olive oil in pan over medium-high heat, add in onion. Cook for 1 minute. Add in chicken broth. Now add in mixture previously made. Add in the remaining 1 1/2 cups of milk to pan. Stir. bring to a boil and allow to simmer for 1 minute. Remove pan from heat, add in salt and pepper. I added the sour cream in at this time, but I think if I were to do it next time, I would either omit the sour cream or add it in once I have all the ingredients in the crock pot. 

Dice up the potatoes (either with skin or without skins however you prefer…. personally, next time I will discard the skins) Put potatoes in crock pot, then pour the pan mixture into the crock pot.
Cook 2 slices bacon either in microwave or griddle, or pan however you prefer until cooked then crumble it to pieces and add into crock-pot. Stir. 
Set to cook for 4 hours. I did high for 2 hours and the remaining 2 hours I turned it to low because high looked like it was becoming too much.

Also, if you don't want your potato soup too chunky, you can mash down some potatoes in the crock pot with the back of a spoon once they become very soft after a period of time.
Add crumbled bacon and cheddar cheese for garnish :)

I was really hungry, so this picture is taken after I mixed in my bacon crumbles and cheddar cheese.  I may or may not have already had a bite.

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Shrimp & Chicken Fettucini Alfredo

Last night I was in the mood for some seafood, so I made this recipe because it had the right amount of seafood I was looking for. It definitely hit the spot and it was much cheaper than going to Red Lobster… although their rolls are delicious!

Fettucini Noodles - I used 1/2 the box (turned out to be a good meal size for 3-4 people)
Shrimp (pre-cooked, cleaned)
3 tsp. cajun seasoning
1-2 tbsp. butter
1 (15 oz.) jar of Bertolli Alfredo Sauce
1 tsp. of Black pepper
1/2 tsp. of Salt
Sprinkle of parmesan cheese

Boil water in a pot. Add noodles - cook to al dente (normally 12 minutes). While your water is boiling, Cut chicken into strips. Place the chicken strips into a large saucepan with melted butter. Sprinkle 1 tsp. of cajun seasoning. Add in the chicken. Add another tsp. of cajun seasoning. 

After the chicken is cooked, used the same pan (do not clean it out - this adds extra flavor!) and add the alfredo sauce. Combine everything (chicken, black pepper, salt, another 1 tsp. of cajun seasoning, fettucini noodles). Allow it start boiling then turn it down to a simmer.  Add in shrimp, stir, and then it's complete!

Tuesday, April 23, 2013


Let me just start by saying - this entire meal is delicious! I will definitely be making this meal again in the future. The hubby was skeptical on eating it at first because it didn't have any steak or chicken in the burrito but he absolutely loved it and said it was better than any California burrito (damn good burritos out here!) or burrito he gets at restraunts. He complimented the meal more than once, that's for sure. And I did the same thing, I was impressed on how good it actually was as well! 

So forget all that grease! Forget the meat! Give this burrito a chance!

Spicy Bean & Rice Burritos:
5-6 servings (depending how big you make your burritos)
Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 10 minutes

Large flour tortillas, warmed
Shredded cheese
2 cups of cooked rice
Fresh salsa OR store bought salsa  (to use the fresh salsa I made - recipe is located below on this post.)
1 (15 oz.) can of pinto beans, drained and rinsed
1 (15 oz.) can of black beans, drained and rinsed
1/3 cup of water
2 tsp. of vegetable oil
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 tsp. of chili powder
1 tsp. ground cumin
1 chipotle pepper in abodo sauce, minced (find this down the international isle section of the grocery store)
1/4 tsp. salt
dash of cayenne pepper

Diced tomatoes
Sour Cream or Greek Yogurt

I know it looks like a lot of ingredients so you're thinking this will be complex - but I promise you, this meal was super easy to make! 

For the bean filling: Heat the vegetable oil in a pan on medium-high heat. Add garlic, chili powder, cayenne powder, salt, ground cumin, and chipotle pepper. Stir for 30-60 seconds until fragrant. Add both pinto and black beans into pan. Add water and bring mixture to a boil. Then reduce heat and let simmer for 10 minutes on medium-low heat. Stir occasionally and mash the mixture slightly with the back of the spoon. 

Remove from skillet. You can either stir in your salsa or just add your salsa on top when you make your burrito. I did the latter of the two.

Next, get your tortilla and lay down a thin layer of rice down the middle. Lay a layer of bean mixture on top. Cheese. Rice. Salsa. (If you choose the optional items, add those in there too). Then roll the burrito up tightly securing in all that goodness! 

Now - if you're interest in my pico de gallo salsa mix; which, I think you should definitely try, here is the recipe for that:

Pico De Gallo Salsa

3 tomatoes
1 white onion
2 Jalapenos
1 tbsp. lime juice (I squeezed a fresh lime)

Dice up the tomatoes, onion, cilantro, jalapenos into small pieces. Mix it all together. Add lime juice. Mix again. Refrigerate for 1 hour.

If you really want to try the entire meal - then go ahead and make this tasty yellow sweet corn. 

Corn Recipe 

Frozen Corn
Olive oil

Place frozen corn on cookie sheet. Drizzle corn with olive oil. Sprinkle salt and pepper for flavoring. Put in the oven to broil for 5 minutes. I then turn it off broil and set it on 400* for another 4 minutes. Make sure you check it though because each oven cooks differently. 

Enjoy the heck out of this homemade healthy meal!

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Flower Fields

Today, Matt and I went to the flower fields in Carlsbad. The flower fields is basically what it is - flowers! Over 50 acres of flowers to be exact. Ranunculus and Tecolote Giant Ranunclus are the flowers you see in the fields. They are single or double bloomed, cup shaped, and grow 14- to 24" tall. They have 13 colors and it is organized in rows by their color. The flower fields is opened only from March 1 - May 12.
I have been wanting to go since I first heard about it a few years ago. Now that we are getting ready to move back East, I am trying to go to places that I have not yet seen before we head out of California for good. I don't foresee us taking a visit to San Diego anytime soon or in the future. We may head up to Northern California in our future though.

 You're not supposed to pick any flowers, but Matt picked me a red one!

Off to the do the next adventure :)

Monday, April 8, 2013

Not Your Average Pot Roast & Carrots

It's BETTER! My mother-in-law made this pot roast for dinner one evening when we went to visit them in Florida and I HAD to get the recipe from her because Matt and I loved it! It was so delicious. She had a side of broccoli instead of carrots but the flavor was so awesome  - I had to make it tonight WITH carrots! I don't think I'll ever cook broccoli the same again.

Pot Roast

Chuck roast
1 package of good seasons zesty italian salad dressing & recipe mix
1 package of brown gravy mix
1 package of ranch buttermilk recipe
1/2 cup of water

Combine ranch mix, brown gravy mix, and zesty italian mix together in a bowl with 1/2 cup of water.
Put roast in the crockpot and then pour mixture over the roast. Cover and let it cook for 6+ hours. The longer the better. I cooked mine for 7 hours, mixing up the temperature heat throughout the day - but leaving it on the low setting will be fine.

  It was falling apart while we were trying to take it out of the crockpot to cut it up. VERY tender and moist with a ton of flavor!

Carrot Recipe

Baby carrots
2 tbsp olive oil
3 tbsp honey
1 tsp balsamic vinegar
dash of seasoning (whichever you prefer)

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Place carrots on baking sheet. Sprinkle seasoning and drizzle 1 tbsp of olive oil on top. Place in the oven for 20 minutes. Remove from oven, drizzle 1 tbsp of olive oil, 3 tbsp of honey, 1 tsp of balsamic vinegar and then place in the oven for an additional 5 minutes. Remove from oven and enjoy :)   These will turn out with just the right amount of crunch of perfection.

Broccoli Recipe

Fresh or frozen broccoli
4 tbsp olive oil
3 garlic cloves, peeled and chopped
1 tsp of salt
1/2 tsp of pepper

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Lay broccoli on a baking sheet, pour 4 tbsp of olive oil on top of the broccoli, 1 tsp of salt, 1/2 tsp of pepper, and 3 garlic cloves. Toss it up. Place in oven for 20-25 minutes. Remove from oven. Zest lemon over the broccoli and then squeeze lemon on top of broccoli for a sweet flavor. Add another tbsp of olive oil. Top with parmesan cheese…..and then be prepared to never eat broccoli the way you use to.

Friday, April 5, 2013

Slow Cooker Chicken Cordon Bleu & Side

Jeez! I apologize for the lack of writing. I have been so busy since I last wrote. I don't remember when the last time was, but I believe it was our 4th year anniversary when we went skydiving.
In between that time (End of Jan.) and today, I have been working, spending time with the husband and friends, we took a 2 week vacation to Florida and looked at some homes - found one that we just LOVED (and going through the home buying process now), went to Vegas with some friends for a weekend a week after we got back from Florida, and now here I am.

Tonight I made a new dinner meal that I thought I would share. It is not one of my favorites, but it was pretty good. My favorite was the side dish I made. I will DEFINITELY be making that again!

Slow- Cooker Chicken Cordon Bleu

Skinless, boneless, chicken breasts
1 can (10 3/4 oz) of condensed cream of chicken soup
1 cup of milk
swiss cheese
deli ham
1 (8 oz) package of herbed dry bread stuffing mix
1/4 cup of butter, melted

Put cream of chicken soup and milk into a small bowl, mix together. Pour cream of chicken soup and milk mixture into slow cooker just enough to where it covers the bottom.

Layer chicken breasts over the sauce on the bottom of the slow cooker. Lay deli ham on top of chicken breast, then swiss cheese.

Pour the remaining soup mixture over the chicken breasts and stir around so it is coated. Sprinkle the stuffing on top, then drizzle the butter on top of the stuffing. Cover. Cook on high for 2-3 hours or low for 4-6 hours
Your chicken will come out very moist!
(I didn't use stuffing…maybe because I misread Lol but I used herbed bread crumbs - I would recommend the stuffing over bread crumbs.)

Parmesan-Roasted Green Beans with Crushed Red Pepper

Fresh Green Beans
Olive Oil
Parmesan Cheese
Crushed Red Pepper

Preheat oven to 400 degress. Cut off ends of the green beans. In a small or medium size mixing bowl (depending on how many green beans you're baking), place green beans in bowl with a small amount of olive oil just enough to coat all the green beans. Add a pinch of salt and pepper for taste. Add in crushed red pepper. Lay the green beans on a baking sheet and sprinkle parmesan cheese over them and then place in the oven for 20 minutes.  

These green beans will be crunchy on the outside but perfectly on the inside! I couldn't get enough of these when I made them.

Oh, I made my famous homemade mashed potatoes too! I have a recipe for those on this blog - access it by clicking on THIS LINK.