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Sunday, November 9, 2014

Turkey Tacos - Easy Weekly Meal



What You'll Need:
1 pound ground turkey (we get the 93% lean)
A non-stick skillet
Sargento 4 Cheese Mexican shredded cheese
La Banderita Soft Tacos (we try to get the low carb ones - they taste the same!)
1 packet of Taco Seasoning mix
Hot sauce (optional)

*This makes about 8 tacos. We usually have 2 each and that's enough for us. We take half the ground turkey and freeze it (4 tacos for now, 4 tacos for another day after work). For four tacos, we use half a packet of taco seasoning, and cheese and hot sauce to our liking.


How to Make:
1. Heat up skillet on stove top. Press ground turkey in pan and flatten. Brown one side well then flip turkey over. Because we are using non-stick, we don't need any oil or butter in the pan.
2. Break up turkey into small taco-sized pieces using spatula or wooden spoon.
3. Add some water (about 1/2 cup) and taco seasoning, and reduce.
4. Add seasoned turkey into the soft tacos, add cheese and hot sauce, and roll up into taco shape.
5. EAT!

These tacos are SO easy. They are a great meal when you don't really feel like cooking. The turkey cooks pretty quickly and that's the only "cooking" part needed. Sometimes my husband makes his own taco mix vs. the pre-made mix. We like to heat up the soft tacos on the stove top or the microwave right before we put the turkey in - it keeps everything warm and helps to melt the cheese. You can definitely use a regular skillet vs. a non-stick, just make sure to add some oil to avoid sticking.

Hope everyone had a great weekend!



Thursday, November 6, 2014

Homemade Italian Biscotti


2 sticks unsalted butter
2 Cups sugar
6 eggs
1 tsp of Anise OIL (not extract)
5 Cups flour (sift into a bowl along with baking powder)
6 tsp baking powder
Cream butter well, gradually adding sugar until fluffy!!

  1. Add: 1 egg at a time
  2. Add: anise oil
  3. Cream well, add flour and baking powder.
  4. Divide batter into 4 loaves -
  5. 1 loaf to a pan because loaf grows!!
  6. Rotate pans in oven midway through cooking process.
  7. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes
  8. Let cool on wire rack, then slice cookie on an angle.
  9. I do not double bake my cookie, but you can if you prefer your cookie that way. 
My aunt made these for my husband and I when we went to visit, and oh my god are they good! She generously let us take the leftovers home, and I brought them to work for my coworkers. We all had one with our morning coffee and they were a big hit! One person said "you can tell that these are homemade, they taste like an authentic Italian cookie." And there you have it! I fully intend on making these now that I have the recipe.  They are plain enough to be a crowd pleaser, which is nice for holidays or a party.

To mix it up a bit, my aunt suggested using dried sour cherries and orange oil instead of anise. Oils might be tough to find - check places like Michael's or a mom and pop baking store. Or of course, check online and get it from a reputable retailer.

Hope you guys enjoyed, bring out your inner Italian baker and try making these!

Monday, November 3, 2014

Rice Krispie Treat Pumpkins

Hi everyone! It's Monday and that really sucks. So let's look at cute things instead of being productive. Sound good?


So I had a Halloween party this weekend, and made these adorable little rice krispie treat pumpkins! I got the recipe from Pinterest (original recipe here) and went to work. Here's the original recipe, which I decided to double:

3 Tbsp. butter
½ tsp. vanilla extract
red and yellow food coloring or orange gel coloring
5-1/2 cups mini marshmallows
6 cups crispy rice cereal
mini tootsie rolls

  1. In a large saucepan, melt and slightly brown butter on medium heat. Add vanilla extract and marshmallows. Stir until marshmallows are completely melted. Add food coloring until desired orange color is reached. Add cereal and stir until completely combined. Turn off heat and let sit for a few minutes, until cool enough to handle.
  2. When mixture has cooled enough, spray your hands with cooking spray and mold cereal mix into circles. (I made nine medium sized pumpkins). Unwrap a tootsie roll and press into each pumpkin top. Add candy for the eyes and noses (we used a little frosting to adhere). Eat and enjoy!
Sounds easy enough, right? Um yeah, not really. So first of all, when I decided to double the recipe, it wasn't the brightest idea I've ever had. The mixture was huge and so hard to work with. Please consult photo below of enormous orange rice krispie treat mixture taking over my stove:



Yeah. So that happened. The original recipe said that it makes 9 pumpkins. So I figured hey, 18 pumpkins would be better. I guess the person who originally made them made them HUGE, because I kept rolling them into balls and had a TON. I ended up throwing half the mixture out which sucked. It was also tough rolling the mixture into balls to begin with - if you press too hard the cereal breaks. After I rolled them all, pushing the tootsie rolls in the top was also difficult. They wouldn't stay, and again, if you push too hard the cereal starts breaking off!

Needless to say, I don't think i'll be making these again. They looked cute, sure, but I was going for an easy, no bake recipe for a party and it was just a pain in the ass. Hope everyone had a fun Halloween!! =)


Friday, October 24, 2014

10 Reasons Why You Should Cook This Weekend



To some, cooking seems like a daunting task. You get home late from work and you’re tired. You just want to have a nice glass of whiskey and watch shitty reality television until you get tired enough to sleep (just me?) Weekends are a great time to try out new recipes. Stop simply trolling Pinterest and drooling over recipes that you think are out of reach – try them out! And if you screw up? There’s always take out! Here are ten reasons why you should cook this weekend:

1. Wine pairs well with cooking. And we like wine.

2. Cooking something from scratch is an unbelievable feeling. It’s satisfying. You’ll be proud of yourself when you sit down to a kick ass meal that you created.

3. You’ll know exactly what goes into your food. Watching your calories? Cook a healthier, low cal meal. Hate vegetables? Don’t include them. You won’t have to worry “is there something I can eat at that restaurant?”

4. Try out a new cuisine. Always cook Italian? Try an Asian stir fry. You might find a recipe you love, like we did with this Orange Chicken recipe!

5. Less stress. We all work hard. If you’re having a lazy weekend, make a pot of sauce that takes a few hours to cook and catch up on your magazine reading.

6. Make extra and freeze it for during the week. If you’re making a pot of sauce, freeze the extra in Tupperware for an easy meal you can defrost during the workweek.

7. Practice for when you have company. My husband and I love having people over the house! But timing can be a challenge. Practice cooking your main course, side dishes, etc and make sure they are all hot and on the table at relatively the same time.

8. Practice your knife skills. My knife skills could use a little (a LOT) of work. Take your time and cut things properly. Use Youtube and learn the correct way to cut potatoes, vegetables, anything.

9. Cook a family recipe. My mom collected all of these amazing recipes from family and friends for my bridal shower. It’s so special to have everyone’s favorite recipes at my fingertips. Don’t have many? Call your mom, grandma, aunt, friend – anyone! They will be flattered that you want one of their recipes. There’s a reason they have that recipe on hand, it’s a good one!

10. Up your game by posting photos of what you made to Facebook, Instagram, etc. Your friends and family might throw you some encouragement, and may even want the recipe!

Hope you guys enjoyed! Happy Friday!

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Cacio E Pepe: A sauce so quick, you’ll be done making it before your pasta is done boiling!



Hi guys! Building on my theme of easy weekday meals, this one is a great recipe to keep in your back pocket. Not only is it quick to make, but most people have the ingredients on hand in their kitchen already. If you have a box of pasta, black pepper and cheese, consider your dinner DONE.

My husband and I love this recipe. We learned it from our awesome cooking class at ICE (review of the class here). Since then, we’ve worked it into our weekday meal rotation. You can make this sauce in a SNAP – start boiling your pasta, and you’ll be done making the sauce before the pasta is done. Sound good? It is.

Here is the actual recipe from our cooking class:


A few quick things:
  • The recipe says to use two different types of cheese - we only used Parmigiano and it came out fine, of course! If you have both cheese, great.
  • The recipe is for an entire BOX of pasta. We made the mistake last time of only making enough pasta for two people, then making a LOT of cheese and pepper sauce haha. Scale it down if you are cooking for two.
  • Don't forget to save some of the pasta water, it's the key to this recipe! Otherwise, the pepper and cheese will have nothing to mix with to create the sauce.
  • Enjoy! 


Monday, October 20, 2014

Guinness Beef Stew


How fantastic does that look?! This recipe is such an awesome fall/winter dish. You get such a warming, homey feeling while eating it. Below is the recipe we got from America’s Test Kitchen and it’s definitely a keeper. My husband was awesome enough to write down the recipe for our recipe book. We used our Dutch oven to cook this, and it worked out great. We changed two things slightly - we used ground thyme instead of fresh (ShopRite was out of fresh thyme), and we didn’t add the parsley. This meal is awesome for lazy days – like a Sunday – when you have a few hours to let it cook. It takes a bit of work up front – cutting the meat, pealing and cutting potatoes, measuring things out, etc but the oven does the rest of the work. And hey, who doesn't love food with a little bit of Guinness in it?!

Greg and I have been trying to make new recipes each week, so expect to see more new posts soon! Hope you guys enjoyed, have a great week!


Sunday, October 19, 2014

Simple Butter Cookies

Hi dolls! I finally got around to using my cookie press for the first time this weekend. I used this recipe from Oprah.com, but made a few slight changes. See below!

Ingredients
•24 Tbsp. (3 sticks) salted butter, softened
•1¾ cups granulated sugar
•2 egg yolks
•2 tsp. vanilla extract
•3½ cups all-purpose flour
•Red, pink, orange, or multicolored decorating sugar

(This makes 5-6 batches, I cut everything above in half).

Directions
Active time: 30 minutes
Total time: 1 hour

Preheat oven to 350°. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat butter and sugar until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Add yolks and vanilla, beat again to combine, and then beat in flour.

From here, the original recipe from Oprah.com says to roll out the dough into 1 inch rounds. I used my Pampered Chef Cookie Press instead! Since Halloween is quickly approaching, I decided to use the pumpkin insert. I pressed the cookies onto a greased baking sheet.

Bake until cookies are lightly golden around the edges, 10 to 12 minutes. Let rest on baking sheets 2 minutes, then gently transfer to baking racks to cool.

And there you have it! These cookies are so tasty on their own, so I didn't want to overdo them. I sprinkled some colored sugar on top for some simple decoration. I'll definitely use this recipe around Christmas time, they are so versatile and easy to make. The cookie press, on the other hand, is a little tough for me to use. I might just need some more practice!! Hope you guys enjoyed =)