Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Frosted Noodles?

Well, Tuesday = headache-free.  Woohoo! 

It also equals Glee night with Neal and Jimmy.  :-)  I made this:

Alissa's Taco Noodles

Yep, my recipe!  "Finally," you say. 

Alissa's Taco Noodles
Leftover taco meat (whatever you got!)
1 pkg. wheat pasta (any kind of noodles)
Light alfredo sauce
Garlic salt
Parmesan cheese
Shredded mozzarella

Cook the noodles per instructions on the box/bag.  Add garlic salt to the noodles while they cook so they don't stick to the pot AND they taste amazing at the same time.  Drain the noodles.  Dump in a jar of light alfredo sauce.  Dump in leftover taco meat.  Mix and heat up so that the leftover meat is nice and warm.  Top with cheeses and serve! 

Easy and I got rave reviews.  If you like this, you should try my Bacon Noodley Goodness.  Seriously.  Same thing, but with bacon.  I'm soooo creative!  ;-)

Then for dessert, we ate these:

I made them on Sunday night just because.  They had the best aroma while they were baking, but I think I left them in a little too long.  My recommendation is to check on them frequently and not overbake.  The recipe says to bake for 20-25 minutes and I only baked for 17 and it was too much!  I hope you know your oven! 

Grandma's Pumpkin Muffins (WW recipe)

We may have smothered them with cream cheese frosting tonight to create a pumpkin cupcake, if you will.  They were okay by themselves, but with the frosting they were fantastic!  Aren't most things better when they're frosted?  Okay, maybe not noodles.  You have to draw the line somewhere.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Guacamole :-)

Happy Monday!  :-)

I only say this because the headache that has been plaguing me all afternoon finally went away.  I guess that's what happens after four days of Thanksgiving food and relaxation followed by a strict kindergarten you-can-barely-go-to-the-bathroom-because-you're-so-busy kind of day.  Back to the grind. 

So, as some of you already know, I've been doing the Weight Watchers program for a while now.  Weight has been a struggle for me for oh, the past decade or so.  It's coming off slowly now, but at least it's coming off.  Learning to cook has helped me enormously because I have more control over what kinds of things I put into my body.  I can't believe half of the things I used to stuff my face with... we won't go there (yikes!).  Anyway, I enjoy WW because it's all about continuing to eat real food, but being smarter about quality and quantity.  It's not "dieting" because it's not something you're supposed to ever stop doing.  WW teaches you how to eat healthier, move more, and life your live without feeling deprived.  No, I'm not in marketing for WW.  I just thought you should know the background before I rant.  :-)

WW changed their points system around today.  Yep.  I'm a little freaked out about it.  Mainly because all of the recipes I have that are WW now have different points.  All the food that I've gotten used to tracking has different points.  When I calculated what I ate today (including dinner), I was waaaay over my daily allotment.  Not good.  Hence the freakout.  I know it will be fine... I'll work with the change and it will probably work out to my advantage. 

So, I made these for dinner:

Fish Taco Lettuce Wrap

Yummy!  ...and pretty point effective.  (Thanks to Becky for the original recipe... I hope you don't mind me blogging my version of it, but it's one of my favorite recipes to make! <3)

Fish Tacos
Tilapia fillets (fresh or frozen)
Tortillas OR Lettuce leaves
Adobo seasoning
1/2 c. flour (I used whole wheat)
Optional toppings: salsa, sour cream, taco sauce, shredded cheese, guacamole, beans, etc.

Season the fillets with Adobo and cover with flour.  Put some olive oil in a pan over med-high heat and add fillets.  Cook the fish on both sides until white and flaky inside.  Divide fish over 4 tortillas (or lettuce leaves) and add optional toppings as you see fit!  :-)

Jimmy ate them like this:

Fish Taco (in a shell!)

I was a little jealous about his shells until I tasted my lettuce-wrapped taco.  Not too shabby at all!  I may have them again that way by choice (as opposed to by WW points available).  Plus, I think guacamole just makes everything better.

What's your favorite guacamole recipe?  I use this!  It's our favorite... seeing how we've become guacamole connoisseurs.  ;-) 

Here's hoping for a headache-free Tuesday! 

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Thankful for butter.

Mmm... what a delicious few days!  Thanksgiving truly is the best food holiday in existence.  While in Long Island this year, my uncle taught me how to make some easy appetizers that are always a hit:

Stuffed Mushrooms

Baked Clams

The stuffed mushrooms were vaguely reminiscent of the Grilled Margherita Portobello Mushrooms that I've made before.  You could stuff them with crabmeat or sausage if you want, but we used the stems of the mushrooms instead.  That means they're healthy, right?  ;-)  Hehe.  Yeah... if you're looking for healthy appetizers, this may not be a good post to read. 

Thanksgiving recipes aren't necessarily supposed to be healthy.  So there.  Be thankful for butter. 

Using the mushroom stems does mean that they are vegetarian AND that Jimmy was able to eat them (woohoo!).  Silly shellfish allergy.  Ah well... for those not allergic to shellfish we made baked clams. 

Baked clams happen to be one of my personal favorites, so I was very excited about this recipe!  Pretty easy, too.  My uncle talked me through it... so I figure that means I technically made them.  ;-)  Not sure I can post the authentic recipes, though.  You might just have to find me this holiday season so that you can taste them for yourself.  I figure I have to make them and bring them to at least one holiday get-together for Christmas.  I even have a bag of the little shells so that I can!  :-)

Seriously, though... there are a bunch of different recipes for baked clams.  Try this one, or this one, or this one

I also have to say that Long Island included some fabulous bagels from Bagels 'N' A Hole Lot More and pizza from O Sole Mio.  Maryland bagels can't compare (and I'm sure there are bagel connoisseurs out there who would say that there are even better places...).  Our car stank of delicious bagel all the way home and we loved every minute of it.  Mmm...

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Cheeseburger Soup and Spinach Lasagna (...but not at the same time!)

It's Tuesday again!  ...and I'm blogging?  What?  Well, it just so happens that today, Tuesday feels like Thursday.  Tomorrow's like Friday because this Thursday is Thanksgiving!  That means a few days off from school, awesome road trip, family, fun, and loads of delicious food.  I love Thanksgiving!  <3

I'm a little sad that I'm really not in the position to be able to bring any food.  Nor do I have to.  I'm not sure what I could even prepare that would survive a 5-hour car trek and still be edible... other than something terrible like cookies.  So, in light of being told to "bring my appetite" up to Long Island... that's what I plan to do.  That's where we (Neal, Jim, and I) will headed late tomorrow night.  I've heard that it's probably the worst traffic it has been in a while because of construction, so it may be a long ride.  At least we'll be in good company.

After that, we'll be headed to West Virginia to visit Jim's (and mine, I guess) family for a second Thanksgiving.  Did I mention that we're having a small Thanksgiving feast tomorrow night with my dad?  Yeah... so, here we come 3 Thanksgivings... haha.

Anyway, Neal came over for the usual Glee watching bonanza and I made something awesome:

Spicy Cheeseburger Soup

...and here it is in my bowl, topped with bacon. 

I wasn't too sure about it as it was cooking, but it all congealed together nicely to make a yummy pot of soup.  Be warned though, the recipe says that it should only take about 15 minutes of prep.  That's if you are a master chef who chops on a daily basis!  It had a lot of veggies to be chopped and took me quite some time... but I'd say it was completely ready to eat about an hour from when I started prepping it (so, not terrible). 

I think this is my favorite soup that I've made thus far into my cooking journey. 

I also have to send a shout out to my buddy, Lavearn... I was raving to her about an amazing recipe for Slow Cooker Spinach Lasagna a while ago and said she should check out my blog.  Well, I definitely forgot to add the recipe.  ;-)  Sorry Lavearn!  Here's a picture of it in my crockpot looking all scrumptious:

Happy Thanksgiving!  :-)

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Nacho Weekend

If it's Nacho Weekend, whose weekend is it? 

Sorry, that was lame. 

I just couldn't help it!  It's been a long weekend full of progress reports... and nachos.  Found this great WW recipe called Bean and Cheese Nachos.  It might even be too easy to technically call it a recipe.  So, on Friday night we were looking for something easy and yummy.  We had extra taco meat that was leftover from our Taco (and Glee) Tuesday... so I threw some of that in, too. 

Looks pretty delicious, right?  Well, it was.  Jimmy declared nachos as his favorite meal. 

Friday Night Nachos

So, since Jimmy declared nachos as his favorite food... we ate them again on Saturday night.  However, I decided to get a little more creative.  I threw the chips in the baking dish, added refried beans, taco meat, and shredded cheese... and baked.  THEN, I topped them with taco sauce, salsa, sour cream, and jalapeno pepper wheels.  Mmm.

Saturday Night Nachos

I know, now it's getting a little sad.  Can you believe that we actually ate them again tonight?  (...with guacamole <3)  That's how good they were last night.  Jimmy even drove to the store to get more refried beans because we'd used them all!  They were good, but frankly I'm a little nacho-ed out.  Okay, maybe more than a little.  I won't be eating nachos again anytime soon. 

Sunday Night Nachos

The lesson here... don't eat too many nachos in one weekend?  Even if they're you're favorite.  Jimmy says, "They were good, but I'm a little nacho-ed out."  (He said that after I wrote it up there... it's like he read my mind.)  ;-)

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Flipping Pancakes!

I know, I know, I just posted a blog, but I did some yummy cooking in between the madness that was today.  Thought I'd share. 

Here's what I made:

Oat Pancakes

I know that's just one in the picture, but there was definitely more than one (hence "pancakes").  I have to tell you that typically when it comes to pancakes vs. waffles, I always choose waffles.  I like the fact that waffles hold onto whatever you put on top and just taste great.  I've gone through probably at least 4 waffle makers and have never really flipped a pancake before today.  I know, I know, that's sad. 

These pancakes, however, may have been the best pancakes I've ever eaten.  I'd compare them to Denny's pancakes as far as consistency goes because they were a tad sponge-like and soaked up all the good stuff.  :-)  I think the trick with pancakes is just to watch them and not overcook them.  I was a little nervous about flipping them, but it wasn't so bad.  I actually had fun flipping these huge suckers.  Jimmy made fun of me screaming every time I flipped one.  Haha.  I think next time I might try the batter in my waffle maker.  We'll see.  :-)


Chinese Pineapple Chicken

Also pretty tasty!  This gets served over brown rice, so make sure you don't make too much brown rice.  The rice will soak up all the juices and it'll lose some of it's awesome flavor if you're not careful.  It was sweeter than Jimmy and I were used to (we tend to like spicier things)... so you'll have to try it and see what you think.  :-)  Here's a picture of it all mixed with the rice:


So, I have this recipe I want to try that requires broiling.  I don't know how to broil something and frankly, it kind of scares me.  Any suggestions?  Tips? 

Peanut Butter and Jelly

This weekend was pretty fabulous thanks to my awesome friends and family.  :-)  Thanks for all of the birthday fun and wishes!  ...and the super fantastic cake.

Peanut Butter Playground (from Cold Stone Creamery)

Jimmy said he walked into Cold Stone, saw the name of the cake, and said, "That's the one!"  Haha, he knows me so well.  It's definitely not low-calorie.  It was layered with devil's food cake, peanut butter, chocolate ice cream, and dark chocolate ganache.  That doesn't even include the monstrous peanut butter cups on top!  Mmm.  Magnificent! 

On Friday night, my family took me to Red Lobster for my birthday and we enjoyed the endless shrimp feast (except for Jimmy).  He had some cajun pasta thing that he loves.  :-)  I got some great mittens, a food processor (thanks Neal!), a blue tooth so I can be hands-free now (thanks dad!), and the best jellyfish bracelet in all the world:

Jimmy made it out of a fork.  Hehe. 

Then, he took me to the aquarium yesterday for my birthday... and we saw all kinds of actual jellyfish, stingrays, fish, sharks, and a giant sea turtle. 

Oh, and a blue-tongued skink. 
You should know by now that Jimmy has to find a lizard wherever he goes. 

Frilled Lizard

"Look, it's a jellyfish!"

Pacific Sea Nettles

So, it was pretty much a weekend of peanut butter and jelly.  Can't go wrong with that.  :-)

Thursday, November 11, 2010


Birthday countdown = less than 2 days!  :-D

Tonight was a grilled cheese and soup night.  Mmm, it was scrumptious!  (I taught my kiddos that word today because we were learning about the letter Ss.)  On that note, I've used "scrumptious" several times naturally today... kinda strange.  Silly.  Superb! 

Anyway, the other night I made this:

Super Spicy Turkey Chili

I love me some chili.  I usually just follow the directions on the seasoning packet for chili... but I've gotten a little more bold with spicing things up.  I wasn't sure about using ground turkey for chili (I prefer beef) and so I spiced the heck out of it.  Serioulsy, this turkey chili was about to set our mouths on fire.  I'm not kidding. 

I also made these awesome Oklahoma biscuits!  They were a favor from a wedding we went to last month and they were tasty.  :-) 

"Shawnee Mills" Buttermilk Biscuits (Thanks Kimberly and Dan! <3)

I think good old regular chili is still my favorite though... using the packets directions, plus a little extra spice.  It's even better if you use taco-seasoned meat.  Plus light sour cream and RF cheese.  :-) 

Regularly Awesome Chili

...and I've recently become a fan of white chicken chili.  Also, spiced to perfection.  It's pretty good with cilantro on top. 

White Chicken Chili

Whoa whoa whoa... I almost forgot to mention the best chili of all time.  That would be Cincinnati Chili.  Unfortunately, seasoning packets are not available around here, so you have to follow really difficult directions to make it (unless you live near Cincinnati).  I have yet to attempt the recipe without the use of a packet, but I'll let you know how it goes when I do.  It might be worth it just to order the packets!!!  Mmm...

Which kind of chili do you like best?  Do you have a good non-packet chili recipe?

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Sleeping on French Toast.

Less than a week until my birthday!  :-)  I'm pretty excited.  I love my birthday month, week, day, etc.  I'm not entirely sure why, but I still get that giddy little-kid feeling about it.  Despite the fact that I just keep getting older... hey, it happens.   

I changed the title of my blog (in case you didn't notice).  I thought "My Ramblings" was kinda boring so I didn't think you would mind.  Who's out there reading my blog anyway?  I see 7 followers... are you being stealthy in your reading?  I don't mind, but I would like to know what you think about some of the recipes (or if you have recipes I should try!).  Just don't be greedy with your delicious recipes.  :-)

See, the start of my cooking adventure was threefold:
1.  It's cheaper than eating out (most of the time).
2.  It's healthier.  You actually know what's going into your body because you made it!
3.  I've always wanted to learn how. 

So, if you have a delicious recipe that you're not sharing, that's just harsh.  Send it my way so I can try it!  :-) 

I found two recipes that I tried this weekend... the first involved acorn squash.  I didn't realize they looked like little pumpkins.  Or had seeds like pumpkins.  Apparently I haven't had enough pumpkin fun yet this year.  Oh wait. 

Basically, you chop an acorn squash in half and roast it.  It looked pretty in the pan!

Roasted Acorn Squash with Orange-Ginger Dressing
So, that's what it looked like all decorated on my plate.  The orange-ginger dressing smelled awesome and I was pretty pumped to give it a try.  I do have to tell you that neither Jimmy or I thought it was all that great.  I think we are just not big fans of acorn squash.  It tasted okay.  We also added a lot more brown sugar than you're probably supposed to add... and we may have ditched the effort of eating it about halfway through.  Oh well, not everything can be our favorite.

If you are a big proponent of acorn squash, then you might love it!  Try it and let me know what you think. 

Here's what I made this morning for breakfast.  This was really tasty.  :-)

Baked French Toast
First time I've ever made French toast in my life.  Yep, really.  Mmm... can't find the recipe to link it, so here's the gist of what I did:

Combine in a bowl
2 large eggs (or egg substitute)
1/2 c. skim milk
2 t. powdered sugar
1/2 t. vanilla extract
1/4 t. ground cinnamon

Dip 4 pieces of bread (I used whole wheat) into the mixture to soak it up and then put them on a baking sheet.  Spray or "sprinkle" with butter (about 1 T.).  Bake at 425 for 8-10 minutes (my oven is quick, so I only did 7). 

Enjoy!  :-)

I'd say it was a complete success.  I've definitely been sleeping on French toast, though.  Who knew it was that good?

Until next time... Happy Cooking!  :-)

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Starting November off right...

What a good food month already!  Mmm...

I made my very first soup all by myself today!  :-)  *beams with pride*  ...in my brand new giant soup pot... so exciting!  Not to mention, tasty.  AND healthy! 

Summer Squash and Corn Chowder

I should tell you that I had off from school today for the election, so I went into a cooking frenzy mode.  I also made some eggsalad (my all-time favorite food) with some eggs that were on the verge of not being good anymore!

Every time I make eggsalad, it's a little bit different.  That's the beauty of it.  I just never add celery... or anything crunchy.  That ruins eggsalad.  Today I put in some light mayo, horseradish sauce, Old Bay, paprika, and garlic salt.  Amazing. 

Now, I just need some waffles.  :-)

The eggsalad waffle was concocted by my brother and I years ago.  It takes that long to perfect it.  Hehe, just kidding.  Seriously though, if you've never had eggsalad on a waffle... well, you just don't know what you're missing. 

Then, I went on to make the WW version of an Apple-Pear Crisp.  I used my new fancy microplane to zest a lemon and an orange!  Mmm... it smelled soooo good while it was baking.  The recipe said to let it cool for at least 2 hours, but I decided that I would probably have liked it better if it were still warm.  Don't get me wrong, it was awesomeness in a pan.  We ate it with some vanilla ice cream. 

Apple-Pear Crisp

...and finally, I made "Confetti Spaghetti"!  Basically, you cook the noodles and the meat and such separately and then you combine them and bake in the oven.  I used whole wheat noodles (which I love) and seasoned it up quite a bit more than the recipe called for.  We like spice! 

Confetti Spaghetti

It was soooo much fun to cook today.  I don't think I've ever bought that much produce at a grocery store.  The soup needed a lot!  I also got some acorn squash (which is shaped like little pumpkins) to try another WW recipe.  I love it when recipes come out just the way you want them to... and everyone gets to enjoy them!  :-)  Don't forget that the recipes are all linked to the captions!  (Just in case you didn't know that!) 

Happy cooking!  <3

Monday, November 1, 2010

Baking Frenzy!

Happy November!  Happy birthday month to me!  :-)  To be honest, I'm kind of glad that October is over... it was really busy and dangerous in terms of food.  Not that November is necessarily going to be any easier.  Thanksgiving sneaks in right there at the end.  Yikes!

Anyway, I've kind of been a cookie-baking fiend lately.  Mainly because I found some recipes to try for a wedding (cookie table!).  I ended up going with these:

Jimmy was the master of Hershey Kisses, cooling racks, and our oven mitt puppet.  Seriously, it just needs some giant googly eyes and he'd be awesome.  We may have made 11 dozen of the Hershey Kiss-topped Cookies and 4 dozen of the Oatmeal Cranberry White Chocolate Chunk Cookies.  Just know that it was an insane amount of cookies.  You'll be happy to know that the cookies were delicious and the wedding was fantastic!  :-)

The following three cookies below I baked yesterday with my friend, Beth.  She is a fabulous baker and I'm learning all of her secrets (mwahahaha...).  Mmm... 

Cinnamon Roll Cookies
Chocolate Macadamia Meltaways

Peanut Butter Thumbprints
Yep, just let your mouth water.  I'd give you the recipes, but then you'd have all my secrets, too!  :-)  You'll just have to come over for cookies sometime.  I mean, Christmas is coming...

We also made an Apple Crips (not pictured because it wasn't finished baking) and this soup:

Summer Squash and Corn Chowder

I decided I'm going to invest in a Dutch oven, so that I can make all kinds of yummy and healthy soups.  We'll see how it goes!  I'm pretty excited to try to make more soup recipes. 

I also roasted pumpkin seeds for the first time ever... they taste a lot like burnt popcorn.  Who knew?  Maybe I made them wrong.  ;-)  I seasoned them with Old Bay, garlic salt, and pepper.  Jimmy did not like them, but I don't know if he counts since he doesn't like popcorn.  My kiddos at school seemed to like them!

...and here are our carved pumpkins...

Alissa's Owl Pumpkin and Jimmy's Zerg Pumpkin

The pumpkins only lasted for a few days before they started caving in on themselves.  We decided to ditch them before they made a goopy mess like the ones I carved at school.  Decomposing pumpkin is NOT a good smell... especially when it splashes all over you.  Trust me.  Like I said, Happy November!  :-)
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...