Saturday, December 17, 2011

Carmelized Onions?

So, I actually had some time to cook last night.  Jim went shopping for chocolate supplies (look for in the next post)... and I had not one, but TWO dinners cooked and ready for him when he came home.  I was on a roll.  Why?  Who knows? 

I made good old spicy chili.  Mmm.  I also made this:

Macaroni and Cheese with Carmelized Onions

Fancy, right?  I've never carmelized an onion before.  You may say they look a little blackened... is that different from carmelizing?  Haha.  About half the onion burnt to a crisp and I had to throw it away.  Those were actually the less blackened ones...  :-)

It was still pretty tasty.  Not to mention a weight watchers recipe.  For Mac & Cheese.  Dig it.

Onions prior to blackening... I mean, carmelization.

After it was all mixed in the pot, it went in the oven for a little while and got all congealed and cheesy.  Yum.

I do have to say that while this was fairly good, I think I have to say that the blue box is still my favorite.  What kind of macaroni and cheese do you like? 

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Casseroles for Baby

With baby on the way, I started making casseroles... I figured at least if I could freeze a few casseroles for later, we wouldn't starve.  Here are some pictures! 

Beef & Tater Bake

Who doesn't love tater tots?  I'm a fan.  Remember, though, I am in general a fan of things all jumbled together in a yummy mess.  Plus, I was pretty pregnant when I made that.  Regardless, it was tasty.

This next casserole is for any fan of pizza.

Spiral Pepperoni Pizza Bake

A little warning... either don't fill your dish quite so full of mozzarella OR put the dish on a cookie tray so that the cheese doesn't bubble all over your oven.  I love my darling husband who cleaned our oven!  <3

This last casserole is completely designed by me! 

Alissa's Mexican Polenta Bake

Alissa's Mexican Polenta Bake
1 can refried beans
1 roll of polenta, cut into rounds
Corn (canned or frozen)
1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
Green chiles
1 lb. ground beef, turkey, or chicken (I prefer beef... but you can use what you like!)
Taco seasoning (Packet or make your own!)
1/2 onion, chopped
1 jar salsa con queso
Other toppings... grape tomatoes, black olives, mushrooms, banana peppers, jalapeno peppers, sour cream, guacamole, etc.

Cook the ground beef in a pan and toss in the onion.  Add the taco seasoning.  *Just a side note... I made my own taco seasoning the other day without a packet (because I didn't realize I was out of them).  This works just as well! 

Spread the refried beans into a 13 x 9 pyrex dish.  Sprinkle some of the corn and black beans on top.  Add the polenta rounds spread out evenly.  Add more corn and black beans.  Add the seasoned meat and onions.  Add mushrooms or banana peppers if you're going to do so.  Add more corn, black beans, green chiles, jalapenos, etc.  Top the dish with the jar of salsa con queso. 

Bake in the oven at 350 for about 20ish minutes.  Top with anything else you want!  See... easy.  For all of you who are watching your weight... this was about 9 WW pts for 1/8 of it.  Not too shabby.

Please note that I am writing this almost 6 weeks (tomorrow) after baby arrived! Did I manage to make and freeze these casseroles prior to baby arriving? NO. Baby came 3 weeks early and surprised everyone... especially me and Jim. 

My sweetie at 1 month.  :-)  Love!

Monday, October 24, 2011


For those of you, like me, who did not know that jalapeno peppers are evil... well, here's your warning.  Jalapeno peppers are evil! 

You're probably thinking that they don't look very evil.  However, they can burn the crap out of you if you're not careful!  Their skin has a chemical called capsaicin in it that irritates and burns mammals, apparently.  Here's a story I found about a guy who had some intense pain...

So, you may want to know why I suddenly feel the need to warn you.  I was making Cheeseburger Soup tonight and chopped up a jalapeno pepper to add to it (which I have done before, I might add).  Without gloves.  After I left the soup on the stove to cook, I sat down my couch and suddenly realized that several of my fingers had kind of a painful burning sensation happening. 

Here's what to do if that happens to you! 

Olive oil seemed to work for me, so I'm just glad I didn't have a 5 lb. bag of peppers like the guy in the above story link.  Yikes. 

Sunday, September 18, 2011


It was such a beautiful, cool day today.  I'm ready for fall weather and fall cooking... so I made some Apple Cider Cupcakes from The Cupcake Bible.  I may have also made a Nana's Apple Cake.  :-)

Using my awesome mixer...

Chopping walnuts...

Into the oven they shall go...

Homemade apple icing...


Cupcakes all decorated...

Apple Cider Cupcakes

Yum!  :-)  Anybody have any other yummy fall recipes? 

Smoothie Heaven

I've had some gift cards for Barnes & Noble burning holes in my pocket all summer (thank you kindergarten families from last year!).  :-)  I finally decided to spend them on some fun things for myself... I got two books:  Smoothie Heaven and The Cupcake Bible.  Okay, and maybe this cute owl stroller toy for baby:

So cute!  :-)

Anyway, I've made two smoothies thus far out of the book that were both pretty tasty... and extremely easy to make!  You may have to invest in the book (it's on sale!) to get the recipes, though.  I'm not sure if I can share them without crossing some copyright law.  Hmm...

Pineapple & Coconut Smoothie

Apple & Nutmeg Smoothie

I apologize for the sideways-ness of that picture.  I've tried about ten times to rotate it, save it, and upload it correctly to no avail.  You'll have to turn your head to see it properly.  I will tell you that I am not a fan of nutmeg.  It's too... oaty smelling for my taste.  If that makes sense.  Instead of nutmeg, I added cinnamon! 

Did you know how much froth an apple makes when you blend it?  A lot!  I'll keep you posted on my smoothie adventures as I try some more.  :-)

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Mexican Casseroles

Thanks for hanging in there with me, blog readers.  :-)  I decided that I miss cooking!  My preggo body has had some weird cravings, which has led to not so much real cooking.  We've definitely been doing more semi-cooking for convenience rather than using the awesome recipes I've been gathering for the past year.  I was thoroughly exhausted last week with school back in session and with my swollen feet, I can barely stand at night, let alone cook! 

So, I've decided that I'm going to do some serious cooking on the weekends so that I don't have to cook each night during the week.  We'll see how it goes.  Today I went with a Mexican theme and made Taco Soup, plus these two new casserole-y recipes I found:

Mexican Lasagna

Texan Ranch Chicken Casserole

Oh man, can I tell you how delicious these smelled as they were cooking?  It was like a creamy, melty, smorgasbord of Mexian fantastic-ness in my kitchen today. 

We sampled the Mexican Lasagna for lunch and it might truly be the best lasagna I've ever eaten.  Well, the best non-Italian lasagna, anyway.  My Uncle Dennis makes an excellent Italian lasagna that I'm not sure I can compete with yet.  Maybe someday.  ;-) 

The Texan Ranch Chicken Casserole is currently sitting in our freezer for an evening when we run out of other scrumptious food.  It smelled so good that it was hard to put it in there to save for later! 

Here are some other pictures I took as I was cooking.  Remember, we like things that are all thrown together in messy jumbles.  :-)  If that's not your thing, you may want to skip the whole casserole idea!


Do you have a good casserole recipe?  I'd love to hear/see/taste it!  :-D

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Waffle Bats

Just thought I'd post some fun pictures of waffle bats that Jimmy and I made.  Yep, waffle bats.  :-) 

Those are bats made out of waffles, in case you are shaking your head in confusion.  At this point, nothing should surprise you. 

Jimmy's Waffle Bat!

Alissa's Waffle Bat!

Both were delicious.  Hehe. 

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Smooth and Creamy

I miss Jamba Juice.  :-( 

We went to NYC in July and I've decided that they have the best smoothies.  No ice cream, but good smoothies.  Did you know that this is apparently the only way to get ice cream in NYC?

I'll be perfectly honest.  For National Ice Cream Day (July 17th), I was hoping to find an awesome ice cream shop and get order something amazing.  I wasn't expecting to have to chase down an ice cream truck.  I could do that at home!  Hehe, so we noshed on some Jamba Juice smoothies.  Mmmm... like heaven in a cup.  Too bad there aren't any around my house.  Sad.

So, here are two attempts at smoothies I've made:

I'm not going to give you exact measurements because that's not how I made these smoothies.  I just added stuff to them until they tasted yummy.  Real precise!  Haha.

Strawberry Banana Smoothie (On the left!)
Strawberries, hulled
1 banana
1 c. of yogurt (I used a cherry-flavored one)
Dash of skim milk
...and then add ice until it's smooth and creamy enough for you!  You could also add blueberries, raspberries, or any other kind of fruit that you like.  I topped it with a spoonful of lite Cool Whip. 

Mango Pineapple Smoothie (On the right!)
1 mango
1 c. pineapple chunks
Handful of blueberries
1 c. Greek yogurt (I used a honey-flavored one)
Dash of skim milk
Several squirts of honey
...and again, add ice until it's smooth and creamy.  Not terribly difficult.  Pretty tasty!

Have you ever tried making a smoothie?  What do you like to put in it?  I'm open to suggestions!  :-)
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