Friday, April 15, 2016

Sausage and Pepper Pasta

  When you don't get home from work until 7 pm it's important to feed the troops as quick as possible.  So lately, I have been focusing on how I can get dinner done quickly, but still be home cooked and nutritious as possible.  This one fit the mold.  It is so simple, super quick and delicious!  Best of all you can change it up to fit your family's taste buds and leftovers seem to taste even better the next day.  It has been a huge hit at my house.

Sausage and Pepper Pasta
1 medium sweet onion
2 Peppers (I like to use for example 1 red and 1 yellow)
1 teaspoon minced garlic
1 Tablespoon olive oil
1 sausage, sliced and halved. (I used a Hillshire Farms Smoked Beef Sausage)
1 can petite diced tomatoes
4 mushrooms, sliced
1 can spaghetti sauce
1/4 cup grated Parmesan
1 lb pasta cooked and drained.

Pour the olive oil in to a saute pan.  Add the garlic. Slice onions, peppers and put them in the pan.
Saute over medium heat until they start to get tender (about 5 minutes)
Add sliced sausage, mushrooms, tomatoes and spaghetti sauce.
Stir and let simmer until heated through.
Stir in your cooked pasta and sprinkle with a bit of Parmesan Cheese.
*If you like a little heat add some red pepper flakes.
Dinner is Ready!

*If I am really on the ball I slice and dice everything the night before.  Then all have to do is dump it all in and cook.


ENJOY! 


Thursday, March 31, 2016

Love Smoked Meat. Cave Tools Makes it Easy and Affordable.



My family loves smoked meat.  There is just something about the added flavor that makes the taste so incredible.  We have always wanted to buy a smoker, but couldn't find something that was in our budget.  I was so excited when Cave Tools asked me if I wanted to review a smoker box.  When it arrived I was surprised how small it was, but after using it I discovered it is the perfect size. It's made out of stainless steel.

It fits nicely under the grill grates.
We tried it with charcoal briquettes and it did not work very well, but when using the gas it worked brilliantly.
On the wood chip package it says to soak your chips before using them.  We discovered it worked much better with dry chips. We cooked hamburgers
BBQ Chicken and Veggie Kabobs

and my favorite just smoked chicken. 
We did not even season the chicken. It was flavored strictly by the smoke from the smoke box
and it was delicious.

You can buy the Smoker Box directly from Cave Tools Here or from Amazon Here.

You can tell we used it quite a bit and it's held up to the heat brilliantly.
It took a bit of trial and error to learn how to use the smoker box, but now that we know how to make it work it is an easy and affordable way to get that great smoked meat flavor.

Cave Tools has graciously offered a 15% off coupon code for you to purchase it from Amazon.
Use the Code TJ4VTYCS

I'm ready for Summer grilling season and can't wait to try the smoker box out some more!


The smoke box was provided by Cave Tools.  I was not paid to complete this review All opinions are my own!

Thursday, March 17, 2016

Happy St Patrick's Day and Keeping the Tradition Going!

Happy St. Patrick's Day!

St. Patrick's Day is one holiday that holds very special memories for me.   It was one of my Grandma McNee's favorite holidays.  I remember how much she loved it and how happy it would make her to celebrate the "green" day.  It was tradition that she always made her famous "Irish Cupcakes".  They were so fun and oh so delicious.  No matter how old we were we looked forward to them each St Patrick's Day.   I have attempted to keep this tradition up with my own kids, but as life got busier and with a full time job, I have become a slacker in this area.
Thankfully, my Sister Tayler took hold of the reins and kept the tradition going this year.
Not only are they adorable, but it brings back such tender and happy memories.  

You can find find this recipe for GRANDMA's IRISH CUPCAKES here.
Tayler used this recipe for the frosting. (My fave!!)

Thank you Tayler for the little reminder of our incredible, amazing Grandma and for keeping the tradition going!  




Sunday, March 6, 2016

Queso Taco Pasta

I am a HUGE Taco fan.  I could eat tacos all week and never get tired of them.  My family on the other hand think I make them too much (once or twice a month is not too often).  So this was a great find.  The family absolutely loved it.  It had great flavor and provided my taco fix while satisfying my whole family.  It is now my favorite dish and there were no leftovers.

Queso Taco Pasta

Queso Sauce
4 tablespoons butter
1/4 cup flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1 1/2 cups chicken broth
1 1/2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
1/2 cup prepared mild salsa
Beef Mixture
1 cup finely chopped onions
1 Tablespoon minced garlic
1 pound ground beef
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon  black pepper
1 (10 ounce) can Rotel tomatoes, mild
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 Tablespoon lime juice

3/4 pound small pasta of your choice
2 cups shredded cheddar cheese

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Lightly spray a 9×13 inch baking dish with cooking spray.

Place butter into a medium saucepan over medium heat. Stir to melt. Whisk in flour, salt and pepper for about 30 seconds until bubbly. Slowly whisk in chicken broth until smooth. Increase heat to high while whisking until thickened. Takes 3-5 minutes. Stir in cheese and salsa, turn off heat and set aside.

Brown hamburger, garlic, onions, salt and pepper. Drain fat if necessary. Add tomatoes, cumin and lime juice, stir to combine.

Cook pasta according to package directions and drain.

Place beef, noodles and queso in a large bowl.  Mix. Taste and season with additional salt and pepper to your liking. Transfer to prepared baking dish and top with shredded cheese. Bake for 25-30 minutes until cheese is melted. Serve warm.

So delicious!!
Enjoy!



Sunday, January 24, 2016

Patsy's Perfect Chocolate Pie

For Thanksgiving my mom and sister made this incredible chocolate pie.  It was so delicious and a huge hit.  Let's just say it did not last very long.  It left me wanting more...craving it! Between Thanksgiving and Christmas I made it twice and took another one to a potluck at work (also a huge hit there).  Best of all it is super quick and easy to make. This recipe is definitely a keeper.

Patsy's Perfect Chocolate Pie
Inspired by Lauren's Latest

1 baked and cooled pie crust 
12 ounces chocolate chips (Basically 1 bag. I like the Guittard and I used milk chocolate)
2 cups heavy whipping cream
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup powdered sugar
2 cups cold milk
1- 5.1 oz. package instant chocolate pudding
Chocolate shavings for garnish

DIRECTIONS:

Whip cream with vanilla and powdered sugar until stiff.  Set aside.

In a large bowl whip milk with chocolate pudding mix until smooth. Sit 3 minutes to thicken. 
Pour the chocolate chips into a bowl and melt slowly in the microwave, stirring every 20-30  seconds. Watch it carefully.  Once it is melted, pour into the pudding mixture and mix well.  Fold in half of the whipped cream. Pour into cooled pie shell. Top with remaining whipped cream and chocolate shavings. Cover gently with plastic wrap and refrigerate until ready to serve.

The last time I made it I was lucky to get this picture with part of the pie, the family ate it so fast.

Enjoy,

Sunday, January 3, 2016

A New Year, New Goals, Canvas Factory Review and a Giveaway for You!


Happy New Year!
Life has been a bit crazy for me ever since going to work full time last Spring and sadly this blog has suffered the consequences of it.  Let's just say I have totally missed it and my interactions with all of my incredible and amazing readers.  My goal this coming year is to get back to writing, creating and sharing with all of you.  To say THANK YOU for your patience with me I have a great giveaway to start the year off with from the great people over at CanvasFactory.

With CanvasFactory I was able to easily take this little photo from my phone
and create a beautiful 16 x 20 canvas print.
(This picture of my canvas print does not do it justice, It is gorgeous!)
The website was so easy and helpful.
It helped me determine which pictures would work best for this size.
It was quick and I was impressed and even more in awe when it arrived. 
It is very nicely done and looks amazing.
The wrapped edges are such a nice touch.  There are lots of styles and sizes to choose from. I am now looking at creating one of their canvas collages, they are awesome!
Doesn't it look fabulous on my wall!
This is my first experience with canvas prints and let's just say I am hooked thanks to CanvasFactory.

Now for the best part.....drum roll please...
CanvasFactory has given me a 16 x 20 canvas print to giveaway to one lucky reader!!
To enter follow the directions below.  

Winner will be announced January 11th.
and the recipe for Mom's Perfect Chocolate Pie coming soon..

Good Luck!

The 16 x20 Canvas print and giveaway were provided by CanvasFactory. All opinions are my own!





Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Easy Peasy Homemade Croutons

Last week a friend of mine shared with me some croutons and they were amazing.  As I asked her about them she simple stated how she had made them herself.  Her daughter and I ended up finishing them up just as a snack, they were that good.  So she inspired me to make some of my own.  They were so easy, cheap to make and the greatest fact they are so delicious!!  I will not buy croutons from the store.  You can adjust them flavor to whatever you want.
Easy Peasy Homemade Croutons 
This is a basic recipe. Use the seasonings and oils that you love.

1 loaf day or older bread (I found a bag of sliced bagette in the day old section at the store bakery department).
1/2 cup Olive Oil
1/4 cup Butter
1/4 cup Parmesan Cheese
seasoning salt
salt
pepper
garlic

Mix up your oils and seasonings.  Let sit for a few minutes so the flavors can mix a bit.
Dice up your bread.
As you can see it was quite a large bowl of diced bread.
Pour the oil seasoning mixture over the bread and stir to coat.  Add more oil or seasoning if needed.
Pour on to a cookie sheet. 
Bake at 350 degrees for 20-25 minutes or until the bread is crisp and golden brown.  Stir a few times during baking cycle.
Remove from cookie sheet.  When croutons have cooled store in an air tight container.
So EASY and Delicious!

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