Friday, January 23, 2015

Meatloaf Monday on Friday

If you are a regular reader of mine, you'll know that I don't adhere to the "certain dish/certain day" kind of plan.  But, if you are someone who loves a meatloaf Monday, here's a new one for you!

Cheesy Bacon Meatloaf - this stuff smells so good when it's baking.  It's a good thing I know it's important to let meat fully cook, or I would have opened the over and dug in before this had finished baking.  The flavor is pretty good too, and it's super easy to make.  Now, as I was eating this, though, I couldn't help but think what might make this even more bacon cheeseburgery.

Here's what I'd try if I made it again:

  • Add in bacon crumbles to the meat mixture.  More bacon is never a bad thing.
  • Use a sharp cheddar cheese or something stronger than the mild cheddar and mozzarella combination I used.  The cheese flavor was too subtle for my liking.
  • Surprisingly, I think some pickle flavor might be an interesting addition.  I would probably chop up some dill pickles super finely and add them to the meat mixture.  I think the dill tang would be a nice addition.
  • One last brainstorm, top the finished meatloaf with barbecue sauce and french fried onions and put it back in the oven for 5 minutes or so.

It's funny.  Meatloaf is one of those dishes I always think of as tough to make, but that couldn't be farther from the truth.  It's quick to put together, it tastes yummy, and the fam loves it.  What could be better?

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

You Bet Your Biscuits

I've seen this recipe for 7 Up Biscuits for forever.  I usually don't have sugar soda in the house, especially 7 UP, so that's always stopped me from making it.

The other day I was looking for some delicious carbs to accompany this soup we loved at the Winter Olympics party.  I remembered that I had a few cans of ginger ale left from Christmas time, and decided it wasn't that different from 7 UP.  In addition to that swap, I used the Heart Healthy Bisquick, and low fat sour cream.  I don't think the low-cal changes mattered a bit.

My family is lucky to have had the opportunity to try this biscuits.  As soon as I pulled them from the oven, I knew they were going to be fantastic, soft, buttery pillows of deliciousness.  You must make these.  It's probably even worth the trip to the store for ingredients.

Monday, January 19, 2015

The Tropics

I love warm, tropical places, and I definitely love tropical flavors.  Plus, The Tropics was also a restaurant we used to occasionally go to when I was a kid.  It was several towns away, but my aunt lived there, and we would often meet up to see her and other friends.

Tonight's recipes definitely hearken of warm sunshine and sultry breezes.  To begin, these Slow Cooker Tropical Pork Chops have a interesting flavor combination, especially compared to many slow cooker recipes that inevitably taste the same as many others.  The balance of sweet fruit, tart lime, and chili sauce is really nice.  I used boneless pork chops, and they could cook longer than the recipe suggests, especially to tenderize them a bit. I didn't have all the fresh herbs to top off the chops, but I did use some toasted almonds and green onions.

For the second act, I made these Banana Brownies that are popping up on Pinterest all the time.  These bars are full of banana flavor and very moist, but totally not what I expected.  The white chocolate flavor is virtually unnoticeable.  Nevertheless they are yummy, and I'm glad there's only an 8x8 pan to work through.  One final word, these were a snap to make.  I defrosted bananas from the freezer in the microwave, quickly melted the butter and chocolate, and minutes later slid the pan in the oven to bake.  Mine took closer to 25 minutes to bake, but they were sharing the oven with the rice I made to accompany the pork chops.

So, if you need a break from winter, even if it's only at the dinner table, here are two little getaways you might like!

Thursday, January 15, 2015


This is a two-for-one post, not by design, of course, but because I happened to make both the same day and they were both great!

First the Salsa Verde Beef Tacos.  We've been all into the salsa verde flavors recently, and this will be another addition to our delicious salsa verde collection.  Add to that the fact that it's quick prep with just a few ingredients and you have a winner in my book.

Then, there was the Nutella Gooey Butter Cake.  Traditional Gooey Butter Cake is just plain awesome, so I knew adding Nutella would make for a fabulously rich dessert.  I was not wrong.  We enjoyed ours warm and with vanilla ice cream.  It's kinda like a fancy brownie sundae, only better.  Much better.

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Five or Fewer + Slow Cooker = Simple and Yum

How to make a delicious dinner with the least amount of effort possible:

  • Four ingredients
  • Dump and pour, no mixing
  • Cook all day on low
  • Plenty for one meal and enough leftovers to make another
  • Happy family enjoys and compliments the cook.

How could you want more than that?  You couldn't!  So, make plans to make this Pesto Ranch Crockpot Chicken Thighs ASAP!

Update:  The leftovers from this dish turned into a fabulous second dish for us.  Whip up some alfredo sauce, chop up the the leftover pesto chicken and add it to the sauce, serve it over your favorite pasta.  You WILL thank me.

Tuesday, January 13, 2015


There's something about Moms.  Everybody thinks they've got the best one.  In my case it's true.  Well, at least she was the best one for me.  Mom taught me a lot--the thrill of slicing into a freshly baked loaf of bread, the sweet satisfaction of giving generously, and the importance of losing yourself in a good book, among other things.

We just celebrated Mom's birthday, and I was pleased to make this Simple Orange Cake for her.  It's pretty easy, and all that fresh orange smell is terrific--during prep, while it's baking, and then while you're waiting to dive in later.  Paired with vanilla ice cream, the perfect dreamsicle combination.

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

On Snow Days

School for my little was cancelled today, and despite only having two "normal" days in the books, I was really happy to have her home with me today.  We had a great day of puttering around both together and separately.  I also had plenty of time to make dinner for our family and for our neighbors who were blessed with a new little one on Christmas Eve!  

I always overthink making food for other people.  I try to remember everything they've ever said about what they cook at home.  I think about the food I've seen them bring to parties, potlucks, and backyard barbecues.  I try to recall everything I've ever heard their kids mention about likes/dislikes.  Yeah, I'm a basket case.

I recently pinned this Creamy Broccoli Chicken Shells and Cheese, and it seemed like a family-friendly meal--healthyish without tasting that way.  I also added a fruit salad dressed with honey and lime juice, some Rhodes rolls, and these kid-friendly Funfetti Gooey Butter Cookies.

The main dish was yum!  I liked the fresh broccoli flavor as well as the creamy cheese sauce.  It was a great dish.  The cookies were essentially the same as the monster ones I made at Halloween, but using sprinkles in them just opens up a whole new world of possibilities.  As we snacked on the fresh cookies today, my kiddo and I were brainstorming a Valentine's Day version-- stay tuned!

Tomorrow is another day off, and of course I'm wondering what the day will bring, but I'm sure it will be some good things!