Friday, July 18, 2014

So Long and Best Wishes

It's never easy to tell a colleague good-bye.  Although we all work very independently in our classrooms and other various projects, we are a close-knit group.  This week we gathered as a department to send one of our own off to a new university.  Although it's the best thing for she and her family, she will be missed.

Since I've sort of developed a reputation for being the sweets girl in the department, I volunteered to bring dessert, and ended up selecting this Pecan Pound Cake.  Well, there's not a lot to say, but yum.  Good, with the moist density of a usual pound cake, but then some pecans in there just for a change of pace.  And no need to mess around with the recipe, it was pretty awesome, just the way it is.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014


Maybe I've been finding the best recipes, or maybe I'm getting better at grilling, but I've found another delicious burger.  It was moist, flavorful, and different without being strange.

Of course I love Plain Chicken's recipe, so I wasn't surprised this Maple Bacon Burger was good.  (I'm clueless about burger photography, so please don't let that get in your way.)  I  made just a few switches, but mostly stuck to the recipe.  I decided that adding the bacon into the burger mix the last time was a stroke of genius, so I went that route again.  Since the bacon slices weren't separate to be syrup glazed, I decided to add just a tad of syrup to the burger mix, and then put a light brushing of syrup on the burgers while they were grilling.  It added just a hint of sweetness without being too much.  I sprinkled a bit of Weber Grill burger seasoning because it's a fav or ours, and topped with cheddar cheese.  I'll always choose cheddar over American.

The moisture in these burgers was fantastic.  I don't know if it was the beer and syrup mixed in or just luck of the grill, but on that factor alone I would make them again.

Monday, July 14, 2014

The Whole Enchilada

You know how you sometimes pin a pin on Pinterest without looking, and then when you go back later to actually use the pin you get a bit of surprise?  No?  That's just me?

I think these Chicken Lime Enchiladas was one of those pins.  I'm not sure what I thought it would be, but when I actually saw the recipe entailed making my own sauce from scratch, I was a bit surprised.  There's nothing tough about making the sauce, I'm just used to making enchiladas where I use more of a pre-made sauce.

In fact, I thought the flavor in this sauce was terrific.  There's a hint of lime, and the cumin definitely gives it a homemade touch.  There's a rich full flavor in the filling that isn't too much, but just right and a good balance for all the flavors happening in the sauce.  Here are my swaps: Greek yogurt for sour cream, low fat Fiesta Cheese and mild cheddar in place of full fat Monterey jack and cheddar, and a little bit of hot sauce in place of jalepeno.  We topped ours with a little sour cream, tomatoes, and chives. Yum.  Definitely looking forward to these leftovers.

Saturday, July 12, 2014

Summer Slacker

We are loving our summer.  No specific agenda, for the most part, and days spent lounging by the pool, playing with friends, and generally reveling in not being needed at any particular time or place.

For the latest installment of Friday nights at home, I chose to use some of our side of beef in these Steak Kabobs.  I've always loved Italian dressing as a marinade for chicken, but this recipe proved that it's the perfect solution for beef too.  Our kabobs were a combination of t-bone steak, red and white onion, portabella mushrooms, and green pepper.  The steak turned out deliciously tender, and I loved the flavor.

We finished our meal off with a beautiful Oatmeal Cookie Peach Cobbler made with fresh peaches.  The cookie topping is a lovely change compared to the usual cobbler and crisp toppings.  Aside from having to peal and chop a whole bunch of peaches, this recipe is super easy to make.  I'd love to try it with other fruits, especially apples, wouldn't that be a terrific fall dish?

Another couple of hits for a warm summer evening.  Love it.

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

A Fresh Take

In the last year I've seen several bloggers try the Kraft Fresh Takes.  Most with great success, and yet I was seriously skeptical.  

I decided to give it a shot with these Cheddar Jack & Bacon Pork Chops.  I used center cut chops since their price was the best at the store this week.  It was so simple to put the topping on, and put on the pan.  I pressed the extra cheese and breading onto the tops of the chops, just so none went to waste.

Right up until the first bite, I was still doubting whether it could truly be good.  One bite in and I doubted no more.  These were so good!  I didn't even top them with salsa as the recipe suggested, and we didn't even miss it. 

I'm definitely going to try other variations.  I know they will be a great addition to those busy school night menus when time is at a premium.   Different meats, different mixes, the possibilities are endless!

Tuesday, July 1, 2014


In an effort to polish off my June menu, I scribbled down Tortellini and left it at that.  Now, we're fine with some frozen tortellini and a jar of Prego, but since I knew I had the time, I went in search of an actual recipe.

My Pinterest search yielded this Creamy Spinach Tomato Tortellini.  It's super easy and tastes fantastic.  We enjoyed every morsel on our plates.  My only substitutions were frozen tortellini and fresh basil, otherwise, spot on with the recipe.  It's a delightfully fresh tasting and beautifully pink, too.

Totally making this again, and next time I'm making breadsticks to dip in the extra sauce.

Sunday, June 29, 2014

One of Those Weeks

Do you ever have a week you just dread starting because you know once it starts it just won't stop?  This past week was that week.  Everything did was good, but it just kind of didn't quit.  Because of all the weird events, I fell back on leftovers and old favorites for our meals.

The cooking I did do was very event driven.  For starters, I made these Reese's Pieces Peanut Butter Oatmeal Cookies to sell at my garage sale.  We've found the "bake shoppe" portion of our sale to be very profitable in the past, and this year was no exception.  These were yummy.  Soft and peanut buttery, with just a hint of saltiness too.  I chose to use creamy peanut butter, and swapped out 1/2 cup of the Reese's Pieces with milk chocolate chips.  My Reese's Pieces were also the mini baking kind, but I doubt that matters.

For our special Sunday School gathering, I decided to try this new egg casserole made with bagels.  I liked the idea of the doughyness a bagel lends.  I'm all about the dough (bread, not money).  It was good, but not remarkable.  First, it needs a lot of salt.  I mean, a lot.  I added what I felt was a ton, but it still lacked.  Otherwise it was good, but nothing too different.

Oh yeah, and then there were these little pieces of heaven.  Coconut Pancakes.  The pancakes were good, but I think a big part of their deliciousness is that the potential for new toppings is nearly endless.  I choose pineapple and whipped cream plus a little butter for the perfect pina colada flavor.  My husband did chocolate syrup and chocolate chips plus whipped cream and butter for a great candy bar knock off.  I loved the summer fruitiness of the pineapple.  Light, fluffy, and sweet without the overwhelming syrup flavor.  My hubby enjoyed the chocolate combo, but couldn't decide which combo came out the winner.

Hopefully this coming holiday week will be a nice break and a chance to catch our breath, even for a few days.