In Honor of Halloween, Let’s Talk Candy

candyIf I were to list out some of my hobbies, it would go something like: writing, reading, watching t.v./movies, and eating candy. Therefore, I would like to think that I am an expert in the field of candy, mainly in judging whether they are good or not. My favorite candy combo is peanut butter & chocolate–peanut butter is a necessary part of my diet. I have eaten approximately 100 lbs of Peanut Butter M&Ms in my lifetime. My least favorite candy has got to be licorice. I don’t turn down a lot of candy, but I just can’t do licorice.

 How about you? What candy are you looking forward to eating this Halloween?

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One Pot Cheesy Apple Sausage Pasta

The picture doesn't do the dish justice!

The picture doesn’t do the dish justice!

I love fall dishes–nothing helps warm you up on a chilly day more than a delicious bowl of creamy pasta or a rich, comfort food dish. Thanks to Pinterest, I was able to find on a blog another awesome one pot recipe called “One Pot Cheesy Smoked Sausage Skillet” that seemed similar to the Hunt’s Italian Sausage dish that is a favorite with my family. I mixed it up a bit–I added some apple in there, as I love the combo of onions, sausage, and apples in dishes. I also added in some additional veggies, in this case I put in some mushrooms. Kevin is a picky eater but I wanted to up the vitamin content. Then, as always, I reduced the serving size to 2-3 people. In the end, it is such an amazing mix of flavors with the onions, the sweetness of the apples, and the savory sausage. It was definitely one of my favorites and one I can see making a lot this fall and winter. The picture doesn’t do it justice.

Ingredients

  • 1 Tbsp olive oil or butter
  • 2-3 chicken sausage or pork sausage links, sliced (I used Trader Joe’s Smoked Apple & Chardonnay one)
  • 1/2 cup diced onion (I also snuck in some sliced mushrooms–you can easily put some other veggies like mushrooms, spinach, or kale to add some veggies to picky eaters)
  • 1/4 cup chopped apple
  • 1 Tbsp minced garlic
  • 1 1/4 cups Chicken Broth
  • 1/2 (14.5 oz) can diced tomatoes (I used Hunt’s No Salt Added)
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream or milk
  • 6 oz dry penne pasta (about 2 1/4 cup dry penne pasta)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt and pepper, each (can throw in some oregano in there too)
  • 1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese
  • 1/4 cup chopped green onions, for garnish if wanted

Instructions

  1. Add olive oil or butter to a 4-5 quart saute pan over medium high heat. Add onions (and other veggies), apples, & sausage and cook until lightly browned (about 3-4 minutes). Add garlic and cook for about 1 minute.
  2. Add chicken broth, tomatoes, cream, pasta, and seasonings. Bring the mixture to a boil, cover, and reduce heat to low. Simmer for about 15 minutes, or until pasta is tender.
  3. Turn off the heat and stir in 1/2 cup of cheese. Top with sliced scallions and serve.
  4. Makes about 2 servings.

Harvest Chicken Quinoa Soup

You can’t talk about fall food without talking about soup! This is one of my all time favorite recipes, which is great because it has a lot of good-for-you veggies in it! I like to think that cancels out my typical fare of ice cream, cheez-its, and pop.

Recipe adapted from Iowa Girl Eats

Ingredients:
1 Tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1 carrot, chopped (1/2 cup)
1 rib celery, chopped (1/2 cup)
1/2 medium onion, chopped (1/2 cup)
salt & pepper
4 cups torn kale
1 garlic clove
8 cups chicken broth
1 teaspoon parsley (dried or fresh)
1/2 or 1 teaspoon dried thyme (depends on how you like thyme!)
2 large chicken breasts (about 1lb), cut in half
1 large sweet potato, peeled and chopped into 1/2″ cubes (2 cups)
1 large russet potato, peeled and chopped into 1/2″ cubes (1-1/2 cups)
2/3 cup quinoa, rinsed and drained
1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese

Directions:

  1. Heat oil in large soup pot over medium heat. Add carrot, celery, and onion, season with salt and pepper, then saute until tender, about 10 minutes. Add kale and garlic, season with more salt and pepper, then saute for 2 more minutes. Add 8 cups chicken broth, parlsey flakes, and dried thyme, then bring to a boil.
  2. Add chicken breasts to the pot then cook for 10 minutes, or until no longer pink in the center. Remove to a plate then add sweet potato, russet potato, and quinoa to boiling broth. Place a lid on top, lower heat to medium, then cook for 10 minutes or until potatoes are tender and quinoa is cooked. Meanwhile shred chicken.
  3. Add shredded chicken back to the soup, then add parmesan cheese and stir to combine. Taste and add more salt & pepper if necessary. Serve topped with additional parmesan cheese, if desired.

Crock Pot Chicken Caesar Sandwiches (For Two!)

See, even my pup Goose wanted a taste! Her ears made it in the background!

See, even my pup Goose wanted a taste! Her ears made it in the background!

Hello all! I had a very busy last few days. I promise to say more about the weekend and the lady party when I get the chance to! Let’s just say it was pretty hilarious and super fun! Anyways, I thought I’d post on the dinner Kevin and I had tonight. Kevin, of course, took all credit for it, even though all he did was put the chicken in the crock pot (which, ahem, I had to write a note for him to remind him to do it AND text him about it). So…it’s debatable. What is not debatable is the amazing flavor this dish has. Plus, it is one of the easiest recipes I’ve tried in awhile and requires just 4 main ingredients–chicken, caesar dressing, lettuce, and hamburger buns. What’s not to like about that?

The original recipe comes from the blog “Chef in Training.” I’ve reduced the servings to be the perfect amount for two, as well as omitted the parsley (for some reason, I dislike fresh parsley, which is bizarre since I love 99% of herbs).

Crock Pot Chicken Caesar Sandwiches (For Two!)

Ingredients
About 3/4 lb boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1/2 cup of good Caesar dressing (I usually get it from the refrigerated section)
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1/4 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
A few pieces of lettuce for crunch
2-3 hamburger buns (there is enough chicken for about 3 sandwiches)

Directions
1. Put the chicken in the crock pot with 1.5 cups of water. Put the crock pot on low for 4-5 hours.
2. After the chicken is cooked, drain the water from the crockpot and shred the chicken. Put it back in the crock pot.
3. Put the Caesar dressing, parmesan cheese, and pepper in the crock pot with the chicken. Mix it up and put the crock pot on high for another 30 minutes.
4. After 30 minutes, put the chicken on the buns and top with lettuce. Serve with whatever side dish you like (Kevin requested tator tots!).

Weekend Roundup

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This weekend will be decidedly less celebratory than last one (since it was our birthday and all…). Still, you can never complain about the weekend! I am still recovering from sickness so I think my main task will be to try to heal myself. This weekend keep in mind…

A trailer has been released for Wes Anderson’s new movie, The Grand Budapest Hotel. His movies are always so beautiful–I love how he creates these little worlds filled with colorful people. I am glad to see some old Wes Anderson standbys returning (Owen Wilson, Adrien Brody, Willem Dafoe, Jeff Goldblum, and of course Bill Murray) as well as some exciting new faces (Ralph Fiennes and Saoirse Ronan).

I want to read I am Malala: The Girl Who Stood Up for Education and Was Shot by the TalibanWhat an inspiring girl. When I was her age I was just concerned about making sure my crush noticed me.

What kind of witchcraft is this?? How can Kate Middleton look like this so soon after giving birth? Also I have worn an outfit eerily similar to this so that means Kate and I would be besties who would gossip about the Queen and share clothes (except for the fact that she is a bazillion inches taller than me).

How about you make some Salted Caramel and Nutella chocolate chip cookies and deliver them to me? I bet they would make me feel better. I promise to share.

An Ice Cream That May Be a Gift from Heaven

2nd-st-creamery-stackedDo you ever have days where nothing really bad happens but you feel crabby/down/like you want to lie under a bulldozer? When those days sneak up on me, the only solution that I have found that works is a pint of ice cream. I definitely inherited a sweet tooth or twenty from my dad! It is the perfect amount of indulgence for me and doesn’t carry the hefty price tag of retail therapy. Today I tried out 2nd St. Creamery’s Cannoli di Nonni flavor–and holy moly I saw visions upon the first bite! I soared through time and space–I saw dinosaurs and pyramids and the first man on the moon. The only way the experience would have been better would be if Tom Hiddleston was feeding me it in bed while reading Shakespeare after we got back from hanging with Virginia Woolf (not that I have been thinking about that…). Seriously, I may have found my (ice cream) soulmate. You can salivate over all the 2nd St. Creamery’s flavors here.

 

Hard Cider Sangria

Aimagess a kid, I used to love getting cider during the fall or winters. Apple juice was a little too plain for me–but I loved all the spices that went into the cider! As an adult, I still like it, although I like mine with a little extra kick a.k.a. alcohol! Leek Soup Blog has a recipe for a Hard Cider Sangria. As anyone knows, Erin and Sangria are a match made in heaven (except for Christmas Eve two years ago when I had too much and had to excuse myself from opening presents on Christmas morning to throw up–that was a match made in Dante’s Inferno).

Hard Cider Sangria

Ingredients:

One apple, thinly sliced

One navel orange, thinly sliced

1 cup chilled apple juice

Juice from one to two lemons

1/4 cup Cognac or brandy

1 22 oz bottle hard cider, preferably dry

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Combine all of the ingredients, except the cider in a pitcher or large jar. Add cider just before serving, stir and pour over ice.

Meatloaf for Two

Sliced Meatloaf for 2. Doesn't look too pretty but believe me, it sure tastes delicious!

Sliced Meatloaf for 2. Doesn’t look too pretty but believe me, it sure tastes delicious!

Yesterday was rainy, cold day and I was definitely craving some comfort food for dinner. As I’ve noted many times in posts, I have been adjusting from making recipes for four people most nights to now making it only for two. I really hate wasting food so I’m constantly trying to make sure the recipes I use are substantial enough for two people but not too much more. Kevin requested meatloaf and since I haven’t made that in a long time, I decided to try another recipe from the blog “Reservation for Two.” I stuck pretty close to the recipe, although I made a few small changes to add some more flavor and use the items I had in my cupboard. The final product was definitely a keeper–with some instant mashed potatoes, it was a perfect portion for the two of us. Kevin cleaned his plate and raved about it, so I know it’s one I will be making again. And again. Even though this week is going to be crazy, I like having these easy to make recipes ready to go instead of just popping in a frozen pizza.

Meatloaf for Two
Total Time: about 45 minutes
Cook: 30 minutes

Ingredients

  • 1/2 pound lean ground beef (I used 93% lean)
  • 1/2 tablespoon olive oil or butter
  • 1/4 medium sweet onion, diced
  • 1 clove garlic, minced or minced garlic from the seasoning aisle
  • 1/4 medium red pepper, finely chopped
  • 1/2-1 teaspoon thyme (depending on how much you want, I use dried ones as then don’t have to worry about wasting it)
  • 1 large egg (or liquid egg substitute)
  • 1/3 cup (plus about 2 tablespoons more as was too liquidy) dry bread crumbs
  • 1/2 cup ketchup
  • 1/2 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tablespoon chili sauce (Heinz or other brand)
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground black pepper

Directions
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
2. Heat olive oil or butter over medium heat and cook onion & garlic until tender (about 2-3 minutes).
3. Add red pepper and then cook another 3 minutes. Add thyme and bit of Worcestershire sauce cook another 2 minutes.
4. Remove from heat and let cool for a few minutes.
5. Combine beef, eggs, bread crumbs, 1/4 cup ketchup, 1/2 tablespoon chili sauce, Worcestershire sauce, salt, pepper and cooled vegetables in a small mixing bowl. Mix together and form a loaf.
6. Place loaf on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper or greased aluminum foil.  Top with mix of rest of ketchup, chili sauce, and dash of Worcestershire sauce.
7. Bake around 30 minutes or until meat is firm and cooked through.

 

 

 

 

Crockpot Meatball Sandwiches For 2

photo(5)

Another day, another new recipe! This one is a good comfort food staple–a meatball sandwich! It is simplified by having it cook in the crockpot. The original recipe from MOMables is made for 4-5 people and has you make extra sauce, which I didn’t think was needed. I also used hotdog buns for rolls, as I had some on hand. You can obviously use some classier rolls from the bakery.

Crockpot Meatball Sandwiches For 2

Ingredients

  • 1/2 lb. of lean ground beef (or ground turkey)
  • 2 tablespoons of bread crumbs
  • 1/2 can of diced tomatoes (I used the normal 16oz Hunt’s one)
  • 1/2 large egg (or egg substitute), lightly beaten
  • 2 tbsp. of Italian Herb or oregano seasoning
  • 1 tsp. of garlic powder seasoning
  • 2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1/4 of an onion, diced
  • about 12oz of pasta sauce
  • Rolls or hot dog buns
  • 1/2 cup of shredded mozzarella cheese or Parmesan for topping

Instructions

  1. Place the diced onion evenly on the bottom of the crockpot.
  2. In a large bowl, mix together your ground beef or turkey, bread crumbs, egg, seasonings, and

    Parmesan cheese.

  3. Roll mixture into approximately 1″ diameter balls and begin to place in

    your crockpot.

  4. Pour the half can of diced tomatoes over the meatballs.
  5. Pour enough pasta sauce over the meatballs, just to cover them.
  6. Cover and cook on low for 6-8 hours.
  7. About 10 minutes before serving, heat your oven to about 400 degrees and toast the rolls or buns.  After about 5 minutes, put your meatballs and some sauce into the rolls, sprinkle on mozzarella or Parmesan  on top, and put back in the oven for about 3-4 min more.

Loaded Mashed Potato Pizza

Leftover Loaded Mashed Potato Pizza!

Leftover Loaded Mashed Potato Pizza!

I’ll admit it: I’m a pizza fiend. Like an addict, I use (aka eat) my drug of choice (pizza) and immediately want more. I do try to mix it up though by trying out different kinds. Today’s recipe: Loaded Mashed Potato Pizza. I took the essential idea/parts from a good recipe for Mashed Potato Pizza by Iowa Girl Eats & mixed it up a bit. The good thing is it is easy and quick for a weeknight dinner and has an awesome flavor to it. When I asked Kevin for a 1 sentence review, this is what I got: “It taste…I don’t know.” Well, you will just have to take my word for it that he ate it up and liked it. As did I! We gobbled it up so fast that the only picture I got of it was the leftovers.

 

Loaded Mashed Potato Pizza

Ingredients

  • 1 pre-made thin pizza crust or Pillsbury pizza thin crust
  • 1 1/2 cups mashed potatoes (I used the quick Idahoan loaded mashed potato kind but any will work)
  • chopped broccoli, raw or cooked
  • a handful of chopped green onions
  • 1 cup sharp cheddar cheese
  • 4 slices bacon, cooked & crumbled

Instructions

  • Preheat oven according to pizza crust package directions. Precook the pizza for about 5 minutes.
  • Thinly spread mashed potatoes on top of the pizza crust and top with broccoli, green onions, cheddar cheese and bacon. Cook according to package directions (for the Pillsbury kind, about 8-10 more min).

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