Sunday, August 10, 2014

Paint the Town Red (or at least the door and mailbox) + Lots of Recipes!

The school year begins tomorrow with a week worth of teacher meetings and I am spending my day getting back into the usual school year routine. Ellie gets her wisdom teeth out on Tuesday, so I am making extra meals and things that she can eat as well. I've made mashed potatoes and several kinds of jello, as well as pudding for her to enjoy. I've also made several meals for the week as the first week back is always a bit crazy and stressful. I have shared the recipes below.

This last part of summer break is also a bit of a deal for me. Part of me wants to get some last minute relaxing and crafting done. Another part of me wants to cram in as much as I possibly can into the weekend. I want to take Remmie to his favorite dog park in Golden. I also want to read the end of the novel I started a little while back and I want to sew a few skirts, modify and tailor a dress for Ellie, plan a birthday party for Ethan, finish the mural I started in the foyer - you get the idea.

In the end I took Remmie to the park in Golden and I am sure it was the best day ever at the park for him. There was a wonderful mix of large dogs and they ran themselves silly. He slept the rest of the day and I think he might still be soar today as he is just relaxing under the computer desk.

I made one skirt with fabric that I love, but Ellie says that it looks like I am wearing a paper bag. This is due to the main color of the fabric and the fact that it is quilt fabric which is much stiffer than my usual gauze skirts. My hope is that it will look better once I wash it. And I did finish that novel. Now I want to pen a note to the author about how much I enjoyed it. Ellie and I have talked a bit about the party we will put on for Ethan. There is more time for that. The other stuff will simply have to wait.
The Before picture
The After picture.

Ellie and Larr have been busy, too. Larr painted the front door red and Ellie painted the mailbox to match. I think they look great. Larr says that the red mailbox screams, "Hey, notice me!" when you drive by. Ellie also painted over some dark wooden paneling in our living room and rearranged the photos, as well as the furniture. The changes look great.

I found lots of good looking slow cooker recipes over at "100 Slow Cooker Recipes" on Eat at Home Cooks.

This week we will have:
White Pizza (Pizza made with Alfredo sauce in the place of the red sauce on the cheese pizza.)
Honey Glazed Salmon with broccoli and roasted fingerling potatoes seasoned with olive oil, garlic and rosemary
Sweet Korean Beef with Carrot, Pepper, Broccoli and Brown Rice
Roasted Yam with butter and Parmesan Cheese
Tortellini with Red Sauce
Blueberry Muffins

Mexican Stuffed Shells
via: High Heels & Grills ( * I've modified the recipe a bit)

16-18 jumbo pasta shells (I think you could just as easily use lasagna noodles, or smaller noodles)
1 lb. lean ground beef
1 package taco seasoning
4 oz. {1/2 block} cream cheese ( * I did not have this, so I used Queso Fresca, one wheel, most likely 1 pound, that I cubed)
1 & 1/2 cup salsa
1 & 1/4 cup taco sauce ( * I did not have this, so I just used more salsa)
2 cups cheddar-monterey jack blend cheese, shredded

Preheat oven to 350°F.

Fill a medium size pot with water and bring to a boil.

Add the shells and cook until al dente. {I like to be a lot more on the harder side because I've found that they rip if they are too soft and they still keep cooking later on.}
Once they are done, drain and run under cool water.

While the shells are cooking, brown the meat in a large skillet. Add the taco seasoning, according to package directions. Add cream cheese, cover, and let simmer until cream cheese is completely melted and then stir well.

Pour salsa into a 9x13 inch dish.

Scoop a spoonful of meat mixture into each shell and place in pan. Repeat until all shells are used. {Or until you run out of mixture.} Spread taco sauce evenly over shells. {Make sure to cover each shell completely to prevent them from drying out while cooking.}

Cover with aluminum foil and bake for 27-30 minutes.

After baking, spread shredded cheese evenly over shells and bake for 9-11 more minutes, uncovered.
Top with desired toppings - green onions, black olives, sour cream, etc.

Great Mashed Potatoes

5-6 Yukon Gold Potatoes, cut into cubes
1/2 cup warm milk or cream (Approximately. You can also use cream cheese)
1/2 cup unsalted butter

Salt and freshly ground pepper
Freshly grated nutmeg

Boil the cubed (but unpeeled) potatoes in a large pan of lightly salted water. When they are soft enough to mash, drain them. Next, use a ricer or food sieve to mash.

While the potatoes are boiling, warm up the milk/cream and add in the butter to melt it.

With a wooden spoon, beat in the warm milk or cream and butter and season with salt, pepper and some freshly grated nutmeg, to taste.

If you want to make them special and a tad unusual, add a teaspoon of horseradish.

Oven Fajitas
via: Budget Bytes (slightly modified from the original)

1 Tbsp chili powder
1/2 Tbsp paprika
1/2 tsp North Woods Spice (a smokey flavor from Penzy Spices - you could leave this out, or use a small bit of liquid smoke)
1/2 tsp onion powder
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/4 tsp cumin
1/8 tsp cayenne pepper
1 tsp sugar
1/2 tsp salt (I did not add this in)
1/2 Tbsp corn starch

2 small (or 1 lg.) onion
2 medium green bell peppers (* I used red, yellow and orange peppers)
1 medium red bell pepper
1 lb. chicken breast*
2 Tbsp vegetable oil
1 medium lime
8 (6-inch) tortillas
½ cup sour cream (optional)
¼ bunch cilantro (optional)

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Mix all of the ingredients for the fajita seasoning in a small bowl and set aside (chili powder, paprika, onion powder, garlic powder, cumin, cayenne pepper, sugar, salt, and corn starch).

Cut the onion and bell peppers into ¼ to ½ inch wide strips. Place them in a large 9×13 inch casserole dish. Slice the chicken breast into very thin strips and add it to the casserole dish with the vegetables.

Sprinkle the seasoning over the meat and vegetables. Drizzle the vegetable oil over everything and then use your hands to toss the ingredients until everything is well coated in oil and seasoning. (* I placed the veggies and the oil in a large ziplock bag, turning it over to coat the veggies with oil. I then added 1/2 of the spice mix and shook it up to coat the veggies with the spice mix. Then I added in the meat and the rest of the spice mix, then repeated the process.)

Bake in the preheated oven for 35-40 minutes, stirring once half way through. Squeeze the juice from half of the lime over top of the meat and vegetables after it comes out of the oven.

Scoop a small amount of meat and vegetables into the center of each tortilla. Top with a few sprigs of cilantro, a dollop of sour cream, and an extra squeeze of lime if desired.

Slow Cooker Sweet Korean BBQ Beef Haystacks
via: Eat at Home Blog (She has a nice photo of the ingredients.)

2-3 lbs. beef (stew, roast or round steak)
1 packet Sweet Korean BBQ Campbell's Dinner Sauce (I found this in the spaghetti isle.It is in a foil bag.)
3 cups cooked rice

For Toppings
Broccoli, raw, chopped
Red Bell Pepper, diced
diced green onions (I did not use this)
Carrots, julianned
Sunflower Seeds

Place beef and sauce in slow cooker.

Cook on high 5-6 hours or low 7-8 hours.

Serve meat over cooked rice.

Top with your desired toppings.


Here's one I want to try:

Slow Cooker Jerk Chicken Sandwiches with Cucumber Mango Salsa
via: Eat at Home Cooks

Slow Cooker Jerk Chicken Sandwiches with Cucumber Mango Salsa

2 lbs. chicken
16 oz. jerk marinade
1 mango
1 cucumber
1-2 Tbsp. lime juice
Salt and pepper, to taste
Rolls, for serving

Add the chicken to the slow cooker. Pour jerk marinade over chicken. Cook on low for 6-7 hours or on high for 3-4 hours.
Peel and dice the mango. Dice the cucumber. Toss together with lime juice and salt and pepper to taste. Refrigerate until ready to serve.
When chicken is cooked, remove to a cutting board and shred. If you want it extra spicy, stir 2-4 Tbsp. of the remaining marinade into the shredded chicken.
Serve shredded chicken on rolls, topped with cucumber mango salsa.

Skinny Beef Picadillo
via: Skinny Mom

1 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
½ cup onions, diced
2 Tbsp minced garlic
1 green bell pepper, diced
1 red bell pepper, diced
1 lb extra lean ground sirloin
¼ cup stuffed pimento olives
½ tsp garlic powder
1 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
1 tsp cumin
¼ tsp salt
½ tsp black pepper
8 oz can tomato sauce
brown rice
whole wheat tortillas

In a large skillet over medium heat, sauté onions, garlic, green and red peppers in extra virgin olive oil for 3-4 minutes until softened.
Add ground beef and olives to skillet to brown.
Season mixture with salt, garlic powder, red pepper, cumin, crushed red pepper and black pepper.
After meat has browned and is no longer pink, add tomato sauce and stir to cover and mix well.
Allow to simmer for 2-3 minutes before serving.
Serve over (optional) brown rice or with whole wheat tortillas.
Nutrition Information

Per Serving: (½ cup)
Calories: 220
Calories from fat: 51
Fat: 10g
Saturated Fat: 2g
Cholesterol: 60mg
Sodium: 348mg
Carbohydrates: 9g
Fiber: 2g
Sugar 4g
Protein: 25g
Calcium: 1%
Iron: 17%

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