Thursday, March 12, 2015

Mexican Scalloped Potatoes

This is an awesome way to have scalloped potatoes as a main course.  It's also a great if you're bored of the usual way to have Mexican flavors.  Even the leftovers were great!

Mexican Scalloped Potatoes via The Recipe Rebel
7-8 med-lg potatoes, thinly sliced
1 lb gr beef
½ med onion, diced
2 t taco seasoning (I used 3 T homemade salt free taco mix)
½ c tomato sauce
1 c salsa
1-2 pinches red pepper flakes (optional, depending on the heat in your salsa and your tastes)
2 c Alfredo or Beschamel sauce (I used a jar of garlic alfredo sauce)
3 c shredded cheddar or marble cheese (mexican blend pre shredded cheese would be great too.)

In lg pot full of salted water, boil potatoes 8-10 min til al dente. Drain and set aside. While potatoes are cooking,cook gr beef with onion in lg pan. Add the taco seasoning, tomato sauce and salsa and stir. Simmer 5 min til flavors combined. Preheat oven to 400 F. Layer 1/2  potatoes in  bottom of greased 9x13" pan. Spread 1/2 Alfredo and top with 1 c cheese. Add 1/2 beef mix on top of cheese, and spread evenly. Repeat layers once more, reserving last c shredded cheese. Bake 25 min, til hot and bubbling slightly. Top with remaining cheese and broil 1-2 min til slightly golden.

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Pork tenderloin fail

I am no good at cooking pork.  I have the worst luck.  Because of this, I entrust that job to Mrblocko.  This time he was not around to help out and I figured that my skills in the kitchen had improved enough that I could give it another shot.

This might have turned out well if the recipe had been more specific.  Personally, I think the recipe was massively flawed.  This is something that I should have realized if I thought about it.

The glaze was just butter and honey.  The first step is to melt the butter and the honey, then you brown the tenderloin in the glaze.  After that,  you bake the whole concoction.  This SOUNDS like it would work out great.  Except...what happens if you cook butter for too long?  The butter burns and gets very bitter.  I knew I was in trouble when the smell coming from the oven went from rich and nutty to omg let's quick open a window.

I should have known this.

I've burnt many batches of caramel by over cooking the butter.


The second problem with this recipe is that it doesn't tell you how long to cook the meat per pound. My pork was larger than the one in the recipe so I knew 20 min was not going to be even close to an appropriate bake time. I did some research online and it said that pork should be cooked to 145F.  So I did that.  Maybe my meat thermometer is off because when the thermometer reached 145F the center of the pork was still pink.

Mrblocko said that it was ok to eat, but Blockette and I ate from the edges.  Pink pork ooks me out.

I'm not going to even write the recipe down here.  If you're curious you can see it at Momma Hen's Kitchen.  I won't be making this again, and I'll stick to delegating the cooking of any pig products (other than sausage, bacon or ground pork) to Mrblocko.

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Brown Sugar Kielbasa

This is the easiest thing to make for a gathering of friends.  I found the recipe on Organic Glory.

All you need is:
3 packages, roughly 1 lb each, of Kielbasa
1 lb of brown sugar
a crockpot.

That's it!

Step 1:  Slice the meat into coins.
Step 2: Toss in the slow cooker.
Step 3: Toss the brown sugar in the crock pot too.
Step 4: Cook on low 5 hrs or high for 2.5 hrs.

The juices from the kielbasa mingle with the brown sugar and make this insane glaze for the meat.  Just like the blogger on organic glory said, no one will believe you that the sauce is so simple.

I'll be making this for potlucks for a long time to come!

Monday, March 9, 2015

Chipotle Sloppy joes

This is a fun spicy and sweet twist to the classic sloppy joe.  Sometimes I add some sliced onions and roasted red pepper to the pan when I'm cooking the ground beef to  add a bit more veggies to the mix.

Chipotle Sloppy Joe's
via Slow Roasted Italian
T EVOO 1 lb gr beef
1 (8 oz) can tomato sauce
1-2 chipotle peppers in adobo, chopped (to taste)
1 T adobo sauce (from chipotle peppers)
2 T brown sugar
2 T Worcestershire sauce
1 t onion powder
½ t garlic powder
1 t cumin
1 t  New Mexico chili powder
1 t  kosher salt
½ t black pepper
4 hamburger buns
8 pickle slices

In a med skillet over med heat, cook beef til browned, using a heat safe spatula to break it apart as it cooks.Meanwhile, in a medium bowl combine tomato sauce, chipotle peppers, adobo sauce, brown sugar, Worcestershire sauce, and spices. Whisk to combine well, add chipotle sauce to browned ground beef. Stir to combine. Cook 4-5 minutes, until sauce is thick. Remove from heat. Serve on toasted hamburger bun with pickle slices.

Sunday, March 8, 2015

Mini Cross stitch Decoupage

I went through a phase where I stitched up a bunch of little tiny cross stitches.  I had no idea what to do with them as they were too tiny to frame.  Then I had this idea to mod podge them onto a canvas.

It took me forever to figure out the layout, but it's very satisfying to know they all have a home now.

To me, the whole thing has a bit of a Jane Austen/Regency feel to it. hmm, or maybe that's just because I got done watching Pride and Prejudice for the umpteenth time today.

Either way, it's another one of those things that makes me smile when I look at it.  The picture now lives behind baby Groot in my computer room.  Baby Groot approves of Austen dontcha know.

Saturday, March 7, 2015

Earring extravaganza

Here are a few of the earring's I've made lately:

 I love all the colors in the stone of these!  They are purple but not. I'm such a rock nerd.

It's weird. I used to hate light green peridot-esque stones, but these just called my name.  For some reason, even though the color is wrong, they remind me of a peacock.

I'm really into the same but different look. I loved picking out the beads of similar size and tone, but different colors and shapes.
 And here's how they hang:

I've also been a big fan of mixed metals.  This is something else I used to hate a few years ago.  Guess it's just weirdness of getting old.

these have a lovely patina-ed green copper dangle

I cant decide if these are supposed to be fairy wands or shooting stars.

Dia de los muertos earrings.

and finally some super simple tiny silver hoop dangles.

Friday, March 6, 2015

Partial Nouveau Sampler

Sometimes I see a Cross Stitch pattern that I really like, but not enough to stitch the whole thing.  I have a small house and not everything I want to stitch is going to fit on the limited amount of wall space that I have.  Plus I don't seem to have the patience for a large cross stitch piece anymore.

I had been eyeing Mirabilia's Le Nouveau Sampler for some time.  Then one day I saw that someone had stitched up just the center motif.  I thought that was a smashing idea so I did the same.

The background of the design is a pale teal.(The photo does not do it justice.)  I just so happened to have almost the same color fabric in my stash.

I didn't want to spend an arm and a leg on framing so I found a cheap white frame on clearance at Michaels.  I had such a hard time finding a square frame the right size that I improvised with a rectangular one.  I had some wide lace that I thought would work well to balance out the space of the design.

The framing isn't as centered or lined up perfectly parallel to the frame, but it's close enough.  It's another one of those things that falls into the "finished is better than perfect" categories.  At least it's not sitting tucked away in a drawer where no one, especially me, can see it.

Thursday, March 5, 2015

Baby Groot

I found this tutorial for Baby Groot on Twinkie Chan around Christmas. Amid the holiday hubbub, I stitched him up.  His little wee arms are pose-able! Just in case I want to make him dance!

He now lives on the shelf above my computer.  Every time I look at him he makes me smile.  Dance baby Groot, Dance!

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Glazed Pork Chops

glazed pork chops via Budget Bytes
4 thick cut pork chops (bone-in or boneless)
¼ c brown sugar
½ t cayenne
½ t garlic powder
½ t paprika
½ t salt
½ t pepper

Preheat to 350 F. In a bowl combine brown sugar and spices (salt, pepper, cayenne, paprika and garlic powder or whatever spice blend you like). Rub spice mix on chops. Heat 2 T EVOO in skillet over med high heat. When oil is hot add chops. Cook 5 min on each side or til  browned. If you are using an oven safe skillet, place the skillet in the oven for an additional 5 min to make sure cooked through. If skillet is not oven safe (most plastic handled skillets and teflon are not safe in the oven), transfer chops to a baking sheet lined with foil then place in the oven. Remove chops from oven and drag each side around in the thick glaze that has formed around the chops in the pan prior to serving.

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Pizza Chili

The original recipe for Pizza chili was so thick that it was more like the consistency of sloppy joes, not chili.  I had to add a minimum of 4 cups of stock to thin it out.  Just keep adding liquid until the soup becomes your preferred consistency.

Pizza Chili adapted from The girl who ate everything
2 lb ground beef
1 lb sausage
4oz  oz sliced pepperoni, halved
1 lg  onion, chopped
1 red pepper, seeded and chopped
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 jar (16 ounces) salsa
1 1/2 c cooked pinto beans
1 1/2 c cooked black beans
1 jar pizza sauce
1 cup water
4 c stock as needed
2 t chili powder
1 t dried oregano
1/2 t  salt
1/2 t pepper
3 c (12 ounces) shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese
In a large soup pot, cook beef, sausage, pepperoni, onion, green pepper and garlic over medium heat until meat is no longer pink; drain. Stir in salsa, beans, pizza sauce, water, stock, chili powder, oregano, salt and pepper. Bring mixture to a boil. Reduce heat; cover and simmer for 20 minutes or until heated through. Sprinkle servings with cheese.

This also makes a great baked potato topper!

Monday, March 2, 2015

Bang Bang Shrimp or Chicken

BANG BANG SHRIMP or CHICKEN via Damn Delicious
1/2 c veg oil, or more, as needed
1 c buttermilk (I used powdered)
3/4 c flour
1/2 c cornstarch
1 large egg
1 T hot sauce
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
1 c Panko
1/2 t onion powder
1/2 t garlic powder
1/2 t basil
1/2 t  dried oregano
1 lbmedium shrimp, peeled and deveined, or 1 lb chicken cut into bite size pieces

1/4 c mayo
2 T sweet chili sauce
1 T honey
1 t rice vinegar

To make sauce, whisk mayonnaise, sweet chili sauce, honey and rice vinegar in a small bowl; set aside. Heat oil in large skillet over med high heat. In large bowl, whisk buttermilk, flour, cornstarch, egg, hot sauce, salt and pepper, to taste; set aside. In another large bowl, combine Panko, onion and garlic powder, basil, oregano, salt and pepper, to taste; set aside. Working one at a time, dip shrimp or chicken into buttermilk mixture, then dredge in Panko mixture, pressing to coat. Working in batches, add shrimp or chicken to skillet and cook until evenly golden and crispy, about 2-3 min. Transfer to a paper towel-lined plate.

Sunday, March 1, 2015

Jalapeno Popper Chicken Chili

Jalapeno Popper Chicken Chili via Real Housemoms
1 sm onion, diced
4 jalapeno peppers diced, seeds removed
3 cloves garlic, minced
salt and pepper
4 boneless chicken breasts, cut into bite-sized pieces
2 t chili powder
1 t ground cumin
1 t oregano
pinch of crushed red pepper
1 (10 oz) can diced tomatoes with green chiles (Rotel)
1  ½ c chicken broth
1 (14 oz) can cannelloni or navy beans, drained (1 1/2 c cooked)
1 (14 oz) can corn, drained
8 oz cream cheese
1 lb bacon, cooked crispy and crumbled, divided
cheddar cheese

In a large soup pot heat 2 T EVOO over med heat and sauté onion, jalapeno, and garlic until tender
Season chicken with salt and pepper, then add to pan, adding another T EVOO.  Add cumin, chili powder, oregano, and crushed red pepper. Toss chicken and seasonings together and lightly brown chicken on all sides. Stir in  tomatoes, broth, corn, and beans and bring to a boil.  Boil 30 min. Stir in cr cheese and stir until completely melted. Add ½  crumbled bacon. Remove from heat. Season with salt and pepper as needed. Add more chicken broth if too thick. Serve and garnish with cheddar cheese and rest of bacon.