I straight up love quinoa, and I don’t care who knows it! I could eat it every day, and here’s an easy way to accomplish that. Cook 2 cups of quinoa, and about half a bunch of kale (I used a whole bunch (literally) and it was a bit too much).
Mix the cooked quinoa with the kale, and some diced onion, if you want. I used about 1/2 and onion cut in big chunks, because I like to live dangerously. I mixed in a half cup of plain yogurt, but you could go as high as 3/4 to make everything nice and moist. I also use a metric ton of cheese in casseroles, so it’s really hard for me to tell you how much I used. I probably mixed 1 – 1 1/2 cups into the casserole, then scattered at least another 1/2 – 1 cup on top. I know! But it tastes so good!!!!
I mean, look how delicious that is. Can you really fault the amount of cheese I put in there?
A couple things I learned while making this that I should have known already: stir it all THOROUGHLY. Nothing ruins a casserole like a dry spot. Also, if you add a little salt you can use less cheese, but would you really want to?? You can also substitute broccoli for kale if you want, and it would still be fantastic. Hell, with as much cheese as I used you can probably substitute old kitchen sponges and it would still taste great!
The other day I realized I had a can of enchilada sauce and too many tortillas in my house. Well, make enchiladas, right?? Except I did not want to be in the kitchen rolling tortillas all night. So I made it into a layered casserole instead. Laziness, for the win!
You will need:
Tortillas (corn or flour)
Cheese (A LOT)
Your choice of fillings. I used beans, onions, jalapenos, and cheese. You could use cooked spinach, chicken, beef, or a whole host of things. I had squash and corn filled enchiladas in California once (which were okay), so try anything your little heart desires.
Layer tortillas in the sauce.
Throw down some fillings. I used onions, jalapenos, and beans. I didn’t do a very thick layer. You can make your filling layer thicker, or add another filling layer on top of this one, if you want.
I then added a ton of cheese. I used colby jack and American cheese. Do NOT tell Hubby. It’s so inauthentic to use American cheese, but it was so good! I used big slices of cheese, so there’s probably the equivalent of 2 cups in there. I didn’t feel like shredding it, and slices worked fine.
Then add another layer of tortillas. At this point you can add a second filling layer if you want. I also spread some more enchilada sauce on top of these tortillas. They soak it up while it’s baking.
I then added more raw onions and jalapenos, and EVEN MORE CHEESE YYEAAAAAHHHHHH!!
This is how it came out of the oven. I baked it at 350 for 30-40 minutes, until the cheese on top was bubbling.
It was so very awesome. I want more right now! It also reheats really well. The way I made it was a little thin, so Hubby and I each ate about 1/4 of the pan. You could make it thicker as I mentioned earlier, or serve it with a side of rice and refried beans, or a salad. It was so cheesy and melty and delicious and heart attacky.
I found this recipe for oatmeal apple bars that I wanted to try, but I didn’t have any apples. I did, however, have tons of strawberries, so I used those instead. For one 8×8 pan you will need: 1 cup flour, 1 cup oatmeal, 1/2 cup sugar, 1 tsp salt, 2 1/2 cups fruit, and the original recipe calls for 1/2 cup of butter, but I substituted a mashed banana for 1/4 cup, and they were great. Depending on the type of fruit you use, you can also cut back on the sugar. I was reading that for baked goods with acidic fruits, like strawberries, adding a 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon of baking soda will help cut the tartness so you can use half as much sugar. I tried that trick with one batch of these, and they were okay. That might work better on pies, or other recipes that have a higher fruit content. I have made these using frozen, thawed strawberries, fresh strawberries, and now I’m trying home-canned pears (thanks, Mom!). Chop up your fruit, and mix everything together.
I can see a lot of variations possible with this basic recipe: mangoes, apples, peaches, raisins or other dried fruit. (With dried fruit, you should chop it up, then soak it in a bowl of water for a little while before mixing it into the batter). You can also add flavorings like cinnamon, nutmeg, vanilla extract, or even some fancy alcohol like cognac. You could even throw in nuts, or leftover trail mix. Get crazy! You can also make a double batch, but you should probably make a triple batch, so you have plenty to give me.
Hubby had his birthday again, as he inevitably does each year. That means THEME PARTY! This year the theme was pirates, and as usual we did it right. The cake was in the shape of a pirate ship, and it’s so easy you can even make it while hitting the rum.
You will need: one box of cake mix, any flavor; 2 cans of frosting, chocolate; bamboo skewers (you only need 2); toothpicks; 1 Hershey bar; Twizzlers or 1 Kit Kat bar; M&M’s or Skittles, or some kind of small round candy; 2 sheets printer paper for sails.
I used box cake mix because I’m lazy, and also because for every party we have I end up running around half-dressed, decorating frantically and shrieking creative profanity. Cakes from scratch do not happen. Make the cake mix according to the instruction and make 2 round cakes. You can use either the 8″ or 9″ rounds.
Make sure to use baking spray in the cake pans before you pour the batter in, or else getting them out of the pans will be a nightmare. Let them cool completely (not warm, not slightly above room temperature, COOL), then run a butter knife around the edge. Now flip it out onto a large cutting board. Cut it in half.
Spread icing on one half.
Flip the other half on top to make a giant cake sandwich. Do the same with the other cake so you end up with 4 cake halves iced and stacked up. Icing the outside of the cake is easier if you make sure the bottom of the cake, i.e. the part that was touching the metal of the cake pan, ends up facing outward on your cake stack. Eagle-eyed readers may notice that I didn’t do that, making this one of those “learn from my fail” moments that are so common in my writing style. The bottoms of the cakes are much sturdier and flatter, and hold up much better when icing is spread over them.
Yes, this is a picture of 3 cake pieces stacked up, not 4. That’s because, yet again, I learned from the process of making the cake, and am sharing that hard-earned knowledge with you. With just the 3 halves of cake, the base was not wide enough, and the whole thing started to slump. I caught it, which coated my hand in icing. A delicious, though inconvenient, mistake. And yes, I washed my hands after licking all the frosting off. Probably.
Once you have your stack, slice a bit off the bottom of the curve. Retain the cut pieces for the future. In this picture you can see the top of the cake rather than the bottom facing upward, mocking me with its un-iceable surface.
Stand the cake up on the bottom you just created, and pray it stays upright. If you used your 4 cake halves it should be fairly sturdy. If not, you have plenty of those skewers to hold this bad boy together. I attached 2 of the smaller cake chunks to the back of the ship, where the rudder will be attached.
I attached a larger piece to the front to be the prow. I ended up sticking it on with toothpicks when it misbehaved.
And then coat the whole thing in so much icing no one will see any flaws.
To make little railings to go along the back of the ship, I used toothpicks burrowed into Kit Kat bars. You can also use Twizzlers if you prefer.
The rudder is a chunk of Hershey bar jammed between those two cake pieces I stuck to the back.
Hubby got super artistic with the sails (which was fully expected). You can either use plain paper, print a Jolly Roger on them, or make them all tattery like this. Just stab the skewer in at the top, then down through the bottom, then stick it in the cake.
I used M&Ms for portholes, and more Hershey bar for railings at the front of the ship.
It came out pretty good, and damn tasty. There were no leftovers!!
This is another amazing idea I found on Pinterest. If you haven’t been on there, be careful. It’s addictive. If you ever wanted to make your own
McMuffins generic breakfast egg sandwiches this is the perfect recipe.
Spray some baking spray into a muffin tin, and crack an egg into each muffin cup (or however many you want to make). Bake it at 350 for 15-20 minutes. These bad boys pop out looking just like this:
Well, I semi-scrambled mine. On hers the yolks were intact. These are the perfect size to fit on a mini bagel, with a little cheese!
The author of the recipe was pre-assembling whole sandwiches, wrapping them individually and freezing them for fast breakfasts during the week. She used english muffins also, but the eggs fit better on mini-bagels.
Here are my ideas (as yet untried) for variations that could be mixed into the raw eggs before baking: chunky salsa, cheese, diced onion, spinach and romano cheese, bacon or sausage bits, chorizo or soy-rizo, and sauteed mushrooms and onions. I would mix in ingredients that have low water content, so things don’t get mushy, but it seems like having it mixed in would make these so much easier to reheat.
She recommends reheating in the oven, but if you keep the bun separate from the egg, that’s not necessary. I just toast my bagel and microwave my egg for about 30 seconds on 50% power, or else exploding happens and I get teased.
You may have noticed that I like to cook a whole bunch of food at once to I don’t have to do it every night. The other day I washed and cut up 2 heads of cauliflower, and threw them in a baking dish with olive oil and garlic salt. Since the oven was already on and the cutting board was already dirty, I decided to bake some lentils, too. They were already cooked (the night before I made pasta, and since the pot was already dirty I threw a whole bag of lentils in to boil while we were eating dinner. Noticing a pattern?).
I chopped up the remains of a white onion, 2 raw jalapenos, and some red onion, for a total of 1/2 cup of large chunks of onion.
The laready cooked, refridgerated lentils, fresh out of their tupperware:
Yes, that’s a Star Wars cup in the background. I mixed the ingredients in the pan to avoid dirtying extra dishes.
I added 3 tablespoons or so of olive oil to moisten it up, 1/4 cup good parmesan cheese, and probably 2 teaspoons or less of garlic salt. You can make it spicier by adding chili powder, or Sriracha. Once it was done cooking, we each added Sriracha to our own portions to control the level of spiciness. Hubby like things way spicier than I do. You can make it vegan by leaving out the cheese or using a vegan cheese substitute. I haven’t tried those, so I’m not sure how it would work. You can also add some cumin for additional flavor.
I baked it at 350 for 30 minutes or so, until it was bubbling and a little crispy around the edges. The veggies had cooked a little bit, but they were still fairly crunchy, which I liked. You could always saute them before mixing them into the lentils if you want them more done, but I liked the variety of textures.
I love making quesadillas. They are hot, cheesy, melty, and easy to make. You can put almost anything in there and they are delicious. Once, Dr. Stacey and I made some with brisket in there, and yup, amazing. Today I used cooked, cubed, fajita chicken, onions, and cheese.
Just lay the bottom tortillas on a cookie sheet, and place the fillings on top. Try to keep everything on the tortillas so the clean up is easy.
Sprinkle cheese on top, add top tortillas, and put them in the oven at 350 for 15-20 minutes. Once the cheese is melty and the edges are crisp they are ready to come out.
Gorgeous and tasty!
Other filling ideas: beans, peppers, jalapenos, spinach, mushrooms, pretty much any kind of meat. These are a great way to use up leftovers, or tiny bits of things, like when you have just half a chicken breast, and don’t know what to do with it. There are tons of combinations that would be great, so have fun with it.
When we had a party recently, I was at the store loading up on snack foods, and of course, box wine. When I mentally totalled up what was in my cart, I got a little gun-shy. I opted for chips and salsa, and left out the queso. I made homemade hummus, with veggies, and then I wanted a veggie dip as well. At $4 for 16 ounces, I was not happy. Then I remembered what my Sis-in-Law Lis always does:
Just mix it in the sour cream container, let it sit in the fridge for at least an hour, then stir and enjoy. Oh yeah, and that’s about $2. Half price? Not bad.
Lately, I’ve been trying to rethink all kinds of habitual purchases, and see if there’s a cheaper way to accomplish the same thing, with very little effort on my part. For example, I used to buy those sausage and biscuit breakfast sandwiches which cost $0.75 to $1 each. One a day adds up quickly. Now I started buying the pop-can biscuits which are $0.87 for ten, and the fully-cooked, frozen sausage patties which are $5 for 30. That works out to about $0.25 for breakfast instead of $1. I’m now wondering about bisquik, or something similar to make my own biscuits, but I’m also looking for a high-protein, cheap, lazy alternative. Possibly something with eggs. I’ll let you know if I find anything worthwhile.
When the weather is this freakin’ cold, I want baked goods. Lots of them. Not only are they warm, delicious, and sweet, the oven heats up the whole kitchen, and I have a brief time when I can feel my toes again. Unfortunately, I do most of my baking from box mixes, but this apple crisp is so easy, even I can make it. It helps that I had purchased a bunch of apples that were disappointingly un-crunchy. I sure wasn’t going to eat them, but I hate being wasteful.
There’s all the stuff you need. Apples, cinnamon, brown sugar, white sugar, oatmeal, “butter” spread, and I used vanilla extract, but that’s optional. I used a tablespoon or so of cognac also, to try and use it up. I peeled and chopped the apples, and spread them in a 13×9 baking dish. I sprinkled cinnamon, sugar, vanilla and cognac on them, and tossed it all around a bit.
The topping is made of oatmeal, brown sugar, white sugar, and “butter” spread. I start with 1/4 to 1/2 cup of the “butter”, and add a cup of oatmeal, then add sugar a little at a time until I get the consistencey of cookie dough, with enough to cover the top of the apples. You don’t need a thick coating. The way I did it here came out fine. The apples will cook down some, and you want to end up with a good balance of apples to topping when it’s done.
I baked it at 350 for about an hour. The topping gets all golden and carmelized and DELICIOUS!! Typing about my awesome recipes is really rough on me. I don’t have it sitting here in front of me to enjoy, and I can feel my tummy rumbling for some. I hope you all appreciate the lengths I go to to keep you happy!
You can kind of see that the whole thing is bubbly, and the sugar has carmelized.
I think I used jonagold apples for this, but granny smith, or a mixture would be good also. This is a great way to use up apples when they start to get to the point where you don’t just want to straight up eat them, or if, like me, you accidentally buy some that are crunchiness-challenged.
This one is simple, tasty, comfort food. Start out with your basic soup fixin’s: carrots, onions, celery, water, boullion. I added shredded chicken to mine, but I used vegetable broth so it would have been vegetarian otherwise. Chop up and saute whatever veggies you’re going to use.
The important part of this recipe is using a pot that can go in the oven, meaning metal handle, not plastic. If you want a more vegetable-heavy soup, you can add turnips, sweet potatoes, and turnip or mustard greens. Leeks might be good too, but I haven’t tried it.
After sauteing your veggies until they are slightly golden, add broth or your water and boullion. I threw in my chicken also, since it was fully cooked. If you have some cooked beans or barley that would be good at this point. I added my usual spices: cumin, garlic salt, chili powder, and made sure the broth was delicious.
I then turned off the soup and let it cool for a bit. I turned the oven on to 400, which is the biscuit cooking temperature.
I used the HEB “Texas Style” biscuits, which is a misnomer, because they are actually kind of small. I layered them on top of the soup, and put the extras on a cookie sheet to bake at the same time. I baked all of this together for 15 minutes, or whatever the package says.
I want more of this now that I saw this picture.
The biscuits soak up quite a bit of the broth, so it ended up making less than I thought it would. My solution next time would be to double the veggies and meat, and add a little extra broth. I was worried about the biscuits overflowing from the pan, but I think there could have been a lot more in the pan before they would do that.
So, definitely not low carb, and those biscuits are definitely full of fat and other bad things. Another way to make this would be to use bisquick, or something similar, make biscuit dough, but then just spread it over the top as a crust, rather than as individual biscuits. This type of thing is great for winter days though.
By “Best” I mean the ultimate combination of cheap, easy, and tasty (that’s what she said?) Buy chicken at the store. It can have skin and bones, and this recipe is great for breasts because it keeps them moist (oh my, this whole thing is spiraling into an endless stream of double entendres. You can play along by yelling “That’s what she said!” at the appropriate moment).
I de-skin the chicken, and chop up some onions in big chunks. The trick to this is the right bar b que sauce. There is no way I’m going to take the time to make my own, so I’ve tried a couple brands at the store. My favorite is Stubb’s bar b que sauce, if you’re lucky enough to live near Austin. They sell it at HEB. I love to rub Stubb’s sauce all over the breasts.
The other option, if you happen to live further away (which is fine because the city is full anyway; you’re probably better off where you are), is the Kraft Original bar b que sauce. Sounds boring I know, but it has the perfect blend of the flavors I look for, plus it’s fairly cheap for a large bottle.
I don’t have a grill, so we are baking these suckers to perfection. I usually spread a little sauce in the bottom of my glass baking dish with my finger, then lay the chicken on top. I throw in the chopped onions, and pour more sauce over everything. I usually make a whole bunch at once, then eat the leftovers for lunch later in the week. I bake the pan for at least an hour at 350, sometimes turning pieces over to keep things moist.
When I’m packing up the leftovers, I pour all the excess juices over the meat in the containers. This keeps the meat nice and moist for whenever I want it. This is a great recipe for when you have a bunch of stuff to do, and just want to put something in the oven and ignore it.
So how many “That’s what she said!” did you end up with? I counted 5, or 5 1/2, depending on your interpretation. If you found many more than that, you’re probably trying too hard. Have fun with your meat! (6).