Monday, July 29, 2013

One Pan Goulash

Homemade Goulash
  I wouldn't normally be making goulash in the middle of summer but these last couple of days have felt more like fall than summer. I needed some good for the soul food that warms you up and this was the ticket. Plus it was super easy to make.

     Usually I'm guilty of buying the goulash from Schwans which my family happens to really love. I decided that I wanted to make my own because homemade is so much better. Another reason for making homemade is everyone in my house is trying to really watch what they eat, so we're not buying as many prepackaged dinners.

     I found this recipe on pinterest and did a little tweaking to it to accommodate what I had in the pantry. I happen to use elbow macaroni, but I would have like to use some bigger noodles I just didn't have any in my pantry. I think you could use any kind of noodle that you have on hand.

     The original recipe called for V8 tomato juice and I didn't have any of that so I just replace it with water. Next time I'll use tomato juice or hopefully I'll have V8 tomato juice in the house.

     This meal was a hit with the family. I served it with some cheddar biscuits and it was delicious. They gobbled it up and I kept hearing how great it tasted. I know this one is a keeper. Besides its got to be cheaper than the prepackaged stuff and I'm guessing probably better for you too.

One Pan Goulash
1 lb ground beef
1/2 large onion, diced
1/2 green pepper, diced
1 8 oz can tomato sauce
1/2 C water
1 can diced tomatos (14.5 oz)
2 cloves of garlic, chopped
1/2 t Italian seasoning
1 t Lawry's season salt
1/2 t chili powder
1 bay leaf
1 C dry elbow macaroni
1 t salt
1/4 t pepper

In a large skillet combine beef, onion and green pepper. Cook over medium heat until beef is cooked all the way through. Drain off the fat.
Add tomato sauce, water, diced tomatoes, garlic, Italian seasoning, Lawry's salt, chili powder and bay leaf. Cover and continue cooking for 20 minutes.
Add macaroni and stir well. Put the lid on and cook for 20 more minutes or until the macaroni is tender. If it looks too dry you can add another 1/4 cup of water.
Add the salt and pepper.

Turn off the heat and let the liquid be absorbed. Take the bay leaf out before serving.

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Chicken Caesar Wraps

Chicken Ceasar Wrap
     I decided today I was going to use the lettuce that I've been growing in my garden. Now I had to decide what to make with it. So this took a little looking around in the fridge to see what I had on hand to go with it.

     After looking through the freezer and finding frozen chicken strips I had an idea. Make chicken wraps! It just so happen to that it was lunch time and I was looking for something somewhat healthy to eat.

     I wanted to use the lettuce from my garden, so I got a little basket out and went to the garden to pick some fresh lettuce leaves. It has been a while since I've grown lettuce in my garden and I forgot what it takes to get it clean for eating. Wish I wouldn't have tossed that salad spinner long ago. Well needless to say I got it all clean and ready to eat without much of an issue.

     While I was cleaning the lettuce I placed the chicken on a baking sheet and got that in the oven. I then dried the lettuce with paper towels and then ripped it into bite size pieces. To that I added real bacon bits, parmesan cheese and mayo. I mixed this well and when the chicken was done baking I let it cool a bit before adding to the mix.

     Once I had this all mixed together I put it on a flour tortilla and Walla! We had lunch ready to go. Everyone liked it and the lettuce was yummy too!

Chicken Caesar Wraps
2 C diced cooked chicken
3 C torn lettuce
1/2 C bacon bits
1/4 C Parmesan cheese
1/2 C mayo
flour tortillas

Cook chicken and let cool slightly. Mix lettuce, bacon, cheese and mayo. Add cooled chicken and mix well. Put this mixture on a flour tortilla and enjoy.


Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Bombsicle AKA Lemonade & Raspberry Vodka

Raspberry Lemonade
     Awe yes! The weather is a balmy 87 degrees out, 84 in the shade, so of course one needs a refreshing drink to cool off with in the sun.

     My go to drink lately has been this beauty. I believe the makers of UV vodka call it a Bombsicle. It is suppose to taste like those frozen red, white and blue popsicles that we all loved as a kid and I would have to say that this tastes very close to those beloved popsicles.

     These drinks are easy to make and are so refreshing when it is hot outside. This has been my go to drink this summer. It is a great drink to make because it is so easy and does not call for anything exotic. All you need is some lemonade and some raspberry vodka.

     Now I always keep on hand frozen concentrate lemonade and of course some UV Blue, aka raspberry vodka. I'm a little hooked on these flavored vodkas this summer. I suppose you could go with any kind of lemonade, but I just prefer the frozen kind.

     There are so many different kinds of UV vodka and so many different drinks that you can make with them. Just last week they had samples at the liquor store and they gave me some different options for the cake vodka and the salty watermelon vodka that I just may have to make these and post my results. I can't think of a better thing to do on a hot summer day than to sample some new drink ideas.

    Well anyways, the recipe follows this post. Give it a try and remember to drink responsibly. Always have a DD or enjoy a drink in the comforts of your own home :)

Frozen lemonade
UV Blue

Fill a glass with ice and add lemonade. Add a shot of UV Blue. Stir and enjoy.

Saturday, July 13, 2013

Fruity Rice Krispie Bars

Fruity Rice Krispie Bars
     It's turning out to be a beautifully hot summer. I am enjoying every single day of sun, heat and yes, even the humidity. That's what summer is all about after all. Every morning I get up and take my dogs for a walk and then I go out on my deck and drink my coffee with my dogs in tow. We enjoy the ducks and geese out on the pond and any other little critter we might get to see while taking in the beauty of summer.

     Now with the heat one does not want to turn the oven on and make the house any hotter. That's why usually I try to use the grill as much as possible or even use the microwave. 

     One treat that reminds me of summer is Rice Krispie bars. It can be made using the microwave and they are delicious. One can also use different flavored rice cereal to make this treat and I just happened to use fruit flavor rice cereal this time. You can use regular rice cereal or even chocolate flavored rice cereal. All of these choices are crowd pleasers.

     When you make these treats don't forget to use cooking spray on the spatula. That way when you are scraping the mixture out of the bowl it won't be so difficult and spreading it in the pan will be much easier too.

Fruity Rice Krispie Bars
3 T butter
1 package of large marshmallows
6 C fruit flavored rice cereal

Spray a 9X13 pan with cooking spray. Place butter and marshmallows in a microwave safe bowl and microwave on high for 2 minutes.  Take bowl out and stir. Place back in microwave and cook on high for 30 seconds. Take bowl out and add the cereal. Mix well. Spray a spatula with cooking spray and scoop mixture into the pan and spread evenly in pan. Let bars cool and set up before cutting. Store in an air tight container.


Monday, July 8, 2013

Pina Colada Cupcakes

Pina Colada Cupcakes
 Sunday was the big celebration for my son's skills graduation. We did a Mexican themed buffet and it was a big hit. We had tacos, chicken fajitas, Mexican rice, chips and salsa, guacamole, hot cheese dip, brownies and pina colada cupcakes.

     My husband makes some really awesome tacos, so I had him do his magic and make his world famous tacos for our event. People just love his tacos. People were going back for thirds on Sunday and needless to say we did not have very much taco meat left after the party.

     My chicken fajitas ran a close second to the tacos. It did well, but not as good as the tacos. I had one full pan left of fajitas which isn't too bad because we love them and we don't mind eating them as leftovers.

     Now the Mexican rice was a different. I doubled the recipe and it made a boat load of rice. I should of just made one recipe and not doubled it, but the recipe said it served 6 so I thought well I'll need to make more. It was, however, very good and next time I would just make the recipe without doubling it.

     For dessert I made brownies and some pina colada cupcakes. The brownies are just some brownies from a box and canned frosting, but the cupcakes were a doctored up cake mix that was amazing and the frosting was canned frosting with a little kick.

     Pina Colada Cupcakes
1 box (18.25 oz. box) Yellow Cake mix
1/3 C Vegetable oil
1/2 C water
1/4 C pineapple juice, reserved from the crushed pineapple
1/4 C Malibu coconut rum
3 whole eggs
1/2 C sweetened shredded coconut
1/2 C crushed pineapple, drained

1 container (16oz size) white frosting
2 T pineapple juice, reserved from the crushed pineapple
2 T  Malibu coconut rum
1/4 C sweetened shredded coconut, toasted

Preparation Instructions
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line a muffin pan with paper muffin liners.
Blend together cake mix, oil, water, pineapple juice, coconut rum and eggs with a hand mixer for two minutes. Use a spatula to scrape the edges of the bowl. Fold in shredded coconut and crushed pineapple.
Portion mix into paper liners, filling 2/3 full. Bake for 19 minutes. Let cool in pan for 3-4 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool. Store over night in an airtight container.
Whip together frosting, pineapple juice and coconut rum. Refrigerate overnight to allow flavor to maximize and icing to thicken.
Keeping the icing as cold as possible,spread the icing over the cupcakes with a spatula. Sprinkle with toasted coconut. Keep refrigerated until ready to serve.

Recipe adapted from Tasty Kitchen

How to toast coconut
 Preheat oven to 350ºF. Spread unsweetened coconut shavings, or sweetened shredded or flaked coconut on a rimmed baking sheet and bake, stirring once or twice, until golden, about 5 to 10 minutes. If toasting sweetened coconut, check and stir more frequently because the added sugar causes irregular browning.