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“Hamburger Helper” Lasagna

Ingredients

  • 1lb ground beef (do not use sausage!!!)
  • 1 small onion
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • Salt and Pepper
  • 1 tbsp Italian Seasoning
  • 2 cups marinara sauce
  • 8 oz mafalda pasta (uncooked)
  • 3 cups chicken broth (low sodium)
  • 1 cup mozzarella cheese (shredded)
  • 2 tbsp parsley

Try ricotta as a topping?

Method

  1. In large skillet, brown ground beef.
  2. Add onion, garlic, salt, papper, and Italian seasoning. Saute until onion is soft.
  3. Add marinara sauce, pasta, and broth, Mix well. Simmer until pasta is cooked and sauce is absorbed.
  4. Stir in cheese until melted.
  5. Garnish with parsley.
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Vacation Planning

A different kind of blog post. Here is a list of things that we need, use, and don’t use in our week long vacations.

Toiletries:

  • Medications
  • vitamins
  • toothbrushes (chargers)
  • toothpaste
  • Listerine
  • floss
  • razors
  • shaving cream
  • aftershave
  • shower mirror
  • beard trimmer
  • shampoo/conditioner
  • bar soap
  • face soap
  • lotion
  • face lotion
  • deodorant
  • nail clippers
  • nail file
  • band aids
  • itch cream
  • hair ties
  • hair clips
  • female supplies (+/-)
  • sunscreen
  • bug spray

Paper goods:

  • paper plates
  • paper towels
  • tissues

Household things:

  • Noise machines
  • pillows
  • shark vacuum and batteries
  • french press
  • cooler
  • tupperware
  • ziploc bags
  • coffee grinder
  • water bottles
  • bluetooth speaker
  • clothes washing supplies (detergent pacs/dryer sheets)

Dogs:

  • bowls (water/food)
  • food
  • poop bags
  • beds
  • leashes
  • toys

Beach supplies:

  • beach towels
  • beach toys
  • beach bag
  • beach blanket

Other:

  • books
  • toys
  • puzzles

Clothes/shoes

  • water shoes (not crocs)
  • flip flops/sandals/crocs
  • hiking shoes
  • sneakers
  • hats
  • rain jackets

Groceries:

  • coffee
  • snack foods
  • granola bars
  • sparkling water
  • regular water

French Onion Soup

Ingredients

  • 6 tbsp butter
  • 3 lbs onions
    • Mix of yellow, Vidalia, shallot, red, etc
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1/2 cup Sherry
  • 64 ounces chicken or beef stock
  • 2 sprigs thyme
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 tsp fish sauce
  • 1 tsp cider vinegar
  • Crusty bread
  • Gruyere cheese

 

Method

  1. Melt butter. Sauté onions until soft.
  2. Reduce heat, caramelize for 1-2 hours. Stir frequently. If liquid evaporates, add a teaspoon of water and continue until golden brown.
  3. Add sherry. Scrape up any browned bits. Simmer until alcohol burns off.
  4. Add stock. Put thyme and bay leaf in strainer. Bring to a boil, then simmer for a minimum of 20 minutes. Remove thyme and bay leaf.
  5. Add fish sauce and cider vinegar.
  6. Ladle a small portion into ramekins. Add a slice of bread. More soup, another bread, cheese. Broil until cheese is golden brown.

 

Bacon Jam

For burgers…

Ingredients

  • 1 lb thick-cut bacon
  • 2 yellow onions, diced
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 2/3 cup coffee
  • 3 Tbsp. balsamic vinegar
  • 1 Tbsp. Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 tsp. sriracha
  • 1 Tbsp. Dijon mustard

Method

  1. Dice bacon (freeze for a bit).
  2. Fry in skillet until crisp. Remove and drain on a paper towel.
  3. Remove half of bacon drippings. Sauté onions for 15 minutes. Remove excess liquid.
  4. Add remaining ingredients (including bacon). Bring to a boil.
  5. Simmer, stirring occasionally, for 30 minutes.
  6. Allow to cool. Store in a jar. Keeps for one week.

Waffles

I’ve wanted a waffle maker forever. This past Christmas, voila! I finally got one. I love getting up on Sunday morning and making fresh waffles for the family. Then we freeze the leftovers for random weekday waffles!

This recipe is adapted from Cuisinart

2 1/4 cups Unbleached Flour
2 TBSP Sugar
1 TBSP Baking Powder
1/2 tsp Baking Soda
1/2 tsp Salt
2 cups Milk
1/3 cup Vegetable Oil
1 tsp Vanilla
2 large Eggs, lightly beaten

Instructions:

  1. Put all ingredients into a mixing bowl.
  2. Beat on medium speed until well combined and smooth.
  3. Set the waffle maker to Griddle/400 F
  4. Once heated, spray with cooking spray.
  5. Then, pour 1 heaping cup of batter onto the lower plate. Spread it with a spatula then close the lid.
  6. Bake for 3- 3:30 minutes

Funfetti Cake 2.0

I like this recipe better than the other confetti cake recipe I’ve used in the past. There is something about the texture of that cake that I don’t like. I suspect it’s the shortening because it always leaves me feeling like there is a coating of grease in my mouth, and even though it seems moist, it always feels dry.

This recipe from Sugar Spun Run is more like a traditional white cake recipe that I think of for a Funfetti cake, and I think it’s just the thing.

The only things I did differently are:

  1. 3 tsp Vanilla and 1 tsp of Lemon extract
  2. I used 3 9 in springform pans at 350 convection. It took 30 min for two of them to be done, the third was a little bit thicker and took 35 mins.
  3. I also added 1/2 cup of sprinkles to the frosting.

Ingredients

  • 9 Tbsp butter softened
  • 3 cups sugar
  • 1 cup canola oil vegetable oil would also work
  • 3 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp lemon extract
  • 4 cups+ 2 Tbsp all-purpose flour
  • 4 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 1/2 cup milk
  • 9 egg whites room temperature preferred
  • 1/2 cup sprinkles

Buttercream

  • 1 lb unsalted butter softened to room temperature
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 6 cups (750g, 27oz) powdered sugar
  • 6 Tbsp heavy cream
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup sprinkles

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 350F and prepare 3 8-inch round cake pans by generously greasing and flouring. Be sure to shake out excess flour.
  • In stand mixer, beat butter on medium-low speed until creamy.
  • Add sugar and oil and beat until all ingredients are well-combined and creamy.
  • Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl and then stir in your vanilla.
  • In separate bowl, whisk together your flour, baking powder, and salt.
  • Measure out your milk.
  • With mixer on medium speed, gradually alternate between adding the flour mixture and the milk, starting and ending with the flour mixture. Stir until each one is almost completely combined before adding the next.
  • Pause occasionally to scrape down sides and bottom of bowl.
  • In separate bowl, combine your egg whites and, with a hand-mixer on high-speed, beat until stiff peaks form.
  • Using a spatula, gently fold your egg whites and sprinkles into your batter. Take care to scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl so that ingredients are well-combined, and take care not to over-mix.
  • Evenly divide cake batter into prepared pans.
  • Bake on 350F for 35-40 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center of each cake layer comes out clean or with few crumbs (should not be wet). For best results, rotate your cake pans halfway through baking to ensure even baking.
  • Cakes will be a light golden brown when done baking.
  • Remove cakes from oven and allow to cool for 15 minutes. Run a butterknife around the inside rim of each pan and invert each onto a cooling rack.
  • Allow to cool completely before frosting.

Frosting

  • In stand mixer, beat butter on medium-speed until creamy.
  • Add salt and beat again for about 20 seconds.
  • Gradually, about 1 cup at a time, add powdered sugar, waiting until each cup is completely mixed before adding the next cup.
  • Tbsp at a time, add the heavy cream on medium-high speed, waiting until each addition is well-combined before adding the next 2 Tbsp.
  • Add vanilla and stir on medium-high for 30 seconds.
  • Transfer one layer of your cooled cake to serving platter. Use frosting to ice the top. Add the next layer, ice the top of that. Add your third layer on top and ice the top, and then do a thin “crumb coating” around the entire cake.
  • Transfer to freezer for 10-15 minutes, then remove and apply a clean, thick coat of frosting around the entire cake.

Instant Pot Quick Stroganoff

Ingredients:

  • .5 cup minced onion
  • 1 minced garlic clove
  • 1 lb ground beef
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp pepper
  • 10.5 oz can cream of mushroom soup
  • 1-2 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tbsp flour
  • 4 cups beef broth
  • 16 oz egg noodles
  • 1.25 cup sour cream
  • Red wine (for deglazing pan)

Method

  1. Turn IP to sauté. Brown ground beef, onion, and garlic.
  2. Mix in flour.
  3. Deglaze with a splash of red wine.
  4. Add remaining ingredients (less sour cream).
  5. High pressure, 8 minutes.
  6. Natural release pressure for 5 minutes, then quick release.
  7. Stir in sour cream.