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Easy Peasy Mac and Cheese-y

14 Nov

Avert your eyes, Nana… I’m about to make Mac and Cheese in the microwave.

Full disclosure: this is not your family’s homemade baked macaroni and cheese. It also lacks the Kraft surprises you secretly enjoy like the tiny bit of butter that never melted or a bite of powdered cheese cluster. However, it is fast, super easy, and you probably already have all the ingredients. You also cook the pasta in the microwave, which I, naively, didn’t even know was possible. If you prefer to boil pasta the old-fashioned way, just start with Step 3 below.

Easy Peasy Mac and Cheese-y

Ingredients for a Single Serving*

  • 1/3 cup pasta
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup shredded cheese

Process

  1. Combine the pasta and water in a large microwave-safe bowl
  2. Heat for 2 minutes, Stir, Repeat until the water is absorbed and pasta is cooked. (For reference, I “repeated” three times, but I also own the first microwave ever invented.)
  3. Stir in milk and cheese
  4. Heat for another minute or so.
  5. Mix well and enjoy!

*My husband learned the hard way that “winging it” with the ingredient measurements doesn’t work for this recipe. You’ve been warned.

Pinterest Proven: Two Ingredient Pumpkin Muffins

17 Oct

No eggs, no oil, no water. Two. Ingredients. That’s it. Ok, three if you have a chocolate craving and four if you can’t say no to cream cheese frosting. There are two things I love in the kitchen: easy recipes + anything that involves pumpkin. After seeing this on Pinterest, I decided I needed to give it a go and it was totally worth it. The below recipe makes a little less than 2 dozen muffins since you need to fill the tins with more batter than you usually would (they won’t rise as much as “normal” muffins). I made half of mine without chocolate chips and then added them in to the remaining batter – both muffins were absolutely delicious so just do whatever your heart/belly desires! What are your favorite pumpkin/Fall-inspired recipes?

Two-Ingredient Pumpkin Muffins

Makes about 18 muffins

Ingredients

  • 1 box spice cake mix
  • 1 15 oz. can of pumpkin (not pumpkin pie filling)
  • 1 bag mini chocolate chips (optional)
  • Cream cheese frosting (optional)

Process

  1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Combine spice cake mix and pumpkin puree into a mixing bowl.
  3. Blend by hand or with a mixer for two minutes until well mixed – doing this by hand is somewhat difficult because the batter gets pretty hard.
  4. After mixing, add chocolate chips if desired.
  5. Scoop batter into lined or greased muffin tins. Since you’re forgoing traditional cupcake ingredients, these will not rise as much so go ahead and fill the entire muffin tin with batter.
  6. Bake muffins for 20 minutes and let them cool before removing from the tins.
  7. Enjoy plain or with a little cream cheese frosting on top!

Really feeling in the Fall spirit? Check out these Fall-inspired coasters and trivets in the Lauerland Boutique!

Halftime Snack

8 Oct

I’m with you, Charlie… out with the apples and in with the cheese!

I finally had a work-free weekend where the only commitment I had made was to make no commitments.  Unfortunately, I came down with a terrible cold on Friday morning which was no fun at all.  I spent my Friday evening watching Parenthood, adoring Zicam, and eating chicken soup  Poke-Jo’s barbecue turkey and sides.  Not your traditional “sick meal”, but Firas brought home something he knew I liked.  Unfortunately, I couldn’t even taste it.  Still a sweet gesture nonetheless.  I started to feel somewhat normal by Sunday and I was determined to make the most of my last day off.  Firas had his brother over to watch football and I thought it would be fun to prepare a few “game day” appetizers.  One of the apps was a simple quesadilla with a twist.  Who doesn’t love a good ol’ quesadilla?  And who doesn’t love a snack that takes 5 minutes to make?

I grated some cheddar cheese (I know, shocker) and diced up some roasted red peppers, onions, and chives.  The rest doesn’t really need explaining… it’s as easy as spraying the skillet, laying the first tortilla down and covering with cheese, toppings, and the second tortilla, and then flipping when browned.  I made a few different ones, alternating between green chile corn tortillas (so good) and whole wheat flour tortillas. I served it up with a side of mango lime salsa, and it was de-lish.  I’m sure Firas and his brother would have been just as happy with a bag of nacho cheese doritos (maybe even happier?), but it’s nice to have a homemade snack once in a while.

Another favorite of mine is a vegetarian quesadilla, loaded with zucchini, squash, bell peppers, tomatoes, and more.  I also like to add different kinds of cheeses… I might be making this up, but I feel like I’ve enjoyed a brie and apple (sorry Charlie) quesadilla before.  I think I’ll try to recreate that next time.  So many options!

What else do you like to add to your quesadillas?

 

Celebrate Fall! Cinnamon Spiced Apple Chips

4 Oct

It’s officially Fall! Though the Texas weather may still feel like summer, I can still do everything inside to make myself believe it’s really Fall. This includes buying up all the Glade Fall Expressions scented items for the apartment and starting to dig up those apple and pumpkin recipes. This is a Pinterest find and one that has been adapted on several different sites but we thought we needed to try this one out for ourselves!  If only for the scent that wafts around the house while they’re baking. Jaclyn and I tried this several different ways before finding the “just right” spice mixture for us. The real key here to make the apple slices as thin as possible (without cutting off your finger… nobody likes bloody apple chips). The thinner they are, the crispier they will be.  It’s tough to use the oven to get them to that processed perfection (without a dehydrator… hello 5th grade science fair project!) so if anybody tries this and has any tips for making them extra crispy, share away in the comments!

Cinnamon Spiced Apple Chips

Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon of cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon nutmeg
  • ½ tablespoon of sugar (or splenda/stevia)
  • Optional: ¼ teaspoon cardamom (do not go out and buy this is you don’t already have it because it’s really expensive and you will rarely use it if you’re not a big baker!)
  • 2 apples of your choice (I used Red Delicious & Gala)

Process

  1. Preheat oven to 200 degrees and line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
  2. In a large bowl, mix the spices together.
  3. Place the apple on its side and slice as thin as possible. You can simply remove just the seeds after this or cut out the entire middle of the apples so that they look more like bagel chips (yum…)
  4. Place the apple slices in the large bowl and toss them with the spices.
  5. Once the apple slices are coated, place them on the baking sheets – careful not to overlap.
  6. Bake in the oven for 1 hour, flip them over, and bake for another 45 minutes.
  7. Let apple chips cool – they will get crispier!
  8. Enjoy!

See other versions of this recipe herehere, and here.

You Want Mint For Pillow?

2 Oct

I thought that a quote from Tommy Boy would make for a more intriguing title than “Chicken Broccoli Cashew Stir-Fry”.  So no, I am not able to provide a mint for your pillow, but I AM excited to share a delicious (and easy!) recipe that puts a twist on a classic Asian dish.  I’m a big fan of recipes with very little ingredients.  If I click on a recipe with a catchy title and appetizing picture and am greeted by a daunting list of 100 ingredients, I will immediately click the back button on my browser.  Not happening.  So when I came across this recipe, I realized that I already had over half of the ingredients at home, which meant I only needed to pick up a few things from the grocery store. Winning!  I think the cashews made the dish, so feel free to go a little nuts with them as a topping.  Couldn’t help myself.

Chicken Broccoli Cashew Stir-Fry

Ingredients

  • 3 cups of chopped broccoli
  • 2 large carrots, cut into thin slices
  • 5 oz stir-fry noodles
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 3 large garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into chunks
  • 1 Tbsp reduced-sodium soy sauce
  • 3 med scallions, chopped
  • ½ cup reduced-sodium, fat-free chicken (or vegetable) broth
  • ½ cup unsalted cashews
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Process

  1. Bring a large pot of water to a boil and add broccoli, carrots, and stir-fry noodles. Cover and cook for about 3 to 5 minutes until vegetables are tender. Drain and place ingredients in a large bowl.
  2. Heat olive oil and garlic in a large wok or non-stick skillet over medium-high heat.  Stir and cook for 1 to 2 minutes until garlic starts to golden.
  3. Add chicken and soy sauce and cook for about 7 minutes, until chicken is cooked through. Add scallions and stir-fry for an additional minute.
  4. Stir in noodles, vegetables and broth and heat through.
  5. Place in serving dishes and sprinkle each portion with 1-2 tablespoons of cashews.
  6. Enjoy!

*This is an adapted version of a recipe from Prevention.

Garlic Roasted Brussels Sprouts

1 Oct

Brussels sprouts? Really? I know. You either hate ’em or you love ’em. Or… you say you hate them but you’ve never tried them doused in garlic and roasted in the oven. Well people, if you try them like this, you may just find that you l-o-v-e the big bad Brussels sprouts. This is a super easy and delicious way to make them and you can cook them this way even if all you have is the frozen kind. Just let them thaw out for a minute or two so that you’ll be able to quarter them easily. What do you think? Could you become a lover of these tasty little veggies? Fun Fact: The Brussels sprout has long been popular in Brussels, Belguim and may have originated there (hence the capital B).

Garlic Roasted Brussels Sprouts

Ingredients

  • 1 lb fresh Brussels sprouts
  • 3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 ½ tbsp olive oil
  • ½ tsp salt

Process

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Cut Brussels sprouts into quarters.
  3. Combine quartered Brussels sprouts, garlic, olive oil, and salt in a bowl and toss.
  4. Cover a baking sheet with tin foil and empty contents of bowl.
  5. Put baking sheet into oven and roast for 20 – 25 minutes, until crispy.
  6. Enjoy!

Taco Turkey Lettuce Cups

16 Aug

Although nothing can compare to the glorious-ness of PF Changs’ lettuce cups, the idea of anything in a lettuce cup instead of straight-to-the-butt carb-filled bread or tortillas sounded appealing. Especially if I get to tie this in to my love of Mexican food.  Turkey taco lettuce cups are really delicious – just make sure the lettuce cups you get are REALLY crunchy (ie: buy the head of lettuce the day you’re making these).   You can add a little cayenne pepper to the taco seasoning if you want to spice things up a bit.  I also added black beans as a topping – I think corn would be a good addition too.  Now… what else can I make in a lettuce cup?

 Turkey Taco Lettuce Cups

Ingredients:

  • 1 pound lean ground turkey
  • 1 green pepper, diced
  • ½ onion, diced
  • Taco seasoning
  • Large lettuce leaves, washed and dried
  • Salsa, avocado, light sour cream (for topping)
  • Other optional additions: black beans, corn

Process:

  1. In a large skillet, add oil, ground turkey, and taco seasoning, and cook until browned.
  2. Add green pepper and onion to the skillet and cook for an additional 5 minutes.
  3. Scoop mixture into lettuce cup and add desired toppings – enjoy!

 

… if you try these, snap a picture of the finished product and maybe we’ll use yours instead of the terrible iPhone shot above!

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