From the Blogabout me

Slow Cooker Chili

Prep Time: 15 Minutes
Cook Time: 8 Hours
Ready In: 8 Hours 15 Minutes
Servings: 8-10

INGREDIENTS:
1 pound ground beef
3/4 cup diced onion
3/4 cup diced celery
3/4 cup diced green bell pepper
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 (10.75 ounce) cans tomato puree
1 (15 ounce) can kidney beans with liquid
1 (15 ounce) can kidney beans, drained
1 (15 ounce) can cannellini beans with liquid
1/2 tablespoon chili powder
1/2 teaspoon dried parsley
1 teaspoon salt
3/4 teaspoon dried basil
3/4 teaspoon dried oregano
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/8 teaspoon hot pepper sauce

DIRECTIONS:
1. Place the beef in a skillet over medium heat, and cook until evenly brown. Drain grease.
2. Place the beef in a slow cooker, and mix in onion, celery, green bell pepper, garlic, tomato puree, kidney beans, and cannellini beans. Season with chili powder, parsley, salt, basil, oregano, black pepper, and hot pepper sauce.
3. Cover, and cook 8 hours on Low.

Bourbon Chicken, the 30 Minute Meal

This is a quick and tasty meal I use when I know only a 30 minute meal will cut it. It’s fairly simple and quick to make with things you have around the house.  I like this meal for a quick meal after work when I need to get something on the table before my boy screams at me for not having food at his highchair.

  • 2 lbs boneless chicken breasts; cut into bite-size pieces *
  • 1 tbsp real butter (you can use olive oil, but my lovely doesn’t like it)
  • 2 garlic cloves; crushed
  • 1/3 teaspoon fresh shaved/grated ginger
  • 2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1/3 cup apple juice
  • 1/2 cup light brown sugar
  • 3 tbsp ketchup  (I am not a fan of ketchup on anything, but used this to save time.  You could use tomato puree if you prefer)
  • 1 1/2 tbsp cider vinegar
  • 3/4 cup water *
  • 1/2 cup soy sauce
  • 1 1/2 tablespoon cornstarch; (if thick sauce desired, add it)

 

Cooking the chicken

Melt butter or heat oil in a large skillet.

Add chicken pieces and cook until lightly browned.

Remove chicken.

Add remaining ingredients, heating over medium heat until well blended and dissolved.

Add chicken and bring to a hard boil.

Reduce heat and simmer for 20 minutes uncovered.

Serve over hot rice.

Enjoy.

 * A couple of notes here. You can use up to 3lbs and water with this if you would rather spread out the flavor a little.  So keep this in mind.  No water and less meat = intense favor.  More meat and more water= less intense.  I tend to buy chicken in strange amounts like 2.22 lbs or 2.72 lbs, so I just adjust as needed)

 

 Prepared recipe

Slow Cooker Curry Chicken

I happened to come across this recipe in a newspaper by accident. It sounded decent enough, so I decided to tear it out and give it a try. It’s now the favorite in the house.
Also, there really isn’t much to it, but it will blow your mind if you like these ingredients. Here are the steps to making the best Slow Cooker Curry Chicken in the world.

Ingredients:

  • 2 tsp minced garlic
  • 1-inch piece of fresh ginger, grated
  • 2 Tbsp red wine vinegar
  • 1.5 tsp curry powder
  • 1 Tbsp water
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp of pepper (or slightly more if you wish)
  • 1.5 lbs of boneless and skinless chicken thighs

Take the ingredients, mix together, then toss to coat the chicken You are going to think

This is not enough ingredients

but trust me on this one…

Cook for 7 hours on low, and you are done.

Note:

I recommend making 2 cups of long-grain wild (or white) rice, 3 diced plum tomatoes and some cilantro to also serve with your meat. You are going to be blown away!

Also, I plan to take better photos of this soon, but photos will never be quite good enough.

stir the ingredients

stir the ingredients

ingredients all stirred and ready to go.

ingredients all stirred and ready to go.

Final Product!

Final Product!

Fall Bucket List Ideas

If you know me, you already know I make lists for most everything.  I am also a big fan of traditions because I find some Zen moments from connecting to the past in healthy ways.  Traditions do that for me.

One particular time of year that I enjoy so much, but realized my family didn’t have much traditions based was the Fall.  Of course there has been the Halloween things, and occasionally painting or gutting a pumpkin here & there, but I couldn’t really recall any hard traditions.  Starting a new family I started to think about how our traditions could be formed, so I came up with a concept to try this year.
Fall-BucketList-2013
I thought about all of the things which say

Fall is here

to me, and wrote them all down.  Once I had them out in the open, I decided it was time to make a list with the ones that really stood out to me and could be easily recreated year after year.

As you can see in this image, these are my Fall bucket list ideas.  Over the years, I sure some of these items will be removed while others are added.  Either way, I bet some will become staple traditions hopefully bringing fond memories.

 

I’ve included a blank PDF file for you to be able to print off and make your own list.  If you have Photoshop, you should even be able to have advantaged editing options.

 

Happy Fall to all of you.

 

Download Blank/Editable PDF

Steak Rolls with Balsamic Glaze

If you know me, you know I enjoy food, of all types.  I came across a steak roll recipe that seemed interesting, but needed just a little more flair so I decided to tweak it to be my own.  I definitely think you can make your own modifications to this recipe and you will have a number of different styles of dinner.  Before going any further I want to disclosure to you this recipe takes just a little bit of time, and is not a 15-30 minute deal but I find it worth the time and effort.

 

Marinade Ingredients & Steps:

  • A package of thinly sliced sirloin (about 4-5 slices or 1.5-2lb)
  • 6 tbsp of Worcestershire sauce
  • Steak seasoning of your preference (I have used a number of Grill Mates flavors with good results – and no, I am not affiliated with McCormick although if they would like to send me some money to sponsor them I wouldn’t turn it down)
  • 2 tbsp of olive oil
  • Salt & Pepper (optional)

Mix all of the Marinate Ingredients together and sit aside

Cut the steak slices long ways in 1/2, because you are going to try and make 8-10 rolls.  The widest part of the slice will be about 3 inches wide, but the small area might be 1 inch or so.

Season the steak slices in the marinate, making sure you get both sides nice and coated, and let sit for a little while.  If you are crunched for time, 30 minutes (while you do the rest of the prep work will work).  I usually let mine sit for 4-5 hours, but overnight is fine too.

Filling Ingredients & Steps:

  • 1 carrot (or carrot sticks that already look like matchsticks)
  • 1 green bell pepper
  • 1/2 zucchini
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • some Italian seasoning (of your preference)
  • 5-6 green onions

Cut all of these veggies into 3 inch (long) pieces but very thin squares (think about matchsticks).  You don’t have to do anything with the onions except make them about 3 inches long.  Keep onions in a different bowl, but all of the others can be put together.

Sit everything aside.

Glaze & Steps:

  • 2 tsp of butter
  • 2 tbsp of chopped shallots (smaller the better, but do your best)
  • 2 tbsp of brown sugar (I usually use light brown, because that’s what I have to make cookies)
  • 1/4 cup of beef broth
  • 1/4 cup of balsamic vinegar

At medium heat start by melting the butter, put in the shallots in the same pan. Sauté for around 2 minutes, or until the shallots are looking clear.

Add the vinegar, beef stock and brown sugar.  Mix and let it bubble away until it is reduced to a thick sauce.

Take it out of the pan and put in a small bowl

Now with the same pan, add a little bit of olive oil and/or butter (1-2 tbsp total) into pan and throw in your carrot/pepper/zucchini mix.  You won’t be doing anything with the green onion at this point.

Stir fry on high for about 2-3 minutes

Put them aside in a bowl, and add the green onions now

Finally – making the rolls:

Grab a strip of steak and add your veggies, handful or so with the ends sticking out (look at picture of the Before), and tightly roll up your steak strip.

IMAG0679

You will want to put a toothpick or two in once you have finished rolling to keep each together.  Do this for all of your strips

Now, using a large skillet over medium-high (I tend to use my wok), add just a dab of oil to coat the bottom and place each roll in with the seam cooking first.

 

Rotate them so they are evenly cooked to your liking.

 

Remove the toothpicks and put some of your glaze sauce over the top of each roll – and serve to your happy eaters.

IMAG0681

 

 

Chicken Piccata

Traditional & Simple Chicken Piccata Recipe

Ingredients

  • 2 boneless chicken breast butterflied & then cut again thinner… You could use cutlets
  • Salt & pepper, to your taste
  • Flour
  • 6 tbsp of unsealed butter
  • 5 tbsp olive oil
  • 1/2 cup chicken broth or stock
  • 1/4 cup capers, rinsed thoroughly
  • Freshly squeezed large lemon, you need all of the juice from the lemon. Close to 1/3 cup
  • Small amount of chopped parsley, for garnish

Preparation

  • Clean chicken after cutting (see above for cut), then season it with salt and pepper
  • Place chicken into flour and fully cover chicken, shaking off excess
  • In large skillet over medium heat, melt 2 tbsp of butter with 3 tbsp of the oil.
  • As soon as butter starts to sizzle, place half of your chicken in skillet for 3-4 minutes. When chicken is browned, turn and cook for another 3 minutes. Transfer to plate.
  • Now melt 2 tbsp of butter with 2 tbsp of oil, leaving the original also.
  • As soon as butter is ready, add remaining chicken in to cook both sides again, as you did before. Transfer to plate.
  • Remove pan from heat and add your stock/broth, capers, and lemon juice.
  • Return pan to heat and bring to boil, scraping bits from your skillet for yummy flavors.
  • Return chicken to skillet and simmer for 5 minutes
  • Remove chicken, and add 2 tbsp of butter to your sauce and whisk.
  • Pour sauce over chicken, garnish with parsley.

Enjoy your Traditional Italian Chicken Piccata!

Turtle Cheesecake Recipe

This is the recipe for one of my most famous cheesecakes =

Turtle Cheesecake Recipe

As you will find out from me, I don’t really write out recipes; just do them by eye (and taste).  Either way – Quick and easy.

turtle-cheesecake

Crust:

  • 24 Oreo cookies (cream removed) and crushed
  • 1/2 stick of butter (6 Tbsp)
  • 1/2 cup of milk
  • 16 oz of Caramel
  • 1/2 cup chopped pecans

MIX crumbs and butter; press onto bottom and 2 inches up side of 9-inch springform pan.
Melt all of caramel and milk together at low temperature, continue to stir until smooth.  Add 1/2 cup of pecans.  Add 1/2 of the mixture to the crust you have already put into the pan. Put into frig while you make the rest of the of your cheesecake.

Turn on your oven to 325, and start the batter
The goodie stuff inside
  • 4 bars of cream-cheese
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 3 teaspoons, or so, of pure vanilla
  • 3 eggs
  • 1/2 tablespoon of flour
  • 1 1/2 cups of semi-sweet chocolate chips

BEAT cream cheese, sugar and vanilla in large bowl with mixer until blended. Add eggs, 1 at a time, mixing on low speed after each just until blended. Pour over caramel layer in crust.

BAKE 70 min. or until center is almost set. Run knife around rim of pan to loosen cake; cool before removing rim.

Place cheesecake on a wire frame and allow to cool before putting into the refrigerator overnight.

 

The next day, you want to finish the top (allow to cool in frig for at least 2 hours before doing this part)

  • Add 1/2 – 1 cup of Semi-Sweet Chocolate morsels evenly across the top
  • Heat the other half of caramel mixture you made earlier until it can be poured over the top of your cake
  • Sprinkle another 1/2 cup of chopped pecans to really top it off, and you are done

 

Enjoy!

Cleaning Your Washing Machine

Do you have a washer that smells?

Do you have a dirty washer?

Are your clothes not as clean as they used to be?

 

Believe it or not, your washing machine that cleans your cloths but gets dirty over time.  So about 1 time per year, I do the following, to keep my clothes and towels extra clean.

  1. Fill the washer with HOT water, largest size and longest cycle, but leave lid open
  2. Add 1 quart bleach and let the machine agitate for a minute, then let it sit for one hour… Do something fun for 60 minutes and come back to your washer
  3. After that one hour of extra fun, close the lid to let the washer run through its entire cycle.
  4. Now that you have allowed for the cycle to finish, immediately fill the washer with HOT water again and add 1 quart white vinegar.
  5. Let the vinegar agitate for a minute, and just like you did with the bleach – let it sit for one hour…

 

This is a at least a 10 year old washer that I am showing below.

Before Cleaning


After Cleaning

This was too gross beforehand to post online.

 

 

Did You Know?

Bleach and Vinegar will clean away bacteria, soap scum and mineral deposits from the wash basket and hoses.

 

If you are interested in learning how to clean your HE front loader washer, let me know there is an interest.

 

 

Chocolate & Pumpkin Cheesecake

As you will find out from me, I don’t really write out recipes; just do them by eye (and taste).  Either way – Quick and easy.

Crust:

  • 1/2 stick of butter
  • 2 cups of graham crackers
  • 1 teaspoon of Hersey Cocoa

Mix the crust ingredients, put in a buttered spring-form pan, bake at 350 for 8-10 minutes.  Allow to cool while you make the batter.

Turn up your oven to 400, and start the batter
The goodie stuff
  • 4 bars of cream-cheese
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 3 teaspoons, or so, of either nutmeg or pumpkin spice
  • 8 oz of pumpkin
  • 3-4 eggs
  • 3 teaspoons of flour
  • 1 1/2 cups of semi-sweet chocolate chips

Mix these ingredients until well blended.  I personally blend at speed 2-3 on my Kitchen-aid. Pour into the crust, and bake for about 10 minutes.

Turn down the oven, while continuing to bake, to 250 and cook for another 60 minutes.

Place cheesecake on a wire frame and allow to cool before putting into the refrigerator overnight.

 

Enjoy.

 

Halloween DIY Idea – Ghost Family

When our child was born, we thought about it and we wanted to do something a little special for our babies first Halloween.  We had so much fun with it, we will try again for the next few years.

We got a little creative and decided to do a Halloween DIY “Ghost Family” using the three of our feet.  We just got some white acrylic paint and a piece of formboard from the local craft store (Hobby Lobby or Michael’s, I don’t remember), cut it down to the size we wanted.  We put our feet in the paint and stepped on the board.  It was not as easy with our boy, but hopefully that will get slightly better moving forward.

final product

final product

And I grabbed a few more photos of some other angles.  I know this is not the best finished product, but it worked just fine for a fun family project.

family portrait

family portrait

 

and can't forget about dexter

and can’t forget about dexter