My whole family loves Honest Toddler so much. I realized this morning that we may read a little too much Honest Toddler (if that’s possible) when my first thought when I took a glance at Brinkley eating his breakfast was that Honest Toddler would approve.
Blueberry pancakes (frozen, of course – don’t think I’m such a good mom that I’m making homemade blueberry pancakes on a Wednesday morning), served on the couch, in front of shows (Dora specifically). What more could a spoiled toddler want in life?
Brinky’s actually very particular about his meals – or really about everything. He likes his routine. And his routine includes settling down when I bring him his breakfast in the morning to keep him occupied while I head off to the bedroom to get ready for work. And if he really doesn’t like his breakfast, he can just hand it to one of the dogs conveniently waiting close by.
Linking up with Greta and Sarah for #iPPP:Read More
How many recipes do I start with the words quick and easy? So many because those are important features of a recipe for me.
I’ve had a very productive morning, preparing pasta salad for my work lunches for the next three days, and preparing chicken noodle casserole for the family’s dinner this evening. The pasta salad was so quick and convenient that it hardly seems like a real recipe, but I thought I’d share anyway because it’s so good.
Four simple ingredients:
Pasta (already prepared – mine was leftover from last night)
Steamed broccoli (these Green Giant Seasoned Steamers are so good)
Feta Cheese (I used reduced fat so that I feel healthier)
Italian dressing (Light again for the same reason)
The preparation is probably obvious from there. I microwaved the broccoli according to its instructions, tossed everything in a bowl and mixed it up. The broccoli is so flavorful that I didn’t need much dressing at all.
A quick and easy meal that’s perfect for my lunch, especially because this is the kind of pasta salad that I love that no one else in my family would consider eating because of the broccoli and feta cheese. Except for my one non-picky child, Reagan. She’d eat it. And it’s probably healthier than the chips I’d end up getting if I forgot to pack my lunch.Read More
When we were deciding what to have for dinner on Sunday, I threw out the idea of spaghetti with meat sauce. We usually do the boring version of a jar of spaghetti sauce with some ground beef thrown in. But we wanted something a little different, so Lee threw out the idea of having a bolognese sauce. I hadn’t made a good one in years, so I went on a quest to find the best recipe I could find. And what I ended up pulling what looked like the best parts of several to make my own version. It was so delicious that I thought I should share. Though I’ll admit it’s one that didn’t involve a lot of measurement, so it’s hard to write it out clearly!
Starting off, I used half a package of bacon, cut up into one inch chunks.
Next, add one medium diced onion.
Then it’s time to add the meat. I used one half pound of spicy Italian sausage just to give a different taste and a little bit of spiciness, and one pound of ground beef. Once I throw it all in there and add spices (salt, pepper, thyme, crushed red pepper) and let it brown a bit, I use the potato masher to mash it in to very small bits. My husband doesn’t like large meat chunks in the sauce, so he always uses the potato masher to make smaller, more even bits of meat.
Next up, I added about half a cup of beef broth and let it burn off some and scraped up all the good bits in the bottom of the pan. A household with wine could use wine instead. Once the beef broth is all incorporated, I moved on to the various forms of tomato sauce.
I used about 1/3 jar of spaghetti sauce I had left in the refrigerator, 2 cans of crushed tomato, 2 cans of seasoned tomato sauce (I know there are three in the picture, but I only ended up using two), and one can of seasoned tomato paste. I just dumped it all in.
Once I got all the tomato sauces mixed in, I also added some fresh oregano. I don’t think using fresh oregano was essential to the sauce, but it certainly was tasty. I also added a bit more thyme and crushed red pepper.
And at this point, all the work was done! I turned the heat down to simmer, left it uncovered, and left it alone. For about three hours, just to make sure all the flavors were cooking up together and getting extra tasty.
This is what it looked like right before I served it up.
Doesn’t it look tasty?
I served it with both spaghetti noodles and rigatoni because kids are weird and prefer certain pasta shapes. And grated parmesan of course!
And I still had about half a batch of sauce left to freeze for another night!
Spaghetti Bolognese With a Kick!
1/2 package of bacon, cut into 1 inch chunks
1 medium onion, diced
1/2 pound Italian sausage
1 pound ground beef
Seasonings to taste – salt, pepper, thyme, crushed red pepper
1/2 cup beef broth
1/2 jar spaghetti sauce
2 cans crushed tomatoes (14 oz.)
2 cans seasoned tomato sauce (8 oz.)
1 can tomato paste (6 oz.)
2 tablespoons fresh oregano, chopped
Pasta of your choice
1. Cook bacon for approximately 3 minutes until partially cooked.
2. Add diced onion. Cook until browned.
3. Add sausage and ground beef and seasonings. Cook until browned.
4. Add beef broth and scrape the bottom of the pan.
5. Add tomato sauces.
6. Add fresh oregano and additional seasonings to taste.
7. Reduce heat to simmer and let sit for three hours (could also transfer to crockpot at this point!).
While I can’t claim we’re excited about this Sunday’s Super Bowl game, we are always excited about planning out our Super Bowl food and allowing ourselves to eat everything we want that day. A little too much of everything we want, but that’s okay one day a year, right?
If you’re looking for last minutes ideas, I have several tried and true recipes we often fall back on for the Super Bowl. And they’re all quick to make, so you can decide to try one of these on Sunday morning and have them ready in time for the game!
- Pizza Dip – We’ve been making this for years. We like to pair it with tortilla chips, but it would also be tasty on breadsticks! The recipe we use is the same as this pin I found – and tasty!
- Baked Potato Dip – Perfect with Wavy Lays potato chips, it includes all the best baked potato toppings. And takes about 3 minutes to make! I’ve linked to the original recipe I used from Allrecipes, but I will say that I normally use real bacon pieces instead of bacon bits.
- Spinach Dip – I love cold spinach dip, but I don’t make it very often because I eat way too much. Perfect for the Super Bowl! I like to pair it with Wheat Thins. This is my favorite recipe for it, found on Allrecipes years ago.
- Ranch Dip – The classic ranch dip made with the dry ranch mix and sour cream is practically healthy when you pair it with carrots! But of course it’s tasty with chips too. I may try the healthier Greek yogurt version this year.
- Cream Cheese Salsa Dip – My favorite Mexican style dip for tortilla chips? A block of cream cheese, a jar of salsa, and a cup or so of shredded cheddar – microwave and stir. Easy. Delicious. This picture looks similar to the way mine usually looks, but the recipe linked to here just calls for cream cheese & salsa, without the added tastiness of cheddar cheese.
- Crescent Roll Cinnamon Cheesecake – This has been one of our favorite dessert recipes for years, so usually if we don’t want to try a new dessert recipe that could be hit or miss, we pull this one out! And you can make it slightly healthier with reduced fat crescent rolls and cream cheese. I prefer to use the seamless crescent roll dough sheet which is not available in a reduced fat version though. Link to the original recipe I’ve always used is here.
- Tang Fruit Salad – Reagan always loves it if we include some fruit, and this fruit salad my grandmother used to make is still our all time favorite fruit salad recipe. The recipe here is close to my grandmother’s. It matches the liquid part exactly, but she always used only bananas, mandarin oranges, and pineapple for the fruit, so that’s how I’ve always made it. Just writing about it is making me want some right now!
To round out my list of 10 Super Bowl recipes, here are three we’re planning to try this year. I can’t swear they’ll be successes like my tried and true recipes, but I’m excited to try them!
- Pizza Quesadillas – How good do these look? Plus – what I always love – quick and easy! Note: we definitely wouldn’t put nasty olives on them because they’re slimy and gross.
- Blooming Onion Bread – I’ve been wanting to try one of these bread recipes for a while, and this could be the right one.
- Brownie Refrigerator Cake – We need a little sweetness to go with all the salty food, right?
Now I really can’t wait until Sunday!Read More
Another new thing I want to commit to this year? Taking more pictures. (Some may think I already take too many, but they’d be wrong.) I know I already mentioned it, but I’m still so excited I’ll say it again – I got a new camera for Christmas! And I’m so excited that it makes me want to take pictures constantly. I thought it would be fitting to do my first Project 365 post for today’s #iPPP since I got the idea from Greta. Between my new camera and my phone, I should always be able to manage at least one picture every day, right?
The only picture I took…was of dinner. Exciting, I know. It was delicious though (Honey Parmesan Pork Roast in the crockpot).
Um, yeah. Also only a picture of my food. We’re trying to start the new year off with more healthy habits, so I’ve been a little food focused. This was Cilantro Lime Chicken in the crockpot.
Brinky looking so cute at the window when we were waiting for our new washing machine to arrive since ours rudely broke after only three years. Related, I don’t recommend a Maytag Centennial washer. (Lee asks that you ignore the rust on the blinds – it upsets him.)
Reagan studying for the big school spelling bee on Friday!
On stage at the spelling bee! If I can brag for a moment…she got second place! A third grader in the third through fifth grade spelling bee! I was so impressed with her spelling and her clear speaking into the microphone. Everyone cheered when she spelled “baccalaureate” correctly. The word she missed (so we’ll remember it for all time) was “equanimity” – a tough one.
I just realized my days are totally off, but I’m going to keep going anyway because I apparently missed a day. Jenny, making a rare appearance around her family because she had to make French food for her quarterly French project.
For the record, these potatoes were really tasty. And healthy (covered in bacon, cream, and cheese).
Brinkley wondering why I didn’t stop him when he resorted to eating pudding with his hands. I wondered the same thing.
That’s it for week 1! We’ll see if I can keep it going. Linking up with Greta and Julie for the first #iPPP of the new year: