It’s been forever . . .

You know when life just happens, and then you end up cooking all this yummy stuff but you don’t have enough time to take pictures, let alone blog it? That’s been me lately. We’ve moved from Houston to Lafayette, Louisiana, and that alone plus some personal family sadness has taken up a few months time. I’m sad because I don’t have my awesome preparation kitchen island anymore, but my kitchen is way more spacious even without it.

I’ve also been doing some experimenting, and you know the first time you do a recipe you don’t really want to go through taking pictures and measuring out stuff just in case it’s terrible. So I have a lot of first time things to put up when I make them again. I’ll give a little sneak peak of what they are. There’s a special one-two punch of creamy garlic potatoes and fresh creamed corn, which I turned the leftovers into an amazing shephard’s pie the next day. It is a little different than your basic one, but hubster definitely approved. I also made some baked grilled cheese croissant puffers that got his seal of approval. I’ve done a take on nummers Mexican food, and I will do a conglomerate blog on all that at once.

That’s just a little bit of what’s coming up. Tomorrow for dinner is grilled pork steak and peas with mashed or fried potatoes. Not sure yet.

Until then, enjoy some shots of food I’ve cooked and instagramed.
homemade tortilla chips
homemade tortilla chips
fried catfish and squash
fried catfish and squash (both zucchini and yellow)
tilapia with cream sauce
tilapia with cream sauce, rice pilaf, and glazed carrots
macaroni and cheese stuffed burger
macaroni and cheese stuffed burger

Stuffed Mini Sweet Peppers

I got a membership to Costco. This is going to be the death of me. Holy crap!! I originally got it so I could buy stuff in bulk for our wedding but it’s already paid for itself as I found my flower girl’s dress there for $20! It was great. I saw this package of mini sweet peppers for $3 and I was like, well I don’t know what I’m going to make but I figured I would pick them up as they were cheap and looked good. I then got invited to a Christmas party where I needed to bring some stuff. I had made some jalapeno peppers which I had stuffed and wrapped with bacon. They were about the same size, so my brain started turning. What would work well with a sweet pepper? Here is what I came up with.

stuffed pepper recipe
1 pack of mini sweet peppers (I used the pack I found at Costco)
1 1/2 cups garlic bread crumbs
1/3 cup roasted raspberry chipotle sauce
12oz cream cheese, softened
3 tbsp minced garlic
1 1/2 tbsp italian seasoning
1 1/2 cup shredded cheese (I used colby cheddar
1 lb bacon
toothpicks

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Put everything except the bacon and the peppers into a food processor (I love my ninja!) and blend it until it’s almost dough-like (if it’s runnier, it’s probably because the cream cheese was super soft. It’s still okay).

Cut the top off the pepper, then clean out the inside. Using a small spoon, stuff the inside with the mixture you just created. Cut off enough of a slice of bacon to stretch over the top, then secure it with a toothpick. Set it into your pan. Wash, rinse, repeat.

Roast in the oven approximately 40 minutes. The bacon should be done. If you like a little char on your peppers leave them in a bit longer. They should be soft and edible. I promise they will be delicious. We had some chipotle ranch dressing we dipped them in, but honestly they didn’t really need it.

Corn and Sweet Potato Chowder

The name doesn’t really do this soup justice. My father said this was the best soup he’d ever eaten. Of course, he says that a lot about a lot of things I make, as the little mister pointed out. I will concur that it was amazing, and I feel the need to share it with you since I haven’t added anything in ages.

What You’ll Need
2 tbsp oil
1 onion, chopped (I used white)
1 lb of bacon, chopped into pieces
1 tbsp Italian seasoning
2 tbsp pepper (you can adjust this to taste)
2 super big sweet potatoes, peeled and diced
5 cups Chicken broth
1 16 oz package frozen corn
2 cans cream corn
1/2 cup grated parmesan
2 cups half and half

First, let’s chop some stuff:

Bacon

onions, and

sweet potatoes.

Cook the bacon in 2 tbsp of oil until it’s almost done, then add the onions.

Then cook til the onions are translucent. Throw in the herbs and pepper.
Then add the fun stuff.

Chicken broth and sweet potatoes, then bring to a boil.

Add the frozen corn and cream corn, then crank the heat down to low and simmer for about a half hour.
You can simmer longer – the longer it cooks, the more the flavors mesh.
After it’s simmered, add the half and half and cheese in, then stir and let cook for about 10 minutes.
It’ll look like this:

Yummy.

A few things to note: I took a shortcut and made the chicken broth with bullion cubes. Therefore, I didn’t add any salt. If you use the traditional broth you might want to salt it to taste. This also makes a very very healthy amount. So be prepared to eat it a while, freeze part of it, or serve a big crowd. But it’s definitely worth making. If you find your soup isn’t as thick as you’d like add a bit of cornstarch and let it cook down. This soup is just begging to be served with cornbread too. So good!

Bacon Wrapped Green Beans – Dress Up Your Weeknights

My husband works on an oil ship, so he is gone 4 weeks and home for 2. It stinks, but it’s what I signed up for when I knew I was dating a geologist. There are parts of it that are pretty awesome, though, like the 2 weeks of super together involved time. And then by the time he gets home, he has a list of his favorite things that I cook that he wants to eat. That’s one of my favorites for sure. We had these at a family Christmas gathering last year and he really liked them. Told me, “Babe, can you make those?” After about three tries I not only made them the way he liked them, he liked my version better! That’s what I’m talking about. When we have people over for dinner this is one of the things he loves me to make so he can brag on me. I have been asked for the recipe several times, so now I am posting it here, for you. Be forewarned: They are addictive!

bacon wrapped green beans recipe
Here’s what you’ll need:
1 package of bacon
Approximately 1.5 lbs of uncooked green beans from the produce section
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup butter
4 TBSP honey

bacon wrapped green beans recipe
Preheat your oven to 375.
First: start a stock pot of water on the stove on high, and bring it to a boil. While you’re waiting:
Cut the tips off of the green beans. Then put them in the boiling water and cook for about five minutes. Then it’s time to blanch. Not like the Golden Girl (did anyone else love her? I swear that’ll be me when I’m old).

green beans recipe
After five minutes, take the green beans off the heat. Then transfer them into a big bowl of ice water.
This stops the cooking and shocks them and keeps the awesome green color.

bacon wrapped green beans
Cut the bacon like so. Just half the strips. Saw it down the middle.

green beans
Time for assembly! Take three(ish) green beans that are roughly the same length, and wrap a piece of bacon around it.
It’s easiest if you hold one end of bacon at the end of the green beans and tilt it down, letting the bacon wind naturally.
When you are done, you should have a baking dish that looks something like this:
green bean recipes
Put that in the oven, for about 20 minutes. And in the meanwhile, make the glaze!

green bean recipe
Melt the butter in the microwave, then stir in the brown sugar and honey.
It should look a gorgeous golden brown and smell divine. Set that aside until the 20 minutes is up.
After 20 minutes, take the green beans from the oven and using a pastry brush, brush the glaze liberally over each bundle.
bacon wrapped green bean recipe
Wash, rinse, repeat every five minutes for about 20 more minutes. Then dump whatever is left of the glaze over them and let cook for a last 5 minutes.

Your end product should look something like this:
green beans and bacon recipe
Make these tomorrow. You’ll thank me later!

Wait for it . . .

So, long time it seems since I’ve posted a recipe or artwork. That is 100% my fault. Everything has been happening at once around here. The boy graduates from college on May 19, and we have been scrambling to find him post-grad work. After a series of emails and interviews, he got hired on! And the company will be paying to move us to Houston. So we’ve been packing, organizing, traveling back and forth to find a house, etc and there’s not much time right now for creating or cooking. We’ve been eating out a ton and this isn’t “Eating Out and Art”. SO! What you have to look forward to:

A slew of “holy crap look what I came up with in the kitchen” posts when I move. This kitchen quadruples the size of what I’m working with now. Within a month or so I want new pots and pans. I want to CREATE! And I’m going to have my own crafting room. All of this together is making me so excited for this blog – but it’s a few weeks away. So stay tuned!

Farmer’s Market Find: Italian Cheesy Squash Tart

Squash. It was the reason I got to the Farmer’s Market fifteen minutes before the opening bell. They were out of it the weekend before when I came. This time, I came home with a little basket of yellow golden goodies that I couldn’t wait to put in this tart. The boy is not a huge squash fan, but he inhaled this – the creamy cheese in it melted and it became a delicious gooey treat of awesomeness and love. you could also use a white onion and sliver very thin slices but I liked the milder taste of the green onions. If you use a small bunch instead of a larger onion, you may not be able to separate the rings too well, and that’s okay. Just make sure they’re sliced VERY thin!

1 8-oz can refrigerated crescent rolls
2 tbsp dijon mustard
1 stick (1/2 cup) butter
1 1/2 lbs yellow squash, sliced as thinly as possible
4 large or one bunch small green onions, sliced as thinly as possible and rings popped out
2 cloves garlic, finely minced
2 tbsp basil
2 tbsp thyme
2 tbsp oregano
salt & pepper to taste
1 cup cheddar cheese
1 cup parmesan cheese
2 large eggs
1/4 cup milk

First, you press the crescent rolls in the bottom of a tart pan or spring form pan, 9-10 inches. Make sure all the preforations are pressed together. Then poke holes in it with a fork, and bake at 375 degrees for approximately six minutes, or until light brown.
squash tart recipe

In a large skillet over medium high heat, melt the butter, then add in the squash, garlic, onions, and herbs. Also add salt and pepper.
italian tart recipe

Cook about six minutes, or until the squash and onions are tender.
squash pie recipe

Stir in the cheese into the squash mixture, then pour over the crust and even out the layer. In a separate bowl mix eggs and milk well, then pour on top of the squash mixture.
squash tart

Then bake it at 375 for 20-25 minutes, until a fork inserted comes out clean. It should be brown around the edges. Then serve as tart slices!

Here’s a picture of dinner, including the green beans I will do later:

Funfetti Cake Batter Dip! Homemade Dunkaroos!

This is delicious! My guy loves dunkaroos but They’re so expensive for just six of them. I got the inspiration as I was making something else with a cream cheese layer – I had an extra softened brick laying around and decided to try it out. This is what I came up with and it’s a little creamier than a dunkaroo, which I like better. And I’m using vanilla wafers instead of grahams. Again, personal preference. It’s super easy and is done in about 5 minutes.

8 oz cream cheese, room temperature.
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup dry funfetti cake mix
2 tbsp vanilla
4 tbsp milk

Put it all in a bowl and cream the hell out of it. If it’s too runny, add more funfetti. If it’s too thick, add more milk. Just like a tbsp at a time though on the milk. And this is what it looks like!

party dip recipe

Farmer’s Market Find: Blueberry Strudel Cream Cheese Muffins

The next bajilion entries are all going to be about Farmer’s Market finds. The Beaumont Farmer’s Market is every Saturday at the ungodly hour of 8am. I am usually out Friday nights till 2amish, so believe you me it has to be something special to get me up before like, oh, say 11am. This week I got an 8 pound cabbage (the smallest they had!), green beans, green and white onions, squash, kale, local honey (going to try it for my allergies), fresh eggs, potatoes, and sweet berries – strawberry and blueberry. The strawberries went straight into jam and I did the same with the blueberries – just had a cup left over. Perfect for these muffins. Again I’m a loser and only have the after photo – because I only decided midway that I was going to blog about them. I guess I just need to photograph everything just to be on the safe side.

Anyway, I definitely support growing your own veggies and fruit – but if you can’t, find a farmer’s market. Buy locally grown!

Blueberry Strudel Cream Cheese Muffins

Muffin Batter:
1 cup of fresh blueberries
2 tbsp vegetable oil
1 egg
1/4 cup sugar
3/4 cup milk
2 cups baking mix

Wash the blueberries and make sure all stems and leaves are discarded. Set aside. In a bowl mix oil, egg, sugar, and milk together until well blended. Stir in the baking mix. It should be a little bit lumpy. Gently fold in the berries. the batter is done!

Cream Cheese Filling:
1/4 cup sugar
4 oz softened cream cheese
1 tsp vanilla
1 egg

Beat all the ingredients in a bowl until well mixed. The cream cheese filling is done!

Strudel topping:
3/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
2 tbsp cold butter

Blend all the ingredients together with a pastry cutter (preferred) or your fingers until it is little coarse beads. The topping is done!

Wasn’t that all easy? Now, assembly.

First, preheat your oven to 375. Line 12 muffin tins with cupcake/muffin liners. divide the muffin batter evenly over the 12 cups, then spoon the cream cheese mixture evenly over the top. Pile on the strudel on top of that, and bake 15-20 minutes or until done.

And this is what you get!
blueberry muffin recipe

(better than) Restaurant Style Fajitas in 30 Minutes!

I have one photo for you, and it’s the finished project. It’s been a super long week and I just didn’t feel like breaking the camera out on such an easy recipe. Just because it’s easy doesn’t mean it’s not super delicious it’s actually one of the boy’s favorite things that I make. He’s leaving for a few days and I wanted to cook him something special before his little trip. So, what he calls “vajinas” are my very special fajitas.

fajitas recipe

I’ll even share my side secret!

2 lbs fajita meat of your choice (I prefer the carne asada from Wal mart’s meat department, and it’s the only place I can find it around here)
1 medium onion, slivered into thin slices
1 green bell peppers, slivered into thin slices then halved
1/2 carton sliced onions
2 cloves minced garlic
3 tbsp + 2 tbsp olive oil
1/2 packet fajita seasoning
1/2 cup + 4 tbsp barbecue sauce (Sweet Baby Ray’s Hickory & Brown Sugar is my fave!)
1 large can refried beans
1 box yellow rice (I use tony chachere’s, and the measurements will be for that. You might have to adjust for a different brand)
1 cup water
12.5 oz can tomatoes with green chilis
Fajita sized tortillas (warm them in single layers on a sheet in the oven between foil layers beforehand or take the lazy way and microwave them)
condiments for fajitas as you wish (salsa, cheese, sour cream, etc)

First, the fajitas.
Heat 3 tbsp of the oil in a very large skillet on medium high. Add the onions and garlic and cook, stirring a lot, for about 3 minutes. Then add in the green pepper, stirring more, and cook about 3 more minutes. Then add in the mushrooms and cook until everything looks yummy and done. Ok, maybe I should have taken -this- picture. Stuff should start to be getting tender and onions should be limp and yellowish brown. Add in your meat and the fajita seasoning (even though it may say on the package, do not add water! you’re gonna let the sweat from the meat and the veggies mesh with the seasoning and then the sauce). Stir it until it’s coated, and continue to stir while your meat cooks. When it’s completely brown, add in the barbecue sauce and let simmer for about five minutes. That’s it. It’s ready to eat!

The Side dishes:
Open a large can of refried beans, put in a microwave safe bowl. Add in the remaining barbecue sauce and heat for about 3 minutes, stirring well. For the rice, add a cup of water, the tomatoes, and the remaining olive oil in a pan and bring to a boil. Add the contents of the package in, bring back to a boil, then reduce to a simmer, cover and cook, stirring constantly, 20-25 mins or until the rice is done. It may or may not need some more water towards the end – if the rice isn’t done yet and it’s looking a bit dry, add 1/4 cup of water at a time.

It’s really that easy. 30min and done.

Meat and Veggie Stuffed Wontons

I saw a thing in the magazine I’ve been reading that featured bok choy fried wontons. I was sad to find out that our local Wal-Mart Supercenter does not carry bok choy… Boo! So, I improvised. A few years ago I made some chicken stuffed fried wontons with Asian pear dipping sauce, but since the boys are anti-chicken, well I had to improve (and improvise). This is what I came up with, and they loved them!

Asian Sensation Sauce (you will need to make this first!)
1/2 cup barbecue sauce
3 tbsp soy sauce
2 tbsp lime juice
1 tbsp cajun seasoning
1 tsp garlic salt
1 tsp onion powder
Whisk all ingredients together!

Stuffed Wontons – Nomalicious!
1 small onion, finely chopped
3 cloves of garlic, minced
2 tbsp olive oil
2 stalks of celery, finely chopped
1/3 cup matchstick carrot pieces, chopped into tiny tiny pieces
1 small carton of sliced mushrooms, chopped into small pieces
1 lb ground beef
3 tbsp asian sensation sauce
6 oz cream cheese, cold, cut into cubes
1 package wontons

First, heat 2 tbsp of oil in a large skillet on medium high heat. Once it’s nice and hot, add in the onions and garlic. Cook for about three minutes.
asian dinner recipe

Then, add in the celery and carrots and cook for about five minutes.
asian snack recipe

Crumble in the ground beef and cook until it is almost done.
asian recipes

Add your mushrooms and worcestershire sauce and cook until the mushrooms are completely done.
asian beef recipe

Drain the mixture and put into a bowl, adding the cream cheese and 3 tbsp of the Asian Sensation sauce.
asian wonton recipe

Lay a wonton out flat and with your fingertips brush some water along the edges. Then put about a tablespoon(ish) of the meat mixture in the center.
wonton recipe

Fold the wonton diagonally and press down so it seals well. The water will act as a binding agent.
asian wonton recipes

Place them on a wax paper lined baking sheet. If you have to use a few baking sheets put the first one in the refrigerator while you do the second. Look at these beauties!
chinese wonton recipe

Heat oil in a deep skillet to 365 degrees. Let them cook 2-4 at a time until they are golden and crispy on both sides.
fried wonton recipe

I served ours with some turnip greens, corn, and a side of sauce. I am tired. That’s what we got hahaha.
wonton recipe