Thursday, January 12, 2012

DAY # 29 Pioneer Woman's Meatloaf

It's surprising to me how many people don't like meatloaf simply because it's ground meat in the shape of a loaf.  I think the problem is not actually the shape or "look" of the meat but more the taste.  I NEVER order meatloaf at a restaurant and up until now have never eaten any one's meat loaf except my mom's, my ex mother-in-laws, and my grandmothers.  They all make VERY good "traditional" type meatloaf.  That's why i was sooooooo intrigued when i found the pin for Pioneer Woman's meatloaf.  First off, i had never heard of Pioneer Woman, and apparently i was missing out because the woman is a genius and an amazing blogger.  She has her own show and a cook book (which i will be buying!).  However, all of these things were not what hooked me on her blog, it was her post called All I Wanted Was A Doughnut and if you haven't read it, you should go there right now and read it and come back to this post after you've had a nice hard laugh!

So now that you're back you should probably grab a tissue and wipe away all of those tears from your laughing fit!  Back to the recipe.  I couldn't wait to try this bacon wrapped meatloaf so off to the store i went.  Here is the recipe...


1 cup Whole Milk
6 slices White Bread
2 pounds Ground Beef
1 cup (heaping) Freshly Grated Parmesan Cheese
1/4 teaspoon Seasoned Salt
3/4 teaspoons Salt
Freshly Ground Black Pepper
1/3 cup Minced Flat-leaf Parsley
4 whole Eggs Beaten
10 slices Thin/regular Bacon

1-1/2 cup Ketchup
1/3 cup Brown Sugar
1 teaspoon Dry Mustard
Tabasco To Taste (I used about 1 tbs)


Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Pour milk over the bread slices. Allow it to soak in for several minutes.
Place the ground beef, milk-soaked bread, Parmesan, seasoned salt, salt, black pepper, and parsley in a large mixing bowl. Pour in beaten eggs.

With clean hands, mix the ingredients until well combined. Form the mixture into a loaf shape on a broiler pan, which will allow the fat to drain. (Line the bottom of the pan with foil to avoid a big mess!)

Lay bacon slices over the top, tucking them underneath the meatloaf.
Make the sauce: add ketchup, brown sugar, mustard, and hot sauce in a mixing bowl. Stir together.

Pour 1/3 of the mixture over the top of the bacon. Spread with a spoon.

Bake for 45 minutes, then pour another 1/3 of the sauce over the top. Bake for another 15 minutes. Slice and serve with remaining sauce.

I served with mashed potatoes and green beans. Yummy!

You can find the pin HERE.
You can find the original recipe and all of Pioneer Woman's amazingness HERE.

OK, so here is my opinion:
This meatloaf was delicious!  I didn't change one single thing with the recipe.  I did have one major problem though!  After cooking for the whole hour, i pulled the meatloaf from the oven and cut the end to find the meat still pink.  So i cut the other end too and stuck it back in to cook another 20 minutes.  I then pulled it back out of the oven, cut into the center and much to my surprise (my gas oven cooks a little hotter than most electric ovens) the middle was still VERY pink!  Now I'm aggravated, not only are we starving, but my potatoes and green beans are getting cold!  So i cranked the oven up to 450 degrees and stuck it back into the oven for another 20 minutes.  When i pulled it out this time and cut into it, i found it to be cooked perfectly.  All aggravation was lost the minute the meatloaf hit my tongue.  Not only was it moist but it had an amazing sweet and spicy flavor (thanks to the sauce).  I even made the kids meatloaf sandwiches the next day with the leftovers and they LOVED them!  There wasn't one bite left on any of their plates  :)

???  Pinterest Win / Pinterst Fail  ???
YAY for another WIN!

Sunday, January 8, 2012

DAY # 28 Turtle Cookie Brownies

As you can tell from my previous two posts, I'm catching up again.  LOL  The kids when to stay with my parents for the weekend which i have to say was AWESOME!  You forget how nice it is to wake up when you want to, to shower when you want to, and to watch a movie with the surround sound cranked up without worrying about waking the kids.  We had a really nice weekend and now I'm left playing catchup on three days worth of blogs.  I've just popped the cork on a nice bottle of Riesling (I've acquired quite a taste for wine lately) and I'm going to share one of my FAVORITES with you!

Turtle Cookie Brownies

This concept came to me one day while searching around google.  Brownie on bottom, caramel middle, and chocolate chip cookie on the top, all baked in a mini cupcake pan.  After gathering all of the ingredients, i set to work, hoping that my creation would actually turn out how i had envisioned in my mind.  Here's what i started with...

(I usually use Tollhouse cookies, but decided to try these this time.  I will be going back to Tollhouse!)

I mixed the brownies according to the box.

I then generously sprayed my pan with Pam cooking spray (if you don't use enough spray, they will stick and fall apart before you ever even get them out of the pan) and placed a spoonful of brownie mix in each cup on the mini muffin pan.

Next, add a little dollop of the caramel sauce (included in the brownie box) in the middle of each brownie.

Now get out your "break and bake" cookies and divide each square into 3 small cookies.  You should have about half the package left when you are finished.  Place a tiny cookie on top of the caramel on top of each brownie.

Now bake at 350 degrees for 12 minutes (this may vary slightly according to your oven but be careful not to over bake!)

Let cool completely before gently prying brownies from pan with a butter knife.

These are a huge hit with my entire family and i usually have to make a double or triple batch  :)

HERE is the pin.

???  Pinterest Win / Pinterest Fail  ???
You tell me?!  :)

DAY # 27 Beijing Beef

On a recent "Girls Day Out" my friend and i had gone to the mall to see New Year's Eve and decided to grab some lunch before the movie started.  She picked Panda Express (which was a little intimidating for me as I've only eaten there one other time and had NO CLUE as to what to order).  I pointed to one of the dishes that looked good and asked the lady "is that one spicy?"  She assured me that it was and that's what i ordered, Beijing Beef.  It was a mix of crunchy fried strips of beef, a spicy sweet sauce, and onions and red peppers.  I was in love the minute it hit my tongue!  So about a week or so later, i was craving the delicious Chinese dish again and decided to try to make it myself.  Off I went in search of a decent recipe.  I found that most of the recipes i found call for Ketchup in the sauce and i knew that had to be wrong, so i searched some more and found this recipe....

Beijing Beef

1/2 - 3/4 lb Sirloin Steaks sliced into thin strips against the grain (can sub flank steak)
1/2 cup cornstarch (i ended up needing a little bit more)
oil (for frying)

1 egg
1/2 tsp salt
1 tbs water
1/2 tbs cornstarch

8 tbs water
4 tbs sugar
3/4 cup (1/2 Sweet and Sour Sauce and 1/2 Hoisin Sauce)
2 tbs Ponzu sauce with citrus
4 tbs white vinegar
2 tsp chili paste sambal oelek (can sub sriracha, which i did because that's what i had on hand)
4 tsp cornstarch (which i forgot  LOL)

1 tbs vegetable oil
1 lrg garlic minced
1/2 tsp minced ginger (i used the kind in a tube)
1 red bell pepper diced
1 medium white onion sliced


In a bowl, whisk together all marinade ingredients.  Place marinade in a mall sealable plastic bag, adding beef slices.  Seal and massage to coat.  Marinate for 15 minutes.  In the meantime, in a small bowl mix all the sauce ingredients together until completely combined (i place the ingredients in a sealable container and shake).  Set aside.  I also went ahead and cut all of my vegetables while waiting on the meat to marinate.

Drain marinade from beef.  Coat the beef slices with cornstarch.

Heat oil over medium-high heat until very hot.  Shake off any excess cornstarch and fry in batches until golden brown.  Drain on paper towels and set aside.

Heat wok over medium-high heat (i just used another large skillet).  Add 1 tbs oil and heat to almost smoking.  Add minced garlic and ginger and stir-fry for 10 seconds.  Add bell pepper and onion, stir fry for 2 minutes (I cooked a little longer as i wanted my bell peppers a little softer). 

Pour sauce mixture into the wok over the vegetables and heat until boiling and sauce thickens.

Remove from heat then add beef to vegetable and sauce mixture.

It said to sprinkle the top with toasted sesame seeds, but i forgot to buy them so we left that part out.  I served it over steamed white rice.  I was going to serve it with this fried rice but forgot to cook my rice the night before so that it could dry out.

My husband was soooooooooooooooo impressed with my mad cooking skills!  He couldn't believe that it actually tasted like real Chinese food!  Yay me!

HERE is the pin.

???  Pinterest Win / Pinterest Fail  ???
Winner Winner Chinese Dinner!  LOL

DAY # 26 Firecracker Salmon and the BEST Broccoli EVER

We've been trying LOTS and LOTS of new recipes lately.  I didn't intend the blog to become more about the recipes and less about the crafts, that's just what has happened lately.  I've become so excited at the prospect of not eating the same mundane menu week after week that i've gone a little crazy on my "Food Glorious Food" board.  I have seen this Best Broccoli Ever pin for a while now and couldn't decide what i was going to cook just so that i could cook the broccoli, and husband discovered the BEST Salmon recipe.  So i'm going to share that recipe with you as well as my take on the best broccoli.

Here's the original recipe from

The Best Broccoli of Your Life~

Take 4 to 5 pounds of broccoli (I just got two large bunches), cut into florets (but relatively big ones.) Here’s the key that she doesn’t mention in the recipe: dry them THOROUGHLY. That is, if you wash them. I saw an episode of Julia Child cooking with Jacques Pepin once when Pepin revealed he doesn’t wash a chicken before putting it in a hot oven: “The heat kills all the germs,” he said in his French accent. “If bacteria could survive that oven, it deserves to kill me.” By that logic, then, I didn’t wash my broccoli; I wanted it to get crispy and brown. If you’re nervous, though, just wash and dry it obsessively.
Now, it’s easy. Put the broccoli on a cookie sheet (i just put it all into a ziplock bag). Toss with olive oil, salt and pepper. (She says 5 Tbs olive oil, 1 1/2 tsps kosher salt, 1/2 tsp fresh ground pepper, but I just eyeballed it.)   Now add 4 garlic cloves that are peeled and sliced and toss them in too.  
Roast in the oven 20 to 25 minutes, until “crisp-tender and the tips of some of the florets are browned.”
I shook the pan around a bit as it went, but not sure that’s necessary.  When it’s done, take it out of the oven–and here’s where it gets really good–zest a lemon over the broccoli, squeeze the lemon juice over the broccoli, add 1.5 Tbs more olive oil, 3 Tbs toasted pine nuts (I left those out), and 1/3 cup of freshly grated Parmesan cheese.
**Don't add extra salt, i made this mistake because alot of the salt was still stuck to the inside of the bag and it was too much!  Also, I couldn't figure out how to use the bloody lemon zester so i gave up on that and just squeezed the whole lemon over the broccoli, and again, it was too much.  Maybe just use half the lemon.

This really was good!  I will be making broccoli like this more often  :)
HERE is the original pin.

Now on the the Firecracker Grilled Alaska Salmon recipe:


8 (4 ounce) fillets salmon (we use 2 nice sized pieces of salmon)
1/2 cup peanut oil
4 tablespoons soy sauce
4 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
4 tablespoons green onions, chopped
3 teaspoons brown sugar
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 1/2 teaspoons ground ginger
2 teaspoons crushed red pepper flakes
1 teaspoon sesame oil
1/2 teaspoon salt


Place salmon filets in a medium, nonporous glass dish. In a separate medium bowl, combine the peanut oil, soy sauce, vinegar, green onions, brown sugar, garlic, ginger, red pepper flakes, sesame oil and salt.

Whisk together well, and pour over the fish. Cover and marinate the fish in the refrigerator for 4 to 6 hours.

Prepare an outdoor grill with coals about 5 inches from the grate, and lightly oil the grate.
Grill the fillets 5 inches from coals for 10 minutes per inch of thickness, measured at the thickest part, or until fish just flakes with a fork. Turn over halfway through cooking.

We've eaten salmon a few different ways and this is by far my favorite!  Plus it's so easy!
HERE is the pin.
HERE is the original recipe.

???  Pinterest Win / Pinterest Fail  ???
A BiG WiN!

Thursday, January 5, 2012

DAY # 25 Devils Food (chocolate) Waffles

Today is Thursday.  A few years ago Thursday nights were known as "Grey's Anatomy Night."  That meant that she would come to dinner and my husband would cook us something extra yummy.  Every now and then, especially if it was premier night or season finale night, we would just skip dinner and make devils food cupcakes and drown them in melted butter.  It sounds weird, i know, but there is no better way to eat a chocolate cupcake.  At least this was our Thursday night were before my sister went off and got hitched.  Now life is a little too busy now that we both have husbands and i have kids.  From time to time, I'll still make the cupcakes just for old times sake  :)

So this pin...Red Velvet Waffles got me to thinking, if you can make red velvet waffles and drown them in melted cream cheese frosting, then why not chocolate waffles and drown them in butter?  Of course, this is something I've been thinking about since before Thanksgiving, so I made sure that when I went shopping on Black Friday that i fought for a cheap waffle maker  ;)

Some reading on Google explained that i should just make the cake mix as usual and put it into the waffle maker.  Sounds easy enough....or at least i thought it did  LOL

So it turns out that a whole cup of cake mix is TOO MUCH and I forgot to spray cooking spray on the waffle maker so cake mix was stuck to EVERY surface.  LOL, a big mess and a lot of scrubbing later, i was ready to try again.

I used half a cup of mix and closed the waffle iron for a few minutes.  When i opened it back up, i was happy to see that my waffles looked like waffles.

Well, minus a few corners because i was too afraid to overfill the darn thing again!

Here is where the problem lies.  The waffles don't really have a "waffle" texture.  They were VERY soft and really hard to get out of the machine because they just wanted to rip apart.  I ended up just turning the waffle maker over and dumping them out every time.  LOL, what ever works for pretty waffles, right?!

I will definitely be making these again!  :)  Maybe I'll drizzle the top with hot fudge next time!
And i will definitely be trying the Red Velvet Waffles a little closer to Valentines!

???  Pinterest Win / Pinterest Fail  ???

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

DAY # 24 Chicken Parmesan Bake

If you asked my husband what his favorite Italian dish is, chances are that he would tell you Chicken Parmesan.  It is always his fallback choice at restaurants when he can't decide what to order and what he orders from Olive Garden 95% of the time.  About a year ago, i stumbles across a really good Chicken Parm recipe, but it's really a giant pain in the butt!  The sauce is homemade and tastes wonderful but it too is alot of work, and then when you add in pounding the chicken and frying it, well, you can just count on spending at least a few hours in the kitchen. 

I came across a pin a few weeks ago called Chicken Parmesan Bake and the description said this..."This could be the BEST recipe I have found on here! Chicken Parmesan bake! No frying, just baking!"  Well of course i added it to my recipe arsenal.  I did decide to stick with the sauce from our other recipe, so i'll include that too, in case you want to make your own  :)

Here are the recipes...

Chicken Parmesan Sauce

1/2 cup Olive Oil
1 small onion chopped
2 garlic cloves chopped (i used the refrigerated kind)
1 stalk celery chopped
1 large carrot chopped
2 (28oz) cans crushed tomatoes
4-6 fresh basil leaves chopped
3 dried bay leaves (i pick the larger ones out of the bottle so they are easier to find when it's time to take them out!)
Salt and Pepper to taste

Heat oil over medium.  Add onion and garlic and saute until soft.  Add celery, carrots, salt and pepper and saute about 5 minutes. 

Add tomatoes, basil, and bay leaves and simmer on low for about an hour.

*the original recipe called for you to then put the sauce into a blender or processor so that it's smooth instead of chunky.  I usually do this, but decided last night to leave it chunky and it was nice to have the chunkier sauce with the chicken.

I finished up my sauce and then went to work on the chicken.

Chicken Parmesan Bake

2 tbs olive oil
2 cloves garlic minced (again, i used the refrigerated kind)
crushed red pepper to taste
4-6 boneless skinless chicken breasts
1/4 cup chopped basil (i didn't use as much since i used basil in the sauce too)
8 oz shredded Mozzarella cheese
4 oz grated Parmesan cheese
1 package of garlic croutons

In bottom of baking dish spread olive oil.  Mix in garlic and sprinkle with crushed red pepper.

Place chicken breasts on top and then cover with sauce.

Sprinkle on the fresh chopped basil.  Sprinkle on HALF of the cheese.  Layer on (slightly crushed) croutons.  Sprinkle on the rest of the cheese.

Bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes to an hour.

*Mine browned quite a bit on top, to the point that i was worried it was burning, but i was afraid that the chicken wouldn't get done if i took it out early.  In the end, it wasn't burned, just brown and my husband RAVED about how good the "crust" was.  LOL

I did find the chicken to be a little bland.  It didn't soak up any flavor from the sauce or the olive oil mix but tasted good as long as you got some sauce or topping in the same bite as the chicken.  I think next time i will rub the chicken with some seasoning and perhaps pound it out a bit thinner before placing it into the baking dish.  Also, i served this on top of some spaghetti noodles, but they weren't needed.  This dish in itself is VERY filling.

HERE is the link to the original blog post.
HERE is the link to the original recipe.

???  Pinterest Win / Pinterest Fail  ???
A win!

Monday, January 2, 2012

DAY # 23 Apples Malloy (Dip)

So in the previous post i said i was looking for a dessert dip to go along with my other dip for New Year's Eve.  After searching and searching, this was the one that caught my eye.  It seemed easy enough  :)

How could you not want to try this?  And the apples make it healthy right?  LOL

So here is the recipe...

4 lrg Granny Smith Apples
1 package of cream cheese
Caramel Sauce
mini chocolate chips
1 Heath Bar candy bar (chopped)

Mix cream cheese with generous amount of caramel sauce.  Smear on bottom of platter.  Sprinkle with a handful of mini chocolate chips.  Top with chopped up Heath Bar.  Serve with sliced Granny Smith apples.

Here is the original pin:
Here is the original blog post:

This was such a hit at the party!

???  Pinterest Win / Pinterest Fail  ???
Big Time WIN!