Zucchini Farfalle

Wow, what a weekend we had! Did everyone else get TONS of snow?

At least we enjoyed some gorgeous weather the week before!!! My bestie was in town and we took the kids all over. She helped me take my very first photos on Manual Mode…I’m psyched:)
***beware the photo bomb!***

She loves riding the ponies and asks me constantly to go! Good thing they are close and free:) If you didn’t notice, this cutie is my life. We spend our days together and I’m pretty attached. She is so photogenic that I can’t help but snap a bizillion photos of everything she does. It’s like I’m afraid if I don’t document it, I won’t remember.

I have also been trying to snap photos of inanimate objects too…like food. This whole Daylight Savings thing has messed up my photo light. If I want good light I have to snap photos in the afternoon and I’m not usually up for cooking then, sooo, here comes subpar light photos. At least the recipe is DELISH. I mean, it IS Pioneer Woman. I’m not a big veggie only meal, but this is so tasty you don’t even miss the meat!

Zucchini Farfalle–via Pioneer Woman

Ingredients:

4 whole (to 5) Regular-sized Zucchini
1 whole Medium Onion
Grape Or Cherry Tomatoes
3 cloves Garlic
Farfalle (bowtie) Pasta
2 Tablespoons Olive Oil
2/3 cups White Wine (or Chicken Broth)
1 Tablespoon Arrowroot
1/2 cup (to 3/4 Cup) Cream
Parmesan Cheese
Fresh Herbs (lemon Thyme, Fresh Basil, Chives, Etc.)
Salt And Pepper, to taste

Directions:
1) Bring a pot of water to boil. Dice 1 medium onion and the zucchini into small slices. Slice the tomatoes in half lengthwise. Next dice up the garlic.

2) Once the water is boiling, go ahead and cook the pasta according to directions on the package, on the al dente side so it has a nice “bite” to it.

3) While the pasta is boiling, heat a couple tablespoons olive oil over medium high to high heat in a saucepan. When the oil is hot, throw in half the zucchini and let it brown. Once brown, toss it onto a plate and repeat with the 2nd half of zucchini and repeat the process. Once the zucchini is cooked, throw in the onions and garlic. Next throw in the halved grape tomatoes on top and toss around a bit, keeping the heat at medium low to medium.

4) Pour in 1/3 cup white wine (or chicken broth) and with a whisk or spoon, scrape the bottom of the pan so all the flavorful bits will be released. Pour another 1/3 cup wine (or chicken broth) into a dish and sprinkle the Arrowroot in and stir. Pour this into the pan with the onions and tomatoes, and now add in ½ to ¾ cup cream.

5)Next, turn the heat off and add in the zucchini and stir gently to combine. Grab a cup or two of the cooking liquid from the pasta and pour into the saucepan if the sauce needs to be thinned out a bit. Salt and pepper to taste.

6) To serve, pour the drained pasta into a large serving bowl or platter. Add your choice of fresh herbs, and pour the contents of the pan over the top. Add some Parmesan and a final sprinkling of fresh basil – voila!

Blueberry Cake Mix Muffins

As I mentioned, my best friend has been in town staying with me this week. We have been cooking up a storm…We both have so many yummy things pinned that we decided to try some out. Here are some AMAZING blueberry muffins that were super easy. I made these ones before and didn’t think anything could beat them. Well, these didn’t, but they didn’t disappoint either. I mean how easy is cake mix? I definitely would make these over and over before doing the streusel ones again simply because they take so much time and I don’t like waiting!!!

Blueberry Cake Mix Muffins–via Six Sisters Stuff

Ingredients:
1 box yellow cake mix
1 teaspoon baking powder
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
2/3 cup milk
1/3 cup vegetable oil
3 large eggs
1-2 cups fresh blueberries

Directions:
1) Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Mix dry cake mix (don’t follow directions on the box), baking powder, flour, milk, oil, and eggs together thoroughly.  
2) Fold in the blueberries (reserving a few to sprinkle on top) very gently, only stirring a couple of times so that your batter doesn’t turn blue/purple.  
3) Pour into lined muffin cups, filling about 2/3 full, and bake for 15-20 minutes.  Makes 16-18 muffins.

Pot Roast

One of my besties has been in town this week, hence the blog silence:) It’s been fabulous! We have been busy with crafting and taking the babes to the museum and farm and getting shakes and eating some more. She’s quite handy with the DSLR and I’m excited to try out my new tips.

I can’t post today without mentioning how SPECIAL today is. The one time we have a chance for our voices to be heard. You know what I’m saying….Election Day. Bestie is very very informed about politics and we have been following this presidential election very closely. I will not say more than that I believe strongly in people being INFORMED about economics, politics, foreign policy, and basic Constitutional principles. It is our job as citizens who live in the best free market economy to understand what makes it work and to support those who protect those freedoms. It is our duty to know more about the candidates than if they debate well or look good on camera. We need to investigate their credentials and know what they stand for. This cannot happen by simply watching the news, or listening to NPR. It takes educated study on what their decisions mean to us as citizens. This application extends to all candidates and not just presidential. Sure, every four years we pay more attention to voting, but how many of us know who our current congressmen are? What about who runs the school board, or the city mayor, or the people whose decisions affect our EVERY DAY LIFE? There. Off my Soap Box.

I’m not going to lie, I had every expectation of PW for this recipe. I am not a big Meat and Potatoes kind of gal, but I trusted PW enough to give it a try. Well, I think I messed it up because it wasn’t a succulent juicy roast or anything special. It was still kinda dry and flavorless. Maybe that’s just how pot roast is supposed to taste? I’m not a fan….Someone tell me what I’m doing wrong??? Here’s the recipe:

Perfect Pot Roast–via Pioneer Woman

Oh I know it looks delish doesn’t it! The carrots and potatoes were AMAZING! Don’t be deceived unless you like pot roast okay?

Ingredients:

1 whole (4 To 5 Pounds) Chuck Roast
2 Tablespoons Olive Oil
2 whole Onions
6 whole Carrots (Up To 8 Carrots)
Salt To Taste
Pepper To Taste
1 cup Red Wine (optional, You Can Use Beef Broth Instead)
2 cups To 3 Cups Beef Stock
3 sprigs Fresh Thyme, or more to taste
3 sprigs Fresh Rosemary, or more to taste

Preparation Instructions:
1) Generously salt and pepper your chuck roast. Heat a large pot or Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Then add 2 to 3 tablespoons of olive oil (or you can do a butter/olive oil split).

2)Cut two onions in half and cut 6 to 8 carrots into 2-inch slices (you can peel them, but you don’t have to). When the oil in the pot is very hot (but not smoking), add in the halved onions, browning them on one side and then the other. Remove the onions to a plate.

3)Throw the carrots into the same very hot pan and toss them around a bit until slightly browned, about a minute or so.

4)If needed, add a bit more olive oil to the very hot pan. Place the meat in the pan and sear it for about a minute on all sides until it is nice and brown all over. Remove the roast to a plate.

5)With the burner still on high, use either red wine or beef broth (about 1 cup) to deglaze the pan, scraping the bottom with a whisk to get all of that wonderful flavor up.

6)When the bottom of the pan is sufficiently deglazed, place the roast into the crock pot and add enough beef stock to cover the meat halfway (about 2 to 3 cups). Add in the onion and the carrots, as well as 3 or 4 sprigs of fresh rosemary and about 3 sprigs of fresh thyme.

7)Put the lid on, then cook for 3 hours on HIGH (for a 3-pound roast). For a 4 to 5-pound roast, plan on 4 hours.

Recipe Review


This is one of those recipes that tastes as scrumptious as the picture. It’s a yummy way to eat caramel apples! I was pretty liberal with my measuring and kind of chopped, drizzled, and sprinkled to my heart’s content; it was DEEEELish. This is going to be one of my new Fall Apple Traditions. This recipe gets a big THUMBS UP!


Snicker Caramel apple pie–via I heart naptime

Ingredients:
pie crust, I used graham cracker 
green apples, diced
1/4 cup caramel ice cream topping
15-20 mini snickers, chopped
2 1/2 cup COOL WHIP whipped topping, softened
1/3 cup can sweetened condensed milk
Directions:
1) Spread snickers on bottom of pie crust. Next layer the apples next. Then drizzle caramel on top. 
2) Combine cool whip and sweetened condensed milk together in a small bowl and spread on top. 
3) Drizzle with caramel and a few snickers. Place in refrigerator for at least 2 hours. Take out about 5 minutes before serving. Enjoy! 

Crock Pot Ravioli, err, Tortellini

You know when you see something fabulous and want to recreate it but find yourself shy on supplies? Well, this happens to me frequently and since I’m impatient to wait until I have the right supplies, I kind of rush into things. Thankfully, this was one of those things where a little creativity turned out fabulously…This great dish calls for frozen ravioli, but I didn’t have frozen ravioli, but some left over frozen tortellini. Frozen pasta is frozen pasta right? I also didn’t want to open a whole jar of pasta sauce, so I used some left over that was almost past it’s usability…and then top it with cheese? It has to be delish. 

Well, it WAS FABULOUS. I love cooking pasta in the crock-pot now. I think it’s my new favorite thing. (besides getting my nails done; that’s prob the most favorite thing right now. Winter and DIY projects are such a beast to my poor dried-out, flaky hands.)
Ok, enough of my drivle, here’s the recipe

Crock Pot Ravioli–via Crystal and Co


Ingredients:
25 oz bag of frozen ravioli (we like cheese)
1 jar of your favorite spaghetti sauce
1 cup mozzarella cheese

Instructions:

1) Dump your bag of frozen ravioli right into the crockpot.
2) Pour your jar of sauce over the ravioli.
3) Stir the ravioli to evenly coat with sauce. Be careful, don’t chip a nail. I know this is strenuous work.
4) Cover and cook on high for about 3 hours. Depending on how fast your crockpot cooks, you may notice they are done closer to 2.5 hours. You could also cook on low for a longer period of time.
5) About 20 minutes before you are ready to serve, sprinkle the top of the ravioli with finely shredded mozzarella cheese.
6) Pop the lid back on and let it melt- about 20 minutes.Once the cheese is melted, plate it up and serve.

Ooey-Gooey PB Brownies

Now that you have eaten all your kids Halloween candy….I mean, now that Halloween is over I’m going to start posting recipes that use candy from our trick-or-treat endeavors. Except for this recipe. Just make them and you’ll be happy you did.

Ooey-Gooey Peanut-Butter Brownies–via Our Best Bites

Don’t those look amazing? Well they are. We had a couple friend come over and they agreed. These are the best brownies that aren’t brownies ever. 

Monterey Chicken

Wow people, it’s November, and I’ve been in my house for a month. Time has FLOWN! I still feel like I have a million things to do; but then I realize that we are approaching the holidays. For me, November is always my busiest month because I like to get my Christmas shopping done by Thanksgiving so December is all about celebrating the season. I think this year is going to be tough. I’m about finished with my Christmas list; don’t you worry, I’ll post it so you can dream with me:) 
I got all my menu done for November! That was my goal, to be done by the first Sunday of the month and I did it. Here’s a quick list starting at next week since I’ve already shown you this week’s: 
7. Sweet and Sour Meatballs
11. Fiesta Ranch Chicken
(Obviously there are only 19 recipes and there are more than 19 days of November…well, I usually don’t end up cooking every night of every week so I just plan for about 19-20 meals and we almost always have more meals planned than we eat for the month.)
For today’s recipe I’m making Monterey Chicken. This was actually the first time I tried it or cooked it and let me tell you it was AWESOME. Chicken, BBQ sauce, Bacon and Cheese=best dish ever. We will repeat this one over and over!

Monterey Chicken–via Six Sisters Stuff


Ingredients: 
4-6 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, thawed
Salt and pepper 
1 cup barbecue sauce (our favorite is Famous Dave’s brand, but any kind would work)
10 pieces bacon, cooked
1 1/2 cups Monterey Jack cheese and cheddar cheese mix, shredded
Fresh diced tomatoes
Diced green onions

Directions: 


1)Pound the chicken breasts so that they flat (this will also help make the chicken very tender). Season with salt and pepper.
2) Cook the chicken over an outdoor grill over medium high heat; 6-7 minutes per side or until fully cooked. If you don’t have an outdoor grill, you could easily cook it over an indoor grill or in a skillet on the stove top that has been sprayed with cooking spray.
3) After the chicken is finished cooking, transfer the chicken breasts to a large baking sheet covered in aluminum foil. Spread 2-3 tablespoons of barbecue sauce over each chicken breast. Top each chicken breast with 2 slices of bacon and and a handful of the shredded cheese mix. Place the baking sheet in an oven broiler (or microwave long enough to melt the cheese). Top with diced tomatoes and green onions. Serve immediately.

Mango Chicken w/Rice

This was my inspiration for E’s costume:

Although this little girl looks a lot like my Eliza, it’s not. This is:

Break-down of her adorable costume:
Tulle Tutu: $12
Leather fringe: $3.36 (and snaps $1.49)
Feathers for headdress: $1.99
Beads for headdress: $2.00
Brown tights: already have
Ugg boots: already have
Total: $20.84
Having a one-of-a kind, adorable costume?: priceless
I’ll get to use the snaps for other projects and the tutu for so many other things so I guess it was worth it:)

I’ve spent a whopping $4 on cowboy boots for me and $2 for an ugly plaid shirt. (not that cowgirls wear ugly plaid shirts, just that’s what they had in the style at the goodwill.) I found a semi-decent hat at Target for $12.
I got some nice Wranglers for Ty that are a little big ($4 at goodwill) so I plan on taking them in…a lot. Got to get ’em nice and snug:) I don’t know what he’ll do for boots, but he already has a sweet shirt and cowboy hat.
That comes to a total of $42.84 for our Halloween costumes. I’m sure I could’ve done it for less if I used my coupons at Hobby Lobby for all the little stuff for E’s costume, but hey 3 people’s costumes for under $50. Not too shabby.

I also scored on candy with couponing…a bag of 250 dum dums for $9 and 6lbs of M&M’s, Snickers, Twix, and such mixes for $1/lb. That’s $15 on candy but I don’t know if it will be enough for our neighborhood. We’ll see!

Tonight is a definite crock pot recipe. As I mentioned yesterday, Blissful and Domestic plans for the whole month. This is another one of hers.

Mango Chicken with Rice–via Blissful and Domestic

Ingredients:
4-5 chicken breasts (I only did 1 breast for the 3 of us)
1 jar mango salsa (I guessed this was 1 pint so I did 1/2 cup)
rice (I cook 3/4 cup for the 3 of us)

Directions:
Put chicken in a crock pot. Pour salsa over the top. Cook on low for 5-6 hours. Serve with rice and veggies.

Oven Turkey Meatballs

My friend got married this weekend and I drove out to Colorado to be there. The normal 8 1/2 hr drive took me 10 because of a horrid accident in one of the many canyons between Utah and Colorado. We inched along the road while it was snowing lightly over icy roads. Brrr. I’m glad I made it safely. It was worth it though; she looked absolutely gorgeous!

I never get into pics, so here’s a rare one of me and the blushing bride:)

I ran into a fabulous blogger at Blissful and Domestic. She menu plans for the whole month! My goal is to have all the next month up on the calendar by the last Sunday of the month. That’s this Sunday…oh dear:) She includes some of her own fabulous recipe and this one is hers! Remember this post where I talked about not being a big meatball fan? Well, I LOVED these ones, so all you meatball haters out there EAT THESE ONES!

Oven Turkey Meatballs–via Blissful and Domestic

Ingredients:
3 beaten eggs
1/4 cup milk
3 cups bread crumbs
1/2 onion, chopped
2 stalks celery
2 tsp seasoning salt
1 lb ground turkey
1 lb ground turkey sausage

Directions:
Preheat oven to 375. In a large mixing bowl, combine beaten eggs, milk, breadcrumbs, onion, and salt. Add ground turkey and mix well. Shape into 1″ balls (Makes about 30-40). Bake for 25-30 mins. Eat right away or cool and freeze. She makes the whole batch and uses it twice this month, but I just halved the recipe and used 1 lb turkey sausage and I still had enough to freeze for a second meal