Taco Spaghetti

I love kids television. I would totally pick the Disney Channel or Nickelodeon over most adult shows any day. I know what you’re thinking, what does that have to do with anything?

Well, a few years ago I binge-watched iCarly and one of their meals of choice was spaghetti tacos. Which was obviously supposed to be a show joke but since the show was so popular, it became a real thing. I’ve had it in the back of my head that maybe, possibly, at some point I’d try them… just to see.

And then I ran across this recipe and I immediately knew this would be a much better take on the iconic iCarly meal. I’m always a fan of one-pot meals and this one didn’t disappoint!

TacoSpaghetti

Taco Spaghetti
{from Ready, Set, Eat)
Serves 4

1 lb. ground beef
1 pkg. taco seasoning mix
1 can diced tomatoes with green chilies
2 1/2 cups water
8 oz. spaghetti, broken in half
Sour cream, for serving
Avocado, for serving

In a large skillet over medium-high heat, brown the ground beef. Add taco seasoning, tomatoes and water. Stir to combine. Stir in the spaghetti. Bring to a boil then cover, reduce heat and cook for 10 minutes.

Serve topped with sour cream and avocado.

Strawberry Lemon Sun Tea

My first semester of college, I had a really mothering professor. She taught us how to take the train to Philadelphia. She clued us in on the best places to eat on campus. And she offered to bring us coffee to class. In one of the early classes, when I wasn’t indulging, she commented that if I could make it through college without developing a coffee habit, I’d probably never drink it.

She was right, so far. I’m really not a coffee person.

Or, tea. Unless it’s iced and fruited up, like this one. This is a perfect summer tea.

StrawberryLemonSunTea

Strawberry Lemon Sun Tea
(from Wonky Wonderful)
Serves 2-3

2 lemons
1 cup strawberries, halved
3 Tea bags
Water

Into a 24 oz. jar, juice one of the lemons. Slice the other lemon and add it to the jar along with the strawberries. Add the tea bags and fill the jar with water.

Sit in the sun for 2-3 hours, then remove the tea bags and chill. Serve over ice.

Italian Stuffed Flank Steak

I’m kind of in denial that June is already here. My husband and I are both turning thirty this month. Next month we’ll be celebrating our sixth anniversary and Jake’s first birthday. I mean, how is that really possible? Add to that two planned trips, out of town friends coming for a week, 4th of July and our calendar is filling up really, really fast. I’m already getting anxious that the summer is going to get away from me.

The only way I’m combatting my anxiety, so far, is by starting early. We’ve had the baby pool set up for a few weeks and I’m plowing through my folder of grilling recipes. We’ve already made my beloved grilled pizza a few times so it was time to move onto another favorite – meat on sticks.

Beef, prosciutto, provolone and Italian spices all wrapped up and grilled – how could this not be a winner?

ItalianStuffedSteak

Italian Stuffed Flank Steak
(from The Chunky Chef)
Serves 4

4 cloves of garlic, pressed
1 small shallot, minced
2 Tbsp. fresh parsley, minced
1 tsp. fresh sage, minced
1 tsp. fresh basil, minced
2 Tbsp. olive oil
2 lbs. flank steak
4 oz. deli-sliced prosciutto
4 oz. deli-sliced provolone cheese

In a small bowl, whisk together the first six ingredients.

Butterfly the steak and pound out thin. Top with herb mixture, prosciutto and provolone. Roll up, hold together with toothpicks and cut into pinwheels.

Grill over medium-high heat for 8-10 minutes, turning halfway, until steak reaches desired doneness.

Grilled Bread with Rosemary Dipping Sauce

As soon as warmer weather hits, I want to grill everything. I’m pretty sure that 90% of the recipes I’ve pulled out of magazines or bookmarked in the past month have been grilling-related. Besides just feeling summery, it generally means that Mark does more of the cooking and there are fewer dishes to wash – wins all around.

This was a great way to serve a loaf of Italian bread. I usually end up making garlic bread or just slicing and buttering – this was a nice, different treat. And with the fresh herbs starting to come out of the garden now, it’s especially perfect!

BreadRosemaryDip

Grilled Bread with Rosemary Dipping Sauce
(from Tastes Lovely)
Serves 6-8 as a side

1 loaf Italian bread, cut in half horizontally
2 Tbsp. olive oil
1 clove garlic

1/4 cup olive oil
Salt and pepper, to taste
1 Tbsp. fresh rosemary, chopped
1-2 Tbsp. balsamic vinegar

Cut the bread in half, horizontally and brush each cut side with olive oil. Grill on high for 2-3 minutes, until you have char marks. Remove from the grill and rub the cut side with the clove of garlic. Slide into strips

On a deep plate, stir together the olive oil, salt, pepper and rosemary.  Add the balsamic vinegar.

Serve the bread along with the oil for dipping.

Cookies and Cream Popsicles

We had a really lovely Memorial Day Weekend. Mark’s been working long hours the last few weeks and his CFA exam is only a few weeks away so things have been generally crazy around here. Having three days of him home with no real plans was glorious.  We played in the baby pool with Jake, had a picnic with friends, walked over to the town parade – such a perfect, laid-back weekend.

And I spent a lot of time in the kitchen, which is something that’s been hard to do lately. I got to try out a whole bunch of summery recipes I’m super excited to share – but figured that kicking off summer with popsicles was a sweet way to start.

Oreos are a favorite around here so these were a big hit. I got four popsicles out of the recipe but my molds are fairly large so I think you’d get six with most others.

CookiesAndCreamPopsicles

Cookies and Cream Popsicles
(from WonkyWonderful)
Makes 4-6

3/4 cup milk
1/2 frozen whipped topping, thawed
2 Tbsp. sugar
6 Oreos

In a blender, combine the milk, whipped topping an sugar. Add the Oreos and pulse until they are small bits.

Freeze in popsicle molds until solid.

 

Chocolate Chocolate Chip Bundt Cake

Supporting organizations that deal with hunger issues is near and dear to my heart. To me, there are few things as important as making sure those in your community are fed. We have a local organization here that has a few different anti-hunger programs (among other great programs!) – and my favorite is their holiday meal service. On Thanksgiving, Christmas and Easter they set up a big, free meal for anyone who feels they need it. They usually end up serving around 400 people.

Everything is funded through donations so when I saw that they were looking for people to make some cakes for them to serve on Easter, I jumped on it. Jake and I whipped up this quick-but-delicious bundt cake for their dessert spread. I’ve been too busy to share the recipe before this, but never too busy to help out a good cause!

ChocolateChocolateChipBundt

Chocolate Chocolate Chip Bundt Cake
(from The Cake Mix Doctor Returns!)
Makes 1 Bundt Cake

1 package plain chocolate cake mix
1 package chocolate instant pudding mix
4 large eggs
1 cup sour cream
2/3 cup water
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips

Preaheat the oven to 350F and grease a bundt pan.

In a large bowl, beat together the cake mix, pudding mix, eggs, sour cream, water, vegetable oil and vanilla until well combined, about 2 minutes, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed. Fold in the chocolate chips and transfer batter to the prepared pan.

Bake for 55-60 minutes, until it springs back when lightly pressed. Let cool for about 20 minutes before removing from pan. Let cool completely before decorating.

Chili Cornbread Waffles

I’m sort of terrible at reading magazines. I subscribe to a lot of them and usually just end up flipping through them once. And then every once I find an article I keep coming back to. When I picked up the April issue of Family Fun and saw there was a whole feature on waffles? Instantly obsessed. Waffles are one of my go-to dinners for busy nights and they’re just happy food – which is exactly what we’ve needed around here lately. April was a doozey!

These were really good. A fun take on chili with the flavor without the spoon – like a loaded up cornbread. And they’re one of those meatless meals where you just don’t miss the meat. The leftovers got happily gobbled up the next day for lunch – next time I’ll be doubling the recipe so they last longer!

ChiliCornbreadWaffles

Chili Cornbread Waffles
(from the April 2015 issue of Family Fun Magazine)
Makes 4-5

1 1/4 cups yellow cornmeal
3/4 cup flour
2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. garlic powder
1 tsp. onion powder
1/2 tsp. salt
2 eggs
1 1/2 cups buttermilk
1/4 cup canola oil
2 Tbsp. tomato paste
1 cup kidney beans, rinsed and drained
1 cup grated cheddar cheese, plus additional for serving
1 red bell pepper, diced
1 cup frozen corn
1 jalapeno, seeded and minced
4 scallions, thinly sliced, for serving
2/3 cup sour cream
Half an avocado
Juice of half a lime

In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the cornmeal, flour, baking powder, garlic powder, onion powder and salt. In a separate bowl, stir together the eggs, buttermilk , oil and tomato paste until well combined. Stir the wet ingredients into the dry until well blended. Fold in kidney beans, cheddar, red bell pepper, corn and jalapenos.

Heat a waffle iron on high and spray with non-stick spray. Pour 1/2 cup of the batter into the heated iron and cook until golden brown. Repeat until the batter is all used up.

While the waffles cook, whisk together the sour cream and avocado until smooth.

Serve the warm waffles topped with avocado cream, cheddar and scallions.

Baked Ham and Cheese Sandwiches with Caramelized Onions and Bacon

I’ve got these filed under “easy enough to throw together with a super fussy baby in tow”. Because that’s totally a file in our house right now. Teething, man.

As simple as these are, they took all day to make. I caramelized the onions during the first (30 minute) nap. Fried up the bacon during the second (20 minute) nap. Assembled and wrapped them in foil while I wore him on my back and then threw them in the fridge until ready to bake. It was just one of those days.

On another note, every time I make caramelized onions I have an oh-goodness-I love-these-so-much moment. I’m thinking I need to start just keeping caramelized onions in the fridge so I can put them on, like, everything.

BakedHamandCheese

Baked Ham and Cheese Sandwiches with Caramelized Onions and Bacon
(slightly adapted from Pinch of Yum)
Serves 3

1 large yellow onion, sliced into thin rings
4 Tbsp. butter, divided
6 slices of bacon
2 tsp. Dijon mustard
1 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
1 package of King’s Hawaiian sub rolls (6 rolls)
1 lb. deli-sliced ham
6 slices Swiss cheese

In a frying pan over medium-low heat, melt 1 Tbsp. of butter and then add onions. Cook, stirring occasionally, until caramelized. When done, transfer to a bowl and wipe out the pan. Cook the bacon in the same pan, removing to a paper-towel lined plate when done.

In a microwave-safe bowl, melt the remaining butter. Whisk in the mustard and Worcestershire.

To assemble the sandwiches, brush some of the mustard mixture on the cut side of each roll. Divide ham between rolls and top with caramelized onions, a slice of bacon and a slice of cheese.

Wrap assembled sandwiches in foil. Bake at 350F degrees for 10 minutes or until warm and melty.

Buffalo Chickpea Burgers

Since the meatless Friday series is over, how about a meatless Monday post?

I had full intentions of making these as one of our Lenten Friday meals. I must have had the ingredients hanging around for a full two weeks and something else kept coming up. I finally got around to making these last week and they’re sort of amazing.

Meatless burgers are a little hit-or-miss for me. I make a lot more than a share here. For me, it has to feel like a burger to be worth sharing – and boy, this one totally fits the bill. I think it may be the most “meaty” meatless burger I’ve made. And it’s smothered in buffalo sauce so it has that going for it, too.

It’s meals like this that make me think I could actually be a vegetarian.

BuffaloChickpeaBurgers

Buffalo Chickpea Burgers
(slightly adapted from Once Upon a Cutting Board)
Makes 4

1/4 cup uncooked quinoa
1 can of chickpeas, drained and rinsed
1/2 cup old fashioned oats
1/4 cup minced shallot
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/4 cup buffalo sauce, plus additional for serving
1 egg, lightly beaten
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. pepper
1/4 cup breadcrumbs
4 hamburger buns
Blue cheese, for serving

In a medium saucepan, bring 1/2 cup water to a boil. Add quinoa, reduce heat and let simmer for 15 minutes or until all water is absorbed. Fluff with a fork and set aside.

In a food processor, pulse the chickpeas until they resemble crumbs. Transfer to a large bowl. Add oats to the food processor and pulse a few times until they are a finer crumb. Add to the large bowl with the chickpeas. To the bowl, add in the quinoa, shallot, garlic, buffalo sauce, egg, salt, pepper and breadcrumbs. Mix by hand until everything is well incorporated and divide into four equal sections. For each section into a patty.

Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Drizzle with oil and cook patties for 8-10 minutes, turning halfway through. Serve patties on buns, topped with blue cheese an additional buffalo sauce.

Mint Chocolate Chip Krispie Treats

So, I’ve gotten pretty good at time managing holiday prep with Jake around. I didn’t offer to make anything overly ambitious – a fruit tray, a veggie tray and some cupcakes. I planned out things a few days in advance and figured out how to get everything made with plenty of time to spare. What I didn’t account for? How much two days of Easter parties would mess up the poor kid’s schedule. He’s currently taking his first decent nap all week, which is why I’m finally getting around to a blog post.

I debating not even posting these because I feel like they’re too simple – I just added some mint extract and chocolate chips to the classic recipe. But, I’m appreciating simple things more and more – and for not a lot of time or effort, these make a mighty addicting dessert.

MintChocoleChipKrispieTreats

Mint Chocolate Chip Krispie Treats
(adapted from Kellogg’s)
Makes 1 9×13″ pan

3 Tbsp. butter
1 10 oz. package marshmallows
1/2 tsp. mint extract
Green food coloring
6 cup Rice Krispies
2/3 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

Grease a 9×13″ pan and set aside.

In a large saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat. Add marshmallow and stir until melted. Stir in mint extract and enough food coloring to reach desired color until well combined. Stir in Rice Krispies until well coated. Stir in chocolate chips until evenly distributed.

Press the mixture into the pan evenly and let sit for several hours before slicing and serving.