Sunday, September 30, 2012

DIY Scratch-off



These DID NOT turn out the way I thought they were going to. I, however, did not follow the directions exactly, as usual, so it could be my fault. 

Since I am at one school this year I have developed an incentive program with my kids. Ever month I choose one boy and one girl from each grade to be my Technology All-Star. These students get to choose a scratch-off to reveal a prize to them. I saw these on Pinterest and figured I would go for it.

The directions seemed pretty simple: Mix some dish detergent with acrylic paint, put tape over the "scratch-off" part, and paint. I, on the other hand, decided I was going to try to even make it easier. Instead of using the tape, I thought it would be much easier if I just laminated these at school. Not sure if this is where my problems came but...





First off, when I painted these this first time, it pretty much looked like watered down paint. I had to literally dab the paint on for it to even remotely cover the letters. This was where I really started getting worried. I have to have these scratch-offs for work on Tuesday. My first set of All-Stars are being announced then. (Can you say procrastinator?) So, I had to make it work. I just figured I would add another coat when it dried so, I left them outside under the fan and went inside.














This is what it looked like after the second coat. I let it dry and decided I would quickly put on another one.

















              And finally the finished product, three coats later...











I also want to mention that the acrylic paint I got cost me $0.59 so....it may have been that, too.

Crockpot Stuffed Peppers

I know this is really late but I promised I would do it so here it goes...

These stuffed peppers were REALLY good. I even took another one for lunch the next day and it was still just as good as the first day. These were a little more time consuming that I would like seeing as how I always do crockpot stuff before work, but it still wasn't that bad. Probably could have at least cooked the rice before hand which would have saved some time.

I used a mixture of a few different recipes in order to do these so I'm going to try my best to remember exactly how I did it. But, I definitely recommend these if you like stuffed peppers.



Crockpot Stuffed Peppers

INGREDIENTS:
     4 peppers
     1 lb. of ground beef
     1 cup cooked rice
     1 small onion diced
     1 tsp. worcestershire sauce
     3 tsp. ketchup (many recipes called for diced tomatoes or crushed tomatoes which we don't like, so we added a little more ketchup.)
     1 cup shredded cheese of your choice
     1 tbsp. minced garlic
     1 jar spaghetti sauce
     1/2 cup water (or enough to coat the bottom of the crockpot)

DIRECTIONS:
1. Combine the ground beef, rice, onion, worcestershire, ketchup, cheese, and garlic in a small mixing bowl. Use your hands to incorporate everything together. (We kept out the spaghetti cause because we didn't want the stuffing to get too mushy.)

2. "Stuff" the peppers with the mixture and place in the crockpot.  I left the tops on but it's up to you what you want to do.

3.  Pour the water into the bottom of the crockpot to surround the peppers.

4. Set on low for 6-8 hours. About an hour before eating top the peppers with spaghetti sauce. (We heated up the rest and used it at our leisure while eating.)

Enjoy!!!!


   
   

EASY Crockpot Ranch Chicken Tacos


So last night was a game night which means super simple dinner before the friends come over. Our house seems to be the game house and truthfully, we LOVE it that way!! After all, we have the 60-something inch tv, the huge couch, and a kegerator. Pretty sure it doesn't get better than that (except for the annoying pit bull :) whom I love). 

Before I left for work in the morning I put all the ingredients in the crock pot and set it on low. One awesome thing about this recipe is that is uses FROZEN CHICKEN BREASTS!!!! Only thing Mike had to do was shred the chicken about an hour before dinnertime. During the day Mike sent me a message that I was to go on a mission after school. Avengers in 3D came out this week so I had to go to Target and pick it up. The husband and I are obsessed with the superhero movies and love to spend our very few weekends together watching our 3D tv :). Sorry. Hope I'm not rubbing it in too much. lol. 

Anyway, it was a good thing I decided to do these crockpot tacos because by the time I got home we had no time at all!! Luckily all we had to do was heat up the tortillas and stuff!!

Here they are!!


EASY Crockpot Ranch Chicken Tacos

INGREDIENTS:
     1 can chicken broth (however I recommend only using about half or 3/4 of it)
     1 packet of taco seasoning
     1 packet of Ranch reasoning
     2-4 chicken breasts FROZEN!!!!
     tortillas

DIRECTIONS:
1. Place FROZEN :) chicken breasts into the crockpot. Cover with chicken broth, taco seasoning, and ranch seasoning. Do not stir or mix. Just leave it.

2. Put crockpot on low for 6-8 hours or high for about 3-4.

3. About an hour before eating, shred the chicken and let it sit in the broth mixture to soak in the flavor.

4. Stuff your tortillas and enjoy!!!!

THAT'S IT!!! These were so simple it's crazy. Something I can definitely do in the morning before work and have a nice dinner to enjoy when I get back. Next time we are going to try to use pork or beef and see what that tastes like. I'll let you know!!



     P.S. GO RAVENS!!!!


Sunday, September 16, 2012

Easy Garlic Chicken



When this says "easy" it means EASY!! Today was a rough day. Mike and I had a long night last night. We decided to do a date-ish kind of night because the friends who were supposed to come over couldn't. So, we lit the fire pit and got ourselves some cocktails and hung out. The only problem is that when the fire went out, the cocktails did not. So, inside we came to drink and watch the O's. Bad O's night, which led to a few more drinks and then some laughter with the help of Rob Dyrdek and "Ridiculousness". By then we were quite tipsy tired so we decided to head to bed. RAVENS TOMORROW!!

11:00 am came quite quickly. We had invited some friends over for the game so we knew we couldn't watch it in bed and therefore, we had to drag ourselves up. After the banana pancakes it wasn't so bad and we sat down to watch the pre-game. Apparently, our friends had also had a little too much fun at the wedding the night before so they decided to stay home. Mike's parents also claimed they were not going to come by so we lounged on the couch to watch the game. 

It was a terrible start but the Ravens started to pick it up. Then, I guess someone spiked the Gatorade because they turned into a bunch of Slop Mops. Ravens lost to the Eagles 24-23. I don't know why but I always get so depressed when the Ravens lose. I know it sounds silly, it's just a game, there's always next week...blah blah blah...but I feel very dejected. Therefore, I needed some EASY in my life for dinner. 

That brings me back to this meal. I have a friend who has started a 365 Days of Pinterest blog. I remembered that she tried out this meal and had mentioned how easy it actually was. The recipe can be found here but, like always, I'll put it below, too. I have to make a confession that I hate how recipes always write the "Prep time" on them. It makes me feel very inferior because their prep time never matches my prep time. I don't know whether it's that I move in slow motion, or that I'm definitely somewhat of a perfectionist, so I take a little more time to make sure that I'm doing it right. Whatever it is, I'm slow. This prep time claimed that it took 10 minutes to get everything ready. I'm not sure if it even took me 10 minutes. I had to trim and tenderize the chicken, but I didn't count that in the prep time since it wasn't part of the recipe. Prep is literally sauteing some garlic and stirring in some brown sugar. 

I have to say it wasn't my absolute favorite chicken ever. But, it was good. Considering how easy it was I'm sure it will be something I would make again. 

**Mike and I both agreed that maybe a little orange zest would make the glaze a little more interesting. Not sure how to incorporate this but I would probably mix it in after stirring in the brown sugar. Let me know if anyone tries it this way!!**

Easy Garlic Chicken

INGREDIENTS:
     4 boneless chicken breasts
     4 garlic cloves, minced (I used about 4 teaspoons of already prepared minced garlic)
     3 teaspoons olive oil
     4 tablespoons brown sugar

DIRECTIONS:
1. Preheat oven to 500 degrees (Yes, 500. I was a little iffy about that too, but...it worked.) and spray or lightly grease a casserole dish.

2. In a saute' pan, saute' oil with the minced garlic until it's tender.

3. Remove from heat and stir in brown sugar.

4. Put chicken breasts in the greased casserole dish and cover with the garlic and brown sugar mixture.

5. Bake uncovered for about 15-30 minutes. 

Enjoy!!!

Saturday, September 08, 2012

Alice Springs Chicken (Outback Knockoff)


 

On Tuesday, Mike had to have surgery on his shoulder. Too many years of MMA fighting and working out, plus the motorcycle accidents, has left him with no cartilage in between his shoulder bones. So, they had to break off a piece of his collarbone in order to make some. (Something like that, I'm not a good listener.) So, being the nice wife that I am...I love saying that word...I decided to make him an amazing dinner!! 

Alice Springs Chicken from Outback is Mike's favorite meal. I found this recipe for a knockoff of Alice Springs Chicken so I thought, what better way to make him feel better?!? I haven't had much luck with those "Just like insert popular restaurant item" recipes so I didn't have high expectations, however, I was totally wrong. This was awesome!! Mike loved it, too (although he didn't have that much of an appetite...figures). It was even great reheated the next day. So, if you like bacon, chicken, honey mustard, and cheese, TRY THIS OUT!! 


"Alice Springs" Chicken
INGREDIENTS:
    4 boneless skinless chicken breasts
    Salt
    6 bacon slices
    1/4 cup regular mustard
    1/3 cup honey
    2 tbsp. mayo
    2 tsp. dried onion flakes
    1 cup slices fresh mushrooms (We're not mushroom fans so...no mushrooms for us)
    2 cups shredded Colby/Jack cheese (We used cheddar)
    
DIRECTIONS:
Sprinkle and rub the chicken with salt. Cover and refrigerate for about 30 minutes.

While the chicken is in the refrigerator, cook the bacon in a large skillet until crisp. Remove bacon and set aside *DO NOT DISCARD GREASE*

Saute chicken in the bacon grease for about 3-5 minutes on each side or until browned. Place the chicken in a 9"x13" casserole dish or pan.

In a small bowl, mix the mustard, honey, mayo, and dried onion flakes.

Spread some of the honey mustard mixture over each piece of chicken, then layer the mushrooms, bacon, and shredded cheese. (I kept the cheese off until about 15 minutes before the chicken was ready. Then I even added a little more right before I served it and put it under the broiler for a few. I thought the cheese would melt all off if I put it on too early.)

Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes or until chicken is done.

Serve with leftover honey mustard for dipping.

Recipe Courtesy of: Debrapate blog


   

Wednesday, September 05, 2012

Baked Zucchini Sticks with Sweet Onion Dip


MMMMmmmmmmm, this was DELICIOUS!!! First off, we did this as our side for the meal, but this would be a great appetizer, too. It's perfect for finger foods if you're looking for something healthy(er) and it even tastes great heated back up. So make A LOT because you're going to be craving some leftovers the next day. Trust me!!

I found the recipe for this here and decided I would go for it. Lucky for me we have a wonderful little produce stand right down the road from my house so I stopped on the way home and picked up 2 zucchini. It calls for 3 medium-sized zucchini. They want you to eat!!! I only used one because it was just the two of us and because we were using at as a side. This still made plenty for just us.

Here is one downside of this, however. The prep time for this is about an hour. Initially, you have to let the zucchini sit for an hour....just so you know. It's not a hard process just a little time consuming.

So here we go...

Baked Zucchini Sticks with Sweet Onion Dip
INGREDIENTS:
     1-3 medium sized zucchini (depends on how much you want. The other ingredients won't change much.)
     1 tbsp. salt
     1 cup Panko or bread crumbs
     1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
     1 tbsp. pizza seasoning or italian herbs
     2 large eggs

Sweet Onion Dip  
     1 tbsp. butter
     1 medium onion
     2 tbsp. cider vinegar
     2 tbsp. honey
     1 tbsp. prepared mustard
     1 cup mayo

DIRECTIONS:
1. Cut each zucchini into 3" sticks about the diameter of your finger.
Photo Courtesy of: kingarthurflour.com
2. Put the zucchini sticks in a colander over a bowl and sprinkle with the salt. Let them drain for about an hour. (I forgot to use the bowl, but mine still worked) While the zucchini are draining start working on the dip.
     a. melt butter in a medium-sized frying pan over moderate heat, and add 1 medium onion sliced.
     b. Cook, stirring occasionally until the onion softens, and then caramelizes. When the onions are medium-brown remove them from the heat
     c. Put the onions, cider vinegar, honey, and prepared mustard into a food processor and process until fairly smooth. (I don't have a food processor, so I used my hand blender. It took a little longer, but it worked)
     d. Remove from processor and stir in the mayo. 
3. Rinse the zucchini to get rid of any excess salt. Then, pat them dry.
4. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. and Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and spray with olive oil. (I didn't have parchment paper so, I didn't use any. I just sprayed the baking sheet.)
5. Combine the Panko, parmesan, and pizza seasoning or italian herbs and mix until combined
6. Beat the eggs in order to make your egg wash.
7. Dip your zucchini sticks into the egg wash and then roll them in the bread crumbs. 


8. Place on the baking sheet and bake for about 12 minutes. Remove them from the oven and turn them over. Bake for another 12-16 minutes or until golden brown. 

YUMMMMMMM!



Recipe courtesy of: kingarthurflour.com