Saturday, March 31, 2012

Apple-Sausage Mac and Cheese

Apple-Sausage Mac and Cheese

4 Tablespoons unsalted butter, plus more for dish
3/4 pound medium pasta shells
1/2 cup diced onion
6 ounces chicken-apple sausage, sliced 1/2 inch thick
1 Tablespoon mustard powder
3/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
3 cups apple juice
1 pound monterey jack cheese, shredded (4 cups)
1/2 pound extra-sharp cheddar cheese, shredded (2 cups)
1/2 cup sour cream
35 small butter crackers (1 sleeve Ritz), crushed

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Butter a 2 1/2 quart baking dish.  Bring a large pot of salted water to boil; add the pasta and cook until al dente, about 6 minutes.  Drain and set aside.

2.  Meanwhile, melt the butter in a large saucepan over medium-high heat.  Add the onion and cook until soft, about three minutes.Add the sausage, mustard powder, cayenne and 1 teaspoon salt and cook, stirring, until the sausage is golden, about three minutes.  Stir in the flour and cook, stirring, until lightly toasted, about two minutes.  Stir in the apple juice and cook, stirring occasionally, until thickened slightly, about eight more minutes.

3.  Slowly stir about three-quarters each of the monterey jack and cheddar cheese into the sauce until smooth, about two minutes.  Remove from the heat.  Stir in the pasta and sour cream.  Pour the mixture into the prepared baking dish.  Sprinkle with the crushed crackers and the remaining cheese.  Bake until bubbly, 25 to 30 minutes.  Let rest ten minutes before serving.

The flavor combination is out of this world!  I don't repeat many recipes, because I like to try a bunch of new things, but this is going to be made again soon! 

HH says, "You look at it and you think, it's macaroni and cheese.  Then you get into it and you realize that it is gourmet macaroni and cheese.  No, it's gourmet macaroni and cheese with meat, and that is where it crosses the line into meal territory."
Other Life Stuff...

HH surprised me on Tuesday, and brought me a balloon.  He told me I had a surprise.  We went for a drive on a dirt road.  He took me out to the golf course, and we had dinner there. 

HH led a meetnig today in town, and I went to get my hair done.  It was majorly overdue.

Happy hair picture:

I also bought five more cooking magazines.  :) 
I have one of two papers completed for my certification classes.  The second one will be completed tomorrow.

Cute picture of HH untaping his "cookie mummy" that was part of his "Ten Reasons He Should Take Mrs. F to See The Hunger Games."

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

On Bargaining

HH needs to go to the doctor.  I was negotiating with him to let me get him an appointment.  We've been watching lost, so he pulls a Sawyer on me....

"Well Freckles, if I'm going to go to the doctor, you are going to have to cut my hair."  (Mimicking when the girl asks him for the inhalers he was supposedly hiding.)  He has an appointment tomorrow, and will hopefully kick this cold.  I guess I'm going to put a big knick in his hair like I did last time.  :(

I also tell HH about the LL Bean catalogue coming in, and how I found a few shirts in there for him.  His response is, "Just how gay do they look?"  He is such a plain guy...anything (including stripes) he is pretty much against for himself.  He says he wants to be able to get dressed in the dark and look fine.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Salted Peanut Bars

Salted Peanut Bars

1 package (17.5 ounce) peanut butter cookie mix
3 Tbsp. canola oil
1 Tbsp. water
1 egg
1 package (10 ounce) peanut butter chips
2/3 cup corn syrup
1/4 cup butter, cubed
2 cups Rice Krispies
2 cups salted peanuts
2 tsp. vanilla extract
3 cups miniature marshmallows

Combine cookie mix, oil, water, and egg in a large bowl.  Press onto the bottom of a greased 13 x 9 inch pan.  Bake at 350 degrees for 12-15 minutes or until set.  Meanwhile, combine the chips, corn syrup and butter in a large saucepan.  Cook and stir over medium-low heat until smooth.  Remove from the heat.  Stir in the Rice Krispies, peanuts and vanilla.

Sprinkle marshmallows over crust.  Bake 1-2 minutes longer or until marshmallows begin to puff.  Spread cereal mixture on a wire rack. Refrigerate until firm.  Cut into bars.

I made two of these to take to my coworkers tomorrow. 

HH has read me 50% of The Accidental Diary of a Part Time Indian by Sherman Alexie (for class).  I've responded to online discussion forums while listening.  HH is a machine at reading.  If I say we are going to read 50 pages, he won't stop until it is done.  He says he learned how to tunnel through like that in seminary.  (He had many classes that had over 2,000 pages of reading.)  It doesn't matter how much I beg him to stop, he keeps going.  He is also the reason I have completed a lot of things that I have been reluctant to read.

However, I am enjoying reading...

This has been on my Kindle for a bit, but has had some heavy competition.  He certainly has an interesting story.  He kinda gives meaning to the quote, "Your life's sole purpose may be to serve as a warning to others."  He sure is funny.

I got this picture from Facebook.  Sums me up pretty well.

We are the proud owners of a new hot water heater.  We have water pressure and hot water to spare.  Now going to a second rate hotel in Rapid won't have as much of an appeal, since the highlight has been the water pressure!  (We live in the parsonage, and the church paid for our water heater.  Our church has been very generous in fixing things quickly when they break, or even in giving reimbursements to HH for things we have to get for the church.  I say this partially bragging because many churches it is not that way.)

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Easy Like Sunday Morning...

Cinnabunny Easter Cinnamon Rolls

I made these for the kids at the Day Care center my friend runs.  HH will be taking them over tomorrow.

I got these flowers from my friend Darla. 

HH and I went to go eat at Bob's on the Missouri River today.  It was closed.  We enjoyed the drive, but didn't want to wait two hours until they opened for dinner.  HH wasn't feeling well and I promised he could come home and go right to bed after church.  He said he wanted me to take me out because he knew I had been looking forward to it.  Love that man!

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Two Recipe Saturday

Mac n' Cheese Soup

1 1/2 cups dry elbow macaroni (6 ounces)
1/2 cup minced onions
1/4 cup minced celery
2 Tbsp. unsalted butter
1/3 cup all-purpose floud
1/2 cup dry wine
2 cups low-sodium chicken broth
1 tsp. dry mustard
1/8 tsp. ground nutmeg
1/8 tsp. cayenne pepper
2 cups whole milk
4 cups shredded sharp Cheddar
1 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice
salt to taste
1/4 cup Jack Cheese
2 Tbsp. minced fresh chives

1. Cook macaroni in a pot of salted water according to package directions; drain and set aside.

2.  Sweat onion and celery in butter in a large saucepan over medium heat until soft, about five minutes.

3.  Stir in flour to coat and cook one minute.  Deglaze with wine and simmer until nearly evaporated.  Stir in broth, mustard, nutmeg, and cayenne.  Simmer until slightly thickened, five minutes, then whisk in milk and warm through.  Do not let boil or base may become grainy.

4.  Add cheddar, 1 cup at a time, allowing it to melt completely before adding the next cup.  Stir in macaroni, lemon juice, and salt; remove from heat.

5. Combine jack cheese and chives in a small bowl. 

Chocolate-Peanut Cheesecake Bars

1 package (17.5 ounces) peanut butter cookie mix
1/4 cup butter, melted
1 cup chopped salted peanuts
2 packages (8 ounce each) cream cheese, softened
1 cup sugar
2 eggs, beaten
1 tsp. vanilla extract

4 ounce semisweet chocoalte, chopped
1/2 cup heavy whipping cream

1.  Combine cookie mix and butter in a large bowl; stir in peanuts.  Press onto the bottom of a greased 13 x 9 baking pan.  Bake at 350 degrees for 10-12 minutes or until edges are lightly browned.  Meanwhile, beat cream cheese and sugar in a large bowl until smooth.  Add eggs and vanilla; beat on low speed just until combined.  Pour over crust.

2.  Bake for 15-20 minutes or until center is almost set.  Cool on a wire rack for 1 hour.  Refrigerate for at least two hours.

3.  Place chocolate in a small bowl.  Bring cream just to a boil in a small saucepan.  Pour over chocolate; whisk until smooth.  Cool, stirring occasionally, to room temperature or until ganache reaches a spreading consistency, about forty minutes.  Spread over top.  Refrigerate until firm.  Cut into bars.  Refrigerate leftovers.

I got a nice NAP in, and did some reading for one of my classes.  Bring on the Indian Tacos and fun with friends!

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Burrito Lasagna and Rolo Cookies

Burrito Lasagna

2 lbs. ground beef
2 cans (10 oz. each) enchilada sauce
1 envelope taco seasoning
1 Tbsp. ground cumin
1 package ready-to-serve Spanish rice
12 flour tortillas (8 inch)
1 can (15 oz.) refried beans
4 cups (16 oz.) shredded Mexican cheese blend

Optional toppings: salsa, sliced avocado, shredded lettuce, taco sauce, sour cream

1.  In a large skillet, cook beef over medium heat until no longer pink; drain.  Stir in enchilada sauce, tauce seasoning and cumin; heat through.

2.  Heat rice according to package directions.  Spread 1 cup meat mixture into a greased 13 x 9 baking dish.  Layer with 4 tortillas and a third of the rice, a third of the remaining meat mixture and a third of the cheese.  Repeat layers.  Top with third of the cheese.  Repeat layers.  Top with remaining torillas, rice and meat mixture (dish will be full).

3.  Cover and bake at 350 degrees for twenty minutes.  Sprinkle with remaining cheese.  Uncover; bake 10-15 minutes longer or until cheese is melted.  Let stand for 10 minutes before serving.  Serve with toppings of your choice.

One of my favorite Math students...she comes to a lot of the afterschool programs HH and I lead...

Rolo Cookies

My Cooking Partner....

What are you looking forward to this weekend?  I don't have anything to do on Saturday until 6:00.  OH JOY! We are having Indian Tacos and playing dominos.  I'm going to work on my Seminary class, and do some leisure reading.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Treat Thursday

I started off the year really good about making treats for my kiddos.  Then, they got to where they expected it a bit much, and acted like they were entitled to them.  That really rubbed me the wrong way, so I told them that treats would be much more sparadic.  I try hard to find what the balance is, because I know most of my students don't have anyone who really goes out of their way to do something to make their lives even a little bit special.  I want to fill that void somewhat.

Peanut Butter Cereal Treats

30 large marshmallows
3 Tbsp. butter
1 Tbsp. peanut butter
6 cups Peanut Butter Cap'n Crunch
1 1/2 cups of M&Ms

In a large saucepan, combine the marshmallows, butter and peanut butter.  Cook and stir over medium-low heat until melted.  Remove from the heat.  Stir in the cereal and M&Ms. 

Pat into a 13 x 9 inch pan coated with cooking spray.  Cool.  Cut into bars.

This is the first recipe from the recipe stack that I got from my magazines that I purged.

Treat for the adults I work with...

Chocolate-Cherry-Cola Cake

1 (18.25 ounce) box chocolate cake mix
1 cup Coca-Cola
1/3 cup canola oil
1/4 cup maraschino cherry juice
3 large eggs
1/2 cup butter, softened
3 cups confectioners' sugar
5 Tablespoons Coca-Cola

Garnish: maraschino cherries with stems

1. Preheat over to 350 degrees.  Spray a 13 x 9 inch baking dish with nonstick baking spray.  (I had already used both of my 13 x 9 pans, so I improvised here.)

2.  In a large bowl, combine cake mix, 1 cup Coca-Cola, oil, cherry juice, and eggs.  Beat at medium speed for 2 minutes, or until well blended.  Pour into prepared dish.  Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, or until a wooden toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.  Cool completely in baking dish on a wire rack (about 1 hour).

3.  In a large bowl, beat butter at medium speed with an electric mixer until creamy.  Add sugar and cola, beating until smooth.  Spread over cooled cake.  Garnish with cherries.

Heck, why not throw in a treat for HH!  This treat is waiting for him on his pillow.  (He has quite a few snacks on his nightstand.)  This idea came from the fabulous ladies at The Dating Divas I "Cerealsy" Love You!

I am almost five years post op.  That is five years that I have not allowed a drop of Coca-Cola pass my lips.  Yet this afternoon as I was making this cake, it was so tempting to "just try a sip."  I didn't.  I used it to make the cake, and had HH pour the rest down the sink.  Coca-Cola is the one thing I have asked not be in our household, or that HH drink in front of me.  HH did say, "Don't think I didn't think of taking a big swing when your head was turned."  I don't want to say it doesn't have any power over me, I just know what it is, and don't partake at all. 

Stay tuned tomorrow night for Burrito Lasagna and Rolo Cookies!

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

A Bridal Shower

Crock Pot Chicken Cordon Bleu

The picture doesn't really do it any justice.  I had HH turn this back back to warm during his lunch time today.  He was running late to turn in back, and he darted across the parking lot to make it happen.  He was in the middle of a conversation with a couple from Arkansas, and he said, "I've got to go!" 

After work, I went to a surprise bridal shower.  A member of our church, a pharmacist, is getting married in Taiwan next month.  I am on a quest to be an awesome cook.  There is another pharmacist who is a total foodie (she brought three different flavors of homemade ice flavor candied bacon), and she went back for seconds on what I brought.  This was all the affirmation I needed, even though I got others.

I got a new student today.  She seems very sweet.  I now have 16 students.  I've never had that few before! 

HH and I are renewing our vows HERE in Las Vegas in May.  Yes, my husband is so awesome!  :)

Monday, March 19, 2012

Taquito-Rice Casserole

Taquito-Rice Casserole

8 frozen chicken and cheese taquitos
2 (5.4 ounce) packages of Spanish rice
1 can (14.5 ounces) diced tomatoes, drained
1 cup shredded Monterey Jack cheese, divided
1/4 cup fresh cilantro
1/4 cup green onion

1.  Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Place taquitos on a rimed baking sheet.  Bake for fifteen minutes, or until crisp.  Prepare rice according to package directions.  In a medium bowl, combine prepared rice, tomatoes, and 1/2 cup cheese.  Spoon into a shallow baking dish.  Top with taquitos and remaining 1/2 cup cheese.

2.  Bake for 8 minutes, or until cheese melts.  Sprinkle with cilantro and green onion.  Garnish with chopped tomato, if desired.

I am making good on my promise to tackle that stack of recipes and not keep resorting to shopping in my deep freeze.  We had company tonight, so I decided to omit the cilantro.  It has been my experience that people either fall in the love or hate it camp.  HH said that even for me, it was one of my better meals.  My friend's husband went back to finish up the dish.  We had chess club after school, so we only got home about twenty minutes before our company arrived.  We only had about five more minutes before dinner was ready.  This is an easy weeknight meal!

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Bird Nest Cookies

I made these cookies this afternoon for the lady who owns the Daycare center in town.  I have about twelve extra, and I'm going to give them out to teachers at school.  I think they look very cute.  They were super easy to make!

Bird Nest Cookies from A Holy Experience

The rest of the day outside of church was just a recovery mode kinda day. 

We Made It

We got back at 10:30 last night.  I learned a lot as a first year coach by just being at the competition.  You know what I'm talking about, things you just have to see and experience to be able to put into practice.  I've already got a lot of ideas for next year on how to do things differently.  We didn't place, but when I looked at the final point sheet break down, we were only twenty points away...which for a first year coach isn't bad.

The happy and tired coaches.  Yes, our group's name was "The Random Pretty Bubble Ninjas."  HH was never so happy to have a t-shirt that says that in his life.

All in all a good day was had, and memories were made. 

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Early Saturday Morning

This morning HH and and I are learning at 5:00 am on a school bus to go to Rapid City for the DI Competition.  Yesterday was the final practice and dress rehearsal.  My dining room table looked like this:

These are some but not all the props we are using to create our skit, which is a movie trailer.

HH lead the practices, as it was all about acting.

We did a final dress rehearsal with all the different groups.  This was the first time we got to see the other groups completed projects.  I was impressed at the variety and creativity. 

Last night we didn't go to youth at church because we are leaving so early.  I worked on a project I've been meaning to for a long time....pulling out recipes from magazines that I want to try, and TOSSING the magazines.  I was starting to get on magazine overload.  I might have needed an intervention if I didn't do this soon.  I have over a hundred recipes I want to try now.  Two a week, that is doable right?

I will not be missing that big stack.  Look for new recipes to come.

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Jammies and Junk Food Ladies Fellowship

Parmesan Fondue

This went over just like the comments said...people raved over it.  It was so simple to make, and they scraped the mini-crockpot clean.  I toasted a French baguette, and put a Pampered Chef dip on the baguette to add some extra flavor.  (Sorry for the glare.)

Chicken Salad with Crossiants

Pasta with Aspargus

There is more to this dish than meets the pepper flakes and a bit of kick.

Boston Cream Pie

Ladies Who Came Over...

Something that I will be making in the near future: 21st Century Mac and Cheese from The Splendid Table.

I am currently relaxing watching episodes of Ice Loves Coco on E.  When I read Ice T's most recent book, I could really tell just how much he loved his wife, and that he worked hard on his relationship.  I found out about this show from the marriage blog Jen's Love Lessons that I follow.  They have been married over ten years.

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Great Words to Read...

Thank you for completing Bethany's Preliminary Application for international adoption.

Alice in Wonderland

Alice in Wonderland came to the Rez this week.  :)  I had ten students participate (some are my math group, my homeroom, and my afterschool kids.)  I was very impressed in what they could do in four days!

I made the "I'm Lucky to Have You" St. Patrick's Day surprise for HH.  Of course it is from The Dating Divas!  I really like St. Patrick's Day, and miss going to Molly Malones back in Louisville and the parade.  I love that it is EASY to list reasons that I am lucky to have HH.

We drove to a nearby town to have lunch together today.  That was really nice, and the fact that it was 70 degrees didn't hurt either.  :)  I told HH that I was struggling some because there is "School Us" (He helps after school with all the activities, and we are fortunate that he gets paid to be my helper.), and there is "Church Us"....and sometimes I just want "Us Us."  :) 

There is a good chance I am going to get to complete one of my life-long drive a combine tractor!  HH talked with a farmer he knows, and he said that I could, but it probably wouldn't be until late July or early August.  This is going to be awesome.

Our hot water is messed up.  We have it, but we have almost NO water pressure (it has never been great).  We will be taking showers at the church in the evenings until this is fixed.  A plumber is being called on Monday, but it may take a bit before they are able to get here.  At least we have a place to shower at.