Meatball sammiches

1 pound ground beef
3 tsp onion powder
1 tsp garlic salt
2 tsp garlic powder
1 egg
1 cup italian breadcrumbs

1 jar tomato sauce
1 pound mozzarella cheese sliced

4-5 sandwich rolls

Preheat oven to 325.  Line a baking dish with foil and spray with cooking spray. Combine first six ingredients.  Roll into 1.5 inch meatballs.  Bake in oven for 8 minutes.  While they are baking heat sauce in large sauce pan.  Flip meatballs and bake for another 8 minutes.  Place meatballs in sauce and simmer for 2 minutes.  Slice bread in half without cutting all the way through.  Line bottom of bread with mozzarella cheese.  Top with 3-4 meatballs and cover with more cheese.  Place under broiler on high for about 2 minutes.  WATCH IT SO IT DOESN'T BURN.  I served it with a side of sauce for dipping.  
Enjoy trying to fit it into your mouth!


Spicy black bean quinoa

Since becoming gluten free I've found myself in love with quinoa.  I love it because you can add anything you want to it and it will absorb that flavor.  That means it can be mexican tonight, Italian tomorrow and Greek the next day.  Today I was in a huge hurry at work so I grabbed a few things out of the fridge and a pan and off I went.  Quinoa looks like it might be hard to cook, it's not.  It is idiot proof.  I promise.  

1/2 cup uncooked quinoa
1 cup water
1/2 cup peach mango salsa
1/2 cup black beans
1/4 cup chopped bell pepper
1/4 cup chopped onion
1/2 tsp garlic powder

The basic directions for quinoa are; Bring quinoa and water to a boil.  Reduce to low, fluff with a fork and simmer for 20 minutes covered.
For this recipe you will:
Bring quinoa, onions & peppers to a boil.  Reduce heat to low & fluff with fork.  Add salsa, beans & garlic powder & mix.  Cover and simmer on low heat for 15-20 minutes until the quinoa is kind of soft.  That's all.

The only thing you have to worry about with quinoa is making sure it's cooked all the way. Sometimes it takes 15 minutes.  Sometimes it takes 20.  As long as there is some liquid (stock, salsa, etc) in the pan you can continue simmering it until you get the consistency you want.  I topped mine with a little bit of hot sauce and it was delicious.  In place of water you could use vegetable stock, or chicken stock if you eat meat.  This should make two lunch size portions or three side dish portions and it's a complete protein and great fiber.  



Quick, clean and fun kids snack

Today was my day to bring snack for Brandon's little league game.  I wanted to do something besides a prepackaged whatever with no thought so I came up with this.  I bought mini corn dogs and then cooked them.  Once they were cooked I put each one on a skewer.  Then I set out each cup and filled the bottom corner with a squirt of ketchup.  I packed them in a bag stacked on top of each other with trays separating them so they didn't tip.  Then I put all of the warm corn dogs in foil and pu them in the bag (it was one of those lined bags that holds temperatures).  When it was snack time I put two corn dog skewers in each cup and handed them out.   The kids and parents love them because they were easy to carry, there was no mess, they didn't have to squirt ketchup and the kids thought they were super fun.  I think you could do this at birthday parties also...turn the skewers the other way and make little boquetes for people to snack on.  I also made chocolate dipped strawberries because it was a healthier sweet treat then fruit snacks full of red 40, and it was real fruit.  It didn't cost much and I found everything, even the short length skewers at my local grocery store. 

Hope you enjoy my little snack idea.


Fiesta chicken soup

I know I usually post step by step photos on here, but since there is one step only in this recipe you only get a picture of the finished product.  My husband hates soup and he ate a giant bowl of this, and then texted me numerous times while I worked last night to tell me how much he loved it.  That is a big win coming from someone who is not a fan of soup.  This recipe is so easy my four year old could make it.

1 Can petite diced tomatoes
1 Jar mild salsa (I used Newmans Own this time)
8 Boneless skinless chicken thighs
1 Cup frozen corn
1 Can mild green chilis
1/2 Tsp cumin
1/2 Tsp chili powder
1 Tsp garlic powder
1/2 Tsp onion powder
1 Cup water

Combine all ingredients in crock pot and stir to mix well.  Cook for 4 hours on high or six hours on low.  Serve over like that or pour it over rice.  That's it, you are done.  If you cook it for the six hours peek in after a few hours to make sure it has enough water still.  My husband topped his with some hot sauce and said it was absolutely perfect.  Also this wasn't too spicy so the kids cold eat it.  I'm definitely keeping this recipe handy for nights I have to work late catering and don't have much time to throw anything together. Beans would be a nice addition to this but the hubby won't eat them so I left them out!


The easiest taco soup you'll ever make

I went to a Cinco De Mayo party this weekend and my friend Kari made this soup for me.  She made it because it is gluten free AND vegetarian (but you can't tell the meat is missing).  I inquired to the recipe because surely something this tasty would be difficult to make.  NOPE.  Here is the entire recipe, get ready to be blown away with simplicity.

1- Can pinto beans rinsed & drained
1- Can kidney beans rinsed & drained
1- Can black beans rinsed & drained
1- Large can Ro-Tel tomatoes* 
1- Can stewed tomatoes
1- Cup salsa of your choice
1/2 tsp Cumin
1/2 tsp Chili powder
1/2 white onion diced**
1- Cup frozen or fresh corn
1/2 Cup water
Cheese to top

Toss all of the beans in a strainer at once and rinse them off.  In a large pot or crock pot combine all ingredients.  Cook for 3 hours.  Eat and enjoy!

*(I bought the ones with green chilis and it was a little spicy for me, which means it will be totally normal for you)
**If you are in a real hurry you can leave the onions out

If you want you can sauté the onions before adding the other ingredients but it's not required if you are going to cook it the full three hours.  Also if you are really really hungry you can scoop out a couple bowl fulls after about 30 minutes and it will still be tasty.  But after trying it both ways 3 hours is the perfect cooking time.  I kept mine in the pot in the fridge and have just been scooping out a portion every morning to pack for lunch.  It has a thick texture so you could actually put it on top of tortilla chips if you wanted.  If you want it really soupy (not as good) add more water.  I also like to top mine with sour cream.  Also if you are a meat lover you can add shredded chicken to this to make it a chicken taco soup.

HURRY UP MAKE IT NOW!  It's soooo good I promise.  And so damn easy!


A little help from my friends

I have been with my husband for almost eleven years.  In eleven years I have never used Velveta cheese.  Mostly because he always says he doesn't like cheese (unless it's on a quesadilla, or in lasagna, or a caprese salad, or a grilled cheese and tomato sandwich...but he doesn't like cheese).  However, lately I've been dying to use Velveta.  But what to do?  I want suggestions.  Recipe ideas PLEASE. Be advised, my husband won't eat cheese on a burger so leave those suggestions out.  Other then that I'm open to ideas.  I'd love to hear some vegetarian ideas also.  Oh, and while I am at it, he won't eat beans, so a chili or bean dip won't work either.  Please help me, before I drive myself crazier.

Thank you!


Once again, in case you are partaking in Lent and need some meat free dishes

I have a few friends participating in Lent, which means on Friday's they can't eat meat. Apparantly they can eat fish (I call bullshit, fish is meat) so I figured I would pull out a few of my favorite fish recipes from the archives.

Asian glazed sea bass


Grilled citrus halibut


Shrimp pasta alfredo

This is one of my favorites. I made it with and with out shrimp and it was fucking unbelievable either way. It's not a cheap meal, but it's a great special occasion meal, or romantic meal, or "I can't have red meat so make me something good woman," kinda meal.


Finally the best meal my husband makes

Shrimp fried rice

Old fashioned fried chicken for beginners

I had a craving for some good ole fried chicken the other night. By craving I mean that as a vegetarian I was really wanting to make it for my husband so someone else could enjoy what was on my mind. I make fried chicken a lot, with skin and bones but these last two times I wanted something faster that cooked a little more even so I used boneless skinless chicken. This is also an excellent beginner recipe. Fried chicken with bones and skin can be tricky. It can burn since it takes long to cook it, or you have to learn to poach it. Many things can go wrong. But this chicken IS IDIOT PROOF. My four year old helped me make it tonight. Here is the recipe.

6-8 Boneless skinless chicken thighs*
1.5 Cups flour
1/2 Sleeve saltine crackers smashed finely
1 Tsp salt
1 Tsp pepper
2 Tbsp garlic powder
1 Tsp powdered ranch dressing mix (if you don't have leave out but your missing out)
1/2 cup milk
3 eggs
About 2 cups vegetable oil

Cayenne pepper to taste. I use a tsp in the flour and a tsp in the egg wash for my husbands chicken, and none for my kids

Fill a large skillet with about a half inch vegetable oil. Heat over medium low. In a bowl combine milk, eggs and half of each seasoning. On a plate combine smashed crackers, flour and remaining seasoning. To see if the oil is ready take a teeny pinch of flour and sprinkle it in oil, if it sizzles it's ready. If it POPS it's too hot, if it smokes or rolls it's too hot. Take your piece of chicken and lay it flat on each side in the flour. Then dip it in the egg mixture. Roll it in the flour again until evenly coated and then place in oil. I prefer to only cook 3 pieces at a time. This way the oil stays at temperature. Adding too much too fast will cool your oil. Preheat your oven to warm. Line a baking sheet with foil and place a cooling rack on it. Cook each piece of chicken about five minutes and then flip. Even if it isn't golden brown go ahead and flip. You want to cook it evenly. Cook for five minutes on the following side and then flip again. Use a knife and poke a small hole halfway into the biggest part of the chicken. If the juices run clear you are good. Put it on the cooling rack. If it needs longer continue turning it every 1-2 minutes. Once cooked through remove the chicken and place it on the rack and then put it in the oven on warm while you cook the rest of your chicken. If you keep the heat low and slow your chicken should cook evenly and none of it should burn.

You might notice little clumps of flour on your chicken after dipping it in the egg wash. This is good. That part gets tasty and crispy. It might look a little messy right before you put it in the pan but when it's done, KFC won't have nothin on you!

*(if you use breasts pound them out a little so they cook even, or butterfly them in half so they are a little bit thinner)


Bacon & Egg breakfast bites

Shredded cheese
Precooked bacon
Salt & pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 400. Spray muffin tin with pan. Using a glass or 3" ring cutter cut a circle out of your bread. Take one piece of bacon and form it around the inside top of muffin tin. Take piece of bread and smoosh it into the muffin tin so that the bacon is between the bread and the pan. Put a small amount of shredded cheese on top of the bread and crack on egg on top of the cheese. (Note, if you use Large eggs, you might want to keep some of the white out or it will overflow). Season with salt and pepper to taste. Bake for 15 minutes until whites are set. Use a knife to loosen the edges and remove. Allow to cool for a few minutes before eating.

*Note: I saw this floating around on pinterest and I had been dying to try it. The recipes I read didn't tell me that I might need more then one piece of bacon to fit around the tin. I used the precooked bacon and just put it straight in the pan. If you want to use real bacon you have to cook it without letting it get crispy because it will continue to cook in the oven, and if it is crispy it will break when you try and form it into the pan.