Slow Cooker Salisbury Steak – A Hearty Hug to Fix a Rough Day

This week had it’s share of rainy, gray days. Tuesday, after a crappy drive home in traffic, sitting for most of it in pouring down rain, I walked into a house smelling of tasty goodness. DH had made salisbury steak in the crockpot and was serving it over egg noodles. The hearty, warm meal melted away the ickies and stress from the miserable drive home.

Sadly, since I was sitting in traffic while this delicious dish was being prepared, there are no pictures. I did however find one on Pinterest and it looked similar so I thought it would be fun to share.


Photo credit from Mommy’s Kitchen
PS…I have to know where she got that awesome divided crockpot! Very cool!

Ingredients
2 pounds lean ground beef
1 (1 ounce) envelope dry onion soup mix
1/2 cup Italian seasoned bread crumbs
1/4 cup milk
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 (10.75 ounce) cans condensed cream of chicken soup
1 (1 ounce) packet dry au jus mix
3/4 cup water

Directions

1. In a large bowl, mix together the ground beef, onion soup mix, bread crumbs, and milk using your hands. Shape into 8 patties.
2. Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat.
3. Dredge the patties in flour just to coat, and quickly brown on both sides in the hot skillet.
4. Place browned patties into the slow cooker stacking alternately like a pyramid.
5. In a medium bowl, mix together the cream of chicken soup, au jus mix, and water.
6. Pour over the meat. Cook on the Low setting for 4 or 5 hours, until ground beef is well done.

BIG KUDOS to DH on this one! He did a great job searing the patties before adding them to the crock pot. You could taste the caramelized flavor of the meat even when smothered in the hearty gravy. I will say the dish was a little salty for our tastes. Next time we will be trying it with low sodium soups and possibly a different mixture of seasoning for the meat, rather than the onion soup mixed used in the recipe. Over all though, the meal was delicious and definitely perked up my evening.

What’s your favorite dish to perk yourself up after a gloomy, rainy or particularly gray day?

You can find the recipe DH used here on AllRecipes.com.

Family Night Out Event at Mia’s Pizza & Eats with Cumming Local!

Don’t forget to enter the giveaway for a $20.00 gift certificate here!

Grab your ticket, mark your calendar, and come eat with Cumming Local and Mia’s Pizza!

Sunday Baking in the Kitchen – Low-Fat Blueberry Bran Muffins

It’s a lazy Sunday. We had a breakfast of leftover ham and hash brown casserole, DH headed out for a walk while I sipped coffee and tweeted watched some cartoons with the kids. When he returned he was was ready to bake. Baby loves blueberry muffins and he promised earlier in the week to make her some.

DH also wanted to make a version a little healthier than the store bought ones, so he found this recipe for blueberry bran muffins. He and Baby set to baking while I was upstairs working on the next installment of the great organization project of 2011, so I apologize for the lack of pictures during the making of the muffins.

Ingredients
1 1/2 cups wheat bran
1 cup nonfat milk
1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
1 egg
2/3 cup brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup blueberries

Directions
1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C).
2. Grease muffin cups or use paper muffin liners.
3. Mix together wheat bran and milk, and let stand for 10 minutes.
4. In a large bowl, mix together applesauce, egg, brown sugar, and vanilla. Beat in bran mixture.
5. Sift together all-purpose flour, whole wheat flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. Stir into bran mixture until just blended.
6. Fold in blueberries.
7. Scoop into muffin cups.
8. Bake in preheated oven for 15 to 20 minutes, or until tops spring back when lightly tapped.

The muffins turned out great! Kudos to DH for his recipe choice! The only change DH made to the recipe was substituting wheat germ for the wheat bran. They fresh blueberries had a nice pop of tartness and the muffin didn’t crumble as you took a bite. I can’t stand crumbly muffins! As I ate one, my inner Paula Deen was screaming the muffin would taste even better with some butter slathered on it, but we were trying to make a healthier version, y’all. It’s also nice DH used the mini muffin tins. This way it’s a fun treat to accompany Baby’s usual bowl of cereal breakfast.

Did you bake anything this weekend?

You can find the recipe here at AllRecipes.com.

Mom’s Night Out – Mia’s Pizza and Eats

Last week I had the pleasure of getting together with a few other local bloggers that live out in the sticks North of Atlanta. Most of the meetups I attend are in Buckhead or Midtown Atlanta, so an offer to get together close to my own house was a rare treat. No long commute back home before I can crawl into bed. Score!

Our mini meetup was organized by the lovely Mandi, from Cumming Local. If y’all remember, Mandi also organized the get together where I let my inner artist shine! Anywhoooo…we all got together to check out a fun family friendly restaurant called, Mia’s Pizza & Eats.

Owner’s, Mike and Clori opened the restaurant in 2009 and named it after their precious daughter, Mia. Our group was not only joined for dinner by Clori, but also the cute, pajama wearing, Mia, made the occasional appearance too. We happily chatted away learning about the origins of the restaurant, while feasting heartily on freshly prepared creations like the Mia Tomato Mop, a phenomenal goat cheese and marinara dip and some warm spinach artichoke dip. After appetizers, we were treated to a variety of pizzas, sandwiches, and calzones. Mia’s dough is made fresh every day in their kitchen and you can tell! It was all delicious!

Check out this adorable tiger pizza they offer on their kid’s menu!


Photo courtesy of Clori

After dinner, Clori arranged for some desserts to be brought out for us. Of course we were all stuffed, but trust me when I say we all made a little bit more room in our tummies to try some cheesecake, cannolis, and frozen oreo ice cream pie, all made right there at the restaurant!  I swear, you could have rolled us all out to our cars after this meal! I have to give a HUGE thank you to Mike and Clori for hosting our meetup. The food was over the top and the evening was delightful.

To further foster Mia’s family friendly atmosphere, they are partnering with Cumming Local to sponsor a FAMILY NIGHT OUT event that includes a discounted menu, kids’ crafts, favor bags, and giveaways. The event is free to participate (except for price of food ordered), but participants must register here and receive a ticket. The first 40 people to sign up get “swag bags” filled with coupons and certificates to area businesses. How awesome is that?!

FAMILY NIGHT OUT DETAILS
When: Monday, October 24th
Time: 5:00pm – 8:00pm (drop in)
Where: Mia’s Pizza &  Eats – 911 Marketplace Blvd, Cumming GA 30022
Don’t forget you must register in advance for this event HERE.

As an extra special treat from Clori and Mike, I left with a $20 gift certificate to Mia’s Pizza & Eats to offer up to you all! Make sure you keep and eye out next week, or go ahead and subscribe to my blog, so you don’t miss the announcement details of the giveaway.

By the way, did you know October is national Pizza Month?  If you need an excuse to eat pizza (not that my family ever does, especially on a Friday after a long school/work week), then this is it!  To celebrate Pizza Month, Mia’s is also featuring some weekly specialty pizzas featuring local ingredients.  YUM!

Mark your calendars for the FAMILY NIGHT OUT event and get your stretchy pants on to make your way over to Mia’s Pizza & Eats to chow down on some amazing Italian food!  Hopefully, we’ll see you there!

You can find Mia’s Pizza and Eats on Facebook here or on Twitter here.

Sassy Mediterranean Linguine with Basil and Tomatoes

I like pasta. If I eat pasta once a week I am good. I don’t crave pasta like I crave a cupcake, or should I say the icing on a cupcake, so when I do eat it, it’s just an ordinary dinner to me. It probably doesn’t help that I am not a huge fan of traditional tomato sauce. Which, by the way, probably just made my paternal birth grandfather curse at me in Italian from up above. I much prefer my pasta with a little butter (or EVOO), garlic powder, and parmesan cheese.

Given my history on pasta and sauce, but still recognizing my husband’s deep seeded need for pasta at least 3 times a week, I agreed to give his new recipe a shot. I was extremely surprised by the result.

Ingredients
1 (16 ounce) box linguine pasta
1 tablespoon salt, or to taste
1/2 cup Crisco® 100% Extra Virgin Olive Oil
2 pints grape tomatoes, cut in half
1 tablespoon minced garlic
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
Salt and pepper to taste
18 basil leaves, cut in thin strips
3/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese, plus additional for garnish

Directions
1. Heat 6 quarts water to boiling. Add pasta and salt. Cook for the minimum recommended time on package directions.
2. While pasta cooks, prepare sauce.
3. Heat olive oil in large skillet on medium heat.
4. Add tomatoes and garlic. Cook and stir 2 minutes or until tomatoes are soft.
5. Remove from heat. Stir in vinegar and pepper flakes.

6. Drain pasta.

7. Add pasta to skillet. Cook and stir 1 minute or until pasta is coated and hot.

8. Remove from heat. Season with salt and pepper.
9. Stir in basil and cheese. Serve with additional cheese, if desired.

Being the sauce was mainly diced tomatoes (and their juice), olive oil and assortment of other add ins, it was extremely light on the pasta. The zing from the red pepper flakes really added a WOW factor. I’m not a huge eater of spicy foods, heck I order mild to medium hot wings at our local Taco Mac, so this recipe had my tongue definitely tingling from the heat (and reaching for the Italian bread). I am also glad we kept some plain pasta aside for the kids too, since it was spicier than anything I would ever serve them.

If you like foods with a kick, you should definitely put this one on your TO TRY list. I am glad we did.

You can find the recipe here from AllRecipes.com.

Apple Enchiladas – Delicious Dessert for Mexican Themed Dinner

I promised to share the wonderful dessert that DH surprised us all with at the end of our Mexican pizza making fest so here it is.

You will not be disappointed.

Ingredients
1 (21 ounce) can apple pie filling
6 (8 inch) flour tortillas
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/3 cup margarine
1/2 cup white sugar
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cup water

Directions
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).
2. Spoon fruit evenly onto all tortillas, sprinkle with cinnamon. Roll up tortillas and place seam side down on lightly greased 8×8 baking pan.

We shall not speak of DH’s mad tortilla rolling skillz when he is making us dessert.

3. Bring margarine, sugars and water to a boil in a medium sauce pan. Reduce heat and simmer, stirring constantly for 3 minutes.

4. Pour sauce evenly over tortillas; sprinkle with extra cinnamon on top if desired. Bake in preheated oven for 20 minutes.

5. Makes 6 large tortillas; may be cut in half to serve 12.

I personally thought the sauce was too sweet. I think it would definitely benefit from cooking longer to really bring out the carmelized notes. Next time we may just bake the enchiladas without the sauce and sprinkle with cinnamon sugar. Or after cooling slightly, we may try drizzling with honey or a little warm caramel sauce.

This was definitely a fun ending to our Friday night fiesta. You can find the recipe here from AllRecipes.com.

What’s your favorite dessert after eating Mexican food?

Mexican Pizza

It’s Friday, Friday, Friday!
One of my favorite days of the week.

The busy schedule of the week is complete and we can all relax a bit. Dinner is usual an easy one too. We typically grill burgers, pick up or make pizza or eat leftovers.

This week DH planned a Mexican Fiesta! He found a new recipe for Mexican pizza. As I mentioned before, our family loves Mexican food, so combine it with a Friday evening, some warm cheese dip and it’s a party!

Ingredients
1 (16 ounce) can refried beans
1 pound ground beef
1 (1.25 ounce) package taco seasoning mix
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
4 (6 inch) corn tortillas
8 ounces shredded Cheddar cheese
8 tablespoons sour cream
2 roma (plum) tomatoes, chopped
2 green onion, chopped
1 (4 ounce) can diced green chiles, drained
1/2 avocado, diced
1 tablespoon black olives, sliced

Directions
1. Heat the refried beans.

2. In a large skillet, brown the ground beef. Stir in the seasoning packet.

3. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).

4. Place a small amount of vegetable oil in a large skillet. Let the oil heat, then place one corn tortilla in the skillet. After 15 seconds, flip the tortilla over and let it fry another 15 seconds. Repeat this process with the remaining tortillas, letting them drain on paper towels once they have been heated. When the tortillas have drained, arrange them on a cookie sheet.

5. Spread a thin layer of beans on the tortillas, followed by a layer of beef, and cheese.

It’s Friday, Friday, Friday!

6. Bake the tortillas in the preheated oven for 20 to 30 minutes. (We thought this was a little long. We heated until the cheese melted and tortilla looked toasted.)

7. Garnish with desired toppings like sour cream, tomatoes, lettuce, green onions, chiles, avocado, and olives.

Now obviously, the ingredient list is a little long when you consider all the toppings you can use. This idea is great because you can cater everyone’s pizza to their own liking. The cool veggies and sour cream are the perfect combination with the warm meat, bean and cheese layer. Oh, and the crunch from the flour tortilla is delicious too!

Here is Baby’s version. She devoured it and even ate some of mine.

We loved this dinner and will definitely be making the pizzas again, and you can find the recipe here from AllRecipes.com. DH also surprised us all with a fun complimenting Mexican Dessert. I’ll be posting that too. It was so good you definitely won’t want to miss it.

What’s your favorite mix of toppings for tacos to create your own version of pizza?

HOLY GUACAMOLE – I Won Something!

It’s a GREAT DAY!

This tweet says it all.

HUGE thanks to all the amazing #Frugalistas that hosted the Social Soiree for an incredible event at BlogHer and to Wholly Products for the awesome prize!

Wholly Products features Wholly Guacamole, Wholly Salsa & Wholly Queso! With all the Mexican themed dinners we eat in our house, you will probably find at least two at any given time!

You can find Wholly Guacamole on Facebook here or you can go here and get a cool coupon for yourself.

And if you ask nice enough, I may just share my awesome and abundant guacamole with you. :-)

What is the coolest prize you ever won?

There’s a Yankee in My Kitchen

When you think of the south, what food do you think of?
I think of bar-b-que.

Hence the new quest to try our hand at making our own sauce to determine which regional style we like best.

First up on the trial schedule was a Kansas City style sauce. In simple terms, Kansas City style sauce typically starts with a tomato base and adds in spicy, tangy and sweet flavors. I like more sweet and tangy, over spicy so I was interested to see how this one measured up.

*************************************

Big Al’s K.C. Bar-B-Q Sauce
Ingredients

2 cups ketchup
2 cups tomato sauce
1 1/4 cups brown sugar
1 1/4 cups red wine vinegar
1/2 cup unsulfured molasses
4 teaspoons hickory-flavored liquid smoke
2 tablespoons butter
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
1/4 teaspoon chili powder
1 teaspoon paprika
1/2 teaspoon celery seed
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper

Directions
1. In a large saucepan over medium heat, mix together the ketchup, tomato sauce, brown sugar, wine vinegar, molasses, liquid smoke and butter.

2. Season with garlic powder, onion powder, chili powder, paprika, celery seed, cinnamon, cayenne, salt and pepper.

3. Reduce heat to low, and simmer for up to 20 minutes.

For thicker sauce, simmer longer, and for thinner, less time is needed.
Sauce can also be thinned using a bit of water if necessary.
Brush sauce onto any kind of meat during the last 10 minutes of cooking.

*************************************

When the sauce was fresh made and cooled, it had a strong celery seed note to me. I probably am a little more sensitive than the average person to the flavor though since it’s not one of my favorites. The note mellowed after the sauce chilled in the fridge for about 24 hrs. We tried the sauce on some simple grilled chicken breasts and were happy with the results.

If you like a sweet, tangy sauce then give this one a try. You can find the recipe here.
DH has already professed that we never having to BUY pre-made barbcue sauce again.

What’s your favorite regional barbcue style?

Sugar Coma Festival – Spring 2011

Love all things sweet?  Then you would have loved the Sugar Coma Festival – Spring 2011 Edition!  Shameeka Ayers (aka The Broke Socialite) put on a super sweet affair and I was there to enjoy every lip smackin’ bite.

30 plus vendors were gathering in an open gallery to sample their treats.  I needed to be there.  I had previously attended The Broke Socialites Sugar Coma Redux and knew that this event would be even more awesome.

Being a Sunday I was a little worried. I try and give DH a little free time since he is with this kids all week while I am at the office. When I registered for the event, I saw children were welcome, and up to age ten they were free of charge. Problem solved. DH was able to enjoy a kids free day watching the G Braves, while I wrangled had the children with me.

I did get a few minutes to scarf down some bite sized cupcakes check out some vendors sans kids.

Elegant Event Sitters sponsored an out of the way area complete with crafts for kids. Baby and Jed both enjoyed icing and decorating cookies and coloring adorable cupcake shaped cards.

There were cookies by Tank Goodness Atlanta, which by the way is a business that will deliver warm cookies and cold milk to your door.

There were cake pops and cupcakes for miles! Lenox Cupcakes even had a Bacon Maple Cupcake and of course I had to try it!

There was cotton candy by Crave Cotton Candy Factory.

And OH MY there was ice cream High Road Craft Ice Cream & Sorbet and The Pop Shop.

Many of the vendors are still building their businesses. They rent space in commercial kitchens as opposed to the traditional brick and mortar store fronts. They need us to support them. I could go on for hours attempting to describe all the delicious flavors that I sampled, but I would not due their creators justice.

However, I think this picture sums it all up quite nicely.


Disclaimer

I bought a ticket to this event.
All sampling and tastings were included in the price of the event.
If you don’t get yourself a ticket to the next event you might end up kicking yourself.

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