Thursday, August 25, 2016

Where I Cook

I've been in my new house in Texas now for 6 weeks, and I thought I'd post a few pics so you can see my behind the scenes. I love this kitchen! I especially love how big it is! There is ONE thing that I hate which you can see in the last picture.

I have lots of cupboard and drawer space. There is a pocket office in the back that keeps my papers out of the kitchen. My pantry is back there too. I love the big seating area at the bar, and that it's open to our living room space. 

Here's a pic from when we were looking at the house (husband and realtor included). When we moved in the kitchen was painted a dark brown. I miss my Washington white kitchen, but like the knotty look of the brown cabinets, so I decided to paint the kitchen walls an antique white. 

I've never had a wall oven or wall microwave before and they're great!

I have a nice gas cooktop and since the oven is on the wall, I've got space underneath to store my big pots.

Here's my pantry. Lots of space for my machines, big things, jars, and food. 

This is one of my favorite things. A big island with an outlet! I'm still trying to figure out the best place to take pictures of my food. I've been going back and forth between the kitchen table in this pic, and the dining room table.

And finally the one thing I hate...this is the switch for the disposal. Waaaaaaaay down the counter and around the side. I have to walk over there to turn it on, and I can't see if everything is going down the drain. So I leave it on, walk back to the sink, then go turn it off. SO STRANGE! I also hate the fact that my kids can turn it on at any point when I'm doing the dishes if they ever feel like chopping up my hands. But other than that, I think the kitchen and I will work very well together!!! :)

Thursday, August 11, 2016

Creamy Tortellini and Sausage

Made this yummy one pot meal last week. Actually, I was a little busy when it was time to start dinner so my husband made it! He said he thinks it tasted better than normal because he made it himself and wondered if that's how I felt about my food. I told him yes. Haha. The tomatoes with the broth and cheeses make a great sauce. We used turkey sausage and Colby jack cheese, but there are lots of substitutions you could do. I added a little shredded Parmesan on mine and served it with a Caesar salad and these breadsticks. Next time I'm going to add a little pinch of red pepper flakes. 

Creamy Tortellini and Sausage
adapted from
1 TBSP oil
½ cup diced onion
1 lb package of turkey kielbasa, sliced
1 cup chicken broth or water
20 oz. package of refrigerated tortellini
28 oz. can of whole tomatoes, cut in the can with kitchen scissors
Pinch of salt and pepper
2 TBSPs cream cheese
2 cups shredded colby jack cheese

1. Heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat, and cook onion until soft.
2. Add sausage and cook until browned.
3. Add chicken broth, tortellini, tomatoes, salt and pepper. Bring to a boil, stirring often.
4. Turn heat down to low, cover and simmer for about 15 minutes, or until pasta is cooked to al dente. 5. Remove from heat and add cheeses. Cover and let stand for five minutes, then stir the melted cheeses until incorporated. Serve hot.

Sunday, July 31, 2016

Peach Sauce

I made this peach sauce to go with my Peaches and Cream Baked French Toast. It would also be great with pancakes, waffles, or desserts!

Peach Sauce
2 cups fresh or frozen peaches
1/2 cup water
1/2 cup sugar
1 TBSP lemon juice
2 TBSPs cornstarch, mixed with 2 TBSPs cold water

1. In a saucepan over medium heat, combine the peaches, 1/2 cup of water, sugar and lemon juice. Stir frequently, and bring to a low boil.
2. In a small bowl, mix the cornstarch with 2 tablespoons of cold water.
3. Slowly stir the cornstarch mixture into the peach mixture. Simmer until the sauce is thick enough to coat the back of a metal spoon, about 5 minutes.
4. Remove from heat. Serve warm. Store covered in refrigerator.

Notes: You can adjust the sweetness of the sauce by decreasing or increasing the sugar. Also, if you want it to be more syrupy instead of thick, then add a little more water.

Peaches and Cream Baked French Toast

I almost went a whole month without posting!! I'm in my new kitchen and getting settled. I'll do a post about it soon, but we're trying to finish painting it right now. This week I bought a bunch of peaches for $.78 a lb and wanted to try my Brazos Baked French Toast recipe with them. It was AMAZING! I've made it with blueberries too, but we liked this even better. I also used some to make a peach sauce, which I'll post separately, but the link will be listed below. It's super easy and great for breakfast, brunch, or if you're like us, dinner. :)

Peaches and Cream Baked French Toast
1 loaf french bread (day old bakery bread works great)
3-5 peaches, peeled and thinly sliced
8 oz cream cheese
4 TBSPs butter or margarine, melted
1 1/2 cups half and half
1/4 cup peach jam
10 eggs
Powdered sugar
Peach sauce (optional) or whatever you want on top

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray a 9x13 in baking dish with non stick spray.
2. Cube bread and layer half in prepared dish. Layer the sliced peaches in rows on top of the bread cubes. Cut the cream cheese into small pieces and drop them on evenly across the peaches. Cover with remaining bread cubes. 2. Pour melted butter over the top of the bread cubes.
3. Whisk together half and half, jam, and eggs pour over the top as evenly as possible. Try to cover all the bread. The jam might sink to the bottom and end up on top after pouring, which is totally fine. Press down with spatula so that the liquid is absorbed by the bread.
4. Cover and refrigerate at least 2 hours or overnight.
5. Bake uncovered at 350 degrees for 45-50 min. If it starts to get too brown, lay a sheet of foil on top until it has finished baking. Remove from oven and sift powered sugar over top. Cut into 8-12 servings. Serve with peach sauce or syrup.

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Artichoke, Chicken, and Spinach Lasagna

I'm moving in 10 days! Pretty soon I'll have a whole new kitchen to cook in! Before that happens, I need to get some things posted. I made this lasagna last week and LOVED it! Will definitely want to make it again, so here it is!
Artichoke, Chicken, and Spinach Lasagna
adapted from
2 TBSPs olive oil
1/4 cup diced onion
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 lb. boneless chicken breasts, cut into cubes
1 tsp Italian seasoning
Salt and pepper
2 (14 ounce) cans artichoke hearts, well-drained and chopped
1 15 oz. container ricotta cheese
2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese, divided
1 beaten egg
1 TBSP fresh chopped parsley
3 cups fresh baby spinach leaves, stacked and cut into thin strips (stems removed)
9 lasagna noodles, cooked
4 TBSPs butter
1/4 cup flour
2 cups milk
Dash of nutmeg
1/2 cup fresh grated Parmesan cheese
Salt and pepper

1. In a large skillet heat the olive oil over medium-low heat. Add the onion, garlic, chicken, Italian seasoning and season well with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring often until chicken is cooked through. Add artichokes and stir them into the chicken. Cook 3 minutes. Remove from heat and allow to cool.
2. In a large mixing bowl combine the ricotta, 1 1/2 cups of mozzarella, the egg and parsley. Add spinach strips and mix them into the ricotta mixture.
3. Make the sauce: In a large, heavy duty saucepan melt the butter over medium-low heat. Whisk in flour and cook 3 - 4 minutes, whisking often. Slowly whisk in milk, turn heat up and bring to a simmer. Maintain a simmer for 4 minutes, stirring often. Turn heat down to low and stir in nutmeg, Parmesan cheese and a pinch or two each of salt and pepper, continue stirring until cheese is melted. Remove from heat.
4. Assemble the lasagna: Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Grease a 9 x 13-inch casserole dish. Add a very thin layer of sauce over bottom of the pan, then a layer of 3 noodles. Spread 1/2 the ricotta mixture evenly over the noodles, then top with 1/3 of the chicken mixture. Pour 1/3 of remaining sauce over the chicken as evenly as possible followed by another layer of noodles, and then the remaining 1/2 of ricotta, 1/3 of the chicken and 1/3 of the sauce. Cover with another layer of noodles followed by the remaining sauce, the remaining chicken mixture and the 1/2 cup mozzarella cheese. Bake 45 - 50 minutes until bubbly and hot in the middle. If the top starts to get too brown tent with aluminum foil. Allow to set 5 - 10 minutes before cutting into squares and serving.

Here's the order of layers in a list (easier for me to follow).
Tiny bit of sauce
3 noodles
1/2 of ricotta
1/3 of chicken
1/3 of sauce
3 noodles
1/2 ricotta
1/3 chicken
1/3 sauce
3 noodles
rest of sauce
rest of chicken
1/2 cup cheese

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Whipped Nutella Mousse

What could be better than this?! These 3 ingredients would make anything taste amazing! I was directed to this recipe by my sister. You can use it as a fruit dip or cupcake filling, but I put it in crepes. This is the crepe recipe I use here. The crepes were seriously so good with a little of this mousse, strawberries, and bananas. YUM!!

Whipped Nutella Mousse
1 cup Nutella
1 8oz pkg cream cheese, softened
1 cup Cool Whip or other whipped topping

1. Combine Nutella and cream cheese in a mixing bowl. Beat until combined and smooth.
2. Add Cool Whip and stir with a spoon until combined.
3. Serve immediately or cover and refrigerate until ready to serve.

 Note: Refrigerating the mixture will make it stiffen up.

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Cocoa Dyno-Bites Marshmallow Treats

I got 2 giant bags of this cereal from Winco for only $1.48 each, just to turn them into this! 

Cocoa Dyno-Bites Marshmallow Treats
4 TBSPs butter or margarine
10.5oz mini marshmallows (about 6 cups)
7 cups Cocoa Dyno-Bites Cereal

1. Prepare a 9x13in pan by spraying with non-stick cooking spray. Spray a spatula.
2. In a large microwave safe bowl, melt butter.
3. Add marshmallows to butter. Stir to coat. Microwave an additional 90 seconds. Remove and stir.
3. Add cereal. Stir until well coated.
4. Using spatula evenly press mixture into prepared pan. Cool. Cut into squares.

Best if served the same day. Store no more than two days at room temperature in airtight container.