Tag Archives: recipe

A Wedding & the Best Shrimp You’ve Ever Had

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I can’t remember the last time I attended a wedding.

Scratch that, it was two years ago today. My cousin got married, and I was a little over a month of being 21. It was my first wedding I could (legally) drink at and it was a blast!

But after that no one I knew was getting married, until my coworker Jen got engaged last summer.

(Jen, by the way, runs a great DIY/home blog over at Grove Pointe Love. She hasn’t blogged recently but you can’t really blame her as she’s been wedding planning and just got back from her honeymoon!)

Can I just say that I love weddings? What isn’t there to love though, really? You have a reason to dress semi-formal, get your hair done, dance the night away, and drink without anyone judging you. It’s a celebration! And I have to say that Jen’s wedding was absolutely beautiful! Here are a couple shots from the night.

It’s hard to tell in this picture since it’s from my cell phone, but there were little diamonds all over the tables, too. I got to sit at a table of 8 with my coworkers and our significant others/dates. The table right next to us was another table of coworkers, and we were also sat by the Photo Booth and the bar, so we got plenty of great shots! Here’s one of all of us

And that’s just me being silly!

Since after the wedding, things have been a little busier than normal at work because our team of 3 got dropped down to 2 since Jen went on her honeymoon. Tomorrow is her first day back so my fingers are crossed that I will be a little less busy and have more time to blog, and maybe even start reading again! It’s been so long since I’ve read a book.

But for those of you who came with intentions of finding the recipe for the Best Shrimp You’ve Ever Had, I’ll stop digressing and give you what you want!

Best Shrimp You’ve Ever Had

  • 1 bag fresh shrimp, with tails and shells
  • 1 stick of butter
  • 1 lemon
  • 1 packet dried Italian seasoning

Preheat oven to 350°. Melt the butter and pour onto foil lined baking sheet. Slice lemon and layer on top of the butter. Place shrimp on top of lemon slices and butter. Sprinkle dried Italian seasoning all over shrimp. Bake for 15 minutes.

That’s it!

I have tried this recipe with both shrimp with tails/shells and without tails/shells, and I must tell you that while it is a little bit of a pain to remove the shells and tails while trying to eat, the flavor is much better and the shrimp doesn’t dry out as much. It is really your personal preference though.

What’s your favorite shrimp recipe?

A Warm Welcome Back

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Hello again to my blogging friends! I know that I have been MIA for much too long (has it really been a month?!), but I must tell you that the break was much needed. There have been many changes and developments in my life these past few weeks, among them in my health, relationships with friends and families, and my job. 23 has proven to have just as tough of a start that 22 had, but I’m taking each day one at a time and trying to stay optimistic.

One of my favorite things to do when I’m feeling down or stressed out is to bake some comfort food. For as long as I can remember, one of my most favorite dishes is a casserole that my mom made for my brothers and me. Whenever I tell friends or coworkers about this recipe, most of them turn up their noses at the thought of combining some of these ingredients, so I really must implore all of you reading this to at least try it before passing it by! It is truly one of those warming, feel good, comfort foods that make you think of home. (The best part is that this recipe only takes 6 ingredients!)

I have never actually learned the real name of this dish so I refer to it only as Mom’s Casserole.

Yum!

Mom’s Casserole

  • 1 box Kraft macaroni & cheese
  • 10 oz. frozen broccoli florets
  • 1 ring of Polish or smoked sausage
  • 1 can cream of celery soup
  • 1/4 cup milk (for mac & cheese)
  • 4 tbsp. butter (for mac & cheese)

Make macaroni & cheese according to package. Meanwhile, preheat oven to 350° F and chop sausage into round pieces. Run broccoli under hot water to thaw, and cut into smaller pieces if necessary. Combine mac & cheese, sausage, broccoli, and cream of celery into casserole dish, mixing well. Bake at least 30 minutes, or until bubbly.

And I must point out that you don’t want to nix on adding the cream of celery soup to this dish. It is really important in keeping the casserole from drying out while baking. My mom can attest to forgetting it once or twice and having to throw the whole thing out.

Cream of Celery Soup

This is my Mom's Casserole recipe

Do you have a go to comfort food that reminds you of your mom, dad, grandma, or anyone special?

Sunday Dinner – Ranch Chicken Taco Muffins

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Ranch Chicken Taco Muffins

There’s something about Sunday that just beckons you to be lazy and stay in your pajamas all day. I almost always gladly oblige, and today was no exception. So I knew I needed to pick a recipe for dinner that didn’t require much prep or effort to make. I decided to make one of my favorite meals, Taco Muffins, but I wanted to use chicken instead of beef so I could use my crockpot to cook the chicken.

I found a recipe for Ranch Chicken Tacos and based on the comments, altered the ingredient amounts to make enough for just me (and maybe one more meal) and made everything in the crockpot versus the stove top. It was really easy and honestly I mostly guessed at my amounts since I didn’t want to dirty any dishes like measuring cups (because that would mean I would have to do dishes, and that doesn’t fit in my day today.)

The taco muffin cups were probably what actually took the longest to do, but I enjoy them so much more than just tortillas wrapped up that I didn’t mind doing it. Plus, I got to use a margarita glass and eat all of the trimmings! You can read a little more on how to make muffin cups here.

Ranch Chicken Tacos

  • 1/2 packet Ranch seasoning
  • 1/2 packet taco seasoning
  • two frozen boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • 8 oz. chicken broth (or bullion cubes in water, which is what I did)
  • 1/2 cup ranch dressing

Pour all of your ingredients (except the ranch dressing) into the crockpot. Cook on high for 3 to 3 1/2 hours, depending on your crockpot’s heat intensity. When time is up, shred the chicken with a fork. Add in ranch dressing and mix well, covering shredded chicken. Turn heat on low and let simmer about 10 minutes.

That’s it! The chicken was so moist and basically fell apart when I shredded it in the crock. You could eat these in soft shells, hard shells, on nachos, on tostadas – pretty much anything. I baked my tortilla cups in a muffin pan in the oven at 350° for about 10 minutes to get them to the desired crunchiness I wanted.

Then I layered in my chicken, some shredded Mexican blend cheese, real bacon bits, a bit more ranch, and sour cream. Yum!

What did you make for dinner today?

Iced Coffee on a Budget

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This week has sure been a stressful one financially. I never thought that living on my own would come with so many bills. And then there’s the freak stuff that comes out of nowhere that you never budgeted for!

My lifestyle now is definitely not the same as when I lived with my parents. No rent to worry about, no loans, no utility bills, no paying for your own cable and internet (since Mom and Dad took care of it!), among other things.

Don’t get me wrong, I knew this wasn’t going to be sunshine and rainbows. This week has just been one to test me. I shall come out a better person with a lesson learned though, I promise 🙂

Since I am going to be on a tighter budget from now on, I decided I needed to look at some of the stuff I spend money on daily, weekly, and monthly, and see where I can cut back.

The first (and easiest) one to accomplish was my morning coffee.

I love coffee, but I love creamer more than I love coffee. In fact, most people ask me if I want some coffee with my creamer (it’s that important!) But creamer is expensive, as is stopping off at the coffee shop on the way to work each morning. It gets to be pricey when you add it all up. I am lucky in that my office provides coffee for us, but most times the pot is empty and I am much too lazy to make a fresh pot and wait for it to finish. Plus, I enjoy an iced coffee over a hot coffee any day.

After some searching around on Google and Pinterest, I found an easy iced coffee recipe that only takes 5 ingredients (and I have all of them in my kitchen!)

Iced Coffee

Iced Mocha Vanilla Coffee

  • Frozen coffee (enough for 1 1/2 cups)
  • 1/2 cup of milk
  • 1 tsp. unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 3 tsp. vanilla extract
  • sugar (to taste)

That’s it!

I make a big coffee pot the night before and separate the portions into ziploc baggies. Make sure to let the coffee cool a bit before you pour it in, otherwise it’s really hot to hold onto!

Then I freeze my coffee overnight. In the morning, I take out one of the baggies and put it in the blender along with my other ingredients. I usually do this about 10 minutes before I leave, because the frozen coffee needs to thaw just a little in order to be blended well and fast enough.

After that, just blend until smooth and pour into your favorite tumbler. Mine is leopard print, which happens to be one of my favorite things!

If you’re really feeling sweet, you could also add in a swirl of chocolate syrup and top it with some whipped cream. The drink is about 40 calories before that stuff, so just remember you’re adding about 50 more calories. (Some mornings I would say it’s worth it!)

What do you do to save money and stay on budget each month?

Hot Chocolate on a Hotter Summer Night

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I’ve got a new (and yummy) recipe for you all to try – Nutella Hot Chocolate.

I do realize it’s the middle of summer and was 95° most of yesterday, but there’s just something comforting about hot chocolate on a dark, stormy night when you’re home alone and snuggled up in bed.

Colby and I spent most of our Saturday napping and trying to beat the heat. I also stayed entertained by snapping shots of the several poses that Colby sleeps in when he naps.

Kitty sleeping

We were both like that until about 9 PM, and that’s when it started storming – lightning, thunder, monsoon rain, the works.

So anyway, back to my hot chocolate recipe. I pinned this one a while back but it’s been so warm that I forgot about it. Last night seemed like the perfect chance to try it out.

And trust me guys, it is totally worth it.

Hot Chocolate with Nutella

Nutella Hot Chocolate

  • 1 cup of milk
  • 2 big spoonfuls of Nutella
  • pinch of cinnamon
  • whipped cream
  • mini marshmallows

Pour 1/4 cup of the milk into a saucepan on medium-low heat. Add the Nutella and stir until blended, then slowly stir in the remaining milk. Add a pinch of cinnamon and stir, letting set until hot and a layer of froth forms. Pour the mixture into a mug and then add whipped cream and mini marshmallows.

Do you have any twist on the traditional hot chocolate that you drink?

A 5K and a Poke Cake

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What an interesting weekend! I spent majority of it lying on my parents’ couch because I was still feeling really sick. However, I did make the most of my Saturday by running in the 5K I had previously signed up for. And wow, was it tough!

Completing the race in under an hour was my goal. I finished in just over an hour and was originally really disappointed in that time, but after hearing from lots of my other friends who were healthy and completed the race, I do not feel as bad about it. Not only could I not run most of the time due to the fact that my throat kept closing (being sick while already an asthmatic is fun) but it was extremely hot that day! So I am very proud of my time!

This past Monday was also my brother’s fiance’s birthday so I decided to take the opportunity to make a dessert I had pinned a couple weeks ago – Oreo Poke Cake. I’ll take any excuse to bake something new, especially if it involves chocolate 😉

The cake turned out great! Hallie loved it and there was so much leftover that I even took the cake into work. My coworkers were very appreciative and it was devoured in about 5 minutes. My boss even told me that it was “epic.” I’ll say this one was a success!

Oreo Poke Cake

  • Chocolate cake mix (plus what you need to make the cake, usually eggs, oil, and water)
  • 2 boxes of Oreo instant Jello pudding mix (4.2 ounces)
  • 4 cups of milk
  • Oreo cookie crumbles

Mix and bake cake mix in 9 x 13 in. pan according to instructions. When the cake has about 5 minutes left, begin making your pudding. Whisk the pudding mix with the cold milk for about two minutes, until lumps are gone. Let set only 2-3 minutes (not the whole 5, you don’t want it to set too thick or it won’t pour!)

Take cake out of oven and begin poking holes all over cake. Try to use something with a 1 inch diameter, like the end of a wooden spoon. Do as many holes as you’d like – there’s no such thing as too many or too little!

Pour your pudding mix all over cake and into the holes you created. Use the back of a spoon to help get the pudding into the holes. Let set 5-10 minutes and cool.

Cover & refrigerate for at least an hour. Top with Oreo cookie crumbles before serving.

What is your favorite type of cake to make?

What a crock!

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It’s Friday and it’s time for the Friday 5! I’ll answer five questions on a certain topic. I’d love to hear your answers in the comments below!

This week’s theme is Crockpot! I love cooking in the crockpot. It’s so much easier to set it in the morning and have dinner ready and waiting for me when I get home from work. It also makes your kitchen smell wonderful! My crockpot is a hand-me-down from my mom but I love it. It gets the job done!

1. How often do you use your crockpot?

I use my crockpot around 2-3 times a month. I am trying to find ways to incorporate it even more.

2. What types of meals do make in the crockpot? (dinner, breakfast, dessert)

I have made several dinners in the crock, and one night I was feeling adventurous and decided to try to make oatmeal. It cooked overnight and when I woke up in the morning my kitchen smelled so wonderful. I recommend giving crockpot oatmeal a try. I also make a delicious dip for tortilla chips. You put a brick of Velveeta cheese and a jar of salsa in the crock and let it warm and melt and mix together for at least an hour. It’s great!

3. Have you ever had a meal go wrong in the crockpot?

Thankfully, I haven’t had any meal go wrong in the crock (yet!)

4. What is your favorite meal you’ve made in the crockpot?

My favorite recipe I have tried in the crock was Honey Sesame Chicken. Six Sisters Stuff is an amazing blog and they always have really yummy crockpot recipes available if you’re looking for something to try.

5. What is the next meal you are making in your crockpot?

Not sure right now, maybe some of you could give me an idea? 🙂