Saturday, January 17, 2009


Oh what to eat on gym nights? Dan and I have a list of no-no's for gym nights - no spaghetti, tacos, and things like that. Don't ask. We're just weird like that. So on Wednesday night, we opted for pizza. Dan would have pizza every day if he could, but that's not happening here.

Well, since I do not have the skills at making pizza from scratch, we usually get pizza from any of the local pizza chains or we buy a frozen one. Frozen is so much cheaper and easier than calling up (or going on line) and dealing with the chains. No delivery to wait for. In less than the time it takes for delivery to arrive, my oven had been preheated, pizza gone in, and pizza come out.

Last week, I had a coupon for a Freshetta pizza, so I used it. We both really liked the pizza and said that we would have to get it again. On Tuesday night, we were heading out to get a few things from Target (my fave!) and I found another coupon for the pizza. Score! We could have it again.

If you don't like frozen pizzas, that's fine by me. However, if you do, try this one out. One of the things that I really enjoyed was the different spices that could be tasted in every bite. Delish. Oh, and by the way, it already comes pre-sliced for perfect sizes. I used the pizza cutter to make sure that all of the pieces were separated.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Homemade Brownies

While on my lunch break this week, I came across this one blog called Cooking Stuff, which belongs to Bob. Bob had posted his 100th post and it contained a list of his top 10 list of his personal favorites. Well, on that list, was "The Brownies". I had to check it out since the last time I made homemade brownies was a disaster and I really wanted to try it again. After looking at the pictures and really craving chocolate (who doesn't crave chocolate?), I decided that I had to make them.

After doing some test driving today with Dan's cousin, Kevin, I said to them that I was going to make homemade brownies. And let me tell you, I'm so glad that I did. I'm hooked on these and now I have Bob to thank for some awesome brownies. Oh, and Bob, I did tweak the recipe just a bit...I don't use semi-sweet chocolate chips anymore. I made them with milk chocolate chips. Sorry!

I'll let you check out his blog for the recipe, but I will share my pictures. I think that his are better, but hey, why not? The inspiration came from him.

Bringing the water, sugar, and butter to a boil.

Adding the chocolate chips.

Can't forget the eggs.

Dry ingredients.

Ready to go in the oven.

No soup for you!

The other day, I was at work earlier this week when I came across a recipe for a steak and potato soup. I think I was playing around on the different links on Yahoo! and thought that it sounded delish, so I had to give it a try. The best night for me to make it was last night, but I could have made it sooner since it was very easy and didn't take long to make. I modified the recipe a little bit, so to me, it was a Vegetable Beef soup. The recipe says that it yields 4 servings, but that's a lie. Dan and I each had a mug last night and I've had 2 bowls of it today (leftovers for lunch and dinner, no surprise) and there's still about 3 more servings left. So, you do the math!

Here's my own version...

What you need:
1 lb. beef for stew
3 tbsp cooking oil
1 1/4 tsp salt
1 large onion (if you know me, you know that I left that crap out!)
1 lb baking potatoes (peeled and cut into 1" chunks)
1/2 lb green beans (ends trimmed) {you could use canned beans if desired, but make sure to drain them first}
baby carrots (sliced) {it's up to you how much you want to put in}
1 can corn (drain first)
2 cups water
1 quart broth {32 oz for dummies like myself} (I used beef, but chicken would work too, I suppose)
1/4 tsp fresh ground black pepper
2 tsp Worcestershire sauce

1. In a large pot, heat 1 tbsp oil over moderately high heat. Add half of the steak and cook, stirring frequently, until well browned. Remove with a slotted spoon. Repeat with another tablespoon of oil and the remaining half of the beef. Remove the beef and toss all of the beef with 1/4 tsp salt.

2. Reduce the heat to moderately low and add the final tbsp of oil to the pot. Add the onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until translucent.

3. Add the potatoes, green beans, carrots, corn, water, broth, salt, and pepper to the pot. Bring to a boil, scraping the bottom of the pot with a spoon to get the "good stuff" off the bottom. Reduce the heat and simmer until the potatoes are tender, about 15 minutes. Return the beef to the soup and stir in the Worcestershire sauce.

4. Let the beef get warm again, serve in your best soup mugs or soup bowls, and enjoy!

Friday, January 9, 2009

Who doesn't love lasagna?

Tuesday night was grocery shopping night. Since I had been in NY visiting the wonderful fam, Dan had done no grocery shopping. Like usual, it waits until I get back, but I can deal with it because then I get to pick what I want! As we're walking around in the freezer section of Target, Dan spies Stouffer's lasagna and calls out, "Hey Beck, will you make lasagna?" How can I say no? Anytime I can have it, I'm all for it. So we had to get some ingredients for it: cottage cheese (Dan won't eat ricotta), sauce, and cheese (2 bags because the cheesier the better).

Because Wednesday night is gym night for us, and we can't do pasta on gym nights, Dan decided on Thursday night. I knew that I had to make it Wednesday night because I had an eye doctor's appt Thursday after work. So while our frozen pizza was "baking" in the oven, I got to work on my lasagna.

1 lb. ground beef (or turkey or chicken, you choose)
1 jar spaghetti sauce (whatever flavor you like)
2 cups cottage cheese (or 15 oz. ricotta cheese)
2 cups mozzarella cheese (or if you're like me, MORE)
lasagna noodles
garlic powder

1. Put pot of water on to boil for noodles. When water is ready, add the noodles, and cook until they're done to your liking. I like mine cooked all the way through. None of that al dente junk. I don't want "crunchy" pasta!
2. Brown meat in large skillet. I chose to sprinkle in some garlic powder while the meat was cooking.
3. When meat is browned, drain, and return pan to stove and add sauce.

4. At this point in time, I sprinkled in oregano, basil, thyme, and more garlic powder.
5. Pour cottage cheese into bowl and add oregano and basil and stir.
6. When noodles are done, drain and I try to rinse them off a little bit to get them unstuck.
7. To assemble lasagna...
a. Pour some of meat sauce mixture in bottom of baking dish (enough to cover the bottom).

b. Put enough noodles in the dish to cover the sauce.

c. Pour about half of the cottage cheese mixture over the noodles and spread to cover the

d. Sprinkle half of the mozzarella cheese on top of the cottage cheese.

e. Repeat once, starting with the sauce mixture and ending with the mozzarella cheese.

8. Cover with aluminum foil and bake in a 350 degree oven for 30 minutes.
9. Remove foil and bake for another 15 minutes or until cheese is golden and bubbly.
10. Let sit for about 15 minutes so it can set, or if you're like me, put it on the table and let everyone dig in.

Mine sat in the fridge overnight and I didn't cook it long enough because it wasn't as golden as I would have liked on top, but that doesn't matter, people It was done and delish!

Normally when I make this, I do add Parmesan cheese to the cottage cheese mixture, but I was trying to convince Dan's mom (who despises cheese, but will eat pizza and Stouffer's lasagna) that my lasagna is really good. And no surprise, I was right! She even helped herself to seconds and said that it was good. I'm proud of her for trying something different!