Sunday, October 31, 2010

Happy Halloween!!! Black & White Candied Pretzels


Here is the perfect munchie for Halloween night to keep you from eating all the candy you are passing out to the Trick or Treaters! Even I am guilty of swiping all the grape candies from the candy bowl. But I make these to keep the rest of the family away from the chocolate candy bars! Make these in the morning. It takes minutes. Let them sit on the counter all day and harden. Hide them once the family gets home or they will disappear!


Black & White Candied Pretzels

3 cups of Pretzels
1 cup white chocolate chips
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 cup Reese's Pieces
1 cup Halloween M&Ms (or just the orange and brown ones)

Line a cookie sweet with Foil. I like to spray with cooking spray and then take a paper towel and wipe it away so it isn't greasy but the chocolate wont stick. Technically you don't need to but it's one of my many compulsions.
Line tray with pretzels. I like this brand because they are whole wheat and I can tell myself it's "healthy!"

In a microwave proof bowl, put one of the varieties of chocolate chips in and microwave for a minute and half on 60% power. It will look not completely melted. Stir and you will see it is perfect.

Drizzle with a spoon over the pretzels. Take half the candy and sprinkle over the first layer of drizzled chocolate.

Now melt the other variety and repeat the process. I like to really cover this last layer of chocolate with lots of candy.

Let cool at least two hours. Break apart and enjoy!

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Halloween Meal Ideas

My brats a little older now, in fact some have grown and flew the coop. But being an experienced mom, I can tell you that you will want to get a good meal into your kids before letting them loose to Trick or Treat. In fact, you want to eat a good meal before being forced to "try" each of the candies. It's a hard job somebody has to do it!!

When my kids were younger, we would do two different scenarios for Halloween. The first one being combining the neighborhood together for a quick BBQ before Trick or Treating as a big crowd. This was great for families of small children. It provided friends to run up on scary houses and more parents to add that extra set of eyes. A favorite and quick meal was always Hotdogs. It ensured that you could feed a lot of kids for cheap. It also ensured that the kids would eat. That's big when faced with hoards of candy. For adults, consider making Bacon Wrapped Hot Dogs! You won't complain about eating hotdogs while eating these!
As the kids got older, they didn't want to Trick or Treat with the neighborhood. You understand! They became pre-teens and wanted to be with the friends they go to school with. So I fell back on what my parents would make when I was a kid. Sloppy Joes!!! You remember as a child eating Sloppy Joes. My mom made them out of a can of Manwich. She would serve them open face over toasted buns. You had to eat them with a fork and butter knife. The key is making making meals to fill them up before eating all that candy. Being the control freak I am, you won't see a can of Manwich in my kitchen. You have all the ingredients for it in your kitchen right now! I've changed my mothers Sloppy Joes. I always serve with homemade coleslaw. Over the years, that coleslaw has ended up on our Sloppy Joes. You'll love it! The creamy mayonnaise base goes great with the tangy sauce in the Sloppy Joes!


With these two meals, you'll be ready for Halloween and all that candy!!!

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Friday, October 29, 2010

Foodie Friday's Sloppy Joes



Hi Everyone! I'm over at my buddy's blog Adventures of a Military Family of 8 doing a guest post for Foodie Friday Recipes. There you can get my latest fall recipe for Sloppy Joes. It's a perfect meal for the kids before Trick or Treating!




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Thursday, October 28, 2010

Stuffed bell peppers (Low Carb Version)


Everyone tells me of the freedom with low carb. How you don't get bored. Hmmm without potatoes my diet is boring. I miss them like a best friend.

Tonight I'm making an old fashioned meal except I'm swapping out the rice for cauliflower. Promise you won't miss is. Now I should be using ground turkey but you know my luck. Hamburger it is. Lets talk bell peppers. Mine are HUGE so I am making one per person. If you come across small ones, consider two per person. Also I prefer the Red bell peppers over green but make what you like or what is economical for your family. These were on sale for .20 more than the green ones. Try to find ones that you think will stand on their own too. These freeze well too so consider making a double batch and freezing half

Stuffed bell peppers (Low Carb Version)
5-6 Bell Peppers
1 LB ground beef or ground turkey
1 small onion diced
2 cloves garlic minced
1/2 head of cauliflower (yes cauliflower)
1 jar favorite low in sugar spaghetti sauce (can sub for tomato puree or homemade)
1 TB Italian seasoning
1/4 tsp cayenne
2 TB Worcestershire sauce
2/3 cup Parmesan cheese grated
1 cup mozzarella cheese grated

Put a large pan of water on to boil that will fit 5-6 bell peppers.

Brown your meat with the onion over Medium high heat. When it's halfway cooked, add the garlic. Salt and pepper to taste.

While the meat cooks, cut the cauliflower off the core. You only need half the head. Put the cauliflower in a food processor and grind up until it resembles rice. Genius right? If you do not have a food processor, take the whole head of cauliflower and grate it on a cheese grater.


Now let's prepare the peppers. Cut the top of the stem off.

Don't toss these! They are perfect for chopping up and putting in another meal. Clean the inside of the pepper. I use the side of my knife and get the ribs out. Rinse the peppers and set aside.


Once the water is boiling add a good pinch or two of kosher salt Add the peppers to boiling water. Let cook for 8 minutes You are still going to cook them in the oven

Drain your meat of all the fat. Return to the pan and add the cauliflower. If you are not game for the cauliflower add 1 cup cooked rice. But seriously you won't miss the rice and the cauliflower doesn't taste like cauliflower.

Add about 3/4 jar of spaghetti sauce. My ingredient list is kinda approximate. You have to judge it case by case. I like it to be saucy like sloppy joes. Add the Italian seasoning and cayenne and Parmesan. Taste. Add more salt and pepper if needed. Let simmer for about ten minutes.


Take the peppers out carefully with tongs. Place into a casserole dish. I like to use one that holds them all with little to no extra room.

Start stuffing the peppers with your mixture.

Top with the mozzarella. I like to take the extra sauce and spoon it around the peppers.

Bake in a preheated 350 degree oven for 25-30 minutes.



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Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Carne Asada Taco Salad



Being a food blogger is hard work. First there's all that cooking, and then the writing it all up. But the hardest work is the eating! Feel really sorry for me! Please. Ok maybe it's not THAT hard. But it's affecting my weight. If I'm going to continue this I am going to have to limit my naughty carbs. (potatoes are NOT a carb...well maybe but I'm working on that) So tonight I am making a salad out of my taco and substituting roasted chickpeas in place of my beloved homemade tortilla strips. Oddly it was just as satisfying.


3 pounds of sirloin steak or flank steak sliced thinly
1/2 cup ponzu
1/3 cup white vinegar
3-4 cloves of garlic minced
1 TB oil

Mix all in a bowl. Let sit for at least an hour.

Season both sides with
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon chili powder
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
Mix all in a bowl. Let sit for at least an hour.



Season both sides with
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon chili powder
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
This is A LOT of seasoning and quite strong. Put it in a seal-able container and go easy with it.

Heat up your grill pan or the BBQ. I like to oil the grill. Heat it till smoking hot. Cook meat. I'm cooking completely but only because The Fireman is close by and complaining that it needs to be cooked thoroughly. If he was say out of the room, I could guarantee that I would cook it medium.

Then transfer to a cutting board. Let rest for a minute or two. Try to keep the family away from it. I like to take a knife through it. That's just me though.
Serve on iceberg lettuce with roasted chickpeas, shredded cheese, avocado, homemade salsa, and sour cream





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Monday, October 25, 2010

Refried Beans


There is something magical about homemade refried beans. My family cannot get enough. The Tortured Teenager will dip tortilla chips into them, The Ballplayer wants a burrito and the rest of us just savor them. They really are easy to make. You just need time or a crock pot. Today I am making them in a pan the old fashioned way. I don't even have a full bag of beans which is unfortunate because it will just be enough for one sitting rather than having them in the fridge for the next day. This recipe is so old that there is no measurements which makes it kinda cool in my opinion.

Refried Beans

First rinse your beans.

I am using pinto beans but you could get crazy and use black beans. Go through them looking for pebbles or sticks. Dump them into a pan and cover with water. My Gram told me to cover until the water comes up to your second knuckle...really that is the measurement. Cool right? Trust me it works perfectly for me. Basically you want them sitting in an inch of water above the bean. Add two pieces of thick cut bacon, cover and simmer until the bean is soft. (two hours..I forgot to watch the clock!)

Now, don't drain them.

Take your potato smasher and go to town smashing them. You could put them in a blender but I like that they are not perfectly smashed. Taste and see if they need salt or pepper. Notice I did not add any when cooking. My Gram said that salt makes them tough (but the bacon is OK??)

Serve with your next Mexican meal!



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Saturday, October 23, 2010

Spicy Sausage and Green beans


I know I shouldn't but I get bored on low carb. It isn't like there are not a million things for me to eat but it is almost like it is overload for my brain. My kids are not interested in eating what I am eating if asked. They will if I hand them a plate but if The Fireman is on duty I am just as happy asking them to grab a Hot Pocket and leaving me to figure out dinner for just me. That is the nice part of having teenagers. They are not that particular on eating. It just doesn't matter. So tonight it is just me and what can I cook? I didn't take anything out. I don't know why I completely blank on taking food out of the freezer when The Fireman is working. So I grabbed a bag of frozen green beans, two Hot link Sausages (Louisiana style) 1/2 of a diced onion and two cloves of garlic. Sauteed it all up together until brown and serve! It was really good, very satisfying and the kids kept asking for a bite. So it is a definite side dish now!



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Thursday, October 21, 2010

Beef and Black Bean Enchilladas



This meal was made before we jumped off the carb train. Just looking at the pictures makes me miss Carbs like an old friend. Enchiladas are a family favorite. I make tons of variations, Chicken Enchiladas, Easy Hamburger Enchiladas, Turkey, Pork, and even an Enchilada Casserole but this one is The Fireman's favorite! Just as messy to make but adding the black beans really stretches out the meal. He was able to take a tray to work and share with his crew.


Beef and Black Bean Enchiladas

2 LBs of ground beef (Turkey can definitely be used here)
1 onion diced
1 can of green chilies
1 can of black beans (drained and rinsed)
1 small can of Medium Red Enchilada sauce
1 cup of sour cream
2 cups of shredded cheddar cheese (for filling)
2 cups of shredded cheddar cheese (for topping)
1 small can of black olives (sliced)
9-12 flour tortillas


Brown the hamburger with the onion. Salt and pepper but go easy on the salt. The Enchilada sauce has a ton of sodium in it.
Drain and rinse the black beans. Really rinse them good. I don't like all the slime they are packed with
Drain the cooked meat. You don't need any of the added fat. Add it to a bowl with the black beans, sour cream, chilis, and cheese. Mix it up well.
Now comes the messy part. I like to get everything out like an assembly line.
Pour some sauce in the bottom of the pan. Now I do all of it in one pan, but you could get out a pie pan and sauce your tortillas in it but why dirty up one more dish?
Cover both sides of the tortilla with sauce. My family prefers this method. Spoon some filling in the tortilla and roll it
Repeat until you are out of meat
take the remaining sauce and cover the enchiladas
Cover with the remaining cheese and cover the cheese with sliced black olives. Bake in a preheated 350 degree oven for 30 minutes uncovered.
Wait five minutes, if you can before serving. Never possible in this house. Serve with homemade Refried beans and garnish with green onions.




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