Yeasty Buns

I don't know why but today I had an inkling to bake something but I didn't want to bake cookies (although my husband would have really appreciated that). I started to think about dinner and panic struck. I had no idea what I was going to make. So I looked in the fridge to see if I'd thawed out any meat. I did! I had a pound of ground beef that I took out last night. Perfect! Burger night.

Oh, not perfect. No buns. And I have a weird husband who doesn't like to eat a burger without a bun. I know, I know... he's just not normal :) So what did I do? I made hamburger buns! I have been wanting to try out this recipe for quite some time. It's been printed out and in my recipe book for months! And I don't know why I didn't try it sooner. It was sooo easy. I used my kitchen aid mixer to help with some of the kneading so I didn't even have to do any hard work.

Source: Adapted from

Hamburger Buns
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 1 packet dry yeast
  • 4 1/2 cups flour (separate 1 3/4 cups out)
  • 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 egg
Heat milk, water & butter in a pan until very warm (120 degrees). Mix 1 3/4 cup flour, sugar, salt & yeast in a bowl. Add flour mixture to KA mixer (I used my kneading hook attachment for the whole thing). Add milk mixture to mixer and mix. Add egg to bowl and mix. Slowly add the additional flour 1/2 cup at a time until completely incorporated.

Once everything is mixed well and dough has pulled together knead in mixer for about 8 minutes. Remove dough from bowl and divide into 12 equal pieces. Roll into balls and flatten a bit. Place on a greased baking tray. Cover & let rise for 30-35 minutes.

Bake at 400 degrees for 10-12 minutes or until golden brown. Let cool and enjoy!

I served some teriyaki burgers on my buns and boy were they good!

Cheese & Bacon!

When your pregnant easy meals are always the best way to go. The less ingredients the better. So on Monday after all of the cooking I did I needed something that was simple and fast. Oh, and it had to be chicken because I had two chicken breasts left and all of the other meat was used up.

So I looked in the fridge to see what I had and low and behold I had sliced swiss cheese and (don't laugh) microwavable bacon from Costco right next to each other on one of the shelves. So I I thought to myself... why not? And you know what? It was sooo good!

Bacon Swiss Chicken
  • 2 slices bacon (I used precooked bacon)
  • 2 slices swiss cheese
  • 2 chicken breasts
  • Italian seasoning
  • Salt & Pepper

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Sprinkle seasoning, salt and pepper on each chicken breast. Cut bacon in half. Place two pieces of bacon on each chicken breast. Cover with swiss cheese. Bake in the oven for 25-30 minutes or until chicken is fully cooked. Let cool for a few minutes before serving with your favorite sides.


Dinners in the Freezer!

Yesterday was definitely a success! We got so much accomplished and I feel like I can relax now knowing that we won't be living off of boxed mac and cheese for the next month :) I stuck to my list as much as I could. I didn't get a shot of all of the meals so I'll share the other recipes with you as we start to heat and eat.

Turkey Chili | Recipe adapted from The Bobby Pin

  • 1 lb ground turkey
  • 1 30oz can kidney beans (I used a 15 oz can)
  • 1 15oz can tomato sauce
  • 1 15oz can chopped tomatoes
  • 1 tbsp chili powder
  • 1 tbsp cumin
  • 1 tbsp paprika
  • 1 packet chili seasoning
  • 1/2 onion, chopped & sautéed
  • 1/2 bell pepper, chopped & sautéed
  • 1 clove garlic, chopped & sautéed

Add 1 tbsp olive oil to a pan and saute onions, bell pepper & garlic until onions are translucent. Add a pound of ground turkey and brown. Add in a 30 oz can of kidney beans. Add 1 15 oz. can of tomato sauce and 1 15 oz. can of chopped tomatoes.

Add chili powder, cumin, paprika and Lawry's chili seasoning. Let simmer for 20 minutes. Allow to cool a bit before placing in a freezer safe dish.

When ready to eat, put dish in fridge in the morning and than by night time it should be thawed enough to either put on the stove to heat up or to spoon into individual dishes and cover with cornbread mix for a chili pot pie (this is what I plan to do!) YUM!

Thanks, Natalie, for the great recipe. Miranda and I tried the chili yesterday and it was sooo good. Perfect for the rainy day we had. I always add shredded cheese and broccoli to my chili because you can't have enough fiber in your diet :) And adding more vegetables just makes me feel better.

Broccoli & Cheddar Stuffed Chicken Breast | Recipe courtesy of my head
  • 1/2 cup shredded cheddar
  • 1 cup broccoli florets, chopped
  • 2-4 chicken breasts, flattened
  • Salt & pepper

Add cheddar and broccoli to one side of flattened chicken breast. Fold over breast and use toothpick to hold the ends together. Salt and pepper each side and slide chicken breast in vacuum bag. Vacuum pack the chicken and throw in the freezer until you want to use.

When you're ready to use it throw it in the fridge the morning of. At night open the bag, place chicken on an oven safe dish or sheet sprayed with non-stick and bake for 25-30 minutes or until chicken is done. If you want you can add some shredded cheese to the chicken for the last 5-10 minutes of cooking for more cheesy goodness.

Chipotle Rub Pork Chops | Recipe courtesy of McCormicks Grill Mates
  • 2-4 pork chops
  • Chipotle Cinnamon McCormics Grill Mates rub
  • Olive oil

Lightly drizzle olive oil on both sides of each chop. Sprinkle about 1/2 a tablespoon of rub onto each side and rub in. Place chops in a vacuum bag and vacuum seal. Throw in the freezer until ready to use.

When ready to use thaw meat in fridge. Open bag and pan fry the chops for about 2-4 minutes on each side until golden brown. Place in oven safe dish sprayed with cooking spray and bake for 30-35 minutes or until pork is done.

Stuffed Peppers (a last minute add) | Recipe adapted from Spice N It Up

  • 4 large bell peppers
  • 1 lb ground beef
  • 1/4 cup chopped onion
  • 1 small clove garlic finely chopped
  • 1/2 bell pepper chopped
  • 1 can (8 oz) tomato sauce
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp cumin
  • Dash of red pepper
  • 1/8 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/3 cup uncooked rice
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/2 cup shredded cheese

Cut thin slices from stem end of each bell pepper to remove top, seeds and membranes. Rinse peppers. Cook beef, onion, chopped pepper and garlic over medium heat in skillet until brown. Drain.

Stir in tomato sauce, salt, cumin, cinnamon, and red pepper. Stir in rice. Divide beef mixture evenly among peppers. Place in oven safe/freezer safe packaging and cover with foil. Freeze until ready to eat.

Pour water into 3 1/2 to 4 quart slow cooker; stand frozen peppers upright in cooker. Cover and cook on low heat setting 4 to 6 hours or until peppers are tender. Garnish with cheese. (You can also throw these in the oven for about 10 minutes so the cheese melts).

Mom's Turkey Meatloaf | Recipe adapted from Ellie Krieger

  • 3/4 cup quick cooking oats
  • 1/2 cup nonfat milk (I used 1%)
  • 1 medium onion, peeled
  • 2 lbs ground turkey breast
  • 1/2 medium red bell pepper, seeded and chopped
  • 2 large eggs, beaten
  • 2 tsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/4 cup ketchup
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • 1-8 oz can no-salt-added tomato sauce

In a small bowl, stir together the oats and milk and allow to soak while you get the rest of the ingredients together, at least 3 minutes.

Thinly slice one-quarter of the onion into rings and set aside. Finely chop the rest of the onion.

In a large bowl, combine the turkey, oatmeal mixture, chopped onion, bell pepper, eggs, Worcestershire, ketchup, salt, and a few grinds of pepper. Mix just until well combined.

Transfer the mixture to a 9×13-inch baking dish that is freezer safe (I used an aluminum loaf pan that you can buy at the supermarket) and shape into a loaf about 5 inches wide and 2 inches high. Pour the tomato sauce over the meatloaf and sprinkle with the sliced onions. Cover with plastic wrap and with foil to insure a proper seal (and protection from freezer burn).

Remove loaf from freezer. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Bake until an instant-read meat thermometer inserted into the thickest part registers 160 F, about 1 hour – 1 hour 20 minutes (may be longer if you don’t allow loaf to thaw).

Remove from the oven and let rest for 10 to 15 minutes before slicing.

Preparing for Baby

Today will be quite a busy day in the kitchen for me and my friend, Miranda. We're going to prep a whole bunch of meals so that when the little one comes Joseph and I won't have to worry about feeding ourselves on top of everything else we'll have to worry about. Here's a list of the meals we plan on preparing:

BBQ Chicken (BBQ sauce on chicken... very original)
Broccoli & Cheddar Stuffed Chicken
Bacon & Cheddar Stuffed Chicken
Teriyaki Glazed Pork Chops
Cinnamon Chipotle Pork Chops (from a McCormick's Grill Mates rub)
Pork Chops with Maple Balsamic Glaze
Turkey Meatloaf
Turkey Pie (similar to Hamburger Pie but w/ ground turkey)
Meatballs & Marinara Sauce
Macaroni & Cheese

Please let me know if you can think of any meals that we might like to make in advance and freeze until dinner time :)

Homemade is always better

Making these tortillas were a lot of fun! I didn't use the pasta attachment this recipe said to use... I just rolled them out by hand (can you tell?). These were super yummy with seasoned beef and cheese. I made quesadillas the next day with the left overs :)

Our Kitchen Remodel (Almost) Complete!

I just wanted to share a few photos of our (almost) complete kitchen remodel.

The only things we have left to do are install the knobs and pulls and repair/paint the window sill. I couldn't be more happy with the results. Joseph worked long hours to make sure that the kitchen was done before the bridal shower I threw Amanda and all of his hard work definitely paid off.

I now have a beautiful kitchen to cook and entertain in. The extra space is just wonderful and all of the details help to make the kitchen easier to use. From spice racks next to the stove to fully extending pull out drawers in the pantry this kitchen is our dream kitchen.

I'll take pictures of the different components and post those soon but wanted to show the over all changes :)

A view from the barstools overlooking the main counter space

Dog food bowls... now you see them...

Now you don't! When we entertain we can push the bowls in

Can lighting that Joseph installed along with our pantry and broom closet (left) and extra counter & cabinet space (right). From right to left on the bottom cabinets we have a cabinet for our trash & recycle bins, a cabinet with a stand for my KA mixer, a lazy susan corner cabinet, and a cookie tray rack.

A view from the living room into the kitchen. See how open it is??


Yesterday I had the pleasure of hosting a bridal shower for my good friend Amanda. It was an afternoon filled with fun and laughter (what shower isn't?). I had a great time coming up with the menu and in the end kept it short and simple.

I made a few dishes and bought some store bought items to help out. Sometimes you can't do everything (especially at 9 months pregnant!).

We had three dips for the veggie tray:
Hummus (Trader Joes brand since I couldn't find tahini paste anywhere!)
Roasted Garlic & White Bean Dip
Tzatziki Dip

I got a few bags of the Mediterranean Supreme salad kit from the grocery store (sooo good! I highly recommend this salad).

I made three different kinds of sandwiches (I bought all the bread):
Tuna with Lemon Habanero Mayo and Watercress (the person helping me forgot the watercress in the fridge) on Ciabatta Bread
Ham and Turkey with Avocado Spread on French Rolls
Cucumber & Cream Cheese on Sourdough

And for dessert I made Lemon Cream Scones and had a local bakery drop off some cupcakes and an 8" round. One of the cupcake flavors (Midori Melon Mojito) was actually a recipe I stumbled upon on the I Heart Cuppycakes blog. I forwarded the recipe to the baker and she agreed to try it out. They were so good! I can't wait to make them myself.

I served hot tea, iced tea and water to drink because I didn't have the time at the end to make any punches (alcoholic or not) and not many complained :) Here are a few pictures:

From left to right: Hummus, Roasted Garlic Bean Dip & Tzatziki Dip

Tuna with Lemon Habanero Mayo

Lemon Cream Scones

Vanilla Cake with Raspberry Filling from Bella & Ava Bakery

Lemon Cupcake with Vanilla Buttercream Frosting from Bella & Ava Bakery

Midori Melon Mojito Cupcakes from Ella & Ava Bakery

The whole display :) It was soo cute!

And last but not least...

The Bride-to-be with her mommy :)

Cheesy & Meaty

Joseph and I went to Albertson's on Tuesday night in search of two things... marshmallows & Rice Krispies cereal. Joseph was craving Rice Krispy Treats and had to have them that night. So being the good wife that I am, I tagged along with him on his quest for crispy, gooey goodness. (side note: we ended up using the chocolate & regular cereal mix... it was pretty good)

When we were walking to the register from the back of the store we passed the meat department. The lady behind the counter caught our attention and pointed us towards some ground beef that was on sale and just had a reduction in price. We, being the bargain hunters we are, couldn't resist and picked up two packages (2lbs of meat for $4!).

We put one in the freezer and the other in the fridge. Tonight I knew I had to make something with the one in the fridge since last night I went to Buca di Beppo with some friends and didn't make dinner for Joseph. I looked through my starred recipies in google reader and came across one that I had all of the ingredients for. Gosh I am glad I starred this one! Not only is it super tasty but it was done in 20 minutes!

Source: And a Cookie for Dessert

Please forgive me for the photo... i was super hungry and all I had on me was my camera phone :)

Mini Cheeseburger Meatloaves

  • 2 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 2 tablespoons ketchup
  • 1 pound extra lean ground beef
  • 1 large egg, lightly beaten
  • 1/2 cup breadcrumbs
  • 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
  • Coarse salt and ground pepper
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder (I added)
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder with parsley (I added)
  • 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning (I added)

Preheat oven to 450 degrees, with racks in upper and lower thirds. Spray a rimmed baking sheet with non-stick cooking spray. In a small bowl, mix together 2 tablespoons mustard and ketchup. In a medium bowl, combine beef, egg, breadcrumbs, 1/2 cup cheddar, seasonings, salt, and pepper. Form into four 2-by-4-inch loaves; place on baking sheet. Brush with mustard mixture; top with remaining 1/2 cup cheddar.

Transfer meatloaves to upper rack of oven. Bake until loaves are cooked through, 15 to 20 minutes, rotating sheets after 10 minutes. Remove loaves from oven.

Planning a Bridal Shower

My good friend, Amanda, is getting married in April and she was kind enough to ask me to be her Matron of Honor. I gladly accepted and am so excited for the happy couple. This Saturday I will be hosting a bridal shower in honor of Amanda and have tried to narrow down the menu.

Let me know what you think:

Main Course:
Turkey & Ham sandwiches with Avocado on Wheat Bread
Tuna Salad on Ciabatta Bread
Cucumber & Cream Cheese Sandwiches on White Bread

Veggie tray
Garlic & White Bean Dip
Toasted Baguettes ala Costco :)

Currant Cream Scones
Cupcakes (Medori Melon Mojito & Lemon w/ Vanilla Lemon Buttercream frosting) made by a local bakery
Small Cake (Vanilla w/ Vanilla Buttercream frosting) made by a local bakery

Various teas
Water w/ cucumber
Alcoholic & Non Alcoholic Punch (any ideas on recipes/flavors???)

Ideas? Suggestions? I'm up for anything :)


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