Personal Initiatives for 2016

I’m sure a lot of people have already given up on their New Year’s resolutions. If you made a resolution to better yourself, keep going! I don’t really make resolutions, but there are a few personal initiatives I have for the new year.

1. Finish settling into the house.

My biggest pet peeve with the state of the new house is that there’s nothing on the walls yet. It’s nerve wracking to put the first holes in brand new drywall. For now, our large decorations are leaning against the walls roughly where we think we’ll want them and our smaller ones have either been stashed away or placed on a shelf. More than just decorating though, I’m looking forward to getting some additional organization systems in place, like adding shelves in the laundry room and putting up hooks. Settling in is also going to include putting in a yard, landscaping and either a deck or patio.

2. Be smarter about vegetables.

Typically the vegetable is the last part of the meal that I plan… last as in everything may already be cooked and on the plate before I think about vegetables. Usually we end up throwing spinach and tomatoes on the plate and calling it a salad. I want to make more use of our steamer and add variety to our vegetable options. Which really means I just need to get better at planning ahead!

3. Get back to carb counting well and better manage my diabetes. Continue reading

Recipe: Easy Roasted Tomatoes

I love tomatoes… which is weird because I don’t like tomato sauces.

A couple of weeks ago, Brad and I were grilling balsamic pork chops for dinner and I had some Campari tomatoes that needed to be eaten. Inspired by the tomato that accompanies a plate of eggs on the cruise ship, I started slicing the tomatoes in half and developed this recipe:

Easy Roasted Tomatoes

Ingredients:

– small tomatoes such as Campari or plum, but larger probably work too

– dressing – I used Italian dressing

What you do: Continue reading

Not cooking by the book and a recipe for grilled peaches

I alter recipes right and left. I’m not a careful measurer of certain ingredients. And if I make it a few times, I don’t even bother with digging the recipe out of my box.

In short…. I drive my husband crazy.

When Brad was going to grill steaks at home for Valentine’s Day, he looked up the exact seasoning and temperature to grill at. He did the same thing for pork chops, chicken burgers, brats, corn, etc. I get it. I understand the desire to find the steps for a guaranteed positive outcome. It’s not always the way I work though.

I wanted to grill peaches since a) they’re in season and b) I’ve heard they’re good  but never had them. I looked at several recipes to get ideas of how to season them and get specifics on heat/time. In my opinion, grilled peaches are a side and not a dessert so most of the recipes that included sugar, ice cream and honey got nixed. Here’s how we ended up doing the peaches (Brad is the griller… I just help):

Ingredients

Clean Out the Fridge: Mac and Cheese Cups

When we knew we’d be replacing the fridge Brad and I decided to forgo regular grocery shopping and reduce the amount of food needing shuffled.

We packed frozen leftovers for lunches each day and using up random ingredients. Last weekend we had our friends over for crockpot beef stroganoff and I was able to use up our green beans to accompany the meal (that’s a recipe for another day).

Leftover macaroni and cheese turned into a dinner of bacon, chive mac and cheese cups that used up the last egg and we ate it with salads (emptying out a bottle of dressing). That’s the one I want to share with you. When it comes to clean out the fridge food, and my cooking in general, there isn’t an exact science.

What I used up:

  • About 2 cups of leftover macaroni and cheese
  • About 1/4 cup of crumbled bacon
  • 1 egg

Other ingredients I added:

  • Shredded cheese
  • Ground pepper
  • 2 table spoons of dried chives

What I did:

1. Preheated the oven to 375 degrees.

2. Put everything in my mixing bowl and stirred it all up.

3. Sprayed the cups in my muffin pan with olive oil, then filled them with the macaroni mixture.

4. Baked for 20 minutes.

The cups tasted way better than just reheating the pasta, but they stuck like mad so I’ll work on that next time.

Do you have anything that you make with leftovers?

 

Meal Ideas

We have some dinners at our place planned with friends so I turned to Twitter asking about the Go-To meals they make when people are coming over. I got some great responses that made me hungry… I thought I’d share the idea gold with you!

  1. Lasagna. This is a great idea, I’m not a fan of lasagna in general, but I’ve run across some recipes (on Pinterest of course) I think I might like. Brad loves it and it’s a nice cold weather food.
  2. Burgers on the BBQ. These are a K-fam favorite that we often asked for prior to becoming the owners of Monster Grill. If weather checks out, it’s top of the list along with the beloved cheesy potatoes. (Recommended with a big salad)
  3. Roast. Easy to prepare in the Crock Pot, no one minds leftovers either. (Also recommended with a big salad)
  4. Salad, pizza and wings. This was recommended by a local pizza place (that has good food at 2am… I may or may not know for a fact). It’s a great idea for food that accompanies game night or airing a sporting event on the big screen. Bonus: I wouldn’t have to cook!
  5. Chicken in a red wine sauce with red mashed potatoes and sauteed spinach. My mouth watered at that recommendation and that’s all I have to add.
  6. Anything in the slow cooker. I love my crock pot, I also love being able to do a little prep and have a wonderful meal with little work. Very helpful for company because you don’t get locked in the kitchen making it.

What about you? What are you go-to meals for company?

Or for an average day?