Monday, July 18, 2016

Taco Burgers

Oh you guys.  It is so HOT! I lost my swimsuit, I need to get another one, my kids pool is calling me is just so HOT!  Anyway, I digress....

Taco burgers are a family favorite for the Simmermans.  These date way back and when I made homemade taco seasoning I decided to surprise my husband with taco burgers for dinner.  Neither of us are big on sloppy joes, but taco burgers man, they are an entirely different ballgame.

I don't think there is a lot of explaining that needs to happen.  Just remember for anyone who doesn't care for the "burger" aspect, at least make this taco meat because seriously, it is amazing.  And you can keep a few taco shells on hand for the anti burger people.  Top it with whatever you like, we are lettuce, cheese and a thick slice of tomato kind of family but you do you!

I did 2 lbs of meat because what is better than taco burgers or tacos for dinner?  The same thing for lunch the next day!

2 lbs ground beef
1 can of diced tomatoes with green chilies
3-4 T homemade taco seasoning (2 pkgs of the store bought stuff)
1/2 cup water

Brown your hamburger as you normally would.  Drain off any excess fat and place back in the pot.  Add in the rest of the ingredients, stir to combine and let simmer about 3-5 minutes.

OH the flavor!

See how easy it is?  Make sure not to skip draining off the fat, nobody wants a soggy burger.  The water will just loosen it up a bit so no worries there.

Now toast your bun or don't, I do NOT toast it for this.  Make sure your lettuce is shredded.  It tastes better.  Stop looking at me like THAT.  It does!  Dive in.  Over and over!


Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Swiss Mushroom Burger Mac

 Hellllllooooooo!!!  I haven't given you a new recipe for over a week I don't think.  I have a few ready for you, I just got busy as my oldest "little" (granddaughter) got here from Jersey last weekend.  We have been busy in magical forests and fairy wonderlands, swimming, playing, having sleepovers,  and eating spaghetti and meatballs.  I mean, come on, this is the life for a 7 year old!  It is so good to have her back for the summer.  So that is what I have been doing and while family and life always come first, I consider you all part of my life as well, so I hope this one potter, gets you all jittery in the joints around your knees!

My husband has been asking for a recipe like this for awhile and I obliged him.  ALTHOUGH, it is pretty different than how he presented it to me, I needed to turn it into a one pot meal.  It is summer, nobody needs hours of work, and busy moms and dads and grandmoms and grandpops we just need easy and delish!  This is going to be a hit.  Use fresh mushrooms if you like, I just used canned.  And certainly feel free to trade out the ground beef for a ground meat of your choice!  Don't skimp on the cheese, and make sure to let it sit a few minutes to thicken even more before serving! 

1 lb ground beef (turkey or chicken would work fine)
2 T butter
8 ounces mushrooms (2 cans or 8 ounces fresh, sliced)

3 cups milk
2 cups water (or beef stock)
2 tsp salt
1 tsp pepper
16 ounces rotini or other short cut pasta
12 ounces shredded Swiss cheese (don't skimp, and if you like it a lot, add more)

In a large pot, brown your ground beef until fully cooked through.  Drain if needed and return to pot.  Add in butter and let melt.  Add in mushrooms and saute until softened.

I used canned mushrooms for this, you do you.  Turning your heat to medium-high-ish, add in milk and water, salt and pepper.  Stir and bring to a boil.  When the mixture is boiling add in pasta, give it a quick stir, turn the heat to medium and simmer for the amount of time listed on the pasta box.

Stir once or twice during cooking, but do it quickly and replace the lid.

When your pasta is cooked, turn off heat, add in cheese, give it a good stir, and replace lid for 2-3 minutes.

Stir again and let sit about 3 or 4 minutes with the lid off.  Stir one last time, and wa-la, dinner!

Enjoy another one pot dinner.  Oh make sure to serve this with sliced tomatoes and corn on the cob!  I mean...ya know, if you feel like it.

Tuesday, July 5, 2016

Homemade Taco Seasoning

Hey guys!  Thanks for making the "click" and reading!  We are in the middle of a 96+ degree everyday heat wave.  Feels like 105-110 most days.  Cooking oddly has NOT been the last thing on my mind in the heat.  This is good weather for cold sandwiches, salads, and slow cooker recipes.  No heating up of the kitchen and not a lot of work.

For me, this weather keeps me in the AC, and wanting to cook!  In this case the beginning of something spicy and hot!  Or potentially anyway!

I have been working on being more, oh.....what's the word, health conscience?  No.  Just, more aware, maybe that is a more fitting term.  I am working on reducing salt.  Slow but sure.  I keep noticing all of the salt in these store bought seasonings and I just had to work something else out.  I enjoy making my own spice blends so I took a shot in the dark and went with it.  I must say, this is better than anything out of a package.  Perhaps I am partial, but, my husband agreed.  I will share a recipe soon using this seasoning.

I would suggest 2 T. per pound of ground beef, go easier if you like less spice.  I mean, you can certainly leave out the ground red pepper, or reduce it with no problems.  I say keep it in, just use less if you are a little apprehensive.  Get spicy friends, get SPICAAHHHH!

I just tossed mine in a pint size ball jar.  Add the following ingredients in and shake!

2 T. Paprika
1/4 tsp. Ground Red Pepper
2 T. Chili Powder
1 tsp. Garlic Powder
1 T. Cumin
1 1/2 tsp. Salt
1/4 tsp. Black Pepper
2 T. Onion Powder
1 T. Dried Parsley

Notice I used garlic POWDER and onion POWDER not salt.  If you choose to use the salt versions, please omit the addition of regular salt.  Twist the lid on and shake, shake, shake it!  1-2 T. for each pound of ground meat!

Enjoy and let me know what you think!

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Pineapple Crisp

Now, hear me out.  I know many of you asked for NO BAKE summer desserts, and I promise you, they are coming.  This recipe, was loosely based on something one of my sisters ate.  As it turned out it was nothing like it but, a complete success anyway.  How can you ignore that?

I thought that pineapple in a crisp might be sort of perfection.  I am not a fruit lover, we all know this, but pineapple, is a food group of its own in my opinion.  I love pineapple.  Please don't skip the ice cream on top.  That was a request from my husband.  He says, you must have the ice cream, but if you don't, I won't tell, he won't know and then everything will be fine! This isn't an OVERLY sweet dessert, but it is just the perfect finish to a good BBQ, and is delicious served warm OR cold.

I sort of feel like I "crumble" things often lately but......  I just gotta have it.  I hope that you think so as well!

You can absolutely use fresh pineapple.  If you do that, just peel that baby down and chunk into maybe 1 inch chunks.  If you use fresh, you just one pineapple.  I used canned.  Why?  No reason, I had it in the pantry and just did.  I used a combination of chunk and crushed but, go with your gut do you!

Here is what you will need:
20 oz. can of crushed pineapple, drained
20 oz. can of chunk pineapple, drained
2 T. cornstarch
pinch of salt

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F.  Combine the pineapple and cornstarch together and set aside.

For your crumble you will need:
3/4 cup flour
1 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup slivered almonds
1/2 cup butter, melted or softened.

Using a fork or pastry cutter, combine all ingredients until you achieve a crumbly mess that will hold together if you squeeze some in your had.

In a 9x9 or similar sized casserole dish, (I used a round one, obviously) spray with nonstick spray.  Pour your pineapple mixture into the dish and even out.  Now place your crumble evenly on top.  Don't leave any bare spots, that drives me nutso!

Now, bake for 35-40 minutes until the top is golden and bubbly.  Let cool or serve hot, and for the love of the dish, do NOT forget the ice cream!


Thursday, June 16, 2016

Caprese Garden Salad

I am sitting here listening to old songs my husband and I used to jam to in the truck while driving down the Atlantic City Expressway, heading to the beach.  Life living near the shore.  Loved it.  I miss the beach, not much compares to the peaceful crashing of waves on the back bay, or sitting on the beach at night, watching boats roll in and out.  Good memories...

Anyway, back to food, and this salad.  My husband wanted a salad, emailed me what he wanted in it, and as any good, obedient (oh that word is gonna get to some of you) and loving wife would do, I did it.  Holy salad shooter Batman we have a winner!  This will serve 6 as a starter or side salad, and 4 for a meal.  Toss on some grilled chicken and BAM, lunch!  BAM, deliciousness.  BAM, everyone will ask you to make it again and again!

Seriously though, caprese salad is like my number 4 favorite food of life, and making into a garden salad with some other additions, is just the bomb.  Make this, make this now.  I admittedly love salad, and admittedly, I could eat salad everyday.  THIS salad, I don't want, I NEED.

Thank you to my darling hubby for that beautiful email that changed our salad lives forever!  Academy award contender?  I love you babe, thanks for all you do to support me in my general misadventures of life.  I bet all those years ago when we had the windows down in your truck, listening to Phil Vassar, wind blowing, sand in our never knew I would be such a pain, eh?

2 heads of romaine lettuce
1 pint cherry or grape tomatoes
4-5 large basil leaves, fresh (if using dried, 1 tbsp) torn or chopped small
1 8oz ball of fresh mozzarella diced or use smaller mozzarella "pearls"
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1/4 tsp salt
fresh black pepper
1 T dried Italian seasoning
3-4 T olive oil
3-4 T red wine vinegar

Chop or tear romaine and place into a large bowl.  Add in tomatoes, basil, mozz, parm, salt, pepper and Italian seasoning.  Give it a good toss and then drizzle in your olive oil and red wine vinegar.  Though I give a measurement it is really just on a "to taste" basis.  Give another toss and serve.  Oh man, this is a fabulous salad.  Props to the hubby.  My man genius!


Monday, June 13, 2016

Cranberry Nut Instant Oatmeal

I feel like I should say "Good Morning" with this post.  Seems odd to be working at night, and introducing you to my husbands request, recipe, research project, and now sweet success!

My husband loves a particular brand of instant oatmeal, in little cups and it is fruity and nutty and he just loves it.  He asked a long time ago if I could try to make something similar.  Well fast forward 3 or 4 months, that I was going through other things and last night he finally said to me, "can you PLEAASE make this".  He knew what he wanted for ingredients and sort of researched the technique he wanted to use.  In fact, he was so clear on his direction, I am not sure why he didn't do all of it himself.  He did help a bit, and then decided to play with Sofia.  She did let me get a little pic of her from the kitchen!

I am not a fan of the oatmeal.  It is glorified baby food and unless it is in a cookie or in a crumb topping, I am out people.  Can you believe he made me try this?  OMG, the consistency of oatmeal, the feeling of mush on my tongue, EW.  Ew. Ew. Ew. Ew.  I told him I was going to have to trust him on this one.  He picked ingredients that might not have been first on my list but they were on his and this is for his enjoyment and his development project!

There is one thing we disagree on.  Now you can put this in a big jar with a measuring cup inside or put it into snack bags to make your own "instant oatmeal packets".  Where we disagree is that he thinks you should add 2/3 cup of the mix and I say closer to 3/4 of a cup. So if you like it thinner, go less, if you like it thicker, go heavier on it.  If you put it in a mug, and have a Keurig, put it right under that baby, use the smallest size which I think on some is 6 or 8 oz.  Or just add that much hot water to the mug and microwave 30 seconds and let sit.

Now that we have that whole technicality out of the way, let me get to what you need for this Cranberry Nut Oatmeal!

10 cups quick oats (this will be divided so read carefully
8 oz. nuts of your choice we used a combo of almonds and macadamia
1 3/4 cup brown sugar
6 oz. package of dried cranberries
1 cup powdered milk
1 tsp salt

Ok, first... In a food processor or blender, pour in 2 cups of your oats and blend them to almost powder.  When you are done add them to a large bowl.  Add in the 8 cups of unpulverized oats as well.  Add in brown sugar, cranberries which you can chop into smaller pieces as well if you choose.  Finish up with the powdered milk and salt.  Mix to combine.  I would do this in my kitchen aid next time, part laziness and part quicker!

You are officially done!  Quick breakfast or snack, like I mentioned above portion out into snack bags or keep in a big jar.  Use 2/3 (or 3/4!) cup for the perfect consistency,  if you are using the smallest cup setting on your Keurig.  (I believe is 1 cup) I mean, more or less if you find it isn't YOUR perfect consistency!

ENJOY and thanks babe for your genius love for oatmeal and helping me!

 PS. Sofia watched me most of the time while I was making this, just hoping for something to hit the floor!

Monday, June 6, 2016

Strawberry Banana Pops

Long time no see friends!  Phew!  Been a long handful of months, and I am overjoyed to say I am back.  I think I took the time I needed.  I still feel sad, and have to have moments of complete breaking down, but, I think I am ready to get back to what I love most!  I have missed your comments here, our chats on social media and just knowing your prayers and thoughts were with me and my family, was heartwarming.

Let me tell you about my surroundings while I get my first blog in a couple of months up.  Some of you may or may not remember, I ALWAYS wear lipstick when I am writing a blog.  It empowers me.  There is pretty much nothing I can't do, with a good lippy on my face!  Listening to some old Lionel Ritchie. Stevie Wonder and Luther Vandross.  My tiny lady (dog) Sofia, is at my feet.  It is sunny and hot outside, but I have the blinds drawn and the light off where I work.  I like to edit photos in a dim room.  I find it relaxing and with my vision issues, it is easier on my eyes.  OH, don't forget my huge orange ball jar glass that is next to me with ice water.  If I randomly type lyrics to a song, I can't be held responsible.  I usually do ok, but it has been awhile!!

I had my 2.5 year old granddaughter over last night.  She stayed the night with Nonna and Pop Pop.  I am becoming increasingly mindful of what I feed them.  Never thought THAT would happen.......  But they are the single most important people alive in my world, and I will only try to do what is best for them and their health.  They are the most precious little gifts.  Anyway I wanted a popsicle recipe that was really wholesome and good.  Sure it has a little bit of sugar, but, they are going to love the heck out of these.  My husband did.  I foresee lots of different varieties in our near future but, I shopped produce that was on sale, and that I had on hand to use and we came up with these simple pops.  I also like the smaller size.  Each one holds approx 1/3 cup of mixture.  I needed some new popsicle molds, these were .99 at Walmart and ended up ringing up .52!  I will take them!  I sort of like that they are all one piece except the lids.

Am I rambling?  I thought so, this just feels so awesome, I want to stay with it as long as I can!  Lucky for me I tested (successfully) 2 other recipes today so I get to ramble two more times this week!

Here we go, easy recipe, a sweet, tiny bit tart reward comes after a few hours in the freezer!  I hope you enjoy!

You will need:
2 bananas
1 cup sliced strawberries
2 strawberries that you cut up small (set aside)
1 T. granulated sugar
1/3 cup water

Add all ingredients to your blender or food processor.  I used my blender.  It might take a second to get it going, but it will, and then blend until smooth.

Next, take your finely diced up strawberries that you set aside and put a few into each mold.  Just drop them in until you have used them all!

Now fill the molds up with the blended strawberries and bananas mixture.  These molds can be filled to the top but be careful that yours might need to stop just shy of the top!

Pop them into the freezer and let freeze at least 4 hours.  You might need to dip your mold into some warm water to loosen them, however, I didn't need to do that.  I think it sort of all depends on the molds you use.

Enjoy these sweet, fruity, frozen treats on a hot day!!

Glad to be back...........