Monday, July 4, 2022 HOME!

 Ok, I get it, you were hesitant to even click on this let alone read it.  But come on, it won't take too long and you might just enjoy it!

I am a closet ramen lover.  Not even closet, it is what it is.  It is sodium laden so I had to find a way to make it at home, as good as at a Ramen Bar or Noodle Bar.  I learned to add things, take away things.  I mean why am I so ashamed of loving ramen?  I have been a noodle girl since birth, but, it is what it is.  I had a recipe/article published on Fox News Magazine Online featuring my Asian Chili Ramen Wrapped Shrimp.

I wanted ramen to be able to be eaten without the stigma of being TERRIBLE.  We are a country experiencing unreal inflation in the cost of food.  People need to be able to buy more budget friendly food to spread out the healthy food and use up food instead of throwing it away.  This "recipe" if you will, does all of that.  A ramen bar or noodle bar will easily cost you 50.00 or near that.  Sometimes we want it at home, and here is how I do it!

I am going to base this on 2 packages of cheap ol' ramen.  Ready?  Here is what I had in the fridge this day that needed used, carrots and celery.  I thought I had a small head of cabbage but it had gone way to far to the other side to be salvaged.  I make the soup as directed but use only one packet of seasoning, just one.  Add both if you like.  I also had a little piece of round steak left from a meal earlier in the week, and so I sliced it up thin and threw it in as well.  Add some ginger if you have it, literally whatever you have.  If they are already cooked add them in at the end, and if raw, follow my video.  You are getting the delight of those long slurpy noodles AND fresh veggies and protein.  Add in a beaten raw egg at the end of cooking, or any meat or no meat.  Tofu?  YES!  

Just like I use leftover cooked veggies for veggie soup, I use raw for ramen.  Just kind of as a guide.  There is absolutely no measurement, not too much, not too little, none of that.  Add in as much as you can cook in the pot!  I use some soy sauce, low sodium and like I said, omit the second package of seasoning but if salt isn't a concern for you, no worries.  

I hope you enjoy!!

Monday, June 20, 2022

Easy Slow Cookier Lil' Smokies

Summertime, summertime, sum-sum-summertime!  All the summer things happening!  Outdoor concerts, BBQ's, gatherings, swimming, and the list goes on.  I momentarily thought I was 10 again and ALMOST hit up a slip and slide.  One of my childhood favorite activities.  We didn't have the money to buy the REAL deal, but we had even better....  Let me set the scene.  My dad would buy a roll of plastic at the local lumberyard each fall to cover the very OLD windows on our 7-bedroom house with an amazing 6 ft. clawfoot bathtub, a kitchen for 12 that was about 6X7 and the best wrap around porch this side of the Mississippi!  He would take what was left, and sometimes add more, and lay it out in our long backyard.  He would run the sprinkler, the kind that fans out, and we would slip, and slide half a city block I swear.  We had the MEGA TONKA version of the Slip N' Slide, and it was awesome!  We always found ways to have fun.  We swam from sunup until sundown, had to be home when the streetlights went off and our bikes in the yard.  Those were the good old days, weren't they?  Neighbors on a walk, stopping by for iced tea on the porch, poured straight out of a Tupperware pitcher, you know the ones. God has certainly blessed me in my life, so I shall be grateful for NOW as well.  

Anyway, this morning as I am typing this up, it will be over 100 today and what better time to get some good use out of that slow cooker it took me years to make friends with?!  Perfect to cook things low and slow, AND to avoid heating up the house with the oven on, right?  This recipe is so easy and probably 98% of you know it, make it, or have at least eaten it once.  But you know what?  There are very beginner or kid home chefs out there (and other countries) who might need something easy to start with or even someone who has perhaps forgotten how good these are!  I have a little mid-size slow cooker because I am not about to dirty my regular size one for such a small amount of food.  I mean big batch, sure, this size no way!

Here we go, Lil' smokies, every football party across America serves them!  WITH a toothpick! THREE ingredients!

  • 1 cup of your favorite BBQ sauce (I only like Cookies which is probably, maybe a Nebraska thing only)
  • 1 cup grape jelly
  • 2-14oz pkgs Lil' Smokies of your choice

I like to mix the sauce separate.  Put the little smokies in your slow cooker (or simmer for an hour on low in a regular pot or in the oven at 300).  Mix up your jelly and BBQ sauce well and pour it over the top.  Mix to combine or let it slowly warm and drip down after heating and don't stir at all!  After 1 hour in the slow cooker, stir well.  Let go another hour or 2 before serving.  Make sure to put out toothpicks next to the paper plates for serving!

NOTE: I don't like my Lil' Smokies to saucy, but feel free to add more jelly and BBQ sauce to yours!  They WILL give off some juice of their own so if it feels like not enough sauce, it is!

Wednesday, June 15, 2022

Spaghetti Salad

It is a BEAUTIFUL day here in the Midwest!  Bad storms last night led to perfect weather today, I hope you are all having your own "perfect" weather.  It sure does lift your spirits, doesn't it?

I am so ready for some picnics, BBQ's and the like.  This is a salad I actually adapted from one I got from my friend Lisa.  She gave me a list of ingredients that is traditional in her part of the country, and I redid it in a way that my husband and I would enjoy it.  Oh boy, is this a good one.  No worries about mayo-based salads getting to warm, etc.  Besides, do we need more mayo-based salads?  No.  Not for me anyway! I will also link the YouTube video that goes with this at the bottom.  Make sure to SUBSCRIBE there if you aren't already!  Also, click the notification bell and select ALL to be notified each time I upload a video!

Ready, spaghetti?!? 

  • 1 lb. spaghetti (broken in half if you choose and cooked)
  • 4 Roma tomatoes
  • 1-2 cucumbers (mostly peeled)
  • 2 tsp homemade pizza seasoning (or Italian Seasoning) there will be a difference
  • 1 tsp dried basil (4 or 5 leaves of fresh)
  • 1/2 tsp dried parsley
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 cup creamy Italian dressing (I prefer Aldi version of Olive Garden Original)

Cook your pasta and run cold water over it.  Make sure you salt your water as well.  Drain well and then add in cut up tomato and cucumber.  If you do not use my homemade pizza seasoning, you CAN use Italian seasoning but there will be a difference in flavor.  Not bad, just different.  My pizza seasoning had extra flavors not in a regular Italian seasoning.  Add in basil, I use my home dried basil, as my basil plant outside isn't worthy yet! 😁 Add in salt and pepper to taste and 1 cup of dressing.  NOTE: you will likely need a bit more dressing when it is time to serve as it sits, the spaghetti will soak up the dressing and you don't want it dry, as much as you don't want it swimming in dressing.  Refrigerate for at least 2-4 hours before serving.  

PS. If you want to serve this withsome small balls of fresh mozzarella, I won't tell if you won't tell.

Tuesday, June 7, 2022

Caramel Apple Turnovers

 Good Day Friends!

WHOA!  Long time, eh?  I can't believe it is summer and the heat has already set in big time!  Summer fun has begun and we are already complaining about the humidity!  Dang midwesterners!

By they way, below you will find a link to the YouTube video that goes with this recipe.  Please consider subscribing and clicking the bell icon so you are notified each time I upload!  Thanks SO  much!

Of all things that I could make for you, I picked something not very "summery".  These may remind you more of fall but in our house, they are served with ice cream and I just can't do ice cream except for summer.  Is that weird?  I mean, I think it might be, but it is seriously the truth.  To be completely honest, ice cream isn't really my "thing".  I like it, but could definitely live without it too!

Here is what you will need for this recipe.  It will make 4 "turnovers that aren't turned over at all!

  • 1 roll big flaky crescent rolls (refrigerated)
  • 2 apples
  • 2-3 caramels per turnover
  • Cinnamon

Preheat oven to temperature recommended on the roll of crescents.  You will also use the recommended time to back these.

Chop apples into small pieces like I did.  If you prefer just slices of apple you can do that as well, it may make sealing them easier for you.  When you are done roll out 4 of your crescent rolls and run a rolling pin over them a couple of times for maximum surface!!!  Add your apples, sprinkle cinnamon, and if you aren't using a sweet apple, sprinkle in a little brown sugar as well.  Nestle in 2 or 3 caramels, take another crescent roll and lay it on top and seal the edges with a fork.  Place onto a parchment lines cookie sheet or sprayed with nonstick cooking spray.  Just before popping them in the oven, spray with nonstick cooking spray on top, or brush with an egg wash (egg whisked with water) or melted butter.  

Place into oven for 15 minutes and smeeeellllllll-ellllll-ellllll what you been cookin'!!!  If you know, you know.........

I hope you give this a try and that you love it as much as we do!  Don't limit what you eat according to seasons, make what you like, when you like!  Need to go check my simmering bone broth.  It is only like 95 degrees, what is the big deal?

Your Chefwannabe, 

Wednesday, February 2, 2022

Mexican Rice Remix!

 Hello my friends!  So good to have you back and to share another recipe.  If you have been with me a long time, you may remember my first Mexican Rice recipe... Still amazing, but I wanted to change it up a bit.  Change is good.  The older I get the harder it gets though!

This is a super easy recipe.  In no way do I claim it to be authentic, it is just what we love and that is all the authenticity I need on this one!  Do you all make Mexican Rice?  It is just a given for us on taco, enchilada, fajita, or quesadilla night, we have rice.  You probably add beans as well.  We aren't bean eaters in this house, but, if we were....I would add beans!

Here is this super easy and absolutely delicious recipe!

You will need:

  • 1 heaping cup of long grain rice
  • olive oil
  • 1/2 cup chopped bell pepper (any color)
  • 1/4 cup salsa
  • 1 chopped tomato
  • 15 oz. can of tomato sauce
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 tsp chicken bouillon powder

In a higher sided skillet, add in olive oil.  Just enough to brown up the rice.  Add in rice and let it slowly begin to brown.  While it is doing that chop your peppers and tomato, add into rice.  Mix thoroughly and add in chicken boullion,  Mix to combine and add in tomato sauce, water and salsa.  Let come to a boil.   (You can also mix this together separately like I did)  Mix until completely combined and put the lid ON.  Turn your burner to SIMMER and DO NOT REMOVE the lid for 20 minutes!  When you remove your lid, your rice will be perfection.  Give it a stir and serve.  WHOA BABY!  Oh, it is so good!

I hope you enjoy and tag me on IG, FB or anywhere else if you make it!  I want to see those photos!


Wednesday, December 22, 2021

Easy Cheese Ball

 Happy ALMOST Christmas friends!  Can you believe it has snuck up on us already?  I am so ready.  Ready to celebrate the birth of my Lord and Savior, ready for family, ready to enjoy simple things and great food.

Speaking off......

Last weekend we had Christmas at my dad's house.  One of my sisters brought these cheeseballs from a little grocery store in Tilden, NE.  WOOHOOO for Tilden!  I was tempted to call them, give them my best sappy story to get the recipe, but that is no fun.  I wanted to try and recreate it myself!

Here is what I came up with!

1, 8oz block of cream cheese

2 cups shredded cheddar cheese, DIVIDED

1/2-1 tsp all purpose seasoning (I used adobe)

Salt and pepper to taste

In a medium bowl, add in all ingredients (only 1 cup of the cheese for this part).  Start with 1/2 tsp of seasoning, you can always add more.  Use a hand mixer as it allows you to break down the shredded cheddar into smaller bits, making a more cohesive mixture.  Use remaining 1 cup of shredded cheddar, and sprinkle on a sheet of plastic wrap.  Add your dip mixture to the top, wrap it around, twist the ends and refrigerate for 1 hour at least.  This can be done the day before easily!  Take out of the fridge 15 minutes before serving!

Serve with club crackers, or any cracker.  Maybe even some crostini!


Monday, December 20, 2021

Peanut Butter Chocolate Bars

 (Adapted from 12 Tomatoes)

Here we go with these delicious Peanut Butter Chocolate Cookie Bars!

2 sticks, (1 cup) melted butter

2 eggs

2 TBSP vanilla extract

2/3 cup peanut butter (heaping)

1 cup chocolate chips

1/2 cup peanut butter chips (keep a few out to sprinkle on top)

3 cups brown sugar

2 cups all purpose flour

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F.

Mix melted butter, eggs, vanilla and peanut butter together.  Add in brown sugar, flour and chips.  Place into a parchment lined or non stick sprayed 9x13 and back for 35-45 minutes.  Let cook in the pan for 15 minutes and lift out and cut!