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Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Italian Beef Crock Pot Style

*It's been a busy few weeks around here and I may have slacked off a bit on the blogfront ... never fear, I'm still here, just the little side gig I'm doing at night is taking up a bit of time and this here recipe is the perfect thing for those evenings where I'm busy elsewhere!

You all picked up that I'm sort of still on a Pantry / Freezer Challenge, right? The fact that we are now a single income household (AGAIN!) and the potential, hopefully soon upcoming sale of the house and move to a much smaller place with only ONE, maybe TWO refrigerator/freezers, I kind of need to be eating down the Pantry and Freezers. Well, I've got this lovely hunk of beef in the guest kitchen freezer taking up a LOT of space ... so why NOT make this really yummy, super easy crock pot recipe! 

I didn't realize this was tied until AFTER I pulled it out of the crockpot!

I've shared this recipe before but it's definitely something to keep on hand as it's so easy, it's not even funny. Just a heads up though, if you do NOT like your food spicy, then do NOT dump the juice in from the pepperoncinis!

Are you ready to get this super duper, yummy recipe underway? Here's what you need:

3 lbs or so of beef roast, sirloin, whatever you have on hand (never have used ground beef though) ... I had this nice hunk of beef in the freezer
small jar of pepperoncinis (save yourself some work and get the pre-sliced ones - you can find these by the pickles - drain if a bit of you don't like it hot or all) ... I buy mine at Aldis since they are like half the price as regular grocery store ones
1/2 cup or so of beef broth (or you can use water and beef bouillon or cube)
about a tsp of chopped garlic
a tsp of oregano
a tsp of black pepper

Put roast in crock pot. Add all the rest of ingredients (drain the pepperoncinis if you don't want it hot)
Place lid on crock and fire it up. Let it cook 6 to 8 hours. 

Shred beef (when it pulls apart with little effort, that's when I know it's done) and serve on toasted rolls (ciabatti, hoagies, buns, etc.). I most likely will serve mine as a lettuce wrap as that's the way I'm eating right now ;-)

Top with a little juice from the crock pot and if desired, add a piece of provolone cheese ... really, really yummy!

Now, this is easily a Whole30, Paleo friendly recipe if you are all about that ... just omit the cheese (obviously!) and double check your broth to make sure there's not funky stuff - skip the bouillon cube and go with the real deal in the carton.


Looking forward to sharing with some of these GREAT Parties ... go check them out!

*This post may contain affiliate links ... click here to read my disclosure :-)

Thursday, March 24, 2016

Simple Side Grilin' Dish

Every time I do this, I kick myself for forgetting how good it is.

And then, every time someone ask how it's done, I kick myself for forgetting how EASY it is.

Yeah. Really.

Onions and Peppers.

Grilled in the grill pan. On the gas grill (although, I'm certain the charcoal grill would be awesome too!)

Cut your onion in half (root end to top) and then cut in thicker chunks. Toss in to a large bowl.

Deconstruct your peppers: push the stem down and pull out, shake out the seeds and cut in half (bottom to top) and again, cut in to thick chunks. Toss these in with the onions.

*Optional, if you like, you can add chunks of squash as well, which is what I've done here, but 90% of the time it's just onions and peppers in my household!*

Grab some olive oil and add a bit to the bowl. No measuring allowed on this recipe. You don't want them swimming in oil, but lightly coated.

Take some salt, pepper, and any other kind of seasoning that makes you happy and sprinkle over the veggies. I use my boirsion stuff which is a coarse ground seasoning mix, or a blend of salt, pepper, garlic powder and onion powder.

Let the bowl sit there on the counter. Stop by and say hi to the veggies as you do your thing in the kitchen.

When ready to cook, get a grill pan (you know the ones, open holes or grates?) and toss it on the grill to get hot and then toss the veggies in the pan. Leave them alone for a little bit and then go mix them up some ... you want them to get a little 'dark' around the edges, but as I always tell Hubby, fine line between COLOR and BURNING so keep an eye on them once they start to get a little color.

Once the color is to your liking and ready, go ahead and remove them from the fire and serve. Yummy.

NOTES: I use whatever type of onions I have on hand. As for the peppers, I almost always have the sweet mini peppers from Costco so I just cut them in half and toss in. Of course, IF I have regular peppers, that's what I use.

Also, I started using my Fire Wire Skewers to do this as well, however, the threading the pieces on is a little more time consuming ... you can check that method out here.

There you have it, an easy make ahead side dish that can easily be reheated in a skillet while your protein is cooking, or it can used for a quick stirfry, or added to an omelet and so on!

Looking forward to sharing with some of these GREAT Parties ... go check them out!

*This post may contain affiliate links ... click here to read my disclosure :-)

Monday, March 21, 2016

Deconstructing Peppers FAST

I love peppers ... red peppers especially ... what I hate though is the seeds and membranes and cleaning them up to eat :-) I wish you could just bite into them like an apple or something!

So, when I came across this tip on Instagram a while ago, I was amazed at how much easier it is to do it this way and have been doing it like this every since!

Let's Deconstruct a Pepper!

1. Wash pepper

2. Push in stem

3.  Pull stem out

4.  Tear pepper in half

5.  Trim side membrane off with a knife

6.  Trim off top and bottom

7.  Slice away

Go ahead and give it a try!

Looking forward to sharing with some of these GREAT Parties ... go check them out!

*This post may contain affiliate links ... click here to read my disclosure :-)

Sunday, March 20, 2016

Menu Plan Week 169 - Using What We Have

Hey, hey! It's that time of the week again ... time to menu plan and meal prep!

Last week was off. WAY off! I didn't even start a plan, let alone meal prep much of anything! Oops ... and I paid the price for it a few days ... one day was 2 clementines and an apple for lunch ... but the good news was we did NOT go out to eat once the whole week!  Trust me, I pushed and bitched pouted, but Hubby always held firm and I had to make due!  I mean, heck, we need to be conservative around here, you know??

The house hunt is still going, although that's slowing down ... and the house inquiries were really slow over the weekend, but I think the weather played a part in that so I'm not overly upset about that.  I am, however, concerned that Hubby is flying out on Friday and will be gone for 10 days where he gets sketchy phone service ... so he will just have to really monitor his voice mail while he's traveling if anyone wants to view the house. It will all be fine, I'm sure ;-)

So many laughs, tears, hugs, high-fives, shots, snorts and chokes have been had in this place!

So ... let's see, what else is going on? Oh, hey! Happy Spring! A few of you may have gotten a little snow (Boulder CO and NYC, I see you!) ... don't worry, before you know it, your tulips and whatever those big bouquet things are will be blooming ... I promise!  We've been hot and finally got a little rain over the weekend. Of course, cold front coming through for Monday ... and then by weeks end, mid 80's yet again. Sweet! Not so much!

Grocery shopping was a little heavy last weekend ... but I did use what I bought and I'm pretty happy to say minimal food waste ... SCORE!

Ok, here's what we are looking at for the week ahead!

Sunday - Thai Style Chicken Stir Fry with Basil ... I'm really craving a dish I had in October in Orlando at some little hole in the wall joint ... I know this won't be 100% fulfilling, but if it's worth it, I'll share the recipe! (chicken was dirt cheap on clearance at Aldi's a few weeks ago, about $1.25 per pound for free range chicken breast!)

Monday - counting on a cold front to be happening so SOUP it is! Tomato soup in the crockpot with grilled cheese sandwiches. Trying a new soup recipe for Hubby to give a whirl!  We will make a version of these sandwiches!

Tuesday - it's is Taco Tuesday, you know? So, of course, TACOS! Hubby will most likely grumble so I think I'll give this option for these Black Bean Tacos but also leaning towards maybe, just maybe, quesadillas instead?   

Wednesday - it's Survivor Night and I've been craving Chinese Takeout (one of my pouts last week was "we can just order some Chinese, come on!") so maybe, just maybe, I'll get around to making the General Tso Chicken I keep saying we will make ... I can either add the riced cauliflower or another recipe I have for Un-Rolled Egg Rolls ... we'll see!

Thursday - as Hubby needs to be at the airport by 6am tomorrow, I'm opting either for a big ole' salad, or leftovers, OR maybe we run to our favorite pub for burgers and beers? I think I'll play this night by ear!

Friday - I'm off today for Good Friday, Hubby flies out AND it's a girl's night to go see our favorite band playing at Lauderdale By The Sea ... so I will make up a little appetizer spread. Sadly, I am running L O W on proteins in the freezer and I really need to just scrounge around and find something. I'd like to do wings (I should have some a few packages left still?) and maybe make a small batch of homemade  meatballs and use this sauce on them. I'm dying to cook the wings in the Instant Pot and this just might be the day to do it! (I'm really hoping to get a LOT of stuff done today, including a few new recipe testings!)

Saturday - fingers crossed that the day will be uneventful (and I will be hydrated!) ... looking for a possible simple evening at home by myself, most likely, so Shrimp with Riced Cauliflower and Chimichurri Sauce ... the recipe I have is for 2 pounds worth of shrimp but since it's only ME, I'm going to cut the recipe down in quarters ... I've got shrimp in the freezer and since the hivey Boy will be MIA, it's perfect timing!

What are YOU making this week??

Looking forward to sharing over at Organized Junkie's Menu Plan Monday party ... go check it out!

Saturday, March 19, 2016

Cracked Up Cheesy Onion Dip


It's been a looooong time since I made this as we were making it every weekend and both Hubby and I decided that it was a little too indulgent to make "just because it's Saturday!" ... but guess what? We were going to some friends for dinner AND we are still cleaning out the pantry and freezers (you should see  ALL the white space in the freezers!) and well, it's just been kind of fun coming up with things to make with what we have on hand ... 

Cheese? Yup, in the freezer! Onions, of course, and SWEET VIDALIA ones at that! Cream cheese? Yup, down to 2 now in the fridge. Mayo ... yes, sadly, store bought.  Parmesan cheese? Wasn't 100% certain but I have some! 

This is one of those dishes that people will be crowding around, giving a little jab of the elbow at times to try and get a scoop of the yumminess ...

We've had friends who just pull up a barstool at the counter and just basically hover over the dish, inhaling it without a care in the world ... 

Trust me, the one guy is Mr. Health Conscious and does not just eat stuff to nibble on ... and I just can't wait to see him do this again this evening!

It's damn good ... give it a try!

1 cup of mayo (used my homemade stuff)
1 8oz pkg cream cheese, room temp and cut into cubes for easier mashing
1 regular size SWEET VIDALIA onion, diced (or any other kind just as good)
1 cup shredded Parmesan cheese (the real stuff)
generous sprinkling of black pepper
generous sprinkling of dried parsley

Add all to a large bowl and mix well. Really mash the cream cheese as it will want to stay chunky.

Spray a shallow baking dish with nonstick spray and cook 45 minutes or so at 350 til nice, bubbly and brown. 

Serve with a thicker tortilla chip or hardy cracker (this is not the time for a buttery ritz type cracker!)

Seriously, I am always surprised at how fast this disappeared. You may want to DOUBLE the recipe so you don't come back to an empty tray within minutes.

Looking forward to sharing with some of these GREAT Parties ... go check them out!

*This post may contain affiliate links ... click here to read my disclosure :-)

Wednesday, March 9, 2016

Simple Asparagus

For years, and years, like every other veggie out there, I wouldn't go near asparagus ... that's like, a tree stalk, right?  It's right up there with the green tree shrubs (broccoli) and that funky white stuff (cauliflower)!

And then, I tried these little skinny stalks with garlic and olive oil and since then, I've been addicted to asparagus ... I'm the one in the produce section tossing the fat things aside, looking for the wimpy, skinny things.

Yup. That's ME!! Hi! Sorry if I held you up!  If nothing else, Whole30 has made me branch out and try all kinds of different veggies ... that in itself is a NSV, you know?

So a few weeks ago, Aldi's had asparagus. Imagine that!? $2.99 for a one pound bag. Now, mind you've I've seen asparagus there before, but it was either, you guessed it, fat and woody OR the tips were all mush which is a no-no in the asparagus world.

So whenever, I see them model thin stalks, I scoop them up, run home and promptly start cooking ... I LOVE LOVE LOVE these things!

I used to make them this easy way: asparagus, chopped garlic, diced onion, olive oil, salt & pepper mixture ... but then ... I discovered this:

Trader Joe's Lemon Infused Olive Oil  ... uhm ... HELLO!!??

So now, I just skip all that happy chop chop chop stuff and get straight down to this technique:

Snap and rinse your asparagus, toss the tops in a large bowl.

Drizzle with generous pour of that there Lemon Infused Garlic Oil

Liberally season with your salt & pepper mixture (ours is salt, black pepper, garlic powder and onion powder poured in to an OLD Badia spice bottle ... we live by this stuff)

With clean hands, fluff and mix to coat all the asparagus.

Fire up your grill and allow to heat on high. Reduce the heat to medium (make sure no flames are hitting the grates) and clean. Put a grill mat down (if you don't have one, you NEED one ... this is what they look like and I really need to do a review on these! I picked this up at Bed Bath & Beyond for like $10 or so but like the link better as there's 3 and they seem to be larger than what I have)

Toss on your asparagus (I did two batches as I made 2 pounds), spread them out a little and close the lid. After a few minutes, check on them, giving them a little toss with your tongs ... keep an eye on them as they will get charry really fast ...

I love, love, love these little things and this is such an easy recipe to make! Go ahead, give it a try!


Looking forward to sharing with some of these GREAT Parties ... go check them out!

*This post may contain affiliate links ... click here to read my disclosure :-)

Sunday, March 6, 2016

Menu Plan Week 167 - Paleo Style and Using What We Have

Hey, hey ... it's that time of the week again. Time to menu plan and meal prep!

I did plan a menu last week ... but didn't do any kind of meal prepping or get around to sharing the menu ... things just got away from me ;-) Between putting the house up for sale, decluttering, packing excess stuff, my new side hustle, regular work and then just life in general, things really have to take a priority around here!

Grocery shopping was pretty minimal this past week. Hubby and I did stop at the store after our usual Sunday afternoon target drive (looking for our next home) and I had a $5 off $50 Albertson's coupon to use at Publix. My bill came to $58 and guess what, THAT particular store does not take those coupons. WTF?? So, needless to say, I spent $58 today at the grocery store ... and all I have to show for it is Kcups, milk, big container of baby greens salad, strawberries, bananas, 3 12 pks coke (Hubby just won't give up), a 12 pk of lime LaCroix (for me!), organic vanilla bean ice cream (cheaper than all the other ice creams!) and garbage bags. A little sad, isn't it?

I did do some meal prepping this afternoon while I made dinner. I roasted 4 heads of broccoli, grilled up 2 pounds of asparagus while cooking the chicken and smoked Gouda sausages.  The proteins came from the freezer and the veggies have been sitting in the guest fridge ... the chicken I'm not overly impressed with and it's Tyson's that I picked up at Target a while ago for pretty cheap with the Cartwheel app, coupon and sale. Hopefully I only have one more bag of that chicken!

So, enough ... here's what we are planning for the week ahead;

Sunday - Smoked Gouda Sausages and Simple Asparagus. My asparagus technique will be shared this week. Hubby ate his sausage on regular squishy white bread while I had mine cut up with veggies. It was super spicy so not sure what that was all about!

Monday - BLT Boats (sandwiches for Hubby/Boy if they prefer). Bacon is in the freezer and rest of ingredients in fridge and pantry. Would like to make a batch of mayo in the morning if I have time before work!

Tuesday - Taco Tuesday - we skipped out last week on Taco Tuesday and made yummy burgers instead ;-)  Ground beef (from my Target & Aldi score a few weeks ago) in freezer, rest of ingredients in pantry and fridge (including a packet of wholly quac!)

Wednesday - Shallot Chicken ... honestly, this recipe is coming in the near future! I will serve it with some roasted broccoli and/or asparagus ... whatever is leftover from Sunday ... chicken thighs are in the freezer

Thursday - Burgers on the grill ... I don't believe I have any potatoes to make fries with either so not sure WHAT we will serve along side? Hubby may need to pick some up when he buys the buns! Burgers are pre-patted and are from my score at Target a few weeks ago.

Friday - BLT Inspired Chicken Salad ... been a little while since we've made this and I'm actually a little excited! Chicken in the freezer (hoping no more Tyson's and I can dig into my Aldi score from a few weeks ago!) as is the bacon. Rest of ingredients in pantry and fridge.

*Yup, bacon two times this week!*

Saturday - Hubby's choice or out ...

What are YOU planning for the week ahead?  Hop over to Organized Junkie's Menu Plan Monday's to see what a lot of other bloggers are making!

Wednesday, March 2, 2016

How to Freeze Bread

A while ago, I bought a large loaf of udi's gluten free bread from Costco knowing full well that no one but ME would most likely be eating it ... and of course, I try not to eat a whole lot of bread ... so what's a girl to do?

Freeze it!

But, oops, had you seen the insides of my freezers at that time, you would have said no way a whole loaf was going to get squished in any of them, not to mention, I sort of wanted to protect this pricey bread from freezer burn AND be able to use a little as I go along ... not the whole loaf.


Remember those sandwich bags I picked up to freeze the chicken breast?

Remember the concept behind freezing the chicken breast individually? Oh, and freezing ground beef too?!

Yup, applied the same thought process to freezing the bread.

I simply froze 2 slices in each baggie. Folded them close and stuck them in a LARGE freezer style ziploc bag and stored that bag in the door of the garage freezer.


So now, when I get the urge to have toast, generally after a night of drinking unhealthy beverages, I just grab a little baggie, toss it on the counter for about 15 minutes and then toss it in the toaster while my eggs and bacon are cooking away .... 


Honestly, this is really a no-brainer and I would highly recommend it for those of you who have bread that goes bad in the pantry (here, here, it seems no one eats bread and then when they DO want some, it's a science project gone bad) ... I can't believe I didn't think of this before!

Do you freeze your bread?

Looking forward to sharing with some of these GREAT Parties ... go check them out!

*This post may contain affiliate links ... click here to read my disclosure :-)