Sunday, April 21, 2013

Little Mama's Short-Cut Boston Cream Pie

I actually do not know the proper way to make a Boston Cream Pie.  Nor have I ever tried to figure it out.  I just kind of put together items that I thought seemed right.  I made this for the first time a few years ago, and now I am seeing similar ideas popping up all over!  So, here is my take on the Boston Cream Pie!
Remember, this is a short-cut version.

Gather Your Ingredients:

  • 1 box yellow cake mix
  • 1 box instant vanilla pudding (the regular size box not the big one)
  • 2 1/2 c. milk
  • 4 squares semi-sweet Baker's chocolate
  • approximately 2 T heavy cream

Make It:

  1. Start by baking your yellow cake according to the package directions for 2 - 8" round cakes.  One box divided evenly between the two 8" pans.   Allow them to cool completely.
  2. In a medium bowl whisk the vanilla pudding mix with milk for 2 minutes.  Cover and let sit in refrigerator for about 10 minutes.
  3. Spread pudding in a thick, even layer across one of the cakes.  Place the second cake on top and clean up any pudding the smushes out.
  4. Place chocolate and cream in a microwavable dish and heat on high for 20 to 30 seconds (depending on how fast your microwave cooks).  Stir and heat for another 15 seconds if needed to completely melt the chocolate.
  5. Pour the chocolate in the center of the cake and allow it to spread across the cake.  You can help it along with the back of your spoon if you need to.  
  6. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes before serving.

Monday, April 15, 2013

Marinated Ribeye

This marinade was inspired by a Mongolian Beef Crock-Pot Recipe that a friend shared with me.  My family loved the recipe so much!  With the recipe below I marinated 4 ribeye steaks.  Of course, you could use a different cut of meat or you could multiply the recipe for more steaks.

Gather Your Ingredients:

  • 4 Ribeye steaks
  • 1/4 cup soy sauce (I used low sodium)
  • 2 T fresh squeezed orange juice
  • 3 good sized cloves of minced garlic
  • 1/4 t ground ginger
  • 3 scallions, sliced (use the entire scallion)

Make It:

  1. Combine all marinade ingredients in a bowl and mix thoroughly.
  2. Place steaks in a large zip top baggie or a dish.  Make sure they are in a single layer.  Pour marinade over the steaks and place in refrigerator for a minimum of 1 hour or as long as over night.
  3. Let meat sit at room temp for about 5 to 10 minutes before cooking it.  Scrape the scallions and garlic pieces off of the meat before cooking so that they do not burn and leave a bitter taste.
  4. Now, this is where the window for interpretation is yanked wide open.  If you have a favorite method for cooking your steaks, you can by all means do it that way.  This is the method that I used:              Spread hot coals (hot but with the flames dies down) into an even layer in your grill.  Place steaks directly over the coals.  I was going for a medium-well doneness, so we cooked them for approximately 8 minutes per side.  Cooking time will vary depending on how done you want your steaks and how hot your coals are, watch them closely.
  5. I topped our steaks with grilled onions, which took them through the roof!  Slice onion approximately 1/4 inch thick slices, sprinkle with seasoned salt and drizzle with oil.  Place in a single layer in the veggie grill basket, and place over the coals for about 3 to 5 minutes per side or until they just start to get caramelized.

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Drinking My "Greens"

For several years, I have been suffering from chronic neck / back pain and fatigue.  I have tried so many "remedies" to help ease my pain and boost my energy.  Recently, my friend Liberty asked me to give It Works Greens a try.  I decided to try it.  Why not?  The meds weren't helping, so maybe making a change could help.  I am going to be occasionally sharing my results.

There is so much info about Greens on the It Works website.  It is a supplement powder that you mix into to juice or water.  The vitamins and nutrients are in their natural, bio-available form.  To read more, visit the website.

I just finished my first month's supply of Greens.  I mix it with juice because I do not care for the flavor.  I like it a lot better than swallowing pills.  So far, no change in pain level or frequency/severity of headaches.  I have noticed a big increase in energy level.  I still get a little sleepy in the afternoons, but I do not require a nap like I used to.  I am in a much better mood most of the time as well.  Could be that the Greens has something that causes better moods, or it could be because I'm not tired and exhausted 24/7.  Either way, I'll take it!  I have also noticed that I have been eating less.  By that I mean the bad kind of eating where you are bored or tired so you snack on stuff.  I do not feel as hungry, so I am not over eating at meal time.

Overall, I am seeing for positive changes.  On to month two!

Skillet Pasta Toss

I love this recipe because the dirty dishes amounts to 1 skillet, 1 spoon, 1 knife, 1 cutting board and what ever tool I use to drain the grease from the meat.  (Usually is a strainer with fine mesh)  Everything is cooked in one dish.  I use a deep skillet, but if you were making a double batch you would probably want to use a larger pot.

Gather Your Ingredients:

  • 1lb ground beef (you could also use pork, chicken or turkey)
  • 1 small onion
  • 5 cloves of garlic
  • about 1/2 cup diced veggies of your choice (my suggestions are carrots, zucchini, bell pepper)
  • 2 c. tomato sauce
  • 2 c. water
  • 1 cup pasta (I used ditalini, but other good options would be elbow macaroni, medium egg noodles, broken pieces of lasagna, spaghetti or fettuccine)
  • a handful each of chopped basil and parsley
  • a generous handful of roughly chopped fresh spinach
  • mozzarella and parmesan cheese to top

Make It:

  1. Brown your meat, drain the grease and return to skillet.  Toss in your onion, garlic and veggies.  Saute until tender.
  2. Stir in tomato sauce and water.  Bring to a boil, stir in pasta and reduce to simmer.  Simmer covered for about 10 to 15 minutes or until pasta is tender.  Stir occasionally.
  3. Remove cover and add the spinach, parsley and basil.  Stir and remove from heat.
  4. Top with shredded cheeses and replace lid.  Allow to sit until cheese is melted.
**If the sauce is a little bit too "runny" simmer with the lid off for a couple of minutes to allow water to evaporate.**
This is a great recipe to use up fresh veggies that are getting close to their shelf life.  I also love the richness that the pasta gets from cooking in the tomato sauce.

Saturday, April 6, 2013

Grilled Asparagus

Well, this got eaten so quickly at my house that I wasn't able to get a photo to go with the post.  Maybe next time I can snap a pic!
I have been trying to get my family to like asparagus for a long time now.  They always protest.  Tonight, my three year old asked for more and ate all of hers!  My eight year old said it tastes better cooked this way, and she actually really likes the top parts!  I call this a home run!  Even if she only eats the tips, she is still getting this nutritious veggie in her body!

Gather Your Ingredients:
  • 1 bunch of asparagus
  • 2 to 3 T grapeseed or vegetable oil (enough to coat your asparagus)
  • 1/2 T Lawry's Seasoned Salt (this brand has no MSG, but you can use your favorite brand)

Make It:

  1. Trim your asparagus.  I see a lot of cooks that recommend gently bending one stalk until it snaps and then trim them all to that length.  For me, it is just as effective and easier to just find the point where the stalks get narrower and trim them there.  You will generally trim off about 2 inches.  If your stalks are particularly thick, you can shave them lightly with a vegetable peeler.
  2. Toss the asparagus with the oil and the seasoned salt and let sit in the fridge for at least 30 minutes.  I left mine for about two hours.
  3. Place the asparagus, in a single layer, into a veggie grilling basket.  Place over hot charcoal with no flames.  Cooking time is going to vary depending on how hot your coals are.  I cooked mine for about 5 minutes or so on each side.  When they start to get "char" on them, they are ready.  
  4. If desired, squeeze a lemon wedge or two over the spears to finish!  Serve hot.