Speedy Salsa Dip

This one is an oldie but a goodie. My husband and I have very different spicy-ness thresholds. And I think its pretty silly to buy 2 jars of salsa just because my tongue is a sissy. So this trick helps us share the salsa and doubles as an on the fly party dish!

As a quick party dish, its pretty, and it can be made with all sorts of toppings. I have an Aunt that puts Red Pepper Jelly on top, served with fancy crackers. You can even do green pepper jelly with the red, and slice the cream cheese like a Christmas Tree!

Tonight I did a mango pineapple version with lime juice and salt and pepper served with salty corn tortilla chips. Odd, but delicious!

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Creamy Salsa Goodness

Please send me your quick entertaining tricks for when you’re in a pinch! I’d love to try them!

Smothered Sausage Subs

Today was one of those days where I felt behind all day. I am no stranger to stress eating. I came home hungry for something heavy and satisfying. Sandwiches in general are a comfort food for me, and I love a good baked sub.

I sauteed whole mild Italian sausages until they were really brown on all sides. Then I added a tiny bit of water, covered them and let them steam for a minute or so. I then added olive oil with peppers, onions and mushrooms. I cooked these together, covered on medium heat for about 20 minutes.

While that was cooking, I peeled and chopped the sweet potatoes, and roasted them at 425° in olive oil and salt. Super simple. Super yummy.

And while those were cooking I sliced the rolls, added a couple pads of butter and 2 slices of smoked provolone in each. I toasted the open rolls for about 7 minutes, until crispy on the outside and melty  on the inside.

When everything was ready, I sliced the sausage and spooned the meat and veggies into the soft cheesy pocket. I love recipes that have even timing, and these really hit the spot. The sweet potatoes were al dente, and the subs with gooey cheese, savory sausage, and sweet peppers made a symphony of a sandwich.

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4 inches has never been so satisfying.

Ingredients:

  • Package of 5-6 sausages, I choose mild because my daughter won’t tolerate spicy.
  • 1 green pepper julienned
  • 1 red pepper julienned
  • 1 small onion julienned
  • 1 package sliced mushrooms
  • 3-4 Tbs olive oil
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 4-6 italian or french sub rolls
  • 8-12 slices of smoked provolone cheese
  • 1/2 stick of butter, thinly sliced into squares

Comment below with your own super sandwiches! I would LOVE to try them!!

 

 

Sales Tag Serendipity

Today was an unusually beautiful day for this time of year. It was 60° and gorgeous, or so I was told. I spent most of the day trapped in my office, buried under a avalanche of paperwork. But when five o’clock finally came, boy did that warm spring breeze feel good. So good, it changed my dinner plans. I wanted something to match the summer mood I was in and I immediately thought burgers. But then decided I shouldn’t completely throw away that half ass work out I did this morning, so I decided on lame-o standard chicken. Until…

I’ve mentioned before I love a good sale. Nothing brings me more joy than feeling like I stuck it to the grocery store man, just a little bit, and came out on top for once. On my way to the lame-o chicken, I started to see yellow tags. My heart racing I shuffled over to the seafood case. Being allergic to shrimp, something that is frequently on sale, I tried to not get my hopes up. But low and behold it was fish. Not frozen, but nicely packaged, name brand, marinated fish! Could this be? Was it a mistake? I decided to load up and argue my way into that price at the register if I had to.

So now that I had the star of my meal, what was going to go with it? I meandered around the store gathering various other items, when I got a wild hair to peruse the fancy cheese. I usually can’t afford anything in this case, but I still like to look. And there too was a rare treasure, a Managers Special tag. I love these, I’ll challenge an expiration date for a couple of dollars off, and this was on one of my favorites, fresh Mozzarella cheese. So now with Salmon and Mozzarella, where in the hell was I going with this? Some discount cherry tomatoes on the vine, and a few items later we arrived at this. And even though I can’t take credit for the Salmon recipe, I can take pride in making my own homemade Balsamic Vinaigrette for the first time, DELICIOUS.

The Balsamic Vinaigrette was so easy. I happened to have bought some good vinegar last weekend on my girls trip, and all I did was:

-Whisk lemon juice, salt, pepper, and 1 teaspoons basil squeeze (fresh basil was not available) into 3 tablespoons of good Balsamic Vinegar, and slowly pour in the olive oil while whisking like a maniac.

I have tried this before with cheaper vinegar and it has not turned out well. This higher quality of vinegar, that was not that expensive at an Oil and Vinegar store really made the difference.

A simple meal inspired by serendipitous weather and pricing. My budget and I couldn’t be happier. Comment below with some of your favorite summer meals or inspiring sales stories! I’d love to hear them!

Williams-Sonoma Virginity

My best friend is going to Hawaii. Lucky bitch. Just kidding, she has really earned it. She is an incredibly talented entrepreneur. Non the less, I am super jealous. So to help me cope, we went on a girls shopping trip for the required tropical wardrobe. This was of course, loads of fun including too many margaritas and copious amounts of desserts. The crazy over priced, yet beautiful shopping center we went to had lots of wonderful shops and boutiques. While walking around I managed to balance my ‘kid in a candy store face’, with my ‘I’m to f**king broke to buy anything’ pout. I was on the brink of temper tantrum when we walked past a Williams-Sonoma. I couldn’t believe it. I had seen this place on numerous Pinterest posts, and heard of the marvelous treasures that they sold. I know this is probably a place many people buy items for their home, or even have the pleasure of registering for their wedding, but where I come from, Target is an hour away oasis that is frequently likened to a “special treat”. Needless to say, I had gone from kid in a candy store to Dorthy in Oz.

I gasped at colorful Kitchenaid Mixers, I gawked at wooden and silicone kitchen utensils in every shape and variation. I almost cried when I saw the Easter Bunny China display table. This place was everything I dreamed and more. Then I remembered my strict budget. The sales boy must have noticed me praying before looking hopefully into my purse, only to find that no extra cash had magically appeared, when he took me by the arm to the clearance table.

He started to explain that the store had been poorly managed, which had resulted in an unheard of 50% off lowest price sale. This returned a smile to my face, as I started to dig. Most things were still out of my price range, but after digging, and tearing apart the linens, I was able to find a 4 piece set of place mats and linen cocktail napkins. Thrilled with my selection, I rushed them to the register, throwing my olive green kitchen color scheme to the wind. I would use these no matter what, because the came from a heaven called, Williams-Sonoma.

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Best $20 I’ve ever spent. And I realize this entire post is about the joy cloth napkins brought me. I really should get out more.

Simple Sunday Supper

Sunday. Today was just that; A Sun Day. And we took advantage of it. We drank coffee with sunglasses on, we walked through our woods and swung on the swing. We piled in to the pickup, and rode with the windows down to the elementary school. We live on the top of a mountain and lack a good place for our 7 year old to ride her bike, so the school tennis court is an ideal spot. While she rode her bike, my husband and I alternated pitching and hitting old t-balls, an AMAZING stress reliever by the way. For lunch we went to a local pizza spot, followed by afternoon naps. It was glorious. However, it did not allow time for me to create a full blown Sunday family meal, like I usually do. So today I’ll share with you a simple, 1 pan, delicious and balanced dinner that I have thrown together on many occasions.

Chicken Broccoli Rice Casserole. Seriously Simple.

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Not a gourmet meal, but today February sunshine took priority.

I placed the following in a baking dish:

  • 6 frozen chicken tenderloins
  • 10 broccoli florets (frozen would work great)
  • 2 tablespoons of butter
  • 1/4c frozen diced onions (I always keep these on hand for quick flavor)
  • 1 package of chicken rice
  • 2 1/2c of water

I baked it for 1 hour at 400°f. Then when I pulled it out, it was hot and tender, I added some cheddar cheese and a little salt and pepper.

Comment below with some of your favorite “throw together” meals! I’d love to try them!

 

Molasses

Being stuck at home with this snow storm definitely has its perks. One being that instead of spending an hour driving to work, I have an extra hour to spend making breakfast before I commute to the kitchen table to work from home. Today my princess woke up with pancakes on her mind. I really only make them for her, since my husband and I are more biscuit and egg people. But today I gave in, and even made some for myself.

But what I like on my pancakes, is butter(of course) and molasses.

I grew up with a few horses, and early morning feeds included sucking the molasses off the grain. That smell is a direct line to the dusty barn in the back of my brain where I spent so much time talking to my animal friends. Just call me Fern, pot bellied pig and all.

But molasses isn’t something I see very often outside my own kitchen and I think its a damn shame.

So next time you have a few extra dollars, invest in some good ole’ molasses. Its great in baking and toppings, I’ve even subbed it into my at home Chinese when I was out of brown sugar(delicious!).

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Molasses covered Hot Cakes. Breakfast of Champions. Champions, who nap after breakfast.

 

An adventure with discount fish

A snow storm was coming, I had prepared myself for the battle that awaited inside of the crowded grocery store. Where I come from, when it snows, you stock up. Last time it snowed, we weren’t able to leave the house for 6 days. I actually look forward to the solitude. I am able to work from home during bad weather, so instead of breakfast cereal and chaotic slop dinner, I actually get to take my time in the kitchen. I like to take this time to cook new things, enter: discount flounder.

I am a sucker for a sales tag and a huge bag of frozen fish fillets for $5.99 was no exception. I am pretty picky about my fish, I don’t like anything too fishy, and I really only have one or two ways I usually cook it. I tend to stick to tilapia, but this flounder was white and cheap and came home with us.

I’ve had flounder from restaurants, many ways, but after deliberating and scanning a google search, I decided on pan frying, then baking.

This however meant, I would have to find something to coat it. I am a firm believer in not being wasteful, enter: stale saltines.

So I treated the fish, to make it as least fishy as possible. This includes:

  1. Thawing the fish
  2. Mashing the excess liquid out of it with a clean cloth
  3. Salting the fish, and repeating step 2.

Then, I brushed it with a beaten egg, and coated it with the crushed saltines.

The hardest part about frying something for me, is leaving it alone. I am the worst for fidgeting with whatever is in the pan. But I set my time this time, and left it alone on both sides for 2 minutes.Then baked it at 400ºf for another 8 minutes.

And I have to say it wasn’t bad! Paired with one of my favorites: butter herb orzo, and skinny green beans, everyone was happy, including my budget. The key to this discount adventure, was taking my time. Properly treating the fish, and making the most of pantry made this a success.

Have any tips or tricks for me? I’d love to hear them. Comments and advice welcome below!

 

 

 

Maiden Voyage

Well, here I go! After some strong encouragement from a few friends, I am starting a blog. Since its late, and I spent way too long customizing the “theme” of this thing, I am going to start small.

Fruit. What is better than fruit? I am always amazed at how satisfying fruit can be. I live in the mountains of Appalachia, where winter is suffocating. I have probably muttered, “We should move to f**king Florida.” a hundred times. But this week a little ray of Florida sun found its way into my local Food Lion. I had my eye on onions, and potatoes, stew was on my mind. When suddenly the smell of grapefruit surrounded me. And it was on sale!

My rule with fruit is: if you walk by it, and don’t smell it, you probably shouldn’t buy it. Following this logic, I tend to flock farmers markets for local fruit, but in Winter when the markets are closed, I have no other choice.

To make a long story short, I bought several pounds of grapefruit, and we all had a glorious summer snack, while preparing for a snow storm.

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Sometimes, you have to make your own Summer.