Oh My Nacho

Nachos for lunch, dinner, and heck I could probably make them for breakfast. Topped with beans, flavored rice, and a spicy cheese sauce, these nachos will blow your mind!

RECIPE: Oh My Nacho
Makes 2 Meal Servings or Many Appetizer Servings 

SUPPLIES NEEDED:dscf0462
Cast Iron Pans
Serving Tray
Spoons or Spatulas
Knife
Cutting Board

INGREDIENTS:
4 oz Pepper Jack Cheese
Rice
Diced Tomatoes
Black Beans
Corn
Onion
Hot Peppers
Paprika
Cumin
Garlic Powder
Chili Powder
Cayenne
Corn Starch
Tortilla Chips
Milk

DIRECTIONS:
1) 
In one pot, begin warming about 3/4 cup milk with a dash of corn starch. Whisk well to remove any possible clumps. dscf0464
2)  Break apart the pepper jack cheese and add it to the warming milk. Keep stirring as it warms, the cheese will melt and develop a nice thick sauce.
3) In a pan, mix together rice, diced tomatoes, and corn. Season with paprika, cumin, garlic powder, and a bit of chili powder.
4) Dice an onion and add it to another pan. Pour in black beans and some hot pepper juice. Season with cumin, paprika, garlic powder, and dash of cayenne.
5) Lay a layer of nacho chips on the serving tray. Cover first with the cheese sauce, then the rice mixture, and then the beans. Serve immediately!
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If you want an extra kick, add a few dried hot peppers to the cheese sauce as its cooking.

Potato Soup

This potato soup was thick and delicious. The addition of the salty bacon on top was just what this soup needed to make it perfect. Served with a slice of homemade focaccia, this was quite a filling dinner.

RECIPE: Potato Soup
Makes 6-8 Servings 

SUPPLIES NEEDED:dscf0381
Pot
Spoon
Slotted Spoon
Potato Masher
Pan
Fork
Cutting Board
Knife

INGREDIENTS:
Vegetable Scraps
Water
Potatoes
Milk or Cream
Dill
Carrots
Black Pepper
Bacon


DIRECTIONS:

1)
In a large pot, combine water and any vegetable scraps you have been keeping in the freezer. Mine included scraps from carrots, celery, onion peals, garlic bits, and the like.
2) Let everything simmer until a nice vegetable stock as been formed.
3) Strain out all the vegetable scraps or use a slotted spoon to remove them all until its just stock left.


dscf03944) Chop up potatoes and add them to the stock. Let them cook until mostly softened.
5) Chop and add a 2 carrots to the pot.
6) Add some dill, black pepper, and cream or milk to the mixture.
7) Use the potato masher to smash the potatoes to your preferred consistency. Some like their soup to be broth with potato chunks while others prefer it all to be a single thick and creamy mixture.
8) Cook up bacon until crispy, then chop and use to top the soup when served in bowls.

Garbage Brownies

Let’s be honest. There are days where every thing you know about nutrition and healthy eating gets thrown out the window. You say a few choice words, and then you march into the kitchen and make a big batch of garbage brownies. You add in everything that you can think of, and then if you are feeling really bad, you just layer some frosting on top!  This recipe is different from my regular brownie recipe. I made it more cake like to accommodate all the extra toppings and fillings.

RECIPE: Garbage Brownies 
Makes 9 Servings or 1 depending on your mood 

SUPPLIES NEEDED:dscf0441
Bowl
8 X 8 Dish
Spatula
375 Degree Oven

INGREDIENTS:
1 Cup Sugar
1 Egg
1/2 Cup Vegetable Oil
Pinch of Salt
1/2 teaspoon Baking Powder
1/2 teaspoon Baking Soda
1/2 Cup Flour
1/3 Cup Cocoa Powder
Splash of Vanilla
Peanut Butter
Marshmallows
Chocolate Chips
Chocolate Frosting
dscf0443DIRECTIONS:
1)
In a mixing bowl, mix together the sugar, egg, vegetable oil, and vanilla.
2) Add the flour, coco powder, baking powder, baking soda, and a pinch of salt. Stir until all combined.
3) Pour the batter into a greased 8 x 8 baking dish.
4) Sprinkle batter with 3-4 handfuls of chocolate chips. Spread a decent amount of marshmallows over everything. Take spoon fulls of peanut butter and fling it onto the batter in a careless manner. dscf0445
5) Bake for 25-35 minutes.
6) Let cool and slice, or just scoop it out hot with a spoon, because that’s just how the day is going.
7) If desired, you can frost the sliced brownies as well. I preferred to crumble the leftover brownie into a mug the next day, add milk, and eat it like cereal. This is not part of a healthy breakfast.

 

dscf0447I totally ate this for dinner… don’t judge.

Ham and Bean Soup

There is something so great about walking into a house and smelling the aroma of ham and bean soup simmering away on the stove. With it being a bit rainy and dreary, I figured a nice pot of this hearty soup would be a great way to end the day.

Ham and Bean Soup 
Makes 6 Servings

SUPPLIES NEEDED:dscf0423
Cutting Board
Knife
Spoon
Pot
Ladle for serving

INGREDIENTS:
Celery
Pinto Beans
Ham
Onion
Parsley
Bay Leaf
Vegetable Bullion
Water
Black Pepper

dscf0425DIRECTIONS:
1)
 Finely chop up one onion and about 4-5 stalks of celery. Add these to the bottom of a large pot with a bullion cube or stock.
2) Let the vegetables cook for a minute or two before filling the pot with water and adding chunks of ham. This ham was from our freezer, so I let it simmer for a bit to defrost and let it be torn into smaller pieces.
3) Add 2 tablespoons or so of parsley, some black pepper, and a bay leaf to the pot. Give it a good stir.
4) Let the soup cook over medium low to low heat for about an hour.
5) About 20 minutes before serving, add half a large can of pinto beans. Let them cook and heat up in the broth.
6) Be careful not to serve anyone the bay leaf when you ladle out the soup.

 

This soup was so tasty that my husband claimed all the leftovers for himself for the week!

Black Bean Burgers

These may be the best black bean burgers I’ve made. While we make some damn good meat burgers, these vegetarian burgers really held their own. They held together well and re heat well the next day. If you are doing a cook out with any vegetarian friends, this the meal to serve them!

Black Bean Burgesr 
Makes 3 Servings

SUPPLIES NEEDED:dscf0434
Food Processor
Spoons
Bowl
Cast Iron Pan
Spatula

INGREDIENTS:
1/2 Can Black Beans
3-4 Tablespoons Wheat Germ
1 Egg
3-4 Cloves Garlic
Sriracha Sauce
Mayo
Hamburger Buns
Pickles
Salt

dscf0436DIRECTIONS:
1)
 In a food processor, finely chop up the garlic cloves. Add half a can of black beans and really let it grind.
2) Add one egg and a few tablespoons of wheat germ to the black bean mixture, process it to mix.
3) Scoop out a third of the black bean mixture and form into a patty. Lightly sprinkle a touch of sea salt to either side and drop into a hot cast iron pan.
4) When one side is browned, flip and let the either side cook.
5) In a bowl, mix together the mayo and sriracha.
6) Toast the buns (if desired). Spread the sriracha mayo onto the bottom bun, then top with the black bean patty.
7) Serve with a pickle on the side!

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Even in the picture, I would be hard pressed to be able to tell if that was a beef burger or a black bean burger!

Molasses Pancakes

This is one breakfast experiment that came out way better than expected! When I served up these molasses pancakes, my husband proclaimed them as best pancakes ever. That says something when I have made him a lot of different kinds of pancakes. He requested that I bookmark this recipe to make him pretty regularly. So based on his recommendation, I highly suggest you try this recipe!

Molasses Pancakes
Makes 4 Servings

SUPPLIES NEEDED:dscf0451
Bowl
Spoon
Spatula
Cast Iron Pan

INGREDIENTS:
1 Tablespoon Molasses
1 teaspoon Cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon Ginger
1 Cup Flour
2 teaspoons Baking Powder
Pinch of Salt
1 Egg
1 Cup Milk
2 Tablespoons Vegetable Oil
Maple Syrup

DIRECTIONS:
1)
 Begin heating the cast iron pan over medium to medium low heat.
2) In a bowl, stir together the dry ingredients and spices.
3) Make a well in the middle of the dry ingredients, add the egg, milk, molasses, and vegetable oil. If you measure the vegetable oil first, the molasses will stick less to the measuring spoon. Also, an overflowing measuring spoon of molasses wouldn’t be a bad thing.

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4) Stir together all the ingredients until the batter is a little lumpy, but everything is wet.
5) Scoop a little bit of batter into the pan. Once bubbles begin to form and pop, flip the pancakes.
6) Serve the pancakes with some maple syrup and enjoy while hot! No need to add butter to the pancakes unless you really want to.

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Butter Fingers?

So butter fingers and mounds bars are the only two kinds of chocolate bars on which I will spend my own money. They are tasty. So when I kept hearing about using candy corn to make your own butter finger like candy, I had to give it a try. When it lacks some of that flaky crunchy layer that is iconic of a butter finger, it really isn’t bad at all. These tasty candy bars disappeared quickly in our house!

Butter Finger Candy 
Makes Many Servings

SUPPLIES NEEDED:dscf0413
Microwave Safe Bowls
Spoon
Spatula
Baking Sheet
Knife
Fridge
Microwave
Silicon Sheet or wax paper

INGREDIENTS:
1 Cup Peanut Butter
3 Cups Candy Corn
1 T Vanilla
Hershey Kisses

dscf0414DIRECTIONS:
1)
 In a microwave safe bowl, stir together the peanut butter, vanilla, and candy corn.
2) Microwave the bowl at 1 minute intervals, stirring constantly until it is all melted together.
3) Lay silicon or wax paper on the baking sheet, spread out the mixture. Let chill in the fridge until solid. dscf0417
4) Unwrap the Hershey kisses, and put them into a microwaveable safe bowl. Microwave them at thirty second intervals while stirring them. Or you can melt them in a double boiler, but when you are lazy, microwaving works just fine.
5) Remove the butter finger insides from the fridge and slice into bars.
6) Either coat the bars in the melted chocolate or drizzle it. My husband likes the full coverage of chocolate, while I prefer the hint of chocolate.

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Honestly, these made me want to make my adopted Grandma’s peanut butter fudge (cause hers is so much better). However, for a quick fun snack this recipe is perfect.

Fresh Penne Pasta

I love pasta. Then again, I don’t know many people who dislike it. Here is our recipe for a fresh tasting penne pasta with lots of vegetables.

Fresh Penne Pasta 
Makes 2 Servings

SUPPLIES NEEDED:dscf0369
Pot
Pan
Cutting Board
Knife
Spoon

INGREDIENTS:
Penne Pasta
Spinach
Garlic
Tomatoes
Mozzarella Cheese
Rosemary
Thyme
Basil
Black Pepper

DIRECTIONS:
1)
 I used a pasta maker to make the penne pasta, but you can also use the kind out of the box.


2) Boil pasta in salted water.
3) In a pan, mix together spinach, diced tomato, and some finely cut up garlic.
4) Season with some rosemary, thyme, basil, and black pepper. Stir and taste, and season as desired.
5) This can served two ways, pasta with vegetables and mozzarella cheese all tossed together or the pasta layered with the vegetables and mozzarella on top. I’m a fan of having everything tossed together! dscf0377

Pizza Party

Do you love pizza parties? I love pizza parties, and they are even better when its a Make-Your-Own-Pizza Party! This recipe made enough pizza for four adults, but could probably be shared with even more!

Pizza Party 
Makes 4 Servings 

SUPPLIES NEEDED:dscf0356
Pizza Stones
Oven Heated to 400 Degrees
Pizza Paddles
Cutting Board
Pastry Board
Rolling Pin
Bowls
Pan
Spatula
Spoons
Cheese Grater
Bread maker

INGREDIENTS:
Canned Diced Tomatoes
Tomato Paste
4 cups All Purpose Flour
12 oz Water
3 T Avocado Oil
2 t Yeast
1/2 t Salt
Basil
Oregano
Garlic Powder
Parsley
Rosemary
4 Garlic Cloves
Onion
Pepperoni
Hot Peppers
Mozzarella Cheese
Parmesan Cheese
Pineapple

dscf0359DIRECTIONS:
1) 
Before work, combine the water, avocado oil, salt, 1 t Oregano, 2 t garlic powder, 1 parsley, 1.5 t basil, flour, and yeast (in that order) in the bread maker. Put it on the dough setting and set the timer so that it will be done when you get home.
2) Remove dough from pan, cut into four parts and place on a floured pastry board.
3) Dice four cloves of garlic and an onion. Add the garlic and half the onion to a warm cast iron pan. Add in a can of diced tomatoes and a can of tomato paste. dscf0361
4) Season tomato sauce with rosemary, parsley, oregano, a touch of basil, and a dash of paprika.
5) Thin the sauce slightly using some of the juice from the hot peppers. This will keep it up a notch and make it seem a little more impressive for a sauce you are making last minute.
6) Put the other half of the diced onion in a bowl. Put some hot peppers in a bowl. Put some diced pineapple in a bowl. Arrange the bowls next to the pastry board with a container of Parmesan cheese, hot pepper flakes, basil, and some serving spoons. Pepperoni is also a good topping!
7) Shred the mozzarella cheese. I did 16 ounces, but could have probably done closer to 10-12 ounces.
8) Let your friends take turns rolling out their dough, putting on sauce, topping with cheese and anything else they like before using a paddle to transfer it to the pizza stones in the oven. See below for the dual pizza stone experience.


9) Pizzas will bake in 15-25 minutes depending on thickness and the amount of cheese.
10) Move to a cutting board, let cool for a little bit before slicing and serving.

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Pork with Cabbage Salad

I feel like cabbage is an unloved vegetable. It is so versatile, from coleslaw to soup it can do just about anything. And yet, we often relegate cabbage to the land of forgotten vegetables. It hasn’t gotten a new image like brussels sprouts or become trendy like kale. It is still just cabbage, and I wish others could love cabbage as much as us.

Pork with Cabbage Salad
Makes 2 Servings 

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SUPPLIES NEEDED:

Cast iron pan
Tongs
Grill
Spatula
Cutting Boards
Knives

INGREDIENTS:dscf0342
Pork Loin
Cabbage
Apple
Nutmeg
Carrots
Pepper
Salt
Dill
Paprika
Rosemary

DIRECTIONS:
1) 
Slice pork loin into 1/4 to 1/2 inch slices. Seaosn with salt, pepper, paprika, and a touch of rosemary.
2) Slice cabbage and toss into a cast iron pan. Slice carrots and then add them to the cabbage.
3) If you are in a rush, you can partially steam the vegetables by pouring some water into the hot pan. Otherwise just use a touch of oil and let the vegetables cook low and slow. Season with salt, pepper, and dill.

 


4) Chunk the apple into little pieces. When the cabbage is cooked, add the apples to the mixture.
5) Season the vegetables with some nutmeg and cinnamon. Just a little to enhance the sweetness of the apples.
5) Grill the pork on a hot grill.
6) Serve the salad when the apples are cooked, but still have a bit of crunch to them.
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The sweetness of the apples just plays off the cabbage in the best way. When you add it to the pork, the flavor profiles will just rock your world!