Sunday, February 10, 2013

Meals and Treats lately…

I actually feel like I’ve been doing some productive cooking and baking lately!  Last week I had three nights in a row of home cooked dinners which is now considered a record!   Bonus points for having leftovers for lunches.

Then I made some awesome cupcakes for Superbowl Sunday…which we ended up just staying at home.  Needless to say we enjoyed cupcakes for days and have leftovers in the freezer for when I get my next cake craving :)

These aren’t my recipes but just wanted to share because they were delicious and pretty easy.

First came out of the January/February Cooking Light!  This is the one that boasts “Chicken 25 Ways!” on the cover.  Well, we had chicken in the freezer so I checked out the options.


I thought the Chicken BLT Salad sounded great, and made sure to get all the ingredients that day at the store.

Everything’s better with bacon…


Crispy chicken


But my favorite part was the dressing!!


Seriously, that buttermilk dressing was awesome and I’d make that to have on hand any day!!  Tasted like a delicious restaurant dressing, but not as heavy as most creamy dressings.

My changes to the recipe:

  • I used chopped romaine instead of iceberg
  • I let the chicken sit in buttermilk for about 30 min before dredging in panko…I didn’t use the egg white.
  • If I did it again I’d use Giada’s method for the chicken as it always comes out crispy.  This version was good, but not great…I found the breading didn’t crisp up as well.


I’m not even a huge blue cheese fan, but a little bit worked great with this salad.


The next day we set up the crock pot to do the work.

My friend had told me she made this spinach lasagna in a crock pot and it was SO good.  Sounded like a great weeknight meal so I added it to my list.

This was soooo simple.  We already had some Italian sausage in the freezer, and all I needed was a good jar of sauce, no-boil lasagna noodles, frozen spinach, ricotta, and mozzarella. 

The only “prep” needed was to make the spinach and cheese mixture and slice up the sausage.

Brian comes home for lunch some days to walk the dog, so we planned it for one of those days as it only takes 5-6 hours to cook.  We assembled it the night before and he just turned it on that day at lunch time.  I came home to this:


My thoughts:

  • The lasagna sits kind of in the middle of the crock pot, don’t worry if everything doesn’t go all the way to the edges.
  • I cut my sausages into coin slices so I used a lot more than 4 per layer…maybe she sliced hers the long way.
  • Don’t worry too much about the order of the layering…it will come out good no matter what.


Delicious and super easy.


Now the sweet!


Oh yes.  Funfetti.  I’ve been craving a good vanilla-y birthday cake type cake for a while now!!  Specifically with a good butter cream…the butter cream I grew up with.

You don’t need the sprinkles but it just makes it so much more fun.  I googled “homemade funfetti cupcakes” and thought this recipe looked pretty simple.

My notes:

  • I didn’t want to waste my vanilla beans here, so I just used 2 tsp of vanilla extract in the batter, and 2 tsp of vanilla bean paste in the frosting.
  • I made MINI cupcakes and they bake 9-11 min, and I got about 30 from this recipe.
  • Whenever I make this simple butter cream (butter, confectioners sugar, milk, vanilla), I always start with the recipe and then add more sugar and milk as needed until I get to my desired consistency…plus it makes more and tastes just as delicious.  Oh and I always use salted butter.


Such a great vanilla cake!!  


So happy we have some of these babies in the freezer!

On a healthier note we broke out the juicer!!


I love getting a small green juice sometimes at Whole Foods but then think how stupid it is when we have a nice juicer at home and used to make these all the time. 

It’s a great way to get lots of nutrients to the baby :)


In other news:

  • working on the nursery!  We’ve purchased the crib, dresser, and glider! 
  • Brian’s working on a new closet upstairs so I can turn the 2nd bedroom (i.e. my closet) into the nursery.
  • The baby registries are all done and my shower is in a few weeks :)
  • I’m 30 weeks!!!  Holy crap!!  Sorry no new pictures, but I’ll have to take a new bump shot this week!

So there’s my update!

Made anything good lately??