Wednesday, April 30, 2014

take my word for wednesday.. this summer squash casserole went perfect with the lemon garlic slow cooked chicken

today is take my word for it take my word for it that these were yummy.. the pictures do NOT do these dishes justice and here is why.. pete decided he wanted the family to start having a weekly dinner with his parents and monday was to be our first.. i picked monday because i could prep the food on sunday and then on mondays when pete gets home he can pop them in the oven to warm and when i slide into home we can run over to his parents and be there by 6... yeah well best laid plans and yada yada.. i got summer squash in my bountiful basket on saturday and knew i wanted to use it for the meal.. i decided to make a casserole and sliced up the squash and seeing it there in stacks reminded me so much of poker chips which warmed my heart.. ha yeah i grew up in vegas can you tell?? ha anyway instead of laying them down i thought i could put them in the dish like pokers chips in their case.. i was one squash short they just didn't fit right.. so i grabbed a tomato sliced it up and wedged it in between the squash and it fit perfect.. i par cooked it the night before and i planned to ask pete to put it in the oven and finish cooking it.. yeah well i forgot and so the picture doesn't show it with the lovely golden cheesy top.. {which is what you want but i had to take the picture quickly then stick it back in the oven as i didn't want to be late for our first dinner} i also didn't get a final photo of the chicken once it was cooked, but take my word for it, it was golden brown and soo moist and good!! so on to another take my word for wednesday where you just have to trust me!!

colorful fresh poker chips.. ha ha 

see how the tomatoes wedged in just finished it off...  
in growing up one of my mom's philosophies was always if she made the food pretty we would eat it... that didn't always work with me but i did grow up appreciating that food can be pretty and delicious and i always strive to make my dishes and presentation when serving pretty an appetizing.. {doesn't always work but i do try ha}

summer squash casserole

prep time: 10 minutes
cooking time: 60 minutes
servings: 8-10
2 zucchini, sliced 1/4 inch thick
2 summer crook neck yellow squash, sliced 1/4 inch thick
1 large tomato, sliced 1/4 inch thick
olive oil
salt and pepper
handful of shredded mozzarella
parmesan cheese
preheat your oven to 400 degrees {f}.. slice your veggies.. {i should have used a mandolin for uniform slices} but mine were pretty even.. you want them about 1/4 inch thick.. spray a casserole dish with pam or any non stick spray.. place your sliced squash in the baking dish vertically {like above} i didn't have a pattern or any rhyme or reason to how i placed them.. then go back in and wedge your tomato in.. salt and pepper and drizzle a little olive oil.. cover and bake for 30 minutes.. remove from oven and remove cover sprinkle with your cheeses and place back in the oven for 20-30 minutes or until cheese is a golden brown and veggies nice and tender.. it really did taste good..
things i would have done differently.. i would have sprinkled it with fresh minced garlic, thyme and crushed red pepper before baking.. maybe a little oregano and possibly add sliced sweet onion in the rows too.  i will be making it again and will update this page when i do.. check back.. :) now onto the chicken..
i got a huge beautiful lemon in my bountiful basket and knew i wanted to use it with chicken.. i love love lemon and chicken together.. toss in some fresh thyme and garlic and it's a dish made in heaven.... i cut the lemon in half and placed it at the bottom of a crock pot {i have said on many many occasions i don't like crock pots or food that has been cooked in one, but with me gone from 7:45 to 5:30 and dinner is going to be at 6 i need to get over myself and this dislike of the crock pot and embrace it.. and this first time around worked our perfectly and tasted wonderful} i cut the top off a bulb of garlic and tossed in some fresh thyme.. i placed the chicken on top and drizzled with olive oil and salt and pepper and let it cook on low for 10 hours.. it was really really good.. a few changes i would have made.. i would have put lemon slices, minced fresh garlic and thyme on the top of the chicken as well before closing it up.. like the recipe above i will make it again and update this post..

slow cooked lemon garlic chicken
prep time: 10 minutes
cooking time: 10 hours
servings: 6
1 whole chicken, 3-4 lbs, rinsed and giblets removed
handful of fresh thyme sprigs
1 lemon sliced in half
1 head of garlic, top sliced off but cloves still in tact
salt and pepper
olive oil
rinse and dry your chicken.. rub chicken with olive oil and season with salt and pepper.. slice your lemon in half and place both halves in the bottom of the crock pot add your garlic and thyme sprigs.. place your chicken on top and cover and cook on low for 10 hours.. after 10 hours you can remove the chicken it will start to fall apart but i was able to remove it to a serving platter with minimum damage.. we then sliced it up and picked it a part, i served it with the summer squash casserole and mashed potatoes.. i discarded the whole lemon and garlic head and strained the juices from the crock pot and served it with a little "gravy" on the side.. it was really moist and flavorful.. now the things i will do differently next time {and there most definitely will be a next time} .. i will put lemon slices, minced fresh garlic and thyme on the top of the chicken and i might cut an onion in half and add it to the bottom also.. i'll let you know.. and remember to
enjoy and get cook'n!!

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

"perfect" grilled rib-eye steaks with bbq mushrooms

ever have a day, week or trip {or all 3} that was perfect? or at least you remember them to be absolutely perfect? we had a family vacation that was perfect.. the kids behaved and we had no kid meltdowns.. the weather was perfect.. the destination was perfect.. our room was perfect and the food was perfect!! {now whether or not the trip was that perfect i don't know but my parents and pete remember it pretty much the way i do so i am going to say it was pretty darn near perfect} it was about 13 years ago and we planned a trip to disneyland.. the happiest place on earth.. we went every year since jake was little and really no matter what always had a good time.. we went mid week and in october so the crowds were tolerable... during our trip we went to a restaurant by our hotel.. it was a steakhouse and for the life of me i can not remember the name.. stagecoach something or other?? if anyone remembers a steakhouse by the hilton in anaheim in the late 90's please tell me the name.. anyway i ordered a rib-eye and it was cooked to perfection and served over bbq'd mushrooms.. i had a baked potato and salad with it.. every bite was scrumptious and i talked about how amazing that meal was for a year.. ha.. i then attempted to recreate it and over the years have since made a few alterations but it still is one of my all time favorite dishes!!

it was a beautiful evening this Saturday so i decided to use my grill..{basically i grill about 3 times a week no matter what the weather is.. ha}

now i know some of are you thinking ohmyygg did she put bbq sauce on that rib-eye and ruin it..{because pete says it every time.. then he eats it and says ok it's good i like it..} but you must try it.. i promise it's wonderful..

while the steaks are grilling i sauté the mushrooms in bbq sauce and it's perfection.. *sigh* 

saturday i served it with perfectly baked potatoes and  grilled asparagus.. now that spring has sprung and asparagus is in abundance we will have it all the time.. i love it!!! plus i got some in my bountiful basket and had to grill it up!!  i will share with on thursday all my favorite asparagus recipes so check back!! but now lets get to that steak!!
grilled bbq rib-eye with spicy bbq'd mushrooms
prep time: 15 minutes
cooking time: 20 minutes
servings: 2
2 bone-in rib-eye
salt and pepper
olive oil
bbq sauce {i used sweet baby rays spicy}
sautéed mushrooms:
2 cups sliced mushrooms
1 tblsp. butter {or olive oil}
pinch of crushed red pepper
salt and pepper to taste
1 tblsp. bbq sauce {again i use sweet baby rays}
remove steaks from fridge and bring up to room temperature.. about 30 minutes.. drizzle a little olive oil on them and salt and pepper them generously.. heat your grill to high and clean and slightly oil your hot grates.. reduce heat to medium and add steaks to the grill.. cook for about 6 minutes then flip over.. add a little bbq sauce to the cooked side.. cook another 6 minutes and flip over and add bbq sauce to that side.. cook another 2 minutes.. then flip over and cook another 2 minutes.. your basically cooking it for 8 total minutes per side.. but your only cooking it 2 minutes per side with the bbq sauce on it... the bbq sauce will get caramelized and slightly charred yet your rib-eye should be a perfect medium-rare.. you want the internal temperature for medium-rare to be 125 degrees {f}.. remove from grill and allow to rest for 10 minutes.. while it's resting cook your mushrooms.. in a large skillet heat your olive oil or butter over medium high heat.. when the butter has melted or the oil is shimmering add your sliced mushrooms.. you should hear it sizzle.. {you want to make sure your pan and either butter or oil is hot enough or the water in the mushrooms will start to seep and it will basically steam them instead of sauté, which is why we don't add salt until the end because salt draws out the water} cook the mushroom over medium high for about 5 minutes until tender and slightly browned.. now add your salt, pepper, crushed red pepper and bbq sauce and cook another 2-3 minutes.. use a spatula to move them around so they don't stick.. {don't over crowd your mushrooms in your pan or they will again steam and not sauté, you want a single layer of them in your pan}  once mushrooms are done remove from stove and divide between 2 plates.. add a layer of mushrooms on the bottom of the plate and place a perfectly grilled rib-eye over the mushrooms.. serve with baked potatoes and grilled asparagus and you too can have the "perfect" meal!!!
enjoy and get cook'n!!

Friday, April 25, 2014

roasted cauliflower and caramelized onion tart

several people posted this roasted cauliflower and caramelized onion tart on their facebook pages and i so wanted to make it.. i bought the ingredients and immediately forgot to make it.. then the saturday before easter i was scrounging around in the fridge looking for something and i came across the pre made pie crust and thought why in the world do i have this.. then i remembered this tart and thought it would be fun to make for easter..

it's so simple to make and sooooo good.. i had never thought to "roast" cauliflower in the oven.. i roast asparagus, i've roasted veggies for a sandwich.. i've even roasted artichokes and butternut squash for risotto and even threw roasted butternut squash on a pizza, one time i roasted mushrooms and brussel sprouts for a polenta.. but in all that roasting i never once thought to roast cauliflower.. that has all changed.. roasted cauliflower is good.. mix it with the caramelized onions and add cheese and a pie crust it's devine!!

roasted cauliflower and caramelized onion tart

prep time: 20 minutes
cooking time: 60-70 minutes
servings: 6 wedges


1 refrigerated pie crust
1 head of cauliflower, cut into florets
1 sweet onion, thinly sliced
8 oz. sour cream
1 cup swiss cheese
1 tblsp. grated parmesan
1/2 cup heavy cream
2 large eggs
olive oil
dijon mustard
pinch of nutmeg


pre heat oven to 425 degrees {f}.. toss your cauliflower florets in olive oil to coat.. lay cauliflower on a lined baking sheet spreading your florets out.. salt and pepper them.. cook for 10 minutes then remove and flip the florets to the other side and cook another 10 minutes.. you want them golden brown.. remove them from the oven and allow them to cool and reduce the heat to 350 degrees {f}.. while the florets are roasting, caramelize the onions.. in a large sauté pan heat two twirls around the pan of olive oil over medium heat.. add onions and a good pinch of salt.. cook onion until it gets tender.. about 6-8 minutes.. reduce heat to low and allow the onions to cook stirring occasionally until they reach a deep golden color.. when the cauliflower is cool chop up the florets and set aside.. in a medium mixing bowl whisk the eggs, sour cream, heavy cream, nutmeg, salt and pepper together.. add swiss cheese to the mixture.. allow your crust to sit out for about 15 minutes before using.. press the crust into a 9 inch tart pan.. with a fork poke the bottom of the crust in a circle.. spread a thin layer of dijon mustard over the bottom of the crust.. then spread the onions and then the cauliflower.. pour the cheese and cream mixture over the top and sprinkle with grated parmesan cheese.. place in the oven with the rack positioned in the center.. i put a baking sheet on the rack below it in case it melted and overflowed.. it didn't but just in case you might want to try it.. bake for 40 minutes you want your top a golden brown and the center to be set.. remove from oven and allow to cool at least 15 minutes before serving.. it can be served warm or at room temperature.. i really enjoyed it.. shell however said "eh, it's ok. i really like the pie crust though" *eyeroll* it was a premade pie crust.. kids.. i say try it.. it really was good..

enjoy and get cook'n!!

Thursday, April 24, 2014

throwback thursday.. s'more casserole aka ice box cake..

for this throwback thursday i thought i would share my most popular post.. it's been seen by over 200,000+ people.. that SHOCKS me i had pretty much resigned myself that only my mom and my friend randi read my blog ha ha ....but maybe a few more read it too.. now for the original post and the history behind creating this recipe you can see that here and for a follow up post and some comments and suggestions you can see that here..

for today's recipe i deviated a little bit from the original recipe by adding an extra layer of chocolate in the middle.. the result.. STUPENDOUS!! this really is so freaking good!!!

no bake s'more casserole
prep time: 15 minutes
chill time: 2-3 hours before serving (preferably overnight)
servings: 20 (it's so rich small pieces are best here)

1 box graham crackers
2 tubs of marshmallow cream {7 oz.}
1 tub of cool whip (not frozen.. i left mine out for 15 minutes before using)
2 tsp. vanilla
2 bags of semi sweet chocolate chips
2 cups of heavy whipping cream
1 tsp. salt
start by making your marshmallow center.. in a medium mixing bowl combine your marshmallow cream with the cool whip until smooth and creamy.. might take a little elbow grease.. (**UPDATE: i have been told it's easier to use a hand mixer or counter mixer to mix the marshmallow and cool whip**) once it's smooth and creamy add your vanilla and mix to combine.. to make your ganache.. over medium low heat melt chips and cream until smooth and glossy.. keep stirring and once the chocolate is completely melted and the 2 ingredients are well combined turn heat off... add salt and continue to whisk the mixture for 5-7 minutes.. then wait for about 10 minutes for it to cool.. you want it cool but still pourable..then line the bottom of a 9 x 13 casserole baking dish with some graham crackers.. i had to break some of them up them to fit.. spread one-third of the marshmallow whip evenly over the graham crackers and then your chocolate mixture.. top with a layer of graham crackers then marshmallow again and chocolate.. continue until you end up with a layer of the chocolate ganache on top.. {tip* get the chocolate to go all over the marshmallow layer i picked up the casserole dish and tilted it back and forth coating the entire top of the marshmallow}.. then put it uncovered in the freezer for about 30 minutes.. you want the chocolate to set up so you can then cover and it  and it won't stick to your foil.. remove from freezer cover and keep in the fridge  until ready to serve.. {i suggest over night because the graham crackers get soft like an ice cream sandwich... if not over night at least 2-3 hours..} it's ahhhmmaazzzzingggggggg..tell me what you think after you've made it..

enjoy and get cook'n!!

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

take my word for it wednesday.. easter was wonderful!!

we had a really fun easter celebration.. blending many families into a big celebration.  above is our niece and nephew {my brother's kids} and our nephew {pete's sisters grandson}.. they all got along great.. no kid melt downs!!

the every beautiful and brilliant amelia!!

pete's sister and her 2 grandkids!! :) 

amelia's new "trick" is to pretend to kiss you and then she licks you.. shell totally fell for it!!

i love each and everyone of these faces.. josh, shell, jess, sam and jake!! {with brad photobombing in the background}

this year the dessert table had lots of donuts... i took store bought donut holes and layered them in a glass bowl.. 

i made these insanely good chocolate donuts which i served  on glass cake plates..

i took premade donut holes and put them on sticks and arranged them like flowers in a little pot..

you kinda see them back there i ordered mason jars from amazon {didn't know they would be blue but it turned out great} I left the ring on the top and made flower arrangements in them.. 

the dessert table turned out very nice..

 pete made a farm table several years ago.. running along the center is a rain gutter that can be used as a ice bucket for wine, beer or water.. {basically anything you want to put in there} so I took bottles i've been picking up at yard-sales and added a tulip to each one..
i took green utensils and wrapped them with an orange napkin and tied it with green twine for a "carrot effect".. so i say to my brother did you notice they were carrots.. he said what were carrots? i said the utensil bundles looked like carrots.. he says no and I guarantee not one person here noticed they resembled carrots.. at that moment my niece was walking by and she says ohh i did i thought they were cute .. my cousin scott says i noticed too.. curtis rolled his eyes.. i stuck my tongue out at him and walked away.. ha ha..

speaking of curtis here is the butthead here with our parents :)

my beautiful cousin and her handsome hubby

my future in laws.. sam's family!! 

i made carrot and zucchini muffins with cream cheese frosting..

love love love these boys.. jaxie and jakey..

 my darling keka and jaxie with brad photobombing again..

i loved the tulips!!

here is cutie patootie jaxie..
jaxie getting his basket.. psst.. guess what!! you see that little basket by his big one.. it's for his new brother or sister.. we'll meet him or her in november..

how can you not love these faces..

pete's sister barb's family!!

the kids getting their baskets and inspecting them.. i remember loving that part.. we ended up making 14 baskets this year..

smile smile!!

i didn't put much candy at all in the baskets i think the only candy was a little box of jelly bellys!!

fun fun..
Ollie telling shell something funny..
auntie jo jo ..

a good time was had by all!!
i hope your easter was filled with family, friends and laughter!! and remember to always
enjoy and get cook'n!!