Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Pumpkin Pasta Sauce

Pumpkin coffee creamer... Pumpkin candles... Pumpkin desserts... PUMPKIN, PUMPKIN, PUMPKIN!!!!! I think that when you type "define Fall" into your search engine, pumpkin should pop up! Haha. I love pretty much ANYTHING pumpkin! I have an awesome Pumpkin Cheesecake recipe that I will share later on down the road. And if you haven't tried the recipe here on my blog for Dinner In A Pumpkin yet, well, you've gotta! I have never really thought of pumpkin as a "dinner" food, but that recipe is delicious! Which brings me to this new one... Pumpkin Pasta Sauce! I was so excited to try this & oh man, it is AWESOME! Simple & fresh! I adapted this recipe from Sole for the Soul. She has a whole index of good recipes! I couldn't find ravioli at the commissary, they were out...apparently every one else on base wanted ravioli the same day we did. Lol. Anyways, I improvised & used a mixture of spinach & cheese tortellin, paired with a nice glass of bubbly...it was WONDERFUL! Mr.Hooah definitely went back for seconds! I twisted this recipe up a bit so I hope you enjoy this as much as we did! 
-X's & O's for now...

Pumpkin Pasta Sauce
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  • 1/4 c. butter
  • 1 medium-sized shallot, minced (or 1/2 a small onion)
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 15 oz. can pumpkin puree
  • 1/2 c. chicken stock
  • 3/4 c. milk (I used half & half)
  • 1 1/4 t. salt, more or less to taste
  • 1/2 t. black pepper, more or less to taste
  • 1/8 t. nutmeg
  • 1/4 c. diced parsley
  • 1Tbsp. chili powder
  • 1/2-1c. spinach, roughly chopped
  • 1 1/2tsp. garlic powder
  • 1 1/2 tsp. italian seasoning
1. Melt the butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the shallot and garlic; cook for 2-3 minutes, until shallots are tender.
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2. Reduce heat to low and stir in the pumpkin puree. Cook for 2 minutes. Add the chicken stock, milk, salt, chili powder, italian seasoning, pepper and nutmeg. Stir to combine and simmer over low heat for about 5 minutes. Taste and adjust the salt and pepper, if needed. Stir in the parsley & spinach. Serve over pasta.

Friday, October 10, 2014

Crockpot Chicken & Dumplings

I apologize for being MIA the past few weeks... there was so much going on & I did not have internet back home. Since being back, I've tried to change up our dinner menu for this lovely fall weather...you know, the "warm & hearty" good stuff! I also have been trying to do a smaller budget on groceries this month so that we'll have the extra moolah for Hal-o-Scream at Busch Gardens this month as well! Mr.Hooah & I were lucky to have won a 4 day vacation package at the Williamsburg Plantation in VA & we are so stoked! I honestly can't tell you how bad I've needed this, Mr.Hooah especially! So, to my point of post, Chicken & Dumplings... this meal is cheap & it makes enough to eat left overs the next night or even freeze for later (make sure to wait on putting in the biscuits if you plan on freezing)! This would be good for kids as well, the veggies are somewhat "hidden", if you must, because when you use a hand-mixer to shred the chicken, I usually just stick it in the crock pot & go( CAUTION: be careful not to splash it all over yourself, it is HOT!)...it mushes up the veggies a bit & it all blends together! Mr.Hooah & I absolutely LOVE this recipe & whenever the weather turns chilly, this is one of our favorite go-to comfort foods! Rib sticking good I tell ya!
-XO for now!

Crockpot Chicken & Dumplings
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1 large can cream of chicken soup
1 can of biscuits(I use Pillsbury grands)
1- 1 1/2c. frozen mixed veggies (peas,carrots,greenbeans,corn mix)
1 pk. boneless skinless chicken breast (about 1lb.,the small pack with just 3pcs)
1/2 can water
1tsp. minced garlic 
salt & pepper
**McCormicks Beer Can Chicken seasoning if you have it, is DELICIOUS, I add in a cap full or so** 
  • Preheat crockpot on High.
  • Clean your chicken then lay it in the crock pot & season with salt, pepper, garlic & beer can chicken seasoning. Sprinkle frozen veggies over top. Spoon the cream of chicken soup over top. Pour the water over that. Cook 2-3hrs or until chicken is cooked through. 
  • Use a hand-mixer to shred the chicken. Then cut biscuits into fours or bite size pieces, add chicken back to mixture & add biscuits on top. Cook until biscuits are done. I usually stir once or twice.



Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Veggie Meatballs

OH EMM GHEE... getting Mr.Hooah to eat veggies is as easy as trying to give Yoki (our demonic cat) medication. He scrunches his nose up like a 4 year old whose mother tells him to eat his vegetables or he won't get dessert... Me though? Oh I love vegetables. I pretty much love all veggies & fruits, well, except mangoes...I know I do not have to explain myself to you guys, but yes, yes, I do...Mangoes, for some odd awful reason, taste like the smell of armpits to me, so I refuse. LOL, please tell me I am not the only one person who thinks this! I don't know why I think that but it's what I think, I know, I probably sound like a crazy person, but it's true! I always try to find new ways to sneak in veggies & this is one awesome new way I found & thought I would share because I know there are some picky little eaters out there who are much more picky than my Mr.Hooah! I found this recipe on pinterest & wrote it down, stashed it away in my cook book (which consists of a binder full of sheet protected notebook paper recipes lol) & recently ran across it, it had a couple of other ones along with it, but I have only tried this one & the Spicy Honey one. I must say, I have never just been one of those people who eats meatballs as a "meal".. We have a friend who is a single father & he makes "porcupine meatballs" (meatballs with rice mixed in) with mashed potatoes & mac-n-cheese for his daughter & she absolutely LOVES them. I suppose you could do this, but for us, I chose to go Italian & toss them in with some pasta. Mr.Hooah had ordered a "make your own pasta bowl" from Olive Garden a few weeks ago & I can't lie, for it to have been sausage meatballs & alfredo, it was DELICIOOO! So I thought I would attempt to recreate something similar to this & added crushed red pepper into the meatball mixture to make it spicy & give it that kick that the OG meatballs had. Let's just say, for this to be a thrown together meal, Mr.Hooah LOVED it & even went as far to say that THIS (amongst all the other delicious meals that I make, he had to choose this one *le sigh* haha) is his favorite meal now! You can't even taste the veggies inside ither! And because they're made with turkey & baked, it doesn't get much healthier than that & I am positive that the calories are MUCH LESS than those of OG! So, MOVE OVER Olive Garden, there's a new Italian Chef in town & she doesn't charge an arm & leg for pasta bowls! Haha. Ok, maybe that was a little too much...
 *awkward silence
Hope you guys enjoy this & if you make it let me know how you like it!
-XO!

Veggie Meatballs
 (Makes 48 Meatballs)
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16oz. lean ground turkey
1 carrot, peeled & grated
1 zucchini, peeled & grated
1/2 c. Italian seasoned bread crumbs (I personally added in more, it was about a cup rather than half)
2 TBSP. ketchup
1 egg
1 TBSP. onion powder
1 TBSP. garlic powder 
1 tsp. salt 
1 tsp. pepper
**And for those of you who like spice, add in 1tsp. or more of crushed red pepper flakes!**
  • Preheat oven to 350'.. Line baking sheet with foil & set aside.
  • In large bowl, combine all ingredients. Mix until combined but do not over mix (that will make your meatballs tough & nobody likes a tough meatball!) Using a tablespoon, scoop to portion & lightly form into balls.
  • Place on baking sheet, make sure they are not touching & bake 20 minutes or until brown. (Here is my tip...flip them half way through baking, then when the 20mins are up, I personally like to turn the broiler on HIGH & brown them a little more..just make sure to keep an eye on them so they don't burn! Also, we ate these over whole wheat penne pasta with a light alfredo sauce & it was bomb!)

Friday, September 5, 2014

The Cold Kicker Soup! (aka Mexican Chicken & Rice Soup)

The weather is in full chaotic swing...cold, mild, completely freezing! With that being said, I know it's the "time of year" that I catch some sort of cold & I want to share my secret with all of you. What can I say besides "My IMMUNE system hates me!" Lol. Usually when I get sick, it takes me forever to start feeling better because my immune system isn't exactly top of the line. Once when I was sick, my Gran-Gran told my Aunt Sherry she should grab me a cup of Chicken Soup from the Mexican restaurant in town because it always made her feel better...And she did...It was really good & seriously made me feel 10x better!!! So, from that day on, anytime I got sick, the soup did the trick. Since moving up here to NC, Mexican cuisine is good & all, but when it came to getting sick & Mr.Hooah (being THE BEST husband in the whole entire world tee-hee) going to get me the soup, only ONE place even knew what he was asking about. Sadly, the soup wasn't as good as what I had back home though. I told Mr.Hooah for $7 a cup, that I could make a whole pot for about that with what I had on hand & it'd be way better! So, not to toot my own horn or anything, but, MOVE OVER Mexican Restaurants, Chef CiCi's mastered this! Haha. This soup is AMAZING...It isn't a heavy soup but it warms you through & anytime Mr.Hooah & I, or anyone I know is feeling icky, I put on a pot of this "miracle" soup...Ok, so maybe it doesn't really have mystical powers that can cure major illnesses or make miracles happen, but it sure will make you feel better when the common cold is floating amuck, just ask Mr.Hooah(who also just got over the flu, bless him)! 
I hope that you'll try this recipe even if you aren't sick because it is just too yummy!
-XO for now! 

Mexican Chicken & Rice Soup
(aka The Cold Kicker Soup)
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1 pot of water with 3TBSP. Chicken Base Paste
(Or 3 boxes of Chicken Stock) 
3 Chicken Breasts, boneless, skinless
2-3 TBSP. minced garlic
1 onion, roughly diced
Handful of Cilantro, chopped
1 avocado, roughly chopped
2TBSP. EVOO
Salt & Pepper to taste
1 can mild Rotel
1 1/2 c. Brown Rice, minute rice is best
1 lime sliced or lime juice 
Dash of Webster's Beer Can Chicken Seasoning
(or in my case 5! we love this stuff!)
  • Add water & chicken paste(if not using the boxed chicken stock), EVOO, garlic, chicken, & onions. Bring to a boil. Add in seasoning, salt & pepper, & Rotel. Cover with a vented lid (if you don't have a vented lid, you can just put a lid almost all the way on) & let simmer for an hour. The longer it cooks, the better it tastes though!
  • Remove the chicken from pot & shred. Add back to soup. Add in rice & cook according to package. When Rice is done, add in diced avocado & cilantro & let cook another 4-5minutes. 
  • Serve with lime wedges to squeeze over soup or sprinkle a little bottled lime juice over top. Good ither way! Eat, Enjoy, & kick that cold's butt! haha! (:

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Cake-Batter-Blondies

I love baking sweets.... AND eating them! haha! I am not as active with the FRG (the Family Readiness Group, a "support/information" group at Mr.Hooah's job) as I should be, but when it comes to donating or bake sales, I always participate! I always make several batches of cookies, brownies, or cupcakes for the sale & Mr.Hooah always comes home empty handed, so I guess that means I'm doing something right huh?! I don't know where I get it from...oh wait, yes I do, my Aunt Sherry...but I LOVE to bake & I bake often! Just call me the Cupcake Queen! Haha. At one point I wanted to go on Cupcake Wars, but they probably would have laughed me off the set...I'm a Food Network Star in my own kitchen but when it comes to being a pro, I think it's safe to say they would list me as an amateur! Lol. I absolutely love this recipe I am sharing, mostly because Blondies of any sort are my absolute fav type of brownie/cookie bar! They're easy, you can throw anything & everything but the kitchen sink in those babies, & you just can't mess them up! I have been behind on the times apparently, because to my surprise, everyone these days (or per Pinterest activity) is using boxed cake mixes to "skip steps" on ingredients & to cut down on prep time...After trying a few cake mix recipes myself, I too, am now a believer! This recipe has been a good one to make especially for the bake sales on base for our battery functions... it is deliciously ooey-gooey & sweet. I honestly think they sell so well because the soldiers see the sprinkles & think it's something fancy...hmmm, maybe they are a little fancy with their ooey-gooey pretty colored sprinklie-ness haha. These are seriously fun for people of all ages & with only 6 ingredients, these are my go-to goodies for Mr.Hooah to take to work anytime! 
- ~*.*~Sprinkly X's & O's!~*.*~

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Cake-Batter-Blondies
1 Box yellow cake mix
1/4 c. vegetable or canola oil
1 large egg
1/3-1/2 c. milk (less is best)
1/2 c. sprinkles
1/2 c. white chocolate chips
(I also throw in M&M's sometimes, I honestly think you can mix in whatever you want as long as it will work with the recipe!)
  • Preheat oven to 350'...spray an 11x7 baking pan with non-stick spray, set aside.
  •  Combine first 4 ingredients in large bowl, add milk slowly because you want the batter to be as dense as possible. Mix in the sprinkles & white chocolate chips.
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  • Pour into the prepped baking dish, sprinkle a handful more of the sprinkles over top & then bake for 25-30mins until edges are just turning golden-brown.
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***TIPS: Allow to cool at least 30mins so the center can set before cutting into squares. Also, do not use black sprinkles, it will turn the batter black!***