Friday, March 27, 2009

Down Home Comfort

I love macaroni and cheese, there is just something about pasta and gooey cheese that makes my mouth water and tingle with anticipation. I have tried what seems like 850 different macaroni and cheese recipes and I have yet to find the "one".

This is one that I tried a few months back for one of our Sunday night dinner dates. Not sure if I have ever mentioned our dinner dates before but I can't even begin to tell you how much I enjoy them. Since Daniel works second shift during the week that means we don't have the normal sit down dinners like most married couples have. It also doesn't help that Saturday nights are dedicated to the family dinners, which by the way, I wouldn't trade for the world. Due to the fact that 6 of the 7 nights of the week are taken, I put into affect several months ago that Sunday nights would be our date nights. We would plan a special meal, usually something we have never tried before, and together we would prepare and cook it. There is just something special about standing next to your special someone in the kitchen preparing a special meal. Lord help me when this man ships off to Afghanistan for a year.

Anyway, I made this a few months ago to go along with Daniel's baked cod recipe. It was super yummy and definitely different from your standard mac and cheese. It has lots of ingredients and lots of steps so this probably won't be a weeknight recipe for you, but give it a shot sometime on the weekend and I can guarantee you won't be disappointed.

Macaroni and Cheese with Caramelized Onions and Bacon

1 (16 ounce) package elbow macaroni
1/4 cup butter
1/2 cup sour cream
1 egg, beaten
2 tablespoons cream cheese, softened
4 cups grated Asiago cheese
4 cups grated Vermont Cheddar cheese
4 slices bacon
2 tablespoons butter
1 large onion, sliced thin
4 cloves garlic, minced
1/8 teaspoon brown sugar
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
1/4 cup panko bread crumbs
2 tablespoons butter
5 tablespoons all-purpose flour
3 cups milk
1/2 teaspoon ground mustard
1/2 teaspoon paprika
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1 tablespoon hot pepper sauce

1.) Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil, add macaroni and cook for 8 minutes (noodles will still be slightly hard). Drain noodles and transfer to a large bowl with 1/4 cup of butter and toss to coat. Whisk together the sour cream, egg, and cream cheese; add to the pasta and mix well. Stir in 3 cups of grated Asiago and 3 cups of grated Cheddar cheese, reserving the remaining 2 cups of cheese for the topping.

2.) Place the bacon in a large, deep skillet, and cook over medium-high heat, turning occasionally, until evenly browned, about 10 minutes. Drain the bacon slices on a paper towel-lined plate and chop into small pieces.

3.) Preheat an oven to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C).

4.) Stir 2 tablespoons butter, the onion, and garlic into the bacon drippings in the pan and cook and stir for 2 minutes. Reduce the heat to medium-low, and add the brown sugar. Cook, stirring occasionally, for 10 to 15 minutes until the onions are very soft and golden brown. Mix the cooked bacon, parsley, and panko breadcrumbs into the onions, transfer mixture to a small bowl and set aside.

5.) Return the skillet to the heat and melt remaining 2 tablespoons butter over medium-low heat. Whisk in the flour, and stir until the mixture becomes paste-like and light golden brown, about 5 minutes. Gradually whisk the milk into the flour mixture and bring to a simmer over medium heat. Cook and stir until the mixture is smooth and thickened. Stir in the ground mustard, paprika, salt, pepper, and hot sauce. Remove sauce from heat and let cool for five minutes.

6.) Pour the sauce over the macaroni mixture, stirring well. Transfer to a greased 9x13 inch pan and sprinkle with the remaining 2 cups of Cheddar cheese. Top cheese with the onion breadcrumb mixture.

7.) Bake in preheated oven until bubbling, hot and golden brown on top, about 30 minutes.

Now folks, I realize that this is not very figure friendly, but when you are in need of comfort sometimes you just have to push that thought aside.


Sunday, March 22, 2009

Mexican Themed Dinner

I love Mexican food, well at least some of it anyway. Normally when we do the pulled pork it is followed by our garbage pizza, this time after seeing a recipe for a cilantro sauce, I thought...why not do pork tacos. I gathered a few recipes from for a quick side dish as well as the cilantro sauce and off we go for a nice Mexican themed dinner.

We made our taco's using soft taco shells, dabbing on some our cilantro sauce, layering with our pork, and topping off with some cheese. Between the pork and the cilantro sauce the smell was so good. I am eating another one as I type this, home for lunch. I also made fish taco's using cod. I cut the cod up into small pieces, cooked in about a tbsp. of butter and then I sprinkled on some of the Emeril essence I made last week for the shrimp. Daniel liked the pork tacos better while our buddy Denny liked the fish better.

First up, Amy's Cilantro Cream Sauce~

You will need the following ingredients;
1-8 oz. cream cheese, softened
1 tbsp. sour cream
1-7 0z. tomatillo salsa
1 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
1 tsp. celery salt
1/2 tsp. ground cumin
2 tsp. garlic powder
1 bunch fresh cilantro, chopped
1 tbsp. fresh lime juice

1.) Combine cream cheese, sour cream, salsa, pepper, celery salt, cumin, garlic powder, cilantro, and lime juice in a blender or food processor. Blend until smooth and creamy.

* I made this sauce using 7 oz. of salsa verde because we were un-able to find any tomatillo salsa. Also I did not use the sour cream in this dish and instead of using fresh lime juice, I used the juice out of the little green bottle.

Second Up, Mexican cornbread salad;
1-16 oz. package of cornbread mix
1-4 oz. can chopped green chile peppers
2-15 oz. cans pinto beans, drained
1-8 oz. bottle ranch dressing
1 green pepper, chopped
2-15.25 cans whole kernel corn, drained
2 tomatoes
1-3 oz. can bacon bits
8 oz. shredded cheddar cheese
1 bunch green onions, chopped

1.) Prepare cornbread mix as directed on the package, adding the can of green chiles. Set aside and allow to cool and then crumble.
2.) Place half of the cornbread in bottom of a large bowl. Evenly layer with 1 can of beans, 1/2 the bottle of dressing, 1/2 chopped bell pepper, 1 can of corn, 1 chopped tomato, 1/2 jar bacon bits, 1/2 package of cheese, and 1/2 of green onions. Repeat layers in same order using remaining ingredients.
3.) Cover and refrigerate 2 hours and serve chilled.

* Now once again I didn't read the directions before beginning this and I didn't add the green chiles to the cornbread mixture, instead I used half the can and added a layer to the first layer of ingredients. Also, I did not add the bacon bits nor did I add the second can of corn...I thought it would have been too much when compared to the amount of other ingredients.

Sunday Morning Breakfast...

During my last few years of high school my Dad was going through a divorce and instead of getting his own place he moved in with my Grandma. Every weekend he would pick my sister up from her Mom's place and then he would pick me up from mine and together we would head to Grandma's. At the time, while we loved being with Grandma, we weren't thrilled with the situation because Nikki and I were forced to take turns sleeping on the living room couch and floor, not the best of sleeping arrangements. This was especially so each morning when Grandma would rise early and start her day off preparing her glass of orange juice and medicine slamming cabinet doors as she went. It's been almost a year since her death and I feel blessed that we were given the opportunity to spend all of those years at her house on the weekends. It was tough for our Dad who was going through a divorce but I am firm believer that all things happen for a reason. His divorce allowed him to spend a precious few years being with her. I remember we would spend our evenings sitting at her kitchen table playing cards and munching on cheezits and drinking a diet mountain dew. And I also remember waking up on Saturday mornings to breakfast made by Dad, one of which was biscuits and gravy. Even to this day it's a family favorite and today I am sharing it with you.

Biscuits and Gravy, Murphy Style~
8 pack Grands Biscuits (We prefer the flaky butter tastin' kind)
1 lb. Bob Evans Sausage, original flavor
3 tbsp. flour*
3 c. milk
1/4 tsp. salt
pepper to taste

1.)Bake your biscuits as directed by the packaging.
2.) In a pan, begin by browning your sausage and with your spatula or spoon, break into small pieces.
3.) To your browned sausage add your flour and allow it to coat the sausage and cook for about a minute or two.
4.) Add your milk and bring to a boil, stirring continuously to keep from burning on the bottom.
5.) Reduce heat to low once thick.

* Instead of using a measuring spoon to measure a tbsp. of flour, I use the tablespoon from my silverware and add a nice rounded spoonful of the flour.
Hope you enjoy!!

Saturday, March 21, 2009


As promised here are my quesadillas...they are so easy it's not even funny. They make a quick snack or depending what you fill them up with, a quick dinner.

Katie's Easy Quesadillas~
Mexican cheese blend
1 chicken breast, diced and browned in butter, sprinkled with a bit of garlic powder and a touch of cayenne pepper
8 soft taco shells
1 c. sour cream
1 1/2 tsp. taco seasoning
1.) In a small skillet spray with Pam cooking spray and put one taco shell, layer with about 1/3 cup of cheese and some of your cooked chicken, top with your second taco shell and brown on each side.
Serve with a dollop of your sour cream mixed with your taco seasoning.

Daniel's Birthday Dinner

When I approached my Husband just a few weeks ago regarding what he would like for me to make for his birthday dinner I wasn't expecting to hear the words pulled pork come out of his mouth, after all he is the smoker in this house not me so that would mean he would be in charge of his own meal. He was just fine with that, if and when he does leave for Afghanistan, he wants me to ship his smoker over to him, the boy loves to smoke him some meat. He also decided he wanted baked beans and wouldn't you believe he took making those on as well and guess what...he smoked those to. Needless to say tonight's meal was full of smokey goodness and even though it was my wonderful husbands birthday he did all of the work and deserves all of the credit. I did make him a cake so I guess I should get a pat on the back as well!

We have already shared with you how he does his pulled pork so I won't bore you with the details, but tonight's baked beans were a new recipe with a very surprising ingredient and they were pretty yummy.

Hog-Apple Baked Beans~
3 or 4 slices of bacon, diced
2-16 oz. cans pork and beans
1/2 c. BBQ sauce
1 can apple pie filling, chop up the big slices of apple
1 md. onion, chopped
1/2 c. brown sugar
2 tbsp. Worcestershire sauce
2 tbsp. prepared mustard
1 tsp. cayenne pepper
1 tsp. BBQ rub

1.) Brown bacon, set aside.

2.) In bacon grease brown onion.

3.) Mix in remaining ingredients and bake at 325 degrees Fahrenheit for 1 hour.

We did ours on the smoker for about two hours or so and they were really good. You can also do them on the stove and simmer for about 30 minutes but I think the depth of flavor is better when you do them in the oven or on the smoker as we did. You might have also noticed that Daniel took a few more slices of bacon and laid them on top of the beans.

Now for the cake. This is another recipe that I found on I made it several months ago for Daniel and myself and he loved it. I originally was going to make him a Carrot cake but when I mentioned making this cake again he was all for it.

Million Dollar Cake~
1-18.25 ox. yellow cake mix
8 oz. cream cheese
1 1/2 c. confectioners sugar
1-20 oz. crushed pineapple with juice
2-8oz. mandarin oranges, drained
1-3.4 oz instant vanilla pudding
1-8 oz. frozen whipped cream, thawed

1.) Mix and bake cake mix as instructed per package for two 8 or 9 in. round layers. Let layers cool and then split each layer in half so that you have 4 layers.

2.) In a large bowl, whip cream cheese until soft and then gradually mix in confectioners sugar. Stir in the pineapple with juice and the drained mandarin oranges, reserving 5 slices to decorate the top. Mix in the dry pudding mix. Fold in the whipped topping.

3.) Place one cake layer on a cake plate cut side up; spread with frosting. Place another layer cut side down on the first one, and top with more frosting. Repeat until layers are used, spreading last bit of frosting on the top and sides of cake. Decorate with reserved oranges.

4.) Refrigerate overnight.

Now if you are like me and have a hard time following directions this is how I did it. Instead of layering the cake since my cake didn't rise the way I would have liked, we just sliced it up and then topped it with the frosting. Also, I made the frosting and just a few hours later we were digging in. No overnight marination for us. It went over really well and honestly, you could eat the frosting just by itself.

On a side note, Uncle Dan got released from the hospital and he is doing really really well. It was like a different person tonight from just a week ago. Lennon is slowing but surely doing better, still going to have his amputation done on Tuesday, but is tail is looking a little better. Tonight was the first night he and Uncle Dan had met and like I expected, they became the best of buddies.

I promised my Husband that if today's trip to the grocery was under $100 that we could get some Chipotle's for lunch since he had a craving. It was under a $100 so the quesadillas were put on hold. I am making some tonight for a snack so I will post them in the morning along with the biscuits and gravy. Just wanted to let everyone know...I didn't forget.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Busy Weekend...

It's going to be a very busy weekend in my kitchen. I thought I would go ahead and share with you this weekends menu so that you know to stay tuned!!

Chicken Quesadillas
Taco Dipping Sauce
Pulled Pork
Baked Beans (Daniel's version)
Million Dollar Cake (It's absolutely heavenly!)

Bisquits & Gravy
Fish Tacos
Pulled Pork Tacos (gotta love leftovers)
Cilantro Sauce
Mexican Cornbread Salad

We're doing a little bit of Southern and a little bit of Mexican both days...I am so excited I can hardly wait to dig in!

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Absence makes the heart grow fonder...

Yes I am aware that my last post was on Monday, not three months ago, but I can't help but feel like I am neglecting everyone in my blogging family. This is has turned into a stressful week for me which is evident with the fact my stomach has been bothering me again.

First of all our new little man Lennon has already cost us a small fortune. Great Danes are known for their long tails and unfortunately many of them end up breaking their tails at some point in time caused by knocking them on doors and walls. I have never had a Great Dane that has done this but I have seen it first hand and have always been grateful it has never been something that I have had to deal with...until NOW!!! On the Sunday Daniel met and brought Lennon home he broke his tail on a door while being brought out to Daniel. They wrapped it up and Daniel proceeded to bring the poor guy home. I think we both were thinking, "we'll keep it wrapped and cleaned and he will be good as new within a week or so." WRONG!!!! Two weeks later and we have now had to schedule the amputation of his tail. He keeps taking the wrappings off it and every time that tail hits a wall I just cringe. My house looks as if though he have had several shootings occur, there is blood splattered on every wall and on every door. I spent about an hour this past Sunday with a mixing bowl full of hot water and soap trying to get as much of it cleaned up as I could. I don't know why I even bothered. The vet thought it was broken when we took him to see her on Friday and we now think he has broken it again in another spot because now not only is it bleeding but it's crooked as well. We made the decision to have it amputated after noticing that he is biting through his skin on the upper portion because it is bothering him so much. Poor dog is not only blind, deaf, and dumb when it comes to his squeaky toys, but now he is going to have a stub for a tail...what will all the other doggy kids think of him??

On top of my crazy dog issues my Uncle Dan was admitted to the hospital on Monday night. This man has had some severe health issues for the past four or five years that has left him in constant pain. It is something that he has to deal with on a daily basis and the amount of drugs he has to take just to try to alleviate some of it is ridiculous. He has congestive heart failure, COPD, which is something involving the lungs, and he also has some disorder where his body produces too much blood. He has to have the excess blood drained once a month or so. He was in bad shape over the weekend and his body swelled up to the point Doctors were giving him a drug intravenously to help rid his body of the extra fluids. What we didn't know at the time was that they were actually dehydrating him to the point that by the time he got to the hospital his kidneys were starting the process of shutting down. I stopped by the hospital yesterday and he was in much better spirits and was up walking around which was a 100% improvement from how he was during our Saturday night dinner. The Doctors said he was having a flare up of the COPD which was why, along with the kidney issue, he was so weak and felt so bad. They still aren't sure why he is swelling everywhere but in my opinion the swelling had gone down some which is a good thing. I informed him yesterday he had missed some of my posts and he said that he was missing it. It's good to have fans out there! :)

I am also dealing with the fact that my Husband is in the process of making a very, very big decision in regards to his employment situation. I can't give details at the moment as he plans on discussing the matter with all of the family on Saturday during his birthday dinner. What I can tell you is that it would require his leaving this country for a year, only getting to come home once every four months.

Now after just forcing you lovely individuals to read my moments of worry, I must admit I feel a little better to get the stuff off of my chest. I am a firm believer that when feeling bad about something no matter how frivolous you may think it is, you should share it with someone else. So since I feel better I think it's only fair that you should feel better. I want everyone to leave a comment to this post telling me one of their current worries. I don't care if it is as sad as having a relative pass away or as crazy as having to keep pulling your underwear out of your tushy because you gained five pounds. I want to know and trust me, it will make you feel better!! :)

Also, I promise my next few posts will go back to being about food. My daring husband has a birthday sneaking up on him and we are celebrating this Saturday so you all know that there will be food involved.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Down on the farm...

As some of you may already know thanks to my profile, I grew up on a farm raising Clydesdale's. It's quite apparent that the motto in our family is "go big, or go home". We always had the biggest dogs and we obviously had the biggest horses. Yesterday Daniel and I made the trip to my Mom's place to snap a few pictures of them. After years of raising these gentle giants my Mom has decided to get out of the business and put all but one up for sale in preparation of selling the farm.
When we first moved to the farm I hated it. I was a born and bred city girl who wasn't use to living so far away from the nearest grocery store. I quickly adjusted and there was never a dull moment for us four kids. We were fortunate in the fact our parents didn't make us work during our school years as long as our grades were up to par. The rule no longer applied once you hit the in between high school and college phase of your life so you were given a choice. You can either go out and get a full time job working until you leave for college or you can take over all of the barn chores, which includes feeding and mucking out stalls. Now being the typical lazy teenager that most are I had to weigh each of my options, go out and get an 8-5 job or work in the barn maybe three hours out of the entire day going back to bed after the morning feeding. I don't think I need to tell you which one I chose. Does anybody have any experience with mucking out horse stalls full of saw dust in 90 degree weather? The heat, smell, and the thin layer of sawdust that settles on your skin and hair was enough to make me question whether or not a 8-5 job would be easier. I stuck it out though and the day I left home I swore I would never set foot in that barn again. I love the horses but I hate the work and smell associated with having them.

I unfortunately married a man that dreams of one day having the exact set up that my Mom currently has. She had Great Danes and now we have Great Danes, she has Clydesdales and now Daniel wants one so bad he can't see straight, I try to limit the amount of times I tell my Husband no when he wants something, this time however I say NO and I mean it, no arguing. We can barely feed the dogs so can you imagine what it would cost to feed a Clydesdale?? Because of my Husband's love of the family horses my threat of never stepping foot in that barn again was a lie. I have stepped foot in that barn way too many times and I have also cleaned out a few of the stalls, like when Mom goes to Vegas and leaves Daniel and I in charge of the entire operation. I need a vacation just to recover from those stays.

Never did I ever think I would be sad to think about not having the farm and all of it's creatures as a part of my life, but seeing how happy they make Daniel and knowing just how badly he wishes we could afford to buy the place, it does make me sad. It makes me sad to think we won't have any more Sunday afternoon outings at the place, walking in the pastures with the Clydes trailing behind us like lost little puppy dogs. wouldn't happen to be willing to consider a lease to own option would you? We will let you come live with us instead of putting you in a nursing home later on down the road. Just something for you think about, maybe you should weigh your options? :)

Here shrimpy, shrimpy...

Growing up my Mom never cooked fish and because of that I never really had any interest in trying it when I grew up. I have slowly been trying to incorporate more fish in my diet so after having this shrimp dish on Friday night at my Step-Dad's, I thought I would give them a whirl at my house for Daniel. FYI, if I eat anything that swims, then you know it has to be good or else it wouldn't make it on to my dinner plate.
1 lb. shrimp, shelled and deveined
1 can diced green chilies, sm. can
1 tbsp. lime juice
1 tbsp. butter
1 tbsp. red pepper flakes
Essence of Emeril Seasoning

1.) In a large skillet over medium high heat add your butter, green chilies, lime juice, and shrimp.
2.) Sprinkle red pepper flakes and about a tablespoon or so of the Essence of Emeril seasoning. Saute until your shrimp are a nice pink color.

You can serve this over angel hair pasta, in taco shells, or just eat plain like we did. Also, if you have trouble finding the Essence of Emeril in stores like yours truly did, make your own essence using the recipe below. This is supposed to the exact replica of how Emeril makes his.

Essence of Emeril~
2 1/2 tbsp. paprika
2 tbsp. salt
2 tbsp. garlic powder
1 tbsp. black pepper
1 tbsp. onion powder
1 tbsp. cayenne pepper
1 tbsp. dried oregano
1 tbsp. dried thyme

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Mixed Berry Pie

It's another Saturday night dinner and this weekend my sister has taken over the reigns. I decided after having homemade apple pie at my Step-Dad and his girlfriend Kathy's house last night that I would attempt a homemade pie on my own tonight. I love berries so I thought a mixed berry pie would be awesome to try.

Mixed Berry Pie~
1 C. fresh strawberries, quartered
6 oz. fresh raspberries
6 oz. fresh blueberries
6 oz. fresh blackberries
1/2 lemon, juiced
1 C. white sugar
3 tbsp. cornstarch
Pie crust

1.) In a large mixing bowl stir together sugar and cornstarch. Add fresh fruit and gently toss. Add lemon juice.
2.) Add your pie crust to a 9 in. pie pan or to your already made pie crust, add your fruit mixture. Top with your second crust or make a lattice work.
3.) Bake at 375 degrees Fahrenheit for 45 to 50 minutes or until the top is golden brown.
4.) Cool on a wire rack.
I attempted to make my own pie crust and I will be honest, never again will I make one on my own. I just don't have what it takes, couldn't roll it out to save myself. Next time I will be making the pre-made store boughten kind and I assure you, I will still be able to sleep at night. Other than having trouble with the crust, the smell of this pie was unbelievable and I can't wait to tear into it night after dinner.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Not another pasta recipe...

If you didn't believe me about the pasta addiction mentioned before I hope you do now. Here we are two days later and I have made yet another pasta dish. My Hubby requested this one so I am not totally at fault, but it was on the list of meal possibilities that I gave him so it's not like he pulled it out of left field.

Does anyone else feel like your pulling teeth when asking your significant other what they would like for meals through out the week? I despise trying to get that sort of information out of Daniel. One of the last times I asked him you know what he dogs? Hot dogs?? You have a wife who loves to cook, is willing to cook just about anything, and has a food blog to top it all off, and all you can think about is hot dogs? How am I supposed to blog about hot dogs...geesh.

Anyway, I am slowly realizing that my husband doesn't have a fancy palate, he is happy with down home simple meals such as a good casserole. I know this probably isn't considered a casserole but it's down home and very easy. Some may know it as Johnny Marzetti as my family does, others may know it as Goulash, either way I hope you enjoy!!!
Katie's Johnny Marzetti~
1 lb. ground beef, cooked and drained
1/2 onion, finely chopped
1 green pepper, finely chopped
1 lb. elbow macaroni, cooked and drained
1- 14.5 oz petite diced tomatoes
1- 6 oz. tomato paste
2/3 C. tomato sauce
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. black pepper

1.) In a large pan, bring to a boil elbow macaroni.
2.) In a skillet brown ground beef, add green pepper and onion. Drain grease.
3.) Add ground beef mixture to drained elbow macaroni and add your diced tomatoes, tomato paste, and tomato sauce. Stir together and add salt and pepper, stir once again.

Now if it were up to me I would add a couple of cups of shredded cheese and throw that bad boy in the oven at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for about 30 minutes. Since Daniel is picky and I want him to enjoy this I am going to leave as is. You do whatever floats your boat!

Great Danes...

Can't live with them, can't live without them! I thought this disease that my hubby has in regards to raising the biggest dogs he can possibly find was just something he suffered from, my favorite pioneer lady however, has proven me wrong.

I don't know if it's the sad puppy dogs eyes that they have from the time of birth to the time of death or the need to sit on the couch as if they were human beings or what. You just can't say no to these creatures they are pathetic sad saps that you just can't help but take aside and squeeze until they almost burst from your love. Meet Mr. No Name, this lovely little fellow showed up on The Pioneer Womans front porch this morning and I'll be darned if she didn't let him in just like my Husband would have done. She also fed him and now I wonder if she will keep him. What kind of power do these wonderful creatures hold that makes people unable to use Great Dane and heck no in the same sentence?? Click on "The Pioneer Womans" and go directly to her blog to read more!

Picture provided by Ree Drummond @ The Pioneer Woman

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

My name is Katie and I have an addiction...

Yes I have an addiction, I think I have mentioned it before. I am a sucker for pasta, especially pastas drenched in sauce and piled high with cheeses. I don't know where this comes from, I am half German, half Irish, and I am pretty sure there is no Italian in there anywhere.

Anyway, like I said I love my pasta, I could eat it just about every day of the week in a different form each night. I have made this recipe before using different ingredients and tonight I thought I would keep it relatively simple by using ingredients that I have on hand. You are more than welcome to use your own homemade sauce, but tonight I am making Sandra Lee proud and doing it the Semi-Homemade way by using a jar of my favorite store bought version.

Katie's Stuffed Shells~

1 box. jumbo shells
1 jar. pasta sauce
1 lb. ground beef
1 md. container ricotta cheese
1 C. parmesan cheese
4 C. mozzarella cheese, shredded
2 tsp. garlic powder
2 tsp. onion powder
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. black pepper

1.) In a large pot bring to a boil your shells. Do not cook all the way through as they will finish cooking in the oven.
2.) In a separate skillet brown ground beef, drain off any excess grease. Add garlic powder, onion powder, salt, and black pepper. Mix and turn off heat. Allow to cool for 5 minutes.
3.) To the cooled meat mixture, add your ricotta cheese, parmesan cheese, and 1 cup of mozzarella cheese. Mix gently and then add 1/2 cup of your sauce.
4.)Begin my putting a good tablespoon or so of your meat mixture to each shell.
5.) In a 9x13 baking pan take a little of your sauce and cover the bottom. Layer stuffed shells. Top with remaining sauce and remainder of shredded cheese.
6.) Bake at 350 degrees Fahrenheit covered for 45 minutes, for the last ten or so minutes bake uncovered so that topping can brown slightly.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Outback Night

As promised I am providing you one of the recipes out of the lovely cook book I got from an e-mail. Tonight I decided on doing a few of the Outback recipes and we were not disappointed. I have never had these items at Outback so I am not sure how close they are to the original, but we didn't have much left so it must not have been to bad.

Outback Steak Marinade
1 package of Taco Seasoning
1 package of Good Seasonings Italian Mix
1 can of Coca-Cola
Steak of your choice

1.) In a large bowl add all of your ingredients and allow to marinate for 24 hours.

We made ours by doing kabobs so I also added green peppers, onion, and cherry tomotoes when putting them on the kabobs.

I also made cheesy fries and made their dipping sauce.

Outback Sauce~
1 C. sour cream
2 tbsp. prepared horseradish
dash of salt
dash of pepper
dash of cayenne pepper

1.) Mix together in a bowl and allow to "marry" for an hour or so.
Both my Husband and our dinner guest Denny enjoyed this sauce on not only their fries but on their steak and veggies as well.

Katie's Fried Pork Chops

Yesterday was my Uncle Dan's birthday dinner here at my homestead and I chose to make him fried pork chops, mashed potatoes with gravy, and corn casserole. It went off very well and I think everyone really enjoyed it. I had been craving those mashed potatoes and gravy for about a week and was not disappointed. My Dad had to help with the gravy but we got it accomplished. For some very strange reason I can never make gravy when I have an audience or feeding other people!

Katie's Fried Pork Chops~
16 servings

16 medium thick pork chops
2 C. all purpose flour
1 tbsp. paprika
1 tbsp. garlic powder
1 tbsp. onion powder
2 tsp. salt
2 tsp. black pepper
3 eggs

1.) In a large cast iron skilled add about a cup or so of vegetable oil. I didn't measure the amount just added enough until it was about an 1/2 in. deep. I warm it up on high heat and then before adding the meat I take it down to medium.
2.) In a separate bowl add your three eggs and a splash or two of milk. Beat until incorporated.
3.) In another bowl add all of your dry ingredients and mix.
4.) Dip pork chops in egg wash and then generously cover in the flour mixture.
5.) Add to skillet and brown on each side.
6.) After browning on each side I add them to the oven at about 300 degrees Fahrenheit for about an hour and half.

They came out really moist and tender and I think we only had three leftover.

Hope everyone enjoys as much as we did!!

I would also like to take a moment to introduce a new member of my family. The great dane resuce that we are associated with holds a grooming day once a month. It allows all of the volunteers to come to the rescue and groom the adoptable dogs, trims their nails, brush them down, and just overall socialize with them. I made the mistake of allowing my Husband to go by himself today and I just received the call he's bringing me home another son.
His name is currently Lennon, however I am not fond of it. Suggestions are welcome! Did I also mention that he is partially blind and deaf...this should be very interesting.

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Chocolate Chip Walnut Pancakes

Since this is the first Saturday in several weeks now that I can honestly say I feel pretty good, I thought I would make some pancakes for breakfast for my wonderful Husband. Unfortunately, after I slaved away over the stove for these things while he was in one of the bedrooms cleaning up, he informed me he doesn't like "stuff" in his pancakes. Man ate them though so the "stuff" must not have been to bad.

Chocolate Chip Walnut Pancakes~

2 C. Bisquick
1 C. milk
2 eggs
1/3 c. chocolate chips
1/4 c. finely chopped walnuts

1.) Mix in a bowl, Bisquick, milk, and eggs. Gently fold in chocolate chips and then walnuts.
2.) Cook over medium heat until browned on each side.
3.) Serve with a spread of butter, drizzle of maple syrup, and a dash or two of powdered sugar.

Hope everyone enjoys...chocolate chip pancakes always bring a smile to my face!

Friday, March 6, 2009

Another Award!

I was awarded another wonderful award from Gracey and 5th Sister and I must say it is very meaningful to receive these awards from these ladies and everyone else who have passed them onto me. Blogging for me has given me a space for my creative ways in the kitchen and allows me the opportunity to share them with others. It has also provided me the opportunity to visit with other bloggers such as Gracey, and get a look into what happens in other homes across the world. While we may never meet face to face, I can honestly say I have a great group of friends in this world we call cyberspace and I am thrilled to say I am gaining new ones everyday. I have been overwhelmed with the wonderful outpouring of love, support, and well wishes during the struggle I am going through with my disease and it does my heart good.

The rules for accepting this award are listed below:

Choose a minimum of 7 blogs that you find brilliant in content or design.
Show the 7 winners names and links on your blog, and leave a comment informing them that they were prized with "Honest Scrap." Well, there's no prize, but they can keep the nifty icon.
List at least 10 honest things about yourself.

First off, here are my 10 honest things about myself, I apologize in advance for anything that may come out sounding like I am nutcase!

1.) I married the first man I ever dated/kissed/had relations with(please see apology above). I would send out an extra apology to my Uncle Dan for forcing him to read this, but our family is all crazy and we know about everyone's special relations. Isn't that right Uncle Dan and Aunt Robin??? I can't wait to tell my daughters one day, should I be blessed with any, that I waited for that one special someone!
2.) While I enjoy being married to my Husband, who I truly fall more in love with with every passing day we spend together, there are days when I miss my single days of apartment living. Having my own space, no dogs to dirty my home, moving each year to something new and exciting, and not having to worry about cleaning and pleasing someone else. Does this make me a bad wife?

3.) While I love our dogs dearly and get sad just thinking about the day when they will no longer be with us, there are times when I want to open the front door and let them go. Times like when I run home for lunch, prepare whatever I am going to eat, sit down in my comfy recliner and turn on the Price is Right and Wagner comes over and shakes his head and flings drool all over me and what I am eating. Or the times when I am just falling asleep at night and Toby lets the most ungodly fart possible and I have to vacate the bedroom. Lord, please bless me with daughters, I can't handle any more nasty male anything!!

4.) While Daniel and I both enjoy being homeowners, we bought the second house we looked at after being approved. It was definitely an impulse buy and one we both regret terribly. We hate our house and after having been forced to make thousands of dollars in repairs and updates we never imagined having to make because our inspector should have caught them, I have wondered what it would take to burn the place down? Dogs and personal belongings not included! Is it also bad to wish the tree out back would fall on our roof like our neighbors did, we need a new roof and gutters??

5.) I love to cook and our Saturday night dinners are becoming somewhat of a chore because I try to outdo myself each and every week. I really need to stop and realize, these guys don't care what I make, as long as I make something and we get to be together that's all that matters.

6.) My parents divorced when I was three years old, within a year they were both remarried. Those marriages have now failed, so I am now the proud daughter of four single people. I don't like thinking that my Mom and Dad were ever makes me ill...I don't know why. Maybe it's because I don't remember what it was like with them being together and it's weird to think they ever were. I am glad they aren't together, I think my relationship with them would be very different had they have stuck it out. The one marriage I do wish was still together is my Mom and Step-Dad's...they lasted 20 years and I don't think our family will ever be the same, I don't think they ever will either and it's already been 3 years. At the end of the day however, I will never be alone, I have family coming out of ever nook and cranny and I feel blessed that each and every one of them is a part of my life . I am 25 years old and I still get multiple birthday celebrations and each year at Christmas I make out like a kid in a candy store. In my case, having divorced parents has more positives than negatives and I am a better person for it.

7.) My senior year of high school, when everyone else was running around picking schools and trying to decide on what they were going to be when they grew up, I could have cared less. I chose the one college that was closest to home and I knew would accept me. I picked the one major I knew would make my parents proud and I went with it. I failed terribly and was not ready for the commitment going to college and being someone took. I knew why I lacked the commitment then and it's the same that holds me from going back. At the end of the day I don't know what I want to major in and I don't want to waste anymore time, and it's because the only thing I ever wanted to do with my life was to be a wife and a mother. I want to be the wife that has breakfast ready for her husband in the morning and dinner on the table when he gets home. I want to be the Mom who packs her kids lunch everyday, the classroom Mom and chaperone, and I want to be the Mom who waits at the bus stop every afternoon to walk her children home and ask them how their day went. I don't need a fancy education or a degree in computer engineering that I thought I needed at the time to be either of those things. I just need Daniel and the children I hope to one day be blessed with. It terrifies me that I am going to be 26 years old this year and I am still without a child. I honestly don't know what I will do if I never get to become a Mother. The fact that my sister, who by the way is 5 years younger than I, is pregnant with her first after just a few months of marriage and trying, doesn't help with this matter. I guess if God feels that motherhood is not in my future, I will just have to be the best darn Aunt a kid could ever have!

8.) I would love to have a wedding cake business. Unfortunately, I am no good at baking from scratch. Having to use exact measurements is not good with me. I am like my Grandma, a little bit of this and a little bit of that. You cannot do that in baking. So instead I would like to open up a 50's style diner and one day be on Diners, Drive Ins, and Dive's!! Guy cracks me up. Daniel likes him to, got his book for Christmas.

9.)My goal in life is to be as positive as possible. Sadly, I am the most negative person on the face of the earth. I am a glass half empty sort of gal and I have come to terms with it. After re-reading some of the previous eight truth's about myself, I really think I should do something about See a therapist maybe? :)
10.) Here is a positive one. Should one day I ever have any children my children's first names will all end with s-o-n. Our first daughter will be Addison Grace, our first son will be Jackson Daniel, second daughter will be Emerson Faith, and our second son will be Grayson Matthew. Sadly out of all of these names Daniel only likes Jackson Daniel and it is because of the liquor Jack Daniels...MEN!! Also, none of them will go by their full first name, I have shortened them all, Addie, Jack, Emmie, and Gray. Not in love with Gray, but I absolutely adore the name Grayson so I will deal with it. With this all being said though, I will probably have to name my kids something else to please their Father so we do have backups such as Leah Grace, Olivia(Livy) Faith, and Jacob(Jake) Matthew. We shall see if he caves or not when the time comes.
I know I now need to select 7 others to award this to however since I have been working on this for several days now and it is all ready a book long, I am going to post my selected bloggers separately this afternoon.

Thursday, March 5, 2009


I have the most exciting thing to share with everyone and it's one of those I could poddy in my underwear sort of events. I just hope everyone else is excited as I am.

Today, I received at work, an e-mail containing a PDF file of a recipe book called "Insider's Recipes Master Edition". Friends...this book contains the recipe for things such as Arby's Horsey Sauce, Auntie Ann's Pretzels, KFC Baked Beans, and McDonald's Big Mac Sauce and those are just the tip of the iceberg. Now I don't know how close to the actual recipe these are but here is my plan to find out. Every Sunday for the next several weeks I am going to select what I feel is a very popular dish/sauce/soup from this book and test it out just to see how close they really are to the real thing and whether or not I like the homemade version better. Since I can't list the entire table of contents, shoot me an e-mail if you are looking for a recipe and I will see if it is included. I will try it out and report back!

I can't wait to get started, I think this is going to be very interesting!!

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Today is my birthday...

No it's not really mine, I would prefer to not discuss my birthday. This last birthday and the next four to follow are really tearing me up inside, I am not going to handle the big 3-0 very well, I can already tell. Twenty five was a rough one and this years 2-6 isn't going to be any easier. Don't ask me why I am like this, I can't really tell you. I think it's the fear of getting older and eventually passing on. It scares me to think of not being on this earth surrounded by my family and friends. In fact just thinking about death makes me hyperventilate. Let's talk about something else shall we??

While today is not my birthday, it is the birthday of a particular fan of this little ol' blog I affectionately call Katie's Korner. I missed his birthday celebration on Saturday due to the fact I was a little under the weather and unable to leave my home so we are having birthday dinner round two at my joint this coming Saturday. That right there should tell you how special this man is to our family, not very many people get multiple birthday celebrations like I do every year. There is something to be said about having divorced parents who re-married and then divorced again. There's a lot of guilt flowing in my extended family and I get to reap the
(Uncle Dan and Aunt Robin at the cookie bake-off)

Anyway, this particular man is not only my favorite Uncle, but he's my Godfather, and pretty much my third Dad. Technically he's my second since he came before my step-dad, but I categorize them all together so we're good. If I wasn't with my Mom and Step-Dad or with my Dad and Step-Mom, I was with my Uncle Dan and my Aunt Robin. A kid can never have to many places to call home and their house was definitely just as much mine as all my other homes were.

If I only have one visitor to my blog each day I can count on it being my Uncle Dan. He enjoys reading my posts just as much as I enjoy creating them. He is my ultimate recipe taster and I know that if I were to do anything to make him happy, it would be to cook him something. Since I am making him a big dinner on Saturday I thought I would do something a little sweet tonight. Hope everyone enjoys and yes Uncle Dan, a fresh one will be ready for you upon your arrival on Saturday.Apple Coffee Cake (Adapted from

1/2 C. butter, softened
1 C. sugar
3 eggs
3 C. all purpose flour
3 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. salt
1 1/2 C. milk
1- 21 oz. can apple pie filling
2 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/2 C. chopped walnuts
1/4 C. packed brown sugar
2 tbsp. butter, softened

1.) In a large mixing bowl cream butter and sugar. Beat in eggs, combine with flour, baking powder, and salt, slowly add milk.
2.) Pour half of mixture into a greased 9x13 baking dish. *Combine apple pie filling with cinnamon and spoon over batter. Drop remaining batter over filling and spread gently.
3.) Combine topping ingredients and sprinkle over batter.
4.) Bake at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for 40-45 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.
5.) Cool on a wire rack.

* I added the cinnamon to the batter instead of mixing with the apples.

Verdict...this is good, not my favorite. I bought the cheap brand of apple pie filling and I can tell. I think next time I would make my own apple pie filling. Uncle Dan will like it, he will eat just about anything I make. Daniel's stuff not always, Daniel likes to sneak in the heat, we will not discuss the atomic buffalo turds will we Uncle Dan??

Blogging with a Purpose Award

As promised I have carefully contemplated all of my favorite blogs and I have decided...drum roll award the Blogging with a Purpose award to Melissa at Schweet 'N Savory and to Sheila at Alice and the Mock Turtle.

I chose Melissa because I think it is so cool that at the age of 17 she can already cook like a pro. I have lost count of the times she has made me drool on my keyboard and I applaud her effort at trying to be the best cook possible. I couldn't even guess at what I was doing at 17.

Lastly I chose Sheila because not only does her blog provide us with more yummy recipes but also creative decorating and organizational tips. What I wouldn't give to have some of her organizational skills. If I had even a bit of those skills, I bet my two spare bedrooms would be used as bedrooms and not walk-in closets.

Anyway, congratulations Ladies and keep up the good work...I do enjoy it!!

Monday, March 2, 2009

I'mmmm Backkkkkkk!!

Yes...I am back, for now anyway. After yet another miserable weekend and what almost became a very eventful trip to Wal-Mart I broke down and against my Doctor's wishes went back on my steroids. They don't make me feel 100% but they allow me to feel half way human again so I didn't give a rats tushy what my Doctor felt. He is getting on my last nerve anyway, doesn't seem concerned with the fact I am getting worse by the minute and boy let me tell you, he did not like when I commented that I didn't feel he was doing enough to try to get this horrible disease under control. Oh well, he can't get upset with a patient who has been seeing him for almost a year trying to get this under control. He is a Doctor, Doctors are supposed to fix you when you are ill, and when they don't I think you are entitled to get a little on the crabby side.

Anyway, since I was feeling almost human today and feeling a little on the guilty side after my poor husband commented last week I hadn't made him dinner in almost two weeks, I felt compelled to put forth some sort of effort tonight. I use the term "effort" very loosely with this recipe because it is literally three ingredients with a few seasonings thrown in a pot and set to simmer. I learned it from my Grandma, of course she put a little bit more effort into hers. It's down home comfort and just what I needed tonight. This meal was actually the meal I served my family the day that my Grandma died. Serve it along with mashed potatoes and green beans and you have yourself one heck of a meal.

Beef N Noodles

2- 32 oz. beef broth
1- 28 oz can of Keystone Heat & Serve Beef
1- 8 oz. package wide egg noodles
1 cup water
2 tsp. dried onions
1 tsp. black pepper

1.) In a large pot bring to a boil beef broth and beef.
2.) Add dried onion and black pepper.
3.) Add egg noodles and add one cup of water.
4.) Turn heat to medium heat and allow to simmer for 15 to 20 minutes.