Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Beefy-Noodle-Vegetable Soup

So, we bought a cow.  Yup.  You heard right.  

Lately, I've become more aware/interested in where my food is coming from.  So Michael (Mr. Research himself) found a local farmer that raises and sells organic, grass-fed, free-to-roam cattle.  And we bought one.  Well, actually, we bought a 1/4 of a cow.  So now my deep freeze is stocked full of ground beef, roasts, steaks, liver (ick!), and soup bones....most of which I have no idea what to do with!

Tonight I decided to give the soup bones and stew meat a try.  Not really knowing what I was doing (and with some over-the-phone guidance from my mom), I started boiling those soup bones.  
Word to the wise (and not-so-familiar with boiling beef soup bones)....thaw those puppies out before you throw them in the pot of water.  I apparently like to learn lessons the hard way.

My soon-to-be beef broth!
I did a little googling while I waited for the meat to cook and come off the bones, and I found a Paula Deen recipe that I only kind of followed.  (I act like I actually know what I'm doing in the kitchen!  Do not be fooled.)  I ended up just throwing a little of this and a little of that in the pot (along with some extra stew meat we had in the freezer from our cow).

And the result....


Michael wants me to write down how I made it so I can duplicate it again some day.  So, in an effort to attempt to record my recipe:

Beef-Vegetable-Noodle Soup
  1. Create the broth -- boil a beef soup bone until the meat comes off the bone.  (If I don't have a soup bone, I guess I can just use my Better Than Boullion and make some beef broth.  Note To Self:  Ask Mom.)
  2. Once you have the broth and the meat off the bone, add the vegetables.  I was lazy (and cheap) and just bought a bag of frozen veggies.  I absolutely despise peas, so I made sure my frozen veggies were pea-less.  Specifically, we had broccoli, cauliflower, squash, zuchinni and carrots.  They were in super big chunks, so I chopped them up a little bit before tossing them in the soup.
  3. Now it's time for seasoning.  (Here's where things get a little iffy.)  
      • A few shakes of parsley flakes
      • 1/2 Tbsp salt
      • 1/4 Tbsp garlic powder
      • 1/4 Tbsp pepper
      • A couple of bay leaves
  4. Once everything's simmered and tastes yummy (this post is so cookbook-worthy!), add some noodles.  I had bow-tie pasta, so I put a little more than a cup of noodles in and let them cook according to the package.  
I also ended up putting some more broth in (about 2 cups) and some extra water (about 1 1/2 cups) to combat saltiness and because a lot of my broth boiled down.

Moral of this story:  It's super easy.  And yummy.  And you don't have to be exact to make it super tasty!

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Peanut Butter Munchies

And on the eighth day, God created chocolate and peanut butter.

There is nothing more heavenly than chocolate and peanut butter...preferably in the same bite!  So when I ran across a recipe for something called a Peanut Butter Munchie that looked like a peanut butter cup in cookie form....I just couldn't help myself!  

This platter was full...

Yummy peanut butter insides!

Peanut Butter Munchies
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1/4 cup peanut butter
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla
3/4 cup sifted powdered sugar
1/2 cup peanut butter
2 tablespoons granulated sugar

  1. Stir together flour, cocoa powder and baking soda.  Set flour mixture aside.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, beat together butter, 1/2 cup granulated sugar, brown sugar and 1/4 cup peanut butter with an electric mixer until combined.
  3. Add egg, milk, and vanilla; beat well.  Beat in as much of the dry ingredients as you can with mixer.  Stir in remaining dry ingredients by hand.  (My mixer was able to mix it all up just fine!)
  4. Form chocolate dough into 32 balls about 1 1/4 inches in diameter.  Set aside.
  5. In a medium mixing bowl, combine powdered sugar and remaining 1/2 cup peanut butter until smooth.  Shape into 32 balls 3/4 inch balls.
  6. Slightly flatten a chocolate dough ball and top with a peanut butter ball.  Shape the chocolate dough over the peanut butter filling, completely covering the filling.  Roll dough into a ball.  Repeat with the remaining chocolate dough and peanut butter filling.
  7. Place 2 inches apart on ungreased cookie sheets.  Lightly flatted with bottom of a glass dipped in remaining sugar.
  8. Bake cookies in a 350 degree F oven for 8 minutes or until they are just set and the surface is slightly cracked.  Let cookies stand for 1 minute.  Transfer cookies to a wire rack to cool.
Makes: 32 servings
Prep: 45 minutes
Bake: 8 minutes per batch
Stand: 1 minute per batch
Recipe from

Picture from

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Stupid Easy

It's been a while since I've blogged about a meal.  And it's not that I haven't been cooking.  Lord knows I've cooked more in the last 9 months than I have in my entire life!  I just forget to blog about it!!  But I had to make sure to blog about the meal I made tonight.  

It was STUPID EASY!  It's called Crockpot Cheesy Chicken and Rice.  Now, for you health nuts...this probably isn't the dish for you.  Most of the time I really do try to keep things relatively healthy in my kitchen, but this wasn't one of those times.

I found this recipe on Pinterest (oh, how I love thee!).  It's from the blog Southern Plate.  

And now you'll see what I mean when I said it was easy.  Literally the hardest part was cutting up an onion.
  1. Put 3-4 chicken breasts in a crockpot.
  2. Put your diced onion on top (I only used half an onion).
  3. Dump a can of cream of chicken soup on top.
  4. Cook for 3-4 hours on low or 7-8 hours on high (I did 7-8 hours).
  5. When you have 30-40 minutes left on the chicken (or you can even do it the night before and throw it in the fridge), cook the Zataran's Yellow Rice Mix according to the directions.
  6. Once the rice is ready and the chicken is finished, dump the rice, cheese and a drained can of corn in the crock pot and mix it all up.  (I cut/smooshed the chicken up with a wooden spoon as I mixed).
You're finished!!  And it's delish!!

The finished product
Michael likes it!!  I was lazy and just fixed green beans to accompany our meal.
The proof is in the empty plate!

Here's the recipe directly from Southern Plate!

Ricotta Cheese

I love Pinterest.  It inspires me to do things I would never even think to do on my own!!  

Like making ricotta cheese!

Now....had the blog I pinned this from hadn't insisted how easy and delicious homemade ricotta cheese was, I probably would have been too scared/skeptical/unmotivated to even attempt.

BUT...I did attempt and it was delicious and easy!

Here's the blog this came from and she promises this about the recipe:

1. If you can boil water, you can make your own ricotta cheese.
2.  It will take you less than 15 minutes from start to finish.
3.  It will taste so good, you will wonder why on earth it took you so long to figure out that you should have been making your own ricotta cheese for the past hundred years.
4.  It will take all your willpower not to stand there next to your bowl of delicious fresh ricotta and not eat it all in one fell swoop.

And I agree!!  YUMMY-NESS!  So, here's how it goes:
Put a mesh strainer in the sink.  I don't have a mesh strainer that stands on it's own, so this is what my set-up looked like.

Layer some cheese cloth (3-4 layers) over the strainer.

Gather your ingredients.  And dump them into a saucepan.

Turn the heat to medium high and watch the magic happen!  The first time I did this I stirred a lot during the boiling, and it didn't turn out as well as when I stirred it once and then let it do it's thing.  After it starts boiling, it separates into curds and whey!  (Like Little Miss Muffet!)

Now all you have to do is use a slotted spoon and spoon out the curds into your cheese cloth and let it drain until it's as dry (or wet) as you like!  NOTE: After every spoonful or two, be sure to add some salt!  There's not a lot of yummy-ness happening without salt.  I used Kosher salt for mine.

That night I used my homemade ricotta for lasagna rollups.  DELICIOUS!!

This is the recipe directly from the blog Framed Cooks.

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Girls Night Out and Basketball

My family loves college basketball.  And we're a house divided.  My dad and my hubby are KU fans, and the rest of us (me, my mom and my sis) are MU fans.  My sister and I both graduated from Mizzou.  But, honestly, I root for Kansas, too.  Don't tell anyone!  That's a total Mizzou taboo!!  (I think I've been to more Kansas games (2) than I have Mizzou games.)

We're so excited in Kansas City to have all three of our local teams - Kansas, Mizzou and K-State - in the NCAA tournament.  We're especially exited to have the Sprint Center in downtown KC host a lot of the second and third round games!!

(PS....It was frigid and snowy today, so this picture is slightly misleading as to our experience today!)

AND Kansas and K-State get the benefit of pretty much home-court advantage to play in Kansas City!  YAY!  And super YAY for our community and the revenue we're going to be getting from all of this basketball fun!!

Today the teams had an open practice at the Sprint Center.  My mom and I decided to have a Girls Night Out and check out the Kansas practice.  Before Kansas practiced, though, we got to watch the University of North Carolina.  Now...if you're not from Kansas City or a KU fan, you might not know that the UNC coach (Roy Williams) used to be the Kansas coach.  And he didn't exactly leave on good terms.  Some of us are still a little bitter (i.e. ME!).  But when he entered with his team today, he got a standing ovation.  I guess we still kinda like him.  And we have a good team, too.  So that helps us/me get over him deserting us.  :-)

He really is a good guy.

We're having lots of fun!  (Despite the creeper sitting next to me.  STOP LOOKING AT ME!!!)

The UNC players put on quite a show at the end of their 35 minutes of practice time.  Watch Roy Williams.  His reactions are funny, too!

Kansas came on to practice after UNC, but they were boring in comparison!  Then my mamma and I headed to Gordon Birsch for dinner.  We had such a fun night!!  I love that lady!

Speaking of basketball and NCAA are mine!  So far, I'm doing pretty good.  But I'd better get this published before the UNLC/Cal game and the Belmont/Arizona game finish up so that I can say I'm 100% on my brackets for now!