January 31, 2014

Pizza Roll Up

I've made something similar to this before here, but I used bread dough. I wanted to try this recipe because it used pizza crust instead. This one was much better and had less prep than the other recipe.

1 can pizza sauce
1 can pizza crust dough

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Spread out dough and cover with sauce, pepperoni, and cheese. You could add any other toppings you wanted also.  Roll up dough. Tuck in the ends and pinch the seam together. 

Sprinkle some cheese on top.  Bake at 375 for 20 minutes or until dough is golden brown. 

January 30, 2014

One Pan Spinach & Sausage Pasta

This dish was really delicious and easy to make. I liked it because it wasn't a casserole so I only needed to wash one dish afterwards and it tasted just as good.

6 oz. smoked sausage 
1 tbsp olive oil
1 medium onion, diced
1 (14.5 oz.) can rotel
2 cups chicken broth 
8 oz. pasta 
3 cups fresh spinach 
1 cup shredded cheese

Thinly slice the sausage and add it to a large skillet with the olive oil. Saute the sausage until browned.   Drain if needed. Add the onion and saute until the it has softened. Add the can of rotel and the chicken broth. Stir to combine.

Add the uncooked pasta to the skillet and make sure it is all submerged under the liquid. Cover and let come to a boil. Reduce heat and let simmer for ten minutes, or until the pasta is tender. Stir once or twice while the pasta cooks to keep it from sticking.  Stir in the spinach. Heat for a few more minutes until spinach is wilted and sauce thickens. Sprinkle the cheese on top, replace the lid, and let it sit for a few minutes until the cheese is melted.

January 29, 2014

Brown Sugar Spiced Chicken

I don't even have any words to describe this chicken. It was SO GOOD! You must make it, tonight!

2 1/2 tbsp light brown sugar
1 tsp smoked paprika
1/2 tsp cumin
3/4 tsp kosher salt
1/4 tsp black pepper
1/4 tsp dried oregano
1/4 tsp garlic powder
6 chicken breasts

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.  Mix all ingredients except chicken together in a bowl. Coat each chicken breast with this mixture. Place on baking sheet and bake at 425 for 20-25 minutes or until chicken is no longer pink.  

January 28, 2014


I like to cook, but sometimes I like to take the easy route, but still make it feel like I cooked a nice meal for the family. This is one of those meals. Of course, you could make your own burritos, might cost a little bit more, but made to your liking.  

Frozen burritos
1 can enchilada sauce
cheddar cheese

Preheat oven according to burrito package directions.  Place burritos in baking dish. Pour sauce over top and cover with cheese.  Bake according to the package directions. 

Very quick and very good. 

January 27, 2014

Taco Braid

I loved the spaghetti bread I made before so when I saw this recipe for taco braid I knew I wanted to make it.  It was very good, but spicy, I think next time I will just use diced tomatoes without the green chilis in there.

1 pound ground beef
taco seasoning 
1 can rotel tomatoes- drained
1 can black beans- drained and rinsed
2 cans crescent rolls

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Brown and drain ground beef. Mix with taco seasoning, tomatoes, and beans.  Spread out the crescents on a cookie sheet, but don't separate them. Press seams together to form one piece.  Place meat mixture in the middle and make one inch strips on each side of meat.  

Fold over dough in a braid. Bake at 350 degrees for 20-25 minutes.  Let sit for 5-10 minutes before cutting. 

January 23, 2014

Bathroom renovation

Since we sold our house and moved into our rental property we have been tackling some updates that the place needs. The first one was the bathroom.  We didn't really have a plan in mind when we went to Menard's to buy stuff, and since it's a rental we decided to try to keep the costs down in case we have to replace things in a few years.   The whole reno took us about 2 days and only cost around $400.  The problem now is that the bathroom is nice and looks like it doesn't fit in this house.

Here's the before. Mike redid this all when he bought the duplex 8 years ago. The floor is just peel and stick linoleum that was coming up near the tub, the vanity and toilet were dirty and have seen better days and the walls were quite dirty. 

The first step was to peel up all the linoleum and remove the vanity and toilet. We waited until the last possible minute to remove the toilet because it's the only one in the house.  The floor came up pretty easy, but then we were left with a big sticky mess on the floor, it's just cement.  We tried scrapping, goo gone, boiling water and scrubbing. Finally what worked was a can of mineral spirits. However, it smelled awful, but it did the trick. 

For the floor we decided to put down vinyl tiles that you grout.  We've never used them before as we had all wood or ceramic at our last house, so we weren't sure if we would like them, but they were a little cheaper and much faster than ceramic. Once we got all the glue off the floor you have to put down a primer. You just roll it on with a paint roller and wait for it to dry. 

Once we started the tile, Mike did all the cut pieces and I did all the big pieces. This part went really quick. I was done with the whole pieces before he had even stuck down the tiles around the toilet.  After all the tile was in we put in the new toilet, new vanity, new medicine cabinet and new baseboard heater.  We went back and forth over removing the heater or getting a new one, but since it had the wiring right there near the base of the bathtub and Mike didn't really want to leave the wires where they could somehow get wet we decided just to replace it with a new one. 

Next up was grout.  Last time we did ceramic Mike was the grouter and I was the cleaner. However, there wasn't space for both of us so Mike got to do it all just working his way towards the door.  The directions said to clean the grout off right away, but we noticed that he was just wiping the grout right out of the cracks so we sort of skipped this step for now.  We let it dry for the recommended 72 hours and then went back with a amonia based cleaner and cleaned all the tiles. It took a while, but was much better than having to re-grout because we weren't making any progress.  

After Mike was done I got to paint. Yes, you probably should paint before you install all new flooring and other items, but we weren't sure which color we wanted to go with. We decided to go with a very light gray color.  We also purchased a new door and of course we got new white trim.  We also moved the medicine cabinet down and install a light bar above it.   

It's such a huge improvement and I am in love with the tile.  

Here's a price breakdown-
Tile $1.70 a sq. ft. x 40 sp. ft = $68
Toilet  $90
Vanity  $50
Medicine cabinet  $50
Light $15
Door $50
Paint & Grout Supplies  $30

So this whole project was $353 give or take a few dollars. Not to bad for a practically brand new bathroom.  

January 22, 2014

Salmon Patties

This is one of my grandma's recipes. She made these for me often when I was younger and stayed the night at her house. I haven't had them in so long, and they're so good.

1/2 cup milk
2 eggs
2 cans of salmon- pick out any bones
1 tbsp flour
saltine crackers (I used about half of the sleeve)

Mix all ingredients in a bowl.  You can add more milk, flour or crackers to your liking. You want them to be sort of thick.  Form them into patties and fry them in a pan until browned flipping as needed. 

January 21, 2014

Chicken Mac & Cheese Stuffed Shells

Raise your hand if you don't like macaroni and cheese. Nobody?! Okay, good! This recipe tastes just like mac and cheese but is better because it's larger and stuffed with chicken.

8 oz cream cheese, softened
2 cups shredded precooked chicken 
1 1/4 cup shredded cheddar cheese, divided
3-4 tbsp butter
12 oz evaporated milk
10.5 oz condensed cheddar cheese soup
12 jumbo pasta shells, cooked al dente

Preheat oven to 350 degree.  In a bowl, mix the cream cheese, chicken and 1/4 cup cheddar cheese. Mix well. 

Melt the butter on medium heat over the stove and add the cheese soup. Whisk until soup is less lumpy. Add evaporated milk gradually while whisking until smooth. Add remaining 1 cup of the cheddar cheese gradually and continue to whisk as cheese melts.

Stuff shells with the chicken mixture and place is a baking dish. Continue for all shells and chicken mix.

Pour cheese sauce over top of shells.  Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes.

No Bake Granola Bars

Marley takes lunch from home about two or three times a week. They eat lunch at 10:30am so I want to make sure she's full to last her until 3:30pm when they get out of school. I saw these granola bars on pinterest and decided to try them out to see if they would be a good addition to her lunch. They were and I've made them several times since.

2 cups quick cooking oats 
1 cup rice crispy cereal
1/4 cup butter
1/4 cup honey
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp vanilla

Mix oats and cereal in a bowl. 

In a small pot over medium high heat melt the butter. Add the honey, brown sugar and salt. Stir together then leave it alone as it comes to a boil. Let it boil for 2 minutes.  During this time, you may need to turn the heat down a bit so it doesn't overflow, but be sure it keeps boiling.

After the 2 min boil, turn off heat and pour over the cereal oat mix. Mix together using a rubber spatula until well coated. 

Mix in any thing you want at this point. I've done peanut butter chips, M&M's, chocolate chips, white chocolate chips.  After those are mixed in press into a cookie sheet. Press firmly so they stick together.  Place in refrigerator for 20 minutes. Cut to serve. 

These are so yummy, but mine always fall apart, no matter how long I keep them in the fridge or how hard I smash them into the pan. I did notice the chocolate chips help hold them together a little because they had melted when I mixed them in and then hardened and that did help.